Travel

October Craziness

So, it’s been just a bit crazy for the past several weeks. I’ve done a lot of traveling, faced a few challenges, and have come out the other side.

I took one very unexpected trip to San Diego, California followed by a regularly scheduled trip to New York City. The NYC trip was primarily a college tour trip, but we did take some time to visit some of the city’s highlights.

Here’s what’s been going on, in picture form. First, a trip to the west coast:

And then, a trip to the east coast:

Humor, Television, Travel

David S. Pumpkins will make your Halloween.

Any Questions?

This is my favorite skit in ages from SNL. I can’t even begin to describe why…. but I’ll try.

First of all, this skit just happened to be on SNL the same day that we took the NBC Studio Tour in New York City, where we got to see the legendary Studio 8H, the place Saturday Night Live has been produced for over 40 years. So, immediately +5 points, right?

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Children, Education, Music

The 2016 Lincoln High School Marching Band

The Lincoln High School Marching Band performs this past Saturday evening at the Fairmont Senior High School Band Spectacular. The band performs their “Flashback Friday” field show that features songs from the 80s, including Mr. Roboto, Call Me, and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.

The band will also be performing at the Liberty High School Band Spectacular in Clarksburg on September 24 and of course various Lincoln High School football games throughout the remainder of the season.

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Children, Church

The Children of the World Choir: Rescue Tour

The “Children of the World” choir came to Jewel City Church on Wednesday and touched the audience with their story of a difficult past that has now been replaced with a glorious future.

To learn more about their story and their current Rescue Tour, visit the WorldHelp website at https://worldhelp.net/children-of-the-world/

You can learn more about children like Jerry:

 

American Idol

The American Idol Grand Finale

And this… was American Idol…

I started writing this just after the American Idol: American Dream retrospective special, and finished up just after midnight a few days after the finale, so if I jump around incoherently, that’s why. Or at least it’s my excuse. But either way I’ve definitely been in the mood to type a bit about the most influential music show of the 21st century… This post may be ever-evolving too, as I sit back and think “And Another Thing! … ”

It actually might be a little bit tough to add to what has already been an hour and a half of “looking back.” But, I think I might have a bit to add. I’m gonna try not to say things like “as they said on the special…” because some of it obviously is going to be duplicate information. Other stuff, not so much.

Simon: The shock of the show

As much as I like to feel like a true fan of the show, it must be said that I wasn’t there from the beginning. Not the absolute beginning, anyway. I remember when I first started watching Idol. My brother had been after me for a couple of weeks to watch this new singing competition on television and the mean British guy who was on there. I heard him mutter names like “Tamyra” and “Guarini” and not have a clue what he was talking about.

You gotta hear what this guy Simon is saying to these people! They’re trying to sing and he stops them and tells them they suck!

I vividly remember sitting in my office chair at my previous house in Bridgeport and deciding it was time to tune in. It was the first episode of the top ten. I had missed what was probably the most entertaining and shocking portion of season one, the auditions. I did catch clips here and there to make up for this later, but this was 2002 and YouTube was yet to be invented. And there certainly was no “Fox on Demand.” Shoot. Idol didn’t even have americanidol.com at this point in time. They started out with idolonfox.com. At any rate, even though I joined the party a bit late, I was hooked.

Kelly Wins over a nation — But, how?

Of course, Kelly went on to win Season 1, and thankfully so.  I think, quite possibly, if Justin Guarini had gone on to win that first season, there’s a good chance Idol would never have had the chance to take off. But without Kelly’s success, Idol would have become just an average TV show. But ordinary people — viewers — felt invested in Kelly’s success. They came out in full force to support Kelly after her victory by snatching up CD’s and making her one of American Idol’s power stars.

One thing I will say about the early years of Idol, and the successes that came with it, is how American Idol took a relative “nobody” and turned them into a superstar virtually overnight. And something I never quite got in the first seasons is how the audience, especially the studio audience, can go so crazy over someone who, just last week was a relative “nobody.” The show works, but how?

I think the key, to be honest, is fake enthusiasm. That may sound a bit critical coming from a fan of the show, but I think, mainly in the first season, a lot of fake enthusiasm was manufactured. The eruptions and adulation in the stands worked as a visual cue to those of us at home that simply said “I’m crazy about this singer, and you should be, too!” So, one major factor to Idol’s success was the generation of fake enthusiasm, which is indistinguishable from genuine enthusiasm to a television audience. You can see it and hear it sometimes from the crowds of season one. The sudden, unnatural eruptions of cheers and the prodding of producers barely in camera range. This helped build a franchise, one fan at a time.

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Technology

Leo Laporte explains the need for strong encryption

This is one of the best explanations I’ve heard for keeping our devices strongly encrypted. The video above starts at 29 minutes and 34 seconds in… He continues on the subject for several minutes, at least through 38:26.

You can’t lower your guard without lowering it for everyone.

And that’s the key.

When you reduce security, it’s not just for bad guys, and it’s not just the government that gets access to that. It’s everybody.

Well said, Leo.

American Idol

Moments LIke This

American Idol 15 – Top 10

I’ve always been a huge fan of American Idol. Back in the first few seasons of the show I would blog about episodes and do a bit of a review of each performance. In “celebration” of Idol’s final season, I present a season 15, episode 16 review

Olivia – she has shown some flashes of potential. Sometimes I like the tone of her voice, but it has to be “on point” for her to sound good. If she’s just a little off pitch it doesn’t sound that good. This song she’s doing pretty well. Sometimes I think maybe the judges see something that doesn’t come through on TV. So I don’t know if she’s really as good as they think or if I just am not hearing everything. That was probably one of the best performances I’ve heard from her though.

Gianna – She can have a powerhouse voice. Sometimes it’s too much drama with her mom… Her song choice tonight is really good. Major pitch issues here and there. She stays on key a bit better when she can hide it in her vibrato. When she holds out a note sometimes it goes flat. JLo hits it right on. Kelly is really funny, BTW. Kelly definitely gave her the “She’s 15” treatment. I think she’s right too… I think the polish will come to Gianna with time.

Lee – Lee’s got a much more mature voice than his 15 years. He sounds quite a bit older. I like to see him playing the guitar. He was a little pitchy in that performance. Harry is about right. I think if he does perform a story song he will blow it away. Something slow and melodic. Cool that Chris Medina was there to see him sing.

Avalon – Has been very tomboy-ish and informal since she’s been on. But the past couple of performances she’s shown a little more femininity – without losing her street cred. She’s doing pretty well but the arrangement’s not the best. I could hear her on Sirius XM Hits 1 though. I like Keith’s thoughts on her staying loose. This song may have been a little less her style. Kelly says “Sorry I beat Justin!“ That’s the LOLs.

Dalton – should’ve been on the Disney Channel. He’s a performer. I like what he did with that song. Good energy. #electricbarnyard I totally agree with Harry. I think his is the performance of the night so far. I like how he referenced David Cook in his piece, doing what he does with arrangements.

Tristan – a little low-key to start. Needed to start higher, especially with no blockbuster key change late in the song. A little awkward, like she was rushed and unsure. I don’t know why she sang it so low… she did reasonably well with what she had to work with. I agree with JLo about feeling comfortable in her song choice. She did have to stumble through her words and it seemed like she had to “work.” So many singers make it seem effortless.

Overall, I think a lot of it may be nerves tonight. Maybe some people are over thinking or just concerned about wanting to do well… these are all good singers and we get so nit-picky, forgetting we’re dealing with 15-year-old kids in some cases. Someone’s going to just breakout and be amazing, I can just tell.

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