Wednesday, November 14, 2007

OFC Rewind Celebrates 10,000 Comments

SPECIAL EVENING -- Last week Clay Aiken performed eight songs for top skaters at the Holiday Celebration on Ice taping in Las Vegas. Graphic by Artz11, photos by SmartyPantsSuz, AnAmeraikenInTX, and Farouche.

With Mail Bag Rewind

Blog Celebrates 10K Milestone

NOTE: The OFC version of this journal is today celebrating its 10,000th comment.

Mailbag blogs allow me to share the inestimable dimension that reader responses contribute to this journal. Some comments add new material to the selected subject, others compliment the effort, and all are greatly appreciated.

The topics about which "we" have written in the past two months document everything from Clay Aiken's appearances to new grandson Kai, my first Woot-Off during which I purchased a Roomba robot, the celebrated return of LAP and LACIE, and Halloween compositions by my students.

It's as if I bake a cake every 3-4 days, and you folks supply the frosting. Thank you for your collaboration blog after blog.

Early Tuesday morning my friend Sally rolled the turnstile to a total of 10K remarks. I can think of no better way to celebrate this milestone than a look back at some of your many wonderful comments.

I hope you enjoy the "rewind." Thnx for coming to the party!

Clay Aiken a Christmas Tradition

Clay's performance in the Capital One Holiday Celebration on Ice has been the topic of several blog entries. Readers excitedly chimed in, many with memorable prospective.

Andee1960: What a prestigious night for Clay! Sounds like a most delightful evening for all involved. I can't wait to see this on network TV. Clay Aiken is a tradition in my house on Christmas Day! He sure looks wonderful in all the photos above.

smz80219: I am so looking forward to my Christmas skating/Clay treat. This show is like an extra Christmas present. Can you believe it? I haven't seen/heard any of the clack yet. My external drive is full, and I haven't had time to work on clearing some things off.

Elizabethgerencser: I really enjoyed seeing the YouTube posts this morning. A friend of mine from California was supposed to be there. I tried to call her cell, but there was no message when it went to voicemail; so I'm not sure that's still her number. Whoever actually got my message will definitely know I am a Clay fan though!

smz80219: Those Las Vegas write-ups must have been written by a Claymate. Either that, or maybe Clay has hired his own publicist. Whatever the reason, I'm impressed with how he was presented. It's about ding-dang time, no?

I think it is marvelous that Clay is such a positive force in the world. He is mentioned so well in the Vegas paper and by Google. He has the Christmas concerts, the play coming up; and he is STILL narrating the AI Rewind show.

I cannot wait. It seems like there will be several months of good press for him before his next album is released. I hope this time Clay will get the respect he deserves.

Fans Applaud 'Solitaire' Night

Clay's performance of "Solitaire" at Neil Sedaka's tribute prompted kudos from other performers, as well as fans, some of whom were fortunate enough to be in the audience at Lincoln Center for the Oct. 26 event.

Playbiller: You quoted me, but no quote will ever be able to capture how I felt. In person, Clay controlled the stage and the audience from just walking out. When he sang, it was the best version I have heard in person -- through the NAT, the JBT, the best!

Walla2: WOW!!!!!! I'm not sure there are any words in the English language that can depict that man and his voice. Just wish I could have been there, but the clack is still unbelievable. He looked amazing. My heart just melts each time I watch the video of him singing this song. No one and I mean no one sings a song like our Clay!

Katt45: Toni Tennille's blog was awesome. Clay's "Solitaire" was certainly impressive, and it's nice to see his peers figure it out. Also, I think I'd better stay off that wooted site.

Joycelovescows: If that didn't prove what a superstar we have, there is no justice. That is so Clay's song!!!

Marianhookailo (retired coloratura soprano in opera and musical comedy): There is no question that Clay has a register span of quality equal to very few alive today. His lower register is full and round, and he can go from that to his high tenor voice in one swoop!

Marlyne: I love Raleighlady's recap: "As amazing as the video is, it truly does not convey even one tenth of how incredible and powerful the live performance" I'm so sure this is true.

MNmeesh: That was one amazing performance! I had friends there, so I got to listen first hand.He never ceases to wow me!

PHOTO INTERLUDE: This fandom's visual artists have kept pace with Clay's recent appearances and are very much a part of the blog entries here. The clickable graphics were designed by Amazing_CA, photo by PermaSwooned, 1; ABeautifulMind, photo by PermaSwooned, 2; Fountaindawg, photos by jtgranny, KSChristian4Clay, Farouche, SmartyPantsSuz, and Lindylo, 3; Ambassador of Love, photos by Farouche and AnAmeraikenInTX, 4; and MNmeesh, photo by SmartyPantsSuz, 5.

Miscellaneous Motifs Featured

A variety of topics and "characters" find their way into my blogs. Recently, some have included my first Woot-Off, the purchase of a Roomba, my budding "Beethovens" who composed music for Halloween, and the reappearance of LAP and LACIE, occasional ghost writers for this journal.

Readers shared clever thoughts on these subjects, too ...

PromiseMe: Your Roomba is like a little bronco charging at you and your piano. Pretty quick thinking, making a tunnel, what a very funny visual. You'll have to get a hunky "Roomba Whisperer" to come over and tame it.

Grams4242: Glad to see LACIE and LAP back. They are definitely jealous of Rumbo, Rambo or whatever you call that thing! Tell them not to worry about a little thing that doesn't even know its way around yet, LOL! I was in stitches reading about your "Roomba." I have an automatic one also, but I call him "Husband"...LOL!
Cindilu2: Your Roomba sounds like a hoot! Hopefully soon *it* will be doing more work than you are, lol.

Marlyne: A big welcome back to LAP and LACIE. Sounds like we have a Clayvert in LACIE! I have never heard of Woot, but sure will have to check it out.

I do have a Roomba, and it is wonderful. Just wait until Kai is a little older and he visits you; he will love it. My two grandchildren, ages 5 and 6, think it is their friend when they come to grandmom's. In fact, they named it "George"!

Elizabethgerencser: Good luck with figuring it out! It cracked me up to read how it got stuck under the piano. Sounds like my cats when I need to give them medicine!

Madaelynn: When your house is fully clean, set your Roomba on the Interstate headed west and send it to Texas. Plenty for it to do here! The Woot-Off sounds cool.

Lisa1068: I've checked Woot a few times just to see what deals they had for the day. I may end up getting addicted to that site!

Galadriel: After careful consideration, this WOOT thing sounds dangerous! ... I applaud your music students for composing songs.

Aspiegirl: I never heard of a cleaning robot. I need me one of those. Does it dust too??? ... I bet your students came up with some creative "creepy" collages of classical content.

Awesome alliteration, Aspie!

Bloggers Assist Each Other

By nature, the blogging community is a very close-knit group. In our journals, we share segments of our lives, thoughts, hopes, dreams. Not a day goes by that I don't see bloggers helping others maneuver the maze of HTML codes to add color, art, and music to their journals.

From the beginning, I made welcoming new bloggers a habit. If I am the least bit tardy when a name appears in the list, Margaret5828, who also greets newcomers, sends me a gentle nudge like this one from 8:30 a.m. Sunday:

Margaret5828: We have a new blogger, crazy4cats6595. I thought maybe you didn't see her yet. Since your name isn't in the black area, you are probably still in bed and wasting valuable Clay time sleeping.

An early riser, I wouldn't dream of wasting valuable Clay time sleeping, LOL! However, at 5 a.m. that day, I was mopping the bathroom floor and calling a 24-hour/seven-days-a-week plumber. When I finally logged on at mid-morning, I promptly attended to my good friend's reminder.

Several months ago, Clayrin, a new Japanese OFC member, ventured into the blogs. When another, Chiyoko, started writing, I "introduced" them to each other. Both are concerned about their English skills, but I think they express themselves beautifully.

Chiyoko: I think it's great thing to be able to take contact with you and with many sweet members! Before I join it, I expected that they should be very good people. Because they are who loves Clay, and could find something special in him! He is a kind of miracle, isn't he?

Clayrin: I'm staying up late, though I shouldn't be night owl. It is very fast time goes by while I'm in OFC. Oh, new blog from Japanese Clayfan? I have never met Japanese Claymates in person. It would be fun to meet Clayfans.

These lovely gems and the special interaction between Clay fans in a country half a world away are heartwarming additions to this blog.

VISUALS ENHANCE: Representing past performances as well as Clay's upcoming Heartland Tour, the clickables in this interlude feature the talent of seven visual artists. They include Katt45, photo by PermaSwooned, 1; ABeautifulMind, photo by Invisible926, 2; ABeautifulMind, photo by ClayIzzaQT, 3; Amazing_CA, photos by SmartyPantsSuz, 4; and Amazing_CA, photo by PermaSwooned, 5.

Fans Share 'Fifth Grader' Experiences

Because we had members at the taping, the Clay Nation knew details and results for "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" months before the actual Nov. 1 air date. Yet just about all of us received phone calls/email from friends and relatives letting us know our favorite singer was on TV.

Another hurdle was getting the World Series over in time for Nov. 1. Since the Boston Red Sox were winning, many of us jumped on their band wagon -- even some Clay fans from their opponent's state. These are just a few of the replays about that show:

Grams4242: Now just two more sleeps till "Fifth Grader." I think Colorado must have been jinxed by us fans. This is the one show we did not want pre-empted. And heaven help anyone who gets in the way of us not getting our Clay fix!

Aspiegirl: "New Fans Discover Clay" -- it was cute to read on the forum at CV about all the phone calls people were getting letting them know that Clay was on TV. As if we Claymates did not know wayyyyy ahead of time. HEEEE!!!!!

smz80219: The thing that I noticed about "Fifth Grader" was how verklempt the little girls were. Little Olivia was breathless when she got up to the podium. I don't know if that was because of the opening enthusiasm of the show and she was picked first or if Mr. Aiken took her breath away.

It looked like she kept leaning forward to look around Jeff at Clay. Several times throughout the show, Clay looked over at the kids and gave them a cute smile like he was recognizing a look from someone. I think those little girls were smitten. That's OK, girls. We understand.

Grams4242: I was ROFLMAO at everyone talking about the emails and phone calls we all received by family and friends who wanted to make sure we had our TV sets tuned to "Fifth Grader" last night. When did we know about this -- 2 or 3 months ago?

What really freaked them out was playing along and guessing what level he went to and then being right! How I love our Teacher Clay.

Sally888: I taped AYSTAFG last night and just finished watching "Singer Man" once again blow everyone away with his many talents. His humor, timing, and ability to laugh at himself in a most charming way had to have made him one of the most entertaining of any previous guest. He's also very smart!

'Mr. Barb55' Aces Georgraphy Quiz

So where was Clay Aiken on the night AYSTAFG was telecast? Addressing Connecticut educators at Yale University about the importance of geography. A blank map of southeast Asia was provided, and symposium attendees were asked to fill in the countries.

The same map appeared in this journal, and most fans recognized immediately that we would have failed the quiz.

Barb55: As far as naming the countries on the map, I wouldn’t pass it either. I’ll have to show it to Ron. He’ll have fun with it since geography is one of the subjects he taught in high school. He loves anything to do with history, geography, and government.

After "Mr. Geography" took the test, his wife reported back:

Barb55: Ron took the geography test and got 10 out of 13 correct. The three he missed were near each other, but he got them out of order -- Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. I told him he did really well to remember those countries, as it’s been years since he taught geography.

Clay would be very proud of this fan's husband. Kudos, Ron!

NEW MAN IN MY LIFE -- Since Sept. 17, Clay has had to compete with a new guy for my desktop, as well as a photo interlude. This Kai collection features graphics by ABeautifulMind, 1, and Amazing_CA, 3, as well as photo editing by Sally, 2, 4, and 5. A montage by Aspiegirl is located here. The same album contains a brief slide show by Sally.

Grandson Takes Over Blog

Tavarrius Kai'mana Mata'uaina will be two months old Nov. 17. The digital camera I sent his mother has proved its worth many times over for family and friends hundreds of miles away.

Galadriel: Kai is so precious! I love the picture of him and his ducky. Someday when he is a football player you will have to show him this picture, LOL.

Debs33 (UK): Your Grandson is absolutely gorgeous! Awwwwwww. I want one, LOL!! OK so my kids are only 13 so i have awhile to wait yet! LOL!

Bikergirl (Denmark): Is it just me ore is that kid more and more cute for every photo you post?

YAMILA (Argentina): I'm so happy for you about Kai's visit! Take new pics! We need to see how that angel's growing. I bet fast is how!

ShinehoneyShine: Mr. Sweetness is getting cuter by the second. I kind of remember when my little man slept like that. Now a toddler, I wish I could slow down time.

Madaelynn: What an adorable picture of Kai! Babies look so angelic when they sleep. Your daughter is making good use of the camera. Let her know she should keep on taking pictures of the lad.

Sally: I love working on Kai's photos -- it's like therapy. The new camera and Jen's photography skills have made this job so much easier. She has a good "eye" and shows early promise of becoming a first-rate photographer.

Aspiegirl: I hope your daughter likes the montage. Let her know to keep sending pictures for more movies and some videos, too. "Rap" songs take a lot of pictures. -- Aunt Aspiegirl

Readers Often Say It Better

I began blogging at the OFC in July 2005, and many times readers have expressed a thought, a point better than I. Cindilu2 recently made this remark -- "It takes a village" -- regarding the artwork featured here.

To me, that familiar phrase also describes the interlaced nature of blog topic and responses, of writer and readers. Cindy also recorded a humorous, but accurate, description of Clay Aiken fans over the past few weeks:

Cindilu2: I could get whiplash following this boy. From the drooling, goosebumpy awe of watching him sing "Solitaire," to the never-ending grin of watching him win $300K for his kids on Fifth Grader. So, I guess this week's prevailing emotion is pride, mixed with a generous helping of 'he's soooo cute!!!

I certainly can relate. Bet you can, too!

Below is a clickable of the lead graphic by Artz11:

Thank you again for each and every one of the 10,000 comments! Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!

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