Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Devastating News

I had my four-month appointment with the surgeon yesterday and was immediately sucker punched by the results of the scale in his office.

20 pounds higher than my bathroom scale. My expensive, digital bathroom scale that I bought specifically to be accurate just before my surgery in December.

Today, I had an appointment with my regular doctor. Same result.

So, instead of feeling good about being 239, I'm 259 and even though in reality that's not a weight gain, it is a huge emotional hit, because it sets me back to where I thought I was a month ago.

I'm trying to figure out how I can sue the scale manufacturer for emotional distress.

Anyway, I have revised the graphs on the right of the page.

Final Five on AI

Rat Pack night. Five good singers. I was excited and I'm happy to say that I wasn't disappointed.

Kris opened the show with "The Way You Look Tonight". A completely clean performance, original and satisfying.

Allison next with "Someone To Watch Over Me". She's topping herself every week now - this was good and bridged the classic version with her own style flawlessly. Is everyone going to be this good tonight? I like Allison and I think her chronic bottom-three-ness is due to unfortunate demographics rather than a lack of star power. She's too young for most males to vote for, and the girls are all voting for their favorite guy performer.

Matt with "My Funny Valentine". Very Al Jarreau-like. A bit off-pitch on some notes, but he bends them sloooooowly to the proper tone. Interesting enunciation on the lyrics. It's OK, but a cut below the others. He's toast.

Danny blows the doors off of "Come Rain Or Come Shine". Best arrangement of the night, as it fooled me into thinking it was smoky ballad time, but suddenly became big band sizzle with a huge shout chorus. Danny's vocals were flawless as usual, but he totally rocked the Sinatra vibe and turned up the showmanship tonight. Wow. Once again, a full band can't overpower him.

Adam with "Feelin' Good". Heh. Maybe he isn't aware that this song is the kiss of death on Idol. No fewer than three performers have been sent home after performing this song, including two in the same season a couple years ago. I hate to say it, but this one was the gayest performance I think I've ever seen on Idol. I haven't seen a performance like this since I accidentally walked into the wrong bar in the Castro district in San Fran once. I was totally creeped out. If Adam has straight male fans, he lost them tonight. The judges continue to gush over him, but this was the worst performance of the night for me, just because of the creep factor and the overload of falsetto screaming. Adam has to prove to me that he can sing a song in a somewhat straightforward style before I'll become a fan.

My rankings for tonight:
5. Adam
4. Matt
3. Allison
2. Kris
1. Danny

Predicted to be eliminated:

Comment: Of the bunch, Adam will probably win, with Danny being runner-up. The Idol from this season that will sell the most albums is Kris, however.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

American Idol Top 7 Redux

I got to watch AI tonight since concert band season is over for awhile. I'll give some analysis on this blog for the rest of the season, now that I've got Tuesday nights free again.

I missed Lil's opening act, unfortunately, but I did catch the quick recap at the end. It seemed bland and uninspired, which sort of resembles every performance Lil has had so far this season. Whatever the judges saw in her in auditions certainly has not materialized during the finals, I'm afraid to say.

Kris's performance of 'She Works Hard For the Money' was very Santana-esque. I only wish he had played the electric guitar to push it over the line into full Santana-hood. I like Kris. He is one of the few that can legitimately sing and play at the same time. I'd call this song flawless. Full marks.

Danny did 'September'. I also loved this one, but then again, I'm a sucker for EW&F and full horn sections. Danny can really do R&B well for a white guy. Something that has taken down many an Idol in the past - getting overwhelmed by the band - definitely isn't one of his weaknesses. Again, full marks. I find myself realizing that the final 7 are a pretty strong group, and I can't remember when Idol has had such a large group of solid singers at the same time.

Allison did a slow raunchy version of 'Hot Stuff', which surprisingly did NOT get an admonition from Simon for being age-inappropriate. To be fair, you'd never know this girl is just 16, the same age as Miley Cyrus. I didn't really love the arrangement. I would have sped it up after the raunchy beginning and done a bit of authentic disco. Altogether, however, I think it worked okay.

Adam did 'If I Can't Have You', which has been covered in different styles by many different artists before. Adam kept his originality streak intact, but I didn't love it. Again, I would have changed up the tempo after the slow beginning. Adam is starting to repeat the same old schtick too often with the falsetto wailing, so I'm beginning to wonder if his appeal is strong enough to overcome Daughtry syndrome, where the singer gets taken for granted by the voters.

Matt did 'Stayin' Alive', which was an overly cute song choice after nearly going home last week. I wonder if he considered the wisdom of leaving in the "I'm going nowhere" lines, which could be interpreted as the kiss of death to his career, rather than as a declaration of his intentions to stay on the show. Matt changed up the song slightly by slowing it down a bit and giving it more of a rock beat rather than a disco groove, but it really didn't click with me. Simon agrees with my take on the performance, while the other judges disagree.

Then there's Anoop. I was hoping he'd do an up-tempo tune and really rock it out disco-style, but he chose to stay in the safe zone and do a ballad-ized version of 'Dim All The Lights'. In reality, it was pretty good. His vocals were perfect up until the last note, which he obviously couldn't make up his mind whether to go high or low and instead split the difference. Anoop had a serious makeover for the show tonight, too. His eyebrows and hair were definitely given some attention by a stylist, and someone dressed him better than usual. Not perfect, but high marks for the performance.

A note on the show: I've long lost interest in Paula's commentary, and Kara and Randy have obviously been coached to keep their comments short, and are doing a bad job of it - essentially boiling it down to "I liked it" or "I hated it". I have much more fun these days by trying to predict what Simon is going to say, and, sadly, he's become quite predictable. I'd vote to clear the board and go with 3 new judges next season. Personally, I liked the panel they used on "America's Next Great Band".

My rankings from this week:
(Same bottom 3 as last week, so the judges' save was wasted, in my opinion.)
7. Lil
6. Matt
5. Anoop
4. Allison
3. Adam
2. Danny
1. Kris

Going home:
Lil and Matt, though Anoop's performance may not save him due to his poor voter turnout lately. It could be Matt and Anoop going home. Nonetheless, I'm confident in my top 4.

I urge anyone who follows Idol to check out dialidol.com tomorrow, because their predictions have pretty much nailed it all season.

As of this morning, Dialidol has the voting being too close to call, with the raw numbers showing Lil, of all people, at the top and Kris and Allison as the bottom two!

If Kris gets sent home, how stupid do the judges seem for wasting the save on Matt last week?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Made the Most of it

Three days whizzed by so fast. We got a lot done, including a lot of loafing. I feel rested. We went back to IKEA today and I got two low bookcases with doors that match the tall ones I got previously. The office is nearly there, and it looks like a completely different room. I just have to get a bunch of junk off of the last old bookcase and throw it out.

Bernie noticed today that I don't get tired as often any more. I noticed that I don't sweat like a pig any more when I'm doing things like assembling furniture. I'm at 245 still, wearing XL shirts instead of XXXL, and I've been eating too many snacks this weekend and not going to the gym. That'll change back to normal this week. The holiday is over.

About the only thing we didn't manage to do is fold the laundry. Can't be perfect.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Three-Day Weekend Approacheth

I had a choice of taking Good Friday or Easter Monday off, and I chose Monday due to the better weather forecast. Plus, the fact that no one would be in the office on Friday would make it like a neo-holiday as well.

We're not going anywhere this time. Just settin' at home and chillin'.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


Let me start off by saying that we had a GREAT weekend in Raleigh. Bernie got to do her soap-making master class, and while that was going on, I got to bum around my home town for the day. I went to the mall where I used to hang out and walked around, then played disc golf with one of my old buddies from IBM, then picked up Bernie and we went to another new mall, showed her downtown Raleigh, then had dinner with friends at one of my favorite restaurants, then watched UNC win their semifinal game to go to the championship. That is a great weekend, my friends.

Today, we drove back home and washed two cars. They got a coating of pollen on them before they even dried. I washed my truck a second time right before dark and put it in the garage wet. Yes, I know it's going to rain tomorrow, but this was personal - when I wash a car, it stays clean for longer than 5 minutes.

Friday, April 03, 2009

This Week...

Well, I made a big effort to get back into the gym this week and was rewarded with a 2 lb weight loss. I had hit a plateau at 250. I can tell my stomach has stretched a bit, as I can eat more at a sitting now. I had better watch that, because I don't want it to stretch any further.

The new 42-inch-waist pants I bought just a couple of weeks ago are starting to be loose in the waist. I didn't expect that this soon, and I'm resolved not to buy any more clothes for awhile, so they'll just have to be cinched in with a belt.

I played hooky from band practice this week, so I got to see Idol again. Meghan is gone, as I predicted. Scott managed to save face by going the easy route in choosing Billy Joel, while Anoop showed that the kind of music he likes best is not well-suited to his abilities. I'd make a small wager that they reverse themselves this coming week, and Scott will hit the road.

I finally realized what it is about Allison Iraheta that seems familiar. She's a clone of Rachael Ray. Just listen to her speaking voice, her laugh, then look at her face and ignore the hair. It's eerie. In any case, she doesn't seem to have much of a fanbase, even though she really isn't a bad singer. I expect her to follow Scott home, unless Anoop screws up again, which is definitely possible.

It's still a heat with Adam, Kris, and Danny at the top. Matt and Lil are in the second heat, with the other three trailing. Kris has the momentum at this point.

Now a little info on what was wrong with Meghan: If she were to sing a five-note phrase, she'd sing the first note and the last note like a normal person. The second note would sound like Macy Gray. The third note would sound like Rosemary Clooney, and the fourth note would sound like a dying Canadian goose. Unfortunately for her, instead of repressing the goose note, she'd emphasize it and make everyone in earshot cringe. I think she's salvageable, but she needs a voice coach.

That's it for this week. We're heading to Raleigh for Bernie to go to a craft thing, and I'll be hanging around the mall there on Saturday unless someone wants to play disc golf.

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