“The Voice” semifinals

Here in California we’re a few minutes away from the semifinals of “The Voice”.  As I wait for the DVR to get a few minutes ahead, this is the time to write up my thoughts on the last eight contestants.  To start, I don’t have anyone that I really dislike.  Last season, I really didn’t like Christina’s finalist, Beverly.  She was talented, but I just really didn’t care for her music or her personality.  This actually makes this season a little harder.  I don’t have anyone to root against (I had a few, but they all got eliminated over the last few weeks), so I’ve got to pick my favorites to root for.

Team Adam
Katrina Parker and Tony Lucca
I’ve liked Katrina’s voice from the beginning.  I totally see why she gets the comparisons to Adele (both because of her voice and because of her look), but I don’t think that’s anything bad.  Tony finally wowed me when he did “Hit me Baby One More Time” but I need to see him do something more.  At this point I’m pulling for Katrina.

Team Blake
Erin Willett and Jermaine Paul
Jermaine has been one of the strongest singers since the beginning.  He has talent and big time experience as a backup for Alicia Keys.  My wife really likes Erin, but she hasn’t wowed me yet.  I pick Jermaine, and honestly he has to be a favorite to win it all.

Team CeeLo
Jamar Rogers and Juliet Simms
CeeLo finally got rid of James and Cheesa.  I couldn’t stand either of them from the beginning.  Jamar is great, but I feel like everything is about his story at this point.  After his last performance everyone praised his story and said nothing about his singing, which was good but not great.  Juliet is an amazing performer and controls the stage.  She’s got to be a favorite to win as well.

Team Christina
Chris Mann and Lindsay Pavao
I really like Lindsay’s voice, but I don’t dig what she’s been doing with her songs so far.  I’m hoping that she gets something awesome when she gets to do an original song.  Chris is pretty awesome and I’ve liked him from the beginning.  So at this point, I’ve got to put my support behind Chris.

So where does that leave us?  I like Juliet, Jermaine, Chris and Katrina in the finals.  Out of them?  Wow, I’d really be happy with anyone winning.  I can picture myself buying stuff by Juliet, Chris or Katrina.  Depending on what style of music he goes with I could buy Jermaine’s stuff too.  Personally I’d like to see Juliet or Katrina.  Juliet is entertaining and Katrina is a great talent.  Guess we’ll have to see how it goes!

Thoughts on the 2012 Draft

Well, we’ve had a couple days to let the NFL Draft settle in.  Now that the excitement has worn off, it’s time to look back at what the Chargers did and what happened with those former Fresno State players.

First, the Chargers.  And this picture basically sums it up:

As I followed the draft online, mainly waiting to see what our picks would be, I went through a few phases.  First there was the disappointment that Mark Barron was gone.  Then came the excitement when we got Melvin Ingram.  Then the disappointment again when Harrison Smith went off the board.  But the night ended on a good note when someone posted this video on Twitter:

Of course highlights mean next to nothing.  I found YouTube highlights of Larry English that got me excited, and we know how that turned out (I’ll be honest and admit that the majority of the highlights I found of Corey Liuget were of him destroying my Fresno State Bulldogs, so I wasn’t totally sold on his highlights.  But this video got me fired up for this season.

As the draft days wore on, we got our safety in the 3rd round and got a nice tight end in the 4th.  Our main holes were filled, we found some backups and potential projects, and overall I was happy.  Now I just have to last out the next few months until the season actually starts!

As for our former Fresno State Bulldogs, there wasn’t a lot of action.  Devon Wylie did get drafted in the 4th, which was awesome, but unfortunately it was by the Chiefs.  I guess I can wish him luck in 14 games of the year (that comment feels a bit like I’m talking about fantasy football).

For the guys who didn’t get drafted, Logan Harrell went to my Chargers.  I’m always excited seeing a Bulldog head to San Diego, and I’ve always been a fan of his, so this one is great.  I remember being at that game against Cincinnati when he basically took charge and had 3.5 sacks.  Of course I went to look up his exact numbers on gobulldogs.com and he looks a bit like an arch villain in his photo.  I’m not sure if I think that’s great or terrible.
For the others, it looks like Bryce Harris got picked up by the Falcons.  Makes sense since former Fresno State head coach Pat Hill is the offensive line coach in Atlanta.  The only other guy listed on the NFL’s draft page is kicker Kevin Goessling, and I can’t find anything saying that he’s been picked up yet.  I’m sure he’ll end up in a training camp somewhere.  In the meantime, I still love this video of him hitting the game winner against Louisiana Tech a few years ago:

Searching the family history

With the release of the 1940 census a couple of weeks ago,  I’ve found a new interest in family history.  I’ve had my moments, when I had to do a paper on a family member in high school for example, but I’ve never really gotten too into the whole genealogy thing.  But this new information has sparked something in me.  I’ve been piecing things together slowly, and I’ve found the Family Search website to be incredibly helpful. They’ve got a lot of information that is available, but it’s all compiled in one spot.

I think part of what has spurred this in me is my other resource: my grandpa.  He’s going to be turning 91 this year, so I know he’s not going to be around for too much longer.  But I know he is the best source for piecing together the relations between all these people I see at various functions.  I’ve never been the biggest family person, especially on my dad’s side.  Part of that has to do with the fact that I didn’t grow up near a lot of family, so we saw family maybe once a year, and possibly even less frequently than that.  This was back before things like Skype that make it so easy to actually see family from hundreds of miles away.

My grandpa on my dad’s side is my only remaining grandparent.  My mom’s dad died before I was born, and both of my grandmother’s died before I hit my teens.  I realize now that these historical sources of information are disappearing.  My mom is the youngest of 6.  The 3 brothers have all passed away, and the oldest sister is suffering from memory disease.

So I’ll be trying to piece everything together in my family history, and hopefully find out more about where my family came from and what they went through.  I know that my mom’s side was very poor, and moved frequently looking for work.  I know that my dad’s side were farmers and were interned in camps during World War II.  But my goal is to find out the other stories.  Who immigrated and when?  Why did they come here?  And hopefully in time I’ll find it all.


Women’s NCAA Fresno Regional Championship Awards

In honor of the Women’s NCAA Final Four, I wanted to present my awards from the Fresno Regional Championships I went to last week.  But everyone gives awards to the players, so I’m going with the mascots!  Here are the awards as voted on by me:

Most Swagger – The Duke Blue Devil

This dude is arrogant.  He knows he’s a badass.  And he has a cape.  He has an aura about him that just says “Yeah, I’ve got big fake muscles, you ain’t got nothin’ on me!”
The Duke Blue DevilBest Dancer – Cocky from South Carolina 

This dude is kind of a dirty bird.  He can dance and he’s not afraid to show it off.  Plus he can flap that beak like a mad bird.
South Carolina's CockyMost Entertaining – The Stanford Tree 

The mascot for the Stanford Cardinal is…a tree.  But this is a lighthearted tree, just prancing around the court, putting in some dance moves here and there and skipping off the court.  Definitely not an intimidating mascot, but the tree brings the fun.
The Stanford TreeBest Lightning Bolts – Johnny from St. John’s 

Not much else to say.  He’s got lightning bolts on his head.  Ummm….yeah.
St. Johns Johnny