Late report

Cyndi called me out in the comments section--I haven't updated about American Idol -- sorry about that. I got home late Thursday, and then kind of forgot about it. In case you haven't heard yet, Chikezie was voted off. BOO!!! Once again, America was SO wrong. I'm really sorry to see him go and wish him the best. I gotta say, these elimination shows are really becoming ridiculous. I fast forwarded through 90% of the show. They spent five minutes on iTunes product placement. Another minute or so about Coca Cola. Of course there's the time for Ford. It just has become so tedious. I even fast forwarded through the eliminations--I could see if people walked to the left, they were in the bottom three, if they walked to the right, they were safe. That was enough for me.

In other news, I watched some interesting movies on DVD this weekend. One was called Wristcutters: A Love Story, which was about this sort of afterlife for people who commit suicide. They wound up in a place slightly more dismal and bleak than the lives they were trying to escape in the first place. The whole premise sounds so depressing, but it was actually rather upbeat and I enjoyed it overall. If you like dark humor, I'd recommend it.

The other movie was Dedication with Billy Cruddup and Mandy Moore. Billy Cruddup plays a neurotic guy who apparently lived a tough childhood. He now writes children's books. After his partner and illustrator (Tom Wilkinson) dies, he's paired with Mandy Moore who of course breaks through his rough exterior. The story's pretty predictable, but it was interesting to watch these two come together. The movie had a strange and sometimes distracting soundtrack. I think this went straight to video--I don't recall seeing it in the theaters. I would wait until this one comes to cable.


TV stuff

I didn't take detailed notes on AI this evening, so will post to Lisa de Moraes' We Watch So You Don't Have To tomorrow. I did however, watch enough to rank the performances:

10. David A. HORRIBLE song--Simon was right that it sounded like something at an amusement park. I was thinking "Up with People."

9. Jason

8. Ramiele She was apparently very sick, which is a shame. She finally picked a big song she that she could belt out, but it came out pitchy.

7. Brooke

6. Kristy Lee WHAT? Kristy Lee actually did a great job tonight--she sang "I'm Proud to Be an American." Who's going to vote against that patriotic song? Plus, she sang it well.

5. Chikezie

4. Carly

3. Syesha She was great tonight! Best she's been since the tryouts.

2. Michael Also the best he's been in weeks.

1. David C. My man David blew it up again. He sang "Billie Jean," believe it or not. It was awesome! The judges all agreed that he could win the whole competition. That'd be fine by me.

So, I rated David A. lowest, but I doubt he'll go. People seem to like him. I think it'll either be Jason or Ramiele. I hope Ramiele sticks around a little longer so we can hear her belt out the perfect song. I did my part and put in a few calls for her--I also recruited my mom to do the same. I guess we'll know tomorrow.

Update: Here's We Watch So You Don't Have To.


Now, what I really wanted to talk about. You've probably heard that Britney Spears was on How I Met Your Mother last night. I remember reading a few weeks ago that she'd be on, and at the time, I just groaned. But...I gotta say, she wasn't that bad. Is there a word for that--when you expect to really hate something or someone but then are pleasantly surprised?

I LOVED this episode of HIMYM. No, not because Britney Spears was on it. It was because it was so romantic. The main character, Ted, was trying to go out with the doctor who was removing a tattoo from his back. (It was Sarah Chalke from Scrubs.) He saw her over ten sessions, and tried to win her over, but she kept telling him no. Finally at the end, she admitted that she doesn't have time to date because she devotes all of her time to her daughter. Ted realized that that wasn't "no," so asked her out for a two-minute date. The two-minute date was SO sweet--they watched a movie, had dinner, dessert, took a walk, got to know each other. I just loved it. I saved the show so I can watch it again. I'm so glad the show is back--it's definitely one of my favorites.


The Bank Job

I saw a movie in the theater this weekend--it seems like it'd been so long! (The last one I saw was There Will Be Blood, in February, I think.

Thankfully, it was a good movie and worth my seven bucks. I really enjoyed The Bank Job. It's a fun bank heist movie, with different twists. What was true to form was that I was definitely rooting for the bank robbers. Possible spoiler: I don't think this gives anything away, but cover your ears just in case: Everyone else in the movie was way more corrupt than the robbers.End spoiler The story is based on real events, which makes it all the more intriguing.

Jason Statham was great as always. And, has he always been so easy on the eyes? I never noticed before. I really like him.

Go see this movie if you can--it's worth it!


Oh America....

I won't go long into this, but I'm shaking my head over the fact that "America" put Carly in the bottom three on tonight's AI elimination show. What the hell?! She's got the best voice in the competition. I'm guessing it was one of those complacency things--America figures she's in, so they don't bother to vote for her.

Turns out Amanda was voted off. I think Kristy Lee should've gone, but like I said before, she's probably got country fans supporting her. She pointed out that she's been in the bottom two week after week. I don't think she'll last much longer.

In other news, I just finished reading some chick lit called, High Maintenance by Jennifer Belle. It's about Liv Kellerman who's divorced from her wealthy husband and is finding her way alone in NYC. She becomes a real estate agent, and New York real estate becomes the metaphor of her life. I really enjoyed the first half of this book--it was funny and engaging. The storyline about her boss, a lesbian named Dale, being in love with Liv cracked me up. Then about halfway through, the central character just got on my nerves. Her actions were contrived and I found myself just hoping the book would end soon. I think I actually groaned out loud a few times. Ugh. I was glad it was over.

Next up: This Side of Brightness by Colum McCann. Several years ago, my aunt told me about this book she read for her book club. It centers around various characters of different races and ethnic backgrounds who are building the subway tunnels in New York. I remember thinking back then that I'd like to read it some day. I don't know what made me think of it recently, but I called her up to get the title and author's name and am now ready to start reading. Looking forward to it.

Can't. Walk....Ankles. Hurt.

I went ice skating last night with my friend and her daughter, and a friend of theirs (Q). It's been at least two years, if not longer, since I was on skates, and boy, am I feeling it. I had fun though, and might even go with them again next week. My friend and her daughter are taking lessons, so they get to skate for free (for practice, doncha know). For me it was $9.18 to skate and to rent skates. Kind of pricey, I think. Q told me he liked it better when they came on Friday night because they played disco music and turned the lights down. Disco?! Hey, a guy after my own heart! Too bad he's only 7. :o) I'll have to give Friday night a try. Last night was fun, but they were playing music from the light rock genre...I remember hearing a few Elton John songs. Disco would've been much more fun.

Because I was out skating and killing my ankles, I missed American Idol. I'll have to catch up tonight. In the meantime, here's the Washington Post's We Watch So You Don't Have To column. Funny, as always.


In the beginning...

On Saturday, I took my mom to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company's production of The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged)-- it was HILARIOUS! I've seen them before doing American History, so knew this would be a good show. My mom was one of the few people in the audience who'd read the Bible from cover to cover and she really enjoyed how they covered it. We had seats in the 3rd row from the stage, so we were doused with water during the Noah's Ark story, and showed with bread and fish (goldfish--the snack food) when they were discussing Jesus' miracles.

Going home on the Metro after the show, we shared the train with a bunch of kids who had just seen The Harlem Globetrotters at the Verizon Center. The lady sitting next to my mom struck up a conversation and said that autographed programs from the Globetrotters show were being sold for $150!!!! Are you kidding me? The lady was proud because she'd bought her son (who has Down Syndrome) a regular program and he went through and got all the autographs himself. She also told my mom that her son goes to visit friends in California four times a year. One of these friends works in Hollywood and has casted her son in some commercials and TV shows. I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for him!

TV News: One of my favorite shows, How I Met Your Mother starts up again tonight. If you watch, please note that it comes on at 8:30pm eastern now (instead of 8:00). I'm so glad the shows are making a comeback after the long writers' strike.


Back when I was a youngster...

I heard Billy Ocean's "There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)" on the radio earlier this evening, and it reminded me of my friend, J. She and her family moved next door to me & my family in the summer of 1986. My sister and I were so excited to have new neighbors because it looked like they had some daughters our age. We met them briefly out in front of the house, and it turned out J was a year older than me and would be going to my school.

About a week later, I went next door to see if she wanted to hang out. She answered the door and had a spiral notebook in her hand. I asked what she was up to and she said, "Oh, I'm writing a song." I said "Really?!" It intrigued me to talk to an actual songwriter--an artist! I asked if I could see what she'd written. She handed over the notebook, and I realized she'd just written out the words to the Billy Ocean song! I just started laughing. I told her I thought she was writing her own song and she started laughing too. She then told me that she had recorded the song from the radio to a cassette tape and was now playing and stopping the tape to get the words down. At that moment, I knew we'd be lifelong friends, because I used to do the exact same thing!! (See, we didn't have the Internet to just search for song lyrics. We had to do it ourselves. Heck, we even used to buy a magazine at the grocery store that contained song lyrics. How crazy is that?!)

J and I are still friends, by the way. I remind of her of our "how we met" story every once in a while and we just crack up.


World's worst prankster

This morning when I got to work, there was a voicemail message from my friend/coworker (K) saying: "I'm on my way to work...ooohhhh....I'm am going to kill you, Valerie! I was up last night from 12:00am until 2:00am and now I'm tired! And it's your fault!" (Note that this was in her usual joking tone--she wasn't really threatening me.....I don't think...?) So, I was like, "oh no--what'd I do?" When she got to work a little while later, she stopped by my office and looked completely worn out. Like she'd been up all night.

I said, "What did I do?" And she started making this blooping sound: bloooop blooooop...blooooop blooooop. I was like, what? So I repeated it--"What?! What did I do?" She continued with the blooping sound, and then it all came rushing back to me. She was imitating the sound of her Blackberry's alarm clock. She said she heard it at midnight and couldn't figure out where it was coming from. Her granddaughter was sleeping in the room with her, and she thought to herself, maybe it's the baby's Elmo. But then she realized it wasn't Elmo because he sings happy songs, not this annoying bloooop bloooop. Then the sound stopped and she went back to sleep, only for it to start again after some time. This went on for two hours, until finally, she tracked it down to her briefcase which was on the floor, under some clothes. She didn't know how to turn it off, so she just removed the battery and called it a night.

Flashback to yesterday: See, yesterday I told her that I use my Blackberry as my alarm clock at home, because it has this piercing sound that I can't sleep through. She handed me her BB and asked me how to set it. So I went through the motions--you go to Settings, and then Alarm Clock....etc. Little did I know, during my little demonstration I turned the alarm "On" for 12:00am. Oops.

K and I were saying how this would've been a great prank IF I'd actually known I was playing a prank, but I had no clue. I missed out on the enjoyment of that completely. However, I still got a kick out of hearing K tell the story--my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. I think she forgave me.....


Lap Dance Boy says goodbye

David Hernandez was voted off tonight. I thought that would happen--I figured Kristy Lee probably has country fans supporting her.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: Thank God for TIVO. These elimination shows are so tedious. This year they've added a stupid segment where they take calls from viewers. That wasted 10 minutes. Another 5 minutes was wasted on cross-promoting Jim Carrey's new movie, Horton Hears a Who. Then there was the medley (this group hasn't gelled yet on the medleys). Another 5 minutes for Katherine McPhee to perform "Something in the Way She Moves." (Which was lovely.) The elimination shows needs to be no longer than 30 minutes. But, thanks to Tivo, I can easily skip all this crap and get to the results.

My friend Cyndi pointed out that Danny Noriega was in the audience with Ramiele's family tonight. Ha! Not only that, the caption said: "Ramiele's Family and Best Friend." Best Friends?! So now they're BFF. Awwwwwwww....

Cyndi also said Sanjaya was in the audience--I didn't catch that either (probably because I was busy fast forwarding!)

I did catch something good though, during a commercial break. There's a new show starting Friday called The Return of Jezebel James with Parkey Posey and Lauren Ambrose. I LOVE Parker Posey, (and Lauren Ambrose, too) so am looking forward to this show. Yay!

America's Best Dance Crew

Randy Jackson is producing this dance competition that airs Thursdays on MTV. It started with 12 dance crews from around the country, and they're competing for a $100K cash prize. I think we're down to 4 or 5 groups now. My favorites are Status Quo, Kaba Modern and JabbaWockeeZ.

Here's my favorite performance from Status Quo (check out the human jump rope at 0:40):

Kaba Modern's tribute to Michael Jackson:

JabbaWockeez' Michael Jackson turn (note: they always dance in masks to keep the audience focused on the dancing):

The Michael Jackson show was awesome. I couldn't find a good-quality video of Status Quo's performance--I'll have to check again later.

I think this comes on at 10pm eastern on Thursdays. (With Tivo, I don't know what time anything is anymore. Of course, on MTV it really doesn't matter since they replay the show 50 times during the week.) Check it out if you can. Some of the moves are amazing and it's fun to watch.


The Idolettes do the Lennon-McCartney Songbook

I'm a little skeptical about tonight's show. It's gotten so much hype--I doubt it will live up to it, but we'll see. Here come the top 12!

Up first: Sayesha Mercado, "Got to Get You Into My Life" - Sayesha's letting me down--she was kind of shaky in the beginning. The chorus was better. Randy: it was all right. Paula--started off pitchy, but midway through "you found your zone." Simon: What? Simon thought it was better than "all right"--he thought it was a great choice of song. Much better than last week! What a surprise from Simon!

Chikezie, "She's a Woman" - said he was going to put his "own funk" on it. He started off singing with the bluegrass sound--banjo, tambourine--and then Chikezie rocked it out! That was the most energized performance I've ever seen on this show! Randy: Chikezie smashed it! Paula: the risk paid off. Simon: "I'm really surprised that I actually agree with these two." He thought Chikezie was terrific. (And he was!)

Ramiele Malubay, "In My LIfe" - dedicated to her friends that have already left the show. Rather low-key performance; nice, but not great. Randy: it was pretty, but also pretty boring. Never moved any earth for him. Paula: Props on the looks. The song was pretty safe. Simon was bored to tears and said the song choice did absolutely nothing for her.

Jason Castro, "If I Fell" - Playing the guitar tonight. His performance was very tender and sweet--I liked it. Randy liked it, but didn't love it. Didn't care for switches in melody. Paula disagreed. She can hear his heart & that's what connect people to him. Simon said he was like a college student in a dorm at nighttime. Simon suggested he make better song choices.

Carly Smithson, "Come Together" - This is one of my favorite songs. She was FANTASTIC! Loved it! Randy loved her confidence--stellar performance. (Hey, new adjective for Randy!). Paula felt like she was already watching a star. Simon finally thinks she chose the right song! Reminds him of Kelly Clarkson six years ago, during the same week. Simon gave her a wink--I just love it when he does that.

David Cook, "Eleanor Rigby" - Not playing guitar tonight--he feels it would be overkill. I love his voice! I really loved his rocked out version. Randy thought it was pitchy at first, but then he hit the chorus and took off. Paula said he's the dark horse in the contest. Simon thought it was brilliant. He said that if the show remains a talent competition rather than a popularity competition, David could win this thing. Amen!

Brooke White, "Let It Be" - Tonight she's at the piano. Her voice is beautiful...great job! I think it was a perfect song for her. I even got a little teary toward the end. Randy loved her conviction and heartfelt performance. Simon thought it was one of the best performances of the night--a brilliant choice of song.

David Hernandez, "I Saw Her Standing There" - I don't care for his version--it's a little weak and his voice sounds weak. Randy said it was too overdone--trying to do too much with it. (Crowd booed.) Paula agreed that he needed to scale back. Simon: "No, no, no. It was corny verging on desperate."

Amanda Overmyer, "You Can't Do That" - Not familiar with this song. She did a good job, though. Randy liked the "Southern Bar" version -- "very cool." Paula's blown away. Simon didn't think it was as good as last week. He only understood 30% of what she sang. Thinks it's good that she's in the competition because she's a breath of fresh air when she comes on.

Michael Johns, "Across the Universe" - He did a good job, but it's not my favorite performance of his. Randy said it was okay for him..."a little sleepy." Paula disagreed -- she liked his quiet confidence and thought it was a brilliant performance. Simon agreed with Randy. It was monotonous, and Michael should've let himself go.

Kristy Lee Cook, "Eight Days a Week" - she's did it country style. She seemed a little behind the music, but sounds fine. Country's not my thing, so it's just okay to me. Okay, the more I listened, the more it sounded like a hot mess. Either the music's too fast, or she's singing too slow. It was just off. Randy liked some parts--and the arrangement. It's a "half and halfer" for him. Paula didn't enjoy it. Simon thought it was horrendous. Leave it to Simon. Said she sounded like Dolly Parton on helium. Hahahaa!!! Said it was brave, but foolish to do. She responded that she liked it and had fun with it.

David Archuleta, "We Can Work It Out" - he admitted not being that familiar with the songbook, (he is only 17, after all), but he was familiar with Stevie Wonder's version. (Hmmm...I'm not.) Uh-oh!! Little Man is forgetting the words!! Oh, this is a bad performance. Cindy, even you have to admit it wasn't too good. ;o) Aww...I feel bad for him. Randy said this week was not good. This is not your vibe--it felt forced. Paula agreed that this wasn't his best week. Simon said it was a mess. At this point in the competition, Simon expects incredible performances. Well, so do I!

Wow...some really good performances tonight, and some pretty bad ones too. Here's how I'd rate them tonight:

12. Kristy Lee
11. David H.
10. David A.
9. Ramiele
8. Jason
7. Syesha
6. Michael
5. Amanda
4. Brooke
3. Carly
2. Chikezie (he went CRAZY tonight!!)
1. David C.

I think David H. will probably be saying goodbye tomorrow. Kristy Lee probably has enough country fans to keep her around a little longer. We'll see!

Music and animals!

This little munchkin, Ethan Bortnick, was on Jay Leno tonight. He's a 6-year-old classical pianist, composer, songwriter and entertainer. Yes, six years old. He's also funny, very personable, and so cute you could just eat him up. On Jay's show he played a snippet of "Concerto 21" by Mozart, which he recorded for Disney's "Little Einstein," and then he played "Sun and Sky" by himself. Before each piece, he gave a brief description to the audience about what the songs are about. (Before playing "Sun and Sky" he tells the crowd, "See if you can imagine the sun rising and all the animals are having fun." He composed it himself. Six years old. Wow.

He's got a CD and DVD out on Amazon.com. I just might have to make an investment to support this little guy. In the meantime, here's a promo for the DVD that I found on YouTube. The kid is amazing.


The heebie jeebies

I love oranges and fresh orange juice, but I've never been a fan of orange-flavored things. You'd never find me in line at Orange Julius or eating orange creamsicles. (Blech.) But, even worse than those are orange-flavored baked goods. I remember when I was 7 or 8, my mom bought these sandwich cookies...some had lemon creme and some had orange creme. I literally gagged when I ate the orange ones and felt like I had to vomit. Ew.... Ugh...just thinking about it now makes me feel a little sick to my stomach.

Anyway, late last night I was watching some recipe cook-off contest on Food Network, and one of the contestants was making Orange Chiffon Cupcakes with Meringue Buttercream. Every single time they mentioned these cupcakes, I gagged. Yuck. Oh well...that lady didn't win. The winner was a chocolate layer cake that looked wonderful! Apparently there are some TGIF restaurants where you'll be able to test out the winning recipe. (By the way, the recipe that appealed to me most was the Tres Leches Coconut Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream--that lady won among the cupcake division. I'll have to try them some day.)

So, back to the heebie jeebies. This morning when I turned on the radio, The Junkies, a local talk radio foursome, were discussing two of the guys' aversion to cotton balls. They get nauseated (nauseous? I never know which is the correct word to use) at the thought of people pulling cotton balls apart. It totally creeps them out. I've never heard of such a thing, but their reaction is the same one I have to orange-flavored baked things. They were insisting that it's not a fear, but rather that it gives them the "willies," just like nails on a chalkboard. That's how I feel about the orange baked goods. Isn't it weird that there are things out there that some people just can't stand, but for others there's no problem?


Let's get down to business - AI's Top 12

Yikes....I'm watching the American Idol elimination show, and no surprise, Kady's the first one to go. Often, when people are voted off, they then sing the best they have in their lives. Not so with Kady. Jeez....she's sounds all warbly (is that a word?) and off key. I guess her nerves got to her. America definitely made the right decision.

Oh! David Hernandez, the stripper, is in the top 12! Hmm...who didn't make it? I'm guessing Luke and Chikezie.

Yep, Luke's out. No surprise there.

Now back to the girls. Ramiele's safe. Carly's safe. Amanda's safe (and her hair grew FIVE inches overnight!). It's between Kristy Lee and Asia'H. Ryan asked Randy which way it will go. Randy chickened out and said it can go either way. Duh! Simon thinks it'll be Asia'H based on her song. (Simon's guessing America too hates "I Wanna Dance with Somebody.") Simon was right--Asia'H's going home. (That was weird--too many apostrophes there.) Ryan gave her the choice of singing one more time--she said yes. I couldn't do that.

OK, now it comes down to Danny Noriega or Chikezie. I hope Danny gets to stick around because he's so entertaining. Oh wow! Danny's going home! I bet my friends Cyndi and Valerie are behind this! They've been against him all along!

Oh well...I was 50/50 on the boys and girls. At least I wasn't completely wrong. Next week I'll have to predict the order the 12 will be eliminated so I can participate in my pool. Looking forward to that!

Here are the top 12 (in no particular order):

David Hernandez
Kristy Lee Cook
Sayesha Mercado
David Archuleta
Brooke White
Jason Castro
Amanda Overmyer
Michael Johns
Ramiele Malubay
David Cook
Carly Smithson



Yay!!! Christian Siriano won Project Runway! I've loved him and his designs from the beginning. He cracked me up all season long. On tonight's show when he was fitting the models with his designs, a couple of them were complaining about the shoes they had to wear. Christian said, "Oh my God, so the shoes for the collection are flawless...Lisa and Lea were kinda bitchin'." Then he says, "I don't care. They'll get over it. I worked it around my apartment in those shoes for like, a week. And if I can do it, these ladies can do it." I can just see him walking around in 5-inch heels around his apartment! Anyway, I'm glad he won--this was a fun season to watch.

Now I'm looking forward to Top Chef!

Your Bravo Reality TV Junkie

And now for the girls

Tonight the top 8 girls performed. None of the performances really wowed me like some of the guys, so it's tough to rank them. Here's what I came up with:

8. Kady Malloy, "Who Wants to Live Forever" - she sounded fine, but she's so dull. There's no life behind her eyes when she sings, but like Simon has pointed out in the past, she's so bubbly and fun in her interviews. It's a weird disconnect. Randy said she can hit the big note, but not the smaller notes and that it was pretty good. Paula said it was her best performance so far. I'd agree with that, but it still wasn't that great. Simon agreed that it was better than last week, but said she sings like a robot--no personality.

7. Kristy Lee Cook, "Faithfully" - Oh boy--Randy's going to milk this up, she sang a Journey song. She did it with a country sound that was actually kind of nice, but she's kind of shaky on the big notes. Randy blathered on about his days with Journey and said he liked the "country lilt." Paula concurred. Simon too, but said she's forgettable, and battling with bigger voices and bigger personalities.

6. Asia'H Epperson, "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" - I've really come to hate this song over the years. I'm sure Simon's going to hate that she chose a Whitney Houston song. She sounded fine though and gave a nice bubbly performance. Randy loved it, Paula rambled, but finally said she nailed it, and Simon said it was a second-rate Whitney Houston performance. When will people learn to stay away from songs done by Whitney, Mariah, Christina or Celine???

5. Sayesha Mercado, "Saving All My Love For You" - Uh-oh--another Whitney song. She sounded good though. They must've been short on time because they rushed through the reviews (Sayesha sang last) - Randy: good, Paula: sophisticated and lovely, Simon: predictable, but good.

4. Brooke White, "Love is a Battlefield" - she did a nice intimate performance with just an acoustic guitar accompanying her. (Note: I can not say the word accompanying out loud. It ALWAYS trips me up.) Anyway, she's really good, and I liked the quiet performance. Randy liked it; Paula said it was a wise choice, and Simon said it was a great performance.

3. Amanda Overmyer, "I Hate Myself for Loving You" - She was great. She looked great with her hair really sleeked down into a long bob. She looked like she was having a good time. Randy said "This is the Amanda that we love!" Paula started with "There are so many things I wanna say." Oh lord. She finally ended with "you found your niche." Simon said it was fantastic and the perfect song for her.

2. Ramiele Malubay, "Take a Look at Me Now" - She is so beautiful and I just love her voice. Randy told her to find her confidence and just go for those big notes; Paula loves her innocent, pure voice; Simon said it was good but old fashioned and predictable. He's waiting for her to come up with the big money note. I'd agree with that...I know she's got it in her, even though she's so tiny.

1. Carly Smithson, "I Drove All Night" - she sounded fantastic, the song showed her great range and she really worked it. Randy said she keeps "smashing it" every week--another great performance. Paula said she's a "dependable dog," whatever that means. Simon didn't feel she chose the right song and that she's a million times better than the song. Maybe, but I still think she gave the best performance of the night.

Tomorrow's we'll get our Top 12. Can't wait to see who makes the cut.

And now, it's time for Project Runway - I'm pulling for Christian. Added bonus that he's from Maryland.

Puffy-eyed Mondays

Get your tissues out for ABC's Sunday-night line-up. This past Sunday they aired Extreme Makeover: Home Edition followed by Oprah's Big Give. Oh boy. I only need to see the last five minutes of Extreme Makeover to get the waterworks going. Once I see that bus move, and then see the family's reaction to their new home, it's all over for me. I don't even need to know the backstory. Just seeing other people emotional and crying makes me cry. Can't help it.

Well now they've gone and put Oprah on after it. On her show, contestants are given some start-up money and assignments to go help someone in a charitable way. This week they helped a woman who is raising two daughters on her own because her husband was killed during a robbery at Home Depot. Another lady has a son with Down Syndrome and she created a sort of community center for others with disabilities. Another lady was homeless and has two kids in high school. The stories were so touching, and the compassion of the contestants trying to help out was amazing. I basically cried throughout the whole show. I love the two guys who helped the woman with the daughters--they really seemed to make a connection with her family, and they worked well as a team. Both of them have such friendly eyes--I was really touched by what they did. I think it's going to be a good show to watch.

Just one thing...Entertainment Weekly gave the show a great review, but complained about the fact that there's not enough Oprah. I completely disagree. Since she tends to get on my nerves in large doses, it's okay with me if we don't see her too often. She's got other folks who do the judging, and that's just fine.


Top 8 guys perform

Tonight the guys sang songs from the 80's. After tonight, we'll have the top six guys and will move in to the real competition. So, here's how I ranked the top eight:

8. Luke Menard, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" - I thought his voice was weak, and the performances was a little dull. He did, however, "hit that hiiiiiigggghhhhhh." Randy thought it was OK, Paula rambled on and on and on. Simon finally said, "Did you like it not?" She continued to babble and then finally said she loved it. Simon hated it and said there's no way he makes it to the top 12.

7. David Hernandez, "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" - Ooohhh...just before AI came on, I saw on Access Hollywood that David "allegedly" danced in a nude male show for men. Ummm....shouldn't they kick him off for that? Remember Frenchie who was dismissed for posing in lingerie? She didn't give lap dances! Anyway, David's performance was fine, if a bit dull. Randy liked it, Paula babbled, and Simon said it wasn't as good as last week, but that David secured himself a spot in the final 12. (Obviously, I disagree, though I did really like him last week.)

6. Chikezie, "All the Woman that I Need" - He sounded nice--nothing too exciting though. Randy called it an interesting song choice, Paula: blah, blah, blah, vocals really good tonight, and Simon said it was more cabaret than last week and that the song choice was not a smart one (for which he got booed). But, he said Chikezie deserves to continue in the top 12.

5. Danny Noriega, "Tainted Love" - It's always fun to see what he's going to come up with next--this week it was purple highlights in the hair. I think he's fun to watch, and he sang well. Randy said his voice was shy at first, but he came into it, Paula continued with her babbling. Here's what I mean: You're a bright light. You're sensitive, you're spicy, you're real. You have great vocals. I love that you're true to yourself. But, you should take the purple out. Simon looked like he wanted to kill himself and then said he hated it, and that it was absolutely useless. Danny, by the way, looked PISSED.

4. David Archuleta, "Another Day in Paradise" - David has a nice new haircut this week and is playing piano this week. He sounds good, but the pace is a bit too slow. This is the first time the judges didn't gush all over him. Randy said it was good, but didn't show off his vocal prowess. Paula liked that some of his notes were a bit off to prove he's not perfect, though he is perfect. Huh? Simon said he's becoming a bit gloomy and that he should lighten up. David responded that he performed this song for the homeless people, and got the desired applause.

3. Jason Castro, "Hallelujah" - really beautiful performance, without the guitar this time. Randy said he did a pretty good job. Paula said he showed beautiful vulnerability, blah, blah, blah, and Simon said it was absolutely brilliant and that Jason's getting better, and better, and better. Agreed.

2. Michael Johns, "Don't You Forget About Me" - Yay! The Breakfast Club! Michael has a perfect voice for the song and I loved it. Love him! Randy said Michael reminds him of Michael Hutchence from INXS, Paula's glad Michael is defining who he is, and Simon liked it, but didn't love it. He said Michael's a huge talent, but he hasn't connected with the right song--he prefers when Michael does soul, but really, really likes Michael.

1. David Cook, singing "Hello"?! With an electric guitar?!?! I LOVED IT!!!! And I don't know if it's the guitar or what, but I'm finding David to be quite sexy! randy said he loved the arrangement, the song could be a single right now; Paula continued with her diarrhea of the mouth and finally said it was fabulous, and Simon said it was very brave and that he....loved it! (David sang 6th, and it was the first thing Simon loved all night.) I rewound this one and watched it a couple of times. Loved it!!

OK kids, that's it. We'll see what happens Thursday. Next week my pool will begin with my friends. Can't wait!

My name in lights

Last month I received an email that said one of my photos on Flickr.com had been short-listed for inclusion in the fourth edition of the Schmap San Francisco Guide, to be published mid-February 2008. The email said that while no payment is offered for publication, many photographers are pleased to submit their phots, as Schmap Guides give their work recognition and wide exposure, and are free of charge to readers. I was surprised and honored, so I said, sure why not, and submitted my photo. This is the photo (it's a crepe restaurant that Debbie and I went to in San Francisco a couple years ago):

Ti Couz Restaurant

Schmap is a travel guide site...when you click on a tourist attraction, restaurant, theater, etc., you see photos and information about the location. It's a really cool site. Anyway, a week later, I got another email, saying another photo had been short-listed for the Schmap Napa Valley Guide. This was a photo of Domaine Carnernos, a winery we visited on the same trip to San Francisco. I submitted it too:

From the balcony of the Domaine Carneros winery

Guess what? Both photos were selected! I was surprised since neither of them are that good and are crooked, but hey, I'll take it!

Schmap San Francisco Guide - roll your mouse over Ti Couz in the list of créperies places; then scroll through the slide show on the right...my photo's in there.

Schmap Napa Valley Guide - my photo will be on the right side.

What fun!


Crazy Macy Gray

I was listening to Macy Gray's most recent album, Big, for the first time over the weekend. Two songs stand out as having made me really laugh out loud.

Track #1 is "Finally Made Me Happy" and goes like this:
Betcha thought I'd die when you went away
Thought I'd get drunk in my sorrows and just slip away
But things have changed from back in the day, begging you to stay
Now I can't wait to see you packing see you leaving today

Baby You Finally Made Me Happy
When You Walked Out That Door
Baby You Finally Made Me Happy
When You Walked Out That Door
For All The Times You Made Me Cry
Now All I Feel Is Joy
And You Finally Made Me Happy Baby

I just started cracking up! What a great break-up song! I like the song too--it's pretty funky.

Now, the other song (track #8) is called, "Strange Behavior," and is rather...strange. It's got a catchy little tune that sounds a little French, with an accordian playing in the background. It starts like this:
{spoken} This is the story,
about two people
in love.

{singing} We were happily married,...
and I thought, oh, that's sweet.

And then came the next line:
Until he waved a gun at me.
WTF?! In my head I heard that sound like when a record skips. She continues:
I said what's with all your strange behavior?

He said I love you babay
But you got a big insurance policy
And I really
Need the paper.
I started cracking up again! She The writers must've been having a high old time when she they wrote this one. (Turns out she didn't write the song. She's still crazy to me though!) Now. Here's the chorus:
Strange behavior by the sea. (se-e-e)
He'd be here
But he's deceased
Strange behavior
So wait? How'd it come to be that he's deceased, you ask? Let me tell you:
I had a big insurance policy
And he had a big insurance policy,

I said baby if you get a job
You would not have to shoot me now.
He said Oh My God Your such a hata
But then he chickened out,
I took the gun and shot him down
Cuz I really need the paypa.
Ohmygod! Macy Gray is too much. Now, here's the chorus and the rest of the song:

Strange behavior by the sea. (se-e-e)
He'd be here
But he's deceased
Strange behavior

What was I to do
Sometimes its me or you
I swear that I loved you baby
All I have to say so
I say so
cuz I'm rich now


Drove his body to the sea
I kissed him on his cold cheek
I said I guess I see you later

And the people all asking me
I say he'd be here but he deceased

Then I go and spend my paypa-a
Oh oh oh
Can you believe it?! I was cracking up. People looking in at me in my car probably thought I was crazy! Considering these two songs, Ms. Gray must have some interesting relationships!!! (Well, her writers must, anyway!)

Anyway, the album is great--I really like it.