Thursday, August 28, 2008

An Athlete, I Am Not

After almost two full summers of playing 3-pitch, I've come to one very sound conclusion.

I am definitely not an athlete.

I love watching sports, particularly hockey and ball. But I've realized that, when it comes to ball, at least, it's much easier to be a fan and critique from the stands than it is to actually play. (I assume I'd be even worse with the fast pace of hockey - probably why I've never even attempted that sport).

I'm lacking a lot of things as an athlete. For one, I certainly do not have the physique. I'm big and clumsy and I can't run worth a shit. As I've discovered over the past few week, after many failed attempts, that I also can't catch a ball worth a shit. When it comes to hitting, it's sort of luck-of-the-draw. Sometimes I hit well, sometimes I don't, but it's not easy when the whole infield crowds in close, just waiting for you to hit it right to them. And I haven't quite mastered the technique of hitting it over their heads yet. My inability to run fast almost always does me in, even when I do connect bat to ball.

But I think the part that bothers me most is how I don't seem to have that quick reaction instinct that I believe is necessary when playing any sport. Up in the bleachers, it all looks so easy. However, when I'm actually out there, I make more fumbles and mistakes than any one ball player (3-pitch or not!) should make. It baffles me sometimes how stupid I can be out there.

That being said, I know it's all just for fun, and I should probably lighten up a bit. But it was difficult to do last night, especially in the first game we played, when we were losing and I seemed to be the cause of every bad play we made. I was playing catcher, and I couldn't catch a ball at home to save my life. Then I flipped over first base, tore the knee out of my favourite grey joggers, and ended up with scrapes on my knee and hand. Highly embarassing. Especially when I had to walk off on my own to compose myself because I was almost crying.

There's no crying in baseball!!

At the end of the night, we dropped down to third place in the 4-team league, when at the start of the evening, we'd been contending for first. So that was a little disheartening.

Hopefully we'll fare a little better in the playoffs, because we have a good enough team overall that we should be able to contend.

And then, after that, I'll be seriously considering retirement.

While on the topic of ball - congrats to the Quyon Flyers fastball team, who finished off their first-round playoff opponent Manotick last night, in Manotick. I hear it was quite the nailbiter, with the game going to 12 innings before Quyon finally took it 5-4. Maybe next round, I'll actually get out to a game!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Earl Sent Packing on Idol

It was a little bittersweet seeing Earl Stevenson get sent home last night on Canadian Idol.

I was happy that it wasn't Drew, and a tiny bit surprised that it wasn't Mitch. Unfortunately for Earl, his performances the night before were some of the weakest he's had in the whole competition, and apparently that was enough to do him in.

I remember Earl from the very early audition phases, when he walked in to perform for the judges and told them all about working for some bulldozing company in Lloydminster. Since then, he's brought some of the best performances of the season (especially last week's rendition of "With a Little Help from my Friends" on Beatles night), as well as loads of humour, including his now-famous grandma line. (After he sang the Hip's "Little Bones" on Canadian Rock night, Zack told him he feared it would scare his grandma, to which Earl replied, "I hope not! I like Grandmas!")

Another reason I liked Earl is because he seemed to be one of the artists that Sebastian connected with the most while he was there. Maybe because they were both a little more off-beat than the others. Earl even played a part in my favourite Idol Blog by Sebastian:

As the contest continued Sebastian found himself more and more tempted to impale himself with sharp metal instruments. His collar seemed to itch him constantly and his pores would open up without prompting and pour sweat down his back and shoulders. Something had twitched at the center of him and for his life he couldn't figure out what it was. He was certain, though, that something had changed. There was a feeling of malice and hatred hanging in the air, choking the sleep out of his bedtime and the fun out of his lackadays, and now here he was, perched on a park bench, puzzling over his unexpected predicament.

"If only I had some sort of spaceship," he thought to himself. "Maybe Earl might know where I could find one." Sebastian raised his head on his sunken shoulders and looked around for his good friend, but Earl was off across the field making conversation with a shrub. Whatever it was they were talking about, Sebastian wished that he was privy.

(As a little aside - man, I wish I could write like Sebastian! The tongue-in-cheek humour, the flow, even the way he writes about himself in the third person - definitely the most unique, talent-laden Blog on the Canadian Idol website. And most other sites, as well. So much better than the "Thanks so much for voting for me! I love you all! This week I'm going to sing blah blah blah..." What's more, through his quirky storytelling, I think I got the most accurate sense of how a competitor getting stomped on by the judges every week really feels.)

In any case, Earl was a friend of Sebastian's; hence, he was a friend of mine.

But the thing most sad about Earl's departure? His last-ditch attempt to get a train going during his swan song fell flatter than flat. Failed miserably. I felt sorry for him that none of those stick-in-the-mud audience members joined him. Or even his buddies on stage. They just stood back and laughed. I mean, c'mon people. Live a little. The guy's final wish was to have a train going, and nobody helpd him make it come true!

Too bad, because it would have been a pretty cool sending off for Earl. Things definitely won't be as zany without him.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Come Quick, There's a Hippo in the Bathtub!

So. I was one of the biggest skeptics of "Anne Murray Week" on Canadian Idol. Especially since we only had four lads left to take on the hits of our country's beloved Songbird. It seemed a little odd to me, and I was expecting complete disaster.

In the past week, it had also crossed my mind several times that I don't know very many Anne Murray songs, aside from "Snowbird" and "Could I Have This Dance?". In fact, the only actual lyrics to an Anne Murray song that I could even come close to remembering were from the song "Hey Daddy", a song I listened to quite a bit as a kid on my parents' record player, from her children's album Hippo In My Tub:

Hey Daddy, there's a dragon in the driveway.
Mamma, there's a grizzly on the lawn.
You better come quick ‘cause there’s a hippo in the bathtub
And it's going down the drain, oh no its gone!

So imagine my surprise and excitement when I realized that Drew Wright was performing that song last night on the Idol stage!

It was a big risk for Drew, considering it was a children's song, but he did an awesome job, and really was the only one who drew resounding praise from the judges for his take on an Anne Murray song.

I give Drew big props, also, for choosing a song that was uniquely "Anne". The others managed to wiggle around it by doing songs that she covered, but were made famous by other artists. (Earl sang "Killing Me Softly", done by a million different artists, including the Fugees; Mitch performed "Cotton Jenny", originally done by Gordon Lightfoot; Theo chose to do "You Don't Know Me", also done by a bunch of other artists, but he was actually more in the Michael Buble/Harry Connick Jr. style.)

Yep. I connected with Drew last night. I imagined him feeling the same sentimental, youthful delight that I do when I think of that song. The big smile on his face as he sat on his stool and played his guitar - well, he completely won me over. I think I might actually be rooting for him now, even though I still think Theo should win the competition, based on his consistency and his ability to dazzle the judges every single week.

Speaking of Theo - he was the one who clearly won the second round of last night's show, when the Idols got to choose their own songs. He performed Gavin DeGraw's "Chariot", back behind his piano, and, actually, he eventually jumped on top of the piano. It was a rocking, energized performance, and he definitely ended the show on a high note.

Aside from those two performances, I think Zack put it best when he said he thought they all had the yips last night. I thought Earl had his worst night yet, and Mitch did absolutely nothing to impress me (money's on him to go home tonight).

But it was still worth sitting down and watching last night. If for no other reason, Drew singing "Hey Daddy" and transporting me back to my childhood made it all worthwhile. And with that silly little kids song, he became my frontrunner to win the whole damned thing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Hoo boy. Am I gonna be in trouble today.

I can't blog about the Quyon Flyers' first playoff game last night. After I promised and vowed, particularly in the case of a win, to give them main-page exposure in Jill's World, I can't follow through. I have to go back on my word, and this is sure to upset Kenny.

I can't blog about the Flyers, 'cause I didn't even go to the game.

I know, I know. What kind of a fan am I? Here they are, in the playoffs, and the first game actually at home, and I missed it.

What's more, I know I'm going to take some ridicule for the reason I missed the game.

I can partly blame karate, actually, because I did go to karate, and by the time I was done, I was absolutely wiped. I couldn't have imagined going down to the ball park and sitting in the bleachers when I all I wanted to do was collapse on the couch.

However, the other reason for just going home was because I had to watch "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants". Yes, that's right. I actually admitted it. Because I've been invited by a friend to go see the sequel on Thursday, and I hadn't seen the first one, so I had to go home and watch it last night, because I won't have time to watch it due to my ball game tonight.

Lame? Indeed. But the truth nonetheless.

However, I'm quite happy to report that the lads fared well against their first round opponent Manotick, with the final score 7-1 in Quyon's favour. Other than that, I really can't comment.

But if anyone wants to know anything about "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants", please let me know. I can fill you right in.

Oh, and for those of you following my woeful summer watching Canadian Idol - my second favourite behind Sebastian, Mookie Morris, was voted off the show last night. I wasn't quite as pissed as I was when Sebastian was eliminated, but I was still irked. I know the final group of guys competing are all worthy singers and musicians, but I have a big problem with Mitch McDonald and Drew Wright outlasting Mookie. In my mind, they are nowhere near being as talented as Mookie. This fan voting business is really starting to rub me the wrong way...

The good news for Mookie? He narrowly avoids the Anne Murray theme for next week. Now that should be interesting - four young guys taking on Anne Murray hits, under her guidance. Who the heck was the brains behind that idea???

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm Back With A Little Idol Recap

Hey everyone!

So I'm back from an enjoyable (but never quite long enough) vacation. I had lots of fun, decent weather, and plenty of time to relax and de-stress.

I jumped back into the frey yesterday, so I've been a little busy playing catch-up. I think I can spare a few moments, though, to quickly run through last night's Top 5 episode of Canadian Idol, especially since it was my favourite episode since Sebastian was voted off.

Last night, the Idol competitors were doing Beatles tunes, chosen for them by the judges. I have no idea who this country is going to send home, because they were all really awesome. I'd say it's a toss-up between Mitch & Drew, but I honestly don't know. I really had a soft spot for Mitch last night, because he sang one of my favourite songs by the Beatles, "In My Life". (Actually, Chantal Kreviazuk's cover is my favourite). Also, he seems to have an extremely strong voting contingent (he's never been to the bottom 3), so hopefully Mitch survives another week.

Drew was handed the song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", and with him closing out the show after seeing the 4 other guys absolutely smoke their performances, I was pretty sure he was going to pale in comparison. He's never been one of my favourites, and I always feel that he's lacking something up there, but I can't quite pinpoint what it is, exactly. However, last night, Drew didn't disappoint. He had some big acts to follow, and I think he measured up quite nicely. Easily, my favourite Drew performance, and he was pretty wicked playing lead guitar, too.

As far as I'm concerned, Earl, Theo, and Mookie should be safe tonight. Earl kicked things off with "With a Little Help From My Friends", and it was really, really amazing. He was so passionate and soulful, you'd swear he'd written the song himself. He also go a standing O from the judges, along with the rest of the audience.

Mookie, whom I've been pulling for ever since Sebastian was forced to depart, sang "Come Together", and he completely re-worked it into a Mookie Original. It was pretty cool, and I just love Mookie's voice. I wasn't too fussy on his wardrobe choices, but I guess it was appropriate for the week's theme. I've thought all along that Mookie looks like a Beatle, so he just seemed to be right at home on the stage last night!

And then we had the judges' darling, Theo, who was back behind the piano where he seems most comfortable, and he gave a magnificent rendition of "The Long and Winding Road". With an orchestra backing him and Theo's training in classical music and opera, he really nailed it. I couldn't think of a better song for Theo to sing on Beatles night.

All in all, the judges made excellent choices, as each song seemed to fit the particular performer like a glove. Of course, they patted themselves on the backs all night, reminding the viewers repeatedly how awesome they were at matching song with singer, and how they could probably chuck the whole competition and make a record with the 5 remaining guys just doing Beatles songs, and it would soar to the top of the charts.

After last night's show had wrapped, I had to agree with them. I know I'd buy it.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Going on Vacation!!

Hi Gang!

Sorry I haven't had much time to update the Blog this week. I know what you're all thinking - "No Sebastian, No Blog" - but that's not the truth! In fact, I've been dying to Blog about this week's episode of Idol, but time just hasn't allowed it. The most important thing is this: Mark Day FINALLY got the boot! Woo-Hoo!! It sticks in my craw that he made it further than Pigott the Younger, but at least he didn't win, and that was my biggest fear.

As for my promise to review Pigott the Elder's record - it's still coming. I've been listening to it non-stop for the past week, absolutely loving it, and I can't wait to share it with you!

So tomorrow the whole fam is leaving for TO, for my cousin Paula's wedding. Then I'm on holidays all next week, with many plans for day trips here & there. I'll be sure to stop in and report along the way!


Friday, August 01, 2008

Highlights from My New iPod

As many of you already know, one of the birthday gifts I received from a group of my wonderfully awesome friends was an iPod.

I was thrilled. Ecstatic. Maybe a little intimidated, 'cause I'm not very tech-savvy and I was afraid I'd never figure out how to work it. But super-pumped to try.

After a few days of struggling and begging for help from co-workers and friends to help me figure the thing out, I finally got it registered and started downloading music. Some of the first songs I downloaded were songs I had never heard until this year on Canadian Idol. One of the perks of the show that I always enjoy is being introduced to some new artists and tunes that I have been unaware of up until now, so I was excited to add them to my library.

Here, in no particular order, are the tunes I'm loving most right now, thanks to Idol, and in the case that some of you haven't heard them before, either, I'm telling ya right now...check 'em out!!

Bring it on Home to Me - Sam Cooke: Ok, yes, it was the first time Sebastian stepped up to the mic and had me drooling. Literally drooling. I've heard Sam Cooke before, but somehow I had missed out on this song. Turns out, the original is pretty cool too. Considering I'm going through another big Elvis phase right now, this one fits in nicely in that domain. Sam's Bring it on Home to Me is smooth, sexy, and it doesn't hurt that it reminds me of Sebastian's swivelling hips, either.

I'm Yours - Jason Mraz: It was a song Mitch McDonald performed on the Idol stage a few weeks back. I loved Mitch's voice with the song, and I made sure to jot down the artist's name & title of the song 'cause I liked it so much. It has since been transferred on to my iPod, and I'm loving Jason Mraz. I'm also eager to check out more of his songs. Funky, fun, sweet, & catchy. Good stuff.

Lucille - Little Richard: Yes, I adored Sebastian's performance this past week, so I had to download Lucille. You know how sometimes you see people dancing around with their iPods, blissfully unaware of all around them except the music their listening to? It's that kind of song. I can picture myself on a sidewalk, dancing around, not caring that people might be watching. In fact, I almost did just that while out walking last night. Again, doesn't hurt that it reminds me of Sebastian.

Two - Ryan Adams: Earl Stevenson's performance of this song last week was super-impressive, the judges loved it, and I loved it too. I found the song by Ryan Adams - not to be confused with Bryan Adams - and pumped it onto the iPod. It's become one of my favourite songs of all-time.

What a Day for a Daydream - The Lovin' Spoonful: Believe it or not, I actually missed this Sebastian performance, and had to watch it the next day on the Idol website. (God, how I'm loving high-speed!) I actually liked Sebastian's version better, now that I've got to listen to the original, but it's still getting regular play on the Pod. Once more, probably 'cause it makes me think of you-know-who. See, isn't it great, the muscial doors he's opened up to me??

Bubbly - Colbie Caillat: I actually had heard this song before, but I was re-introduced to it when Theo Tams sang it on Idol. It's sweet & melodic and I love the lyrics. It gives me the warm & fuzzies all over. Very happy Theo reminded me of this tune.

Oliver Pigott's record Year of the Pig: My first on-line purchase was to buy Oliver's downloadable album at . I listen to it every night while reading in bed. I absolutely love it. I'd like to actually do a review of the whole thing eventually, so I'm not going to say more than that for now. Even though Oliver was voted off far too early from the competition, I'm so glad I had the opportunity to find him and his original tunes. I haven't regretted buying it for one second!

Look for that review in the days to come...Hopefully someday next week.