Friday, November 23, 2012

Sky Fall

Fall Sky
Halfway tween summer & winter
Orange pumpkin sky hovers above
Big treehouse for lucky insiders
Old landmark trees are big providers
More uses than we can think of.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Snowflake of the Week

Click to zoom in. Thanks.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reflections of Monet

Click on picture to zoom in.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day

Remember the ones you loved
Remember the ones that loved you
As they look down from above
Up there in the sky blue

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Keep On Truckin

Truck Tail Lights
While being driven around the town, my camera jumped into action to capture an image of the truck in front of us on the InterState Highway system outside of Fargo, North Dakota. Pixlr Express subsequently helped modify the image into what we see here above. Johnnny hopes you glike this picture and would love to hear any feedbackage you might care to share on this impotent matter of discussion.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Finals Week

Two Finalists, One Winner
American Idol show notes for Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Each of our two finalists sang three songs. The first round songs were chosen by Simon Fuller. Second round, contestant favorites from this season. Third round, contestant's recordable new single.

Jessica Sanchez first sang a sound-a-like version of a Whitney Houston tune. Didn't make it her own. Score: 7. Second song was called The Prayer. Slow and sleepy. Her big high notes sounded strained, constricted, and not pleasing to the ear. Score: 7. Third song was called Change Nothing. All her songs seemed to start out low, slow, and breathy. She was pitchy and boring. Sorry. Score: 6.

Phillip Phillips played great guitar while singing a cool slow relaxed unique version of Stand By Me. Score: 8. Moving Out by Billy Joel was definitely a Phillipized version of a classic standard. Score: 9. Third song sounded like a travelling minstrel tune, complete with marching band drummers and an audience singalong (oh oh oh). Score: 8.

If Phillip Phillips is not named the winner of this American Idol season, I vow to stop watching American Idol...until next year. What do YOU think? Thanks for all the comments this year. It's been fun!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

American Idol

Here are my notes for the May 16, 2012 American Idol Show: Each contestant sang 3 songs. They all had their great moments during tonight's show. Joshua's best was his last song. I really enjoyed it and would give it a 9 on a 1-10 scale. He should be in the Final Two. Jessica's best was also the last one. She sang an early Michael Jackson tune and really did a great job. However, she is starting to weaken a bit. Her best score tonight: 8. Phillip's second and third songs were great. That mellower funky second tune would be fun to see in concert at the Fargo Theatre. His last song forced him to actually sing a real song with a real melody. It was amazing that he could sing like normal, even tho this is a singing competition. Best Score: 9.
First Place: Phillip Phillips.
Close Second Place: Joshua Ledet.
Third Place: Jessica Sanchez - a great singer but not quite enough to win.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

California Dreaming

Please leave any comments you'd like to share regarding the May 9/10 American Idol shows. We are down to the Final Four. The winner will be announced in two short weeks. Who did well this week? Who will be eliminated? Who do you like to win the whole thing?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Snowflake Of The Week

Hands Around The World
Now that Google pulled the plug on Picnik as my default image editor, my new online tool shall now be: Pixlr. This is my first snowflake edited with Pixlr Express. Hopefully Google will not acquire Pixlr and pull the plug on it also.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Back to the Sixties

American Idol Show Notes from May 2, 2012

Hollie Cavanagh: Song 1 - was just OK. Big production but not very likeable. Score: 7 / Song 2 - excellent choice. She finally had a "moment". Loved the 1st part better, before she changed to a higher key. She is peaking at the right time. Score: 9

Phillip Phillips: Song 1 - he did his own cool version of a 60s song. Long on originality. Liked it. Score: 8 / Song 2 - did not do it for me. He popped out his ear-piece early on indicating technical problems. Repeating chorus was too high for his voice. Score: 7

Skylar Laine: Song 1 - chose a CCR song. Nice choice for her voice/style. Good as usual for her. Score: 8 / Song 2 - slow ballad, thought it was great. Liked the more mellow, first part better. Score: 9

Jessica Sanchez: Song 1 - did an OK version of Proud Mary. Nothing special, but a good overall performance. Score: 8 / Song 2 - while sitting on the floor, she sang an intimate version of You Are So Beautiful. So much talent, incredible voice and range. Score: 9

Joshua Ledet: Song 1 - picked a MoTown tune that was actually a great choice for his voice. Not too much of the raspyelling that I hate. Score: 8 / Song 2 - closed the show with a BeeGees song. The judges go gaga over his songs. I strenuously disagree. You won't find a CD of his raspy yelling in my boombox. Score: 6

Top performance: Hollie's 2nd song
Worst performances: Phillip's 2nd song & Joshua's 2nd song
Bottom Three: Joshua, Phillip, Jessica
Bottom Two: Joshua, Jessica
Going Home: Joshua

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Idol America

The former Randy Jackson.

American Idol Show Notes from April 25, 2012

Jessica Sanchez: She is only 16. Not enough personal experience to handle winning. Song #1 Bohemian Rhapsody. Just OK. Not great. Seems too immature in depth of spirit & voice. Rock songs ain't her thing. Need to throw this fish back to grow some more. Score: 7.5 / Song #2 Lower softer voice is really nice. Her big-voice high-notes sound tight, weak, and strained. Score: 7

Skylar Laine: She is stocky. A stocky rocker. Song #1 Sang The Show Must Go On. Wowie. She can easily switch from Country to Rock. Like the tone of her voice & how she pronounces her words. Score: 9 / Song #2 Another solid performance. Feels so comfortable on stage. Score: 8

Joshua Ledet: Looks like a cross between Will Smith & Eddie Murphy. Song #1 Was holding an old style mic that looked like a shaver. Pretty good performance if you like him, which I don't (like his shreaking). Score: 7 / Song #2 Shreakfest started out with a mellower voice which was almost enjoyable. Then the obligatory shreakfest ensued. Score: 8

Elise Testone: Dreamy Eyes. Reincarnated 60s rocker. Song #1 Definitely a rocker. Has an incredible instrument. Worthy of Top 5. Great song choice For Elise (as in: Fur Elise by Beethoven) Score: 8 / Song #2 Sang a Jimi Hendrix. Started out too held back. Then she really let it go. Great. Loved it. Score: 9

PhilliPhillips: Has the best name of all the remaining contestants. He'd be fun guy to have a bier with (now that he's 21). Song #1 Not crazy about it. For more than half of it, he just sang along with a choir. I could frickin do that. Narrow-range blues yellfest. Score: 7.5 / Song #2 Finally a Dave Matthewsong! Yes, yes. Cool version, quite respectful of the original. Loved it. Score: 9er

Hollie Cavanagh: Looks like a pixie. Song #1 Sang Save Me. 1st part sucked. 2nd part also sucked. But big high heels! Bad choice of song for her. Score: 6.5 / Song #2 Not impressive. Voice is starting to sound too treble & nazaly. Getting a little tired of her. Score: 7

In Trouble: Joshua, Hollie, Jessica.
Going Home: Hollie

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Long Road Home

Who will be homeward bound?
April 18, 2012 American Idol Show Notes:

Round One
Hollie: Rolling in the Deep, came out of her shell, excellent. Score 9.

Colton: Bad Romance by GaGa, futuristic rocker, liked it, needs to pronounce the end of his words for all the non-deaf listeners. Score: 8.

Elise: No One by Alicia Keys, rough-edge rocker wearing orange curtains, OK but didn't really like it. Score: 7.

Phillip: You Got It Bad by Usher, cool slow Afro-beat, playing 12-string guitar, soulful, growly, true artist. Score: 9.

Jessica: Fallen by Alicia Keys, slow sexy song, pretty good, blended in with backup singers too much, needs more confidence. Score: 8. 

Skylar: Born This Way by GaGa, sounds like a pro, like her country version of any song, good choice, rockin country, effortless. Score: 9.

Joshua: Sang some gospel-sounding song, big notes sound pitchy and strained. Score: 7.

Round Two
Hollie: Son of a Preacher Man, narrow range, OK, nothing special. Score: 7.

Colton: Took a favorite Earth Wind and Fire song and made it his own, but I hated it. It sounded like a long slow ballad instead of the original upbeat clean energy. Sounds like he's crying. Score: 7.

Elise: Let's Get It On, she has an incredible instrument, mature voice, but the judges did not like it, and talked too much, bad sign. Score: 7.

Phillip: Wait Til The Midnight Hour, no guitar, awkward movement, more of the same, one-trick pony? Score: 7.

Jessica: Try A Little Tenderness, stepped out and gave a crazy big-voice performance. Score: 9.

Skylar: Heard It Thru The Grapevine, more of the same countryization of a good choice for her, but she too is a one-trick pony, but has fun up there. Score: 8.

Joshua: Surprisingly chose a Civil Rights song, sounded like a slow gospel which is maybe a good choice for him, but I would not pay to go hear him as the tone of his voice is not pleasing to my ears. Sorry. Score: 6.

Bottom Three: Joshua, Elise, Colton.
Hopefully going home: Joshua.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seven To Six

Going from Seven 2 Six
American Idol show notes for April 11, 2012 in order of performance:

1. SkyLar Laine: Still improving, strummed a guitar to a country song, delivered the goods, could win it. Score: 8

2. Colton Dixon: Sat at and played a piano, nice controlled performance and vocals, not his normal red-faced pained look. Score: 8

3. Jessica Sanchez: Sat on grand piano, so good, so mature for her young age, wow, she nailed a tough song. Her singing ability is inversely proportional to her size. Score: 8.5

4. Joshua Ledet: Gave a great performance of a Bruno Marvelous song, great song choice, but a few big notes toward the end turned me off. Score: 8

5. Hollie Cavanaugh: My early fave gave a subpar performance, pitchy, too serious of a song choice, judges were awkwardly negative. Score: 7

6. Phillip your tank: More of the same good stuff. Score: 8

7. Elise Navidad: Great song choice to show off her abilites, slow rock song, maintained control. Score: 8

Best of the Night: Jessica!
Could go home: Hollie!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Good Time Charlie

Click on photo for a better look
Back in January, we visited some friends in their new home. My camera took this picture while their first-born enjoyed some spoonfuls of supper. If this photo doesn't get some sort of Blue Ribbon, it certainly gets an Honorable Mention award.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Eight To Seven

Judge not lest ye judge ye not.
My American Idol comments hereby follow, on this 4th day of April 2012:
Skylar moved to the Top Spot - wow!
Hollie is fading.
Joshua's stock rose, a little.
Phillip remains up there.
Jessica started strong but weakened.
Colton needs to pronunciate.
Deandre missed the mark.
Elise needs help.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ameri Canidol

Jimmy Iovine is my name. Music is my game.
The Top Nine American Idol contestants were singing tonight to stay in the competition. These are my notes from the March 28, 2012 show.

Singer 1: Colton went from barely singing to cry-yelling (cryell). Don't like his pitchy singing. Score: 6

Singer 2: Skylar did OK but it seemed like just a good karaoke version of a country song. Score: 7

Singer 3: Heejun gave a seriously good performance and deserves to move on to the next round. Score: 8

Singer 4: Hollie is still my favorite and I would love to see her win it. Score: 8

Singer 5: Deandre should never sing falsetto again and stick with trusetto. Listening to that song was torture. Score: 6

Singer 6: Jessica sounded great singing a challenging song. Loved the simple harp to accompany her voice in the beginning. Score: 8

Singer 7: Phillip did a soulful blues version of a soulful Jonny Lang blues song. Score: 9

Singer 8: Joshua got good feedback from the judges but I hated his raspy yelling (raspyell). Score: 7

Singer 9: Elise took on Whole Lotta Love and definitely got the Led out. Score: 9

Bottom Three: Colton, Deandre, Joshua.

Going Home: Deandre.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Good Example

Coco is a very good listener
Our friend Coco sets a very good example for others to follow. Besides being a good listener, Coco never over-reacts to any situation, while many of us later regret our knee-jerk reactions. Coco agrees with Yogi Beera that you can observe a lot just by watching. If you have any questions for Coco, Coco will try to answer them on a first asked/first answered basis. What is your question for Coco?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ten To Nine

Mr. American Idol: Ryan Seacrest

Long story short: We missed American Idol tonight. Johnnny played piano this evening. We set the show to record. The red light was on from 7-9 but nothing got recorded. Kit and Johnnny will have to read your comments to hear how the show went tonight. The Top Ten were going to perform and one person gets eliminated on Thursday night. What was the theme? Who did well? Who is going home?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Robin

First robin sighting in Fargo: March 18, 2012
In 2011, we saw our first robin on March 27. This year, a flock of robins showed up on Sunday, March 18. They easily blew into town on a strong southernly wind, while temperatures neared 80 degrees F. With the muggy humidity, unusual warmth, outdoor grilling, and chirping robins, March 18 felt more like May 18. Instead of moving our clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time, it's like we moved our calendars ahead 2 months.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Snowflake Of The Week

St. Patrick's Day Snowflake

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Arrested Development

Judge Randall Darius Jackson

American Idol notes for March 14, 2012
Top Group:
Phillip could contend for the crown.
Joshua really gave a great performance.
Hollie is still my favorite to win it.
Upper Middle Group:
Elise was surprisingly good this round.
Skylar deserves to keepon keepin on.
Colton's skunkhead wasn't all bad.
Lower Middle Group:
Jessica was not great this time.
Heejun is likeable but too breathy & pitchy.
Deandre can't win but is OK.
Erika was blandly karaokesque.
Bottom Group:
Shannon is the weakest link. Good-bye.
Jermaine (already gone, needed a-rrest).

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Daffadown Dilly

I came upon this beauty in our daffodil room
I decided to take a walk-a-bout with a camera (a cam-a-bout) in our living room this morning and came upon this fine yellow fellow. Some folks used to call this a daffadown dilly but Kit just calls it a daffodil.
Narcissus loves to look at itself in the mirrors
Once we learned that their nickname is Narcissus, we put a mirror next to it and it started to thrive.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Top 13

There's always room for J-Lo

The Top 13 sang tonight. The guys did Stevie Wonder songs and the girls did Whitney. Here are my rankings from best to worst:

Hollie Cavanagh - my personal favorite of all the contestants
Jessica Sanchez - did a great job and could win it

Phillip Phillips - favorite guy, but too joe cocker-ish
Skylar Laine - one of my top 3 girls, makes country enjoyable

Deandre Brackensick - master blaster was actually pretty good
Erika Van Pelt - ok, but not a fave
Colton Dixon - daniel boone hair did ok, liked it
Heejun Han - like him, but a little pitchy
Jeremy Rosado - ok, but cannot win it

Jermaine Jones - wtf?
Elise Testone - should not be in the Top 10
Shannon Magrane - out of her league
Joshua Ledet - don't like the tone of his yelling

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chalkboard Art

Cribbage scoreboard on our garage wall

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Top 25

Mr. Steven Tyler.  Just call me Steve.
This is the beginning of another American Idol adventure. The guys went first, then the girls. Please comment with your thoughts and feelings so far. Here are mine:

Guys that were OK: Reid the Drummer (moves weird), Aaron the vocal coach, Chase the tall country whistler, Crayton the sidewalk jester, Phillip Phillips (bad choice of song/slow arrangement), Heejun the cowboy hater, and Joshua.

Girls: Really liked little Hollie with the big voice. Also liked Skylar (Reba), and Jessica Sanchez.

A number of people really sucked. Hopefully some of them will be eliminated and none of the above mentioned contestants.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Snow Art

Over-hanging snow sculpture
While doing some Sunday shovelling, I noticed this snow blanket hanging down just above our front door area. It was created during a minor winter storm. We'll have to see what happens after we get our first full-fledged blizzard of the winter, which is predicted for Tuesday night into Wednesday (Leap Day).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chief Hawk Tail

Hawk sitting on top of our deck
Kit snuck a picture of this guy sitting on the roof of our deck. At this typing, I'm not sure what kind he is (any help would be appreciated - click on picture to zoom in). Now we know what's been happening to our dwindling sparrow population. As we've been feeding our small birds during the winter, Mr. Hawk's probably been eating them like popcorn.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Word Verification

Turn word verification off
I just turned off the word verification for blogger comments. It was frustrating before, but recently had gotten even worse. Instead of one word, now it's two. One is fairly easy to read, but the other one is almost illegible. To turn off comment word verification: Dashboard, Settings, Comments, change it from Yes to No, Save. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Word Of The Week

Frankly, my dear, I don't give aqap.
Word-of-the-Week is: aqap.
Pronounced: A-kwap.
Meaning: as quickly as possible.
Example usage: Frankly, I don't give aqap.

Variation: oqap.
Pronounced: O-kwap.
Example usage: Oqap, I thought it was 4 o'clock.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Jack Frost

Jack Frost decorated our maple tree
Winter Haiku:
Went to mail box
Instead of finding letters
Got frosty picture

Toy Prize Crane Claw

A rare self-portrait of Johnnny
We've all seen those things that could be described as a crane-claw that supposedly grabs toy prizes to be won. I don't know what the official name is of these units. How-a-bout a Toy Prize Crane Claw? Anyways, it seemed like another good opportunity for a rare self-portrait of St. Johnnny. In order to become a saint, you need two documented miracles. Thus, my slogan is: Just one more miracle! Thanks, St. Johnnny

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Trees In The Hood

Click too zoom inn!
Johnnny snapt this photo during weekday lunch. Just happened to notice reflection on adjacent vehicle. Just think how much we'd miss if we were blind.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

BLOGGER stands for

Keep on bloggin'

As an acronym, have you ever wondered what BLOGGER stands for? Here is one possibility:
Better Latent Than Never
Life Goes On
Only Live Twice
Geniune Imitation
Gravity Brings Me Down
Endorsed By Millions
Reckless Caution
What do you think BLOGGER means?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Go Green

Iguana: The other green meat.
One of the great things about the Internet is being able to search for pretty much anything. Here is a recipe for Iguana. We don't have any Iguanas in North Dakota, so this is probably meant for folks down there in South Dakota.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Walk The Walk

Walk it off
Fred Nietzsche: All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking. Anonymous: Don't let people drive you crazy when you know it's in walking distance. Albanian Proverb: When you have no companion, look to your walking stick. Steve Wright: Anywhere is walking distance, if you've got the time. Tom Jefferson: The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is the best. Joan Rivers: He who limps is still walking. Hippocrates: Walking is man's best medicine.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Leg Appreciation Day

Take a moment and give thanks for your legs.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cribbage Cave

Playing cribbage in the cave
"Capture as many happy moments as you can." was a saying of Dr. James Miles. Dad pretty much lived his life according to this philosophy. Here is one happy moment that I captured: Kit and I playing cribbage in our cave (our living room in the garage). Note the acorns, which are used to remember what street we're on, in the game. Even during winter months, a few small heaters make our insulated garage a comfortable place (especially since we have real furniture out there).

Monday, January 16, 2012

Carnival Fun Boat

Experience true panic situations. Adventure like never before.
Are you looking for adventure? Have you gotten bored with normal, perfunctory cruise ships? Carnival Cruise Lines now offers the ultimate in X-treme cruise X-perience. Feel what it must have felt like to be aboard The Titanic. Share an adult beverage with the captain in one of the many bars on-board. Steer the ship yourself while the captain snoozes. As water innundates your cabin, see how quickly you can find a life-jacket. It's all here, in the three-ring circus, we call Carnival!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Eye of the Dog

In major need of blue eye reduction
This started out as a picture of our best dog friend, Uma. It ended up being a study in dog eye lens experimental colorization.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The New Air Force One

The new Boeing 797 looks (and flies) like a bird.
It's a bird. It's a plane. It's the newly remodeled Air Force One. Say hello to the new Boeing 797. Instead of jet fuel, it runs completely on fish. Expect to see it in use after the upcoming 2012 presidential election.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Leave Up Or Take Down

Neighborhood Christmas lights
I saw some of our neighbors across the street yesterday taking down their Christmas lights already. That seems a bit early to me. We leave ours up yearound. We have a string of C-7s going around our garage door. By changing the colors of lights, you can look appropriate for any holiday or time of year. Leave them up this year!