Glee and Music Education

I read one of those stupidly gossipy “news” articles today that said the creator of Glee was upset and went on this angry rant about the Kings of Leon refusing to sign off rights for their song “Use Somebody” to be used on an episode of Glee. I knew that Kings of Leon had refused a long time ago, and thought that should be that. So this little rant comes a little out of nowhere to us lowly, normal folk. Anyway, Ryan Murphy (the creator of Glee), gave a huge “F– you!” to the band and said, “They’re self-centered a–holes, and they missed the big picture. They missed that a 7-year-old kid can see someone close to their age singing a Kings of Leon song, which will maybe make them want to join a glee club or pick up a musical instrument. It’s like, OK, hate on arts education. You can make fun of Glee all you want, but at its heart, what we really do is turn kids on to music.”

Kings of Leon, meanwhile, apparently didn’t mean to snub Glee so much. They said, “This whole Glee thing is a shock to us. It’s gotten out of hand. At the time of the request, we hadn’t even seen the show. It came at the end of that record cycle, and we were over promoting [“Use Somebody”]. This was never meant as a slap in the face to Glee or to music education or to fans of the show. We’re not sure where the anger is coming from. We just said no to a license for a TV show, which we do a lot.”

Now, I’m not trying to become a gossip site myself. Just want to give you some background as I go on to my main point.

Is Glee really about promoting music education?

For me, Glee is a guilty pleasure. I loved the first episode. So did Ches. He hasn’t loved it since then, so he doesn’t watch it anymore. I love love love the musical numbers, and yeah, I even get into some of the outlandish story lines. I adore the interaction between Kurt and his his father. Those are often my favorite scenes. I don’t want to like Glee, but I do. It’s that musical geek in me.

I don’t know that it is a show that should be saying it’s promoting musical education. Of all the “agendas” of the show, that seems to be the bottom of their list. Their story lines are full of teenage angst, pregnancies (fake ones, teenage ones…), falling in love (seriously, is there anyone on the show not in love with someone?), and this crazy rivalry between Mr. Shue and Sue Sylvester. Their musical numbers all further the story lines. They have nothing to do with actual musical education.

There were a few things about the actual music education idea that always bothered me. First of all, they aren’t a glee club. They are a show choir. But I guess the title sounds better as “Glee” than “Show” or something. Anyway, there is a huge difference between glee clubs and show choirs. Quit calling yourselves a glee club already!! Second of all, not choosing your set list until the week of whatever competition you are in? Ummm, no. I know it’s not realistic for the show and would be boring if they show us what it’s really like. You work on the same few pieces of music for 6 to 8 weeks, then go to competition or festival. Because I don’t care how good you are, no one is going to be able to pick up a piece of music and suddenly the entire group can harmonize and know their choreography on the first shot. I just hate what a big deal they make of it, making it all “Oh no! We have regionals in two days and we still don’t know what to sing!” Whatever. Third, give the instrumentalists some due, please! These are supposedly also high school students. They can just come in at the beck and call of Rachel Berry and do a quick little number for Finn? Yeah, right. Personally, having been in band and knowing all the soap opera-ish drama that goes on there, I’d like to see the band members getting some lines and screen time. There’s a whole show on their own!

Anyway, if you want to push music education, then do so. But don’t try to pretend that the point of your show is give young kids something to look up to when it’s not so much about the music. If you want to send an anti-bullying message… yes! You are doing your job! If you want to send the message that being different is good… yes! You are doing your job! If you want to send the message that arts education is great and extremely important and everyone should try it… Sorry. I’m just not getting that message from the show.

Then again, maybe it’s working. A show choir has been started up at the high school where my husband teaches. Why? Because these kids all watch Glee and they asked for it. So maybe I’m just a stodgy, boring adult who doesn’t “get” it.

Tis The Season To Watch TV Specials

The December/Christmas TV special season has begun! Tonight we (the entire Phoenix family) watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Shrek The Halls” on ABC. We’re really looking forward to next Tuesday when we will watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and the brand new “Prep and Landing”. That last one just looks funny. I love watching Christmas movies and specials on TV. I love getting new movies to watch. It’s just… festive. And fun. I’m pretty sure I’ve gone through my Christmas Must See list before, but I don’t feel like going through my archives to find it. So I’m just going to give you a brief look at my favorites. Here are a few Christmas specials/movies I have to watch every year:

1. A Charlie Brown Christmas
This is the best Christmas special out there. From the entire Peanuts gang dancing around Shroeder’s piano playing to Snoopy as the World War I flying Ace to Charlie Brown “ruining” Christmas with his sparse, little tree… it’s just perfect. My favorite has always been Linus standing on stage, wearing his blanket on his head to look like a shepherd, and telling the Christmas story straight from Scripture. It’s simple. It’s beautiful. I tear up every single time I see it.

2. A Muppet Christmas Carol
I’m a fan of classics, but I’m not a fan of Dickens. He’s just hard to read. However, you can’t have Christmas without a telling of “A Christmas Carol”. There are other versions that I do enjoy, but The Muppets really take the cake. Rizzo the Rat and Gonzo as narrators? Classic. Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Michael Caine as a serious Scrooge in the midst of these hilarious Muppets? GENIUS. And now that my kids are finally really into the Muppets (the ones *not* on Sesame Street), I am hoping to purchase it so we can watch it over and over.

3. Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean
I was introduced to this by a friend in high school. She brought it in so we could watch it during Music Theory. I don’t know when I laughed harder in my entire life. The show opens with the shot of a beautiful Nativity scene, and Mr. Bean is playing with the figurines. Each figure has come to see the Baby Jesus and as they make noise, the other figures all shush the noise. Even when a helicopter brings in a cow. Oh man, I’m giggling just thinking about it. I love Mr. Bean’s attempt to stuff and cook a turkey. I love the Christmas tree he picks out. It’s all so classically Mr. Bean. If you don’t know this one… run, do not walk, to the video store and rent it today. You just can’t go wrong with Mr. Bean.

4. A Christmas Story
This is another childhood favorite of mine. Ches hates this movie. I know many of you, dear readers, also hate it. But I LOVE IT. I know almost every line. I have no problem double dog daring someone to stick their tongue to a light post (not that it matters here in Arizona). Everytime I see a box (epecially around Christmas time), I must read the word “fra-gee-lay” then say “It must be Italian.” Last year we found little tree lights that were leg lamps. Ches wouldn’t let me get them. Sad! The other day, as we took the kids to Wal-Mart for their complimentary pictures with Santa, I so wanted to teach them each to tell Santa they wanted a Red Rider BB Gun. Ches wouldn’t let me (although he did laugh this time). And I love to sing “Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra…” This is another movie I really, really want to purchase this year.

Here are some of my new favorites:

1. Elf
This is just a funny, heart-warming movie. How can anyone not like Buddy the Elf? “Smiling’s my favorite.” My favorite scene, however, is the duet of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” I’m not normally a Will Ferrell fan, but I love love love this movie.

2. The Holiday
Kate Winslet is one of my favorite actresses. Jack Black is freaking hilarious. Jude Law is hot. Cameron Diaz isn’t normally on my “must see” list, but she’s in a few things I love. This didn’t get that many good reviews, but I like it. Kate Winslet is trying to get over a unrequited love, and Cameron Diaz is trying to get over a cheater and her busy, hectic life, so they switch homes. One is an idyllic English cottage, the other an L.A. mansion. They each learn a lot about themselves and the things that they want or are truly important. It’s a great little chick flick that makes me happy.

3. The Santa Clause
Okay, really, I like all The Santa Clause movies. Tim Allen is funny and I like just about anything that will make me laugh without being embarrassed even a little by the content. I also like that they manage to use all the same actors for all three films. And just the idea of Tim Allen turning into Santa is fun. We’ll be renting this one this weekend (I hope). Or all three. 🙂

What are some of your favorites?

Legendary!

I love Neil Patrick Harris. I mean, I really, really love this guy! I adore him as Barney on How I Met Your Mother (best comedy out there right now, IMHO), and I could watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog a million times. Remember Doogie Howser, MD?? I actually didn’t get to watch it a lot (it wasn’t on Mom’s approved list) but when I did get to see it, well, how could you not love a cute teenage genius doctor on TV?? Heh.

Neil Patrick Harris (or NPH, as I’m going to refer to him from now on because it’s just easier to type and it makes me sound like a bigger fan than I am) hosted Saturday Night Live last night. Yup, I stayed up to watch it. There were, of course, the normal not quite funny bits to the show… but I have to say that whenever NPH was on, it was funny. I thought so, anyway. I enjoy a chuckle or two each Saturday night, but there is usually one skit that has me laughing loudly each week. This week it was the digital short. I mean, this was just freakin’ hilarious! I had to look it up on YouTube just to watch it again today. And now… I share it with you:

Don’t Hate Me, But…

I don’t think the Twilight books are really all that. Don’t get me wrong. I love them. I’m anxiously waiting for my turn to get “Breaking Dawn” from the library and trying not to run across spoilers. I love Edward and can’t wait to see the movie this December because I think Robert Pattinson will make an excellent Edward, no matter what a lot of other people say.

But all the comparisons to Harry Potter? Sorry. I love Harry Potter more than just about anything. I’m not an uberfan (I don’t know McGonagall’s middle name, for example) but I love everything to do with Harry Potter and the magical world. I get totally lost in that world. I dream of witches and wizards. I wish I wasn’t a muggle. I wish I could have gone to Hogwarts (so I also really wish I was British!!). I have taught my kids who to properly pronounce words like “ridikulus” and “levicorpus” and how to do a good “swish and flick”. Aiden’s favorite thing is to point a wand at his brothers and yell “Expelliarmis!” The Harry Potter world is very real in my mind. Forks, Washington, seems like a nice town (I love the Pacific Northwest and all the rain. Seriously.), but it’s not all that real to me. I could see myself being friends with Bella (we have that clutzy thing in common. heh), but I would be intimidated as I’ll get out by the Cullens. The Twilight world is fun for me to visit as I read, but I don’t get stuck there as I do in the Harry Potter world.

Then there are the comparisons of Edward and Bella to Buffy and Angel. Ummm, hello? There is no comparison! The only thing they have in common is that he is a vampire and she is a mortal girl. End of all likeness. Angel is a vampire with a soul on a quest for atonement. Buffy is “like a superhero or something”, being The Slayer and all. She has super human skills that came with the calling of The Slayer. And the point of her existance is to slay all the vampires. Edward is a vampire with a concious, not a soul. Quite a difference in my book. Bella is just a girl… an every day, totally normal girl (which is why we love her!).

Anyway, which do you love more? “Twilight” or Harry Potter? Or Buffy? Or is there something else?

The Coolest Cake In The World… Ever. Seriously.

I have said to Ches in the past that if doesn’t think the band teacher thing is going to work out for him, that we should open our very own cake shop.  At first he said I watch too much Ace of Cakes.  So?  Duff is awesome.  Then he said that baking means really early hours, and I am not a morning person.  I then reminded him that we are not going to open a bakery.  Just a cake shop.  So we can have whatever hours we feel like.  We don’t have to be up long before dawn making pasteries and such.  He conceeded I was right about that.

Dallin has been on a huge Monsters, Inc. phase of late.  We have been watching it many times a day.  Many, many times.  He can quote every line and sound.  Parker can, too.  It’s really funny to watch the two boys sing and dance along with Mike:  “Put that thing back where it came from or so help meeeee, so help me!”  Dallin is constantly running around, looking for Boo’s door, and he keeps trying to steal my debit card from my wallet so he can slide it in our pantry door (our pantry is actually a wadrobe from Ikea… it has double doors) and open up doors.  He says, “Let’s play Monsters, Inc!!”  It’s cute.

Friday was Dallin’s third birthday, and I had the best idea.  To make a Mike Wizowsky cake.  I went online to my favorite cake site, Coolest Birthday Cakes, to see if anyone else had made any.  My idea originally was to do just Mike, but then I saw pictures others had done, so I copied them.  It’s Mike sitting on what looks like Sulley’s fur.  I bought some ready to use fondant, borrowed a friends Pampered Chef Batter Bowl (my friend with the ball shaped cake pan went out of town, so I couldn’t borrow it.  That’s why Mike’s head is flat on top instead of being round), and went to work.  I made Ches stay up and help me out.  He helped with the fur.  That was a lot of fun to make because it didn’t have to be perfect.  It was just regular frosting and a 6 pointed star tip, pulled up.  You can kind of do it haphazardly and pointing in different directions and have different lengths.  Made it look even more like Sully’s fur.  For Mike, I covered him in fondant, then shaped his arms, legs, hands, and feet from the same green fondant (used Wilton’s Kelly Green for dying the frosting).  Ches cut out the eye, mouth, and teeth, and shaped the horns.  I stuck everything on there.  The next day I made a little sign that said “Happy 3rd Birthday Dallin” and stuck it in there behind the three candles.  The cake turned out pretty well, I think.
The Cake
The Birthday Cake

Dallin didn’t actually get his cake on his birthday. We took him to Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday dinner and stayed much longer than I had anticipated. Dallin had a blast (all three boys did, really!), and he cried like it was the end of the world when we left. He crashed within 10 minutes of getting home, so cake and ice cream and presents would have to wait. Poor Aiden. He was already to sing! He wanted our little family party to continue!

Saturday morning I was awakened by some boys who wanted birthday cake for breakfast. As a special treat, Ches and I allowed it. And hey, if you listen to Bill Cosby, you’ll know why cake is a healthy breakfast. And ice cream is dairy. So it’s all good. Anyway, Dallin had not yet seen the cake (Ches and I wanted to both see his first reaction), and he was pretty happy with it. Just the biggest grin. He couldn’t quite blow out the candles, so Ches helped him. I really loved his reaction once the candles were out.
After the candles were blown

Once the boys had their fill of cake, it was present time. Dallin received some cool presents from Grandma B in Ohio (Spiderman tin of mints, a Spiderman coloring book, Ramone from “Cars”… um, I forget what else). From our little family, Dallin got a little igloo tent, a barrel of monkeys, wood building blocks, a Duplo version of Lightening McQueen, and a police officer’s outfit and gear for Mr. Potato Head. He was pretty happy. Once the tent was up, he was in it, throwing his new block in so he could build. He has played in the tent every day, and shared very nicely with his brothers. Aiden is actually sleeping in it right now.

Oh, and for our anniversery… we went to Chuck E. Cheese and got one of those photos where they “sketch” you. We’re kissing. It’s really dumb, but oh so funny. We exchanged gifts later, and we’ll have a real celebration at some point. 🙂 Ten years is a great milestone, but having a third birthday on the same day is a lot of fun for the whole family.

 

My Boy Jack

(Note:  This post contains spoilers)

Last night I watched “My Boy Jack” on PBS.  It is a movie about Rudyard Kipling and his son, Jack, during World War I.  David Haig played Kipling, Daniel Radcliff played Jack, and Kim Cattrell played Carrie Kipling, Rudyard’s American wife.  I admit that I only wanted to watch this because of Daniel Radcliff.  I wanted to see him as someone other than Harry Potter.  I wanted to see if he could do it.  I believe he succeeded quite well.

Jack and Harry are not at all the same type of character, so there was actual acting involved here.  If anything, Jack is more like Daniel Radcliff, what with the desire to prove himself as more than what other’s see him as.  In Jack’s case, it is to be his own man, not just “Rudyard Kipling’s son”, and in Daniel’s case it’s to be more than just Harry Potter and be considered a serious actor in his profession.

The story is a beautiful piece of work as it shows quite well the Kipling family at a time period and part of the world that was expected to act a certain way.  It is at the beginning of the war, and Jack, who is just 17, wants to join the navy.  However, he is very nearsighted and cannot see without his glasses.  He is rejected by the navy.  Jack then goes to the army, where is he also rejected… twice.  His father uses his own influence to get Jack in, and off he goes.  Jack becomes an officer and helps prepare his platoon to go to France to fight the Germans.

(Aside:  My favorite line from the movie is when Jack first meets his platoon.  He asks each of the men why they are in the army.  He then says, “You all volunteered to be here.  I want you to remember that in a week when you want to shoot my head off.”  I think Ches needs to use that in marching band!  heh.)

Jack and his platoon indeed to go to France and stay in the trenches, getting ready to do their part.  The day after he turns 18, Jack led his platoon into battle.  His family received a telegram informing them that Jack is missing and presumed injured.  Because he was missing, that gave the Kipling family enough hope to search for Jack.  They spent a year and a half interviewing people and going through records and pictures before they finally found a member of Jack’s platoon who could tell what happened.  Ultimately, Jack was 18 and 1 day old when he was killed in a war.

The emotional toll this takes on the family is almost overwhelming.  Jack’s parents and sister are each consumed with grief, and must heal.  I’m sure it took a long time, and while you can never fully get over the death of a loved one, it seems each member of the family found peace.  The end of the movie has Rudyard visiting his friend, the King, who has just lost his own son to illness.  Rudyard then quotes his own poem, which I found so beautiful.

“Have you news of my boy Jack?”

Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind—
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide
!

I enjoyed the film, and I think you will too.  If you get a chance to watch it, to it.  Just be warned… I think you’ll cry.  I certainly did.

It Takes All Kinds

Well, we did it.  We finally cut the cable.  We’ve only been saying we’re going to do this for about a year now!  Okay, maybe not that long, but it’s been quite a while.  We are now down to the rabbit ears and whatever comes through that.  My kids have rediscovered PBS.  Yay for Sesame Street!!

We were watching Sesame Street yesterday, and I realized something major was happening on the show.  Gina was getting ready for a trip and several of the muppets didn’t know where she was going, so she sat down to explain she was going to Guatamala to adopt a baby.

As we’re watching the explanation, Aiden started firing questions at me.  He didn’t understand how she could have a baby when she is not married yet, so I got to talk about how there are all kinds of families.  Some with a mom and a dad.  Some with just a mom.  Some with just a dad.  (I didn’t go into some with two moms and some with two dads because I just didn’t want to deal with THAT subject with him.  Seriously, he asks SO many questions on why and how things work and he’s only FIVE!  Now, if he had a friend or a classmate with two moms or two dads at home, I would gladly talk about it.  But there’s no need right now, right?).  Some kids in families come from their mom’s tummies.  Some kids in families come from someone else’s tummy.  We talked about how it doesn’t matter who’s tummy a baby comes from, their mom and dad loves them no matter what. 

It was kind of a fun discussion because Aiden is really starting to realize how different the world is.  He loves diversity!  He realizes now that just because our family has a mom and a dad and three boys that doesn’t mean every family is the same.  He has a friend that has a mom and a dad who aren’t married anymore, and the little boy lives with his dad and his stepmom most of the time and visits his mom sometimes.  He has a friend who is black and was adopted by two white parents.  He has a friend with two brothers, one sister, a white mother, and a black father.  He has a friend who lives with his two brothers, one sister, his mom, and his grandma and grandpa.  He has friends at school who’s parents don’t speak English.  He has a friend who recently moved here from India.    He has a friend with no brothers or sisters.  It’s a big variety of families, huh?  I like that he gets to learn about all these differences as a young child.  He doesn’t live in a cookie cutter house in a cookie cutter neighborhood with cookie cutter families.  We love variety!!

Trading Spaces

Remember when everyone who was anyone who knew anything watched “Trading Spaces”?  It was such a great show.  Cute host Paige Davis introduced us to the neighbors who were going to take over each others’ homes for a few days, fun, innovative, and sometime psychotic designers (*cough*Hildi*cough*) were in charge, they had the help of one great carpenter, and it was all with a very limited budget and in a very limited time.  What great TV.

Anybody still watch that show anymore?  Yeah, me neither.  Paige is gone.  Ty and Carter each have their own shows now.  The only designers they seem to use anymore are Frank, Dough, and Hildi.  Blah, blah, blah.  The only thing worth watching on TLC these days is “What Not to Wear” (which, by the way, I would LOVE to go on that show so anyone reading this is more than welcome to secretly videotape my horrible sense of style and send it in.  I love Stacy and Clinton and will listen to every single word they say and I won’t fight with them unless they try to take away my t-shirts with really funny sayings on them like “Anything your guard can do, mine can do better” or with cute pictures, like the one with the monster from Where The Wild Things Are).

I read online some good news about “Trading Spaces”, however.  Paige is coming back!!  They want her back!  Yay!  They are bringing back some of the old designers and they are completely revamping the show (to get the ratings back up, of course).  Anybody else as excited as I?  Seriously, I love Paige!  Did you know her real first name is actually Mindy?  But Paige seemed a better fit for the show.  Oh, and then did you know that she married a guy who’s last name is Page?  So she didn’t take his name because then she’d be Paige Page.  Ha!!  It’s all true!  And of course everyone knows that she is a successful Broadway star.  This chick is cool.  The show is going to get good again.

Too bad we’re cutting our cable to save a few bucks.

I Am An Expert, So Listen To Me

I’ve become fond of a lot of new things lately, and of course I have wanted to share my new interests with you guys.  I just haven’t had a ton of time to sit down and write a post about everything.  I just got Parker down for a nap and Dallin is busy watching “Cars” (yes, I use the TV as a babysitter.  Ya gotta problem with dat????), so I’m just going to tell you everything now, in one big post.  And we all know how I think I am always right, so you have to listen to me.  So there.

While at Disneyland, Ches and I got one of the Star Wars pictures done at Star Tours.  It’s taken me forever, but I finally have it so you can all see it.  It think it’s just plain awesome.  I love showing it off. 🙂
Padme and Annakin
Let’s all pretend that is actually my body, okay?

*****

My sister, Erica, met some musician guy on the “T” one day.  She sent me a link to his MySpace page so I could listen to the music and give her an opinion.  All she could tell me was it was some kind of jazz, she thinks.  Well, I checked it out.  And so should you!!  This guy’s name is Thomson Kneeland and he is an acoustic bassist.  His music is heavily influenced by jazz, but he has a wonderful juxtoposition of jazz and world music with some 20th century thrown in there.  It’s different, but it’s SO good.  I absolutely fell in love.  My favorite piece has to be “Moja Tesknota”.  It just rips my heart out.  It speaks to me.  So go here and see what you think.

*****

When my sister, Lura, was visiting in August or something we decided to rent a few movies to watch.  We actually ran out of time for “Miss Potter”, so I’ll have to try that one again, but we did get to watch “The Holiday“.  It has Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black in it.  Lura and I loved this movie.  We could only describe it as “delightful” or “lovely”.  Yes, it’s very predictable and very cheesey, but I thought it all worked really well.  I’m not normally a Cameron Diaz fan, but I think she worked well in this one.  Kate Winslet is one of the greatest actresses out there and is so beautiful with her “real” looks and body type, so I always enjoy watching her.  Anyway, I don’t care what so many critics have said.  I loved it and I could watch it again and again.

*****

I have had enough.  I am sick and tired of people asking me when the baby is due.  I’M NOT PREGNANT!!  I hate all this fat and the large (very large) number on my scale.  I’m on medication for my thyroid now, so it’s working normally and the doctor said I should find it a lot easier to lose weight.  So here’s my plan.  On the advice of family members who have done the diet and lost a lot of weight and kept it off, I am starting the South Beach Diet.  The first two weeks look like they are the hardest, so I’m kind of easing myself into it right now.  I’m taking two weeks to get into it, then I’ll do the actual first two weeks.  It’s just really hard for me to suddenly not eat ANY fruits or breads or pastas…  After the first two weeks I will be slowly introducing the “not allowed” foods back into my system.  On top of the diet, I am walking everyday.  Either to take Aiden to school or to bring him home.  Well, on the days that I babysit I drive partway there because right now it’s just too hard for all 5 kids to walk that distance.  I’d really like to walk Aiden to and from school, and maybe that is something to work towards.  So… we’ll see how it works!!!  I want to be Skinny Sariah again.  It may never happen, but being Fat Sariah is killing me.

*****

I am totally loving Facebook.  I started it out just to see what the big deal was, but now I am totally addicted to it.  Mostly because of Scrabbulous.  I also have Tetris on there (which I am a master at!) and I love seeing all the cool stuff that people come up with.  Yes, it is a time suck.  I just keep it open all day and whenever I get a moment I will stop in and check on my Scrabbulous games or perhaps I’ll carve a pumpkin (I did a really cute one this morning with a tie and a nametag for my brother who is leaving in December on his mission to Philidelphia) or I’ll work on the TV Show Quiz a bit.  I’m trying to get Ches to open a Facebook account, but he says he doesn’t have time for that right now.  Plbbbbbt.  If any of you are on Facebook and are not in my friends list, let me know and let’s be friends!  If you don’t have a Facebook account, go ahead and get one and let’s be friends!  Come to the dark side!!

*****

My new favorite TV show is Ace of Cakes.  It’s on the Food Network.  The show is all about extreme cake guy Duff Goldman and his shop in Baltimore.  Of course it’s not all about Duff.  He has tons of his friends who work for him… none of which are trained in cake decorating or whatever.  They are artists or architects… things like that.  But the cakes are SO cool!!  One of my dreams is to go to Baltimore and drop into Charm City Cakes and get a cake done by these guys.  Duff always says at the beginning of the show they they “make it bigger, make it badder, make it awesome.”  (Side note, for some reason I always expect him to say “awesomer”, even though that isn’t a word.  I’m such a dork, huh?)  Anyway, it’s always fun to see what crazy things they can make.  When I was making Aiden’s birthday cake I said to Ches, “You know, if you ever decide that being a band teacher just isn’t the thing for you, let’s open up a cake shop.  Because it’s not a bakery we don’t have to work at 4 in the morning.  We can have the hours WE want.  And it’d be SO fun, huh?”  His response??  A chuckle, followed by, “You’ve been watching too much Ace of Cakes.”  Oh well.  I still think it’d be a good idea.

 *****

My kids are so precious!  I have to share my new favorite picture of them, even if you have already seen it on Flickr.  I didn’t pose them like this.  They really and truely were like this, so I ran to get the camera.  Aiden is reading to his little brothers before bed, and Dallin and Parker are just eating up every word.
Reading Time

Living in the Reality World

Everyone who reads my blog regularly — or at least has read my blog for some time now — knows that I am a reality TV junkie. I can’t help it. I love the stuff and I don’t care just how dumb it can get. I get all sorts of joy watching people make complete fools out of themselves in front of millions of people. I also get joy out of those who show great triumphs, but we don’t get to make fun of them. That isn’t fun. It’s fun to make fun of the idiots.

Sunday night was the season finale of Survivor: Fiji. Ches and I have been watching Survivor since the first season, although we didn’t watch all of the Africa season because it was just plain horrible. Not fun to watch. You could tell no one there was having any fun, either. Anyway, Fiji was a good season. I think we saw the best upset in a Tribal Council in Survivor history when Edgardo was surprisingly (to him and the “Four Horsemen”) voted out. Earl and Yao just grinned and I just laughed and laughed. That was some great stuff. This season we also saw a lot of people falling. I think the producers of Survivor make it a requirement to have at least one Challenge be blindfolded just so we can watch the contestants run into poles, each other, and almost thin air, too. My favorite fall this season would have to be the most replayed one of all: when Michelle was shouting out directions to a blindfolded Yao Man and somehow she fell off the side of her platform. Ches can’t stop laughing for several minutes everytime that clip is aired.

I was very happy to have Earl win Survivor. I loved the way he played the game. He is one smart guy, and I was surprised to find out by watching the Reunion Aftershow that Earl has never really watched Survivor, doesn’t know the game that well, and didn’t even know he was going to be on the show until 2 days before he flew out to Fiji. That man played that game!! If he didn’t win, I was not happy with the idea of one of the other two in the finals to be the winner. Cassandra seems sweet and helpful and all, but she didn’t deserve to be there! The goal of Survivor is to “out wit, out play, out last” (no, I don’t remember the correct order), and all she did was out last others by riding on the coattails of the right alliance and staying under the radar. There was no wit about it, there was no playing the game. She never screwed anyone over (so why some people on the jury seemed so angry at her and so hell-bent to make her a bad guy is beyond me), but she just didn’t really play. Dreamz is a complete idiot as far as I’m concerned. I loved that Yao described him as having genius moments, but no discipline or education in which to harness those moments and get the right, good use out of them. Well, that’s basically what he said. Anyway, I’m upset that Dreamz seems to think that by constantly saying “It’s just a game” that he is justified in accepting the truck from Yao Man and not living up to his word. Yes, it’s just a game, but when the game is done, YOU have the truck that someone else won, Dreamz. YOU have a vehicle worth 60-something thousand dollars, and YOU don’t even have the decency to be upfront about what you consider to be a betrayal or a lie. Dreamz just tried to find excuses and talk his way out of everything. Drove. Me. Crazy. So, Yao would have won, which would have been great because he is probably one of the greatest contestants in Survivor history — he’s smart, friendly, athletic, caring, honest, respectful… I swear there is nothing in the world wrong with this guy! No, I don’t know him personally, and I’m sure I could be way off because I’ve only watched him on TV, but that’s okay. No one has to agree with me. That’s why this is MY blog, right? 🙂

If I were the Ford Motor Company, I think it would be a great marketing strategy to give Yao Man a truck. Yao let Dreamz keep the truck because Yao, unlike Dreamz, is a man of his word. Yao was voted off, so not only did he not get the prize that he DID win, but he didn’t even have a shot for the million dollars or the $500,000 second place prize (I wonder what they are giving now that it’s a final three, not final two. Hmmmm.). At anyrate, it is very clear that Yao is one of the most popular Survivor players ever (others would be Rupert, Colby, Stefanie… okay, well, those are the likeable ones at least). If Ford had given him a truck and said “We think you deserve one, too” and made a huge publicity stunt out of surprising him at the reunion show or something, I have to wonder how that would affect new Ford sales. I’m sure it couldn’t hurt!!

Anyway, congrats to Earl on the big win and on getting every single vote from the jury. That was a first. Earl asked not for the sympathy vote or the anything like that. He asked for the respect vote, and I think he not only completely earned it, but that is why he got every vote. He got the respect vote. (everyone can now give your happy sigh: awwwwww.)

*****

Last week was the season finale of The Amazing Race: All Stars. Now this is my favorite reality show. I love it because I truely believe I can compete. I hope to one day. I think I have a grat shot at winning, if I compete with my husband. We’d make a great team, what with his amazing sense of direction, my inability to make a decision, my short temper, his stubbornness, and our drive to make a better life for our family. How many Mormons/married couple/band teachers would make that good of TV, huh??? 😀

I am sad to say that Ches and I missed watching the TAR finale because we were on a bus with about 30 exhausted 8th graders, on our way home from Disneyland. I know who won and all, so I’ve been trying to imagine what the episode would have been like:

Beauty Queen 1: Oh, we’re so beautiful. We are going to win this because we are so beautiful and because we are female and because we’re blonde.

Beauty Queen 2:Yeah. And we’re so hot, no one else can stand it. Who needs brains when you have this kind of a face, really?? 

BQ !: Oh, but we would NEVER admit to using our beauty to win things. Even though we do.  All the time. 

BQ 2:  Because we are so beautiful, and that’s all that matters.  We’re best friends.

BQ 1:  Except that you’re getting on my nerves.  I’m so pretty.

BQ 2:  Stop talking.  I don’t want to be friends anymore.  I’m way prettier.  Are you even a real blonde?

BQ 1:  Too bad we came in first so many times and now we have all these trips we have to share.

BQ 2:  Well, since I’m really beautiful, I’m sure no one would mind if you just give them to me.  I did just get married after all.

BQ 1:  What?  You did?  When did that happen?  I would have been a prettier bride, I bet.

Mirna (in her really odd, fake accent that she puts on only when speaking to people in foreign countries): Oh, my friend, we will win, yes we will. We will win because Charla is a small person, and we can use that to our advantage. Ah, yes, my friend. How do you read, by the way, because I tend to forget. Or I only read a part of the clue. And then I yell at my cousin for not doing as much. Did I mention that I am a lawyer? Charla, you are not doing your part! You MUST work harder! Why do I have to do everything??

Charla (in her really odd, fake, but not as thick accent that she puts on only when speaking to people in foreign countries): Yell at me some more, Mirna. It’s not getting through. Yes, my friend, we will win because my cousin is a rude, annoying twit who pushes to the front of lines, then cries at the thought that anyone else can be a little rude.  Excuse me, my friend, we were here and so of course that means we must win.

Eric:  Yeah, we’re gonna win.  I’m a chavanistic jerk who doesn’t know anything about my girlfriend other than the fact that she has a great rack.  Oh and the Guidos are gay and I hate them.  But I swear I’m not a homophobe.

Danielle (laughing):  Ha ha, Eric, you’re so lame.  Yeah, I’m pretty hot, huh.  But I think our relationshi–

Eric:  Shut up, Danielle.  You don’t know what you’re talking about.  But look at her boobs, folks!  Wow!

Danielle (crying):  Why are you being like this?  I’m working so hard and you are just so mean to me and when you star–

Eric:  Hey, my frat boy lifestyle gets me all the babes I want.  I should’ve gone out with your friend.  But you have the nicer rack.  Seriously.  So we’ll win.  Oh, and I hate Danny and Ozwald.  They were my friends, but they aren’t.  And they’re gay.  But not as annoyingly gay as the Guidos.  Hey, have you guys seen Danielle’s big chest?  It’s amazing.

Danielle (still crying):  I want to go home.

Rob:  Oh, are people still watching this show?  Ambuh and I were eliminated weeks ago.

Amber:  Ha ha.  Oh, I know, right.  Ha ha.  Who would want to watch it now?

Rob:  Red Sox RULE!

Phil:  Geez, the egos on these people.  They aren’t real stars.  This is reality TV.  And if one more person tries to hug or kiss me…

*****

Have you guys heard about the big spoiler on The Bachelor:  An Officer and A Gentleman?? Now, I don’t actually watch this show, and I never have, so whatever I say here can only be taken with a grain of salt.  However, first of all… How cheesey is the title this season?  Sheesh, just because he’s a Marine. 

Anyrate, I guess the girl who gets (got?  Is it over now?) picked in the end let the cat out of the bag early and told that she is the one he picked.  Wow.  I would NOT want to be her accountant or lawyer as they go through the contract and try to get her out of paying whatever fines/damages by not keeping her big mouth shut!

Actually, that’s all I really had to say about The Bachelor because I just don’t care about a bunch of women throwing themselves at a guy on TV.  Maybe if they started having immunity challenges for the women on the Bachelor than involved blindfolds and them running into things really hard I would find it more interesting.  Nah.  I’ll just go watch some America’s Funniest Home Videos.  Real people there!!

*****

Next time, I will talk about America’s Next Top Model, The Hills, and perhaps a game show or two.