Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Back from Madonna

A real post about the concert is going to have to wait a couple days for life to settle down, but just to prove that I was actually there, here's a couple pictures.

Here I am with the obligatory picture in front of the tour poster in the MGM Grand.

And here's a shot of the tour commercial that played periodically on the MGM Grand's sign.

A proper blog post soon, I promise. It was too full of good stuff to not blog about it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

We're off to Vegas!!

So I'm blogging from Ankeny, IA tonight at Jeff's house. His house is just that much closer to the Des Moines airport so we only have to get up at the crack of dawn rather than the middle of the night to make our flight. We leave Des Moines at 7:22 AM and get to Vegas around noon. I'm so excited, especially with all the stuff I've read about the tour. So far I haven't listened to any mp3s from the tour or watched any videos (even though they're all over YouTube.)

While the highlight of the trip is definitely the Confessions Tour, I'm also planning on hitting the Stratosphere Big Shot which, now that I look at it, is not just the 8 bucks I thought it was, but 16 bucks because you have to pay to get into the tower. Nonetheless, I'd still love to do it because I have to do it before I'm so old that if I were to do it, I'd have a heart attack or something. One of my co-workers told me today that she was planning on doing that when she was in Vegas, but chickened out at the last minute. I guess time will tell whether or not I really do it, but I sure would like to!

Other than that, I can't say that I'm exceptionally excited about Las Vegas -- not like I would be by New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., even Phoenix (mostly because that would have been the best date to go but a myriad of factors made that not remotely feasible.) But it'll be fun and I'm sure we'll have plenty of good pictures once we're done. Obviously not of the show, but we'll see.

This'll be my third Madonna concert in 5 years, which blows my mind because I think it's just about the most frequently she's toured ever in her career. And to think Anna wasn't even born when I went to the first one!

I'll miss my girls, but it'll be fun.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The tour opens!

I knew the Drudge Report wouldn't be able to resist a sensational headline featuring Madonna on her jewel encrusted cross. And I'm so pleased they lived up to my (admittedly low) expectations. While I'm not entirely sure that her use of the cross, complete with her "crucifixion" while she sings "Live To Tell" as statistics of poverty played on the screen behind her is entirely necessary (it's always bothered me a bit when Madonna forgets that she is, first and foremost, a pop star) I'll have to wait until I actually see the show on Saturday to decide for certain. You have to admit though, it's a stunning visual and once again, the controversy is not entirely unexpected.

However, it's not the first time she's been condemned by the church. By now, I'm sure she's used to it.

I'm trying really hard not to watch any videos or listen to any more audio of the tour than I already have listened to. I'm telling myself -- "It's only a few more days and then you can look at all the spoilers you want!!" It's bad enough that I know the set list, but I think, in the long run, that's not all bad. I'm pretty pleased with it because it mixes the stuff from Confessions in with just the right amount of oldies. What kills me is that "Ray Of Light" probably qualifies as an oldie now! But as far as Immaculate Collection era songs, there aren't many, but this isn't Re-Invention and she's never claimed that it would be. Here's the set list:

Future Lovers
Get Together
Like A Virgin
Jump
Live To Tell
Forbidden Love
Isaac
Sorry
Like It Or Not
I Love New York
Ray Of Light
Let It Will Be
Drowned World (Substitute For Love)
Paradise (Not For Me)
Music
Erotica
La Isla Bonita
Lucky Star
Hung Up

The only song I really wish had made the set list is "Borderline." It's probably one of my all time favorite Madonna songs, and she hasn't sung it on any of the tours I've been to! But it's a good mix of old and new (ok, mostly new) but I don't think it has Drowned World Tour potential. Of course, it helps that Confessions is so dang good that I won't mind hearing most of the album live.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Saturday night can't get here fast enough

I'm soooooooooo excited for the tour if this is 23 second clip is indicative of the entire show!!

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Music Lyrics Meme

a/k/a Everyone else is doing it, so why can't I?

Probably because I don't have anywhere near enough readers to support something like this, but I'm going to do it anyway. So this is your chance, all you lurkers out there -- I wanna hear from you! If you haven't heard about the music lyrics meme, here's a simple summary of the rules:

Step 1: Put your iPod/MP3 player or iTunes on random.

Step 2: Post the first line(s) from the first 20 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song. (I took out any instrumental songs, natch, as well as any song where the title is uttered in the first line, so it's not entirely the first 20 songs that came up.)

Step 3: Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from. Those guessing the songs should post in the comments or shoot me an e-mail.

Step 4: Strike out the songs when someone guesses correctly and post the title in bold after the stricken song when it is guessed.

Step 5: (for those guessing the songs) If you look up the lyrics on Google or any other search engine, that's called cheating, so don't do it!


So here are the songs --

Song #1: I'd drive a million miles / To be with you tonight "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" by Wang Chung (Comrade Cherry/Cherry On Ice)

Song #2: Somehow I let it slip / My hands were tired / Please turn the car around / I just saw home

Song #3: After you go, I can catch up on my reading "Bluer Than Blue" by Michael Johnson (Cherry On Ice)

Song #4: Step by step, I've come closer to reaching the top "The Climb" by No Doubt (Cherry Red)

Song #5: Naivete and childhood left behind deprived of the goodness of mankind

Song #6: Excuse me, but can I be you for a while? "Silent All These Years" by Tori Amos (Elizabeth)

Song #7: Sitting here and feeling lonely / Had my blue eyes for you only

Song #8: Hey boy - did you find out / What you had to know and what it's all about

Song #9: He wasn't looking for a pretty face / She wasn't searching for the latest style "Everlasting Love" by Howard Jones (Cherry Red)

Song #10: Wrapped around each other / Trying so hard to stay warm "Key Largo" by Bertie Higgins (Cherry On Ice)

Song #11: Down, down down in your heart / Find, find, find the secret "Get Together" by Madonna (Christina)

Song #12: This is your voice of reason / This is your voice of calm

Song #13: We lead two different lives / Just like two lines that never cross

Song #14: Saturday, slept through the morning / Just let the phone ring, now isn't that strange? "For A While" by Trisha Yearwood (Erica)

Song #15: You're much too young to be a part of me / Too young to get a hold on me "Fine Time" by New Order (Scott-O-Rama)

Song #16: You're gonna say you miss me / You're gonna say you'll kiss me

Song #17: Who's peekin' out from under a stairway / Calling a name that's lighter than air "Windy" (the version I have is by Astrud Gilberto, but The Association made it famous) (Rox/Cherry On Ice)

Song #18: Breathe in, breathe out / I say a a little prayer / How the gods above / Could be so unfair "Has To Be" by Madonna (Plantgirl)

Song #19: Don't you know / So many things, they come and go

Song #20: Who would've believed / That you and me would fall and land together

Some of these are easy, some not so much. Have fun! I'll post the answers probably mid-week next week.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Big ship taking on water fast

Now, I haven't seen either Mission Impossible III or Poseidon, but the fact that both of these so-called "summer blockbusters" opened far below expectations does not bode well for the summer movie season, which usually has a lot of good eye candy. Apparently Poseidon only took in around $20 million on its opening weekend, losing out to last weeks loser, MI:3. And while one would be tempted to think that MI:3 actually has legs, unlike most summer movies that blow their wad in the first weekend and then end up on DVD in 3 months, the gross for MI:3 was off the requisite 50% of the previous weekend.

I'm sure that The Da Vinci Code will change this -- you'd think all that controversy being stirred up would do something for the grosses on that movie.

I don't completely chalk this up to bad movies coming out of Hollywood these days, although that's certainly a factor. I think fewer people are actually going to movies -- I know that we can barely afford it any more, and we used to go to everything that came out. Now, we're content to wait until it comes to the local budget theater or wait for DVD.

Jeez, Hollywood, get your heads out of your butts.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Humdrum

So much for keeping up with blogging -- I've gone a whole week without blogging about anything! I've spent the afternoon varnishing a portion of the hardwood floor where Blair continually urinated in his attempt to communicate to any cats who might come to the door that he was the number one cat. I'm actually quite proud of myself because I sanded the part of the floor down (with some help from my dad) and got it all prepped to varnish (I'm not going to bother with staining it for now because it'll be way too hard to match the stain with the rest of the floor.) And today, I put the first coat on. We'll see what it looks like in a little while. And I've also gotten rid of almost all of the cat pee smell from my office -- it had an outside door, so once again, Blair decided he needed to assert himself all over the floor and door. I've ripped up a good section of the carpet (it was crap carpet anyway) and sealed the concrete floor. It's taken several coats, but I think I'm on the right track.

In the meantime, Blair is currently kenneled in a box that my dad made for him. It's all part of a behavior modification program the vet came up with -- he basically needs to learn to use the litter box again. Hopefully, it works. I really don't like the other options we have, so for now, I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Taylor Dayne

I'm totally into Taylor Dayne right now -- and I'm not even sure what prompted it. But I'm loving it right now. Especially her song from The Shadow, "Original Sin." It's a Jim Steinman song so it's totally over the top and bombastic and I just love the hell out of it.

I'm also listening to the only entire Taylor Dayne CD I have imported to iTunes -- Can't Fight Fate -- which was released in 1989. I bought the CD completely and utterly on the strength of her Tell It To My Heart CD (which, in retrospect, is ultra-cheesy, but I say that like it's a bad thing, no?) I remember not liking the first single, "With Every Beat Of My Heart" all that much, but like all good pop music, it grew on me until I couldn't get it out of my head. The total highlight on the CD is the song "Up All Night" which Jeff and I love and we still trot it out every now and again for mix CDs and what not. At the rate it's going right now, it's likely to make my Summer Upbeat CDs, although it's way too early to tell as it's not even remotely summer yet.

And much like I bought Can't Fight Fate, I purchased Soul Dancing in 1993 (almost) sight unseen (or is it sound unheard.) The first single was a cover of the Barry White classic "Can't Get Enough of Your Love" which I immediately loved (and oddly enough, I'd never heard the original, but I'll chalk that up to youthful innocence and naivete.) Unfortunately, I wasn't as impressed with the rest of the album -- it seemed dreadfully overproduced and it was a shift away from dance to more R&B/soul which I've never really gotten into as much. The musical landscape had changed a lot too and, consequently, Taylor didn't have as much success with this album. Wendy and I always said that the reason the CD was a relative flop was because she didn't have a song where she said "The thrill is gone..." as both TITMH and CFF had songs where she sang that lyric. I ripped a few of the songs on it -- "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love," "Say A Prayer," and "Send Me A Lover" -- but ended up either selling the CD or giving it to the library.

Funny thing is now I wish I had it back because I'd love to give it another chance. Sadly, the Ames Library doesn't have it (they seem to fail me more often than not on those types of things) so I may be forced into re-purchasing select songs from iTunes. Or not. We'll see.

In the meantime, I'm just loving rediscovering this music.

Friday night videos

I've stayed up way too late watching old 80's videos on You Tube. It kind of reminds me of the Friday nights I spent in high school flipping back and forth between Night Tracks, Friday Night Videos and MTV -- watching videos all night. I always forget how good the videos were back then. Not that all of them have aged incredibly well, but it just seems like the videos were so much more original back then. Not that we even see videos any longer, but I digress.

This video of Rhonda from USA's Up All Night was what started it all -- it got me to thinking about the time that late night TV was filled with B-movies and music videos rather than informercials.



What a hoot, huh? So I got searching for all the music videos I would have seen had this been say, 1987 and I was watching Friday Night Videos. Here's a couple that I found.



Friday, May 05, 2006

Kansas City trip -- with a dash of Mormonism

Like I said in my last post, we just got back from Kansas City today. I figure by the end of the month, I'll have been in six different states -- counting Iowa -- which include Missouri and Kansas from this weekend and Illinois, Nevada and Texas when I go to Madonna, so I'm quite the Midwest traveler, I guess. Anyway, we stopped at the official Iowa welcome center on the way out of Iowa and I managed to snap this picture of a sign erected to honor the Mormon travelers who passed through southern Iowa on their way to Utah.

The story of the Mormon trek westward is a fascinating one -- one I read about after I met my friend Kevin who is LDS. Perhaps the best book I've ever read about Mormon history is Nightfall at Nauvoo which was loaned to me by my Lutheran pastor stepfather-in-law and it was a great read. Sadly, it's out of print and expensive as all get out to purchase. The coolest part is that the Mormons actually left Iowa City on my birthday! (granted about a hundred or so years before I was born, but y'know!)

Anyway, we get to the hotel in KC and I'm dead tired and barely able to keep my eyes open. I laid down on the bed to rest a little bit and my daughter comes out of the bathroom where she'd just taken a bath. Suddenly I hear this "Here Daddy, let me tell you a story!" I open my eyes and she has nothing less than The Book of Mormon in her hand! I had to laugh. So I made her pose for a picture.

Mowing

Well, we're back from a whirlwind trip to Kansas City to see some friends of Heidi's and go to the last Jennifer Crusie/Bob Mayer signing at Rainy Day Books in Fairway, KS. It was the last stop on the book tour and it was fun to see Jenny and Bob at the end of the tour. Heidi gave her an altered book of Don't Look Down which Jenny just seemed to love. (You can see pictures of it by clicking here.)

So we get back this afternoon and my yard is just in a complete state of disaster. Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm not one of those guys that is completely anal about how his lawn looks, spending every spare minute weed-wacking and fertilizing and pesticide-ing and what not. Mostly, for all I care it can rot as I really despise exerting the energy it takes to keep it looking even halfway presentable. So the fact that I'm noticing how bad the yard looks is really saying something.

Fortunately, it's only like 60 something degrees out today so it's a perfect day to do it. This yard is a particularly aggravating yard to mow as the backyard defies a simple and repeatable mowing pattern. It seems like every time I mow, I have a different approach. Add into this the fact that Anna has both a swing set and a sand box in the back yard so it's like running an obstacle course as well. And don't even ask me about the front yard. Trying to grow grass out there is nigh onto impossible as it is (due to a magnificently grand old oak tree) and I could spend an eternity picking up the twigs and sticks that fall from the trees. So consequently, I can never tell where I've been or what still needs to be mowed.

As you can imagine, I only mow when I absolutely have to and fortunately today, I did it without even working up a sweat -- no small feat as usually whenever I mow I'm dripping with sweat and completely revolting to anyone with a half-way developed sense of smell. It's not often you can do it and not have to immediately head for the shower.

So that's what I did today. Not terribly exciting, but it's something.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dan, Anna & Sue

Breaking my own rule of no pictures of me on the blog, but this one's too cute to not post.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Back from Chicago

So much for blogging during the trip. We're back now and after a long & rainy drive yesterday, I'm safe in the confines of my house. We're still one cat short (at the vet, we have to basically put him in solitary confinement for the next several months -- long story but the other option is putting him to sleep which is so not an option.)

Those expecting a trip report will have to wait though. I work tonight and then again at 7AM tomorrow, 8AM on Wednesday, and then we're off to Kansas City for a couple days. Nothing like doing all your summer vacationing all at once before summer even starts.

Oh and then there's Madonna in *gasp* 26 days!!

And I was going to post a picture of Anna and me in our matching Sue the T. rex shirts, but Blogger is being dunderheaded and not letting me. So probably later.