Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AI Season 9-Top 10 Elimination

 AI is associating itself with Clash of the Titans. And by associating, I mean selling itself to the highest bidder. However, AI in 3D is an interesting notion. Imagine Simon in your living room. Or maybe not.

Randy is in a blue sweater with a dove on the breast. Ellen is in a pinstriped jacket over plaid. Kara is in silver-gray and pearls. Simon is Simon.

Hey! It's Ruben! I liked Clay best, but I always had a soft spot for Ruben (who is touring with Clay this summer, including a performance at Biltmore House in July). Ruben is wearing a loose gray suit and has carefully sculpted stubble. He seems to have lost a lot of weight. He's singing a lively song. which has lots and lots of words, and he looks like he's enjoying himself. Afterwards, Ryan calls Mike to the stage for a comparison of Lovable Big Black Men. Ruben is taller, but Mike has the guns. Mike also has a stupid ponytail that seems to be attached to his cap.

They're doing Kung Fu Fighting for the Fordmercial. Casey is in street clothes, ignoring everyone else as they leap and kick around him in their jammies. It's actually quite amusing, though that may have as much to do with the song, as the performance or the choreography.

Ah, Mike's pastel purple hair is glued to the back of his head, which is even dumber than having it sewn to his hat.

So, to the purpose of the show: Lee stands first. It seems like all of this season's guys favor leather, which is fine. But they all also seem to prefer jackets that are a size or three too small, which looks hot and uncomfortable. In any case, Lee is safe, as well he should be.

Casey is in a gray plaid shirt with rolled sleeves. As far as I can tell, Casey isn't an artist. I haven't seen or heard a single original thing from him, though I think he'd lead a kick-ass bar band. And he's sticking around for awhile longer.

Aaron is in blue plaid with rolled sleeves (plaid is the other Theme this year, I guess). Aaron admits that he hasn't been in love which is not exactly a surprise. Randy sort of picks up the ball that Simon, Ryan, and Kara fumbled. Ellen wisely stays out of it. Aaron is also safe.

Siobhan and Katie stand next. Siobhan's hair is mussed, and not in an *I did this on purpose* way. She's still wearing last night's muklucks, and last night's mood. Katie is in a strappy, flowered, ill-fitting dress, knee boots, and a Farrah Flip. Siobhan is falling apart and Katie is in the Bottom 3.

What the hell is up with Ryan? Did he have a charmectomy? His constant needling of Simon is wearisome, and it's pissing Simon off. Much of their banter appears to be scripted, but this feels uncomfortably real.

So, next week is Lennon and McCartney. That ought to be interesting.

That's Justin Beiber, eh? Good grief. He's barely out of the womb, and yet he claims that Usher shaped him as an artist. The only thing shaped (or artistic) about this kid is his pixie haircut. He hasn't even hit puberty yet.

Now Usher is on stage. He can move, I'll give him that. The singing? Well, not so much. Writhing girls? Crotch grabbing? Inappropriate mimed humping (not that there is such a thing as appropriate mimed humping)? You got it. In abundance.

GAH! Hammer Pants! My eyes!

Solemn Didi, in a red blouson top with split sleeves, tight jeans and very long legs, stands next. Didi has a hard time articulating her thoughts and finishing her sentences. To absolutely no one's surprise, least of all Didi's, she's in the Bottom 3.

Mike wisely got rid of the surplus hair. And Ryan, that scamp, faked me out totally. I actually thought that Mike was in danger for a minute.

Crystal, dreds tucked up in a floppy knit hat, wearing a black overdress and boots, is safe. I am worried about Crystal- not that she's in danger of being voted out, but that she's in danger of winning the whole thing. I love her absolutely and completely, and I think she's miles ahead of all of the others, and I think she's a genuine artist. Which means that winning would be the worst thing that could happen to her- imagine Crystal having to sing the puppies/rainbows/unicorns crap they force on the winners... Top 3, that's where I want her to land. High enough to get plenty of exposure and a contract with an indie producer, but not not so high that she's DioGuardiaed into perceived failure because her music isn't being played on pop radio.( See: Hicks, Taylor).

Tim and Andrew are left. Tim has an excellent attitude, even while explaining to a very dense Kara, that he's enjoying the AI experience even if he doesn't win. Which is good, since he's B3.

Ryan almost immediately narrows it to B2 by sending Katie back. Katie's programming doesn't allow her to pretend to be anything but delighted.

I'm confused. Is this a group called Didi Dirty Money? Some guy is standing on the staircase, bathed in intensely bright light, with a couple more writhing females. Oh. It's Diddy. Singing a song called, Dirty Money, I assume. We see even more hot chicks making imappropriate moves and gestures. Lucky us. And strobe lights too. Diddy must have gone all the way to the 1969 Snohomish High School Girl's Club Semi-Formal Tolo Dance for them.

This stuff just reminds me that I'm an old person now. Get off my musical lawn, you kids. Before I call the cops.

So, Didi is going home. There is absolutely no chance that the deus will ex their machina for her, but it's nice that she's singing Rhiannon tonight, instead of anything else she has sung lately. It's better than last night's performance, though not by much.

The show goes into ovdedrtime reminding us that Didi spent much of her AI journey in tears. I hope she'll be happier on the tour.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

AI Season 9- Top 10 Performance

(I'm not sure who to credit for this fantastic screen shot- if anyone knows, please tell me)

We open backstage, in a Judge Group Hug. Randy is in a red sweater appliqued with felt argyle diamonds and an elephant (seriously). Ellen is in a gray blazer with white Mod piping, and a loose bow tie slung around her neck. Kara is in a one-shouldered gray dress and multiple chains. Simon's white shirt has pin tucks and looks like it's made from jersey knit.

Usher is the mentor tonight. It was nice of Ryan to tell us old folks that Usher has sold 45 million records and has won 8 Grammys. He's wearing an extremely soft-looking gray leather jacket with huge lapels, over a t-shirt that probably cost $400. In addition to mentoring the kids, he's shilling for his new "alblum".

Siobhan has picked up where Lacey left off in the Wacky Wardrobe Department. She's dressed so oddly at the rehearsal that Usher cautions about letting her outfits distract from the performance. Way to go, Usher. I'm not sure that Siobhan took him seriously- tonight she's sporting braided and puffy hair, a black strapless top that may or may not have lips sponge painted on the front, over a toga, and mukluks with shin guards. I kid you not. I forgot to write down what she sang (see, Usher was right), but she started out straight up and subtle, with a good build to the Big Note. Unfortunately, she couldn't resist throwing in a shriek or two. They must not have enough filler tonight, because the judges all had plenty of time to tell Siobhan exactly how disappointed they were with her performance. We get a glimpse of the backstage action, and it's clear that Siobhan is devastated by their comments.

Casey forgets some lyrics during his Usher Time, which reminds me that he also forgot the words in dress rehearsal last week. This is a disturbing trend. He's wearing a black shirt over a red shirt, and playing a matching red guitar. His hair is tied back, though it may be shorter, and a lighter blonde as well. He's singing Sam and Dave's Hold On, I'm Comin', and it's good. As usual, Casey is not doing anything different or interesting with the song, but it's fun... except for that part where he forgot some of the words... though the judges seemed not to notice.

Mike is wearing a tan leather jacket that is way too small (I suppose it's difficult to find stuff that fits arms that are bigger than my thighs). He's seated on The Stool of Seriousness and they've given him the Angel Lighting, as he plays a guitar and softly sings India.Arie's Ready for Love, while seated behind the judges, who had to watch the performance on the screen. This is a really lovely performance, though there is still too much vocal embroidery for my taste (yes, I know that I say that every week).

Note to Audience: Enough with the waving arms already

Didi is up next, and she loses it entirely during her one-on-one-Usher-time. The little we hear of What Becomes of the Broken Hearted rehearsal does not bode well. Didi looks lovely, as usual, in a spangly gold mermaid dress that shows a lot of leg. The performance is not lovely. She's totally out of her league, and she knows it. So do the judges. Ryan tries to comfort her onstage, but his questions make Didi squirm (literally).

Note to Ryan: When you are holding a girl's hand, and she pulls back sharply, let go.

Tim is wearing a trim suit and a polka dot tie, and has a bit of chin scruff. He's singing Anita Baker's Sweet Love, a song I totally adore. He starts out tentatively, but warms into it. Sorta. Like Ellen, I wonder why in the world he chose that song. Tim seems to be a nice young man who accepts criticism gracefully. A nice young man who is very lucky that Didi performed first.

Usher actually removed his sunglasses to make a point for Andrew about connecting with the audience. It must have worked, because Andrew, in a shiny gray suit, purple checked shirt and pocket square, delivers a performance of Forever that is his best since Hollywood Week. Welcome back, Andrew! I've missed you.

Note to Andrew's Mama: Oh, honey, no. On all counts.

Katie is taking on Aretha, which Usher should have discouraged. Her hair is in an ill-advised, multi-layered pompadour (or as Ellen says, Snooki Poofs), and she's wearing a weirdly constructed gray romper over leggings and stilettos, which strays periously, and uncomfortably, close to Hooker Wear. Her vocals, as always, are good enough. But again, as always, she has absolutely no connection to the lyrics, music, or audience.

Lee is wearing a gray jacket with epaulettes and either a Masonic symbol, or a Star Fleet Emblem, embossed on the breast. He's accompanying himself on Treat her Like A Lady, with an acoustic guitar. This is a bit shouty for my taste, but otherwise it's really good.

Note to Lee: Don't swallow your pick.

Crystal is gorgeous tonight, in a fitted red dress and black belt over leggings, and really cute heels. She ditched the guitar for a piano, where she begins Midnight Train to Georgia. Wow! Wow! Wowee! Wow! This is exactly what she needed to do- I am not in the least bored with her Earth Mother Lilith Fair Folkie Guitar Schtick, but I have heard a bit of grumbling on the Interwebz. She glamed it up, souled it up, and changed it up. That oughta shut them up. Wahoo!

So, how is Aaron going to follow this? With Bill Wither's Ain't No Sunshine. Hmmm. Well, he starts out weak and a little wavery in a black leather hoodie and Tin Tin hair, but he builds and improves. Still, it's not nearly as good as it could have been. Or as it needed to be, following Crystal and Lee. Simon compares the performance to a cupcake, and he's absolutely right. He's still better than Didi or Tim.

Best tonight: Mike, Andrew, Lee and Crystal were all excellent.

Going home: Didi, fer shure.

Peeps Show IV


Monday, March 29, 2010

Knitting certainly is a privilege...

... even when you're knitting against the clock, and have no time to enjoy the fine spring weather, or to write blog posts...

Mo Rocca learned this too, and if you didn't see the clip about him (and Ravelry, and eating his words) on the CBS Sunday morning show, watch it here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Signs of Spring

The geese are back. So are the robins and meadowlarks.

The snow is melting.

The water level in Turtle Creek is falling.

The trees are budding.

But the surest sign of all?

We're filling the pool.

Friday, March 26, 2010

what exactly do they mean by *odd* title?

My friend Byron alerted me to this book awhile back. Looks like it won the contest, though I can't for the life of me figure out why...

This passes for normal in my world...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday Tab- Danish Ploufmann Dolls- Lili

I would like to give another shout out to my Danish friend who prefers to remain anonymous. Thanks for sharing all these wonderful paper dolls!

Here's another Ploufmann doll, Lili. I love the clothes and the artwork, and that Lili's sunsuit makes her look adorably hippy (and maybe just a bit startled).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

AI Season 9- Top 11 Elimination

I wonder if it just occurred to the kids that one of them is going home every week for the next 10 weeks (or is it 9?). They all look pretty worried. Of course, this particular elimination is more important than any of the next several, because the remaining 10 kids get to go on tour, which not only means experience and exposure, but also money.

The camera pans the audience, and in among the usual semi-celebrities and cheering fans, there is a girl with blood dripping from a forehead wound, and running from her nose to her chest. Odd.

Randy is in a sweater that fades from orange to white to charcoal (it's actually quite pretty- I'd like one for myself). Ellen is has a bulky, black and white checked, neck scarf. Kara is sparkly (and I am fairly certain that she loathes Ellen).

The kids sing Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, which as far as pre-multiple-arrest George Michael goes, is okay. Cheesy, but then again, this is American Idol. Crystal is smiling, Aaron is moving like an Earth Human, Mike is a ham, here's a Pointy Pose in the middle of the song, Casey seems to be wearing matching black armbands, Siobhan still has weird hair, and here's another Pointy Pose. All in all, good fun.

The boring Fordmercial consists of the kids filling a fountain with multi-colored plastic balls. I wonder if there's anything symbolic in leaving Andrew behind.

Ah, the Bleeding Chick is one of Siobhan's groupies (she's a Siobhombie... get it?), one of several decked out in scabs, dripping blood, and stitches.

Katie's dad can't bear to watch the elimination shows, so he's in a bar, having a drink instead. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Ryan has Siobhan stand first. I think all she did was rearrange yesterday's weird hair (combing that mess out is probably a major undertaking). She's wearing a pink polka dot, print tee, and is a lot cannier than she looks (or sounds). She admits to trotting out The Scream in order to garner enough votes to make it to the tour. It worked. Well played, Siobhan.

Lee (in leather) and Casey stand. Ryan strings them along for a minute, and then has Tim and Paige (all black, shredded sleeves, high heel boots) stand as well. And in a surprising reveal, both Tim and Paige are in the Bottom Three (it's not surprising in the least that they're in danger, but it is unusual for both to be named this early in the show). I assume that Lee and Casey are both safe, though Ryan doesn't say so specifically.

Hmmmm. Next week's theme is R&B Soul, which sounds interesting. Featuring Usher, which doesn't.

Well, they carried through on their threat to have Miley Cyrus perform. She's at the piano, and the smoke machine is set on High. Here are my exact notes on the performance: nasal, goaty, stringy hair swinging forcefully, pitchy dawg, satin pillowcase, bitten fingernails, wouldn't make it past the first audition.

I feel marginally guilty for disliking a seventeen year old this much, until she opens her mouth, and I remember that her foghorn speaking voice makes my ears bleed.

Back to the kids: Aaron is safe, and I'm okay with that. He's not great, but he's not as terrible as some of them, and he seems to improve every week.

Didi is up next, and even she knows that means she's safe (it's far too soon to name all 3 Bottom Feeders). Didi wonders what the judges want her to do. Here's a hint, Didi: sing better.

Mike is safe. Like there was even a chance that he wouldn't be. He's at least Top 5, if not Top 3.

Crystal, is in cowboy boots and an odd black dress. Ryan asks her who she listens to when she gets conflicting advice from the judges. She says she listens to herself. God, I love her. FWIW- I tried voting for her last night, and got steady busy signals until 15 minutes before the phones closed down. Girlfriend doesn't need my help to stay in the competition.

Katie and Andrew stand next. Andrew is in red checks, and Katie is looking cute in a floppy white shirt and vest. Ryan asks Katie what kind of artist she wants to be, but she's not programmed for that function.  And in a minor surprise, Katie joins Paige and Tim. For about 30 seconds, until she is sent back to the Tour-ees.

We might as well get all the Teeny Boppers out of the way in one night. Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato are up next. Several of my granddaughters have written gushy letters to Joe Jonas, and he has not responded to any of them, not even with a form postcard (which which they would have been totally thrilled) so I am not disposed to view him favorably. I am also not disposed to listen to him favorably. Or to the warbly Ms. Lovato. However they are both very shiny.

And finally, we get to the business of the evening. Both Paige and Tim deserve to be right where they're standing (along with Didi and Andrew), but Paige does have real talent (as opposed to Tim, who is mostly cute... if you like that sort of thing, which I do not). Tim's cuteness comes to the rescue, and as hard as it sounds, Simon did Paige a favor by telling her in advance that there was no way that they were going to use The Save on her.

Paige's singout reminds us that the voters made the right choice. I don't know what happened to Paige, but she lost her way. I hope she finds it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

AI Season 9- Top 11 Performance

Apparently, the judges are going to enter from center stage for the duration. Kara has very pretty hair tonight, thigh high boots, and a weirdly constructed, royal blue sack-dress. Ellen is in an ice cream suit and scarf. Randy is in his usual sweater and beads. Simon is wearing a v-neck charcoal cardigan with the sleeves pushed up past his elbows.

The theme tonight is #1 Billboard Hits. Billboard has been tabulating this stuff since Medeival times, so just about any song is up for grabs. And it wasn't an early April Fool's joke- Miley Cyrus...terrible-posture Miley Cyrus... often dressed like a hooker Miley Cyrus... can't sing a single note without computer help Miley Cyrus... mouth-breather Miley Cyrus..."that" Miley Cyrus is "mentoring" people who are mostly older than her, and entirely more talented. Way to go, show.

First up is Lee, singing The Letter, a song I don't love. Miley thinks he needs more stage presence, and she may be right (dammit- I agree with her). He's wearing a dark suit, multiple necklaces, and some sort of breast pocket jewelry that involves chains and shiny enamel. Lee always has a little trouble, pitchwise, but outside of that, I like this arrangement, which is heavy on brass and jazz styling. Our friend Lorah thinks Lee's hair is thicker, darker, and curlier than before. I do believe that the stylists have had their way with him.

For once, Paige isn't wearing romper shorts. Instead, she's in a drapey white shirt, black leggings, and chunky, very high heels. Her speaking voice is a little squeaky, but last week she couldn't talk at all, and yet she sang just fine. She's going to do Phil Collins's Against All Odds, and wow... she starts out weak and wobbly, and goes downhill from there. This entire performance is purely terrible. I don't think a single note is in tune. Afterwards, Paige lies to the judges and says that she had fun. It sure wasn't fun to listen to.

And Tim, in a nice gray blazer over a black and white striped shirt, is singing Queen? We decide that this can't be a good idea. And we're right. The singing is bad enough, but Tim foolishly decides to run and slide across the stage. This is the definition of corny. Also pitchy.

Aaron has a crush on Miley, which is not exactly surprising (though she's about 20 years too old for him). He's wearing a black denim jacket over a black and white gingham shirt, and jeans with frayed knees. He's going to sing Aerosmith's Don't Wanna Miss a Thing, which promises to be another trainwreck. He's far too tentative at the beginning (he also has laryngitis), but otherwise, he actually sounds good. In fact, I think this is his best performance. Also, either they're doing his makeup better, or his skin is clearing up. Either way, he's a cute as a bug's ear.

Ah, now I see where Miley gets her scary eyes. Mom looks just like her.

Crystal sometimes looks a little... how should we say... homeless. But tonight, she's beautiful- all done up for the Earth Mother Prom in a long dress, and really pretty hair. And she's singing Me and Bobby McGee. Many on this show have attempted Janis. And until now, no one has done her justice, but Crystal's gospel/blues take on the song is perfect. Fantastic. Wonderful.

I wouldn't want to follow that performance, but Mike, in a black velvet jacket, is doing okay with When a Man Loves a Woman. He throws in too many riffs, and embroiders the song more than I like, but his voice is lovely, and this is a great song for him. Yes it's a safe, and maybe even an easy, choice. But it's also a pleasing performance.

Miley suggests that Andrew ditch the guitar for I Heard It Through The Grapevine. So he does, emphatically proclaiming in his safari jacket: I HEARD it through the GRAPEvine, JUST about to LOSE my mind. This is not so much a song, as it is a stump speech, and I don't think hanging on to the guitar would have helped. Simon is right- Andrew got in on the strength of one really great performance in Hollywood, which may well have been a fluke. He's done nothing even vaguely comparable since.

Katie reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode where the beautiful actress is really an ancient Egyptian Priestess who stays young by practicing black magic. She's the oldest teenager I've ever seen (easily older than Miley, who is 49 and twice divorced).  At least tonight, she's dressed like a kid in a a black leather jacket, suede boots, a peace symbol t-shirt, and suspenders. Lorah thinks her hair is darker than last week, and I think Lorah is right. She's singing Big Girls Don't Cry (the Fergie version, not Franki Valli), and you know what? She sounds good. In fact, this is the best she has sounded, and she actually looks comfortable onstage.

Casey is wearing a blue Casey Shirt and loose hair. And he's singing Huey Lewis, which sounds like a disaster on paper, but is actually really good. Not that Casey is doing anything different, or particularly interesting, with The Power of Love, in fact, it could fairly be called karaoke. But it's good karaoke, and I am enjoying the hell out of it.

Didi is singing You're No Good, and I can hear from the first note in the Miley Mentor clip that this is going to be  major league bad. She's wearing a black one-sleeved dress with an asymetrical hem and knee boots, and is desperately trying to vamp the band, the audience, and the camera. Oh my, this isn't even Lounge Lizard worthy. It's horrible, from beginning to end, and Didi knows it.

What in the hell did Siobhan do to her hair? It's teased and moussed (or whatever they use instead of mousse these days) into some sort of insane, pink-streaked mohawk. She's wearing a black, studded, t-back vest over a lace top, which is, in turn, over a t-shirt. We spend some time trying to figure out whose portrait is on the tee- but the best we can do is narrow the field to Dorothy Gale, Anne Frank, or Didi. She's singing Superstition, and this is another performance that should not work. But it does. In fact, it's fantastic!

Best tonight: Crystal, Casey, and Siobhan.

And the voters have a pretty good field to choose from for the worst- any one of Tim, Paige, Didi or Andrew could, and should, go home. If I was going to save any of those four, it would be Paige, who does have an amazing voice, when she remembers how to use it. The ten survivors all get to go on the tour, so this elimination is vitally important for all of them. I can't wait to find out who gets the boot.

When work interferes with blogging...

We're doing a photo-shoot here this morning, featuring process pictures of steeking and other Fair Isle techniques, so the last few days have been very busy with preparations, which is why there wasn't a blog post yesterday. My friend Nick is taking the pics, and my hands may star. It should be interesting. Maybe I'll take pictures of him taking pictures.

In the meantime, a few updates:

#1. The water is beginning to recede. Not quickly mind you, but the water levels are lower than they were a couple of days ago.

#2. We finished watching the DVRed first season of Men of a Certain Age, and were totally blown away. All three leads, Ray Romano, Scott Bakula, and Andre Braugher, were excellent. The story lines were complex and believable, and the mix of comedy and drama perfect. Ray Romano is surprisingly good in this dramatic role, and Andre Braugher deserves an Emmy. I am very glad that the series has been renewed.

#3. I rented The Other from Blockbuster and watched it while knitting yesterday. It's really dated (and the kids playing the leads were awful actors), but the story is still chilling. There's a small, but interesting appearance by a very young John Ritter in the film.

#4. I also rented The Others and watched it again (I guess I was amused by the similar titles). This one is also quite spooky, and the first time around, I didn't get the twist until about 3/4 through the story.

#5. I'm still about 28 chapters from finishing  the Librivox version of The Mysteries of Udolpho. As always, the story moves at a glacial pace. Once in a while, our beleagured heroine Emily shows a glimmer of intelligence, though a couple of days ago, she did something so monumentally stupid that if I had been reading a physical book, I would have thrown it across the room. I don't quite understand why she's such a Stalker Magnet, but no fewer than 6 men are in love with/obsessed with/want to own/intend to marry/plan to kidnap/are willing to rape her. I rather like the dense, talkative Annette though- she's a much more likable heroine.

#6. While I was in liqueur mode, I put together a couple of quart jars of Blackberry Brandy. This concoction doesn't take as long to steep as Limoncello, but it ought to be really good.

#7. Sock of the day:

These were made from handspun Merino, which should not work as sock yarn, but these have held up very well. My friend Dana dyed the roving, and I spun it fine and 2-plied it to a hard sock yarn with a lot of twist.

You can see by the toes that I should have done that *alternating two balls* thing to avoid such a sudden color change from one skein to the next. On the other hand, no one looks at my toes anyway.

#8. Miley Cyrus on American Idol tonight? As a Mentor???????? Give me a break.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I always wanted to live on a lake...

The rivers are supposed to crest today, but it'll take awhile for the water levels to drop.

The spillway in town is usually dry. Not this week.

And while the water is up behind our place, it is dropping in town.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Can we call it Turtle River now?

This morning

When life gives you lemons...

Okay, so I had to buy the lemons.

And the vodka. And the Everclear.

And I'll have to buy cane sugar (though I may have some in the wine supplies).  Anyway...

When life gives (hands/sells) you lemons, make limoncello.

This process isn't nearly as complex as winemaking. I'm not fermenting anything, I'm just steeping lemon rinds in grain alcohol and vodka, and then sweetening it (and I'm going to use real sugar- this stuff is meant to be sipped slowly from a teeny tiny glass, on special occasions. I'm not going to worry about the calories or carbs) (the sugar isn't the main concern- we're talking Everclear here. That stuff will knock you on your butt in no time flat). It'll be about 90 days before it's ready, and even then, it doesn't hurt to age it more (in the freezer).

In the meantime, after peeling 15 outer lemon layers, I was left with this:

and had no choice but to make...

Though I did use Splenda.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Without a paddle

Though only crazy folks would get on Turtle Creek (or any of the area waterways), even with a paddle, right now.
I took pics yesterday, but they were rendered moot by the water level today. Frog Girl and I put boots on and tromped out this morning to take these shots (it's a stitch of 3 pictures). The water is up a good 3' from yesterday, and easily 15' above the normal level.

Remember this:

The water is well above the snowline now.
The Hub and I drove around yesterday, to look at the high water.
Conclusion: there's a lot of high water

Cemetary Dam is under there somewhere.

And the ice hasn't all melted yet. These chunks came off Cottonwood Lake.

My town is experiencing flooding in the low-lying areas, and many country roads are under water, but many people are having more trouble with sewer backup from the overflow. We're okay, but many are going to have a mess when the water finally recedes. However, other areas have it much worse, and no one is actually surprised. We knew all that snow had to go someplace.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday Tab- More Danish Ploufmann Dolls

Here's another set of stunning Danish Ploufmann paper dolls from the 60's. The artwork is gorgeous!

Bad Creek Risin'

Okay, it's not so bad.

But it's definitely up from yesterday.

Ice dams form, break, and then reform.

If it keeps up at this rate, the water will be up on the penninsula by tomorrow. What this all means, is that spring is on the way. However,

we don't need no stinkin' badgers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

AI Season 9- Top 12 Elimination

We open with The Everly Brothers singing All I Have to Do is Dream over clips of all 12 kids. They're playing with special effects and reverb and echo, and naming each of the finalists, just in case we forgot who they are between yesterday and tonight.

Ryan enters from the audience as they fart around with St. Patrick's Day lighting. Randy is wearing a powder blue, short-sleeved tee, and a different necklace. Ellen is in a charcoal linen blazer and pale blue tee. Kara is in a purple slouchy thing with nary a sparkle in sight. Simon's in a gray v-neck sweater.

We waste time with another weird interlude between Simon and Ryan, which I think was every bit as scripted as last night's dust up. We revisit The Judge's Save, though of course they won't use it unless there's a truly shocking ouster before the Top 5.

David Cook is here to sing Jumpin' Jack Flash. He's in a black suit, red shirt, and scruffy whiskers. He either got some hair implants, or a really good rug, because his hairline is much more defined than it used to be. David says afterward, that he's glad that he isn't being judged (or eliminated) tonight, as well he should be. If he'd done that version last night, they would have branded it pure Bar Band.

We segue to the first Fordmercial of the season- all of the kids are dressed in white, driving around (usually two to a car), and throwing paint balls out the windows at each other. It's actually not too bad. And evidently, Ford paid for a lot of time tonight, because we spend another few minutes as the kids play with computers, designing customized cars, which, if I am being honest here (tm Simon), are pretty cool.

Paige is up first- she's wearing a short, white jacket, a tight blue layered tee, lots of busy belts, brown leather boots, and a purple tam. Just to fool with us, and our expectations, Ryan sends her to the Silver Stools of Disappointment.

Lee, in a canvas-looking blazer and black tee, doesn't quite understand what constitutes A Moment on this show. But he'll have time to figure it out, since he's safe.

Siobhan is wearing a hand-knit headband with a huge wooly rose, a weirdly blotchy green jeans, and a blotchy t-shirt. And she's safe.

I worry for Aaron, in his western shirt and rolled cuffs. But he's safe too.

Ryan has Andrew (in a zippered sweatshirt with sleeve stripes) and Tim (in a t-shirt that looks old, with a peeling psychedelic graphic, but which probably is brand new and very expensive), stand together. Tim, and his marginally improved hairstyle, join Paige.

Before the commercial, Ryan says that Orianthi is up next. I have no idea who Orianthi is, or, indeed, if Orianthi is male or female. Okay, she's a girl, a blonde rocker girl with smokey eye makeup, a black leather outfit, and a monster feather hanging from a hip chain. Her song, According to You, is generic rock. Not great, not terrible. She's better than some acts they have on the show, I can say that.

Didi stands next. She's in a sleeveless top and vest, lovely curls, and tan leather boots. There's something odd, construction-wise, going on with the back of the vest- it pooches, or gathers. Or something. And she's safe.

Crystal is in plaid, with tin, flowered earrings. Ryan has her explain what she made perfectly clear last night: that she does not think she has the competition locked up. We're both relieved when he says she is safe.

Katie is in a bright yellow halter top with a huge, floppy front bow, and sideswept hair. And she's safe, which is surprising.

Michael is in gray plaid, and oh my goodness, I knew he was big, but I had never quite processed exactly how big he is. I did know, however, that he would be safe.

Which leaves Casey and Lacey, and my guess is that they paired them just for the sake of the rhyme. Casey is in a denim shirt, with his hair tied back. Lacey is underdressed for her, with a huge hair flower, a gray, bibbed tunic with a high waisted leather belt, over leggings, and a metallic leaf necklace. I am not surprised that Casey is safe.

Ellen ponders the save, but I will bet the farm that it's not going to happen this week. Ryan sends Tim back to the others, and I am doubly certain that they won't use it now.

Ah, a $ after a vowell makes it a soft sound. I had been saying Key-sha. Her song is Blah Blah Blah, which we mute almost immediately while Gaga-Lite prances around the stage in her half-price Halloween costume, with her twee television-head backup dancers. An eagle feather headdress? Seriously?

And finally, the two minutes of the show that actually matter: Lacey is out, and no matter how much the judges mumblemumblemumble, they're not going to save her. She chooses to sing The Story, rather than Ruby Tuesday, which is a new wrinkle. Side note: Ruby Tuesday has the best croutons ever- soft, salty, dark, and garlicky. I could happily make a meal just from them.

Ellen is sad (maybe she didn't realize that she'd care about the kids), and Lacey is gracious and teary, though even she can't be too surprised at this. There simply wasn't room for 3 odd-voices in a single year.

I don't think Ryan said what the theme is next week. I hope it's something good.

Original Music by Crystal Bowersox

p.s. the URL on the picture is a fansite, not Crystal's own blog

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

AI Season 9- Top 12 Performance

Ah-it's this season's first night on The Big Stage. The judges enter from the stage itself, welcomed by that guy who announces Wheel of Fortune (I think). Kara is in a vaguely Egyptian, charcoal gray dress (does she ever not wear sparkles?). Ellen is in an Ellen outfit. Randy is in a periwinkle cardigan and those beads. Simon is caught the cardigan fever, and is wearing a golf sweater too. They're back at the table in front of the stage, and it feels like home.

The cameras pan the Top 12 lineup, and oh my, there are some massively bad outfits in the mix. Ryan reminds us that we're doing the Rolling Stones. While I can admit their influence, and certainly their longevity, I also have to say that I've never loved The Stones. Their catalog isn't exactly comprised of singer's songs, so this will be interesting... if by interesting, I mean: trainwreck.

Michael is a Florida boy who was a child performer and a football player, who gave up football and took up music again as a coping mechanism after the death of his mother. He's wearing a black short-sleeved shirt and a black vest. He's singing Miss You, and Michael Jacksoning all over the place, but it works. His wife is adorable (as is their new baby) and she obviously loves him a lot.

We waste a bit of time with a staged bit of tension between Ryan and Simon (how do I know it was staged? Ryan spoke directly into the camera when he was supposedly addressing Simon).

Didi is playing Biker Chick in a purple satin bustier, low rise jeans (with a black tucked tee, so we're not getting an expanse of skin), lots of bracelets, amber drop earrings, great hair, and boots. She's from Tennessee, and was a middle child. A loud, willful, middle child. She starts Play with Fire on the staircase. Her version is sultry, and except for a couple of wonky notes, it's really good.

Casey is a Texan. His mother looks exactly like you'd think she would look. Casey was a sickly kid and a younger brother. He's singing All Over Now, in a red and black shirt, and loose hair. He's throwing a country-spin on the song, and it's good, but I could hear this in any smokey bar in South Dakota (if I wasn't too old to frequent smokey bars). I never noticed how tall Casey was until Ryan stood next to him.

Ellen makes a joke about her sexual orientation which is pretty funny.

Omigod Lacey, can you dress like an Earth Human just once? Tonight's fashion concoction consists of a one-shouldered prison-striped knit shirt under a ruffled lace tube top, a wide black belt, a short black skirt, stilettos, and sparkly nylons that may be thigh-highs. There's no way around it- this is a hooker costume. Lacey is also a Texan, and her dad is a pastor, who tries to convince us that Lacey was shy and introverted. She's singing Ruby Tuesday, which opens with a string quartet. This is weird, but it's not awful. She has such an unusual voice, which I like more than I did last week.

Andrew is wearing an odd gray blazer with military ribbons and a zipper front over a red and black checked shirt. His dad was a musician. Papa is emotional and very supportive. Andrew is singing Gimme Shelter, without a guitar. Okay, this is what he needed to do- come out and sing the song, and remind us that he has a great voice. This was an excellent choice, even if Randy disagrees with me. Andrew's wife has really, and I do mean really, unfortunate hair.

Katie is wearing a Grace Kelly dress, if Grace Kelly had ever favored animal prints. Her brother and his friends are in the audience, and they're all waving Katie cutouts. I do wish she would have given herself a few more years before trying out for this show, because she truly does have a great voice. What she doesn't have is a shred of onstage personality. She's singing Wild Horses, on the stool, and with dramatic lighting. It's wobbly at first, though she works her way into the song, but boy oh boy, she needs seasoning, which isn't going to happen between now and May.

Tim is also a Texan. He has five sisters and several brothers, who all look alike. He's wearing a striped knit shirt, and the 70's hair has been trimmed and shaped a bit. He's singing Under My Thumb with a Reggae beat. It's not a great vocal, but I like this arrangement, except for the spoken interlude in the middle. The judges are right, it was okay, but there was no Wow.  Oh, and Tim? Shut up.

Siobhan is from Cape Cod and her hippie family is big into *aht*. She's wearing a navy strapless dress, combat boots, and Barbara Streisand The Way We Were hair. She's singing Paint It Black, with you guessed it... red and black lighting. It's Total Drama, but she's pulling it off, with lots of big, long, high notes. So far, it's the best of the evening.

Lee looks like he's wearing a gray vinyl jacket with the sleeves pushed up. He's a Chicago boy who used to work in a paint store. He's singing Beast of Burden with a guitar. His version is very Jack Johnson, and though I've never seen what the big deal was about Lee, I like this a lot. I take back what I just said, this is the best of the evening.

Paige is from Florida, and was a church singer. She's wearing a khaki romper with a leather arm belt, tights, and matchy matchy boots. She's doing Honky Tonk woman, and I steel myself for the worst, but you know what? Paige threw a country flair onto the song, and it worked. Afterward, we learn that she has laryngitis, which makes her performance pretty amazing.

Aaron is from Pennsylvania, and was adopted. He's a nice kid in a brown western style leather shirt over a tie-dye tee, and aggressively spiked hair. He's singing Angie, which is a tuneless, boring song. But he's doing much better than I expected. He's giving Katie a run for the No-Stage-Presence Money, but this song was an excellent choice.

And finally, it's Crystal's turn. She's from Ohio, and grew up on a farm. Her dad was a Roadie, and looks every inch of it. I am not in the least surprised that Crystal knew what she wanted to be at age 10. She's singing You Can't Always Get What You Want (which always makes me think of the funeral scene in The Big Chill),  in a black top, jeans and cowboy boots, and Lilly's peacock feather in her hair. Crystal has become my favorite AI contestant ever, and she's great as always. She owns the stage. And she's gracious besides, especially in her praise of Siobhan's performance.

So, I was expecting nothing but awful tonight and that didn't happen. If I had to choose a worst, I guess it would be Katie.

Best: Siobhan, Lee and Crystal.

Good job, kids! I don't have a clue who'll go home tomorrow night, but whoever it is, he or she will go out on a high note.

... and the creek do rise...

What we needed more than anything, was a long, slow thaw...
What we got was about 2" of rain in 3 days,

which hurried up the melting

which broke the ice and caused Turtle Creek to rise about 6' overnight.

These ice chunks will probably flow into the James River, which is already at flood stage in many towns (though not mine). Things are going to get interesting, I think.

But, the sky is blue, for the first time in weeks. And spring is on the way.