Known Johnson

May 19, 2007

Favorite things – May 12-19

Filed under: Various and Sundry — Tom @ 9:15 pm

It’s that time again – time to look back at the past week and get all misty-eyed about the great things that have passed. A lot of TV talk this week . . . it’s season-finale time, you have to expect that.

Word to your mother/Yo momma Mother’s day has come and gone, and I didn’t get a chance to say anything on the site, but I’m seriously amazed at how Alissa has managed to just become a mother literally overnight. I realize this is her second year at it, but it can’t be said enough: I am eternally thankful for the amazing job she does tending Amanda. Fathers, as important as they are, have a significantly different role – we grow into it, despite being there from the beginning. Mothers take it all on immediately, and I really don’t know how they do it.

Wilco It wouldn’t be a “favorites” list without some mention of music, and currently the new Wilco album, Sky Blue Sky, is completely dominating my mind. It’s beautiful – sublime, gorgeous, and relaxing while being intelligent and just confrontational enough that it could never be deemed “easy”. It’s a stunning piece of work – maybe their best. Watch Lookout For Hope as there will be a review coming sometime soon. (I feel a little bad – I still haven’t written about Rush’s latest and here I am ready to whip one out for Wilco after just a few days.)

Genesis remasters/remixes Oh, come on, you can’t possibly expect me to not mention more music. I told myself I’d hold off and I tried, but Tuesday I picked up the just-released remix/remaster of Abacab with $10 in Best Buy Reward Zone coupons and fell in love. (Seriously – I just jumped between this and Sky Blue Sky all week, basically.) There are a lot of complaints from audiophile geeks about a travesty having been committed upon the back catalog, having had the master tracks remixed to today’s audio standards, but I’ll tell you – I’m hearing things that I’ve never, ever heard before. Sure, they’re a little sharp and bright in the treble end of things, but I can put up with that. And today I gave in and bought the rest – utilizing the amazing power of Discounts: Borders’ “buy 3 get the 4th free” sale (bought 3 discs and a birthday present for my brother in law) and Google Checkout‘s $10 off your first purchase deal at, surprisingly enough, VH1’s online store for $14.79 plus $4 in Fedex shipping – for a total of $8.78. The total of all 5 albums is something like $55 – about $33 cheaper than the box itself, which I’ve decided is a waste as the b-sides are a non-issue since I have most of them on the Archives 2 box, and they’re just not all that great, for the most part.

Survivor Say what you want about Dreamz’s back-stabbing reneging on the deal he made with Yau-man, it sure made for great TV. Come on – think about it. Yeah, it made everyone angry as hell, but had it gone the other way around, the finale would have been boring as hell. I still think that stupid bastard should give Yau back the truck he cheated him out of, even if he doesn’t actually want it (Yau-man is a conservationally-minded citizen, of course) so at least he can sell it to make something out of his Survivor deal. As for Dreamz, well, I’m not a spiritual person, but I think that boy’s got some serious karma headed his way. He might be getting a lot of attention now, but that’ll be short-lived. Once the media moves on – and it may already have done so – then what? Think of what kind of attention he would have gotten had he given up his immunity. He would have been a hero and could have had publishers begging him to write his life’s story, he could have been a motivational speaker, etc. – something that could have made the difference he claimed all along he wanted to make. Now he’ll always be the guy from Survivor that screwed over a beloved contestant, all for naught.

Gilmore Girls This week marked the final episode of one of my favorite series. (I might be one of the few straight males to say that.) While it had taken a serious down turn in the past couple of seasons, the latter half of this season was rapidly approaching the quality fans knew and loved. Regardless of that, it was time to say goodbye – the story was winding down to a logical conclusion and, despite talk of a possible shortened 8th season to wrap up some loose ends, the important stories were drawn to a satisfying conclusion this past Tuesday. So satisfying, in fact, that it makes it hard to believe they actually had any plans to carry on from here next season – there is simply no logical way to pick up from such an emotional “season” finale as this and move on, and then end it again. Any other finale would have paled in comparison. And, if any Emmy personnel may be watching, why not give a nod to Lauren Graham, who has gone so sadly ignored for so long. If she doesn’t deserve an Emmy for the scene of her saying goodbye to daughter Rory while ironing her clothes to ward off tears and bad thoughts, no one does. It was one of the most powerful scenes I’ve seen on TV in a long time.

American Idol I missed my Idol wrap-up this week, so I’ll just post my reaction here: I’m both surprised and not surprised at Melinda’s elimination. For such a talented singer, it’s a surprise, but with the powerhouse fanbases that Jordin and Blake have churned up behind them, it’s hard to be too surprised. Melinda simply attracted an older group of fans who aren’t going to sit on their phones, obsessively hitting “redial” for her like Jordin and Blake. That said, I think Melinda will be fine – she’ll probably never be a huge success, unless she can somehow manage to pull off a rock career (her “Nutbush City Limit” this week convinced me she actually could) because she’s just too old-fashioned and will appeal to a crowd that appreciates that, which is to say, a limited one. I’ve been predicting Jordin for the win and I still do, but who knows – she could royally screw up on Tuesday, and from what I read, a lot of this is dependent on what awful piece of “songcraft” they are given for their first single to perform that night. We’ll see.

Vacation No, I didn’t take one, I just made a decision on when to take some time off: the week of Memorial day. I’ll be taking the four days following that day and just resting, getting stuff done around the house, and playing with Amanda. It should be nice, but most of all, it’s just plain needed. I am burned out, badly, and need a break from the everyday grind. I wish we could go somewhere but that’s just not in the cards right now, unfortunately.

Cell phones Didn’t I talk about this last week? Deja vu . . . In the span of one week, we made a decision – we got rid of our old phones and found new “pay as you go” phones from Alltel, and so far, so good. For people who use their cell phones a minute or two a day, committing to a plan is just stupid – but very good for the cellular company. This puts the ball back in our court, even if, per minute, it’s slightly more expensive. We’re still way better off financially because we will never use up the minutes quickly enough that it makes sense to be on a traditional plan. Plus, the new phones are tiny, and now I can carry the damn thing with me so I actually have it to use if I need it. That is, after all, the whole point of a cell phone.

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