Librarian. Cat Lover. Clay Aiken Fan (among many others). Life is good.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Schmoopie Christmas Tale

Once upon a time….

A lady was sad. Her grandson was tragically killed in an automobile accident – way before his time. This kind of thing can make anyone cry…but when it happens in your own family, it becomes a consuming grief that is incredibly hard to shake. In this instance, the lady was so sad and upset that she informed friends of hers that she was not going to see her favorite singer in concert. She had been looking forward to seeing a concert with the singer for many months, but even this singer could not get this woman out of her funk. Finally, her son convinced her that she should attend the show…


The singer started his Christmas concert tour. It really did not begin well for him. He found out that it was snowing, and hard, at the location of the first concert, and he was going to have to cut his birthday celebration short to get to the venue. He had been looking forward to spending his birthday in his new home with family and friends; instead, he was whisked away, and finally arrived at his first “home away from home” for a month – a day earlier than planned.

The day of the opening show, it continued to snow, but many, many, many fans attended, and the show was not cancelled. Our lady friend, however, was not at this show.

The singer gave his all during the entire show…but toward the end, he started to struggle. Fans in the audience noticed, and became a bit concerned. He kept trying, however…giving his heart, but at a key moment, during his encore, his voice faltered. The audience tried their best to send him love and appreciation by giving him a standing ovation…even while their hearts were probably breaking at the sound of his voice at that moment. The singer left the stage, and many of the fans were stunned. How could he continue the tour if his voice was giving out already?

The tour went on, and the singer traveled to the next venue. The fans congregated on that cold night, excited and yet a bit worried. The concert started, and everything sounded incredible to the audience. The singer sang with incredible passion and fire. He left the stage before the encore, and the tension in the room rose slightly. The fans knew what was coming next.

The singer appeared…and this is what he did:

In her seat, the lady who suffered the tragedy of losing her grandson listened for the first time ever to the song. She cried, and smiled. And for a few moments, all really was well in her life.

The convergence of the triumph of the singer and the lifting of the burden of a heavy heart from a special lady for a few minutes is something I will always remember. I truly believe that God is with those who ask for help in their lives. In this instance, God provided.

Thanks to jojoct for taking the incredible video, preserving a memory for all time.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Clay Aiken Reads!

Nothing like starting a blog, and then basically forgetting about it for over 2 months…

I’m calling June 2006 my “lost” month. I knew I’d be gone for the first two weeks, due to a trip to Ireland! My husband and I had a fantastic time, and we are definitely planning to go again in our lifetimes. I really should have written up my experiences immediately after the trip (more on that in a moment), but suffice it to say, the people were friendly, the food was good (I got hooked on Irish Breakfast Tea with milk), and the scenery was fantastic. I am posting here two of my favorite pictures from the trip…

This is Kylemore Abbey. I think we took a postcard picture with this one.

I took this one in Clonmel. The amazing thing about this one is that it was 8:00 p.m., and there were at least 2 more hours of daylight ahead of us!

If you're interested in seeing our entire album of pictures (and there are over 200, yikes!), go here.

Now, for the reason why I didn’t get my Ireland trip memories on paper. Our last few days in Ireland, my husband caught a cold. He managed to make it home, but felt terrible for several days after our return. I was so hoping that I would be able to avoid it, but of course, I was wrong. Worst.Cold.Ever. I managed to spend one day at work, and then didn’t do a full day of work for the next two weeks. I felt so terrible for a few days I couldn’t even eat, my throat was so sore. Finally, after several visits to doctors, several prescriptions (I am now in LOVE with cough syrup with codeine), and a lot of attempting to sleep, I got over the thing. To fully shake this cold, though, it was almost 5 weeks after getting back from Ireland. Those Irish bugs are killer!

July was spent doing three things: catching up (both at work and at home), visiting my mother (who ended up back in the hospital during the month – she’s doing better now, but in a nursing home at this point), and waiting for news from Clay Aiken. Every one of these things was frustrating in their own way. However, since my Clay Aiken fandom is really a hobby, I just said “OK, it will happen when it happens…”

…which was in August! EEEEEEEEEE!!

OK, that’s out of my system. *g*

Last week the long awaited press release appeared. While I could say a bunch about the track list (which I might later) and the reaction by the fans to it (which I probably won’t), what seemed to make the most news in the fandom was the picture. OMG, the picture.

Then, I noticed where this picture was taken. (OK, it took me a few hours…*g*) He’s standing next to books in a library. Total shoutout to me and all the librarians in the fandom, I just know it. Hee. Soon, the word spread – Clay Aiken was in the library! EEEEEEEEEEEE!

OK, that’s out of my system. *g*

Before I go further, a bit of background. The American Library Association created a poster in 1985 with Bill Cosby holding a book, and the simple word “Read”. From that, a phenomenon in the library world was born – the celebrity READ poster. More history of these posters can be read here, and the current catalog of posters can be seen here.

Sadly, one of my favorite READ posters is no longer available, the one with Harrison Ford. That poster was on my wall at work for ages!

So, anyway…a friend of mine, Betty897X, is both a Clay Aiken fan and a librarian. She’s also very, no extremely, skilled in the use of Photoshop. When she noticed the picture of Clay was taken in a library (which was honestly about the same time I did, heh), she started to work. Before too long, I received an email from her with this:

Oh Lord and Taylor. Swoon. Note his holding a copy of “The Kite Runner.” OK, so it takes a while to notice it (because it’s hard to get away from his lethal gaze) but it is there. I thought that was an inspired touch. (BTW, I finally did read “The Kite Runner,” for those familiar with one of my earlier blogs. Incredible book, and I cried. Yes, I did.)

Now all I’ve got to do is send this to the American Library Association and see if they would be interested in creating this poster…for real. Please?!?!?

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Hair again -- but funnier...maybe

This will be my last blog for a few weeks. My husband and I are leaving for our first international trip ever! My husband works for a college, and the chorale director there arranges every 4 years for a big tour for the college chorale. This year, he arranged for a trip to Ireland. My husband and I, knowing that we couldn’t pass up the opportunity, are accompanying 20 college kids in order to tour the Emerald Isle! This is an exciting time for me, if a bit nervewracking. As I said, I’ve never left the United States before, so I’m nervous and excited all at the same time. When I arrive back and have settled into a routine again, I will blog about the adventures (with pictures!). How I’ll work Clay Aiken into that, I’m not sure yet. *g*

Speaking of that Clay guy…I’m not normally a shallow person in regards to Clay. I really do love the whole person. However, these past few days have simply been all about the HAIR. Sheesh, even my last blog was about that. So, I thought I would continue the theme with what I consider two of his “hair blunders.” Now, really – I do love the man, with my whole heart, and neither of these bothered me so much that I complained publicly (and would never do so either). But I will say that both times, it was very interesting watching the discussion.

First of all, there was what is now lovingly (heh) called the “fauxhawk.” Man, the outrage on the boards was LOUD during that Christmas season, when he appeared looking like…well…that. My opinion: he knew he looked silly, but just didn’t care. As a matter of fact, the look on his face tells me he’s in on the joke. At this time, I have to thank Invisible926 for the wallpaper she made of that picture.

But even before the “fauxhawk” – there was a concert appearance. I remember fondly seeing the clack of this particular song at this particular concert, and giggling my way through it. Here is “Open Arms,” sung by Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken at Worcester, MA on March 8, 2004.

The videographer of this clip, SecretlyLovesClay, reminded me that the previous night’s show had Kelly in a wig during their duet, and this might have been Clay’s retaliation. The other theory was that he had just finished getting a massage, and the stage crew decided to NOT tell him about his hair. No matter how you slice it, though…he looked pretty goofy. Sang like a charm that night, though – as he does every night.

I can tell right now that this blog cannot be Clay’s favorite. First, it has “cat” in the title (and Clay's hatred of cats versus my love for them will be in a future blog, as well as a continuation of my fangirl life). Now, I’ve included a clip of potentially one of his most embarrassing hair moments.

Hope I’m not on any lists.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006


The definition of chameleon From Merriam-Webster Online:

1 : any of a family (Chamaeleontidae) of chiefly arboreal Old World lizards with prehensile tail, independently movable eyeballs, and unusual ability to change the color of the skin
2 a : a person given to often expedient or facile change in ideas or character b : one that is subject to quick or frequent change especially in appearance

Look at this wallpaper, created by the person who coordinates Meerkat Chitchat (Click on the picture to get the full view):

I believe I saved this one in March 2005 – the most current picture in it seems to be from the BAF benefit in Hawaii. It’s mind boggling to me to see these changes in Clay Aiken’s appearance, all in one photo.

Add to this:
From the Jukebox Tour, photo by neverstopaiken,


From the Joyful Noise 2005 Tour, photo by Farouche.

These images were the images that were freshest in many-a-mind, both fan and non-fan. The spikes and color were identifiable as CLAY. His hair became his trademark, and it was discussed forever on message boards. Especially when it seemed to change every other day…just like a chameleon.

Then, a few weeks ago, this guy

Appeared. Whoa. That’s some long hair dude. However, most of the fans wrote this look off as “he’s not playing the celebrity here.” Almost everyone figured that when Clay would come back into the public eye, the trademark would return.

So -- when this

Made his grand entrance on the American Idol finale to surprise his biggest fan…I truly believe there was a collective gasp across the nation. So much so, that a new catchphrase was born:


What has been fascinating to me is that it took the diehard fans aback as much as the people who only remember him from AI. I myself knew he changes his appearance all the time, and yet I was stunned to see the man with the confidence and the HAIR. The combination turned out to be lethal for me.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue to watch this chameleon. You know why? Artquest wrote this the other day on the message board I most frequently haunt:

The wrapping is different, but the gift is the same.

Amen, Professor artquest.

For another look at a different and truly wonderful feature of Clay Aiken, visit A Southern Girl’s Guide to Almost Anything.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Oh what a night...

This is what a star who is in charge looks like.

This is what a star who is in charge and extremely happy looks like.

My reaction to Clay Aiken being on American Idol this evening is simply this: what a man. It showed he has a sense of humor, and isn't afraid of ANYTHING. Also, I've mentioned this time and time again...he's a chameleon. He's constantly surprising. I love that.

I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight at all.

Here's someone else who is thinking the same way I do...Idle Wandering

Thank you clack cappers. You've made me very happy.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

On Being a Fangirl...

I have a theory that being a fan is in someone’s DNA. I base this theory totally on my life, for I’ve been a fangirl practically since I was born. At age mumblemumblemumble, I’m still a fangirl. (Clay Aiken, eat your heart out. *g*)

I started when I was 4 years old. Don’t ask me why, but I became a fan of Glen Campbell. This was during the phase of his having a TV variety show every week. According to my Mom, I was hooked, and thought he was cuuuuuuuute. Never missed an episode. Looking back now, I understand his musical talent (my husband enlightened me to the fact many years after my fandom waned that he was important to the legend of the Beach Boys), but what was I thinking on his looks?

Of course, now that most people seem to know him more like this --…well, that makes me REALLY shudder.

My next fandom happened soon after…Davy Jones. Gosh, he was even my height! I also discovered at that time how much I loved British accents. The Monkees, as a whole, were funny to me. Only later (during the reruns in the 1980’s on MTV) did I realize how adult their humor really was. And of course, since I was 4, I didn’t really care that they were a “created” group. By the way, I managed to see the Monkees during that 1980’s tour. That started a second-phase fandom for me during that time frame. Does that give you an idea of how much of a fangirl I can be?

Here is one of their best songs, “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” Davy’s the one who thinks he’s playing the bass guitar. *g*

Then I saw David Cassidy. Boy, I was hooked on him. I had all the Partridge Family albums, and I think I wore out the grooves on a few of them. Since I was taking piano lessons at the time, I even had a few of their albums in sheet music format. (My Mom wasn’t happy about that, but she learned to deal.)

I distinctly remember one day, when my Mom and Dad dropped me off at the local drugstore. I spent a lot of my time there every week pouring over the latest issues of 16 and Tiger Beat. That day, though, a new magazine caught my eye – Rolling Stone. OMG, there’s David!!! And he’s NAKED!!! Yes, I remember the day my hormones kicked into overdrive. Heh.

You’ll notice a similarity to most of these so far. Musicians, but on TV. For me, it really was a “double your pleasure, double your fun” kind of thing. I appreciated watching these guys on a regular basis, but also having the LP there to listen at different times of the day. One of my next ones fits the same pattern – Tony Orlando. I think, in his case, I was really attracted to the fact that he looked so different from anyone I had ever seen before. Growing up in the Midwest, I wasn’t used to tall, dark, ethnic types. Also, his sense of humor came through on his variety show, and I found that very attractive.

But then, my patterns in my fandom started changing a bit. I discovered Randolph Mantooth, from “Emergency!” fame. Whooo, he was hawt. I faithfully watched that show every week, and had posters on the walls for months, if not years. Since then, I’ve always been partial to EMT’s. *g* Another one who didn’t fit the pattern was Parker Stevenson. He had, in my opinion, the best blue eyes of anyone I had ever seen. I still remember fondly watching “The Hardy Boys.” It was a battle to get the TV away from my Dad, but I managed more often than not.

December 1975. My brother and his new wife present me for Christmas with an album – The Bay City Rollers. Dear Lord in heaven, that one album started a good 4 years of fangirly-ness in me. I was obsessed, thoroughly obsessed. I even had a jumpsuit with plaid cuffs on the bottom of the legs. And yes, the kids in high school picked on me. (When Clay wrote about being picked on in Learning to Sing, I understood.) Eh, I suppose it made me tougher in the long run.

My favorite was Les, the lead singer. He was my one “bad boy” that I really liked. I’m pretty sure he smoked, drank, and probably bedded every girl he could during that time frame. I didn’t care…he was dweemy.

The Bay City Rollers were also my first concert experience. It was at the Illinois State Fair in 1977, and talk about mania! There was a race track between the stage and the seating, and I remember girls climbing the fence and running across the track to get to the guys. Two years ago I saw Clay at the same venue – but they allowed fans on the track. No one rushed the stage then, thank God. It’s surreal to think that I’m experiencing that same mania, albeit with totally different performers, at different stages in my life.

Here are the Rollers, circa 1977, with a cover of Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want to Be With You.”

I think at this point…I’m going to make this a “part one of two.” Yes, my life as a fangirl needs to be split in two because there’s more, MANY more guys to come.

I’m hopeless, aren’t I?

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Random musings on a weekend...

This was a busy weekend, and I had a lot of conflicting emotions throughout. It started early Saturday morning, with our local Race for the Cure. This is an annual race in support of finding a cure for breast cancer. Our area hosts one of the largest Races in the nation, and this year was no exception. It is exhilarating to be part of over 20,000 men and women (mostly women – they only made our version co-ed a year ago) walking and running for a common cause.

What made this portion of the day also interesting is this – it was terrible weather. Usually at this time of the year, it is approximately 50 degrees or so in the morning, and warms up as the day goes on. That day, it was 40 degrees, no sun, and drizzle. Never got any warmer, either. I wore jeans, a turtleneck, my race shirt, and a jacket over the top. Plus, I had on gloves and my trusty Clay Aiken bucket hat. I think that hat kept me warmer than anything else I had on. Anyway, it is so cool to see so many people come out for this, even if the weather would make most people stay in bed and throw their covers over their heads.

After the Race, my husband (who walked with me!) and I went technology toy shopping. This…was cool.

My husband has never really complained all that much about me being a Clay Aiken fan. Why? Because a side effect of this fandom is that I know a heck of a lot more about technology and computers. Before my fandom hit full throttle, I had never burned a music CD, considered buying a digital camera, or even thought about using Instant Messaging. But now, I can understand what my husband is talking about when he mentions “transcoding” or “compressing a video file” or other technology talk. I really should send Clay a thank you note for that. *g*

Anyway, he and I looked at external hard drives. We both need them. I already have two, and now am looking at a third. With all the clack (Clay video clips, which to fans are addictive as crack, hence the name) out there, and the potential for more to come…heh. We also looked a cable signal booster. My husband and I both have video capture cards in our computers, and the TV reception was getting a bit fuzzy. Voila! Problem solved.

The interesting one, though, was my husband ASKING to look for a video camera. Now, I’ve been thinking of getting one for a few years, in order to capture clack at concerts. But I hadn’t asked, because I knew we just bought a regular digital camera which has captured some pretty darn good video. (Someday, I’ll link to a few…) So, imagine my surprise when my husband decides to get one! EEEEEEEEE! We don’t have it yet, and he is doing research at the moment…but soon. Very soon.

Sunday was Mother’s Day, and I visited my Mom. She recently fell and broke a bone in her leg, and she is now recuperating in a nursing home. She is also 85 years old. Since her fall, I’ve been visiting her every weekend (a 3 hour trip each way). What I’ve discovered since these visits is the hard realization – I have to mother my own mother. This is incredibly difficult for me, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I don’t have kids of my own (just our adorable kitties), so being a mother is a foreign concept to me. But, more importantly, it’s just hard watching someone who has been your rock for so many years need so much help. It’s so sad for me to feel this way, watching her like this, and having to do basic things for her (such as giving her sips of water).

It was a day when Clay’s “I Will Carry You” helped an awful lot.

Picture courtesy of the

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