Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/30/14

Simple Gifts
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Last day of work for 2014

Monday, December 29, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/29/14

Simple Gifts
Monday, December 29, 2014

A warm house on a cold day

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/28/14

Simple Gifts
Sunday, December 28, 2014

Remembering the alto parts from college for the Christmas carols we sang in church today

Fa La Laaa

It was a beautiful, crisp day in So Cal today, and I hadn't gone on a walk in a while, so I decided to walk to the movie theater and meet Linda there to see "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb", the final installment in the trilogy.  

  • No, I didn't know it was a trilogy, but this was a nice ending to the series.
  • I was bummed that they didn't have the original actor who played Nick from the first movie.
  • The first sight of Robin Williams got me all teary.  I cried much more than I thought I would.
  • Seeing Mickey Rooney didn't help.  
  • Neither did the end credit dedication to Mickey, and then "For Robin Williams Magic Never Ends".  Sigh.  RIP, you two talented gentlemen.
  • Yay!  Dick Van Dyke, dancing it up!
  • The YouTube video connection to the flashlight on the lions was brilliant.
  • Even more brilliant: the fight taking place in the M.C. Escher "House of Stairs".  Genius.
  • "Iiepwop."
  • I love that the caveman doppelganger's name in the credits is spelled "Laaa".
  • Trixie and Rex doing the "Dirty Dancing" lift: funny!
  • Trixie seems to be the name for female triceratops: that's the same name they used in "Toy Story 3".
  • HIPPOS!  3 of them!
  • Huge Ackman.  Wolverine.  YES.
That was enjoyable.  

Simple Gifts 12/27/14

Simple Gifts
Saturday, December 27, 2014

Southern accents

Friday, December 26, 2014

I Wish

Linda and I didn't have any huge plans for Christmas Day, so she agreed to see "Into the Woods" with me.  Linda had already seen it in a sneak preview, and she liked it, so that was a good sign for me.

  • I had never seen the stage play, although I have wanted to for quite some time.  I now want to watch it even more since Linda told me that they cut out some parts for the movie that I might like.
  • I heart Anna Kendrick.
  • What a weird place these people live in:  a witch lives in the neighborhood, people steal vegetables from someone else's garden, and someone lives inside an oak tree.
  • Classic Sondheim chord progressions and arrangements.  Love it.
  • I thought that Rapunzel's hair being one of the articles needed was some kind of missing plot point (but she touches it every day!), but it turns out that it was a clue that the potion wouldn't work.  
  • Red Riding Hood's grandma needs to make me some capes.  OK, maybe not made of animal hair, but still, I would like one.
  • Oh, that's why I know the kid who plays Jack!  He was in "Les MIserables".  He's got a great voice.
  • Red had a great voice, too.  I also loved how she would still sing while eating cookies.
  • When Chris Pine started to sing "Agony", I thought that maybe he was channeling Shatner because they both played Captain Kirk.  But the princes were supposed to be hammy, so that worked.  Their song was hilarious, and I would like to hear the reprise that Linda told me about when she told me about the differences from the play.
  • "I'm in the wrong story."
I wish that I could have bought the soundtrack in the lobby.  I also want to hear the Original Broadway Cast recording, because Bernadette Peters!

Simple Gifts 12/26/14

Simple Gifts
Friday, December 26, 2014

Watching the Hortons hang their ornaments on the Christmas tree on "Days of Our Lives".

Simple Gifts 12/25/14

Simple Gifts
Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holding a 12-day-old baby

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/24/14

Simple Gifts
Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Baking (and eating) Christmas Cookies

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/23/14

Simple Gifts
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Mozart of Spit

Happy Birthday, JT!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/22/14

Simple Gifts
Monday, December 22, 2014

Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song

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.  

The Exchange

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.


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


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.  :)


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.  

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."

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.

"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

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/13/14

Simple Gifts
Saturday, December 13, 2014

The event that took place at 12/13/14 15:16:17 today.

Congratulations, Angela and Ryan!

The Maid of Honor speech, for those of you whom are curious:

Ready Player One.  That's how we would start up video games when I was a kid, back when Angela was 6 years old and I met the new girl that moved in across the street.  Back then, we had big consoles and only 2 people at a time could play against Donkey Kong, jumping over barrels to get to their goal.  Little did Angela and Ryan know then that years later in their Game of Life, they would power on their home gaming systems and among the multitudes of people online, they would meet their permanent team mates.  In all of these years of knowing my Blondie (today, my Purplie), I've never seen her as happy as she is now.  So Ryan, this is your Call of Duty:  to take good care of Blondie/Purplie, the boys, and any other extra lifelines and power-ups that might come along.  Congratulations, Luigi.  You've found your Princess.

Simple Gifts 12/12/14

Simple Gifts
Friday, Decemer 12, 2014

A Lucky Streak

Friday, December 12, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/11/14

Simple Gifts
Thursday, December 11, 2014

A low-maintenance bride

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/10/14

Simple Gifts
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Getting hit on in the grocery store when I'm feeling ugly and crappy

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/09/14

Simple Gifts
Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

Monday, December 8, 2014

Simple Gifts 12/08/14

Simple Gifts
Monday, December 8, 2014

President Obama on The Colbert Report, doing Steven's segment of "The Word" / "The Decree"

Welcome, Ryan!

Rockapella in Greeley
Friday, December 5, 2014
Union Colony Civic Center
Greeley, CO

A few months ago, I realized that my 100th show would be coming up quickly if some predicted tour dates would come to fruition, and it could possibly be on the day before my birthday.  But it would take some finagling, because there was only one local show in December that I could attend.  So I decided to go to this one, and invited my posse to join me if they'd like.  KP and Jenn were going to miss the same So Cal show as me, so they decided to join me.  Yay!

I took the FlyAway bus from Van Nuys early in the morning because I didn't want to drive in traffic to LAX, and their parking can be expensive.  So I took a little nap on the way to the airport, and bag check was quite easy this time, probably because it was early in the day.  I was allowed to go through pre-check, so I was done with security fairly quickly and got something to eat at La Brea Bakery.  While looking for KP, I said to myself, "Redhead.  Where's my redhead?"  She wasn't there yet.  She arrived while I was getting food, and we met up and headed for our gate and talked about how we realized that we no longer know how to pack for Rockapella shows because it's been so long since the last Rockapella Rendezvous.  KP said that she's lost her "Rockapella Juju".  I think she meant "Mojo".  We decided on "Jujo".  Our flight was happily uneventful once I got over the fact that I felt really stupid trying to walk onto the jetway before the "B" line was called. 

We landed a little bit early, but Jenn had already picked up the car rental.  She had actually booked 2 cars because she booked one when we first decided to go, then she booked another one last week.  She chose the black SUV.  We stopped to eat at Arby's, and when Jenn's name was called, some little kid proceeded to touch her tray and his mom hadn't even ordered yet.  The look on Jenn's face was priceless.  It was part "That's MY food, you little brat!" and part "If you weren't a kid, I'd stab you with a plastic knife."  Jenn was quite hungry.  But all was well, and violence was avoided when the kid's mom told him to put down the tray.

We got to the hotel (thanks for getting the room, Hotel Fairy!) and decided to go to Target and the venue since we had some time before needing to get ready.  Jenn's Siri was taking us along backroads everywhere.  I found the Rudolph (and Clarice!) band aids that KP had told me about.  I hadn't brought my whole tin of Jesus band aids, and was going to use plain ones until she told me about these.  Yes, I have Jesus band aids.  Jesus heals.  Anyway, we also found other stuff that we had forgotten, and then Jenn treated us to a drink at Starbucks because she wanted more points.  I showed off my high-maintenance ordering skill by ordering a tall decaf nonfat caramel brulee latte.  Thanks, Jenn!  

We then went to the venue (again, backroads), and parked in a senior center parking lot.  KP and I went to the box office so that I could pick up my tickets.  There was some kind of Christmas Tree fair going on inside, but it wasn't free, so we didn't go.
KP being Cool

 We took pictures by this sculpture of people watching a guy playing a guitar.

 On the way back to the car, we saw that one of the benches by the senior center was sponsored by a funeral home.  That's just wrong.  I then saw a car that needed to have Jenn beside it because it had her name on it.  

We returned to the hotel to rest a bit before getting ready for the show.  Jenn hadn't been feeling well for a couple of hours, so she decided to go downstairs to the front desk to see if they had some decongestant to purchase.  I noticed that it was taking her awhile, and found out why when she arrived.  APPARENTLY, when she was checking out some "tall glass of water"'s ummm... pants, he turned around and she saw that it was Steven.  He said a friendly hi and asked if she was by herself, and she said that no, she was with KP and me.  He hugged her and she was trying not to hug him too much because she didn't want to get him sick.  She got into the elevator and was so out of it due to her sinuses that she forgot to press the elevator button for our floor.  So she went to the 3rd floor, and lo and behold, there was Calvin.  Now she was more mortified because two of them had seen her while she looked at not-her-best.  She still hadn't pressed any buttons after Calvin got off the elevator, and then SD was back again.  She tried to explain to him that she was sick and didn't know what she was doing, trying not to let him think that she was stalking them.  Then she finally realized that she needed to press a button to get to our floor, and did so.  I teased her, and said, "But Jenn....now they won't be surprised to see us!"  She said, "I'm sorry!"  That's OK, Jenn.  Your story was hilarious.

We got ready to go and this time we parked in the lot across from the front door of the venue.  The Christmas trees that we didn't look at earlier were still on display so that we could check out all of them.  I pointed out a little photo op place where we could take pictures together later.  

We got to our seats, which were in the front row of the apron.  YAY!!!  Earlier in the week, JT had announced that their "Holiday Tour" bass was Ryan Chappelle, whom is a former member of the a/c group Ball in the House.  We were going to get a close-up view of him, because our seats were on the rhythm section side.  I was happy that my Rockapella drought was ending after 363 days.  That's like an eternity for me.  No wonder I've had to keep myself pseudo-sane with my "Simple Gifts' posts.  


SD, CSL4, Ryan (RC) and CJ took the stage, wearing hats like they were working in a fast-food joint.  They then sang a song to the melody of "Carol of the Bells", but with the lyrics "Ding! Fries are done."  You can guess how the song went from there.  They're so silly.  These hats must be easier to pack than those big sombreros. 


I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Wow, this crowd is quiet.  I wanted to yell every time one of the guys took the stage, but I was trying not to freak out too much, as Cindy had told me.  (Really, though.  Has she MET me?).  They had to do a couple of adjustments in the first few chords, but you know, they're such pros, they got on track very quickly.  We got smiles from SD and CSL4.  I like CSL4's purple tie with the silver accent.

CSL4 introduced himself as Peyton Manning.  It's Broncos country, folks!

The Hope We Hold
CSL4 pointed at KP as he walked to our side of the stage, and he smiled at me.  Hi!  

CSL4:  "We were in Kansas the last two nights.  You have more bumps in your landscape.... You've got great weather here, it's not like Christmas, so we're going to do an Easter show tonight."  Then he introduced Ryan Chappelle as their "brand new bass".  Hmmm....does that mean that he's no longer just the "Holiday Tour" bass?  I'm so confused.

CSL4 asked the audience, "Who's celebrating Hanukkah?"  Maybe 2 people clapped.  His response: "That's more than there were in Kansas."

Hi, JT!  Go, RC, spin the dreidel!

Winter Wonderland
The audience liked CSL4's Elvis hip moves.  Somebody winked his Flirty Flirty Eye at me.  I'm so happy!  I had to tell KP and Jenn that in the middle of the song.  Really, it's been a long time since I've been this level of happy.  JT did his walk like he was in the Ministry of Silly Walks.  

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
KP:  "Sleigh bells are coming! Sleigh bells are coming!"  We did the choreography with them, of course, for us, and for RC.  Sleigh bells did, indeed, come.

Glow Worm
They seem to be out of breath.  Is it the altitude thing, or were they tired?  JT tried to get CJ to bump fists, but CJ left him hanging until the end of the song when he realized what JT was trying to do.  Much giggling occurred at our seats.

Little Mary Snowflake
"Conquering kingdoms and hacking at dragon heads."  I love that song.

CSL4 said that SD has been with Rockapella for 5 years.  Time flies when you're looking at gorgeous men sing and dance at you.  Of course, one of those years was very much longer than the others because I didn't see them for 363 days.  CSL4 said that SD has a CD available but asked us not to buy too many because they want to keep him.  I know the feeling.

Simply Having A Wonderful Christmastime
So here is the test on RC's technique: the Tchaikovsky bass part.  YES!  He kicked ass.

CSL4 is disappointed that, again, he won't see "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" when it airs on TV on Tuesday.  Me neither.  

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
JT pointed his microphone at us because he knew we'd yell, "YAHTZEE!!!"  

Merry Christmas, Darling
Nice riff by CJ when RC dropped out for a few bars.

CSL4 said that RC was in Ball in the House.  I whooed.  He asked, "You know Ball in the House, or you have a ball in the house?"  I answered, "Well..."   That's kind of personal in front of these hundreds of people, Mr. Leonard!  Then he said that JT doesn't sing/talk much because "his mouth is otherwise occupied," but he does a lot of the behind-the-scenes work also.  SD talked about CSL4's "lovely goldilocks and spaghetti-style legs".  CSL4's reaction was priceless, as he flipped his hair and demurely crossed his legs.

This Christmas Day
"I just snuggle up and make new friends..." CSL4's snuggling turned into a lot of hula-hoop-like hip action, which went out of control.  SD's reaction was hilarious as he looked at us, like, "What are you gonna do?"

Please Christmas, Don't Be Late
KP says that CSL4 should yell "CALVIN!" and not "STEVEN!"  I think that he should want "A Kardashian" and "One Direction DVD".  He did stop wanting the Justin Bieber DVD, though, and asked for a Taylor Swift one, which really doesn't match syllable-wise.

Jingle Bell Rock
Ummmm...the floor shook.  Was that an earthquake, or were they just excited to see us?  (I checked on the internet later.  No earthquake.).

Please Come Home for Christmas
So they started this song, and I said, "It's my song!" and felt bittersweet because I didn't have Geo there to sing to me and kiss my hand and make me swoon in his general direction.  Then RC's solo came, and he walked to the front of the stage.  And sang.  I wasn't sure at first if he was actually singing to me, but nobody was sitting behind me, and I could feel people's eyes on me.  Oh! He IS singing to me!  Hello!  Then CSL4 rudely interrupted our romance and in my fickle way, I quickly fixed my hair and flirted back at him.  It was so hilariously awesome that the lady next to me (whom I had never met) HIT ME WITH HER PROGRAM.  I'm still laughing at that moment.  I saw JT smiling as he watched my reaction to the whole thing, and he seemed pleased that I am still the way I am.  He thinks I'm a star, you know.  It's still my song!  Thank you, Ryan!!!

Matunda Ya Kwanzaa
Nice entrance, RC!  He's still learning the steps.  That's OK, dude.  You'll get it by the time we see you again.  

While SD was talking about visiting Helsinki, somebody in the audience yelled.  SD: "Helsinki is in the house tonight!"  He talked about the toys in Santa's workshop and said, "APPARENTLY, there's going to be more Millennium Falcons being made."  I love so much that he is such a Star Wars fan, as is JT.  He talked about a "tall order" being made of Santa, and all I could think of was Jenn calling SD a "tall glass of water".  

Gianna was called up to the stage.  While introducing her to the guys, SD said JT's name, and RC walked up to shake her hand.  SD said, "This anxious fellow is Ryan, right here."  Cute.  Gianna wants VANS shoes for Christmas.

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
SD looked at me as he sang "he sees when you are sleeping..." That's an Eyes reference, isn't it?  Or, he just happened to see me mouthing the words at that point.  Gianna sang along right away, which was fun.

Then Ryan got to talk!  He talked about how that song reminded him of people holding hands and making goo-goo eyes at each other....which he doesn't like, because, well, he's the...

Nice projection on the screen of Dr. Seuss' Grinch's eyes.  RC inserted a line about the Kansas City Chiefs and the Broncos, which, APPARENTLY was insulting to the Denver contingent.  He apologized later when he became Ryan again.  RC's Grinch sounds more like Barry than Geo, which is what I was accustomed to in the first place.  But Geo really made that song his own.  I just love that arrangement, and as long as a great bass sings it, I'm good.  Just so you know here, I'm good.

Auld Lang Syne
Very nice low note on "Syne" in RC's solo.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Fred!  New pics with RC!  We need them to point to themselves a little more, though.  Perhaps they can't really see what's going on, or they were too busy concentrating on the harmonies to watch.  I don't know.

Angels We Have Heard on High
"In your ear.  In your face."  I get really happy when I hear that song, then I get sad because I know it's the last one in the formal set.  

CSL4: "We sang that song for 49 years..."

Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego? / Billie Jean
CJ just gave up when CSL4 went into very deep limbo pose.  Funny.  CSL4's regular signal to end the song also included a hip check tonight.

Hold Out for Christmas (off mic)
JT placed CJ and RC closer together so that they could all hear each other.  KP was happy because we got to hear CSL4's "Merry Christmas, Everybody" that ends the show.  


After the show, I laughed with the woman that hit me with her program.  She said that she loved that whole thing.  KP and I needed to use the facilities, and Jenn said that she'd hang out in the hallway and hold our coats.  I told her to say hi to the guys as they passed by.  Her eyes got big.  I pointed out to her that the green room door was 20 feet away, and they would use the hallway to get to the signing table.  She quickly left that area because she didn't want them to think that she was stalking them.  We took pictures at the photo op place as we waited for the line to die down.
Merry Christmas!

Meet and Greet

Jenn had made some Linzer cookies for us and the guys, so we all gave them to the guys as we got to the line.  

Ryan was the first to greet, and we heard him saying to people in front of us, "The more I hear about the new guy, the more I like him."  He's funny!  Yay!  JT introduced us to RC, told him we were from California, and that we are Superfans.  Jenn kept thinking about that moment for the rest of the night.  I said thank you for singing to me.  He did that "I'm watching you" motion to me again.  He got up from the table and gave all three of us big hugs.  Yup.  He knows how to treat the diehards!  KP told him that she has a ticket for the Santa Clarita show, but she can't be there.  He told her that he would sing to her empty seat and think of her.  What a sweetie.  Jenn and I think that he looks like some actor, but we can't place the face.  He's handsome, he's funny, he's got mucho talent.  I approve!  KP told them that I kept saying "YES!" every time he nailed my favorite bass lines.  JT smiled because Ryan had received the stamp of the PellaPusher's approval.   JT is so cute with how protective he is of RC.  I'm guessing that he's the one that suggested RC for the group, so he's hoping that it works out well.  No worries, JT.  

Jeff also stood up to hug us.  He said, "Hello, Sweetheart" to KP.  Jenn told him that she was up late last night making the cookies, and he was very grateful.  He made sure later that he had his treat bag at the end of thing when I saw it on the table just sitting there.  He told me that SD would not be at the So Cal shows, because he needs to be in Nashville.  I tried not to scream bloody murder.  SD's sub will be Christopher Rossi, whom has subbed for him before, sometime last year.  These guys seriously don't know what a change in lineup does to fans like me.  JT said that we can "compare and contrast" and smiled.  I smiled back, because it's not his fault that his cohorts make me crazy.  I told him that Jenn and I would not be at Santa Clarita because Angela is getting married.  He said, "Really?"  I told him yes, and that I am the maid of honor.  He sweetly took my hand, and said, "Awww."  I said that we'd be at the Rrrrancho show, including Angela.

Calvin stood up to hug us, too. He said that it's been about a year since he's seen me.  He remembers!  I told him that it's been 363 days.  We didn't talk much because we were interrupted by people in line in back of us.  Where did they come from?

Scott smiled when KP told him why she wouldn't be at Santa Clarita.  Jenn showed him pictures of her cookies in progress, and one of the pictures included her fiance Marc.  CSL4 heard "grandson".  No.  I told him about Angela getting married, and we talked about the wedding.  He asked if we would be going to any shows there, and I said that I only know that were cruising around town for the bachelorette party.  We told him that the wedding would be taking place at a resort hotel, and he said, "Oh, it will be nice, then.  Not like at the Elvis Chapel of Love."  

When Steven told KP and Jenn that he would not be in So Cal, Jenn asked if I knew, and KP asked if Wendy knew.  He told KP that Wendy knows because he emailed her about it.  When I got to the conversation, I glared at him and said, "This whole Nashville thing is NOT working out for me!"  To break the tension, KP told him that we were planning on doing a road trip to Nashville.  I told him that I can't afford to go to Nashville right now because I will be spending my money in Reno for the next 3 months.  He smiled and told us to come out in the summer.  (Dude, that's dedicated to drum corps.  I told you this is not working for me).  

We waited for the guys to finish taking pictures with one of the ushers before commandeering them for ourselves.  We needed to tell CJ to get into the pic with them.  Then KP stood in front of the same tree as the usher was using as a backdrop.  I played Director and asked them to stand by all of the pretty trees.  As we were walking, I told SD that I missed him a lot, and SD said, "Really?  Aw, how sweet."   Hello, it's been 363 days!!!  They really have no idea.

CSL4 said, "Let's sit on the bench.  (KP) can be in the middle."  JT said, "We'll each put our hand on her knee."  CSL4 did not get the memo, but he didn't complain that KP was touching his knee.  SD told CSL4 to hang off of the lamp post, but he didn't, so SD did.  KP tripped on the cement underneath the bench.  I did, too.  Jenn specifically kept her hands to herself because she didn't want to get the guys sick.  She had to balance, though, and put her hand on JT's knee, and he scooted closer.  

Pella and the Pusher

After I tripped and took my picture with the guys, I asked for all 3 of us to be in the picture with them.  JT said, "Do you want lap pictures?"  I laughed and said, "No.  Well, yes, but..." and he said, "I know," like he was Han Solo talking to Princess Leia.  So then KP came over and JT told her to sit on his knee.  She didn't and sat on the arm of the bench instead, but he still put his hand on her hip.  We're so cute.

I asked RC for a pic with him.  KP talked to him about the trees and she also told him that she saw him roll his eyes.  He said he knew we'd notice if he messed up.  He also said that he was glad that the Christmas shows were the first songs for which he needed to learn the choreography, because the Motown songs are hard.  He also said that he's glad that he gets to sing from the podium during "Bang!"  So, does that mean for sure that he'll be there for after Christmas, too?  :)  
With Bass Man Ryan

Jenn and I talked to CSL4 and he tried the cookies, asking how she got the thickness right.  She didn't hear him ask that, maybe because he had a mouth full of cookie.  Then she was going to show him pictures of the cookies again, and mentioned Marc's bro, at whom I can't help but stare because he is major gorgeous-like.  I don't know why I talked about some other gorgeous man in front of two of my favorite gorgeous men (CSL4 and SD).  I'm crazy.

SD asked me what was new.  I told him that I got a promotion, and now I take the train in to work, and I think of CSL4 when it is crowded, picturing him snuggling as he makes new friends.  That reminded me to tell CSL4 that he was out of control tonight with that part.  He said, "Yeah, I liked it."  He cracks me up.  I showed him my Clarice bandaid, and my Clarice earrings and necklace.  He said, "I like that song, 'There's Always Tomorrow'", and proceeded to sing a bit of it.  Had I my Pella Jujo, I would have chimed in with him, but I was on overload from the post-withdrawal happiness.  I told him that the Bandaids were on sale at Target for $1.00.  He said, "EACH?!"  I told him that they were per box, and that they had Rudolph, too.

But his shirt is neither purple nor yellow

KP was happy to get a picture with CSL4 and her little Bumble.  She asked SD to deliver Fred's cookies to him because he hadn't come out to the lobby yet.  SD did so, and Fred came out to thank KP in person, then introduced her to his brother, telling him that she was the one that made the miniature for him.  His bro lives in Denver.

I asked SD if he was going to be at the Reno shows in January.  He said yes.  I told him that I'd be going to my 100th show the day before my birthday, and he said, "I'll definitely be there because it's special."  Aw, thanks, honey.

One last pic of us for 2014
We went to dinner at Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom.  During our debrief, Jenn advised us that the guys were at the bar.  They had APPARENTLY been sitting there for awhile.  OMG, there we were, being loud, and they were there?!  I hope they didn't hear us.  Jenn needed to sleep off her mojito and I was not quite done with my pear cider, so she left ahead of us.  A few minutes later, the guys got up to leave. Uh-oh.  I texted Jenn to tell her that the guys were on their way back to the hotel.  Luckily for her, she got to our room before they could see her and think that she was stalking them.  

KP and I walked back to the hotel and she took a picture of me cleaning my boot outside.  Jenn wasn't asleep yet, so we giggled and talked for awhile before finally getting some shuteye.
When in Denver, clean your boots!

The next day, Jenn didn't want to go downstairs to breakfast too early for fear that the guys would see her again.  She didn't have to worry:  they had a 7:00 a.m. flight and were well on their way to their next gig at the time.  We got some food and I bought ornaments before getting on our flights, which we barely boarded before the final boarding calls.  They're so efficient in Denver!  KP and I had to deal with loud children in back of us, and someone enabling them by playing music out loud for them to sing "Frozen" at the top of their lungs.  People, please get headphones for your kids.  I needed to sleep.  KP wondered why Jenn wasn't at the gate next door when we arrived at LAX.  Silly, KP.  Jenn flew to Burbank.  

I waited for what seemed like forever for my bag and for the FlyAway.  There were 2 buses blocking the shuttle pickup area because one of them was waiting to board a bunch of people for a cruise, and the other one just didn't have room to maneuver around it.  I was one of only 2 passengers on the bus; it was like being in a huge limo.

It's so nice to have Bro and his family local:  after I got back to Van Nuys, I hung out with them for the rest of the evening.

What a great 36 or so hours.  The PellaPusher is back!