Mar 28, 2011

Stuff my Dad said

These little gems may not earn me a television show or a massive following on Twitter, but I was thinking about some of the things my Dad would tell us kids, and thought I'd share some (the ones I could remember):
  • Don't spit in the ocean
  • Don't pee in the wind (or the pool)
  • Don't take any wooden nickels
  • You can't (edited) do Number One and Number Two at the same time
  • Don't sneeze with your eyes open
  • If you fall out of the tree and break your legs, don't come running to me
  • Princess Bride is the dumbest movie
  • You kids ride your Green Machines up and down the exit ramp while I try to flag down some help (that "help" turned out to be the State Police)
  • Stop your crying or I'll give you something to cry about
  • This is gonna hurt me more than... no, it won't.
  • What the (blankety-blank) are you two (blanety-blank) kids doing up/down/over there!?
  • If you two are going to horse around, then go outside and do it
  • This will only take fifteen minutes to fix/do (then, three hours later.... we're still at it)
  • This will be a shortcut (EIGHT hours later, still not even close to our destination)
  • You can't get there from here
  • You bet (used in any situation - right, wrong, indifferent)
  • They (ticked) me off, so I quit.
  • Keep your mouth shut, Henderson (talking to/about himself)
  • Vos Los Tibby Hubbin? (That's the best "translation" I can do.  I have no idea what it meant, but when he said it, it meant he wanted you to repeat yourself)
  • I deleted a bunch of files that looked suspicious (turned out they were vital DLL files in his Windows directory)
  • Hey, look what I found (talking about add-ons for games like FIFA, MADDEN, NHL Hockey, etc that made the games more "realistic")
  • Coke Is It! (Thanks, Nik!)
  • Detroit!? Who Cares! (I think this had something to do with a football slogan or something, but it became his saying for anything that would normally warrant a "who cares" response)
 Those are the ones I can think of right now. I'm sure my family will have others they'd like to add...

Mar 27, 2011

Taking a Spring Break

Working in education has certain advantages.  No, I do not work in the sector of education that "enjoys" summer break.  I put that in unnecessary quotes for two reasons: 1) I am hoping the folks from the blog of unnecessary quotes will happen upon it and make fun of it in a future post, and 2) because most of the folks I know that are in that sector (i.e. teachers) rarely get to enjoy the same summer break the students gets.  I'll save the tirade for another day, but know that most teachers I know work their butts off long after the "work day" is done and far above and beyond anything written on some contract somewhere.

This year, the family decided to take advantage of Spring Break and head for a mini vacation (which may prove to be our real vacation if gas prices keep heading upward).  We drove a couple hours south to the Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier City, LA.  It had been quite a few years since we had been there, and one of the BEST new sites turned out to be the hotel.  There is now a Courtyard Marriott right there on the premises.  It sits right next to the Louisiana Wildlife Carousel, which is located at one end of the boardwalk.  Walk out the door of the hotel, pass the carousel along the way, and you instantly find yourself in the shopping streets of the Boardwalk.  The river runs along the left side (assuming one is still heading away from the hotel).  The entire area is set up like a huge shopping mall, but each shop has a street entrance.  You've probably seen such set-ups,as they are growing more and more popular - like a little retail village rather than a mall.  Stores include Nike, Farmer's Almanac, Build-A-Bear, Chocolate Crocodile, jewelry shops, food shops, clothing, and more. 

On the first night, we opted to take a swing at Glo Golf - an indoor, black light-filled mini putt course.  I have to say, the artwork and the obstacles were great!  The whole thing is done in some kind of Aztec/jungle mix.  The black lighting hit parts of the "folk art style" murals in ways that gave the environment a distinctly eerie feel.  The obstacles (er, most of them anyway) featured spinning blockers, hanging stoppers, and other pieces meant to keep you from getting your ball to the hole.  We had a lot of fun, and for the longest time (Billy Joel song starts to play in your head here), we were the only ones in the place.  It doesn't matter who won (er, that would be me). Really. The main thing is that we all had fun.

We wanted to go to Auntie Annie's pretzels, but they were closed that night due to... wait for it... mosquitoes.  Seriously.  A sign on the door said that the health inspector was working with the Boardwalk owners to come up with a plan to combat the pesky little buggers.  Now, before we saw the sign, we had not really noticed them.  Afterward, however, we saw them taking up nearly every inch of wall space on the exterior of several buildings.  Not sure what the "solution" was, but the place was open the next night. 

Sometime that night, we ate at the Saltgrass Steakhouse.  A lot of our friends suggested we go there.  I will be the first to suggest you don't.  The food was overcooked and somewhat bland.  the prices are about 50% higher than what you would pay at say, Texas Roadhouse.  Shan's BBQ chicken was actually pretty good, though for me it was more about the actual sauce than the chicken.  My steak (supposedly medium-well, but was actually more like well-done plus) tasted okay, but was dry and not what I would have expected for the price.  Tyler had a burger that, despite adding his own salt, pepper, fries, and anything/everything else he could find, still had no taste whatsoever.  I suggest you head to Joe's Crabshack or Hooters.  Heck, even the IHOP on site would be a better bang for the buck in my opinion.  The highlight of our supper was seeing a guy that was a spitting image of my brother-in-law.  It was scary.  I took a picture of him with my Fascinate, but the lighting just wouldn't let me get a good shot.

We shopped around a bit, grabbing snacks at The Chocolate Crocodile and ice cream at Cold Stone. 

The next day, we headed to IHOP for brunch.  We spotted a Haggar store and headed there for a sale.  Tyler needed a suit for an upcoming awards program and I needed one that fit.  Since the sale was a two-fer, we took advantage.   Then, we headed down the road to Old Navy, Target, and to Pierre Bossier mall (mainly for JC Penney).  Of course, what we really went for was down the road a little farther - Buttercups Cupcakes.  We saw the owner on "Cupcake Wars" and decided that we would try one of her cupcakes since we were right there.  We did not try one of her cupcakes, though.  We tried about half a dozen!  We had the red velvet that she made on the TV show, plus a wedding cake cupcake, chocolate and vanilla cupcake, chocolate and peanut butter cupcake, and a chocolate one.  Let me tell you right here and now - these are AWESOME!  Holy smokes.  The cakes are moist with lots of flavor and the icing is piled up high!  Man, those were GOOD eats!

We left there in sugar-shock and headed back to the Boardwalk.  We weren't there long, sitting in Children's Place, when Shan sat down saying that she wasn't feeling well.  I saw that she had gone pale.  Tyler walked her back to the hotel and I paid for Emily's clothes.  Shan had the stomach bug and it hit her hard and fast.  I'll spare the details but let's say she was down and out for the rest of the night.

To give her some peace (and let her do what she needed), the kids and I headed back out.  We went to Pietro's Italian Restaurant.  Let me tell you, that is a great place to eat.  They serve everything cafeteria-style and put it in the oven when you order.  I had a couple slices of pizza, as did Emily.  Tyler had a meatball sandwich and we all had some of their breadsticks.  You have GOT to eat here!  They have pasta, calzones, and a myriad of things to please all kinds of palettes!  We also picked out a couple bottles of imported Coke - from Italy!  Emily had Italy-imported water.  Very cool and a lot of fun!

We walked around for a bit more, and headed back to the room.  The kids wanted to go swimming in the FREEZING pool and hang out in the hot tub, so I walked down with them and watched as they played.  Tyler is putting together a video of the mini-vacation and I'm sure it will end up on YouTube at some point.

The last day, we packed up and headed home.  Shan was pretty wiped out and we needed to get her back as quick as we could.  Actually, after everything we had done and played, I think we were all ready to get back.  Well, maybe not the kids.  As soon as we got back, they jumped out our vehicle and into their grandmother's.  She was headed for Little Rock for a weekend getaway and they went along with her.  They are the jetsetters, aren't they?

Mar 25, 2011

American Idol Top 11

We were on Spring Break for this week's Idol, so we are watching it after-the-fact. Tonight's post will cover both nights. Here we go:


Casey - Grapevine - He seems like he is trying to force the words out of himself. I do like the soulful sound he has, though. LOL, a little weird "Guns and Roses" moment there.

Thia - Heat Wave - How does that voice come out of such a small, young person!? Wow! She's actually moving around, too!

Jacob - You're all I need to get by - Man, he is very good. He has the showmanship, the voice, everything. I don't think he will win it all, but he should do quite well in the same way Mandisa has done well for herself after Idol. Wow, got Steven Tyler to grab him up on stage!

Lauren - Keeping me hanging on - Awesome! Great slow start and then kicked it up. She has a "Miranda Lambert" kind of sound. That's not bad at all.

Stefano - Hello - Uh, no. I am so not a fan of this guy. Frankly, I don't understand how he has made it this far. It's like he has some inside joke to remaining on here. This is awful.

Haley - You really got a hold on me - Well, um, no. She is trying way too hard with the growling. She is singing as if she is trying to "be Mowtown." And, she is not that. I would be voting her off.

Scotty - For once in my life - Nice country rendition at the beginning. That low range is certainly his strong point. When he moves up in range, though, he loses something. He also has a weird "falsetto/yodel" thing that he puts in the middle of his phrasing and it is not quite Garth Brooks. LOL, and he ends on the smirk.

Pia - All in love is fair - She has a great voice for sure. I wish she would have done some kind of moving around, though. I mean, this was just ... vanilla.

Paul - Tracks of my tears - I am a huge fan of Paul. This song started out a bit "Paul Simon" to me instead of Paul McDonald, but he sure is unique. Talk about making a song one's own. This was great!

Naima - Dancing in the streets - I like the "broken-down" version she is doing here. Hmm, she has a few flat notes or something off through the song. Whoa! Love the breakdown dance in the middle! Talk about your showmanship! That's a song ready for prime time concert.

James - Living for the city - Oh yeah! Some funky vibes and a little dancing going on there. I think he'll have a decent fan following after the show. This makes you wanna bob your hear along to it. Nice job.

Okay, we know what happens in the voting. I have to say that I am VERY glad they decided to use the SAVE for Casey because he deserves it!

Thanks for playing along. See you next time!

Mar 18, 2011

And then there were eleven...

American Idol

Well, someone should have tested out all those wireless mics before turning the cast loose with them.  Nothing like bad audio on a SINGING show...

Jacob - Safe
Lauren - Safe
Casey - Safe
Haley - Bottom 3
Paul - Safe
Scotty - Safe
Pia - Safe
James - Safe
Stefano - Safe
Naima - Bottom 3
Karen - Bottom 3
Thia - Safe

Bottom 3:
Haley - Safe
Karen - DANGER
Naima - Safe

WHAT!?  How did that happen!?  Wow, did not expect that one!

Karen goes home, not unanimous as evident by Jennifer Lopez's reaction.  I really thought Haley was heading out.  I think Karen's future is wide open.

Mar 16, 2011

American Idol Top 12

Welcome to the annual Top 12 Henderson Vote! Here is where we pick our favorites and vote off those that need to go home.

Y = Yes, we liked it, N = No, go home!, ? = Not sure


Naima - 1984 - What's Love Got To Do With It - Not a big fan of this one. UGH her voice grates on my nerves.

Paul - 1984 - I guess that's why they call it the blues - What a great song choice! His throat issue could cost him though. Great job despite his "handicap."

Thia - 1995 - Colors of the wind - Shan said, "She has a great voice, but needs work on her stage presence." I have to agree.

James - 1989 - I'll be there for you - Yeah! Unlike the person he is often compared to from last season, James can rock it out and sound good without screaming every line. Awesome! Emily says he still screams too much. LOL, not her style.

Haley - 1990 - I'm your baby tonight - Her voice is all over the place. Whoa, this is weird. Emily likes her. The end was bizarre. That did not go with that song.

Stefano - 1989 - If you don't know me by now - He's not doing a bad job here. He has updated the song, not sure it's a version I'd like to hear more than once. He will make it through this round though for sure.

Pia - 1988 - Where do broken hearts go? - I like this version! Cool uptempo take on an 80's classic. She is awesome! Emily gave her clothes a big "NO!" (lol)

Scotty - 1993 - Can I trust you with my heart - He almost has a "Garth Voice" going on there. I sure do like his singing though. Emily thinks he could win the whole show. It was nice to hear him come out of that deep range for a change, too.

Karen - 1989 - Love will lead you back - This is one of my favorite 80's songs. She's doing a good job, but my bias is toward a more soulful rendition. Ooo, nice switch into Spanish there! I liked that.

Casey - 1991 - Smells like teen spirit - Ummm.. No. This is horrendous. This is very bad karaoke to the point that Simon would have said, "Was this a joke?"

Lauren - 1994 - I'm the only one - I think she started off a bit off, but picked it up and turned this into something almost country. She had some rough moments, but okay overall.

Jacob - 1987 - Alone - Interesting. He's doing a great job, but Im not sure I like it. Either way, he is safe for sure and I'm giving him a yes even though I don't quite "get it."

Mar 12, 2011

Catching up on Idol

Well, we are late in getting caught up with Idol. And it will be that way for this whole season just because of the way things go. But, for those that like to follow along with our thoughts, here ya go:

Lauren - I thought she did okay, but nothing special.

Casey - This guy is amazing. "I get by with a little help with my friends" was absolutely incredible. Great job!

Ashton - Diana Ross - Not all that impressed in general.  It was about as good as Lauren's.  She did hit a nice mid-high note there near the end.  Very nice high note at the end.  But, meh.

Paul - Hmm, never heard of Ryan Adams.  Paul has a "David Crowder" kind of voice which I like.  Not sure about the song choice. 

Pia - Celine Dion - "All by myself" - She has a nice, smooth voice.  Very nice control.  By far the best female of the night so far.

James - Paul McCartney - "Maybe I'm Amazed" - I have mixed feelings about James and his style.  At least this time he wasn't flat-out screaming like he has been.  He did a good job, but not as well as the other guys.  He has certainly come a long way from the bullied little kid he once was.

Haley - LeAnn Rimes - "Blue" - This could be ugly if it goes badly.  If she kicks it out, it will set her apart from everyone else. Ouch. A little sour on the opening yodel.  Maybe she means to go flat like that, but it is hard to listen to.  She is doing well, but the falsetto/yodel thing just isn't working for me.

Jacob - By far, he is one of Shan's favorites this season.  She loves her some Jacob.  R.Kelly... "I believe I can fly" - Wow.  Talk about making a song your own!  This is phenomenal!  Oh man, he just knocked it out of the park. 

Thia - Michael Jackson! Wahoo!! I knew SOMEONE would do Michael!  "Smile" - Not sure out of all the Michael songs this is the one she should have picked, but we'll see how it goes.  It is hard to believe she is so young!  I like the beat added to it in the 2nd verse.  She has a great voice, but like Shan said to me, "she just doesn't have a stage presence. She is so young."  She will have to work on that.

Stefano - Stevie Wonder - "Lately" - He reminds me of a young Matt LeBlanc. I don't know if that's good or bad. Just saying it.  He could go home and I wouldn't miss him.  Not that impressed with his performance tonight.

Karen - Selena - It's okay.  Shan said, "She could be a good Spanish singer." I agree.  I think she should have sung this in Spanish and she would have knocked it out of the park.  Instead, this was more middle-of-the-pack.

Scotty - Garth Brooks - "The River" - Man, I hope he knocks this out!  Very well done.  He made the song his own without making it karaoke. What an amazing low voice he has!  One of my favorites this season for sure.

Naima - Rhianna - "Umbrella" - Shan likes it.  I'm not sure.  It's weird, but her voice has a strange quality to me.  Some kind of strange tone or phrasing or something at the end of her words.  Now, the performance was VERY well done!  She is stage-ready for sure.

Okay, so now we are moving on to the elimination show.  Who do we think will go?

Dave - I think Stefano will go.
Shan - Either Ashton, Stefano, or Karen will be eliminated.

Shan's top picks - Pia, Lauren, Scotty, Jacob. She also likes Casey.
Dave's top picks - Pia, Scotty, Paul, Casey.

Oh, man, Michael songs!  Some of the singers are doing well. Others... well, no.  I would buy an album of Pia singing Michael Jackson songs.  Pia is simply amazing! 

Jacob - Safe
Karen - Bottom 3
Stefano - Safe (Bummer)
Lauren - Safe
Ashton - Bottom 3
Haley - Bottom 3

Wow, what a bizarre way to reveal who was safe or not.  Okay. Weird.

And, the (possibly) Eliminated Idol Singer is....


Will the judges save her?  I don't think so.  I just don't think they will use it this early.  On top of that, she did not do well with her song.

NO SAVE - ASHTON gets booted off.

Now, the David Cook version of "Don't You Forget About Me" playing in the video send-off is AWESOME!

Stay tuned next week after the show is over to see what we have to say. Oh sure, you'll already know the results, but reading along with our thoughts makes it even more enjoyable!

Mar 6, 2011

WinterJam 2011!

On Saturday, we went to the Christian WinterJam 2011 concert at Verizon Arena in Little Rock. It was VERY cool!  We got there around 3:45pm and parked in a lot across the street from the back of the arena (or maybe the side, it's hard to tell). We ended up in the line where a new handicapped entrance is being constructed.  I think that threw off a LOT of folks because there were only about 35-40 people in front of us.  Even we weren't sure at first.  Eventually, several folks asked if this was a public entrance (or was it VIP or handicapped) and we were told that it was an open, public entrance.  When the doors opened at 4:30 (30 minutes earlier than we had been told, mainly due to wind and temps, I think), we were ushered in to the floor level!  Now, before we got to the floor, though, we were directed up a stairwell.

As the people in front of us reached the door at the top, they found it locked!  So, a bunch of us were in the stairwell, playing "the telephone game" in order to get word to the workers that the door was locked.  The solution?  Let us directly on to the floor!  Sweet!  Of course, I'd rather have a slightly elevated view, so we crossed the floor and found seats two rows up!  Sweet!  We had a GREAT view of the stage - not too close, not too far and not below eye level.

The last concert we attended was Stephen Curtis Chapman with Casting Crowns and Chris Tomlin.  That concert was entertaining without being in-your-face loud.  I've been to concerts that more LOUD than anything.  Saturday's WinterJam was a LOUD concert!  After two songs, I had to put in the earplugs.

The artists each performed three to four songs.  During set breaks, we heard Bible readings, stories of God's impact on certain lives, etc.  It was a great way to pass the time between groups.  The intermission came around 8:00pmm during which concert-goers were told about Holt International and asked to sponsor a child waiting to be adopted.  It was very moving.  Our Youth Group sponsored a child.  In all, at least 492 children found sponsors in Little Rock!!

I can't remember everyone that performed, but some of the folks included Jason Castro, Chris August, Kutless, RED, NewSong, Francesca Battistelli, Sidewalk Prophets, and the David Crowder Band.  The "main" act was NewsBoys and they had an amazing performance!  The keyboardist and lead guitarist "flew" in on round platforms mounted on hydraulic lifts.  The drummer banged from a platform that lifted off the stage.  During the show, the drummer was lifted and tilted as he played!  Then, at one point, he was placed at a 90-degree angle and played as he SPUN around vertically!

David Crowder is from Texarkana, and he had the crowd "call the Hogs" at one point in the show!  It was a very cool thing to do!

After the show, Emily wanted to get her picture with Francesca Battistelli, so we worked our way through the VERY crowded areas to find her line.  The halls were so crowded that Shan and Tyler literally rubbed elbows with Chris August.  We also stood not 12 inches from Jason Castro.  Shan says that even though she hates his dreadlocks, she thinks he is a cutie. LOL.

I wish I had thought to bring our digital camera to the show, but instead I just had my phone's camera.  Sorry for the quality of some of these shots, but it's better than nothing:

Mar 1, 2011

Playing with the new blogger android app

Blogger released an official app to help bloggers post their ideas while out and about!

You can even post pictures from your phone, though I am not sure where it will show up in the post...

Random thought of the day

Emily needed a writing utensil.  She went to her room and came out holding a "Penci" (pen-see) as she called it.  Naturally, my mind went into action.

You see, Tyler and Emily bantered back and forth about the word "penci" not being a real word.  As the father, who (as Bill Cosby once said) does not care about justice but wants QUIET, I broke the verbal battle up by offering my own take.

A "Penci" is, of course, a Christmas writing instrument!  How do you know?  Why, it has NO L, of course!!

Yes, feel free to "boo" here.  Thanks.