JULY 2008


07/01/08 - Blue Planet Live Well, I'm having a hard time attempting to contact the people who did blue planet live to tell them how I feel, so I'll just write a blog entry about it. We saw Blue Planet Live recently at the Myerson Hall in Dallas. This is a show where fantastic footage of marine life is shown on a large screen and a musical score written specifically for the show is performed. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra performed beautifully. Most of the video was outstanding. There were hundreds of animals featured, including some of people's favorites (penguins, sea lions, sea horses, etc.) and things that have never before been filmed in the depths of the ocean (2 miles below the surface where volcanic rocks spew 600 degree sulphuric emissions). Beautiful footage.

My disappointment in the video is that it showed many gruesome parts of nature (like killer whales killing a blue whale calf and then later grabbing a sea lion cub off the beach, a walrus eating a penguin, marlin eating tuna, etc). I understand that nature includes death and many unpleasant events, but the scenes did not merely show an animal being grabbed and killed and eaten. The scenes went on and on for minutes, showing the whales taking the cub out to sea and playing with it and torturing it to death (much like cats playing with their prey, which I also don't like to see, but this was much more brutal and extremely graphic).

As pragmatic as I am about understanding nature and accepting it, and as detached as I can be, this is not an area where that matters. I actually sat there and bawled during this show and there were even parts where I had to quit watching because I knew that the scenes I had already witnessed would play over and over in my mind and I did not want more. There were things I don't even want to imagine that they showed, b/c I saw some horrible things (along with the rest of the quiet audience) and was even averting my eyes when something happened that made the entire theater gasp and recoil in horror. Yes, those things happen in nature. Yes, I accept that. I cannot do anything about it. BUT I DO NOT WANT TO WATCH IT. I did not attend this event for education. I already know what kind of things happen out there. It's life or death. It's eat or die. I've seen plenty of that. I do not want to pay to see it. I especially do not want to pay to witness torture. I especially especially do not want to pay to witness torture from the victim's point of view. I do not appreciate the advertisement of a show in the hopes of seeing wonderful, majestic natural beauty and then driving an hour to get together with friends and paying good money (generously, our friend purchased our tickets, so WE did not actually fork over the money) to attend a show where I weep. I don't cry often (except at chic flicks); I've even been told I'm emotionally cold (I don't actually agree with that, but nonetheless, it's been said). There are many beautiful animals and parts of nature that could have been shown rather than so many scenes of attack and death. If I want to watch torture, I'll rent the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I would appreciate it if 1. those scenes were deleted or at least decreased drastically so that the basic idea only is shown and 2. those going into it, know what to expect.

In general, it was a beautiful show. Unfortunately, I was emotionally traumatized and offended at a portion of the content, and that ruined the beauty of the remainder of it for me.

- Susan

07/03/08 - So You Think You Can Dance - Season 4 : Week 4 Okay, Comfort stepped it up a notch with the waltz; however, her solo was just plain silly and wasn't even close to being on par with Kourtni (who was eliminated).  That being said, it definitely appears the judges (at least 2 of them) have a soft spot for Comfort even though her skill is lacking compared to the rest of the talent on that stage.  I'm not terribly sad to see Kourtni and Matt go...they were not my absolute favorites - they were good though...just maybe too quirky for the general public.   And just so everyone doesn't think I'm against Comfort every week - Jessica also needs to go - she is severely holding William down.

 

Couple 1st Round Our Opinion 2nd Round Our Opinion 3rd Round Our Opinion 4th Round Our Opinion
Rayven Hip-hop            
Jamie      
Susie Smooth Waltz Salsa        
Marquis    
Comfort Jive Krump Jazz    
Chris  
Chelsea T. Cha-Cha Jazz Quickstep    
Thayne  
Kourtni Jazz Foxtrot Contemporary Hip-hop
Matt Mambo
Chelsie H. Contemporary Argentine tango Hip-hop Jazz
Mark Foxtrot
Kherington Broadway Viennese waltz Hip-hop Paso Doble
Twitch Contemporary
Katee Hip-hop Broadway Samba Contemporary
Joshua WC Swing
Jessica Tango Hip hop Disco Jive
William Lyrical Jazz
Courtney Disco Contemporary Rumba Hip-hop
Gev Broadway
Comfort             Broadway
Thayne       Smooth Waltz

- Nathan

07/06/08 - Meow Meow Sanctuary It was the Fourth of July weekend and we had nothing planned.  There was a little winery about an hour North of Fort Worth I wanted to visit so we decided to make a short road trip.  The winery itself was nothing special - we stopped there and made a revisit to Brushy Creek; however, we also made a detour to the International Exotic Feline Sanctuary on Boyd.  The IEFS has about 60 big cats and a few playful bears (they literally had lions, tigers, and bears - Oh My!).  Most of the cats weren't very active in the summer heat so we may have to make another visit sometime in the spring or fall.  That being said, it was still lots of fun and worth the trip.  In addition to the lions and tigers they also were home to several bobcats, cougars, jaguars, cheetahs, and leopards.  Each cat (or sometimes a small family of cats) had their own large enclosure with a fountain/swimming pool, lots of shady plants, water misters, and lots of toys (truck tires, large plastic spheres, etc).

 

They don't really allow you to get very close to the cats so we weren't able to take any good pictures (all pictures have jail bars in them); thus, here are a some from the IEFS website.

- Nathan

07/11/08 - So You Think You Can Dance - Season 4 : Week 5 Finally!!!  I have to admit Comfort wasn't as bad this week as she usually is; however, I was very happy to see she didn't make it into the top 10 (and the subsequent tour).  I agree with the judges on that I wish they could have kept Thayne and gotten rid of Jessica - there really isn't a guy dancer left that I don't enjoy.  The rest of the eliminations are certainly going to be rough (since all my favorites made it to the top 10), but it will be interesting to see how things pan out once the partners are switched around.  Maybe I'll see someone in a different light. 

I thought Katee and Joshua were simply perfect, as usual, and their Bollywood was very fascinating and entertaining.  I actually put Courtney and Gev above Twitch and Kherington this week - they are always so much fun and they outshined Twitchington on what appeared to be an off week. 

Here is the table for week 5 - starting next week I'll begin fresh since all the couples will change - thus, refer here for what I thought during the first half of the season.

 

Couple 1st Round Our Opinion 2nd Round Our Opinion 3rd Round Our Opinion 4th Round Our Opinion 5th Round Our Opinion
Rayven Hip-hop                
Jamie        
Susie Smooth Waltz Salsa            
Marquis      
Comfort Jive Krump Jazz        
Chris    
Chelsea T. Cha-Cha Jazz Quickstep        
Thayne    
Kourtni Jazz Foxtrot Contemporary Hip-hop    
Matt Mambo    
Comfort             Broadway Hip-hop
Thayne       Smooth Waltz Contemporary
Chelsie H. Contemporary Argentine tango Hip-hop Jazz Salsa
Mark Foxtrot Broadway
Kherington Broadway Viennese waltz Hip-hop Paso Doble Krump
Twitch Contemporary Tango
Katee Hip-hop Broadway Samba Contemporary Viennese Waltz
Joshua WC Swing Bollywood
Jessica Tango Hip hop Disco Jive Contemporary
William Lyrical Jazz Quickstep
Courtney Disco Contemporary Rumba Hip-hop Cha-cha-cha
Gev Broadway Jazz

- Nathan

07/20/08 - So You Think You Can Dance - Season 4 : Week 6 This was the first week where I was disappointed in the results of the show.  First of all...Comfort was back (yes, I officially have a vendetta to have her eliminated).  Her solo still wasn't up to par (it just looks the same every time), but I must admit her Waltz was decent and her hip-hop was good; however, most everyone can do a "good" hip-hop on this show - I feel it is probably the easiest genre.  I certainly didn't believe her performance, to date, was better than Kherington's.  I do feel Kherington's two-step was sloppy, but it looked absurdly difficult.  I certainly don't think America should have eliminated her for having one bad performance (yes, last week was a little off too, but we still gave it two checks instead of the standard three).  The fact Comfort received more votes than Kherington was simply a mistake - Kherington isn't the best dancer, but she deserved to beat Comfort.  

The guys are really a tough spot for me - I think they are all good in their own way.  Joshua and Twitch are still my favorites, but I believe Will is by far the best dancer.  Gev and Mark were both in my bottom two, but I really like Gev's style and personality better.  He is a lot of fun to watch on his solos.  Oh well, not all of the dancers can make it to the top stop.

I suppose, since I mentioned my favorite guys I should single out who I think the top ladies are.  Courtney isn't the best dancer, but once again, I think her performances are always so much fun.  She and Katee are in my top two followed by Chelsie and Kherington.

 

Couple 6th Round Our Opinion
Courtney Hip-hop
Joshua Rumba
Kherington C/W Two-step
Mark Jazz
Twitch Smooth Waltz
Comfort Hip-hop
Katee Broadway
William Pas de deux
Chelsie H. Contemporary
Gev Jive

- Nathan

07/20/08 - Peace Chain Susan and I attended a free performance of the Peace Chain at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art.  It was a contemporary dance piece (almost as weird as a Mia Michaels choreography) involving hula hoops, bouncy balls, and 5 dancers.  There was also a nice world music orchestra playing in the background with several drums and wind instruments.  The dancers were all members of Contemporary Dance of Fort Worth and although it was peculiar it was interesting (and did I mention free?). 

 

Modern Art or High on Drugs - You Make the Call!

Stick Horse Outside the Museum

"Write wrongs that are done to you in the sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble".

- Nathan

07/30/08 - So You Think You Can Dance - Season 4 : Week 7 We're a bit slow this week with the dance results because I ran into a little problem with our PVR on Wednesday last week.  The problem was it didn't start recording - arrggghhh!!!!  We taped the results show on Thursday, but I had to rely on my good friend Jonathan to send me a DVD of Wednesday's recording (if you need someone to download an episode from the Internet and record it to DVD, then Jonathan is the best man to have - thanks!).  Susan and I had to struggle through the week to ensure we didn't happen to catch the results of the show.  This meant I had to be careful on my daily TV guide updates via email (very nice if you don't subscribe),  I ripped out sections of the newspaper and immediately recycled them, and by no means could we talk to Nina about dancing =D.  Fortunately, we made it through the week without a hint or clue as to the results.  Oh, and what bittersweet results they were!

First of all, Comfort got the boot.  It was about time...but that being said, I think she performed her best routines after she got eliminated the first time.  I believe, after she knew she wasn't "all that and a bag of chips", she brought her ego a little closer down to Earth and acted like a good winner (and loser).  Although I was happy to see her go she was definitely still an awesome hip-hop dancer (how did she get hip-hop so many weeks?!?).   On the flip side, how in the world did Mark beat out Will?  Personally I believe Mark has a much more fun personality than Will; however, I certainly don't believe that compensated for the lack of talent (compared to Will).  I was shocked when Will was eliminated - I even thought Will should have at least beaten Twitch (although I really like Twitch and would hate to see him go).  It was an odd situation and I'm amazed Mark is in the top six - I expect him and Courtney to depart in Week 8 (although I certainly hate to see Courtney go).

My favorite girls: Courtney -> Katee -> Chelsie.  My favorite guys:  Joshua->Twitch->Mark (but Courtney and Mark are likely the next to go).   Here are our opinions from week seven:

 

Couple 7th Round Our Opinion
Courtney Samba
William Hip-hop
Katee Contemporary
Twitch Broadway
Comfort Hip-hop
Mark Foxtrot
Chelsie H. Arg. Tango
Joshua Disco

- Nathan

07/30/08 - Remembering the Alamo Once a year I take a trip with a couple coworkers to some place in Texas for a stint of continuing education.  I'm required to attend about 40 hours and these short trips usually give me anywhere from 7 to 10.  This year's excursion was to San Antonio and we attended classes on Thursday and Friday.  When we weren't in class we were savoring all the Mexican and Tex-Mex food we could find ;). 

 

   

We stopped at the Alamo, toured the river walk, and genuinely had a nice, relaxing time.  I wish I had more of these relaxing times - *sigh*.

- Nathan

07/30/08 - Squirrel Food or Fish Food? I think it has been nearly 5 years or more since Susan and I have gone to the Japanese Gardens at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens.  I'm not sure why, but after the most recent trip, I'm sure we'll have to make more of a habit of visiting.  The gardens are exquisite and serene - wonderful to walk around in.  In addition, feeding the fish and squirrels is tons of fun. 

 

   

- Nathan

07/31/08 - So You Think You Can Dance - Season 4 : Week 8 This week's dancing was superb!  The only weak spot was Twitch's mambo (but he still looked good).  I found the rest of the dances emotionally moving or thoroughly entertaining.  Really everyone could be rated with high marks, but I'm only going to give full marks this week to Katee and Joshua...I believe everyone else will be in the bottom four.  I feel Mark and Courtney will likely be eliminated this week; however, I certainly wouldn't be surprised if Twitch or Chelsie happened to bow out (it is hard to predict how America will vote).  TO BE CONTINUED...

 

Couple 8th Round Our Opinion
Courtney Viennese Waltz
Mark Jazz
Katee Contemporary
Joshua Paso Doble
Chelsie H. Mambo
Twitch Hip-hop

After watching tonight's result show I'm pretty pleased - my four favorite dancers ended up in the top spots.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Courtney beat out Chelsie (Courtney really is a better solo dancer, but I feel Chelsie was the better couple dancer).  Next week is the finale and I predict Joshua will steal the show with Katee in a close second.

- Nathan