Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

simply the best

I've said it before, and I'm saying it again. No offense to other great vocal groups of the world, Take 6 is just head-and-shoulders above the rest. I was lucky enough to hear about them when their first album was released in 1988, which has allowed me to follow their career and quickly procure each album as it came out. I also had the great good fortune to see them perform live at the Puyallup Fair in 1994. Despite the down-home atmosphere of the venue and inexplicable poor turnout, their performance was stunning. The harmony was spot-on, their energy was unequalled, and the arrangements were absolutely incredible.

I'm effusing all over the place here, aren't I? Are you getting the idea that I love these guys? Part of the reason for the timing of this rave is that they have a good deal of Christmas music, so they are regularly intermingled as I immerse myself in the shuffle of 1171 holiday songs. Theirs is uplifting, joyful, and reverent music (even when it's not Christmas-specific) which allows me to sing along loudly and badly and still feel accomplished and connected. Thank God for Take 6.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


The Four Phases of Life

  1. You believe in Santa Claus
  2. You don't believe in Santa Claus
  3. You are Santa Claus
  4. You look like Santa Claus
I told this to my Dad last year around this time. A veteran Santa, he laughed heartily. Then he said, "except one thing... I never stopped believing."

Me neither, Dad.

"Song for a Winter's Night" by Sarah McLachlan

Sunday, December 17, 2006

bad christmas music

It's been a busy day, finishing up Christmas preparations. Although I usually listen to my own holiday music collection at all times (iTunes while on the computer, and my iPod at work), I do occasionally venture into other sources. In the car, for example, I listen to Sirius satellite radio, which has three of its channels dedicated to holiday music now. It is on one of these channels driving home last night that I have discovered a truly dreadful Christmas song.

Now, I think most Christmas music is good. Some of it is great, and a fair deal of it is downright classic. But every once in a while, a song will just completely rub me the wrong way. A few years ago, it was "Kentucky Homemade Christmas" by Kenny Rogers. I still think it's awful. And with the exception of "O Come All Ye Faithful," the late, great, legendary crooner, Luther Vandross --in my opinion -- murdered every holiday song he touched. There's one song that, in addition to having ridiculous introductory banter ("the last time you got me under the mistletoe, I had twins!") and being just a bad song in general, has the unfortunate title of "Mistletoe Jam." Take the "mistle" out and what do you get? Toe jam. What an appealing holiday image!

So, what is the newest menace to the holiday spirit? "The Christmas Shoes" by NewSong. I think it's actually a few years old, and I've just had the good fortune to have avoided it until now.

Oh, the horror! So horrible, in fact, that I must post it here for you to witness. If I had to listen to this train wreck, so do you. Press the button! Press it, I say!

I'm listening to a real song and preparing to get some sleep. To all, a good night.

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by the Pretenders

we are elves: we dance

I have requested -- nay, demanded -- that all of my nieces and nephews perform this task. The first four are in, and I must post them here. In a pre-emptive attempt to avoid their potential claims that I'm embarrassing them on the internet, I'm posting my own final product first. See? It's all in good fun!

OK, so here's Aunt Kelly's elf dance.

Now, here's Andrew's.

And here's Caitlin's.

Here's Dan's.

Here's Sammi's.

Is it worthwhile to note that the college students were the first to reply? I wonder if they have some spare time on their hands. ::wink:: The second phase of elves include Dan, who is a high school junior, and Sammi, who is in 8th grade. Now Josh, Megan, Ariel, Courtney, and Ryan must all comply with my demand! *UPDATED - Don't you guys realize that I'm still in possession of your gifts? Bend to my will and elf thyself! Or I shall be forced to keep the goodies for myself! Or use the worst possible photo I have of you and make your elf myself!

Sadie is intrigued by the on-screen dancing (to the right). She watches the monitor closely as I view Sammi in full elf regalia.

This little blog of mine (I'm a-gonna' let it shine? just kidding) has a few regular readers. Hi Regular Readers, and thanks so much for visiting regularly! And there are a few passersby who happen across sanguinary blue by hitting the "next blog" button, going to Connecticut Weblogs or Forty Faces, or coming from a blog that links to mine. Hi Passersby, thanks for taking the time to peruse. And then there are the searchers who end up reading one of my silly little posts when they've entered keywords into one of a zillion engines. Hi All!

To this wonderful melting pot assemblage of an audience, I'd like to request that you, too, make your own dancing elf. It's easy! And it's fun! And when you're done, please post the URL in the comments section of this entry. Christmas is all about sharing.

Thanks to Whitney at USA Today's Pop Candy for blogging about The Elfamorphosis. Otherwise, we never would have had so much fun becoming elves!

Happy Holidays!

"Christmas Don't Be Late" by Powder (a kick-butt cover of the Chipmunks' song, which was simply called "The Chipmunk Song")

Originally posted 12/6/2006 at 11:53PM
Second posting 12/8/06 at 6:17AM
Third positing 12/9/06 at 11:45AM

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I heard about this video from someone in an online size acceptance group of which I'm a part. It's called "Auntie Mo's Leap of Faith," and it chronicles this woman's bungee jumping adventure. It made me smile several times. Not that I'll be jumping off a bridge anytime soon! Very cool, Auntie Mo!

Friday, December 08, 2006

just a reminder

Christmas countdown banner

And lest we forget this amazing show, watch again in wonder and awe as the Christmas lights go wild to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Wizards in Winter."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

staring again

The window has made itself more prominent in my life again. I haven't talked about it for a while. Said I might not. There was the potential of a rock that was going to help me break the window. But then, even though the rock might still have been there, it was no longer going to break the window. Then the rock went away. And oddly, the window wasn't as dirty for a while.

Until now.

And now the window wants attention. It demands it, actually. And I wish to hell I could talk more openly about it, but I can't. It's amazing and a little telling (and perhaps a little frightening) that a single sentence uttered to me -- in a very earnestly nonchalant manner -- could send my frustration level to a screeching new height.

Well, one way or another, I should know the window's fate within the next few weeks. Either way -- whether it's broken or intact -- my life is going to change. I love change. I just wish I could have been more in control over this particular change.

Robbie? "C'est la vie, Kelly, c'est la vie. That's just the way it goes. That's life. Oh yeah."

Monday, December 04, 2006

this can't wait

I don't blog at work. Ever. Well, a couple times during lunch when I first started blogging two years ago. But since then, never.

It's snowing. Just the teensiest bit. Minuscule flakes blowing around madly, like confectionery sugar in a blender. Last night, after seeing the Seahawks beat the Broncos (but just barely, and I reassert, Josh Brown rules!), the New York network news said potentially significant snow was on its way, but the Connecticut network news said it would miss us.

What is falling now seems to be somewhere in the middle of those predictions. Or it's just the beginning. In which case, I should have listened to the New York news because, not only do I not have my heavy coat, scarf, gloves, or other winter accoutrement, I'm wearing sandals. Yeah. Sandals. Oops.

Interesting thing is that this past Friday night, it was so warm, we turned on the air conditioning. In December. The whole world's gone kooky!

Sure is pretty, though. And festive. I guess I'll tolerate the cold toes for today.

"What Christmas Means to Me" by Paul Young (via the iPod, in the Logic 3 iStation in my office)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

we interrupt this broadcast...

Sometimes, it's good to be laid back. A less laid back person would have been frustrated by the fact that iTunes decided it'd had enough of uploading CDs. Especially on a day when that less-than-laid-back person had made a goal to finish -- once and for all -- the transfer of music from CDs to the computer.

Oh well. Perhaps iTunes was actually frustrated that the laid back person was too laid back -- regularly taking unplanned breaks to have lunch, take a nap, and watch the Seahawks. Perhaps, the meltdown was revenge for iTunes feeling neglected that a mere 3232 songs were uploaded since Friday night, instead of the 3711 remaining. That's right, iTunes crapped out 479 songs from the finish line. C'est la vie. By the way, that's the title of a great song by Robbie Nevil. It's one that I own on vinyl -- the next frontier in music transfer.

So, I'm retiring for the evening. I'll watch some more of the Seahawks, who overcame snow on their home field last week (very unusual for Seattle) for a victory, as they battle it out against the Broncos in 16° F Denver. Brrr. Then, I'll go to bed. Woo-hoo. Does the excitement never end?

Song count: 16463 (or 479 fewer than anticipated; so close)

"Mele Kalikimaka" by Chris Isaak (a very fun, Hawaiian Christmas song of which I have several versions, though this is my favorite)

what was i thinking?

A couple items have already been removed from the list. Good progress is occurring with the music. Probably because it doesn't require any real brain power. Despite the morning's delays, the afternoon thus far has included another 400 songs done, and the end in sight. Stacked on my desk are the last of the CDs from the rack. There are 14 soundtracks and 41 classical albums left, and the CD portion of my library will be completely online.

Meanwhile, I've had to ditch gift wrapping and shoe-shopping today. I have been working on the newsletter. Last year around this time (while working on the 2005 newsletter), I'd created the basis for this year's format. It sat in wait until about September, when I went in and did some minor fiddling. Other than inserting a bunch of photos, choosing fonts, and a little rearranging, I've done nothing else on it.

Now that I'm working on it, I realize that my hope of simplifying the process this year is really just a pipe dream. I can't merely dash off a few quick sentences and slap on some pictures: my editorial alter ego pushes to the fore and demands that an ample amount of time be taken. I wonder how many holidays will pass before I mail the Christmas newsletter?

Back to it. Again.

Song count: 16267

"Agnus Dei" by Bel Canto


As I began my tasks in earnest, Ted informed me that he was going on strike unless I gave him some attention. So, we spent some time together while the chores languished a bit.

Then, my friend, Rina, called. And whenever the two of us are on the phone, it's practically guaranteed to take at least an hour. We clocked approximately 75 minutes this morning, and the only reason it was that brief was because they REALLY had to get going to be at Alia's swimming lessons on time.

Anyway, post-phone call, Ted and I had some breakfast. Song uploading continued sporadically through it all. He has now started laundry, and now I must recommit to my original list. Eek, the day is already half done!

Song count: 15828

"Why Couldn't It Be Christmas Every Day?" by Bianca Ryan

Now I have to talk about Bianca Ryan. I saw her the first time she sang on "America's Got Talent" over the summer, and was immediately in awe. She was aaaaaah-maaaaaaaayz-iiiiiiiiiing (see video below). She, in fact, went on to win the million dollar prize, and received a record contract (not part of the prize, but completely logical -- see video below). I bought her album as soon as it came out and was immediately struck by the fact that they completely overproduced her. The vocal talent and personality are still clearly present. But the power has been stripped. (See video below.) It is this girl's power that gives me shivers every single time I watch this. The studio version is nice, but does not induce the same shivers. Thank goodness she's only 12, and there's plenty of time for her career to evolve. OK, what are you going to do now? See video below.


It's Sunday, and there's stuff to do. Not as much was accomplished yesterday as I would have hoped. So much for the freakish level of energy. I did do a notable amount of CD uploading. Some household chores. We went to dinner with Sam & Donna. Today's project list, therefore, is considerably longer. Blogger is not letting me use the bullet function, so this recap of my tasks isn't as pretty a list as I'd like it to be:

* Complete upload of entire CD collection (this may be ambitious, but I'm going to give it a shot)
* Completing Christmas newsletter (also ambitious, but also worth a shot)
* Clean off pile on my desk (never-ending chore)
* Another day of blog updates (first three projects will keep me at the computer all day, so why not?)
* Divvying up candy for the stockings
* Wrapping presents (probably not all of them, because it's a busy day)
* Buying sparkly shoes for next weekend's activities (company holiday party, and the Boston Pops Holiday Concert!!)

That's it, I need a nap already! I'm exhausted just writing that list. Enough for this first entry of the day. There's work to be done.

Song count: 15311

Interesting upload notes:
* I have completed the main section of the collection, uploading the ZZ Top CD last night.
* Remaining are jazz, soundtracks, compilations, and classical (currently uploading jazz).
* I estimate the remaining CDs will add another 1500 songs or so.

"Comfort Ye My People" by Vanessa Bell Armstrong & Daryl Coley from Handel's Messiah, A Soulful Celebration (iTunes shuffle is on the Christmas only playlist, which has 1043 songs)

Friday, December 01, 2006

the calendar flips

And my To Do list gets longer. This weekend will be busy. No football, which frees up some time. We're going to dinner with Sam & Donna. Otherwise, I'm just going to try and muster up the same freakish level of energy I had a few weekends ago and get stuff done.

Tomorrow is Cait's 19th birthday. And next Friday is Meg's 18th. It's all whirling by! In honor of both birthdays, here are a couple pictures from a recent family visit. Interesting that both are the same hold-the-camera-out-in-front-of-your-face kinds of pictures. And note the trend in eye wear.

Uncle Ted and Cait

Aunt Kelly and Meg