Saturday, July 25, 2009

Song! Challenge! #9: Home Is Where The Heart Is

...and the heart is in a Song! Challenge! right now.

Sponsored by Inexpensively.com, this week's Song! Challenge! takes you to the heart of the home in a big way. This week's game is pretty straightforward, with just a couple obscure ones -- I'm going to give it a Degree of Difficulty of 3.4.

How many of the song titles and artists can you identify when all the clips include a word for some sort of house, home, or other domicile? Your task is to name all 19 songs in this week's Challenge! Some extra information for this week's game:
  • There is one TV theme song in this week's Challenge!
  • This Challenge!, perhaps better than any other, showcases the diversity (aka, "randomness") of my music collection: Broadway showtunes, country, R&B that isn't Toni Braxton, jazz, easy listening, easy listening, easy listening...OK, maybe it's not that diverse, but still, there's some good stuff in there.
  • Words for residences that you won't find in the title or lyrics of song clips in this week's Song! Challenge! include wigwam, igloo, condo, lean-to, co-op, tent, tepee, geodesic dome, manse, cabin, and lair-deep-in-the-heart-of-an-active-volcano.
The Rules

Your job is to enter your song guesses for all 19 songs (artist AND title) as a single comment here on the blog. Standard rules apply (Judge's decision final, have fun, if it's a TV theme song we just need the name of the show, if it's a Broadway show then provide the song title and show it was in, blah blah blah). Again, I'll be counting minor misspellings and other tiny inaccuracies as correct, as long as you're mostly right.

NEW LAST WEEK AND I'M KEEPING IT THIS WEEK: You can submit your comment-entry starting at 7:00pm EDT tonight, but I'm going to wait until Sunday at about 7:00pm EDT to approve and post any entries, so the temptation to compare answers and/or cheat is lessened. It seemed to work well last week. We'll see how it goes this week...there was a fair degree of copy-and-paste cheating last week, as you may have noticed. The judges are currently conferring on specific action to take when the primary system-abusers are in town next week.

You may enter as often as you like -- but each comment/entry will be counted independent of your other entries; so if you get a question right in one entry but wrong in another, it only counts as correct in the one you got it right in. (Got that?) If you're reading this on Facebook, go to the blog: http://sssemester.blogspot.com to hear the quiz and enter your comment/entry.

The Grand Prize

The first person to get all 19 song titles and artists correct in a single entry -- or the person with the most song titles and artists correct by 7:00PM EDT ON TUESDAY, JULY 28 -- will win a $10 Amazon gift card, sponsored by Inexpensively.com. It's their launch week, starting Sunday, July 26 -- you can visit them here to find out about all kinds of cool ways to save money AND participate in some cool giveaways.

Did you click it yet?

If you haven't yet done so, CLICK HERE to visit Inexpensively.com's special Launch Week page with information on some kick-butt giveaways and an intro to what Inexpensively.com -- which is a national network with extra-special presence in four states (Indiana, California, Tennessee, and Georgia) -- is all about! (Which, by the way, is "frugal bloggers whose goal is to share their knowledge of living inexpensively. From dining, to travel, to grocery shopping, the Inexpensively network shares their ideas..." You are, frankly, an idiot if you don't CLICK HERE.)


(Almost) Everybody "Wins"

In the grand tradition of a participant prize for all (and in acknowledgment of the fact that this one is pretty easy), anyone who ENTERS IN THE COMMENTS and gets at least ten songs correct in this Song! Challenge! and leaves their e-mail in their comment or sends me their e-mail address directly (SSSemester [at]yahoo[dot]com) after putting their official entry in the comments will receive a drawing, created by me especially for them. Everyone's drawing will be different, based on what I know of the contestants. (Artistic quality not guaranteed, drawing may suck, etc.)

Readysetgo by clicking the player below:



If you're reading this blog entry on Facebook, you'll want to click over to http://sssemester.blogspot.com to play the Song! Challenge! in its entirety.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Song! Challenge! #8: WAHWahwah(wah) RESULTS!

Thanks to everyone who played the Song! Challenge! last week. Watch your inbox for your poem. I have 9 poems to write, a couple of which are about people I've never met in person, so it might take a while. You'll have it by Friday, though.

Here are the standings this week:

9th Place: Amanda and Ryan - 11
8th Place: Ryan R - 13
7th Place: Sarah - 18*
6th Place: JL - 18*
5th Place: Jon - 18*
4th Place: Spike - 18*
3rd Place: RealtorMichelle - Third one to get 18 correct
2nd Place: Dave and Lisa - Second ones to get 18 correct
1st Place: Brooke - First one to get 18 correct

*While I have no direct evidence, I suspect that each of the asterisked individuals just copied RealtorMichelle's response so they could get their poem.


Brookie -- Congratulations! I'm sure the iTunes giftcard will be well used by you! I'll hand off the prize next time I see you! :)

A couple clarifications: I counted "If I Can't Have You" with the artist as either The Bee Gees or Yvonne Elliman, because this. Also, I counted "Careless Whisper" with the artist as either George Michael or Wham!, because this. I think I've tabulated correctly. Let me know, though, if you see any errors.

...and here are the correct responses:

1. Law and Order Theme
2. Barney Miller Theme
3. Copacabana - Barry Manilow
4. Phantom of the Opera/Overture - Phantom of the Opera
5. Jai Ho - Slumdog Millionaire / A. R. Rahman (Mad props to Ryan R for getting the Slumdog connection, for which I gave him a point)
6. Sunglasses at Night - Corey Hart
7. Hazy Shade of Winter - The Bangles
8. Tears of a Clown - Smokey Robinson
9. If I Can't Have You - Yvonne Elliman (also accepted Bee Gees)
10. Fernando - ABBA
11. Chattahoochee - Alan Jackson
12. Always - Atlantic Starr
13. Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody - David Lee Roth
14. It's All Coming Back to Me Now - Celine Dion
15. If - Janet Jackson
16. Careless Whisper - George Michael (also accepted Wham!)
17. Come Sail Away - Styx
18. View to a Kill - Duran Duran
19. Run to You - Whitney Houston
20. Holiday - Madonna
21. We Are the World - U.S.A. for Africa

OK, be sure to check back this coming Saturday at 7pm EDT, when the nice folks at Inexpensively.com are sponsoring the Challenge! with a $10 Amazon.com gift certificate. YOU WANT TO WIN THAT -- also YOU WANT TO VISIT INEXPENSIVELY.COM! Next week is their launch week and their sole reason for existing is to save you money. And to help promote them, they're offering you the chance to win some Amazon-ness through the Song! Challenge!

Get here right at 7pm EDT on Saturday, because that's some good prize, y'all. I haven't decided on the theme yet, but it's going to be both challenging and exciting, I'll tell ya that much.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Song! Challenge! #8: WAHWahwah(wah)

I think this week's Song! Challenge! is a little tricky -- I'm going to give it a Degree of Difficulty of 7.2 because I got a little crazy with the Audacity software and experimented with multiple features: Wahwah, Echo, and Change Tempo, leading to this week's theme of "WAHWahwah(wah)."

How many of the song titles and artists can you identify when they are enhanced with a weird "wahwah" effect, augmented with a one-second echo with a 0.5-second decay, and played 36% faster than normal?

Your task is to name all 21 songs in this week's Challenge! Some extra information for this week's game:

  • There are two TV theme songs in this week's Challenge! They are the first two clips.
  • The percussion at the beginning of Clip 3 has the potential to drive you to madness. Stick with it, though, and don't lose heart.
  • The clips will take you from poverty-stricken Mumbai to the the beaches of Brazil, from the American Deep South to deep in the heart of the '80s.

The Rules (I hope by now you've accepted my slackerliness.*)

Your job is to enter your song guesses for all 21 songs (artist AND title) as a single comment here on the blog. Standard rules apply (Judge's decision final, have fun, if it's a TV theme song we just need the name of the show, blah blah blah). Again, I'll be counting minor misspellings and other tiny inaccuracies as correct, as long as you're mostly right.

NEW THIS WEEK: You can submit your comment-entry starting at 7:00pm EDT tonight, but I'm going to wait until Sunday at about 2:00pm to approve and post any entries, so the temptation to compare answers and/or cheat is lessened. It seemed to work well last week. We'll see how it goes this week.

You may enter as often as you like -- but each comment/entry will be counted independent of your other entries; so if you get a question right in one entry but wrong in another, it only counts as correct in the one you got it right in. (Got that?) If you're reading this on Facebook, go to the blog: http://sssemester.blogspot.com to hear the quiz and enter your comment/entry.

The Grand Prize

The first person to get all 21 song titles and artists correct in a single entry -- or the person with the most song titles and artists correct by 7:00PM EDT ON TUESDAY, JULY 21 -- will win a $10 iTunes gift card, sponsored by me. (I forgot to talk to my friends who agreed to donate prizes for this week, so I'm sponsoring the prize this week myself.)


(Almost) Everybody "Wins"

In the grand tradition of a participant prize for all (and in acknowledgment of the fact that this one is pretty hard), anyone who ENTERS IN THE COMMENTS and gets at least six songs correct in this Song! Challenge! and leaves their e-mail in their comment or sends me their e-mail address directly (SSSemester [at]yahoo[dot]com) after putting their official entry in the comments will receive a poem, written by me especially for them. Everyone's poem will be different, based on what I know of the contestants. (Rhyming not guaranteed, poem may suck, etc.)



Again, if you're on Facebook, you'll want to click over to http://sssemester.blogspot.com to play!


*Am now actively considering "I Hope By Now You've Accepted My Slackerliness" as the title of my autobiography.

What is 36cents about, anyway?

Look, I'm just some guy. Chances are, you are too. (You could possibly also be just some gal. But I'm not sure "gal" is the correct usage anymore, so let's just say we're a bunch of gender-neutral "just some guys," OK?)

Anyway. I'm just some guy. Despite what my mother and father and the good folks at Bell Shoals Preschool in Brandon, FL, taught me*, I realize that I am just an average, ordinary individual who has had the opportunity to undertake some pretty extraordinary adventures: trips to Africa and India, being a contestant on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" and even attending the SPAM Jam in June 2002.

But even after all the fun things I've gotten to do, I know that I'm just like you. Well, not just like YOU, because you're a unique and beautiful snowflake, a beloved child of God unlike any other, but you know what I mean -- we're all in this together.

We're here together to do what we're here to do. For some of us, that means doing Big and Famous Things, like running for political office or starring in movies or writing best-selling novels. For others, it means doing Smaller and More Important Things, like healing the sick or fixing broken plumbing or raising one or more children or enforcing the law or creating works of art or over-the-road trucking or maintaining accurate and up-to-date files.

My dreams are not your dreams, but we both have dreams. My gifts are not your gifts, but we both have gifts. My resources are not your resources, but we both have resources.

36cents, The Great 36-Cent Experiment, is based on the idea that we all have something to give, and when we each give a little toward the same goal, that goal gets a lot easier to reach. What you give may be little to you, but it could mean the world to me. By shifting our frame of reference and seeing the power of small gifts multiplied many times, we can literally ¢hange everything. (I made up that tagline myself. Pretty cool, right?!)

As I was looking at my 36th birthday looming large (this Tuesday), I started wondering: how can I use my birthday to make a difference. I don't think I'm called to start a non-profit organization. (My mom: "Whew!" My dad: "Superwhew!") But I do think I am called to make a difference in the world by teaching others and by demonstrating what can happen when we are all facing the same direction, giving even a little bit of ourselves.

So, I asked people to consider sending me a quarter, a dime, and a penny for my birthday. I'm four days into 36cents, and my dear friends and family (and acquaintances and strangers) have already contributed over $50 to the dream, in amounts from 36¢ to $36.

The original dream, of course, was that one million people would send me 36¢ -- for a total of $360,000 -- so I've got a ways to go! I've decided to extend this experiment to the whole year that I'm 36 years old. So I've got 368 days to find 999,987 more people to donate 36¢ to our shared vision.

As I was laying out what I would do if a million people each gave me 36¢, I had a hard time coming up with what $360,000 could do. I don't really want to own a house, and I don't really need a boat or anything (perhaps a nice kayak for the loch, but that's not Big Money). So when it got to $50,000 left and I just could NOT figure out what to do with the rest of the money, it dawned on me -- why not crowdsource the rest of it and invite anyone who contributes any amount to offer a suggestion about how that remaining $50,000 would be used?

So that's what I'm doing. Over the next few days, I'll be rolling out some sort of internet presence for 36cents, which will include ways to share the dream, ways to contribute, ways to start your own Experiment, and most importantly, a way to share all the contributors' dreams for that $50,000 chunk and determine how those funds will be used.

Like with any adventure, I'm not really sure where this one will take me, but I'm excited to share it with you. I hope you'll help spread the word and, if you choose to make a contribution to the cause, I hope you'll participate by sharing what you think would be a good use of the 50 grand!



* "Special, special, I am very special. / God made me that way! / Special, special, I am very special. / God ... made ... me ... / (wait for it, wait for it) SPECIAL!" Which I recently performed in front of a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall.** Here's the audio:



** There is literally only one thing true about that sentence fragment -- the fact that, sadly for you, the singing part of the recording is me.

You're on Facebook, but ya wanna hear the recording? Ya gotta click over to http://sssemester.blogspot.com for the full multimedia experience.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I just joined the Illumi-neti

Video of my first neti pot adventure available here: http://sssemester.blogspot.com/2009/07/i-just-joined-illumi-neti.html

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

36¢ at a time

It started out as a joke on Twitter. I mentioned that my 36th birthday is a week from today -- July 21 -- so if people wanted to give me a gift, they could send me a check with a "36" in the amount.

Snarkmaster General that I am, I have snarky friends who thought it would be hilarious to send me $0.36. To which, I said: "Bring it on," because $0.36 is better than $0.00.

BUT!

Then I started thinking. What's the tipping point for what someone is willing to be a part of? That is, how much could I ask someone to give me and have them do it without even thinking about it? Thirty-six cents sounded like a pretty reasonable amount. I mean, you've got a quarter, a dime, and a penny laying around that you don't have plans to use, right? (Pictured, right: a quarter, a dime, and a penny. Not to scale.) But could I get one million people to send me $0.36?

SO!

Want to be part of the Great 36-Cent Birthday Experiment? Then send a quarter, a dime, and a penny -- or any denomination of coins adding up to 36¢ -- to me at:

Scott S. Semester
5346 Bay Harbor Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46254 USA

Be advised that I will be taking money to the bank every day -- there will be no cash on hand, and I literally will crap my pants if this is even remotely successful, so, like, coinjackers, keep your distance.

Anyway, I'll keep a running post here of how many people are part of the extravaganza.

Also, if you're wondering what I'll do with 1,000,000 x $0.36 = $360,000, which, as far as I can tell, will be tax-free, since it's coming as gifts in amounts far less than the taxable gift amount (whatever that is, but I'm pretty sure you can give me $0.36 and I don't owe the government income tax, so, you know, we should probably keep it at $0.36 at a time, or $3.60, or $36.00 or -- max -- $360.00, please), well, here's my answer:

$36,000
Split between the charities of my choice - Freewheelin' Community Bikes, an inner-city community bike shop in Indianapolis that teaches kids how to repair and maintain the bikes that they earn by putting in shop time; and Motus Dance Theatre, Indy's coolest modern dance company. Even if I don't make it to $360,000, I will split 10% of the proceeds of this experiment between these two fine organizations.

$40,000
I'll contribute $20,000 each to the educational funds of my niece, Madelynn, and my nephew, Owen.

$70,000
Paying back all my loans and credit cards and car loan and friends who bought many, many dinners and lunches and whatnot (the whatnot has meant the most) while I've been unemployed and/or underemployed for the last nine months and putting a good chunk of money (many thousands of dollars) into an Emergency Fund.

$20,000
I will produce and distribute RidicuList, the outrageous listing game of lists and outrage, which I invented when I was in Ghana in 2003 (back then, it was called "Key Number"). This board game combines the trivia and knowledge requirements of Outburst and Trivial Pursuit with the strategy and bidding skill of Name That Tune. Twenty grand will produce a lot of games and get us started, marketing-wise.

$36,000
World cruise, January 2010 to April 2010 -- 108 days on Cunard's Queen Mary 2, where I will blog about the cruise experience and share all the adventure of the local ports of call. This has been a lifelong dream, and I would do almost anything to make it happen.

$108,000
I'll keep this much in the bank, just in case I *do* somehow owe taxes on this. If it is discovered that I do NOT owe taxes on this, another 10% of this specific money -- or $10,800 -- will go to charities in Indianapolis that serve the homeless. Half of the remaining $97,200 will go to support me as I continue to write and travel and travel and write for a year or so. The other half will go to supplement the Niece and Nephew College Fund as described above.

$50,000
OK, here's where you come in. When you submit your quarter, dime, and penny to the above address, I want to know how YOU think I should spend the last $50K. Send a note along with your coins! What should I do with $50,000? I'll take suggestions, create a website to showcase your suggestions, and literally crowdsource the spending of the last $50K.

So, what do you say? Do you have $0.36 to send to me? Do it now! The address is above, and who knows? We could discover all kinds of things about each other along the way!

The clock is ticking -- I turn 36 in seven days!


After you mail me a quarter, a dime, and a penny AND what you think I should do with $50,000, maybe you could retweet, reblog, or Facebook the shortened link to this post? http://is.gd/1zc8k That'd be awesome. THANKS!

UPDATE:
Here's a PayPal button you can use to transfer money directly over the InterWeboTron. Only thing to keep in mind is the PayPal fees, which equal 1.9% to 2.9% plus 30¢ per transaction. Therefore, if you want to make sure at least $0.36 gets to me, you'd want, by my math, to donate at least $0.68, right? Anyway, you can click the button if you'd rather do it the Jetsons way. Just make sure you e-mail me (SSSemester[at]yahoo[dot]com) to tell me what to do with the extra $50K.





UPDATE UPDATE: If you want to use PayPal, and you want to make record-keeping and promotions easier for me, why not use ChipIn. It works through PayPal and creates a handy little thermometer thing to keep track of all your gifts! Marvel at its awesomeness:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Song! Challenge! #7: Wuv, Twue Wuv: RESULTS!

Thanks to everyone who played the Song! Challenge! last week. Watch your inbox for the latest special video...although with my cold this week, it may take a little longer to get it perfect...

Here are the standings this week:

Fifth Place: KT with 17 out of 24
Fourth Place: Sacha (& Bill?) with 20 out of 24
Third Place: Ket with 22 out of 24
Second Place: Brooke with 23 out of 24
First Place: Dave & Lisa with 24 out of 24

Dave & Lisa -- Congratulations! I'm sure the Restaurant.com gift certificate will set you up for a better meal than last night! Watch your inbox for the prize! :)

Thanks again to Chris Theisen at B Creative Photography for providing this week's prize. Check them out for all your Indianapolis photography needs!

...and here are the correct responses:

1. "Eight is Enough" TV theme song
2. I Love the Nightlife--Alicia Bridges
3. Can't Get Enough of Your Love Baby--Barry White
4. Yesterday--The Beatles
5. Shut Up--Black Eyed Peas
6. I Hate You Then I Love You--Celine Dion and Luciano Pavarotti
7. White Palace--Clay Walker
8. "Love American Style" TV theme song
9. Lucky--Britney Spears
10. Have You Ever Been In Love--Celine Dion
11. Papa Loved Mama--Garth Brooks
12. Something in Red--Lorrie Morgan
13. I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near) --Michael McDonald
14. Glory of Love--Peter Cetera
15. What I Did For Love--A Chorus Line
16. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)--Michael Jackson
17. I Am What I Am--La Cage Aux Folles
18. Heavenly--Harry Connick, Jr.
19. The More You Ruv Someone--Avenue Q
20. Does He Love You?--Reba McIntire & Linda Davis
21. I'll Cover You--Rent
22. Rosie--Bye Bye Birdie
23. Internet Porn--Da Vinci's Notebook
24. Open Arms--Journey

Looks like pork, Randy!

Been a while since I've posted only a video. I'm working on tabulating the Song! Challenge! results -- will probably post a winner tomorrow, since tonight was spent cooking and dining with previous Challenge! winners Dave and Lisa (and also KT and Linda, who taught me how to make bananas flambè, so be prepared to have that for dessert if you're dining at my house any time in the next five years).

BUT! Here's a video for you to enjoy -- a remix of Marbles Harsgrove in the magnum opus, "Looks like pork, Randy!" (Be advised that Marbles is a character invented by Melissa McCarthy, Jenny McCarthy's sister, AKA Sookie on "The Gilmore Girls.")

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Song! Challenge! #7: Wuv, Twue Wuv

If you played last week's Song! Challenge!, you are aware that it was really, really, really hard.

This week's is nowhere near as difficult, so you'd better enter quickly.

This time around, you get 24 song clips, each contaning a form of the word "love." Your task is to name all 24 songs in this week's Challenge! Some extra information for this week's game:
  • The grand dame of sappy love songs, the chanteuse Quebecoise, Celine Dion herself, appears twice in this Song! Challenge!
  • This Challenge! is heavier on the country music than previous Challenge!s, as many of you surprised me with the ease with which you identified Alan Jackson last week.
  • Because lots of people write musicals about love, there are a good number of songs from Broadway shows. In those cases, you need only supply the name of the song and the show it appears in, not necessarily the particular singer.

The Rules (Downing the Stickler Quotient, maintaining my general slackerly leniency)

Your job is to enter your song guesses for all 24 songs (artist AND title, IN ORDER) as a single comment here on the blog. Standard rules apply (Judge's decision final, have fun, if it's a TV theme song -- and there are 2 this week -- we just need the name of the show, blah blah blah). Again, I'll be counting minor misspellings and other tiny inaccuracies as correct, as long as you're mostly right.

You may enter as often as you like -- but each comment/entry will be counted independent of your other entries; so if you get a question right in one entry but wrong in another, it only counts as correct in the one you got it right in. (Got that?) If you're reading this on Facebook, go to the blog: http://sssemester.blogspot.com to hear the quiz and enter your comment/entry.

The Grand Prize

The first person to get all 24 song titles and artists correct in a single entry -- or the person with the most song titles and artists correct by 7:00PM EDT ON TUESDAY, JULY 14 -- will win a very special prize: a $10 Restaurants.com gift certificate, courtesy of Chris Theisen of B Creative Images. Because this is such a great prize, and because I'm superbehind on the previous videoizing requests from previous winners, the Scott'll-make-a-video-of-your-song-choice component is on hiatus. It adds a few extra days in the video production process, so I'm working out the kinks. But watch for it to make a return soon! And in the meantime, I'm working on a video of my own that I think you'll enjoy.)

PRIZE NOTE: If you or your business would like to sponsor the Song! Challenge! prize package like Chris and B Creative Images did, please let me know by e-mailing SSSemester[at]yahoo[dot]com.


(Almost) Everybody "Wins"

In the grand tradition of a participant prize for all (and in acknowledgment of the fact that this one is pretty easy), anyone who ENTERS IN THE COMMENTS and gets at least eight songs correct in this Song! Challenge! and leaves their e-mail in their comment or sends me their e-mail address directly (SSSemester [at]yahoo[dot]com) after putting their official entry in the comments WILL RECEIVE A SPECIAL, SUPERSECRET LINK to the SSSemester-made video of the song chosen by me. It's one of the songs in this week's Challenge!, so I can't tell you the title, but I think you'll like it.


Readysetgo by clicking the player below:



PS - If you're playing the Song! Challenge! before Monday, 7/13, at 11:59pm, you can click here for a special Restaurants.com 70% off offer, also courtesy of Chris Theisen. Get $25 gift certificates at some of your favorite restaurants -- normally $10 at Restaurants.com -- for only $3! (Use the code SEVENTY at checkout.)

PPS - Just FYI: I'm going to a friend's lake house today and we're coming back tomorrow, so no comments will be approved (meaning, no entries will be posted) until Sunday evening. You don't need to repost. Thanks!

New Song! Challenge! goes live tonight at 7pm EDT

You like to eat, right? And you like free things. What about free eating? Can't beat it!

Earn some free eats tonight at 7pm EDT with the Love! Song! Challenge! Can you identify these 24 different song clips with a form of the word "love" in their lyrics?

Grand prize tonight, sponsored by Chris Theisen at B Creative Images, is a $10 Restaurants.com gift certificate. YOU WANT TO WIN THIS.

Be here at 7pm EDT sharp, because this one is a lot easier than last week's cluster[handshake].

Viva la Song! Challenge!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Song! Challenge! #6: All At Once / RESULTS

Thanks to everyone who played this week's Song! Challenge! Big ups to Bill and Sacha, who championed through the chaos and the frustration and the noise to emerge victorious.

Here are the standings, as judged by me:
  • Ninth Place: Michelle with 2 out of 18
  • Eighth Place: Gus with 3 out of 18
  • Seventh Place: Amy Bridges with 3 out of 18 (submitted before Gus's entry)
  • Sixth Place: Amy Ketner Gunn with 4 out of 18
  • Fifth Place: Brooke with 4 out of 18 (submitted before Amy's entry)
  • Fourth Place: Amanda and Ryan with 9 out of 18
  • Third Place: Meana (presumably without the DePauw kids this time) with 10 out of 18
  • Second Place: Last Week's Winners Dave and Lisa with 11 out of 18
  • First Place: Sacha and Bill with 13 out of 18
Hopefully we're still friends, y'all! Haha, that was a tough one, right?

As always, three things to remember:
  • The judge's decision is final, so let it go. I mean, if I've miscounted, feel free to let me know, and I'll update the standings, but my (lenient) calls stand in each case.
  • The first prize is dinner at my house (which will probably end up being some sort of take-out, anyway) and the chance to pick a song for me to make a video of, so no big whoop.
  • Everyone who entered gets an e-mail, coming soon (probably early next week), with a super-secret link to a video of me doing something random (in this case, videoizing whichever song Bill & Sacha pick from the songs below). Players, watch for your e-mail soon. Be advised that I will likely be placing the video here on the blog a few days after you get the link, so if you want to feel like you're getting the special sneak preview, you'll want to click that link and watch it quickly.

Thanks again to everyone for playing. Check back here at 7pm EDT on Saturday for this week's Song! Challenge! The theme is "Wuv...twue wuv" -- how many song lyrics containing the word "LOVE" can you identify? (Awwwww!)

And they'll be played one at a time this time. It's SIGNIFICANTLY easier, so you'll want to be here right at 7pm to claim your prize. Also, courtesy of Chris Theisen at B Creative Images, the prize in the next contest is a Restaurants.com gift certificate valued at $10! (Oooooh! You want that.)

See ya Saturday at 7pm EDT!

Oh, and here are all the answers from this week's Challenge!

  1. Waterloo - ABBA
  2. Heartlight - Neil Diamond
  3. Hoedown Throwdown - Miley Cyrus
  4. Don't Rock the Jukebox - Alan Jackson
  5. Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo - Bloodhound Gang
  6. I've Finally Found Someone - Barbra Streisand & Bryan Adams
  7. Candyman - Christina Aguilera
  8. Bang Bang - K'naan feat. Adam Levine
  9. Rehab - Amy Winehouse
  10. You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban
  11. If I Were A Rich Man - Fiddler on the Roof
  12. And I Am Telling You - Jennifer Holliday (Dream Girls)
  13. Who's Johnny - DeBarge
  14. Forever and Ever Amen - Randy Travis
  15. Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion
  16. White Trash Wedding - Dixie Chicks
  17. Casino Royale/You Know My Name - Chris Cornell
  18. The Simpsons Theme

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Song! Challenge! #6: All At Once

Friends, I believe this to be the most difficult Song! Challenge! yet. I know all the answers, and I find it difficult to provide all the answers.

For you see, this week's theme is "All At Once." How many of the song titles and artists can you identify when they are played at the same time?

Lucky for you, only three songs are playing at any given time, and at all times, one of them is "All At Once" by Whitney Houston. Your task is to name all 18 of the OTHER songs in this week's Challenge! Some extra information for this week's game:

  • The first 17 of the 18 clips are 20 seconds in length. The final clip is 10 seconds long.
  • The clips overlap each other by ten seconds. So the first clip goes from 0:00 to 0:20, the second clip goes from 0:10 to 0:30, the third clip goes from 0:20 to 0:40, and so on. That is to say, a new clip starts every ten seconds. The last clip goes from 2:50 to 3:00.
  • Because this week's Challenge! is a tough one, I will not require that your responses necessarily be in exact order. It'd be super if you can at least vaguely approximate the order that they come in, but if you identify the song but mess up the order, I will not penalize.

The Rules (Downing the Stickler Quotient, maintaining my general slackerly leniency)

Your job is to enter your song guesses for all 18 songs (artist AND title) as a single comment here on the blog. Standard rules apply (Judge's decision final, have fun, if it's a TV theme song -- and there is but 1 this week -- we just need the name of the show, blah blah blah). Again, I'll be counting minor misspellings and other tiny inaccuracies as correct, as long as you're mostly right. And the order need not be perfect.

You may enter as often as you like -- but each comment/entry will be counted independent of your other entries; so if you get a question right in one entry but wrong in another, it only counts as correct in the one you got it right in. (Got that?) If you're reading this on Facebook, go to the blog: http://sssemester.blogspot.com to hear the quiz and enter your comment/entry.

The Grand Prize

The first person to get all 18 song titles and artists correct in a single entry -- or the person with the most song titles and artists correct by 7:00PM EDT ON TUESDAY, JULY 7 -- will win a very special prize: dinner for you and a friend at my house at a mutually convenient time AND you get to choose any song from the 16 clips included in this contest, and I will make a video of some sort out of it -- depending on the song, it'll be either me performing it or maybe an old-school music video (remember those?) to the song. Or maybe just me dancing to it.

PRIZE NOTE: I'm running out of Grand Prizes, so if you or your business would like to sponsor the Song! Challenge! prize package, please let me know by e-mailing SSSemester[at]yahoo[dot]com. I put out a call for prizes on Facebook and have some REALLY GOOD ONES for the coming weeks -- valued at $10 or more, so this is serious stuff now. I'll stick with the dinner-at-my-house grand prize for this week, though, because that's a good one, too.


(Almost) Everybody "Wins"

In the grand tradition of a participant prize for all (and in acknowledgment of the fact that this one is pretty hard), anyone who ENTERS IN THE COMMENTS and gets at least three songs correct in this Song! Challenge! and leaves their e-mail in their comment or sends me their e-mail address directly (SSSemester [at]yahoo[dot]com) after putting their official entry in the comments WILL RECEIVE A SPECIAL, SUPERSECRET LINK to the SSSemester-made video of the song chosen by the winner.


Readysetgo by clicking the player below:



Again, if you're on Facebook, you'll want to click over to http://sssemester.blogspot.com to play!

1,000 Posts: A Retroblogtive

Picture it: Sicily, 1922 Fishers, 2006.

I saw a listing for a job that seemed right up my alley: director of development at a liberal United Methodist church in Indianapolis. As I was researching the church, I saw that many of its staff and members had blogs; in fact, they had a whole page on their website linking to members’ and staff blogs. I had been thinking about starting my own blog -- mostly as a way to keep my friends from getting 10 e-mails a day from me with the subject line “OMG! YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS!!!!” -- and so I took this as a sign to start ye olde blogge.

My blog’s first five days are actually a pretty accurate representation of what the blog would turn out to be overall. A little bit of God talk, a lot of funny videos, some news and current events, and a lot of randomness. Through the course of 2½ years, this blog has tackled everything from impossibly tall Chinese dudes to unelectable zebras, from livebloggable events to the inevitable zombification of the United States (which I will probably not liveblog).

Here are my Top 25 favorite posts over the last 2½ years, and why they’re my faves:
October 26, 2006: Divorce Shocka-Locka-Locka-Locka
Let’s face it – everything about Stephen Hawking is hilarious. But the most important thing about this post, I think, is that it forced me, almost immediately after starting the blog, to decide whether my posts were going to be rated G, PG, PG-13, or R. (My mind ran pretty far afield with the jokes.) I decided then to keep it PG-13 or below, and I think I’ve pretty much kept it there so far (except for one rant, in which the F-word is used clinically, if shockingly).

December 27, 2006: Worst. Lifetime Movie. Ever.
Despite the fact that no one has ever commented on this post, it is extremely popular in the search returns. It’s amazing how many people Google “Lifetime movies” – a significant portion of those are searching for “bad Lifetime movies” or “worst Lifetime movies.” So, I’m proud that this is a popular post, and I’m also pleased with my use of the word MadLibsian.

February 20, 2007: So THAT’S why I hate the Nazis so much…
By far my most popular post ever (at least in terms of Google image searches), this post is an illustration of how I kind of sleepwalked through my youth. Like, I had literally no idea there were Nazis involved in the "Wonder Woman" television series, despite my deep, abiding appreciation for the Amazon princess as she got us out from under by fighting for our rights in her satin tights.

March 29, 2007: I Wish I Knew
Looking back, there are a lot of things that I wish I knew, and the fact that this very inspirational post was inspired by the boss I would come to regard as unstable and de-inspirational (at best) is highly ironic. Yet, watching the video in this post still gives me chills -- in a good way -- and it probably always will.

June 25, 2007: Witty blogger, 33, seeks wedding date
I’m including this one as a favorite not because it has been helpful in communicating what I want/need from a wedding date, but because it has been a spectacular failure in communicating what I want/need from a wedding date. From those who overlook the “I’m voluntarily celibate” part to those who overlook the “Must be willing to dance all night long” part, recent respondents have consistently disregarded key components of this post. It is (now) a policy of this blog not to divulge personal identifying information about others; let’s just say there were miscommunications all around.

July 9, 2007: Babies, pets ‘n’ things
This was the kickoff of a wonderful series of posts about my adorable niece Madelynn, who is awesome. It also chronicles what a major cluster[handshake] the week of her birth was. Her brother Owen's birth was much less frantic for me. (And, really, it's all about the uncle, right?)

September 25, 2007: Liveblogging the [Name of Town Redacted] City Council Meeting
This was my very first liveblog. It made a hilariously unendurable Council meeting somewhat more hilarious and somewhat less unendurable. And it got some laughs from the folks who attended. Now, 22 months later, I am at liberty to disclose that this meeting took place in Longmont, Colorado.

November 10, 2007: Dentists Gone Wild
Because two people have actually Googled the phrase “zombie Joyce Brothers” and ended up at that post.

January 7, 2008: Made It Home – Finally!
The best part of this post is not the fact that I made it home. Rather, it’s the video of me dancing in the airport at Doha, Qatar. A classic, if I do say so myself.

January 22, 2008: Entertaining Angel(a)s Unawares
I like this post because it’s a reminder that we have angels all around us – and inside us, waiting to break free – all the time. This is actually an inspiration for some fiction I’ve been writing lately.

February 28, 2008: Part 3,231 of “I am, it turns out, an idiot.”
This post is about my awesome dad and his important work. I’m sad that it took me 30 years to realize it (that his work was so important; I always knew that he was awesome), but I’m glad I finally did.

March 2, 2008: “Wake up. She’s about to die.”
I just love that post title.

May 9, 2008: X = Y do I watch this show?
If you’ve been following along here on the blog for a while, you know of my love/hate relationship with NUMB3RS. It’s only gotten lovier/hatier as time goes on.

June 7, 2008: Wonder Witness? Well, wonder no longer…
Did you actually think that another "Wonder Woman"-related post wouldn’t make it into my faves? This one is about that time Lynda Carter “discovered” a dead body floating in the Potomac River. I like this post because it explores the intersection of boring reality with all manner of juicy "Law and Order" possibilities.

July 29, 2008: (Over?) Reacting
I used to work at a very liberal church. About a year ago, a man entered a Knoxville church and started killing people because of that church’s liberal teachings. When I brought this up to my supervisor and coworkers, nobody wanted to talk about it; looking back, this may have been the beginning of the end of my time at Broadway. But I post this as a favorite because the comments gave me insights into my brother, who is very cool. And because someone whom I have never met made a weird comment on this post, too, and I figure that’s something.

September 18, 2008: Snap out of it!
I used this post to pull up out of a nosedive of blog-malaise. It’s a fave because it helps to characterize my randomness. I’ve always been resistant to categorizing myself. Beyond stunningly handsome, Christian, white, and male, there aren’t very many labels I apply to myself, and I’ve intentionally kept from moving in any one direction in the blog. This post is just another example of the randomosity (which was my other choice for title, after “All I’m Saying…”) of this blog.

October 18, 2008: Carried away, a little bit
There are numerous instances in my life in which I’ve danced with abandon in the grocery store -- literally hundreds of stories, though few of them have actually made it into print. This is one of them.

December 23, 2008: Hallelujah
When I quit-slash-got-fired from my job at Broadway, I took the opportunity to play around with some writing, and mixed that writing with music. This was my second try, and I really like the story and how it fits with this karaoke version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

January 7, 2009: Fire in the soil, meat in mah belly and
January 8, 2009: Great meal, bring a towel
These two restaurant experience posts may be a clue as to why I’m built the way I am, but they’re also a lot of fun, I think. I’d love to be a full-time restaurant critic, or even just a full-time restaurant experiencer.

March 31, 2009: Profanity, updated
A lot of crappy things have happened in the last eight or nine months: I lost my job, my pet rabbit died, and a friend of mine decided we could no longer be friends. I kind of think this post had something to do with that last one, but then I wonder why it would have. Anyway, I’m including this one here as “significant,” more than “favorite” because, while I stand by what I wrote here, I’m really sad to have lost that friend over it.

April 24, 2009: It’s been a while – sorry!
This one’s a fave because it features a picture of One Feather Up, goose extraordinaire. You can also link to more about OFU from there.

May 22, 2009: Sermonizing, a little bit
This is the sermon I wrote for the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church’s annual Laity Sermon Manuscript Contest. You write a sermon and then they judge them, and the winner gets to deliver his or her sermon at the annual conference meeting. I didn’t win, but I got 2nd runner up out of 26 entries, which is pretty cool.

May 14, 2009: Why I Should Have a 24-Hour Camera Crew Following Me
This is, I think, the only time I’ve blogged about breaking and entering. I mean, it was legal at the time, sort of. I had the owner of the home on the telephone with me, but I’m still glad the police didn’t observe me doing what I was doing. On a positive note, I’ve decided that the shirt I thought I destroyed in this incident is actually wearable – if I tuck it in, you can’t see the large rip in the tail.

June 1, 2009: It’s a quiz! And there’s a prize!
This was the proto-Song! Challenge! And I’m proud to say that six weeks later, I’ve been producing weekly Song! Challenge!s for literally ones of people to play each week. I’ve run out of grand prizes, though, so I’ve begun soliciting additional prize sponsors. If you’re interested in providing one or more prizes valued at $10 or more, give me a shout! Let’s talk sponsorship deals! Also, I’m thinking about spinning the Song! Challenge! off into its own blog, to keep “All I’m Saying…” more about me and less clogged up with the contest…I’ll keep you posted on that move!

June 13, 2009: Shamless. Simply shameless.
This now-famous “Hoedown Throwdown” video of me is my most recent favorite. It’s now been viewed over 200 times on YouTube and also a good number of times on Facebook. While it is not me at my most elegant, it is definitely representative of my willingness to have fun and maybe look a little silly for others’ enjoyment.

So there you go! A walk through the first two and a half years of my blog. Was your favorite post in there, or do you have another fave? Tell me in the comments!

Whew! I’m exhausted! But I’ve had a blast and I hope you’ve enjoyed it, too. I’m looking forward to sticking around for at least another 1,000 posts – think you can keep up?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Song! Challenge! #5 - RESULTS

Thanks to everyone who played this week's Song! Challenge! Big ups to Dave and Lisa, the first ones to win a Song! Challenge! without actually knowing me. (I must say, these Lilly kids seem to have some real skill at this game...)

Here are the standings, as judged by me:

  • Seventh Place: Heather, with 7 out of 16 at 7:57pm on 6/29
  • Sixth Place: JJ, with 7 out of 16 at 8:48pm on 6/27
  • Fifth Place: Amy, with 9 out of 16 at 8:27pm on 6/27 (props for being this week's FIRST entry, and also for not submitting her entries on the back of a used envelope)
  • Fourth Place: Meana & the DePauw gang, with 14 out of 16 at 5:29pm on 6/30
  • Third Place: Amanda, with 14 out of 16 at 2:21pm on 6/29
  • Second Place: Sacha and Bill, with 15 out of 16 at 9:57pm on 6/27 (props for using the thing over the "o" in "Tone Loc")
  • First Place: Dave and Lisa, with 16 out of 16 at 9:43pm and also 9:45pm on 6/28 (props for submitting what I think is the same set of answers twice, just to be sure)

As always, three things to remember:

  • The judge's decision is final, so let it go. I mean, if I've miscounted, feel free to let me know, and I'll update the standings, but my (lenient) calls stand in each case.
  • The first prize is dinner at my house (which will probably end up being some sort of take-out, anyway) and the chance to pick a song for me to make a video of, so no big whoop.
  • Everyone who entered gets an e-mail, coming soon (but probably over the weekend, at the earliest, since there's real work involved this time!), with a super-secret link to a video of me doing something random (in this case, videoizing whichever song Dave & Lisa pick). Players, watch for your e-mail soon. Be advised that I will likely be placing the video here on the blog a few days after you get the link, so if you want to feel like you're getting the special sneak preview, you'll want to click that link and watch it quickly.

Thanks to everyone for playing. Check back here at 7pm EDT on Saturday for this week's Song! Challenge! The theme is "All At Once" -- how many songs can you identify when four or five are played at the same time? (Ooooooh, edgy!)

See ya Saturday at 7pm EDT!

Oh, and here are all the answers from this week's Challenge!

  1. True Colors / Cyndi Lauper
  2. She Works Hard for the Money / Donna Summer
  3. Gloria / Laura Branigan
  4. Maneater / Hall & Oates
  5. Electric Avenue / Eddy Grant
  6. Kokomo / The Beach Boys
  7. Every Rose Has Its Thorn / Poison
  8. Funky Cold Medina / Tone Loc
  9. I'll Be Loving You (Forever) / New Kids on the Block
  10. Walk the Dinosaur / Was (Not Was)
  11. Toy Soldiers / Martika
  12. Shattered Dreams / Johnny Hates Jazz
  13. Tainted Love / Soft Cell
  14. Sexual Healing / Marvin Gaye
  15. Moonlighting Theme
  16. Perfect Strangers Theme