Saturday, October 28, 2006

Giving the Gift of Al

Many of my favorite musicians or bands have gone the way of the Dodo. As an 80's teenager, I saw Van Halen give David Lee the boot, then have a sucession of frontmen (kinda like Spinal Tap's drummer curse). The Monkees had a comeback, which was nice for awhile - then they went away again. The Straits are no longer Dire and the Men quit Working. Where have you gone, Thomas Dolby? Howard Jones? Duran Duran, where are you, are you?

Somehow, even though so many acts have fizzled, retired, or broken up - a man named Wierd Al soldiers on. Bless him, for whenever a diva starts to believe her own hype, a lead singer starts acting like Bono, or a band starts believing they are the next Beatles - Al will be there to burst the bubble.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

L.A./"Idol" Pics

Here are some photos from the trip Judy, Mom, Caitlin and I took to L.A. back in August to see the American Idol show. Judy very aptly described the show itself, so I don't have much to add there. I spent my time alternately enjoying the show and snapping away with my camera.

Caitlin, Judy, and Mom on the Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier. We try whenever possible to steer clear of the "touristy" type places, so we decided to dine at a charming little "out-of-the-way" place called Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Caitlin, myself, and Judy outside the "venue" with one of the posters from Taylor Hicks' triumphant performance in Provo back in July. The poster turned out to be too big to take in, so Caitlin ran back to put it in the car, which was lucky because we then found out that cameras were allowed, so Judy called her and had her bring mine to me. Thanks, KK!

Caitlin, Judy, and Mom in their seats just before the show started.

MANDISA. A perfect way to start the show. She sang "I'm Every Woman." She did great and got everybody pumped up - her legs really are that big, btw. My camera added nothing, I assure you. She was definitely a crowd favorite, just like on the tv show.

Ace Young. Whatever. Doesn't look as though he's seen any "pretty butterflies" yet.

Lisa Tucker. She's cute and talented, but seemed kinda dull after the "Deesa."

Paris Bennett. She did great. I think here she is singing 'Midnight Train to Georgia.'

Bucky Covington. He did pretty well. This, as well as the ones of Paris and of Taylor below are kind of blurred - it's hard for me to stay steady when focusing on things far away - but I think the blurr made them look kinda cool.

Kellie Pickler. During the tv show I found her pretty annoying most times. Nothing against her voice, though. But during the live show, I don't know, she seemed a lot more cute and charming. Maybe it was just her hottie-tottie outfit.

Elliot Yamin was g-reat. The crowd loved him and he totally worked them. I agree with Judy about the shirt, though.

Here's one of the guys sans Taylor. ??? They harmonized well. I was particularly pleased with how this one turned out.

Ace and Chris Daughtry. Check out Daughtry belting as he rocks his acoustic. You know, I'm just now realizing I forgot to include one of Chris by himself. I'll get to it.

This photograph represents my biggest regret of the night. This was the very best shot I could manage of the lovely Katharine McPhee. No cool blurring action like with Paris, Bucky, and Taylor. I tried, Kat. Man, did I ever try. No, the blurring in her case produced a variety of undesired effects such as "Kat with receding hairline", "Kat with third eye", or "Kat with no neck." Judy can tell you that I am a card-carrying member of the Soul Patrol, but I also have case of McPheever - in an extremely advanced stage. I just wish she'd be herself and not go for the Aguilera acrobatics.

THE MAN. I love this one of Taylor doing a classic Taylor spazz-move with his classic Fender Strat.

Here Taylor is doing his thing accompanied by a surprisingly mild mannered-seeming keyboardist. Maybe he has a day job as an accountant. Judy commented how the staging of the show really didn't give Taylor his spot as "the winner." I agree, but I'd have to add that it was the audience, along with Hicks himelf, who gave that to him. As much as sections of the audience might have had their particular favorite, it became clear when Taylor hit the stage that he was The Guy. He just has a knack for energizing with his performance.

At breakfast the morning after the show. Caitlin and I found another nice out-of-the-way place with sidewalk seating. What was the name? The Best...West...ern... I....HOP?

After breakfast we drove up the coast to look around a bit. I'd heard that in Malibu there is no public access to the beach. Well, we found out that there really is no public access to the beach. So, we drove back down towards LA, stopping at one of the first public beaches so that I could get a shot or two. I was really happy with this surfer action shot.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Another Taylor

Well, I had planned on going to Dallas this weekend to visit and make a long overdue visit to the Texas State Fair, you know, "corny dogs, shetland ponies" and whatnot. However, my prospective return flights on Sunday were all filling up and I decided not to risk getting stuck and missing work.
As it turned out, I'm glad it worked out the way it did, because I was able to see Jeff and Alisha's new baby girl, born just after 3pm today. She appears to have Jeff's nose and Alisha's jawline and mouth. Can't say much about the eyes, though, cause she never opened them. What's up with that?
Anyway, here are some pics of the little bundle.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Gas is the Word

Yep, it's been awhile. Since the last blog entry I went to LA with Mom, Judy and Caitlin to see the Idol show (more about that - including pics - later), answered hundreds & hundreds of phone calls regarding air travel, and.....acquired a GAS-powered lawn mower - the first gas lawn mower my family has owned, at least since I've been in it.
As we were discussing this fact, my Mom said, "Yeah, Dad sure swore by those electric mowers, didn't he?" I swore by them too - just about every time I used one. Operationally they aren't that bad, but managing the power cord is a pain, and you just don't get the same testost-o-rush plugging in your mower that you do when grabbing the cord and letting 'er rip.
Other fun happenings in recent days - My friend Melissa and I went to the Greater Phoenix Greek Festival this past weekend. I can Greek dance, btw. Uncle Dwaine, I can bring some music to the reunion next year. That is, if you don't already have some. I began going to the festivals years ago because of Becky's husband Ted. They are sure fun. It's fun seeing inebriated WASP-y white folks try the steps (like Ian Miller's parents in Big Fat Greek Wedding). Years later I invited Melissa who, due to the fact that she is already an accomplished dancer, picked up the steps in about two seconds.
She had a blast and it became kind of a tradition for us to go. Anyway at the festival this past saturday night we went out on the floor and joined in with a particular line of dancers which unfortunately was being led by a tall young girl who danced like a newborn fawn. Several other ladies then zeroed in on Melissa and her "awesome skills" and eventually asked her to move to the lead position, which she did. I was pretty proud.
They have lots of interesting things for sale - jewelry, pottery, music, and several Greek-type grocery items. They sold great crocks of Kalamata olives. I bought a package of Greek oregano (It's a powerful smell - no need to open it to find out), a wooden morter & pestel (sp?), and some Greek olive oil (extra-EXTRA virgin olive oil - that's e-e-v-o-o to you Rachel Ray).

Hey Melinda, here are two of my favorite "Office" quotes:

Michael: "Was this year's Dundies a success? Well, let me see, I made Pam laugh so hard that she fell out of her chair and almost broke her neck. So, I killed...almost."

Jim: "You look cute today, Dwight."
Dwight: "Thanks, GIRL."