May 2010


This week is the finale of American Idol (one of my guilty pleasures).  Wednesday will be the results show, which seems to get stranger each year.  I am re-posting my summary of last year’s finale because I thought it was pretty funny.  I’ll try to write something a little more meaningful next week…

First of all, there is the issue of the number of votes.  Seacrest kept saying that there were “almost 100 million” votes cast.  Compare that to the 2008 presidential election, considered by many to be the most important one in recent history, where there were about 120 to 130 million votes cast and you get a good sense of where America’s priorities lie (or is it lay… I never could get that one). 

Now for the performances – I didn’t really start keeping track until about halfway through the show, so I’ll omit the awkwardness of Lionel Richie with Danny Gokey and the surprisingly good performance by the combination of Cindy Lauper and Allison Iraheta. 

Since the judges always talk about contestants needing to be new, fresh, relevant, etc. what better way to celebrate the culmination of the season than to showcase a bunch of 30 year-old music?

When I saw Adam with what appeared to be rebar bent into some kind of industrial art incorporated into his costume, I told my wife that he would either be with Meatloaf or KISS.  Sure enough, KISS descended onto the stage amid some “shock and awe” pyrotechnics.  This is where everything started to get really weird for me.  I have to say, I’ve never been a big fan of KISS.  Yeah, they dress funny and wear a lot of makeup… but so does Paula Abdul.  These guys range from 57 to 64 years old.  Let that soak in.  Seeing them in spandex and u-cut shirts that showcase their harry barrel-chestedness was nauseating.  Was this a performance by rock and roll legends or The Country Bear Jamboree?

Next came the ageless Carlos Santana.  This guy is still one of the best guitarist ever and lives up to the name of the song he performed, “smooth”.  I can’t fault this one at all.

Next up… Steve Martin is playing a banjo and plugging his new album???  This is becoming a strange dream.  As weird as this was, I kind of liked the bluegrassy sound.

The adventures in surrealism continued when Rod Stewart was apparently given an adrenaline shot straight to the heart so that he could come on stage and perform a few more 30 year-old songs.  If American Idol is really going for the young demographics, they really need to invest in a calendar… or a time machine.

For the final performance, Kris and Adam starting singing Queen’s “We Are the Champions”.  For a brief moment I thought, “Holy cow – they’re going to bring back Freddie Mercury from the dead.”  Don’t laugh, they did it with Rod Stewart.  The surviving band did appear and the show’s bias toward Adam was underscored.

To sum it up, I think all of the performances proved that there hasn’t been much decent music made this decade.  Everybody is shocked that Adam didn’t win the competition, but when you consider the fact that now he doesn’t have to record that stinker of a song that Kara wrote, he may be the real winner.  I  guess Adam can seek consolation from Chris Daughtry, who can tell him how to deal with a life of obscurity after losing on American Idol while the winner goes on to fame and fortune.  Who won that year?  Oh yeah, Taylor Hicks… he’s awesome.

The marina where we keep our boat had a summer kick-off event last Saturday. They occasionally have these events to show their thanks to the customers. I have a better idea of how they could show their thanks – not have these events and charge us less to keep our boat there.

This event had a pirate theme. The dockhands were dressed up like pirates, there was a giant inflatable pirate ship for the kids, and we enjoyed our “free” pizza (who knew there were Italian pirates?). It was actually nice and I do appreciate these events. We finished our lunch and listened to Jimmy Buffet on the loudspeakers for a little while as the girls entertained other families. The great thing about Jimmy Buffet is you could be in an Igloo at midnight and his music can make you feel like you’re on a beach in the Caribbean.

After downing our pizza, we headed out to one of our favorite beaches to swim for the first time this year. Olivia loves to swim and has nagged us to get in the water each time we’ve been out since March. It was a hot, humid day so I gave in.

I lowered the ladder and stuck my hand in the water. It felt comfortable. It’s amazing how the water temperature seems to drop about 30 degrees when your entire body is immersed.

Olivia got in the water and we stayed around the boat for a while to make sure she would be fine in the cool water. Of course, kids have antifreeze in their veins and could care less about the temperature of the water as long as they are swimming. I finally decided it was time to swim over to the beach and kicked my legs to begin swimming.

I wasn’t immediately sure what happened to my foot, but I knew it wasn’t good. It didn’t hurt that bad, but I knew something was wrong. I held onto the ladder for a while as I composed myself, and then climbed up to the swim platform. I knew my toe hurt, but didn’t know why. For a second everything looked fine… then the blood came.  Lots of it.

Apparently, when I kicked away, I kicked the boat propeller. It sliced between by big toe and my second toe on the top side of my foot. We were about 4 or 5 miles from our marina, we had both kids with us, I was bleeding, and Sara is not comfortable driving the boat (especially on a busy day like it was last Saturday).

Fortunately, Sara is a dermatology PA and is much calmer in these situations than I am. She stopped the bleeding and wouldn’t let me look at it. I took the boat back to the marina, docked it, and made sure all the covers were on and the lines were stowed neatly (I’m such an engineer).

Sara drove me to her office and stitched me up. She did a great job – I really couldn’t feel a thing. The girls were great too. Olivia knew that daddy got a bad booboo and took care of Amelia while Sara took care of me.

The interesting thing is I saw the whole thing coming. We were anchored in pretty shallow water, so I trimmed the drive up to prevent it from hitting anything on the bottom of the lake. This means that the part with the prop was tilted up as high as it would go. When I did this, I thought that I would need to be careful not to hit the drive unit while we were swimming–that is exactly what I did.

Many people generally regard King Solomon as the wisest man who ever lived. He once said, “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” (Prov. 27:12)

I saw danger, but I kept going… and I suffered for it. In this case, the extent of my suffering was only a few stitches and a sore toe, but our failure to take refuge when we see danger can have much greater implications.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be brave in the face of danger and cower away every time you get scared. The danger that I think Solomon is referring to is the danger of continuing to do something that you can see will have negative affects in the future–those things that, if you continue to do them, can destroy families, relationships, marriages, cholesterol levels, or your finances.

Maybe you’re just like I was in the boat.  You see the danger, acknowledge it, yet fail to seek refuge (do something about it). I can assure you that simply recognizing a danger is not enough. You have to do something about it… I have the stitches to prove it.

Here’s a breakdown of our Disney World trip.  Those of you considering taking a child under two – don’t.  We started our trip with a visit to Downtown Disney for dinner.  It has grown tremendously since we lived down there eight years ago.  We went back to one of our favorite restaurants (Wolfgang Puck’s) and walked around for a couple of hours.  Notice Olivia’s new Thumper (that she bought with her saved up allowance) and Amelia’s glazed-over look that would remain for the next four days.

The Girls at Downtown Disney

The next day began with breakfast at Chef Mickey’s.  We got to meet many of the Disney characters and Olivia had a great time getting her picture made with them and adding them to her autograph book.

 

 

 

So far, so good.  We  had a few minor issues – Amelia fell off the hotel bed on her head right before she pooped on the floor (never walk barefoot in a hotel room), but things were going well up to this point.  After breakfast, we went to the Magic Kingdom.  It was still early, we were pretty well rested, and the oppressive heat and humidity had not yet set in.

What a difference a few hours makes!  After standing in line for a few hours in 95 degree heat and humidity that would make the Amazon seem like a desert, our attitudes and appearances changed drastically.  Amelia didn’t want to stand in line, didn’t want to be held, didn’t want to walk, and it was illegal to tie her to a post.  Olivia (who inherited my sweat gene) went from a sweet little princess to… well, the picture below:

She was able to rally long enough to meet Princess Jasmine and Aladdin, but we knew our day was quickly ending.

We were all tired, ill, sweaty, and hungry thanks to the magic of Disney.  We took the girls back to the room.  They didn’t nap the day before and went to bed late the previous night, so we thought they may rest a little before dinner.  Wrong!  We all got cleaned up and headed out for dinner.  A shower and 15 degree drop in the temperature made a world of difference.  We had a very good dinner and took a walk on Disney’s Boardwalk.

 

The next day, we went to Hollywood Studios.  Since we were staying in the park, we got to see the attractions an hour early.  At first, we were concerned that we might not be able to get up, get the girls ready, eat breakfast, and make it to the park by 8 am.   Then Amelia woke us (and the people in the adjacent rooms) at 5:30 am.

This was a much better day.  Most of the rides and shows were indoors and we already dropped back and punted on the concept of trying to do everything the park had to offer.

Taking what we learned from the previous day, we went back to the resort at 1 pm and jumped in the pool.  After it cooled off, we took another walk on the boardwalk, got dinner, and walked over to Epcot.  We had a great meal, which the girls capped off with a dessert of chocolate cake and lemons:

 

Overall, we had a great trip.  It was the typical family vacation… stressful, full of tension, exhausting, but only remembered for the great times that we had.  Amelia maintained the “I vow not to sleep” theme all the way home on the airplane… until the plane pulled up to the gate after we landed at which point, she was out like a light.  After lugging a large rollerbag, four backpacks, two strollers, and two kids back through the Atlanta airport; we got to our car and headed home.  Boy do I love being at home!

I’ve had some requests, so I am uploading photos of my girls from Easter.  Seeing how sweet they are now can serve as a frame of reference when I write about the chaos of Disney World next week.

Olivia and Amelia Before Church

 

Olivia

 

Amelia Hunting Eggs at Church

 She “hunted” for eggs in other kid’s baskets then ate their candy.

 

Grumpy the Dinosaur

This one has nothing to do with Easter, but I had to share it.