Thursday, May 21, 2009

What did I say . . .

KISS co-founder Gene Simmons was asked whether Lambert would be invited to join the band on the road this fall. "No," said Simmons. "He'd be better off joining Queen."

Indeed, Lambert seemed right at home when he and Allen joined Queen guitarist Brian May for a spirited rendition of "We Are The Champions." Queen has been in the market for a singer (the group hasn't had a permanent frontman since the flamboyant Freddie Mercury died in 1991). Perhaps that's an announcement somewhere down the road.

See article here.

Seriously, what did I say!

It's a twofer


I went into this finale not as hyped as I usually feel. I think it's because I felt sort of apathetic about the results. I like both of them and they're simply very different styles, so may the man with the most votes win, you know? Three years ago, we hooked up the power dialer for Elliott. This year? Not so much.

I hated the stupid montage of video clips of the two finalists. They were way too contrived. Because no way did Kris, of his own accord, say, "I'm the voice in the crowd that needs to be heard" or "I am ready." And no way did Adam, of his own accord, say, "I am 1 of 100,000" or "I am a dreamer" or "I'm a superstar in the making." Okay, maybe Adam. But not Kris.

And then they cut to Ryan standing on a podium holding a mic and all I can think is, "Is that rotating American Idol tower going to fall?" I blame this show for my newly acquired stage PTSD.

And don't you love it when Idol gets all clever? Acoustic Rocker vs. Glam Rocker. Conway vs. California. And my personal favorite: The Guy Next Door vs. The Guyliner.

What on earth was Randy wearing (I could repeat that question for tonight as well)?? And are plaids and strips and polka dots now considered matching? I've noticed this trend recently, and frankly, it disturbs me. Kara work black. Paula wore . . . is there a name for that color? Lime? And Simon wore a jacket. Fancy.

Kris won the coin toss and decided to go second. Brave when you're up against Mr. Over the Top himself. I mean that in a good way since I like Adam. I just think going second after him might sound weak.

Round 1

We learned that Adam used to scream as a baby. And that he was hyper. All the pieces fall into place. And after the Coke bubbles take over his face on the video screen, we are treated to his pick of the season, Mad World. Smart choice. I love it. And he mixed it up from his other performance. Plus he dressed up like something out of Twilight and there was more fog.

I've liked Kara this season but watching her over the past few months has been like observing a steadily building human crescendo. Her use of superlatives is, to borrow one of her favorite terms, ridiculous. She's been steadily peaking and now she can't quite go any higher so she just looks like she tapped into some stash of crazy drugs while she starts screaming extreme adjectives at the contestants. And I keep wincing awaiting the explosion.

We then learn that Kris didn't like to sing in front of his family (something our son feels he has in common with Kris . . . perhaps we have a future Idol in our midst?) but gave his mother coupons for free Kris singing. Awwwwww. Then we got treated to Kris behind the piano singing Ain't No Sunshine, which was awesome. Falling Slowly is still my favorite on Kris, but this was a wise choice. For an underdog, he came across as extremely confident tonight. Brilliant.

Simon gives Round 1 to Kris after admitting that he might've been wrong in assuming Danny would win. Okay, well not in so many words, but we all know what it meant.

Round 2

This was the round of socially conscious lyrics. Adam sang A Change is Gonna Come and it was excellent. Kris sang What's Goin' On and it was very good but a little cheesy for me in arrangement. I do totally agree with Kara that these kinds of songs suit Kris quite well.

Simon calls Round 2 as Adam's (anyone else sensing a pattern year after year?)

Round 3

This is the round we all dread. Unless we're stupid enough to believe that they'll actually write something good for these contestants to sing. They're always looking at clouds and chasing rainbows and climbing mountains and reaching for stars and flying. And it's all a bit gaggy. Adam did okay with it. Kris didn't fare as well. I had hoped he'd "make it his own" (sorry, Greg) and go acoustic on it or something. But no matter what either of them did, the song was awful. Poor guys. That's just cruel. And one of them has to sing it tomorrow while confetti flies and fire sparkles rain down. Ugh.

It's anybody's game. I like them both. I really don't care who wins. Potato. Potata. I predict Kris will win because I imagine he's getting Danny's votes. Plus I heard something about the Christian right voting pro-Christian or anti-gay or something. And the GOP hasn't won anything in a while, so Palin may be mobilizing the voters. Heaven help us all. It really doesn't matter who wins. They'll both do fine. The lines were jammed. Go Adam. Or Kris.


Or last night if you're being technical (hey, we got a late start watching it). I love finale nights. I love all the extra fun stuff they do -- funny skits, awards, famous guests . . . it's a party! Oh and they all dress in white and there are gospel choirs . . . I love finales! I'm giddy from the opening.

100 million votes. Sweet Frances. The GOP did rally indeed.

I loved the hilarious judge intros. LOVED them. For me for you, sweetie, it was uncompromising, distinctual, masterful brilliance. What was that?

Talking to the Idols at the onset with nonfunctioning microphones was a little anticlimactic.

But yay, the Top 13 entered in full force dressed in white! It was a little West Side Story meets Grease for me (for them), but I like seeing them all again. And I love that Matt had a matching fedora for every number tonight.

I read a very moving article about David Cook and his brother's passing a couple of weeks ago and, no lie, I cried. Hearing him sing that song tonight was very tender. I was amazed by his maturity and composure singing that haunting melody to those poignant lyrics. I love David Cook and thought what they did with that song was great. Nice guy, great rocker. Love him.

Our first Golden Idol Award goes to Norman Gentle. Raise your hand if you didn't see that one coming.

Then we listened to Lil butcher yet another song, only this time she did it while singing with Queen Latifah. Why she got to sing with a famous person, I don't know. They usually do that with the top 3. Wasn't she like 6th place? It, unsurprisingly, wasn't good. I don't understand the air time.

Loved Jason Mraz's group number. That guy rules. Plus he was wearing a peace t-shirt, cool hat, and was barefoot. He's like a total frat boy hippie. I like it. Choosing Alexis and Anoop was wise and having all 13 join in was great. I really enjoyed it.

Kris sang a duet with Keith Urban. Surprising combo, but I liked it. I dig Kris on the guitar. "I Wanna Kiss a Girl." I thought it would've been cute if he could've actually kissed his wife after that number. Mark noticed that they didn't have Adam sing this song. Enough on that. Was it me or did Kris sound better than Keith?

We were subjected to more crap that is the girls of this season. Glamorous, they sang (and spelled even). But glamorous they were not. They all looked hideous. What the ?? But then Fergie came out and sang. She has the face of Kirstie Alley but the body of, well, not Kirstie Alley. Ahem. Then they brought out the Black Eyed Peas. Holy hell, what was that?? Disturbing, but yet you couldn't help but watch those walking optical illusions. Boom, boom, boom. What on earth were they saying when the FCC imposed its 2-second rule and cut out part of the performance? Because if you listen closely, it should've been imposed twice. And it wasn't. Boom Boom that.

Ryan said, "Boom Boom Pow." I don't know how he stays employed.

I could've done without the return of Bikini Girl. Except for the part where they totally mocked her and new ladies (which were totally double sided taped, by the way). And the part where Kara came out and totally mopped the floor with her. LOVED that. And I love that Kara totally whipped open her dress for charity, too. At least she bares all for a good cause.

When I heard that Allison was going to duet with Cyndi Lauper, I was not excited. In fact, I was annoyed that they hadn't arranged a better match for our rocker girl. I recently heard Cyndi Lauper and it was decidedly NOT good. But I take it back. I liked it a lot. Cyndi is odd and plays the sitar. That's kind of cool. And they had a cool Indigo Girls sound about them. It was a really cool duet and the dynamics and harmony were fantastic. Allison is seasoned. You have to remind yourself that she hasn't yet graduated high school. Excellent.

Ryan does brief interviews with Kris's parents (why don't they ever talk to his wife??) and Adam's parents. I love that Adam's mom was singing along to EVERY song performed tonight.

Danny did a duet with Lionel Richie. Tonight I noticed how many songs Lionel has sung that have to do with playing as a way to avoid work. Chill. Just go. Party. Karamu. Fiesta. Forever. All night long. Raise the roof and have some fun. Dance on the Ceiling.

They did Adam's montage and I'm sad to say that they emphasized how Randy Travis didn't like Ring of Fire but failed to add how stupid he and Simon were on that one since THAT was a B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T performance. One of my very favorites. I LOVE that Adam rocked out with KISS complete with black and white face make up and wagging tongue (KISS, not Adam). It was AWESOME. KISS both scared me and impressed me when I was a kid. Not much has changed. It was so freaking awesome. And I loved the spiral-y fire rain in the background, even if the KISS guitarist is too old to smash his guitar the first 4 tries.

They then brought out Carlos Santana (I LOVE IDOL FINALES!!) and Matt Giraud joined him on stage with a black fedora and a shirt to match the guitar. It was AWESOME. And then all the idols in black and red came out to jam along to Smooth. Very nice.

Cool Ford commercial with Adam and Kris singing a nice tribute to all of the top 13. Very sweet.

Then David Cook presented them with what wasn't really that much of a surprise at all--new Fords! I see Kris driving that. Adam, not so much. Not sure what I see him driving though.

And then, in tonight's "What the . . . " moment, as if to totally parody the messes that are Michael Sarver and Megan Corkrey in one fell swoop, they had them sing songs about going out to dinner and walking by the river (la la la la la la la la) together 30 years ago while Steve Martin played the banjo. It was all a bit . . . bizarre. And horrendous. I mean really, really awful.

The boys came out looking smashing in their dark suits. And unlike the girls, who didn't look one bit glamorous, the boys did look sexy (well, some of them) as they sang, "If You Like My Body and You Think I'm Sexy." Rod Stewart came out and actually sounded all right for an older dude. He's still got it.

And then again, not surprisingly, Tatiana "graced" the stage. I called that before the finale even started. I called that during her tedious auditions and all the horrible camera time they've invested in her. Yuck.

The treat of the night for me was . . . I got my wish!! Adam did Queen!! WITH Queen! He is Freddy Mercury reincarnated! You could tell the band was LOVING him and eying him with a "I hope you lose so you can come be our new lead singer" look. That. Was. AWESOME.

While they sang, the gospel choir filed out, since there are like a hundred of them. And you just knew that, gods help us, one of them was going to have to sing that terrible No Boundaries song again, this time with gospel choirs.

And, as promised, Idol went over and the winner wasn't announced until after the initial 2 hours. Simon said a bunch of cheesy positive stuff, sounding a bit like Paula to be honest. Incredibly nice people? Both of you should be very proud? The future is all yours? Who's dipping into Paula's stash now?

Poindexter walked out, blocked the Top 2, and announced that he had a secret envelope. Ryan opened it up and announced Kris Allen as the winner. Adam looked genuinely happy for him (and I'm betting he is) and Kris was speechless. He kept trying to talk about Adam and the others while Ryan perpetually interrupted him (seriously, how is he still employed at what he does?).

He sang No Boundaries better than he did yesterday. It was so fun to see him sing it again, surrounded by the Idols, and then seeing it all hit him as he hugged his wife and cried. I knew he'd win (see, I AM clairvoyant) and I'm fine with it (though our son is not). I think we've mostly felt like whoever wins, wins. They'll both do fine.

Kris moved behind the judges and avoided the raining fire cheese that usually is the final song. Cute kid. Nice guy. Good singer. I'm happy for them both. And I don't have that stupid No Boundaries song in my head. No, instead I have this in my head:

Monday, May 18, 2009


That's the current number of emails in my inbox.

I'm way behind.

We've been busy and having fun, so my apologies to those of you to whom I haven't (yet) responded.

I haven't forgotten.

They're coming . . .

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Indeed. Let's get to it.

We start with Ben Stiller and company telling us that the American Idol desk is going to be in the Smithsonian. Smithsonian? Smithsonian! Hey, they're in a movie filmed at the Smithsonian! What an incredible coincidence.

And seriously? A desk? Who thinks that's a desk? It's more like a monstrous glitzy console. And I wonder, do the red coke glasses get to go to the museum, too? Because without them, it's just a table with the American Idol logo on it. Quite frankly, it's almost unrecognizable.

After that shameless movie plug and a little a lot of stalling on Ryan's part (Fringe viewers must be elated for that) so that Paula could get back from the bathroom, he introduced the judges.

We were then treated to the Ford video set to "Break My Stride." I proudly admit that I sang along to the whole thing and I remembered EVERY lyric. It's one of my favorites from growing up. All three contestants (top three male contestants - this is a first in Idol history and I like it!) exhibited their super powers in cartoon -- Adam can find secret walls that turn into grills with sizzling steak on them and save them from big dogs, Kris can get really big and blow ominous clouds away, and Danny can turn into Elastiboy and move traffic out of his way. Go buy a Ford.

And after Carrie Underwood's uncomfortably dreadful video appearance yesterday (“Have you ever had malaria?” No. “Good. Then the mosquito net’s working.” ), we got to hear something far more articulate from Alicia Keyes. Ryan asked the audience to give her a "warm welcome." Simon gawked like a dirty, old man. He's not one bit subtle. I gawked a little, too. She looked hot.

Then we got to hear a little Rwandan boy named Noah work the stage better than Jasmine Trias ever did. I think it's dang impressive that he learned the song in English in one week, but I just want to know if he was saying that his back was up against the law? I was unclear. My favorite part of his performance was when he danced up to the judges and shook their hands while dancing and singing. That's more coordination than Danny's ever been able to handle. And I love that Simon smiled and said, "Hello, Noah" while he sang. And Noah, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the first guest artists to not lip sync his performance, so he should get a prop for that.

Another thing I love about Top 3 week is getting to see the top 12 in the audience. I love the finale and the lead up excites me.

So, we also got to see their hometown visits. Danny returned to Milwaukee and got to see Jamar, be on the radio, pick Simon's nose on a weather map, and watch fans try to outrun his stretched out suburban. Ryan tells us several weeks ago that the studio uses earth friendly lights and other eco gadgets and then they blow it all on the emissions for that beast that holds one person plus the driver. Duh.

Kris returned to Conway, Arkansas. I hadn't really noticed that he's a good southern boy. That plays in his favor to win. Many an Idol comes from the South. So, Kris didn't just get a day in his honor. He got free cheese dip for life. Not sure what's better, that or the free Ford he'll get next week. I'm gonna have to go with the cheese dip. Kris got to go on the radio and tell caller 8 that he was a winner and then a loser. Then he got to see the enormous crowd that was waiting for him. I'm not sure what possessed him to jump into it, but he (and his three large bodyguards) did just that. Girls were grabbing him and tearing at his leather jacket. After that, his wife rode up front with him. Anyone else notice that his mom and his wife don't hug? Mother-in-law issues anyone? We hear from his parents, we hear from Kris, but nada from the wifey. During the parade, he got to see old ladies in pink dresses and green hair (they were confused and thought it was Adam's parade). And what on earth is with all the screaming 4-year-olds?? I thought teenagers and tweeners and maybe 8-year-olds were the types, but 4-year-olds? I don't care, though, because they played his "Falling Slowly" performance to the montage and I love that song. Kris is adorable and has quickly worked his way to the top of my list of favorites.

Then we got to watch Jordin Sparks perform. My, has little Jordin grown up or is it me? She was STUNNINGly beautiful. She looked fantastic. I think she's got great stage presence. Talk about passion. She flung her ring at the camera man! She's so comfortable up there and is dramatic and convincing in her presentation of lyrics. I don't know about you, but I ran out and bought some armor by the time she got to the first bridge. Move over Pat Benetar. Love is not just a battlefield. It's an all out war.

Adam got to go all the way to San Diego where he got to sign shoes, Guitar Hero guitars, and old men's polo shirts. He got to experience having a streaker rush him on stage. He also got to apply eyeliner to the anchor woman. Just a banner day all around. He then sang the national anthem at a military base. Don't ask. Don't tell.

Ryan then announced the next guest artist, Katy Perry, which got a big "who?" from me. It had slot machines. It had showgirls. It had raining money. She was wearing what I can only assume was an Elvis bathing suit. After seeing Alicia and Jordin on stage, the sequined bathing suit just wasn't doing it for me.

Then it was results time. I think I may have damaged a vocal chord when they announced that Kris was safe. YES! That announcement shocked two people on stage--Kris and Danny. Knocked the smugness right off of Danny's 5 o'clock shadowed face. It apparently shocked 4 people at "the desk," too. Oh well, my dears, over 88 million votes have spoken. And apparently, only 1 million separate Kris from Adam.

Gokey fans need not worry. You'll hear Danny on your favorite Christian Rock radio stations where he'll be using his husky, raspy goodness to sing about Jesus and rock-n-roll. That's what he wants to do and now he has the AI platform to launch it.

I am SO EXCITED for next week's finale. I like BOTH contestants. It really comes down to personal preference. I like them both for different reasons, but if I were buying CDs, it'd be Kris's, hands down. I like Adam a lot, don't get me wrong, but I don't think Adam is necessarily a slam dunk winner. They'll both do well (on the finale and in their careers) but it's anybody's game at this point. This past year, I thought for sure little Davie Archuletta was going to win and was thrilled to hear that David Cook beat him out. I don't know what will happen but I'm excited to watch!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Judges' and Contestants' Picks

This is going to be brief because I'm tired. We've been working our tail ends off around here and we're beat. Also, my inbox has grown to over 100 emails. I owe some of you emails. They're coming. We're mostly just swamped.


Danny's 1st song - I think Terrence Trent D'arby was a good choice but that song, not so much. It was okay but nothing memorable. In fact, I already forgot it.

Kris's 1st song - Loved it. Those first two judges are sometimes deaf to talent and style. I heard his originality in the song and I love his voice and easy manner.

Adam's 1st song - I didn't like the arrangement. I was so excited when Simon named the song ("One" by U2) but it was too Broadway and too far from the original. You know on his second song, Adam said he didn't change it up much because the original is so good. I wish he'd thought the same of One. Love the song, didn't like the performance or arrangement all that much.

CONTESTANTS' PICKS (Clearly they're better at this than the judges)

Danny's 2nd song - Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful?" Brilliant choice. Perfectly suited to Danny's voice. Well done. Loved it.

Kris's 2nd song - HOLY MOSES it was good. HOLY MOSES! I LOVED IT! I would buy his album in a heartbeat. Like Mark says, he's the most relevant of the 3. And I love that song 2 was a big "in your face" to Randy and Kara -- why didn't he do the first song with an acoustic guitar? That's why. Kris rules. He played sans band. Who does that?! And it was awesome. I loved it. And for those keeping score at home -- Kris played piano and then guitar. The other two did not play instruments. I know it's a singing competition, but I'm just sayin' . . .

Adam's 2nd song - AWESOME. True rocker. Love it. We have no one like him nowadays. Excellent. Well done.

Best to worst:

Kris's 2nd song
Adam's 2nd song
Danny's 2nd song
Kris's 1st song
Adam's 1st song
Danny's 1st song

Do you see a trend? I'm hoping for a Kris-Adam finale. :) And, as of right now, I think Kris may be my favorite.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Odes to a Mother

One of Stacy's favorite things is to be remembered, even in some "small" way. And she especially loves thoughtfulness, like a blog post, or comments on a post she's worked really hard on (as if you didn't already know). Last night, while she was out with some friends, I had the kids sit down and do a little activity for Mother's Day. Here is what they came up with. There was no coaching on my part, and you can see how they influence each other. I'll post Thing 2's first, just because.

ommy, you are so lovable.
Only you are the best mother.
Today, you were so nice.
Helping you is fun.
Even though you yell sometimes, you are still the mother for me. <3
Racing with you on Mario Kart is really fun. I love you!

And here is Thing 1's:

ommy, I love you.
Oh, and I love cuddling with you.
Tracks on Mario Kart are fun to play with you.
Helpful mothers are very helpful, but not as much as you.
Even though you sometimes yell,
Right now (and always) I love you!

(There really isn't that much yelling going on, so I'm not sure where that came from, and Saturday is Wii day--can you tell?)

Stacy, I love you and think you are a fantastic mother. How else would we end up with two wonderful children like these? Thank you for all you do for our family to make each day a special one. I love you! (Even when you yell. ;) )

Friday, May 8, 2009

Recipe Update

Remember this post? I thought I'd update you with our take on these recipes. I've hyperlinked (hover over the red food names) the good recipes from the web, added comments to them all, and let you know which ones were flops (without hyperlinks, because, well, why bother?).

Our menu idea is working swimmingly! Thanks again for the inspiration, Lena! We're SO doing it again. It's been fun, economical, and VERY delicious. And it's so nice to mix up our usual with some new stuff.

Chicken Satay with peanut sauce, coconut rice, and a green salad with mango, avocado, and fresh red grapefruit (that we brought from Florida) This was sooooooooooo good and such a big hit with everyone--it has definitely been added to our list of favorite recipes, no question. And our kids love coconut rice.

Garlic-Lemon Double Stuffed Chicken
, oven-baked potatoes, and Caesar salad This was very good and on the rich and filling side.

Clam Chowder (the secret? Add a splash of red wine vinegar before serving--YUM!) with Mini ham and cheese rolls and salad We make whatever creamy clam chowder recipe we like (Mark's mom's recipe is a good one) and add a bit of red wine vinegar before serving--wow, what a difference a splash makes!

Twice-cooked Coconut Shrimp, sticky rice with mixed veggies This one didn't turn out so well. We might try a different recipe. Or not. This one was a mess.

Thai chicken salad with grilled Na'an bread This chicken wasn't very flavorful, but our recipe for grilled Na'an bread is one of THE most requested recipes from our friends. We discovered it when we made it with afghani chicken kebobs (also very good) for our book club when we read The Kite Runner and it has been a HUGE hit ever since! We make it for BBQs and dinners and oh man, they're good.

Awesome honey pecan pork chops with mashed sweet potatoes and green beans These were good but VERY sweet, almost candied . . . but very tasty (I'd tone down the sweet next time).

Mexican baked fish with beans and rice, salad, tortillas, and virgin lime margaritas Omigosh, SO good. Everyone loved it. YUM!

Our VERY loaded lasagna (our recipe) with salad and homemade garlic bread. We basically load up our lasagna with lots of meats (ground turkey, Italian sausage), cheeses (ricotta, mozzarella, etc.) and veggies (mushrooms, green peppers, olives, tomatoes, onions) and we mix some silken tofu (for health) and spinach in with the ricotta. It's a very FULL recipe and very delicious! And our homemade bread turned out PHENOMENAL. I'm seriously so proud of us for making bread that both looks and tastes so professional!

Grilled teriyaki salmon with brown rice and mixed vegetables (our recipe) This is a regular meal for us--it's pretty simple . . . grill salmon with teriyaki sauce on it, that's it! The kids LOVE it.

Rotisserie ribs with spruced up mashed potatoes and creamed spinach (using our half-a-farm-raised-hog for these pork recipes) We use the Boston Market recipe for the spinach (a favorite with our kids).

Breakfast pizza with fruit salad (We're not big on breakfast for dinner (brinner), but we'll try this) This was okay; don't know that we'd do it again.

Tex Mex corn chowder with salad Delicious!! SO delicious! And spicy. Very, very good. A very pleasant surprise. Everyone likes this recipe.

Seared tuna with wasabi butter sauce, roasted potatoes, and sesame green beans (Thing 2's favorite way to eat green beans) This recipe . . . where to start? I felt like we were eating food from a 5-star restaurant. It was DELICIOUS. It was restaurant-quality GOODNESS. Such goodness. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this one. WOW! Major wow factor on this one. Wow, wow, wow.

Creamy chicken enchiladas (our recipe) with corn and beans (we have garden corn in the freezer and we're making room for this year's crop) This is a favorite standard recipe of ours--also very simple and delicious--you pretty much mix your chicken with cream cheese and roll them in whatever sauce you please (we like green sauces).

Tacos with refried beans It's tacos. It's simple.

St. Patrick's Day Surprise (Mark's got something up his sleeve for this) -- we also eat out at a local Irish Chippy for their Irish breakfast that they serve on St. Paddy's Day Words can not begin to express the DIVINE taste of this meal. I think I Mmmmmed and Ohhhhhed throughout the entire meal. It was PHENOMENAL. And phenomenal doesn't begin to do it justice. Oh. My. Gosh. So good. So incredibly good.

Hot and Spicy Tofu
with rice noodles and salad We LOVE this recipe--BIG hit at our house! Very different, mixes up the mundane nicely, tastes like something out of an Asian restaurant. In a very good way. Yum! And it makes the house smell SO good.

Carne de Porco Alantejano (Portuguese pork cubes with potatoes and little neck clams) with grapefruit-avocado-red onion salad (Mark is the MASTER at this recipe--it's a lot of work and no one can touch what he does with it. It's amazing! He really is the BEST Portuguese cook in the family when it comes to pork). This is Mark's favorite food. We're waiting to do this when Peter comes next week.

Chicken and shrimp kebobs with garlic angel hair, salad, and butternut squash This is the only other meal (along with the one right above this one) that we haven't made yet but it's pretty straight forward. I'm excited to try the garlic angel hair (I love angel hair).

Grilled tips/chicken with baked sweet potato and green beans We're trying to eat sweet potatoes more--I don't know why we haven't been. They're Awesome! Think Outback stuffed. Yum.

I think we might do this again where we post our recipes and links and what we think of them. Yes? What do you think?

Thursday, May 7, 2009


That was the coolest finale EVER. I loved it. My favorite part was the montage at the end that J.D. watches as he exits the hospital. I love that it was on the back of the banner Turk made for him. I love that it was played to such great music as always. I love that it wrapped it all up without being over-the-top cheesy or contrived like some sitcom finales are. It was perfect.

SCRUBS has always had the coolest music and some really great story lines woven so nicely together in just about every episode. The writers have a knack for sharing a theme through 1 or 2 or 3 stories with some great humor and a cast with excellent comedic timing . . . and they have a way of presenting them in 30-minute episodes that just work.

J.D.'s narrations and daydreams, Elliott's neurotic tendencies, Perry Cox's long, long, long hilarious insults (I love the book he got as a gift from J.D.), J.D. and Turk's friendship, Todd's high-5s, the mysterious Janitor, Bob Kelso's good cop-bad cop persona, Jordan's cynical ways, Carla's relationship with each and every one of them, the random interns and patients . . . this show is just great.

It's one of Mark's favorite shows. I think he's always liked how it shows both the frustrating and human side of medicine. We discovered this show during medical school. I remember when we saw commercials for it, we thought, "Omigosh, that looks so stupid, but let's give it a shot." And I'm so glad we did--they hooked us from the beginning and have kept us ever since.

We'll miss you, Scrubs.
You've made us laugh. You've made us cry.
Kudos on such an awesome finale.

Love Story/Viva La Vida

After much talk of Taylor Swift's song among my SILs and BILs, I couldn't help but check this out. It is AMAZING. Jon Schmidt took the two songs (Love Story and Viva La Vida) and put the similar themes together in a GORGEOUS piano-cello duet. I already play piano but now I want to play more like he does and I've always wanted to play the cello and this feeds that interest, too. Gorgeous. Enjoy!

And then there were 3 . . .

Our kids spent most of the evening confused since Ryan was talking about sending everyone home, "safe" or not. You're safe! You're going home! It's the end of the road, you're going home! What? We had to keep explaining the difference between going home and going on a hometown visit. The whole thing really made the results much less dramatic.

I've decided that there are no surprises at this point since they're all good. I'm glad Kris is safe. I'm disappointed that Allison hasn't gotten the praise she deserves. That kid is extremely talented. I love her voice.

Beyond that, dear readers, I refer you to Magistra since she, as usual, captured it all so well. Enjoy. Click here for her very, very good review.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Idol Gossip

Every week, I read Magistra's posts on Philly Burbs. I'd love to be discovered by some site or paper and be asked to write about Idol. Omigosh, can you imagine? Or Amazing Race. Or both!

I digress.

Her post about yesterday was VERY interesting and she pointed out something I hadn't noticed to the extent she had. After reading her review, we rewatched a few parts of the show and she is spot on . . . something was VERY wrong between Kris and Danny yesterday. Watch it again if you can--it's there. And you don't have to dig too hard to find it.

Anyway, check it out. And keep your eye on things tonight . . .

P.S. I love that she calls Kris a monchichi . . . the child of the 80s in me LOVES that reference. LOVE it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rock Night on Idol

Warning: I'm in a rare bad mood. Our hot water tank is having issues. Again. (Long story). And we missed both a concert and a party tonight to be here for the repair guy to come fix it. He didn't show nor did he call. We have a house guest coming in a week (that, we're excited about) and we want it fixed before he gets here (oh, it will be). And I might be slightly hormonal tonight. You've been warned.

So Ryan started us off by telling us that tonight we're "very live." I wondered if that meant no FCC 3-second delay for possible wardrobe malfunctions. But apparently it means that towers were falling and glass was popping and the Idols didn't get to have a dress rehearsal.

But, as they say, the show must go on. And now that I've watched it, I wish part of it hadn't. Yikes.

I know they have to do the weekly intro of the judges, but I really wish they'd just smile and wave. You know, like Paula does.

Instead we're subjected to Randy . . . what is that, woofing?, Kara opening her mouth and waving her arms like a groupie at a bus station, Paula (smile and wave), and disinterested Simon who sort of stares, looks like he's thinking about his next smoke break, and rolls his eyes.

And as if that's not enough, we also have to sit through Randy booing Simon every time he's introduced as if that's funny. It's not funny. It's insufferable. And whoever is in charge of his mic should be fired for not cutting his audio after his ceremonial woofing.

And Slash. As a mentor. Obviously a shameless plug for his new album, because honestly, he added absolutely nothing of value. He had nothing of substance to say and very little advice. Methinks his brain is a wee bit fried from one too many puffs of doobie (and yes, I had to Google that to find out if I was using it correctly. Shut up.)

Adam ("A Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin): Honestly he scared me a little. I like toned-down Adam better (think Ring of Fire, Mad World, Tracks of my Tears), though he obviously still did a slammin' job. Kara, with her magic rock hair, seemed extra hyper tonight. I mean, holy crap. Rock God? I might've enjoyed that comment if I hadn't spent the entire time wondering what my accountant brother-in-law would think of the performance while I looked for coded messages in Adam's eyes. So I can give credit where it's due, but if I'm being honest, I didn't love it. Personal preference. QUEEN. I said QUEEN, Adam.

Allison ("Cry Baby" by Janis Joplin): This girl just does NOT get enough credit. The judges should be pointing out constantly that she is the last girl standing. By. A. Freaking. Mile. Her performance may not have been her best to date, but dude, she's 17 and has mad, mad pipes. And when she finally talked back and let Simon have it? She won me over. And that's saying something, because the back talk is generally off putting to me. But tonight? I wanted to cheer out loud for her--the talking back was great and it was honestly about time. Unlike Lil who had the same nonsense to say every time after weekly horrid performances, Allison actually has substance, soul, sass, AND the ability to sing. So, you tell him, girl! She should be praised to the hills for what she does. And then some.

Duet by Danny and Kris: Okay, that was kind of weird. It was good. But it was also weird. I agree with Randy--the harmony was good, the individual vocals not so much. But, while neither of these guys is a rocker by nature, I think Kris is more natural at it than awkward Danny. Kris has a sexy Chris Daughtry stance and seems to have a very natural relationship with the mic stand and the stage. Whereas Danny just looks like he just signed up for dance lessons in a class during some awkward adolescent stage to --insert deep, manly voice here-- *scratch* "learn coordination for sports." *snort*

And the judges judging the duets is just stupid. But what really ticks me off is stupid jerkface Simon and his apathetic shoulder shrug and snide laughter, "What? What do you want me to say? Who's better?" Idiot. It's a duet. No one asked who's better. Moron.

Kris ("Come Together" by The Beatles): I think it's charming that he said of singing with Slash, "I almost wanted to pee my pants," don't you? I don't know that I'd call his performance the lunchtime equivalent of chewing ice made of mineral water. No, scratch that. I categorically would not have called it that at all. In fact, that analogy never would've entered my head, mineral, bottled, tap, or otherwise. It wasn't great, but I think Kris was smart to choose The Beatles. I think Kris's biggest challenge is being taken seriously. He has a baby face. He looks like some kid playing with his band in a garage when he's on stage. Kind of like that kid in that movie "The Rocker." I should know. We've been trying to get through that movie for 3 nights. I keep falling asleep. I apparently need commercials to fast forward. Kris's performance wasn't amazing, but he didn't deserve the slamming he got.

Danny ("Dream On" by Aerosmith): How'd you like that little Where's Waldo Find Danny in the mosh pit bit before the commercial? Yeah, me either. That was a train wreck. Danny actually got more credit tonight for "effort" and "risk" (neither of which paid off) than Kris did for actually singing well! That last note being like a scream in a horror movie? Now that is an analogy I can get on board with. And if we're going to critique, Danny's intonation is so bizarre (mirror becomes meeeror and true becomes trewwww). It's very distracting. But not distracting enough for me to not notice the horrible singing and performing tonight. What the ?? What on earth was he thinking? I don't think he was. That was really bad. The first part of the performance was way too slow and Danny looked drugged. Now I know he was doing it on purpose thinking, "Crap, oh crap. Sing slow, Danny. Drag it out, man. Maybe it'll go way over into Fringe and Fox will cut it off before I totally slaughter that last note. Dude, I cannot hit that note. What the hell was I thinking choosing this song? Fall, towers, fall!"

Man, I knew he wouldn't hit that note even before he started the song. Slash knew it. Remember Slash? The MENTOR. Obviously he knew it by what he said. Some mentor. At what point did he decide not to tell Danny that there was no way he was going to even come close to pulling that off? That was a wrong song choice if I've ever heard one. That should win some kind of "wrong song choice" award. And it should be displayed. In every Idol's mansion bedroom from this season forward, serving as a reminder that "No. No, no, no." As in no no no no no. (Sorry, I could only find it in Spanish).

My favorite part of Danny's, well, everything tonight was when Paula said, "How many Danny fans are out there?" and they went to shot of three 6-year-olds holding a Go-Go-Gokey sign and having a very delayed reaction to the question. That part made me laugh out loud. I think the nervous tension that had collected during his performance had to come out. It was just so wrong. That was a bad, bad, crazy bad last note. Poor Danny doesn't even know yet how bad it was. Like he said, he'll find out when he watches it back. Or perhaps he got a taste when the editors (who should apparently also be fired) decided to put
that clip of his song in that reminder-of-tonight's-performances montage. Even Paula sat down from her dancing and air punches when he hit (or rather, didn't) that note. I think on some level, he had to know. Hence the awkward overcompensating with the band afterward. You know, the part that made me flashback to his dance class sign up? And then Simon's prescient "I think you're going to be safe" comment got an audible gag from me. Hmmmm, who did he predict would be in the finals? Oh yeah, that's right. Adam and Danny. And God forbid Simon be wrong. Idiot.

Duet by Adam and Allison: If there was a saving grace tonight, this was it. The singing was phenomenal, but it was only enhanced by their matching boots, twinner hairstyle outing to Adam's "hair girl," and how they absolutely ran to each other after their performance. I loved it! These two are natural rockers and it shows. EVERY time. Loved it. I've been vacillating between an Adam-Allison finale and an Adam-Kris finale, but tonight told me what I really want. Based on tonight, I hope it comes down to these 2 in the finale. They deserve it. Adam will win and that's fine, but this would be an enjoyable finale.

And based on tonight, Danny should go home. Or sign up for dance lessons. Or do sound effects for horror movies. Or chew ice for lunch. Something.

Best to worst:


Going home:

Anyone's guess. This top 4 rocks. Duets with any other top 4 would've bombed. Badly. Thank goodness Lil is gone.

What?! No Rockin' Robin?!

Rock and Roll night finally arrived on Idol, which was a long-anticipated event for Thing 2. It pretty much played out like I'd expected--a widening gap between contestants, ridiculous comments from the judges, and the mosh pit full of posers. Slash was a fairly useless mentor as far as I could tell. He was good for the "is that a nose ring/watch me smoke a cigarette while playing guitar in a music video/topless guitar soloist from the 80s" sort of entertainment value, but I think all those drugs may have altered his ability to provide beneficial, constructive criticism for the contestants. They all seemed to "have fun," though, so score a point for another one-name wonder.

Now, let me make a list of my non-performance-related complaints (well, the ones I haven't listed yet). I'm just in that kind of mood, I guess.

*Predictably, Simon will start to turn on certain contestants in order to engineer a finale he's predicted, regardless of the true merits (or lack thereof) of each performance.

*What the hell happened to Kara? She and Slash must have shared a little somethin' somethin' before the show because she was out there! Maybe her hair was pulled back too tightly, at least the hair that wasn't trying to escape upward.

*Either the tower wasn't really that broken or that beverage sponsor wields some amazing power over the flow of the show because no way I do the cola interview under that thing!

*We deserve to know how the duets were picked, because the conspiracy theorist in me would say they're looking to influence the voters. The pairings were perfect, but a little transparency would be appreciated.

*I think Kara is making up words every week. It's like a new obsession with her. I've never heard of giving someone a "prop," as in one prop. I guess that's for when you're not sufficiently impressed enough to give out "props" or even better, "mad props."

OK, on to my contestant-by-contestant thoughts.

Adam Lambert: Really, all he could do this week was either hold steady or fail miserably. Obviously this is the week we really expected him to shine and that's what he did. I still think he's an amazing talent and deserves to be in the finale, but I wonder if his polarizing style will end up being much of a factor. I think there is a fairly sizable subset of the population that doesn't care for him at all. I just don't know if it 's the people that vote. His duet with Allison was great, by the way. It was so apparent that they were both in their element, enjoying the moment with each other, and I think the hugs and smiles were 100% genuine. In American Idol speak that's "1 million percent."

Allison Ireheta: She deserved way more praise than she got. What is wrong with people judging this thing? Even if they weren't crazy about the song selection, she still sounded great. I'm glad to see her give it back to Simon, and of course he was good natured about it. This girl is a great talent and based on tonight should go on without a problem. On her duet with Adam you almost get the feeling that we were watching the finale already, but there is one more week to go.

Kris Allen: I love how the judges called this legendary Beatles' song "not a great song." Give me a break. Randy made the most sense and was the most believable in his praise of Kris. Kris definitely infused his style into the song and made the most of a week where he was overshadowed by Adam before he even got to pick his song. Randy was right about his duet with Danny, too--the harmonies were great but the overall performance was just alright. Again, for a week where the genre was difficult, the duet sounded pretty good. They didn't seem as comfortable together as Adam and Allison, but it's tough to say whether it was because of the theme or chemistry.

Danny Gokey: Don't do that. Ever. No, no. Danny is no Steven Tyler. Not even close. I have no idea what he was thinking with this song. I don't know what would possess this church choir singer to try and scream at the end. I'm not entirely clear how Slash even held a straight face while discussing this song. It wasn't even a little good, and I'm sick over how the judges gave him more credit than they did Kris. There was no comparison. No, no. I like Danny, but I've got to be fair here.

I don't know how they'll break the news this week. Hopefully they just have the three guest artists perform and then hand out a single "you over there, you're going home." I'm sure there will be a bit more suspense, though.

Based on tonight, Skipping the Hometown Visit, but Still Getting One Prop from Kara: Danny Gokey

Saturday, May 2, 2009

6 Questions For You

Please answer in the comments (you can use the nifty "Show Original Post" feature in the comments' section to help).

1. Did anyone else audibly groan and feel oh-so-badly for Kevin when he dropped the chili while extolling his wonderful talent for making it saying, "I think it's the thing I do best."?

2. I have a friend who says he doesn't see many men comment on here. My husband and I have no sisters. I have a brother. He has 5 brothers. My father-in-law comments. So do some friends. C'mon, guys, don't let me down. Do you see men comment on here?

3. Remember this post? Anyone else think it's funny that we treated our theater class (about 15 kids or so) to ice cream there on 31-cent scoop night? We announced the cast list there after auditions. We figure you can't feel too disappointed if you don't get the part you want when you're eating ice cream, right?

4. We toy with the idea of getting a dog. This one, specifically. Adorable, right? Thing is, we're not pet people. And I don't like how dogs smell. And I worry about the expense. And every time I see a human picking up a dog's poop, I think, "Seriously?" Think we should get a dog?

5. My SIL Jessica and I were chatting the other day about exercise. We decided that if she lived close to us, we could get together and do "Yoga Booty Ballet Goddess Workout." Have you seen this commercial?

6. I want opinions! I've been thinking about cutting my hair. Right now, it's below my shoulders by several inches. I love this length. I like long hair. I had short hair until I was 15. I've had it long ever since. The shortest I've cut it is just above my shoulders. One time, I asked the lady cutting my hair if I told her she could do anything she wanted, what would she do? She didn't hesitate, "I'd go shorter." I always feel like cutting it short in the fall and then I don't so that I can be warmer in the winter (long hair really IS warm). I always think I'll do it in the spring and then I don't want to, because I like long, dark hair (but not too long--anything below mid-back just looks scraggly and like it has no style to me--unless it's up). Anyway, I'm considering cutting it to chin level . . . should I do it?

So you know . . .

There is a new post over at The Magic Violinist . . . enjoy!