Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Somehow" Rewrite

Yesterday I offered up a new verse to “Somehow” for Taylor Hicks. The song kept running through my head though, so I decided to wrangle my muse before she got away. (She can be a little bitch that way.) The result is an entirely new, updated version of “Somehow” to reflect Taylor’s career today. An homage, as it were.

I respectfully present, “Somehow 2008”. Feel free to sing along:

There’s too many fans
Who want to touch my hair
Some hide in a dark hole
And jump out of nowhere

But I’m all right
I’ll run by

You wanna sneak out for pizza
Sometimes even catch a band
But they're spotting me round every turn
The hat’s not working, man!
Need some disguiiiiiise
Then I’ll slip by

Look at the cameras all around you
Blindin' with their flash-yeah!
But you still smile in kindness
Cuz they might wind up on Splash

When the touring has ended
And you’ve lit up the towns
And there's no space at home
As you go lay their gift baskets down

They want to feel you in person
Sometimes even hold your hand
But you give ‘em nothing in return
Cuz they’re scary, man!
And they’re wiiiiiired
Drunk and or high

Look at the women around you
Staring at your jeans-yeah!
But you still smile though frightened
Hoping security’s on the scene

And the concert has ended
As you sing the last encore
And it’s time to go home
But they tackle you by the back door!

*Saxophone solo*

There’s too many things
Left for me to sign
Some want a weekly blog
And shots of my behind
But the pay’s all right
So I’ll oblige

Friday, November 21, 2008

A&M Campus Visit

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took our son, Jamie, to visit the A&M campus at College Station. It's about a two hour drive from our house.

Upon arrival, I felt excited and nostalgic for my college days back at SUNY at Geneseo. We were signed up for an application workshop, so we followed our map to the designated building and settled into our seats in one of the lecture halls.

"Howdy!" a member of the faculty announced from the stage.

"Howdy," the group replied.

"Aww, you can do better than that! HOWDY!!"

Greg, Jamie and I hunkered down in our seats while the rest of the folks in attendance (most of whom were wearing the school colors) yelled back, "HOWDY!"

That is the official A&M greeting, we were told. If that makes you feel a little nauseous, it's just the tip of the A&M iceberg that we collided with during our visit.

The workshop was very informative and Jamie asked a few well thought-out questions. We left feeling satisfied that we understood the application process. There was a walking tour scheduled in about 30 minutes, so we set out to find it.

Our visit coincided with a football game, so as we walked we saw people setting up for tailgate parties and mingling about, laughing with friends. School colors were in abundance:

We hooked up with our tour guide and the other forty or so people who would be walking with us:


The crowd quieted as our leader took her place in front of us.

"HOWDY!!" she boomed. Jamie rolled his eyes.

We were given a brief history of the early years at A&M and then suddenly she whooped or growled or some such thing. She explained that this was the Wildcat yell. You can see how well that went over:

And then our tour began. As we walked, she explained the stories behind the monuments and statues we passed. Aggies have an endless supply of traditions...

Oops, sorry! We were interrupted by some members of the Corp giving us the traditional *sigh* A&M greeting. Those people in our group sporting the colors gave a hearty "Howdy!" right back.
Our tour ended in front of the huge football stadium that sits right in the middle of campus.

I had to stand on Greg's shoulders to get this shot (har har!):

We happened to arrive as the football players were getting off the bus to enter the locker room. All the players were dressed in matching suits.

A fairly large crowd was already beginning to gather on campus even though the game was still about 2 1/2 hours away from starting.

My feeling of excitement and nostalgia by now had given way to annoyance. I was sick of maroon and I was afraid Jamie might punch someone in the nose if he heard another "Howdy!" We decided we had seen enough.

The truth is that Jamie still wants to apply to A&M and we want him to. It's a good school and we realize we just overdosed on school spirit. But I'm tellin' ya, if he's accepted, it's going to be a loooong four years.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Coldplay- "Yellow"

I can't sit still when I hear this song:

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah, they were all yellow

I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do
And it was called yellow

So then I took my turn
Oh what a thing to have done
And it was all yellow

Your skin
Oh yeah, your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
You know, you know I love you so
You know I love you so

I swam across
I jumped across for you
Oh what a thing to do

Cos you were all yellow
I drew a line
I drew a line for you
Oh what a thing to do
And it was all yellow

Your skin
Oh yeah your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
And you know for you
I'd bleed myself dry for you
I'd bleed myself dry

It's true, look how they shine for you
Look how they shine for you
Look how they shine for
Look how they shine for you
Look how they shine for you
Look how they shine

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And all the things that you do

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kathy Griffin in Concert

Saturday night I went to the Kathy Griffin show in Houston. I'm a big fan and apparently so are a lot of people in the area. They had to add a third show last weekend because the demand for tickets was so great.

I took a friend of mine to the show instead of my husband so that...well, so I could enjoy it! If it's not a sporting event, it won't hold his interest.

So I picked up Sue and we made it downtown without any problems. Unfortunately, minutes before the show was to start we were stuck in a snarl of traffic right outside the theater. We finally made it into the underground lot, but continued to sit in this slow-moving line of cars as it wound around, underneath the theater district.

By the time we found an empty parking spot and took the elevator up to street level, we had no idea where we were in the city. A woman who had been in the elevator with us was also going to Kathy's show, so we all figured it out together.

When we finally entered the Verizon Wireless Theater, we could already hear Kathy's voice followed by an explosion of laughter. (damn!) We found our seats in the dark and settled in. I have no idea how much of the show we missed, but luckily for us, she ran long on purpose.

She said at one point that Tom (her road manager) was signaling her to wrap it up. She turned towards the wings and said to him, "I'm gonna keep going." And then in an uncharacteristically demure way added, " me." She entertained us for another 20-30 minutes!

The show was great. Kathy's charm is that she talks to the audience as if we're old friends. It's as if she's our own personal correspondent, sent out to mingle with celebrities, so that she can report back to us all of the gory details.

At times she drops her voice, as if she's sharing a secret with us and once she said, "This doesn't leave this theater, OK?" And I'd love to tell you what she said next, but I promised her I wouldn't. (hee hee)

When we reluctantly had to leave (because she had said her goodbyes, the lights were up and it was over, darn it!) it was 9:20. Her next show was starting at 10:00. Crazy! What a crazy schedule. I told Sue before the show that I wanted to go to the stage door afterwards to get an autograph, but we decided that Kathy probably wasn't coming out since she had another show starting soon.

I'd really like to go again when I can see her show from start to finish, but we did get to enjoy her stand-up for about an hour. By the way, she's really cute. She has that flaming red hair and a tight little body. Adorable. Well, adorable until she opens her mouth! Here, have a listen (explicit content! you've been warned!):

I didn't take this video, but it is from the show I went to. I'm having a problem uploading my video, but a small portion of mine follows this one. This clip is very short but visually, it's better than mine.

video by wxshamrock

sucky video by Caryl

Monday, November 10, 2008

Jamie, The Football Player?

My son, Jamie (#25), is an excellent soccer player. He's been playing since he was five. About six weeks ago, while I was saying goodnight to him, he turned the knob on his bedroom door, looked back at me, said, "Oh, by the way, I'm on the varsity football team," and went into his room.

What? What did he say?

Turns out the football team needed a kicker because their usual guy was injured. They tapped into the soccer team, looking for someone with a "strong foot." (Note: I am COMPLETELY ignorant about all sports. Yes, I've been on the sidelines of Jamie's soccer games since he was five, but I still don't know what's going on. I'll be quoting other people a lot in this blog entry.)

Jamie has been "taking the kick for the extra point" since then. (Yes! I'm that bad- I didn't know what that meant until Jamie started doing it. What happens is this: When Jamie's team scores a touchdown, he puts on his helmet and runs onto the field. Some guy passes the ball to another guy who holds the ball for Jamie so he can attempt to kick it through those big posts in order to score one more point. Jamie then leaves the field. Isn't my ignorance adorable? I'm smiling and winking at you right now in an attempt to win you over. Kinda like Sarah Palin.)

Jamie taking the kick for the extra point:

Last Friday was an important game. If Jamie's team, Elkins, won, they would go on to the playoffs. If they lost, the season was over for them. Much to my dismay (because it makes me nervous), they used Jamie in the game more than ever. I don't know why, don't ask me. He kicked for the extra point (we know what that means now) AND took the kick-off:

Later on in the game, when Elkins was down, they had Jamie try some special kicking-offing-thingee that he's never done before- not even in practice!! What the heck?!! My husband, Greg tells me he did well, even though it didn't have the exact outcome they were hoping for.

I just looked it up. Here's what they wanted Jamie to do (in the last game of the season, with absolutely no experience doing it!!)

"The Onside Kick

A kicking team can attempt an onside kick. The ball must travel ten yards from the spot of kick, before the kicking team can recover it. Therefore, a kicker can try to kick the ball in such a way that it pops up, giving his unit a chance to recover it. The success rate of these are very low, and it tends to be a desperation move."

Hey, look! I have video of Jamie:

Despite Jamie's best efforts to help the team, they lost. I'm told they should have won because they were the better team. The mood as we all left the stadium was somber.

When Jamie came home that night, he was obviously moved by his brief experience on a football team. He told me he had never seen such dedication before in his life. He was impressed by the rituals, the traditions and the devotion the players had to the game.

"I saw kids at practice who I've passed in the halls at school and wrote off as losers, work their asses off in hopes of getting a scholarship in order to lift themselves up out of poverty," he told me.

That's SO Jamie. He gets on the football team in his senior year in their last six weeks of the season as a lark and winds up having a profound experience. That means more to me than all the times they announced his name for making the extra point. (Though that was pretty awesome!)

If Henry Could Speak

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekend Recap

This is a quickee recap for my family who thinks I have no life because I have no job outside my home.

Friday night Chris (everyone remembers Chris! picked up me and Greg and took us to eat at Candelari's. We had a nice dinner of pizza and salad and then headed over to Jamie's football game:

(This is a High School football stadium, you guys! They are serious about football in Texas.)

At the game, we sat with Chris and Barb (who showed up late with their daughter) and two other couples. People are still asking me why they never see my column in the paper anymore. I'm a local celebrity (*cough*).

So you can see that Friday night Caryl interacted with a lot of people who enjoy her company. (Remember I'm writing this for my family who live 1500 miles away and think I have no friends.)

Saturday we left the house at 6:30am and took Jamie to tour A&M University at College Station:

We left campus around 12:30 and during the drive home, passed a huge warehouse fire in Houston:

I later heard this mentioned on CNN.

That night I went to see Kathy Griffin perform in downtown Houston:

I went with Sue because Greg probably would have been such a downer, he would have bummed out Kathy herself. Instead, he spent the evening with Joe watching some football game on TV. Got back to Joe and Sue's around 10:00 pm, had a beer, returned home.

Today was spent dealing with the usual migraine I get after I've been busy. (FYI: I'm seeing a new neurologist and we're going to get these puppies under control.)

I'll write about each event in greater detail tomorrow, family, because I know you're curious. The rest of you will have to wait until Tuesday for a blog entry that interests you! (And I'll write it as soon as I figure out what that is.)


Monday, November 3, 2008

Taylor Tuesday- On The Radio

While I don't consider Taylor Hicks to be an unsuccessful musician, that is the perception many people have simply because they aren't hearing him on the radio. I'm OK with someone who says they've lost track of him, but I won't allow anyone to say that he's dropped out of sight because he lacks talent.

The music is good. I know it is. I'm not hanging around just because Taylor can be adorable in interviews or because he takes a nice picture. The guy knows music. He can write it, play it, sing it, arrange it, conduct it when it's live and mix it when it's recorded. He creates a quality product.

But in order to sell this particular product you've got to have radio play. Here in Texas, I've occasionally heard "Do I Make You Proud," but I've never heard any other Taylor Hicks song on the radio.

Out of curiousity, I contacted all of the DJs in my area who work at stations with the right format for Taylor's music and asked them why I've never heard this AI winner on their airwaves.

Now, I'm not an idiot (not completely, anyway). I believe payola is alive and well and living in a gaudy mansion in L.A., but I sent out my naive-sounding e-mails anyway just to see what the DJs would say. Most ignored me or wrote a quick note to say that they played DIMYP, but here is one response I received:

I do remember hearing about Taylor having problems with the record company. He wanted to do things his way and didn't want any record company input.

If a record company doesn't believe in an album they are not going to throw their money behind it. So it would not surprise me if there was a bigger record company push with Daughtry.

The artist and the record company both have to be on the same page for any chance of success. Without record company money the artist can't succeed... and without artist appeal the record company cannot succeed.

And then I read that Daughtry was very cooperative with the record company:


Ironically, the best model for how to play nice with Clive might be the guy who's made the most of his rebel persona. Daughtry's success as a public badass and private compromiser may provide a template for future Idols: Save the glowering for the stage, not the conference room.

I don't begrudge Daughtry his success. He's good at producing music that appeals to the masses and I'm fine with that. Really. But just because another guy (Taylor) wants something more meaningful than that doesn't mean he's a failure.

Here's hoping the next CD gets radio play. But if it doesn't, I'll remind myself that there's a very ugly side to this music biz and that it doesn't always reward the best and the brightest. Maybe knowing that Taylor reaches some of us out there in the darkness will have to be enough.

by Neil Young

This one's for you Al Freed,
Wherever you go, whatever you do
'Cause the things they're doing today
Will make a saint out of you
Payola blues.
I've got the payola blues
Even though I already paid my dues.

Listen to me Mr. D.J.,
hear what I've got to say
If a man is making music,
they ought to let his record play.
Payola blues
No matter where I go
I never hear my record on the radio.

Well, here's three thousand,
that ought to get it on.
Well, thanks a lot man!
I love your new song.
Payola blues
No matter where I go
I never hear my record on the radio.

And it goes like this.

I got a brand new record company,
new manager too.
Got a great new record,
I can't get through to you.
Payola blues
No matter where I go
I never hear my record on the radio.

How about this new Mercedes Benz,
that ought to get it on.
Well, thanks a lot man!
I'll play it all day long.
Payola blues
No matter where I go
I never hear my record on the radio.

I've got the payola blues, payola blues
I'm paying those payola blues
No matter where I go
I never hear my record on the radio.

FYI: Just to be clear, I have no idea if payola was involved where Taylor is concerned.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

He Dissed My Blog! :)

We were having a perfectly lovely time at my son's high school football game when I decided to check out the concession stand. I got myself a little bag o' chips and returned to the bleachers, ready to continue our lovely time.

As I approached, my husband and our friend, Chris stood up and moved about, discussing who should sit where and next to whom. Chris remarked that he didn't want to sit next to me because he was afraid he'd wind up in my column. "Oh, wait, you don't write for the paper anymore." he remembered. "I don't care if I wind up in your blog. Nobody goes there."

"Oh, you're in the blog," I told him. "Just for that, you're definitely in the blog." I grabbed my camera and threatened to take his picture. He countered by posing. Of course I snapped the photo and to exact my revenge (for what? I forget), I'm posting it here.

So there.