Saturday, February 27, 2010

Seafood Fest 2010

Tonight's Menu

Lobster Rolls
(with butter, not mayo)

King Crab Legs
(with drawn lemon butter)

Mussels in a White Wine sauce

Shrimp Mozambique

Red Lobster Cheesy Garlic Biscuits

Corn on the Cob

Curly Fries and Steak Fries

How we love good food!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Results Show: 24 to 20

So, we're snowed in (again) and every school and library and pretty much everything in the county is closed. I love days like this. Snow Day! And, thankfully, we didn't lose power.

I'm also glad we homeschool, because we kept the kids up past midnight yesterday watching American Idol and The Olympics and got to sleep in today. Now we're celebrating snow with mini French toasts with powdered sugar on top and hot cocoa. Snow Day!

Anyway, results.

They started all "Up With People," which I find dripping in mounds and mounds of cheese. You could tell lip-pierced, tattooed, be-dreaded Crystal Bowersox was hating it, though forcing a smile throughout. That wasn't uncomfortable to watch at all.

But first, I've got some Idol rumors to tell you about:

1. Simon and Ellen don't get along. Or do they?
I think it's just rumors for ratings, but he does seem annoyed every time she speaks. Maybe it's her lack of knowledge and experience with the music industry?

2. Chris Golightly was told he'd be in the Top 24. He got cut and Tim Urban was put in his place (but, for fun, didn't tell his family). Why did Chris get cut? For having a record contract already.

3. Remember Angela Martin? The girl who got cut from Hollywood not one, not two, but three years in a row? The one who tried out the first time to give her daughter, who has severe disabilities, a better life? The one whose dad was killed the first time she went to Hollywood? The one who had to leave Hollywood the second time because of a traffic violation she and her family couldn't afford to pay so she had to serve 6 days in prison? The one whose mom went missing after her most recent (and last) time to try to get on the show? She is now too old to try out again. It was pretty emotional to see her get cut again. She is SUCH a poised and gracious girl. But Ellen and Kara are teaming up to give her an amazing opportunity.

Back to the show. 4 people got booted. I predicted 3 correctly.

What's really rough about these shows is that since they stunk at their song and got booted, they are invited to sing their stinky song again and we are invited to hear it again.

At least they mixed it up by letting us hear a genuine rocker girl from this past season - we really like Alison Iraheta! And we got to hear a great cover of "Let It Be" from Kris Allen.

Booted contestant #1 (that I predicted) - Janell Wheeler, whose rendition of "What About Love" was so pageanty, syrupy sweet that it made it very awkward to listen to. That is a rock ballad. People like Alison sing rock ballads. Janell sang it like she was Heidi in the mountaintops. Her performance juxtaposed with Alison's was illuminating -- Miss Sweetheart Idol vs. True Rocker Chick.

Booted contestant #2 (that I predicted handily) - Ashley Rodriguez, who laid on the little shruggy, flirty, annoyed attitude so she wouldn't cry, because, you know, she was going to sing that awful performance. Again.

Kieran, dim the lights! I wonder if Kieran has another job in the summer.

Booted contestant #3 (that I predicted) - Joe Muñoz, who seems sweet, but I still don't understand him when he sings.

Booted contestant #4 (that I did NOT predict) - Tyler Grady, who . . . what?? Argh. Stupid judges. I liked him. He actually sang well, too. Mumble grumble. Oh well, I'm not that invested yet, so I'm only mildly annoyed. There were others more deserving and I would have liked to see more of Tyler (and yes, his 70s ways!), but oh well.

I forgot to bet $. I should have. I would've made something on 3 out of 4 of these. It'd be like old-fashioned betting on horses. Only not.

I agree with Ellen. They're nervous. This week, cut them a break. Next week, time to step it up.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Really Quick Note on Color Coding

It's AI season.

Mark and I generally both do show reviews, so there are 2 posts each time. Scroll down to see both.

My posts are in blue.

Mark's posts are in green.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Top 12 Boys (Do I Have to Keep 10?)

No word of a lie--I was falling asleep while Kara was talking tonight. And the performances? Bleh, Bleh, Bleh, Bleh plus, Bleh, etc. This is the second night in a row that I wondered what happened to this show. I'm sure it will all get better next week, but I was really disappointed tonight. And what's with the judges and their misplaced criticisms? Number one, don't praise people who really don't deserve it. And B, don't be overly harsh with the two guys who actually sounded like they deserved to be on American Idol.

OK, some questions for some people . . .

Ryan: Do you ever get tired of the endless banter?

Ellen: Aren't you worried a bunch of sorority sisters are downing a beer every time you say "adorable?"

Randy: How many cliches can you fit in one sentence?

Kara: Will you be growing up at all during this season?

Simon: Are you sick of sitting next to her yet?


Todrick Hall: Are you even old enough to channel vintage Bobby Brown like that?

Aaron Kelly: Can you really love your chances when the judges tell you things like, "You didn't sound great but little girls will like your looks so you'll do well?"

Jermaine Sellers: Did you wear underwear two sizes too small to hit those notes?

Tim Urban: What was your other song choice?

Joe Munoz: Did you have to stuff your mouth with cotton before going on stage tonight?

Tyler Grady: I may have missed it in your video intro, but were you trying to make a big deal about your 70s stylings?

Lee Dewyze: Halfway through the show are you feeling so much better about your chances to advance?

John Park: What. Was. That?

Michael Lynche: Seriously, were you playing a ukelele up there?

Alex Lambert: Why the mullet?

Casey James: So are you ready to be taken seriously as a musician, or do you want to be remembered for going topless in your audition?

Andrew Garcia: How hard was it not to go off on the judges as they praised you for your rendition of "Straight Up" (a song that takes guts to make acoustic) and then criticized you for doing the same thing tonight?

TWO WE MAY NEVER SEE AGAIN: Tim Urban and John Park

Top 12 Guys or . . .

"In which the judges are stupid and useless." That's my subtitle for tonight. Don't like it? Bite me.

Tonight's episode put me in a mood. And not a good one. You like it when I'm snarky in my reviews? You're in for a treat then.

I sat through 2 hours of this nonsense so I could get to the only guy in the competition with some serious, serious talent and who is so entirely in a league of his own, it renders the other male performances essentially useless and then I had to listen to the STUPID judges. Idiots. They can bite me, too.

I'll review the performances (though I don't know why I bother -- tonight stunk), but I have more choice words for the stupid judges and idiot host than I do the competitors. I'll italicize them and put them in order as they popped into my head during tonight's show total and utter snoozefest and tedious and moronic comments ("judges," I'm talking to you).

You know what? Let's just start with the italics right now. Tonight, for me, felt like a little jaunt into opposite world. If I liked it, the judges didn't. And if I didn't like it, they did. The judges tell the contestants to be original and then when they are, they say, "Do something more mainstream." They tell them to choose good songs and make them their own and then when they do, they say it's not a good choice and they shouldn't do that to songs. ARGH. It's maddening. I can't even fathom what it must be like for the contestants who surely must need massive amounts of therapy after the ordeal that is competing on this show.

Well, I have a little message for each of the judges.

Ellen, I like you as a person, but not as a judge. I believe that you are a genuinely nice person and TV show host and that you're not going to turn all mean and nasty intense a lá Rosie, but we're not two shows in and I'm already really uncomfortable listening to someone with no musical background giving criticism to these kids and making comments like, "I don't know, but I like your personality and I like you. And the song? I don't know. But I like your personality and I like you and I like your personality, so, I don't know. I like your personality and I like you." I just want to pull my hair and scream, "God Almighty, make it stop!" Ellen, I like you a lot and I like your personality, but I have more musical background than you do and could therefore be more useful sitting in that chair. I feel like I'm watching a doe-eyed groupie (beautiful eyes, by the way, that color is nothing short of unnaturally stunning) who is so excited to be on her favorite show that she just can't believe she's a judge on there and getting paid to do it! Yeah, well, neither can I. I'm sorry, but I can't help but feel that the show loses some credibility having a judge like that on the panel. It would be like you coming and counseling my clients or me trying to be the host on your show. It doesn't work. Oh, but on the upside? I like your personality and I like you.

Simon, you use a lot of phrases like "When you see this played back, you'll see it was really awful,"
and "When you watch it later, you'll be embarrassed," and "When you hear yourself tonight, you'll recognize how really bad you sound." The same could be said of you.

Kara, you're married?? That only makes your totally inappropriate crush on Casey that much more disgusting. Get a grip, you and all of you. Your ridiculous, juvenile antics had the poor kid trying to not laugh throughout his entire performance, which, to be honest, made it a little uncomfortable for us at home. You've already had the poor guy take off his shirt, you've lifted your leg during an opportunistic and flirty hug, and now you're swooning while he sings? Gross. You should so get fired. Oooh, I know! You and Ellen could get fired together and they could bring back Paula for less than they're likely paying the two of you. Seriously, you're starting to get on my last nerve.

Randy, I've got nothing. Other than suggesting some remedial math (it is mathematically impossible to be more than 100% anything) and perhaps English as a second language to supplement whatever it is you speak, I really don't know what to say to you anymore.

I miss Paula. A lot.

Oh, I'm sorry. Was that long? Well too bad. That's what happens when you have four judges. It's LONG. So excruciatingly long. Honestly, it's painful at times.

All right. Here we go. Again, my favorites are marked with asterisks. Don't look too hard. There aren't many.

Toddrick Hall - "Since You've Been Gone"
Honestly? I thought it was awesome. So, of course, the judges did not. His voice wasn't great in the lower register (look that up, Ellen, it might come in handy for you), but it wasn't terrible either. Like Mark says, the song has a definite early R&B/Bobby Brown vibe to it and that was very cool. The judges were way too hard on him. And, you know, he "made it his own," so they thought he shouldn't have. The judges are so freaking histrionic, it's ridiculous.

Aaron Kelly - "Here Comes Goodbye" Dude, never, never, never sing songs with prognostic lyrics like that. Never. Seriously, it's a portent. A sign, if you will, that you'll be singing out the credits on the results show. Just don't do it. This kid is a mix of little David Archuleta and little Kevin Covais all rolled into one. They like kids like this though. At least for a little while. That's why he got the split screen treatment that, as far as I can recall, no one else got. You can tell the kid has a good voice there somewhere. Somewhere. I did not think it went well, so of course the judges praised him.

Jermaine Sellers - "Get Here"
This church boy reminds me of Charles Grigsby (who I also liked). He's a good singer and he's so cute. I like him. It wasn't great, though. I liked his look, too, but he's here to sing (hear that, judges? It's a singing competition. Not a fashion show. Not a personality contest. SINGING. That other stuff is part of the package, but the main content is SINGING.) And it was just okay. But I can see potential. And you tell him to be young. He's 27. Young, yes. But not young for Idol. Don't you people have notes so you can at least pretend you care? You 4. I'm talking to you.

Tim Urban - "Apologize" You want to know whose spot he got in the Top 24? Chris Golightly's. That's right. I know. I knew before tonight. Because I'm that tuned in to the tabloids of this show. This kid is a little too "High School Musical" for me to take him seriously. Not that I've ever seen those movies, but he just seems like he would fit in. He has a teeny bit of a JPL (Jon Peter Lewis--who, by the way, we love) vibe to him, but not enough. And seriously, 4 judges dogging on the kid? So uncomfortable to watch. Having 4 judges is getting really, really old. They all say the EXACT same thing. I don't feel like any of them bring anything original to the table, so we hear 4 different voices from 4 different people say the same exact thing 4 times over.

Joe Muñoz - "You and I Both" I think I join with the rest of America when I say, "What did he just say?" He's smiley and likable and I dig the accent, but I don't understand his lyrics. I don't think it's his accent, because Julio and Enrique can pull that off. I think he's a low talker. If you watch Seinfeld, you understand. I didn't think it was all that, so Simon liked it.

For those keeping score at home, we're halfway through and still, no asterisks.

*Tyler Grady - "American Woman" This guy gets a small asterisk, only because I haven't seen enough to get too gushy yet. But I really like this guy a lot. It is SO WEIRD to watch him, because I feel I've entered a strange time warp where some guy has just stepped out of my brother's high school yearbook and time traveled about 30 years to be on this stage tonight. But, Dude, I like him! I love his personality and look, but I also think he can sing. I have two gripes, but they're mostly for the judges, so let me switch to italics. What's wrong with a throwback? We have throwbacks all the time that we praise (reference Bublé and Sinatra or Adam Lambert and Freddie Mercury). It's cool. It's different and you keep saying that's what you want. So please make up your FREAKING minds. Because it's soooo tedious to see you constantly contradict yourselves.

And you heard the kid in his reel. His look has been the subject of a lot of conversation and he'd really like to focus on his singing. So he did. But you didn't. ARGH. And we had to hear it FOUR times, because apparently once isn't enough. Oh, the dumbing down of America! Now poor Tyler has to go to the mall, because guess what? His look? Not an act. He's a tall, skinny kid. And that's how he dresses. That you criticize. But the tails you dig. What are you drinking in those cups? Bring back the beer glasses.

*Lee Dewyze - "Chasing Cars" I hope he sticks around just so we can hear his name more. It's fun to say. Lee Dewyze. Ha! There's something I like about him, but again, I'm not sure yet what it is. He reminds me of my dear, dear Elliott, but (and I know it sounds crazy) he also has a bit of Mr. Crowe in him when he wears a hat. He was a little off, but I love the tone of his voice. I think he has potential. On this, and perhaps only this, Simon and I agree. (Oh and Simon, congrats on the new shirt, by the way. You're really mixing it up this year.)

As long as I already have the italics feature on, let me address Mr. Seacrest. Ryan, I seriously HATE it when you ask the judges to clarify what they've said. ENOUGH ALREADY. We hear the same thing 4 times. You asking them to clarify usually makes it 6 times. It's especially annoying when they've totally laid into a kid and has him or her on the verge of tears. Please stop. I seriously hate it. Which then makes me sort of hate you.

John Park - "God Bless the Child"
I like his personality a lot. And it'd be cool if Shania did marry him, because, c'mon, how cool of a story would that be? But Seriously? The singing? Yuck. It was NOT good. I had better hopes for him, but he was so nervous and horrible that, well, just ugh. I know he has a personal attachment to the meaning of the song and while it's a lovely sentiment, if he really wants to help out his hardworking parents for whom money is an issue, don't sing such a lame song. It was so so bad.

And could someone please tell me why Ellen, of all people, is saying things to these boys like, "Young girls will vote for you?" What? No "young boys?" C'mon, Ellen. Let's be fair.

This is the point in the show where I look over at Mark and say (because at this point we're both ready to bash our heads against each other to dull the pain), "Well, this is good news for Andrew Garcia, because no one holds even the tiniest candle to him. This competition is so totally his." His and Crystal Bowersox's. And Siobhan's
. That's right. That's my Final 3 prediction for now. You heard it here first. Oh yeah, I keep thinking about betting on that. I should look into it. It'd be a fun way to pay our debt to Sallie Mae.

*Michael Lynche - "This Love"
I like him. He's not my favorite, but at number 9 tonight, he was the best singer yet. Oh, that's so sad.

Alex Lambert - "Wonderful World" He's 19 and in high school? There's a story there! He reminds me of Paul McCartney. I love that he actually mentioned Mary Powers in his video. So so funny. Especially with the ironic clips spliced in. Anyway, I like the tone of his voice, but ugh. His performance was so all over the place. It was SO uncomfortable and he was SO nervous. So of course the judges praised him. And who is James Morrison? Should I know who that is? Oooh, just looked him up. I like!

*Casey James - "Heaven" Thanks to Magistra, all I see when I look at him is Samantha's "Smith Jared." So, after his intro, I pictured him singing to Kim Cattrall. I love his voice and I really love that he sang an 80s rock love ballad and generally I like his stage presence, too, but it was so uncomfortable to watch him try not to laugh throughout his entire performance. I almost yelled, "HOLY HELL, KARA!" But I restrained myself. Because I am nothing if not restrained. The judges are such stupid juveniles sometimes. It's so not fair to the guy to do that! The swaying, the swooning, the whispering . . . this is live TV, idiots, and it's this guy's FIRST shot at doing this and your immaturity is on the brink of blowing his chances. Morons. So juvenile. Grow up. And then pull yourself together, Kara. You're a judge. So JUDGE. Do you have any idea how stupid you look when you act like an annoying high school cheerleader who's swooning over the football player so much so that you blather through useless words of nothingness that are then transmitted through the airwaves and into millions of living rooms across the country? No? Well, when you hear it back tonight, you'll see how awful it sounded.

And I also find it royally annoying when you all insist on focusing on looks and personality instead of singing. Dude can sing. So help him out with something useful.

But all is okay, because my favorite, and the saving grace of the night, was up next.

*Andrew Garcia - Sugar, We're Going Down"
It. Was. FABULOUS! I cannot BELIEVE the judges were so harsh on him! I bet you one of them retracts what they said tomorrow (which means we'll hear all 4 of them retract their comments. That'll be fun.). I love what he did. It was BRILLIANT. An acoustic version of this song? So very cool. Best singer of the night. By a freaking mile. And all they could do was bash? Oh that's right. It's opposite world. So, since he slayed that song and did generally awesome, they had to criticize. And since he made it his own and was original, they had to tell him to not be so original next time. What the ??

To sum up. The boy, overall, stank. Except for Andrew Garcia. And the judges are stupid.

Going home: Take your pick. It doesn't really matter. 11 of them will leave before Andrew.
Best of the night: Andrew, despite what the stupid judges had to say. Idiots.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Top 12 Girls

So much about Idol has changed:

Now the fire background moves in swirls. That's so 2010.

We have a judge who is funny on purpose (as opposed to someone who was funny because people made fun of her). And MAN is she giddy or what. She's so excited she can barely contain herself. She's a total fan. It's hilarious.

The judges are back to drinking Coke instead of beer (like they did in Hollywood).

I personally miss Paula and I think it's SO DULL that none of the judges get up and dance now.

And the judges aren't acting like children with inappropriate jokes and innuendo. Oh wait.

And so much about Idol has stayed the same:

Simon uses the word "indulgent" while massaging his pectoral muscles through his gray sweater.

Kara talks chin first.

Randy attempts to articulate things.

And I find myself worrying, the whole time they're singing, that they're going to drop the microphone. Especially when they switch from hand to hand. Or when they shoot their arms out to the side. I can almost visualize the microphone go sailing off into the audience and hitting someone in the head, leaving the singer with no way to amplify his or her voice. On Live TV. What would they do?! How awful would that be? Could they ever get through after that? I know. I have issues that have already been addressed in countless therapy sessions, thank you very much.

But enough about that.

Here is my I'll-try-to-keep-it-brief-but-brevity?-not-my-strong-point recap of the Top 12 Girls which I've also subtitled (See? Not so much with the brevity.), "In Which Every Girl Reminds Me of Someone Else." *My favorites are designated with asterisks.

Paige Miles - "It's All Right Now"
She reminds me of Milli Vanilli (either one of them) because she has their eyes.
Other than that, I already don't remember much. Oh, the curse of going first.

Ashley Rodriguez - "Happy"
She, who looks like Eva Mendes, is not too happy now.
That's because she was stupid enough to do a Leona Lewis song (Never, never, never do a song by one of Simon's own. Never.).
And worse yet, she didn't do it well.
She's one of the two going home on Thursday. I bet she is.
I should gamble on this stuff. Maybe I could make some money.

Janell Wheeler - "What About Love?"
Janell is a Sarah Chalke look-a-like who sang a song that was way bigger than she could handle, but I guess that's okay because Randy has "mad vibes for her."

*Lilly Scott - "Fixing A Hole"
She mostly reminds me of someone you might find in a nursing home, what with the gray hair and long peacock earrings, but DUDE. That was the first great performance of the evening. And I dig that more people are doing The Beatles. And it's way cool that she played guitar. Love this girl's voice. And I learned a new word tonight. Busk. I'm a nerd and already looked it up. Such a cool, new word. Thank you, Kara.

*Katelyn Epperly - "Oh Darlin'"
So, she's the first to remind me of someone, not because of her looks (she is a WAY cute girl, though), but because of her sound. She reminds me of Kelly Clarkson. This girl can sing. AND she can sing on pitch. Which is more than we can say for the first 3 performers of the night. I like this girl. Though I could have done without Kara's cattiness. Kara reminds me of snotty girls in high school. I wouldn't have liked her then either. Unfair of Kara to fill in her word bubble like that. So so uncool.

Haeley Vaughn - "I Wanna Hold Your Hand"
She has Fantasia eyes. This may be my least favorite Beatles song, but I like what she did with it. That is one confident 16-year-old.

Lacey Brown - "Landslide"
Yikes. Pitchy Indeed. She reminds me of pretty much anyone from "Reality Bites." Don't know who exactly. Other than she seems like she could've stepped out from that movie. I'd like to see her again, though. So I hope she doesn't go home on Thursday. Like Ashley will.

Michelle Delamor - "Fallen"
Brave song. She looks like a mix of Gloria Estafan and Jordin Sparks, but she has pretty hair, sang well, and was okay for me for her. Plus, Randy thought she was "hot and dope and cool." So there.

*Didi Benami - "The Way I Am"
Why were the judges so harsh on this girl? I loved her! Her sound reminds me of Megan Joy (but in a good way), but she looks like Brooke White. Either way, the judges seemed unimpressed, but I really like her. Love her sound. Plus, she met her goal and didn't cry! Go Didi!

*Siobhan Magnus - "Wicked Game"
She reminds me of a foreign film actress. Audrey Tatou? Maybe. No, definitely. Just Googled her. She totally looks like her. And Audrey Tatou is beautiful. So, she reminds me of her. And my Turkish girlfriend from high school. I like this girl. Simon thinks she might be the dark horse. I like that she crossed the gender line and sang a song by a man. The Chris Isaak song was good on her, though I do want to hear her rock out next time.

*Crystal Bowersox - "Hand In My Pocket"
LOVE her. This girl is SO Melissa Etheridge. I love her originality, her dreads, her voice! And I love that she rocked the guitar. The harmonica was good, too, but I think that was mostly so they didn't have to censor lyrics. Anyway, this girl is probably my favorite. And I'd love to see her do David Bowie.

Katy Stevens - "Feelin' Good"
I LOVE Michael Bublé. Like LOVE. Me? Bublé? Big fan. Me. Love Bublé. Oh, I'm sorry. This is supposed to be about Katy. She sang a Michael Bublé song (and I heart him). She did well, but I agree with the judges that it wasn't the best song choice. She is a personal favorite for me, not so much from the singing, but because she's my Portuguese homegirl and I'm rooting for her and her vavó. Oh, and she reminds me of Jenny Gessel. Don't look it up. She's a personal friend, not a famous one. I'd like to see more of Katy. I don't think tonight showcases her well.

My Top Favorites: Lilly (nursing home), Katelyn (Kelly Clarkson), Didi (Brooke White and Megan Joy), Shioban (Audrey Tatou), and Crystal (Melissa Etheridge). And Katy's Vavó.

Going Home: My bet's on Ashley. And one of the others.

Top 12 Girls

Finally American Idol has gotten to the point that I care to rehash what I've just seen, although I'm not quite as enthused as I will be when we have our final 12 finalists. This may explain why I don't have a whole lot to say this week. I was looking forward to tonight's show a little bit since I do think this is an unusually strong pool of female talent, but three contestants into the broadcast I wanted to double check that I was actually watching American Idol and not some other copycat talent show. As Randy would say, "It just wasn't that good, dude." By the end, though I was satisfied that there may be 6 decent female contestants in this group after the also-rans get eliminated.

OK, I have a question for everyone involved tonight:

Ryan: Who was behind the black plaid tie on black shirt wardrobe decision tonight?

Ellen: Are you just having the most fun you ever thought you could?

Randy: Can you build on the few really good comments you made and try to fill an entire show with insightful and useful comments?

Kara: Do you need someone to call you a b**** to make your evening complete?

Simon: Why do you look a little lost without Paula at your side?


Paige Miles: Why didn't I remember who you were before tonight and why can't I remember you now?

Ashley Rodriguez: Why are you still around?

Janell Wheeler: What happened to your guitar?

Lilly Scott: Did you know you were busking before Kara told you?

Katelyn Epperly: Could you BE wearing any more lipstick?

Haeley Vaughn: What did I do to deserve all the screaming at me?

Michelle Delamor: Do I need to take the time to remember you, or should I just wait to see if you've made it to the Final 12.

Didi Benami: Do you and Megan Joy have the same vocal coach?

Siobhan Magnus: Can you name any other Chris Isaak songs?

Crystal Bowersox: Did you know when Simon criticizes you like he did tonight, that means he likes you and thinks you could make him a lot of money?

Katy Stevens - Can you relax and keep it in tune next week?


: Ashley Rodriguez and Michelle Delamor

A myriad of thoughts

Because why just call it "Random Thoughts" all the time?
Variety is the spice of life.
And I'm centering it this time,
thereby restoring Shawn's equilibrium.


One of my favorite things about the Olympics
is listening to Scott Hamilton as we watch figure skating.
Every time he gets excited about a triple salchow,
I can't help but smile.


I'm glad there are commentators for figure skating,
because I really wouldn't have a clue otherwise.
Sometimes I say, "Oh that was good!"
And then the commentator says how bad it was.
It makes me feel über smart, let me tell you.


Shaun White?
I like him.
So funny in interviews.


I wrote a Christmas Letter this past year.
We still haven't posted it.


Why do people talk about Simon Cowell being so good looking?
I don't see it.
Now let's talk about Phil from Amazing Race.
No contest.
Get it?


We really, really, really, really, really love having a puppy.
We're enjoying this even more than I thought we would.
By a lot. She is so much fun!


Our tax returns always go to the bank to pay bills.
We haven't ever splurged on something with them.
Does that make us boring?


Every night at dinnertime, we put Scout in the crate while we eat
(otherwise she begs at our legs constantly).
When we're done eating and on to cleaning up from dinner,
either Mark or I say, "Go ahead and let the dog out."
Inevitably, the other starts to chant,
"Who let the dogs out? Who! Who who who who!
Who let the dogs out!"
You're welcome.


Michael Landon on Little House?
Also hot.


In our effort to aggressively pay down student loan debt,
we've dropped our one splurge -- eating out (oh how we love food!).
It's almost March and we haven't eaten out.
We're also making meals using food in our freezer and pantry,
so we've also done very little grocery shopping.
This past week, we made a pot of soup
and ate it all week long for lunch.
Go us!


We did, however, order in pizza
to "celebrate" my Dad's birthday this past Saturday.
Is it me or have pizza sizes shrunk?
We ordered medium pizzas because of a deal.
They looked like what we used to call "small."
I think it's a total conspiracy.


We're starting a blog as well as a binder in our kitchen
to organize our recipes.
Because our current method involves
random pieces of paper in a pile
and looking up new recipes online
and random recipes written on napkins
(apparently sometimes twice).
Turns out?
Not so organized.
Or efficient.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Random Thoughts

Our dog just barked at our mailman. How cliché.

The kids got the stomach bug this past month.
Watching Mark, Thing 1 said to me,
"There are two things I'm looking for when I get married:
someone who's nice to me and we get along
and someone who will clean up throw up."

A couple of weeks ago while getting kids to bed, Mark tells the kids to be quiet and settle down.
Thing 2 justifies his before-bed craziness by responding,
"Well, it's good to have balance in life!"

My Dad's birthday is this Saturday. He would've been 75.

This time of year has been difficult for me the past few years.
I think it might be in part related to the above fact.

We love having a puppy. She can be naughty as all get out, but, MAN, is she cute!
And she gives us the best greetings.

Saw that movie about John Keats. Thought I'd really like it.
Not so much.

Saw "I Hate Valentine's Day" and enjoyed it.

I think George Clooney is rather dull.
He plays the same exact role in every movie he's in.

I've had the Portuguese culture on my mind for a while now.
I feel really lucky to have been raised bilingually
and in a culture that is so loving and family oriented.

I love that it focuses more on hard work, warmth,
loving interdependence, responsibility, and support
than on the more American way ("18 and you're out!")
of pushing/over-stressing independence.
Plus the food is awesome.

I think it would be super cool to live in Europe for part of the year.

I am SO HAPPY that Amazing Race *and* American Idol are both on right now.
It's like Christmas for me!

There is some serious, awesome female talent on Idol this year.

We've been watching old "Little House on the Prairie" episodes from the library.
Life was so hard back then.
But it was also soooooo simple and nice.

I got a flyer in the mail from a local hospital
about "midlife and menopause;"
I hope that wasn't targeted. I'm too young for that, right?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Valentine for my Blog Readers

This post is a shout out to all our blog readers.
But particularly those who comment.

Mostly because I can't exactly shout out to blog stalkers.
So if you stalk and you want to reveal yourself, now's a good time.

In no particular order
and without naming names (this will be fun),
Happy Valentine's Day to . . .

My girlfriend from our medical school years
who worked with me in the Admissions Office
and whose laugh is just plain AWESOME
and who I'm so glad blogs because she is an excellent writer
and who we got to visit this past summer
and who I miss.

The girl from Vancouver who "met" me through this blog
because her father has Parkinson's just like mine did.
I've grown to genuinely love and care about her
and am grateful for our connection.

My cousin-in-law who has become
a friend and confidant to me.
I've become better friends with her because of blogs,
but we've taken it to another level with chats and even phone calls.
I love that we share some deeply personal things in common.
It is nothing short of sanity saving for me at times.

My sister-in-law who is a blogger extraordinaire.
Years ago, as a present to my husband's parents,
we started a private family blog to help us all keep in better touch.
She caught the bug and I'm glad she did.
I know her so much better because of her daily blog posts.
She is almost always one of the first to comment on our blog and I love it, because I know that sometimes she does it just because she knows how much I appreciate the comments.
How thoughtful is that!

My Mom who reads our blog faithfully
and who calls us (sometimes crying, sometimes laughing)
after reading just about every post
to tell us how much she loves the post
and how much she loves us.

To my best friend growing up who, I've recently learned, reads our blog regularly and who learned to comment (yay!) and comments on here even though I know she'd probably rather I turn my Facebook account back on.
AND who came to visit me a few weeks ago
so we could have
a WICKED fun girls' weekend like good MA/RI girls do.
AND who's joining us on our trips to DC for the National Book Festival
from now on because of our blog post about it.
AND who sent me a very thoughtful package in the mail today.

I love and miss her.

To my SIL's aunt from Denver, CO
who visits our blog and has commented enough
that she doesn't have to tell me anymore that she's related to my SIL.
I know who she is just by her name and picture.
I'm glad she enjoys AI, am flattered that she reads our blog,
and I very much appreciate her comments.

To my brothers-in-law who I know read our blog.
I'll lump them together since all of them
are rather sporadic in their commenting, but even sporadically, I'm always happy to see a comment from them when they feel so inclined.
I'm glad they read and care to keep up with our craziness.

To my cousin-in-law who always seems to
genuinely consider every words she reads on here and shares,
not only Idol thoughts with me,
but also her sincere feelings and views on our posts,
which I totally appreciate.

To my FIL, who seems to go in streaks
(maybe corresponding to theater gigs?)
in his blog reading and commenting,
but when he does, he's always good for a comment or three
expressing his admiration and love for us.

To my old college roommate and the
Matron of Honor at our wedding,
who is, and always has been, the voice of reason and frank honesty.
And who I miss very much.
It's been way too long since we've been together.

To my favorite bloggy friend who I met through this crazy hobby,
bonding over our shared knack for going completely over-the-top insane
in our pursuit of finding lost items, not because of the item itself,
but because of the principle, people! The principle!

I loooooooooooove her blog posts. She is hilarious and an excellent writer.
And, who, through emails, trusted me enough to reveal her true name to me as well as genuine friendship.

Now our daughters are penpals. And we are, too.

I think she's awesome. And there is no price for awesomeness.

To my friend who gives me international hits on our blog!
Though we met in AZ and got together again in DE,
she has since lived abroad in several countries.
We managed to see each other in UT this past summer
(which was AWESOME consider they've been living half a world away)
and I'm so so so glad she's finally blogging!
I wish she had started back in the Dubai,
but at least we're hearing about their adventures in Nepal and now Qatar.
We miss them like crazy.

To my cousin-in-law who I met through blogging
and got to know even better through blogging and who,
when I got to meet her this past summer,

already felt like a friend.

I appreciate her comments and our occasional chats.
And I'm so excited for her baby girl to arrive!

To my old college roommate who found our blog
through the other college roommate I already mentioned.
Those two were instant buds when fate put them together
as roommates freshman year in the dorms.
They were down the hall from me.
The next year, we lived in the same apartment complex
in different apartments at first (with a total open-door policy between our two apartments that was OFTEN used).
She was always making homemade cookies.
Which, to me, was a novelty. And one that I loved.
We all wised up and eventually moved in together after that.
And THAT was awesome.
She has graduated from blog stalker to
commenter (several times, I know!) and I'm so glad.

To my MIL, who makes the effort to comment
because she knows how much we appreciate it.
I love that we can talk about everything from books to movies to American Idol. My husband's side of the family is not big on the phone,
so blogging has been a great way to keep in touch.
And I'm glad she reads ours.

To my good friend in New Mexico who found us through my SIL's blog and for some reason kept reading. I'm so glad he did.
He, too, has become a friend and confidant.
I always enjoy the sense of humor and genuineness
that come through in his comments, which I appreciate even more
because of our email exchanges.

To my only SIL who lives in our time zone,
who comments when she can get on the computer . . .

even if she doesn't always read the whole post! ;)
I'm glad I got to meet her (twice!) this past year,
even if we had to drive to FL and UT to do it!

To yet another cousin-in-law who I've gotten to know through blogging
and then a bit through a family reunion.
And who I think looks like Scarlet Johanson or Jessica Biel!
She has a cute baby and another on the way.
And I know she's not big into commenting,
but I'm glad she reads and grateful for the comments when they come.

To another girlfriend from medical school who caught the blogging bug, too.
And who found us and commented,
leading us back to her blog
where we can keep up
on her adventures with her 4 cute kids
and their new beautiful house!

To my SIL with whom I have always felt a special connection
even before I met her.
We share common interests and have very similar tastes
on things like books and movies and writing.
And while we could talk for hours just on those topics,
we can also talk about anything and everything
in a frank, candid, FUN way, too.
I always feel like I can be myself with her
and I'm grateful for any bonding we can squeeze in,
whether in person or on the phone.

To our hippie friends down the street with their dreads, bare feet, and patchouli. We hit the proverbial jackpot in our friendship with them.
They are an incredible family of 9 and we are SO stinkin' lucky
to have them
not only as neighbors, but also as friends.
They are so good to us and we have a special friendship
with them
for which we're very grateful.
It's one of those cool friendships where the kids enjoy the kids
AND the adults and vice versa.
Just so cool.

To my husband who also co-authors this blog.
He is my best friend.
I could write several libraries worth of books about my love for him,
but for this post,
suffice it to say,
I love that he comments on my posts.
And I just plain old love him.

To our good friend who used to live here and then moved to CA.
We're glad they're closer in TN now,
though we miss having her here for book club, GNOs, American Idol,
dinners out, movies, playdates, and the like.
I'm so glad she's good at keeping touch!

To my SIL whose older two kids are the same age as ours.
She's not on the computer much, but when she is,
she occasionally comments and it's nice to hear from her.
And our kids are so glad that her kids are our cute cousins!

To my beautiful daughter who I love and admire.
I know she is my child but I am the one often looking up to her.
She is a blogger herself and I love that she reads
and comments on our blog, too.

To my friend and Google colleague of many, many years.
I'm so glad we have our researcher forum
and other means of staying in touch.
When we're not talking food, jobs, mental health practices,
music, and spirituality, we are talking AI. He's a regular on our AI blog,
but I'm giving him a shout out here just the same.

To our other teenage friend down the street in the other direction.
She came over just this week along with our mutual hippie friends
and serenaded us with a song she co-wrote with them
and the song was about us and was very, very cool.
I'm glad she blogs and comments, too.

To our friend who lives 10 minutes down the street
and who is in our ward, our homeschool group, and our book club.
She is always up for talking and is also super funny.
She's gone from blog stalker to commenter and I'm glad.
I'm also glad we're friends.

To a girl I knew in MA growing up
and then lived next door to me in college
but who I've really gotten to know better more recently.
We exchange book ideas and talk about other things as well.
I'm currently enjoying a great read because of her.
I'm glad we've connected in this techy world.

To someone who, as far as we're concerned, is family.
Some people are related by blood or marriage,
and some, though not related in any of those ways,
are so much a part of the family
that it doesn't matter that it's not "official,"
because they simply ARE family.
He is probably our most faithful reader
and he even managed to figure out how to post once!
And we love him very much.

To my bloggy friend who lives in Switzerland and Portugal.
Oh, how tempting it is to go visit!
We've been able to share a lot together about very personal things
and it's nice to find others in this crazy world and know you're not alone.

To my handsome son who I love very much.
He is pretty computer savvy and recently got
his own instant messenger handle
and Blogger handle and has started to post comments.
I love to get sweet emails and chats from him and
I am so excited that he, too, is commenting on our blogs!

To our friend from college and Mark's old college roommate.
We've been able to see them several times
since college as they have lived in the East, too.
We're so glad we got to see them before they left for Europe.
We miss them while they're there and look forward to when they return!

It's always nice to hear from them and we're so glad we're friends.

To the husband of my friend who lives 10 minutes down the street.
He is our friend, too, and is always up for a political discussion
or some venting or for sharing thoughts on AI.
I'm glad he reads our blog and comments
and I'm glad he doesn't do that while driving!

To our friend and NaNoWriMo buddy
who I have LOVED getting to know better through
meeting up at our local coffee shop to talk or write
and support each other through the craziness is that is NaNoWriMo.
I'm glad she took up blogging and I'm glad she reads and comments
(even if it's been as 3 different people so far)
and I'm glad we're friends.

To a girl who lives close by but who I haven't seen in a while.
But when we do see each other, even if it's sitting by each other
at the local Memorial Day parade,
things are right back to normal because she is just that down to earth
and no nonsense and I like that.

To a friend in Texas who I met online.
We have several key things in common -- she also homeschools,
she, too, enjoys friendship without drama,
and she, too, is married to her best friend.
I appreciate her openness and kindness and
I'm glad she reads our blog and emails
while she patiently waits for me to rejoin Facebook.


There are also several people who either haven't commented in a while
(I went back about a year's worth of comments)
or have commented once
or something like that.
So, here is a quick shout out to . . .

A happy wife with a happy life.

A girl who used to live here and is happily awaiting the birth of her 7th child.

A former friend.

Mark's best friend growing up who even came to visit us this past year
and has always been a faithful friend and a lot of fun.

A girl who used to live here and with whom I always suspected
we had similar views. We were right.

A girl from MA who also lived in Portugal and Cape Verde like me.

A friend who used to live here and was always kind to me
and even took the time from packing to spend some time talking with me
at a local park before she and her family moved away.

A homeschooling mom, friend, and FMHer from Tucson
who I'm glad to "know."

My friend who lives an hour north of us and
recently welcomed a baby girl to their family.
We miss them and are so glad we're friends.

Another girl who lives close by who also
recently welcomed a baby girl to their family.

Various homeschool families and other kind people who have found our blog
by chance and have taken the time to leave a nice comment or two.

Every now and then, I check our nifty Stat Counter
and look up what keywords bring people to our blog.
Sometimes it's "sushi pizza"
and sometimes it's "Dad Parkinson's"
and sometimes it's "homeschooling"
or something about food or books or music or some other topic.
It's nice to get to know some of these people through this hobby.

I do not wish the spammers who try to leave junk on our blog
a Happy Valentine's Day. Bah on them!

As for the rest,
hopefully you all know who you are and
hopefully I haven't left anyone out!
I really hope I haven't left anyone out.
If I have left someone out, please let me know
and I'll write you a paragraph.

You should know, too, that I had a list I was working off of
and I had written the entire post and somehow
more than half of it disappeared. ARGH.
Argh, argh, argh.
I hate it when that happens.
So, someone may have inadvertently been missed because of that.
But I hope not.

There is one more Valentine I'd like to give on this post.

This one is to a former reader of our blog.
I could call my parents and immediately they would
get on their computer and look at what we'd written and posted.
He loved to see pictures and video of his grandchildren on here
and he also loved to see pictures of us and hear about our adventures.
We could literally hear his smile through the phone.
And he always, always expressed his love for us.

He's been on my mind a lot these days.
I don't know if it's because we're coming up
on what would've been his 75th birthday,
or because this always seems to happen around this time of year,
or if it's because our friends who live 10 minutes down the road
are saying their goodbyes to his dad and waiting for him to pass
and if knowing that and talking to them reminds me
of going through all of that heartache.
But my father has been on my mind.
And I miss him very much.

When I was a little girl, he always got me flowers for Valentine's Day.
There's something special about a little girl getting flowers from her Daddy.

Whatever it is, I miss him.
Happy Valentine's Day, Daddy.


Every time my email lets me know I've got a comment, I get excited.
When I see it's from one of you, I get really excited.
When I find out about someone else who reads our blog because they comment, well, that is icing on the cake that is our blog.

And the cherry on top?
Getting an awesome package in the mail from someone
based on something they read on here.
I just love that.

But mostly, I just really enjoy hearing from all of you.

Happy Valentine's Day
to all who enable me
in my blogging hobby!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Write for Haiti

Our awesome kids have raised over $400 for Haiti through their writing and illustrating efforts. We are so proud of them! Check it out here.

We're very grateful to everyone who has donated to their efforts -- both for the support and message it sends to them and for the help for those so desperately in need.

Hooray for Hollywood

So, Ellen. I like her. I already liked her before AI and I still like her and I love that she loves American Idol. But I have to admit that it's kind of weird that she has no music background.

Anyone else think it's weird that they switched from the classic red Coca-Cola glasses to mugs of beer with frothy heads on them? Okay, I know it's really "vitamin water," which I'm not even convinced is a health benefit more than it is a money scheme, but still. It looks like beer. And they claim this is a family show.

I miss Paula.

Kara kind of bugs me. Especially when she leans forward, sticks her chin out ahead of her face and uses her arms, hands, hair, mouth, and eyes to go a little too over the top than necessary like practically ALL the freaking time.

I'm so glad Randy didn't get much camera and sound time. I can only take so much.

It is about time they get some SERIOUSLY talented female singers on this show. I am almost always annoyed by most of their female contestants. I recognize that I'm slightly biased, because I prefer a male singing voice to a female one most of the time, but really, their female contestants have left me, for the most part, unimpressed. Well, color me happily surprised, because this year's crop of female contestants (especially those with guitars) is awesome!

I was sad to see Maddie go. I liked her and think they should've given her one more shot. She chose a lousy song, yes, but she sang it well, which is more than they can say for many contestants. And she was likable. I hope she tries out again, because she's good.

I like that one kid whose parents were in gangs. He played an acoustic "Straight Up" that was DOPE! That's right. Dope. Randy didn't say it. So I did. Dope.

Tonight is group night! I love group night! The singing, the drama, the cat fights. It's about as dramatic as it gets for AI, so it's kind of fun, especially since it's only for a day and not a whole season a la The Bachelor.

Mark has made several great remarks this week, worthy of posts of their own, so I hope he won't mind me sharing one of them on here. While sharing his annoyances with Hollywood Week, like how they manipulate us viewers, he said something to the effect of, "It's gotten worse. They're going to put them in rooms and make us guess which one is going home. How are we supposed to know when they only show us like 3 of them leading up to that point?"

Cue Music. Hollywood Part 2 starts (dramatic pause) in 45 minutes!


It has been snowing for 23 hours.

The 12-hour forecast says either "blizzard" or "heavy snow" or "snow/wind" that apparently isn't letting up before 2AM (that's as far as the 12-hour can predict for now).

This is on top of the 14-18 inches (more, in some spots, due to drifts) we got this past weekend.

This is WILD.

We live on Main Street (literally, not in that "White House Joe" way) and there are NO cars on the road. NONE. It's weird, almost eerie.

Earlier, some guy across the street was trying to get home and he turned on to our street and got STUCK right by our cars. Like could not move. Several people shoveled him out and pushed his car and tried to clear a path for him. About 25 minutes later, he had driven about 30 feet.

It's crazy. We've been watching the snow get deeper and deeper.

Our fenced-in garden is almost completely covered. It looks like a snow swimming pool.

Our swings aren't swinging any more since the snow has piled so high; the seats of the swings are now sitting in the snow.

Our picnic table is piled HIGH with snow. And you can no longer see the benches. The snow has covered them that much.

You can't distinguish between the grass, sidewalk, and road. It's all a big, huge, white world out there.

Our front fence is totally covered. In spots, you can't even tell we have a fence at all.

And visibility is LOW.

Yesterday, right before the storm started, it was strangely dark in daytime. The sky looked HEAVY like it was about to just open and let its contents pour down. And that it did.

Waking up this morning, it was brighter-than-normal . . . the kind of brightness you get from the whole outside being so white that light reflects off of it, twice as bright as usual.

It is CRAZY! We haven't ever seen this much snow since moving here in 2003. And, from what I understand, this may be the most snow this area has ever gotten like this. Some kind of record.

We must have at least 3 feet and counting out there.

I'm so glad we're inside, safe and warm. I'm grateful we don't have to be anywhere but here right now. So grateful.

And I'm grateful we haven't lost power. Because we have no alternate heating source, so no power = no heat. I would LOVE to install a fireplace or wood stove. For peace of mind. And for heat. And ambiance. Someday.

Between these 2 storms, we took our kids and some friends to a local hill to sled. Over TWENTY of us had a great time sledding and playing in the snow!

I like seasons. And, though I much prefer summer and am not a fan of snow and absolutely HATE driving in it--refuse to drive in it, I love snow days. We're kicking back. We're reading. We're playing. We're writing. We have books, games, and fun stuff to watch.

I kind of like storms. When we can be home like this. Love it.

This is out in front of our business.
Since taking this picture, you now can't see the fence at all.

That is our garden.
See the tippity top of the garden fence all around?
A snow swimming pool.

See how the swings can't move now?

Kids can hardly walk in it.

Another fun thing about snow days!

Scout loves the snow . . . usually. It's a bit deep for her.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You and Me

Okay, so I made 3 Valentines. Can you blame me? I have 3 wonderful people in my family and I feel like telling them how much I love them. I know the past two songs have been country. I am not a country music fan. I mean, it's okay when it's crossover, but I generally don't tune in to country. Those songs just have awesome lyrics and music (and aren't too twangy). This is more my speed. Kind of pop/alternative/funk/rock/jazz/folk (basically not usually country--though sometimes it's okay. Just not usually). Anyway . . .

I've been thinking about marriage.

I've been thinking about many of the little things I love about marriage.

I love that I can reach over and grab a bite (or five) off your plate.

I love talking about mundane, everyday things.

I love watching Jeopardy and making fun of Alex Trebek with you.

I love that we enjoy the same people.

I love quoting random shows with you.

I love that the same situations make us think of the same random show quotes.

I love that the same kind of people annoy us.

I love not thinking twice about singing along to the radio when I'm with you.
Every Lyric.

I love that this is my life!

I love making life decisions with you.

I love hanging out doing whatever we want.

I love that we're the bosses of us.

I love running errands with you.

I love doing projects with you.

I love lazing around with you.

You and Me?

We make a good You and Me.

A Valentine For Our Son

You knew this was coming.

It is harder to find songs for sons
than it is to find songs for daughters.

But I've found one that I like.

This little boy brings so much energy and laughter to our lives.

He teaches us to not take ourselves too seriously.

He came at a time that was very difficult for me emotionally.

And I've always felt badly about that.

I didn't feel like I knew how to be a Mom to a colicky baby
and an energetic toddler son.

But he taught me.

He teaches us a lot of wonderful things.

And we are buddies, him and me.

And I always pray that I'm being the best Mom I can be
for our children.

I want to do right by them.

Like our beautiful girl, this handsome boy is growing up
right before my eyes.

This song chokes me up. This IS my wish.

I adore this little boy.

This is our valentine for him.

We are so lucky to be his parents.

We love you.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Valentine For Our Daughter

I cannot listen to this song without crying.


It doesn't matter if I'm in a silly mood.

It doesn't matter if I'm in an angry mood.

It doesn't matter if I've heard it 22 times while editing this video.

I cry every time.

I feel like I'm overflowing with love for my daughter.

We're so lucky to be her parents.

We love you.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bad Mood

It's been one of those days. The kind where you're irritable and stressed out and not so proud of yourself for your behavior. The kind of day where you want to give yourself a 35-minute time-out on the naughty step. Twice. The kind where you just want to go to bed and start over the next day.

But you can't yet. Because you still have a stinking audition show to watch. And we're still not done yet! Oh, the humanity! This is not helping my mood. In fact, this would be the complete opposite of helping my mood. Ellen and Hollywood cannot come fast enough.

The good thing is I've been told that people like my AI reviews better when I'm grumpy. So, today is apparently your lucky day.

Where to start? This. This is why I'm not in bed yet.

I stayed up to watch another annoying intro where Randy pretends to not know which city he's in. We get it, Randy. You're so funny. Ha. Ha.

I stayed up to watch Posh Spice dress and do her hair like an alien from outer space and to wonder if she ever eats at all.

I stayed up to watch four shallow adults who haven't ever quite outgrown high school try to manufacture a sob story where there really isn't one.

And then I stayed up to watch Kara fawn all over every sob story like it's a freaking Lifetime special. "This was very moving." Which part, Kara? That, *sob*, she has been singing karaoke for 3 years? Or the part where that one kid says he lived in Maui (or maybe North Carolina. Potato. Patata)? Or was it the one where the one girl cried when she fulfilled her lifelong dream of meeting Simon? Someone get a screen writer, stat!

I stayed up to fast forward image after image of the Colorado Rockies and gigantic crowds of people chanting what I can only assume was "No, I'm the next American Idol!"

I stayed up to watch Simon call someone lippy and mock her for being a single mother and for wearing a wig.

I stayed up to watch some guy who thinks he looks like Jack Black but didn't really.

I stayed up to hear about twenty "Yes or No, Randy?"s.

I stayed up to watch Dudley Do-Right try out for American Idol. Because you know if that strangely-conceited football player had dressed like a Mountie, he would've looked just like this:

I stayed up to watch some guy with the personality of Bucky Covington do a strip-tease-on-demand for the judges.

I stayed up to watch some kid sing as "community service." A service of what kind, I do not know.

I stayed up to find out that some girl wants to be the "first black pop country mainstream" artist. What? That's about the equivalent of saying you want to be the first Asian rock jazz alternative.

I stayed up because the producers made me think there would be someone naked on the show. Gasp! But no, instead, we got that disturbing bikini boy, not that we had to watch him make out with Ryan. And honestly? In the previews, they had the courtesy to blur out the image. It would've been less nightmare inducing if he'd been naked. I pray I don't remember my dreams when I wake up.

I'm going to bed.