Archive for April 2009

 
 

Interviewing for a podcast

I think this is about right, Top two rows are the left and right channels of the interviewee. Bottom two channels are the interviewer (me), left and right. A lot of those blue spikes will be edited out completely in the final audio. There’s no need to hear all of my little grunts and laughs and whatnot in the final interview.

Audacity Screnshot

This interview should be going up in the beginning of next week.

Hope for eBay?

Undoing Meg Whitman’s eBay – Bits Blog – NYTimes.com

More subtly, but maybe more important, Mr. Donahoe is backing off from Ms. Whitman’s initiative to take on Amazon.com and make eBay an important player for the purchase of new, current-season goods. Her acquisition of Shopping.com was part of that, as was the move to expand features such as eBay stores on the main site.

The new focus seems to be on making eBay into an outlet shopping experience.  I suppose this might be half a step in a better direction.

Next up on my wall

Finally got frames, so it’s time to decorate the den a little. Todd Klein prints

Buy your own from Todd Klein.

AI8 – Round of 7 – Movie Week

It’s that time of year again!  Time for Movie Week, in which every contestant sings a ballad by Aerosmith or Bryan Adams. Really, this theme is almost pre-scripted for us, but then someone will throw us a curve to utterly bore us (Kris Allen) or electrify us (Adam Lambert).

And Quentin Tarantino is back, demanding that all of his Meet The Kids segments are FILMED, not merely recorded.

Alison Whose-Last-Name-I’ll-Someday-Learn-To-Spell is still great fun to watch.  I wonder if her voice is getting a little tired.  We’ve seen it happen to lots of contestants going into this stage of the competition. (Tamyra Gray, anyone?)  I know she was underplaying the front of the song to build up to something, but it still sounded a little “weak.”  Of course, “weak” for her is still overpowering for most of the Top 36 any given season.

Was I the only one creeped out at Paula discussing Adam Lambert’s “special sauce,” though?  And, seriously, who is writing Paula’s critiques?  Those cutesy turns of phrase are NOT coming off the top of her head.  Someday, one of them will even apply as being an actual critique of what was just sung, too.

Oh, and due to last week’s show running almost 10 minutes over, only two judges will talk per contestant.  And guess what?  The show still ran over enough that nobody saw Lil’s phone number on screen who was using the DVR.  More on that in a bit.

Anoop is a balladeer.  As much as he came to our attention as the crazy college frat boy, he always does extremely well when he strips it down, sings the damned song, and finds a song to showcase his voice.  I liked it.

In my notes, I wrote, “Remember Daughtry’s Have You Ever Loved a Woman?  Great performance.”  It’s like I saw Matt Giraud, ten minutes into the future. . .

Adam Lambert – I never imagined I’d hear someone sing “Born to be Wild” on this show.  Never.  It’s not an “Idol” song. There’s not much you can do with it.  It’s fine on a Guitar Hero type game, I suppose.  But on Idol?  I can’t help but laugh most weeks with Adam. It’s so crazy, so over the top, and so unreal that it’s great fun to watch. Simon is exactly right that some people will be majorly turned off by this, but I don’t care.  I loved it.  Again.

Adam is just crazy enough that I almost have gotten over Norman Gentile’s loss a few weeks back.  Imagine a duet with those two? Make it happen, Idol!

Matt Giraud – In trouble.  He’s running in the shadow of Daughtry’s performance of “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” here and losing badly.  Heck, it was a clunker without the Daughtry comparison.  And did his voice crack?

Danny Gokey – We were all thinking it, right?  “Eternal Love” == Dead Wife.  I’m shocked Paula and Kara weren’t bawling their eyes out.  Even I felt a twinge somewhere deep inside my rocky exterior.  Simon is right that he should have done more with the song, but he sang that arrangement well.

Danny also ignored Tarantino’s advice about the hands completely. Kris Allen - Trouble.  Who knows that song? It’s a boring, tedious song that isn’t memorable at all.  He’s lucky to have the Text-Friendly Tweeny Girls voting for him.  He’ll be bottom three, but saved first.

Lil Rounds – It’s over for her.  She has to go home. I echo everything Simon said.  “The Rose” could have been an amazing Idol moment.  And while she sang fine, it wasn’t memorable enough.  It didn’t explode enough in the gospel part, so the final restrained part didn’t hit as hard.  And, in the end, who knows who Lil is?

It would seem to be that she’s a bit ticked off by Simon pointing all of this out, and feels the need to talk back. Traditionally, that can be the kiss of death on Idol.

So: Lil out.  Matt in bottom two, saved by the voted he picked up when Scott lost last week.  Kris in bottom three.

AI8 – Round of 8 – Results

I was wondering last night whey they kept flashing to the audience to show that tall scary bald guy to the right of Simon.  Today, I saw Mario Lopez sitting next to him, which leads me to believe the tall scary bald guy isn’t a viral insert for a FOX show, but rather a security guard for whatever celebrity is sitting in that spot that night.  I never saw the celebrity last night, though.  Whoops.

I wondered briefly before the show what would happen if Adam got voted out because half of America was using DVRs and so didn’t vote for him. I wondered if IDOL would dare admit to their mistake and make it up to us all by re-airing the performance on the results show.  They didn’t, and I’m the sucker who paid $1.49 to iTunes to see a 2:30 video.  UGH.  He did well, though.  The man has better control of his falsetto than any contestant on the show has ever had. So the bottom three had Scott and Lil, not surprisingly, and Anoop, who I though the judges were overly effusive in their praise of last night.

And I figured out Kara — she’s the excitable fangirl who’s made it to the big stage. She’s TOO eager.

In any case, Lil was pulled out first as being safe, which surprised me.  I picked her for first runner up.

And then Flo Rida — an alleged singer of some sort — came out and danced around the stage to an island beat while a much more talented woman accompanied him off to the side. I laughed out loud when the sampling of “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” kicked in.  So it hits all the low points of today’s music.  It’s a song by one artist “featuring” another, and includes a sample of an 80s song.

I know, I know.  I’m out of touch and an old fuddy duddy. The Woman Alleged To Be Kellie Pickler sang.  We know from last season that she’s underneath all that plastic surgery somewhere.  She sang well, and I liked the song.  But, man, it’s tough to watch her nose today.

Frankie Avalon lent some surprise class to the show at the opening. Crazy. I think they really did surprise Simon with that. Doesn’t he see dress rehearsals at all?  Doesn’t he know the producers personally?  Strange.

And then Scott has to sing for his life and, honestly, I thought he was much better than last night. He’s the first singer on the chopping block I can say that about this season. After much deliberation — Kara and Paula were obviously pulling for a save — Simon cut him loose, mostly because there are better singers that might need saving in the next two weeks.  I think he’s dead on the money there.  Allison, Adam, and Danny are at the head of that class.

AI8 – Round of 8 – Year of Birth

I love a good 80s Night on Idol, but get depressed when I realize all the contestants were BORN in the 80s.  They don’t remember the songs they sang tonight from listening to them on the radio during Casey Kasem’s Top 40.  They remember them from being those “oldies” that aired on weekends or as filler.

Allison, at least, isn’t a child of the 80s.  Depressingly, she was born in 1992.  Life moves on, eh?

Danny – Going first is always a curse, but I think he did well enough to save himself.  I wasn’t as enthused as Paula, but he was technically strong.  I like him. But then, I also liked Taylor Hicks. The problem with “Stand By Me” was, as Simon pointed out, 75% of it is Danny standing there singing the lyrics “stand by me” over and over again.

Kris – Boring. In the middle of the performance, I turned to my wife and asked, “Will Simon call this song self-indulgent” or “boring”? ” Then, Simon used BOTH. Is this show getting too predictable?

Lil – She’s lost.  That was the most slavish Tina Turner imitation not seen at a cross-dressing karaoke competition.  I mean, she copied Tina’s dance moves, gestures, costume, and vocal mannerisms. What was left?  All she needed was for Matt to walk on stage in an Ike costume and punch her to complete the whole thing.  Sheesh.Oh, CRASH AND BURN.

Anoop – Who is he?  Silly party guy, or balladeer?  He’s best remembered early on for the former, but only does well on the show now as the latter.  “True Colors” is a great song choice for Idol, but I don’t think he did as well as he could have with it. It’s not memorable enough. Good enough, but not great.  I’ve heard much better — and I think it was probably on “Rock Star.”

Scott – Here’s our cheesy power balladeer/singer/songwriter.  Who knew he played guitar?  He missed some of the high notes.  The rest was too karaoke.  He’s in trouble this week.

Allison – It’s scary how much she reminds me of Kelly Clarkson.  You watch her and you can’t help but remember Kelly.  The mannerisms, the gestures, the cock of the head — it’s all there.  She put a weird rock sheen on a country ballad, but it mostly worked.  I wish she had pushed it a little further, honestly, but I’ll take it.

Simon’s quote of the night, in reaction to the judges agreeing with me on the Kelly comparison: “Say ‘cool beans.’”  Cracked me up.

Matt – I didn’t love “”Part Time Lover” nearly as much as the judges.  The dancing was a little spastic. But I’ll give him that it was a crowd pleaser, and that he did some interesting things with it.  He needs to wait for the “Songs of the 2000s” week so he can do a Maroon V song, though.  Matt’s not going to win this competition, but he doesn’t deserve to go yet.

Adam – I have no idea.  Idol is awful at running their trains on time.  They’re too busy having meaningless Coca-Cola moments.  So Adam was after the 1 hour and 1 minute mark, so my DVR didn’t record him.  I imagine that no matter how bad he was, he’s still interesting enough to get positive votes from the viewers at home.  So he’s safe.  He did amazingly crazy things with that song, didn’t he?  Who knew a man could have such range?  He’s too good for this show.  etc. etc.

Bottom two this week: Scott and Lil.  Scott goes home.   Rounding out the Bottom Three would be Kris Allen.

Now, can we take up a collection to pay Kara off to never say “Artistry” again?

Happy Birthday, DSi

Now available in stores near you (maybe) the new Nintendo DSi:

Nintendo DSi

Also, happy birthday to my wife today, who occasionally enjoys my DS and was once addicted to Brain Games. =)

Diabetics to Love iPhone 3.0

The story is a couple of weeks old, but I’m pretty sure I blogged the story that this is a sequel to a couple years back.

AppleInsider | “Jesus Phone 3.0″ touches diabetic blogger

During Apple’s iPhone 3.0 event, the presentation of a mobile-attached blood glucose monitor for diabetic users apparently bored some journalists in the room. However, the demonstration not only revealed Apple’s most important leap yet in mobile devices, but also answered the pleas of a diabetic blogger.

I want one of those now!

AI8 – Round of 9 – Results

The question on a nation’s mind: Did Bob Marley’s influence on Megan Joy extend to any mood-enhancers?  If you know what I mean. . .

In my wife’s Idol pool, I got Megan’s ouster correct, but guessed incorrectly that it would be Matt Giraud in the bottom two with her, not Allison. But that goes to show you — the voting populace is a fickle lot.

Megan went home because she squandered all the good will she had at the beginning with really poor song selection. I think, drug references aside, that she might just be very happy to go home to her baby now.  Maybe that explains the euphoria more than anything.

Anoop landed in the bottom two because he went first, did poorly, and was ultimately forgetful.

A few other quick thoughts:

  • I loved it when Simon didn’t protract the process by pretending to think about saving Megan.  Good job!

  • Lady Ga Ga – So, that’s what the kids like these days? It’s an interesting spectacle, but don’t they want music somewhere, too?

  • Next week’s show is themed for songs that came out in the year the contestant was born.  Allison will be picking a song from a year I was in high school.  I feel so old.  Will Nirvana let her sing one of theirs?  Courtney Love is an Idol fan, right?

  • That lip synched group singalong is painful and pointless. Give it up. Wait, no, it’s a revenue stream.  That group number only exists now to sell iTunes tracks, so it’s Very Important to have a carefully recorded track to sing against. I think Idol — and others — would do well to save their contestants by cutting things back to the point of the show — the weekly performances.  The Ford commercial shoots and the group number are two things that clutter the show up, and run the contestants needlessly ragged.  No wonder why they all get sick every season.

Then and Now – PlayStation

April 20, 2006 on this blog:

It’s official now, but it’s not enough: Sony lowers price of PlayStation 2 to $129.99 – Joystiq

This week at the PlayStation Blog:

For the first time ever, PlayStation 2 will be offered at a price point under $100 (that’s $99.99 MSRP, to be exact), starting April 1!

It’s almost THREE YEARS too late.  Did I link to the story yet about how the Wii’s Balance Board has sold almost as many units as Sony has sold PS3s?