Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm Your Handyman

Last week I mentioned that I inherited my impeccable sense of direction from my dad. On the flip side, however, I think the home repair gene must have skipped a generation.

It’s not that I don’t want to know how to fix things around the house. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve always been the creative thinker, the planner, the visionary. Execution and implementation have never been my strong suits.

Still, now that my Wife and I are on our own, I’m trying to be somewhat useful around the house.

It's the least I can do.

A few months ago, we were having a regular problem with our bathtub clogging up because my Wife sheds more hair than a German Shepherd. The first time around, we actually called our apartment office and had them fix it. Inwardly, I knew this was something I could take care of, so I volunteered my services when the drain got clogged again.

My Wife had to stop me short of throwing a parade when a simple cup full of drain cleaner solved the problem.

Feeling the momentum from that achievement, I was ready for a bigger task.

Last week, I found one: hanging artwork.

When we moved from our old apartment to our new one at the beginning of February, I couldn’t help notice how many nail holes we had put in the old walls to hang pictures. To be fair, my wife had hung most of them by herself while I was at work and she was still looking for a job. But if you hadn’t known better, you would have thought that there had been gangland gunfire in our living room.

Wanting to reduce the amount of spackling we will have to do again at some point in the future, I agreed to be a part of picture hanging process. We had borrowed a buddy’s drill and measuring level, so we quickly (and successfully) hung up all of our pictures in each room. All that remained was one massive framed painting that was reserved for our bedroom.

I think this is a good time to mention that I get a little overwhelmed whenever putting up a picture requires anything more than one simple nail. This bad boy needs to be anchored to the wall and feels like it weighs a metric ton.

Even though I knew there was a better chance of the Raiders winning the Super Bowl, I had to try one last shot at negotiating the placement.

Me: So where do you want to hang this behemoth again?

(you have to emphasis the weight and size to plant seeds of an unnecessary impending struggle)

My Wife: Directly over our bed.

(not picking up on the emphasis at all)

Me: Are you sure? Because it looks pretty nice right there on the floor lying up against the wall.

(you HAVE to provide a viable, alternate solution)

My Wife: Ok, but let’s go ahead and hang the painting now.

(I didn't get the impression that she embraced the full spirit of the negotiations)

Again, this was not some flimsy frame that you can just slap up. There were a couple of cumbersome steps that had to be carefully followed.

First we attempted the very scientific procedure of trying to place it in the center of our bed. This entailed me standing on the bed, holding the picture while my Wife stood on the floor and told me where to move.

My Wife: Lower, just a little lower, now a little higher, and a little bit higher.


My Wife: I’m sorry but it needs to be a little bit higher. And to the right. A little more, just a little more. Perfect! Now just a little lower.

After she was able to keep me from grabbing my car keys and driving straight to Mexico, we marked where the nails needed to go. After mining our way through the wall, we set in the anchors, hammered in the nails, hung the painting, verified the level, and did the always important eye-ball test from the floor.

Everything checked out.

Of course, I couldn’t live with that. I had never done anything “handy” on the first try so I knew something had to be wrong. I rechecked the nails and the anchors and even put a little pressure on the top of the frame to make sure it wouldn’t come crashing down on us in the middle of the night.

Once I felt completely comfortable, I began dialing the mayor to start planning the next celebratory parade only to have my wife interrupt the festivities. She said that since I did such a great job on the painting hanging project that I could now work on installing a shelf in the laundry room that has 10 times as many nails and anchors.

Where are my keys?

To get entertainment updates from Denver and around the world, follow us @INDT_popculture and you can follow Josh’s personal account @Just_Being_Josh.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

American Idol Top 10 Power Rankings

Sorry I didn't post a recap from the performance show yesterday. I got home a little late on Tuesday night and when I went to watch the show on the DVR, I realized that I had lost half of the program due to snow that had built up on our satellite dish.

Gotta love technology.

After I was able to track down the remaining performances yesterday, I came to a concrete conlusion: no matter how you feel about Crystal or Siobhan as the favorites, regardless of your opinion on if Tim or Andrew is struggling more, Paige HAD to go home after that performance on Tuesday night.

It was going to become a matter of credibility after a while.

On to the power rankings!

On the Rise: Lee and Aaron are both keep quietly creeping up the list week after week.

Free Failing: I have Casey and Didi each moving down one spot but I think they can still turn it around at any moment. Poor Andrew just seems lost lately. Fortunately for him, there is still a few weaker contestants behind him... for now.

1. Crystal Bowersox (no change from last week)

2. Siobhan Magnus (no change)

3. Michael Lynche (no change)

4. Lee Dewyze (+1)

5. Casey James (-1)

6. Aaron Kelly (+1)

7. Didi Benami (-1)

8. Andrew Garcia (no change)

9. Katie Stevens (no change)

10. Tim Urban (no change)

To get entertainment updates from Denver and around the world, follow us @INDT_popculture and you can follow Josh’s personal account @Just_Being_Josh.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Front Seat Driver

I recently saw a news study showing that there might be some genetic link to people who lack a general sense of direction. I would believe the opposite to be true as well, because my stellar internal compass is one of the main attributes I inherited directly from my dad.

That and our rugged good looks.

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed exploring new roads because I always have a pretty good idea of where I am and how to get there. Sometimes I’ll even take The Camel out to get lost just so that I can experience the adventure of finding my way back.

My Wife, on the other hand, doesn’t exactly share my passion for this pastime. She doesn’t really care where she is or how she got there, she just wants to get there.

Since we’re still relatively new in town, I have seen that as an opportunity to learn new routes and discover back ways and byways. My Wife, however, saw it as an opportunity to get a GPS system for her car as a Christmas present.

Don’t get me wrong. When I’m on vacation or in a new place for a limited amount of time, I definitely see the benefit of a navigational guide; but there is no way I’m going to let a computerized voice boss me around on my own turf.

(Quick side note: I’ve heard that these GPS systems are becoming so advanced that they even have celebrity voices that you can now choose from. Personally, I don’t care if they get Scarlett Jo to sit in my front seat and give me directions in that smoky, smoldering voice of hers, I don’t want anyone telling me where to go. On second thought… let’s not get stupid. I don’t want to be the one to put limits on any helpful technological advances.)

Where was I?

My Wife and I had our difference of opinions come to a head last weekend when we were planning to meet another couple to see a movie at a theater we had never been to before.

I had a general idea of where the theater was and was inwardly excited about trekking a new path. As we climbed into the Red Rover, my Wife asked if I wanted her to set up the GPS. I scoffed before lecturing her on the value of actually paying attention to where she is going as opposed to blindly going on auto pilot every time she leaves the house.

Go ahead and guess how well that turned out for me.

We were doing fine until I guessed the wrong exit off the highway (to be fair, I was only one exit away from the correct one but still, I did guess wrong). When we had wandered for a few minutes without seeing the theater where we both thought it should be, I knew I had to act fast because I knew what was coming.

After I realized my mistake, I figured going back to the highway was a lost cause so I started taking every turn I could to get us heading in the direction of theater. As I frantically tried to correct our course, my Wife ever so quietly and calmly reached into her purse, found the GPS case, pulled out the GPS, turned on the GPS, and entered the name of the theater.

It was man versus machine and there was no way I going to lose this one for all of humanity.

We got to a pivotal stop light and I knew the theater was close. I just had to decide if we needed to go straight or take a right.

“Do you want to know the correct way?” my Wife asked.

“No, I got it,” I feigned, my mind racing as if searching for a Final Jeopardy answer.

I committed to going straight. As soon as the light turned green, we started rolling forward only to be interrupted by my Wife.

“Nope!” she exclaimed.

I had enough time to whip the car to the right. Fortunately, there wasn’t anyone in the turn lane as that would have quickly turned into machine versus machine.

We raced to the theater only to get there in time for the box office’s announcement that our particular show had just sold out. As we limped back to the car, my Wife couldn’t resist.

“Do you need the GPS to get us home?” she jabbed.

“I’m good,” I huffed.

“I don’t know why you hate something that takes all the work out of going places,” she said with a laugh.

Maybe because it takes all the fun out of it too.

To get entertainment updates from Denver and around the world, follow us @INDT_popculture and you can follow Josh’s personal account @Just_Being_Josh.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

American Idol Top 11 Power Rankings

I got Alex voted off last week and America got Lacey this week, so I hope this means we're finally even.

I'm actually somewhat relieved when my personal favorites leave show because I can stop worrying about their impending doom and objectively concentrate on the rest of the race.

And fortunately for us, we still a very close race with 11 contestants remaining. Unfortunately for us, however, it's not the most compelling race as of yet. There is a definite lack of star power and persona from this group and we still have some of the weaker singers to weed out. Hopefully the contestants grow more comfortable (and become more engaging) from this point on now that they're on the bigger stage.

On to the power poll!

On the Rise
Has to be Siobhan. Even though I still think Crystal is still the favorite and out in front of the field, Ms. Magnus is officially in the rear view mirror. I will never be her biggest fan, but at least she is showing a pulse on the stage - and that can't be said about a lot of the other singers.

Free Falling
Didi and Andrew still have more talent than most of the remaining contestants but they're both just not doing much with it yet. We need to see more life and energy to go along with their vocals.

1. Crystal Bowersox
(no change from last week)

2. Siobhan Magnus (+3)

3. Michael Lynche (-1)

4. Casey James (-1)

5. Lee Dewyze (+1)

6. Didi Benami (-2)

7. Aaron Kelly (+1)

8. Andrew Garcia (-1)

9. Katie Stevens

10. T
im Urban (-1)

11. Paige Miles (+1 by default of other eliminated contestants)

What did you think about Lacey's departure and the remaining Idol's 11? Let me know below!

Be sure to check out Josh’s newest humor column every Monday. To get entertainment updates from Denver and around the world, follow us @INDT_popculture and you can follow Josh’s personal account @Just_Being_Josh.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

American Idol: Top 12 Recap

While this season of American Idol still feels a little weaker than some of the past years, it was good to finally get the Top 12 on the big stage (as you will notice, that will be a running theme through my comments below). The expanded space really let the contestants' vocals go and I can't honestly say that I thought any one was outrageously terrible for once.

There were some that did stand out (for the good and the not so good) however, so let's get to the individual performances:

Michael LyncheMiss You
Other than wearing the same scarf as his wife in the intro piece, there was nothing technically wrong with Big Mike last night. He was at his generic best – very engaging and entertaining. No doubt he sticks around for another week.

Didi BenamiPlay With Fire
There’s just something about the larger stage that lets the performances just fell bigger. I thought this was a solid, controlled performance by Didi and while I typically don’t care for the slower songs, this was the perfect choice for her to let her voice go and explore the space.

Casey JamesIt’s All Over Now
Looks like Casey listened to my advice last week. Loved the country spin he put on the Stones’ classic. I know he has his faults vocally, but overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable performance – and if nothing else, he’s locking down two strong demographics: country fans and women. That’s a great combination to have behind you.

Lacey BrownRuby Tuesday
I’ll admit that I have a lot of trouble being objective when my favorite contestants cover my favorite songs. I know everyone disagrees with me, but I love the lingering quality to Lacey’s voice. I was totally ready for her to be gone way before now so I’m just enjoying the ride for as long as she can stick around.

Andrew GarciaGive Me Shelter
The reason I’ve always liked Andrew is because he already has a smooth, radio-quality voice. BUT, I keep waiting for him to let loose and become an entertainer. Give him credit for stepping out of his comfort zone but it still felt a little too controlled and contained.

Katie StevensWild Horses
Excellent song choice for Katie. For once she was in control of the performance and she really showcased her big vocals. It almost seemed like she just needed to be on the bigger stage as opposed to being boxed in the smaller venue. I was a big fan of hers, then I wasn’t, but if she keeps this up, I could easily be back on the Katie bandwagon in a few weeks.

Tim UrbanUnder My Thumb
Uh-oh. After the top 24, I wrote the following about Tim: “Being cut right from the Kris Allen cloth is great news for him and bad news for us.” As much as I didn’t like it and as much as the judges didn’t like it, I have a bad feeling that America might start getting behind him slowly but surely.

Siobhan MagnusPaint it Black
The thing that I really do love about Siobhan is that her voice never seems to match her personality so it provides this unexpected, jarring kind of thrill ride every time she opens her mouth. It was a very mature and focused performance and if nothing else, she at least brings a legit life to the stage. Bordered on the creepy and bizarre side (as always) but a stellar showing overall.

Lee DewyzeBeast of Burden
While he was technically proficient, this is my absolute favorite Stones’ song and there was absolutely NO angst or (required) provocative sensuality to it. I know everyone else is going to love it but I just wasn’t feeling it at all. Can’t imagine him going home under any circumstances at this point.

Paige MilesHonky Tonk Woman
Like Didi and Katie before her, I felt like Paige actually benefited from the bigger stage to show off her big vocals. Not too sure about that safari/Girl Scout outfit but this was by far the best performance from someone that shouldn’t even be there.

Aaron KellyAngie
I know all the little girls and grandmas love Aaron and I’m sure there’s no chance that he gets voted off, but that was brutally boring. That formula has been working for the Boy Wonder so far, so I can’t imagine him going anywhere anytime soon.

Crystal BowersoxYou Can’t Always Get What You Want
The only legitimate superstar in the field. She single handedly rendered the rest of the night pointless.

My personal favorites on the night were Crystal, Lacey, and Casey BUT...

Here's my OFFICIAL TOP 3: (1) Crystal, (2) Siobhan, (3) Katie (because she was surprisingly good for once)

My bottom 3: (1) Andrew (kills me to say that), (2) Tim, (3) Aaron

What did YOU think of the first week of the Top 12 and their covers of the Rolling Stones?

Let me know below!

Be sure to check out Josh's newest humor column every Monday. To get entertainment updates from Denver and around the world, follow us @INDT_popculture and you can follow Josh's personal account @Just_Being_Josh.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Method to Her March Madness

Like any other diehard sports fan, of course I look forward to the major sporting events throughout the year. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I have the dates for the Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA Finals circled on my calendar.

But being the fanatic that I am, I take it a step farther and countdown the days to the sports related events where no actual game is ever played. I get stoked for the start of football’s free agency and hold annual parties for the NFL draft. I breathe a sigh of relief when pitchers and catchers finally report and I will drop whatever I’m doing to watch the NBA draft lottery. Yes, I’m talking about the lottery where they do nothing more than just determine the draft order.

Maybe I need to get out more.

There is one day, however, that I look forward to more than all the rest combined: Selection Sunday.

I will never be able to fully verbalize the thrill that I get from all the festivities surrounding the announcement of the teams that will be participating in the men’s college basketball tournament. The pinnacle moment of the Selection Sunday experience is printing off my own brackets sheet and figuring out the favorites, the Cinderellas, and who I believe is going to go all the way.

I usually do very well picking games in any office pools or online bracket challenges that I participate in with friends, but over the past couple of years I have unfortunately crossed paths with an advisory that has made the tournament less fun than a Tiger and Elin marriage counseling session.

My lovely Wife has somehow beaten me head-to-head the last three years and it wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t spend so much time, thought, and energy watching games and pouring over my bracket like I was planning a military invasion of a small country.

Ok, I really need to get out more.

It also wouldn’t bother me if she spent ANY time, thought, and energy watching any games during the season.

I agonize over every matchup, mentally debating the teams based on a multitude of factors. Who has more experience? Who has the better big man? How consistent are they from the three point line? The free throw line? Which bench is deeper? Which coach is more proven?

Apparently my strategy hasn’t been good enough to topple her though, so this year I implemented a new plan.

I picked her brain as we picked our games to find the method to her March madness.

“There are certain school names I don’t like. Xavier is one of them. Gonzaga is another,” she said.

“Why don’t you like those names?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she replied. “I just don’t like the sound of those words.”

“Oh,” was all I could get out.

“I won’t pick Syracuse because I don’t like their team name, Orangemen,” she continued. “That’s not real! There are no orange men walking around in the world!”

I guess she does have a point.

“I love Tennessee because Pat Summitt is the coach of the women’s team and I like her a lot.”

Well, that makes sense.

“I’ll never pick Ohio St. because my dad grew up in the state of Michigan.”


Even though that logic makes about as much sense as the current season of Lost, I can’t argue with her because she always beats me. I’m going to try that kind of thinking for my picks this year. Hmm... the name of my parents’ dog is Duke and I once got food poisoning while driving through Kansas, so I’m going to go with the Blue Devils and Jayhawks for the title game.

Let the games begin and may the best man win the bracket challenge.

In our case, it will probably be a woman.

Friday, March 12, 2010

American Idol Top 12 Power Rankings

Well... here we are.

The point where most people feel like the show truly begins to get good: the Top 12.

While I thoroughly enjoyed Matt Giraud and Scott MacIntyre's dueling Billy Joel piano duet, I'm definitely conflicted about last night's eliminations. As relieved as I am to see Alex go, I really did like Todrick (even though I didn't care for his performanc of Somebody to Love at all) and I can not even begin to understand why Katelyn and Denver' own, Lilly, are gone while Paige and (to a lesser extent) Katie are still there.

This is the first time where I feel like America truly got it wrong; but I guess that's why you always have to vote for your favorite.

*Note: to maintain journalistic integrity, I'm not voting at all this year. Just recapping how it all plays out.

Before we get to the new Power Poll, I just got to take care of a few quick pieces of housekeeping.

First of all, we've set up a Twitter account for all the pop culture stuff we're posting here at the site. For update entertainment headlines from Denver and around the world, follow us @INDT_popculture.

Secondly, while I was setting up that account, I accidentally deactivated my own personal account (don't ask me how - it's a long, embarrassing story), so I've set up a new one for myself. Feel free to follow yours truly @Just_Being_Josh.


The bigger mover this week has to be Tim Urban. At the very beginning, I compared him to Kris Allen and I truly believe if he can build on this week's performance he could quickly become a legit dark horse if the other contestants aren't careful.

The only contestant that I had moving down at all was my boy, Andrew Garcia. I hate to say it (especially after I anointed him as the one to beat after Hollywood week), but it just feels like he's in a little bit of a tail spin right now. It doesn't help that the judges apparently HAVE to keep comparing everything to his Straight Up performance.

Here's my Power Poll. What do YOU think? Let me know below.

1. Crystal Bowersox (no change from last week)

2. Big Mike Lynche (no change)

3. Casey James (no change)

4. Didi Benami (+3)

5. Siobhan Magnus (+4)

6. Lee Dewyze (+2)

7. Andrew Garcia (-3)

8. Aaron Kelly (+4)

9. Tim Urban (+7)

10. Lacey Brown (+4)

11. Katie Stevens (no change)

12. Paige Miles (+3 by default of other eliminated contestants)