Sunday, December 21, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/20/14

Simple Gifts
December 20, 2014

Friends that I met at Disneyland through alt.disney.disneyland


DLR LotD 12/20/14

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Saturday, December 20, 2014

"Bane, giraffe.  Same same." -- Cindy, at Storybookland Canal Boats

Friday, December 19, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/19/14

Simple Gifts
Friday, December 19, 2014

My very imaginative, fearless, and talented niece.

Happy 5th Birthday, Olivia!



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/18/14

Simple Gifts
Thursday, December 18, 2014

All 1447 episodes of "The Colbert Report".

Thank you Stephen.

Thank you, John Stewart, for bringing him to our universe.

"We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when, but I know we'll meet again some sunny day."


Simple Gifts 12/17/14

Simple Gifts
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Capella Singing

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Sing-Off 2014

The Sing-Off Holiday Special
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Sing-Off is back!  Yay!  But it's only for one night.  Boo.  So if you have one bad night, and it's this one, you're screwed?  That sucks.  

Judges:  Shawn Stockman, Jewel, and Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy

Group Number:  Kids in America

I wish I could have been at the Dolby to watch this.  Shawn has 4 seasons of judging under his belt.  So is technically a "season"?  

Each group will perform their signature song for the first round.

Timothy's Gift: Ghost by Ella Henderson
They're 6 women from Nashville, and met in church.  They sing in maximum security prisons to inspire hope.  Well, that's so nice!  And scary.  

Nice harmonies!  I did not like that solo high note AT ALL.  Blech.

a.squared: Pompeii  by Bastille
They use electronics onstage and loop their sound.  They're from Yale.  OK, I gave it a shot for about 10 notes, and I don't like the electronic thing, probably because it sounds like electronica, and I'm not into that.  I guess I'm not into people trying to be a bigger group than they are through artificial means.  I'm a purist, I know. I agree with Shawn about not hearing enough of the guys against the electronics.  Patrick, EVERYONE has to know what they're doing in a traditional a cappella group, too.  Do you think that they can just sit back and relax and let the others carry them?  I guess I'm irritated by the noise.

Traces: River Deep, Mountain High by Tina Turner
They're from New York City, and have a gospel background.  5 of them, including percussion, and they're all female!  Cool.  Also, they have a nice low sound.  I dig them.

The Exchange: Love Runs Out by One Republic
They all met on "The Sing-Off" when they were in different groups.  Oh, that's why they look familiar!  Another group of 5.  One Direction wishes they had such a full sound as this.  Nice! 

SanFran6: Break Free by Arianna Grande featuring Zedd
Another group of a cappella all-stars, and Pinoy Nation is represented again.  YAY!   It's their 1st time performing on stage as a group.  Yikes.  They sound good!  Great lead vocal, and I like the breakdown by the guys.  Ooh, Filharmoic is in the audience!

Melodores: Trumpets by Jason Derullo
Cool.  Ted will be in "Pitch Perfect 2".  Jealous! They're from Vanderbilt University.  Dude, his voice is high!  As always, the collegiate group is the most fun to watch.  

Special Guests: Pentatonix -- Christmas medley
They're just all kinds of awesome.  

Finalists
The Exchange
Traces
Melodores

I'd be sadder if I had watched these other guys over several weeks, but I'm still sad to see them go.

2nd round is Judges Choice.

Traces: I'm Every Woman by Chaka Khan
I liked their performance, but their harmonies should have been tighter.  

The Exchange: Sing by Ed Sheeran
That was very cool.  They hit that nail totally on the head.

Melodores: Take Me To Church by Hozier
Nice lead vocal, Dan!

Special Guests:
Home Free and Judges with Nick: Stand By Me by Ben E. King
I would have liked to just hear Home Free, but here we are, cramming every Sing-Off experience into one night.  Also, I'd rather hear Home Free do their country thing.  I ask for too much, don't I?

Final Results
Melodores fulfilled their wish of becoming the first collegiate group to win the Sing-Off.

Congratulations!

Next year, can we please have a full season, NBC?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/16/14

Simple Gifts
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Lights

Simple Gifts 12/15/14

Simple Gifts
Monday, December 15, 2014

Kleenex

Monday, December 15, 2014

Better Than No Pella

Rockapella in Rrrrancho Cucamonga
Lewis Family Playhouse
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Rrrrancho Cucamonga, CA

I was at fellow PellaPusher Angela's wedding in Lake Las Vegas the night before, so we were unable to attend the Rockapella show in Santa Clarita.  I made sure to get to bed at a reasonable time after all of the celebrating, and arrived at the airport with over an hour of time before boarding.  Well, that went quickly because the lines were long, both at baggage check and at TSA.  Then the guy at TSA wouldn't let me drink the water out of my personal water bottle, so I had to give it up.  He actually said that I could go to the back of the line after disposing of the water.  THAT line, over there?!  Are you insane?  Do you not want me to make my flight?  Do you know that I had a lot to drink last night and I haven't eaten yet this morning, and I'm in no mood for this nonsense?  (I did not ask him those questions).  He wasn't very pleasant, though, and I felt like he was provoking me, but that could be my I-am-not-a-morning-person self, so I tried to get over it.  (Clearly, I'm not, or I would not be writing about it at all).  Anyway, the flight ended up being delayed for 10 minutes (not enough time to be in that line again, though), but at least the flight was OK.  Well, except for the lady across the aisle from me that kept looking at me, or out the window in my row, I couldn't tell.  Yes, the window was open in her row, on her side.  That was only for the time that my eyes were actually open and could see her, so who knows how long she was looking around.  OMG, she should read or close her eyes or LOOK THE OTHER WAY.  

After landing in Ontario, I made my way to Wendy's house to get ready for the show.  I needed food, though, so I stopped at In-N-Out because the boys had gone there the day before and posted it on FB, making me want a burger.  I arrived at Wendy's house, and she and Jeff told me about the show at Santa Clarita.  We all got ready and headed on out to the Playhouse and waited for the rest of the Posse:  Jenn, Rhonda and her mom (1st timer!), Mariah and her peeps, Nick, Liz and Joe, KP and her Aunt Barb and Barb's mom (1st timer!), Angela with her new husband Ryan and their boys Tyler and Owen (Owen's 1st time!), Dodie, Linda, Cindy and Glenn.  Phew!  We had quite the contingent present.

My seat was in the front row, house left, on the aisle next to the steps.  KP tried to take a picture of the Hanukkah stocking, but was stopped by an usher because we weren't allowed to take pictures of anything inside the interior, as it was "artist's work".  Linda sat between KP and me.  I need to have Linda seated beside me for at least one Pella Christmas concert a year because we're Rudolph bracelet buddies.  :)

THE SUN BROTHERS

Sometimes, JT says that they're from Tampa Bay.  Not tonight.

Ding! Fries Are Done
Ooh, they were wearing In-N-Out hats!  (I asked Scott about this later.  He said that they got them when they went to In-N-Out the day before and made me crave it.  I asked if they bought them there, and he said that somehow they got them, but he didn't know how.  They are not available on the website, so I'm picturing JT at the In-N-Out window, trying to convince the manager that they need to have some hats for their show  Scott wasn't sure if they'd wear them anywhere outside CA because people might not get it.  I told him that anyone that has had In-N-Out would probably be jealous and wishing they were in California to get our yummy burgers).

The song was a hit.  This crowd was much more into the show than the audience in Colorado.

As they left the stage, I told Linda and KP that Scott has the best butt.  Linda said I was biased.  I told her that I looked at all of them, giving them equal time.  Linda still said I was biased.  

ROCKAPELLA
Christopher Rossi was subbing for Steven, due to Steven's commitments in Nashville.  

I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day
I asked Linda if she liked the bass.  She said, "Yeah.  Yeah.  YEAH."  They now have the soprano's approval.  :)

Scott introduced himself as the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Hope We Hold
Scott called Rrrrrrancho Cucamonga "The most wonderfully titled place in the world."  He said that it was "weird to do a matinee show, but I feel so awake!"

Scott talked about Jeff: "That's for the Monga in the Cuca".  

He asked if anyone was celebrating Hanukkah, and several people applauded.  "That's the most enthusiastic response for Hanukkah that we've had in, like, a month."

Dreidel
Jeff's spinning was out of control.

Walkin' In A Winter Wonderland
Jeff was getting down and "frisky", according to Linda.  I could hear Angela "whoo"ing during his Elvis moves.

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
Jeff rocked around on his own Thacher Island while the other guys were rockin' around the stage, which had us laughing during Scott's solo.  Sorry, Scott. You know I love that whistle.  Scott's eyes went wide open after he decked Calvin.  Dude, *you* hit *him*!

Glow Worm
Jeff did some cheek drumming during what used to be John's dance solo.  Scott looked at Jeff's butt after Jeff slapped himself there.  When he was done with his solo, he bowed to KP.  He loves her.

Little Mary Snowflake
Oops!  That was the wrong key.  Scott didn't even sing the words until they fixed the chord. He just hummed.

Scott said that Chris had been with Rockapella for 4 days, is from Long Island, NY, and sings with re:Voiced, a kind of all-star a cappella group.  I thought that was Rockapella, but OK.  (Hey--their bass is the one that subbed for George earlier this year!).  Um, Scott just called him Steve.  Chris said that he is also a retired stunt double for Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as the National Champion Speed Milker, Goat Division.  Jeff then walked onto the stage, miming speed-milking a goat.  It was quite the sight to behold.

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime
Calvin and Scott had something going on during this song, because they made big eyes at each other during the extended note of "Christmaaaaas" at the end, and laughed after the song was done.

Scott was happy because he was home on Tuesday to watch "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" on TV.  He was a precocious child.  I liked how he described Yukon Cornelius as the guy "with the dogs that won't mush".  Upon our "oooooh" reaction to the search for peppermint, he said, "Right?!"  (Scott later said that a few times when we were talking after the show.  So cute).

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Uh-oh.  Chris didn't know where to go.  Calvin and Ryan did some little dance together, and Scott copied them.  I told you he was cute.

Scott said that Calvin started "singing in the street....well, no, not IN the street.  That would be dangerous.  He was singing ON the street."  He meant "sidewalk", right?

Merry Christmas, Darling
...and Calvin has made this song his OWN!  Awesome job, CJ!

Scott:  "How about the noises coming out of Ryan's mouth?"  Yes, we enjoy his bassiness.

Scott:  "Jeff's mouth is otherwise occupied."
Jeff raised his eyebrows.  We laughed hysterically.  Scott looked at us like, what the heck? 
Jeff:  "My eyebrows went up at the front row."
Scott: "You guys are easy....Sorry.  I don't mean it that way.  I don't really know."
I just hid my face from the rest of the audience and giggled behind my hand.

This Christmas Day
I love this song so much that I tried to ignore the fact that the harmonies weren't jelling for me.  I tried. I didn't even write it down.  But I remembered.  Sigh.

Christmas, Don't Be Late
OK, I know that KP and I aren't the only ones that think that Calvin should be the one that's late: Glenn said it, too.  

Jeff's stopped his solo to ask KP what number show this was for her.  She said "122", and then he went back to his drumming.  Then he bowed to her at the end of it.  I told you that he loves her.  

Calvin forgot to turn on his mic when he returned.

Jingle Bell Rock
The gals behind us were enjoying the whole concert, particularly this song. 

Scott already began having microphone stand trouble even before the next song started.

Please Come Home for Christmas
When Scott spun around with the mic stand, it got very close to Calvin and Chris.  They moved their chairs back.  Then later, Scott wasn't able to catch the stand when he kicked it back up.  During his last note-that-takes-forever, Calvin was bent over like a kid waiting for his dad to finish his lecture.  Calvin's personality is really starting to show now.  I love it.

Scott talked about the fact that Kwanzaa is for everyone to celebrate, not just African-Americans.  "It's like St. Patrick's Day; St. Patrick's Day is not just for the Irish, everybody would like to partake."  After we practiced "Habari Gani", Scott said, "Rrrancho Cucamonga is ready for Kwanzaa."

Matunda Ya Kwanzaa
The arrangement sounded a little different.  I didn't catch that earlier this month.  Calvin does a lot more dancing in this song.

Jeff talked!  He said, "All the guilty, raise your hands."  When nobody did, he looked at me, and said, "Really?  Wow."  Um, WHAT?  First I'm "easy" then I'm surprisingly not "guilty"?  Then he explained, "All the guilty who haven't started your Christmas shopping, raise your hands."  Ohhhh...I still didn't raise my hand.

Since Steven was absent, Jeff talked about their trip to Finland. He said that he's "1/4 Finnish...this part here," and pointed to his right thigh.  He said that they were given 40 cookies, 10 of which went to Fred the Sound Man.  KP cheered.  JT said to her, "You know him, too."  He said that Santa had heard that they were coming to "Rancho Cookie Monster" and he had a message for Jennifer.

Jennifer didn't want to come to the stage, so it took a bit of coaxing.  Ryan said that he was going to shoot out his web and grab her like Spider-man.  Scott finally got her to join them on stage.  He about stepped on my foot when he took the steps back to the stage.  I noticed that his mic pack was labeled "B-Scott".  I told my posse that it meant "Butt Scott.  Scott's Butt."  I know, I know.  Stop looking at his pants, Sher!  

Jennifer was in 7th grade and was wearing a Santa hat that said "I've been good."  She didn't know what she wanted for Christmas.  She also refused to sing or even speak the words.  Although it was humorous, I was irritated by her just outright refusal.  And why did they pick someone that was at the Age of Awkwardness?  They needed to pick someone younger. Granted, there didn't seem to be many kids in the audience, but we met a gal at the Meet and Greet that would have been a perfect candidate.  Seriously, people need to ask me how to do things sometimes.

Ryan then talked about everyone laughing and holding hands.  "Me and my doggie are coming to your town."

You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Ryan winked at me.  Hi!

Auld Lang Syne
Ryan did some fancy stuff.  Fancy musical melisma stuff.  Neat.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
We got to see new pictures because now Chris was here and Steven was not.

Angels We Have Heard On High
Linda had a spotlight moment as all of the guys dropped out and her soprano rang out throughout the theater.  Go, Linda, Go!!!  

Linda was irritated that people weren't standing up right away, so she started the standing ovation and motioned for everyone else to get up.  I don't think that people wanted to realize that the show had ended.

Encore
"There's one more thing we gotta do and you know what it is!"
Scott explained what needed to be said, and then people jumped the gun and started saying "Do, it, Rockapella!" before the cue.
Scott:  "Just a moment...."

Carmen SanDiego/Billie Jean
I do like the segue into "Billie Jean", but the transition out of it is weird with the "Monday through Friday at 5!".

Hold Out for Christmas (off mic)
Scott played about 7 notes on the pitch pipe and said, "Good luck."  He smiled at me afterward.  Ryan pointed at me while leaving the stage.  Jeff pointed and gave a thumbs up to KP.  That's her boyfriend.  He likes her.

Meet and Greet

Ryan said that they're working on a bunch of new stuff for the Reno shows.  He talked about the venue a little bit, but I wasn't listening enough to explain it here.  I told him that I saw his picture on the Harrah's site.  He said that it was an old picture from when he was living in Boston, and his hair was shorter.  He said that they only know one haircut in Boston, and they just ask for what size clippers they should use.  

I introduced myself to Chris.  We talked about re:Voiced and how they go to high schools to encourage their arts programs.  I told him that I saw the video of him with Rockapella on the Florida TV show, and was looking forward to hearing him in person.  Ryan said that Chris sounds a little bit like Kevin.  Yes, I can hear that he has a timbre like Kevin's voice.  You know, I would have been perfectly OK with Kevin subbing for Steven.  :)

With Chris.  I like this look on him.

Calvin stood up to hug me.  I told him that he's starting to show his personality on stage a lot more and that I like it.  He asked, "So it's showing now?"  And I said, "Oh, yes.  Definitely.  I had been thinking that you're so personable off stage, where is he on stage, and there you were!"  He smiled and thanked me.  I also told him that he now owns "Merry Christmas, Darling".  He said that he would not be at the 1st 2 weeks of the Reno shows because he is going to Hawaii with his wife.  Aw, he won't be there for the 100th.  :(  He said that John would be subbing for him.  Well, OK, then!  I'm glad that I don't have to get used to yet another voice.  I also would be cool with Elliott subbing.  I'm just letting y'all know that I'm missing former Pella members, I guess.

He called me "Sweetie"

Linda was telling them that my 100th show was coming up.  When she got to Jeff, he said, "Um, we're only doing Fridays and Saturdays."  I said, "And on that weekend, you're doing Sunday, because it's a 3-day weekend."  He said, "Nice of them to tell us."  I told him that I already bought my ticket.  He said, "I believe you!"  Then he asked Calvin what holiday is being celebrated, and is it near Lincoln's birthday or whatever.  When Calvin couldn't remember quickly, Jeff laughed and said that he's not really black.  Calvin asked if Jeff was going to take away his card.  I clarified that while Black History month is February, MLK weekend is in January. Perhaps they should give me Calvin's card. Then Jeff looked at the calendar on his cell phone and apologized, as he saw that the date was, indeed, slated on his calendar as a performance day.

Linda and I showed Scott our bracelets.   I asked if he was going to get falafel in Westwood, and he said no, because he checked and it would take him an hour to get there.  He said that he would probably watch the football game, because there is some Fantasy Football stuff happening.  He said that Ryan is really athletic and watches a lot of sports, which is really cool for Scott.  I asked him if his hair is getting darker.  He said that he's been inside renovating the house with drywall and stuff.  I asked if the drywall was making his hair dark.  He said that he was inside and not in the sun.  I hope he knew I was kidding.  I told him that I was able to pay for my Reno tickets because I won some $ in Vegas.  He said that it was ironic that I'm paying for my Reno tickets with money that I won in Vegas.  Wendy showed him the ornament that she bid on during the auction at the Lobero.  He didn't remember at first, but when she played his recording, he laughed and it clicked.  I thought that she was going to ask him to kiss it again because his lip prints had worn off, but I guess she was being shy. I gave him the Rudolph and Clarice band-aids.  He really likes the Clarice ones, and said, "You were wearing one of these last time."  Aw, he remembered.

For Christmas boo boos

I talked to Scott for quite a while after the Meet and Greet line had dissipated.  We discussed the fact that some of us are not really liking the whole "Interchangeable Pella" (Liz's phrase), and he responded with, "At least it's better than No Pella".  I hugged him and said that he knows we love him because he reminds us of stuff like that.  Also, I liked that he said "Pella".  He kept saying that he's forgetting stuff because he's old now.  Don't get any ideas, Leonard!  Angela asked him about Jesse, and he talked about Jesse doing some music production. Angela said that Jesse's singing voice sounds like Scott.  He said that Jesse wasn't really a singer, more of a drummer, but he knew that he could sing.  He had a $300.00/hour music lesson with someone who really opened up Jesse's voice and now his high voice really rings out like Scott's.  I asked about Natalie, and he showed me a picture of some beautiful teenage girl.  Sherry:  "How does this happen?  She's 5 years old!"  He said, "Right?!" and I told him that he is in a lot of trouble.  He knows it.  He said that he's normally one of the more laid-back dads, but he might not be so much anymore.  I forgot to ask him if she is still singing.  At one point, I asked him, "What are you doing now?  Do you need to take the guys back to the hotel now? (knowing that he's driving the car)."  He said, "I'm being polite and talking to you."  Seriously, how much do I love this man?  Also, he told me that he likes my dress.  Thank you!  We were looking at the Rockapella poster on the wall, which was next to the poster for the Blind Boys from Alabama.  Scott:  "I don't think that they're all actually blind."  Too funny.  Even funnier:  Cindy thought that he said "black" instead of "blind" and didn't know how to respond.  

Scott, Sherry, and band-aids

Angela and I took "sandwich" pictures with Scott and Jeff because it has been a very long time since we were able to do so.  Scott was loving the cuteness of Angela's kids, especially the very blond Owen, whom was showing off his twerking skillz.
Scott Sandwich

Jeff crouching for the JT Sandwich


We finally said goodbye and Merry Christmas to the guys.  Angela and family, Glenn and Cindy, Linda and I went to the food court for some dinner.  I ate at Manilaville, because I saw Filipino food and made a beeline for it.  I also ordered some empanadas and ate one today.  Yum.  Not authentic Filipino, but still yum.

My take on the sound from this show:  well, I wasn't thrilled.  I think that Chris has a good voice, and as I mentioned, the timbre reminds me of Kevin.  Cindy said that if Steven can't be bothered to leave Nashville, then she'll take Chris.  Liz liked his voice, too, more than she likes Steven's.  It just didn't work for me tonight, because the sound wasn't as tight as I like.  Ryan and Chris seemed to be having trouble with their monitors/ear pieces tonight and kept taking out the ear piece and putting it back in, so I wonder if that had something to do with it.  But I think that they need to keep it consistent, at least during the whole song.  I know that they are all still trying to get the blend down.  My worry is that if the personnel changes as often as it has in the past few weeks, they will never get the blend down really tight because they won't be able to practice getting that sound.  I agree that it is better than No Pella at all.  I just want the back-and-forth to stop because it makes my brain hurt.  It makes my heart ache, too, because I get used to a line-up and then I get the wind knocked out of me.  Maybe it's something to which I'll have to adapt.  But then they'll have to get used to my being a bit more critical of the sound because I want what made me love them in the first place:  that sound that is not like any other group, a cappella or accompanied.

Who are these guys?

Next month: The Reno shows begin!

Merry Christmas, Pella Posse!  See you in 2015!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/14/14

Simple Gifts
Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quality time with CSL4