Scrapbook Saturday: My2k Tour

Some of the My2k Tour which kicked off August for me

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Book Review: I Was Saved By The Bell

savedI Was Saved By The Bell is the autobiography of Peter Engel, the executive producer of Saved By The Bell, among other shows.  The first half of the book is all about his life before Saved By The Bell and how he went to 30 Rock and asked to be a page in person and even though they told him that he had to apply on paper he somehow convinced them to give him the job. He was in film school and wanting to get into TV and that got his foot in the door.  He also worked on the campaign for JFK, (So don’t believe Wikipedia when it says he was born in 1960! That threw me for a loop when I was reading a bit about him before diving into the book!) as well as a producer on many shows and had lots of fun stories to share.  Then he ended up getting involved with drugs and God even visited him at his apartment.  Halfway through we get to the photos and then it’s time for the real reason I was reading, all the info on Saved By The Bell.  At first, Peter wasn’t interested in creating the show but eventually gave in.  He talks a bit about the casting process and how his daughter fell in love with Zack on paper and he knew that he had to cast the right person and how Mark-Paul helped cast Screech and that Peter didn’t realize how young he was at first.  Peter went on to work on several other teen sitcoms that aired on Saturday morning (many of which I remember, but none I watched as often as Saved By The Bell) and then ended up going on to create Last Comic Standing and how he was nominated for an Emmy for it against Donald Trump and The Apprentice and all the other people with the other shows would say – “Anyone but Trump!” – sounds familiar… Amazing Race, one of my fave reality shows, ended up winning.

I really enjoyed this book and it was a fairly quick read.  Some others said that parts of the story moved slowly – and I can see what they mean.  Based on the title I was expecting more of it to be about Saved By The Bell.  Granted, essentially half of the book is, but it is a bit slow to get to it, but we really needed all the back story to see how Peter moved up the ranks and all the stories and lessons he learned along the way.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Peter Engel, one of the most prolific producers in television with more than 1,000 episodes produced under his banner, single handedly created the teen sitcom with Saved By The Bell, which he executive produced through all of its many incarnations, and which led to his many other teen series, including California Dreams, Hang Time, City Guys, and USA High. As if defining and conquering the teen arena wasn’t enough, Peter produced the iconic Last Comic Standing, enabling the discovery of an entirely new, fresh generation of comedians.

All of this would be more of a career than any producer could ever dream of having, and with more than 50 years in the television industry, Peter has forgotten more than most will ever know. But Peter’s story isn’t just his professional success; his life and work touched and inspired an entire “Bell” generation, whose values and views of a diverse world were shaped by the stories and plain old fun of Peter’s shows.

There is also another side of Peter that most don’t know—his personal journey that began in New York City’s Upper West Side; his discovery of television the night his family’s brand new TV lit up the living room; his first taste of creative success; the injustices of the 1950s; working for JFK’s election in 1960, with the catastrophic letdown that followed; his dream in the 1970s of making “important” television; his loves, marriages, family, and faith; and, in the 1990s and 2000s, finding his greatest success where he least expected it. Along the way, Peter encountered some of the most iconic personalities of his times—John Lennon, Orson Welles, Bette Davis, Jacques Cousteau, John DeLorean, and, of course, John F. Kennedy, among them—and great stories always followed.

I Was Saved by the Bell is the chronicle of Peter’s amazing journey. His stories will make you laugh, cry, and want them never to end. Together, they are a master class on life from the perspective of a man who grew up during a time of great uncertainty and came of age in an era of hope and promise. With the ups and downs of the decades as a backdrop, Peter opens his heart and shares the experiences of his own good times, bad times, reflection, redemption, and, ultimately, joy and satisfaction of a life lived the only way he could—with passion.

Book Review: I Love Science

lovescienceI Love Science is a journal for you to use to share you questions and dreams.  The book contains all the conversion tables you’ll ever need, the periodic table, and other useful science charts.  And as someone who has taken a LOT of Science in school and who does love science, I wish something like this was around when I was in school.  Instead I had to memorize the periodic table. (A skill/memory I no longer have)  There are also prompts throughout the book to further learning! A really cute book to make learning fun!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A guided journal for young women and girls based on Rachel Ignotofsky’s
inspiring illustrated book Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who
Changed the World.

Colorful and charmingly illustrated, the Women in Science Journal encourages
young women and girls to ponder the world and the daily ins and outs of their
lives. Opening with a short reference section that contains basic equations, the
periodic table, basic HTML codes, and a measurement converter, the journal then
invites the user to write and dream through writing prompts like, “What is a
challenge you’ve overcome recently?” and inspirational quotes from notable
women who’ve achieved greatness in the science, technology, mathematics, and
engineering (STEM) fields, such as famous primatologist Jane Goodall’s, “Only when
our clever brain and our human heart work together can we reach our full
potential.”

Throwback Thursday: Tony Lucca 5/14/09

Headliner: Tony Lucca
Opener(s): Joey DeGraw
Venue: Fairfield Theater
Cost: $24

Setlist:  NA

Can’t seem to find any photos from this show either, which is odd because I know I got a picture with Tony, at least!

Back To The Island 2017: Activities

Ahh, the Back to the Island activities.  Almost until it was time to leave we weren’t sure what all the activities would be.  We knew that all 3 would be doing Tie Dye in an event appropriately titled, “We’re All Gonna Die” and that Taylor would be DJing the After Party.  For Zac and Isaac all we knew was that they would be hosting “Island Games” but what those games were, were a mystery up until December.

Thursday night Zac hosted Cards Against Humanity.  All of our passes were numbered and Zac called up 5 members on the red team and 5 members of the green team up on stage to participate in 2 rounds of cards.  He said it would go on for as long as we all seemed to still be having fun with it.  Zac with the help of the crowd was the judge and the winning team color would get a pin on hanson.net as their prize.  I wasn’t sure how this was going to work, but it actually was pretty fun and Zac later admitted he removed all the cards from the deck that he didn’t want to read out loud.  A few of my friends made it up on stage too which was fun! Green team won!

Tie Dye was split into two groups with the Red passes going on Thursday and the Green passes going on Friday.  I was a green pass.  When we arrived to the beach for tie dye it started to rain, which certainly made things a little bit difficult and I am sure added some water to the dye as well.  I opted to just tie dye a shirt that I brought with me and not the event t-shirt, so naturally I made what was probably my best shirt yet.  I guess all those years of practice have finally sunk in.  I squeezed out as much excess dye as I could and laid it flat to dry.  Of course a local bird decided that I was getting too much praise for said shirt and didn’t want it to go to my head so he pooped on my shirt and stained it. Fortunately it’s down the bottom of the shirt and not totally noticeable, but how rude! Tie Dye did turn into a selfie circle and we managed to get a photo with Taylor and followed Zac around for way, way too long because we wanted to talk to him about something he had mentioned the night before with no luck.

Friday night Isaac hosted Family Feud.  My pass was called in the first round so I thought I was slick and swapped passes with Maribeth because I really didn’t want to go on stage.  Of course, he called Maribeth’s number for round 2 so I was up there for round 2 and 3 and he even picked me for the head to head for Round 3 which I buzzed in on first AND got the number 1 answer. (Not that it really mattered because Isaac made up his own rules and the other team didn’t get a chance to steal or choose to pass/play)  We won that round mostly in part to Isaac saying that my answer of “shoes” counted as “clothes”.  So I guess even though I “complain” that Isaac didn’t stick to the rules – it kind of worked in my favor.  The game lasted for about 2 hours and we only did 10 rounds – but the green team won again – although there may have been a little bias going on because green is Isaac’s favorite color 😉

Saturday night was the After Party – we didn’t end up showing up until it was almost over, but in the half an hour we were there he played Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” 2x and also said goodbye like 5 times but then kept playing another song.  It seemed to go much, much longer than last year’s party but I think that one got purposely cut short because people kept making their way on to the stage.

I definitely liked the new additions of events, since I sucked at trivia last year! Although bracelet making was fun.

Virtual Race: Molly Weasley Ugly Jumper Run

Race Title: Molly Weasley Ugly Jumper Run
Distance:  5k
Company:  Hogwarts Running Club
Charity:  One Warm Coat

Molly’s Ugly Jumper Run was one that I picked up during the “Time Turner” from Hogwarts Running Club.  I think the medal is really cute (may be my 2nd fave for the year from HRC?) and I’m glad that I was able to pick it up and do my 5K!

Back to the Island 2017

Earlier this month I headed back to Jamaica for the 4th time for my 5th Back to the Island event with Hanson. (1 year was in Cancun, Mexico).  This year it was at the same resort as last year, which I really liked as far as the resort but didn’t really like as far as the food.  That seemed to still be an issue this year but I think what I didn’t eat in “regular” food, I made up for in desserts!

This post will focus on the concerts – of which there were 5. Or 7. Depending on how you count.  Early last year we voted for the themes we wanted for each of the Hanson shows to have and we never found out what won until that night.  I liked the surprise of trying to figure it out before they announced it, but had to show up prepared for it to be a Christmas show and ready to change into my Christmas Hanson shirt at any time.  Fortunately that was the only theme you could really “dress” for, unfortunately it never ended up winning.  So we had 3 full-band Hanson shows, 1 solo show from each Hanson (which I could as 1 Hanson show because Isaac + Taylor + Zac = Hanson, of course) and then 1 show from special guests Andrew Ripp and John Fullbright.

Night 1 – Rock All Night  (Setlist)

This was the kick off show and I was exhausted by the time we got to it. I don’t think I had ever wanted a Hanson show to be over so badly before, which is so out of character for me but I needed to get some sleep! They kicked the show off with the chorus of Back to the Island acapella and welcomed us all back to the Island (although there were a LOT of first timers there based on the screams whenever they asked!)  I liked that this was a rocking set and it really kicked things off.  The setlist had some rarer songs in it as well which I liked and I loved the throwback to Ever Lonely which they had done every night on their first tour in 1998 but much, much, much less more recently.   I was on the right side of the stage for this show (Taylor’s side) as opposed to in the handicapped area on the other side because no one ever brought chairs there!  I couldn’t see Zac unless I squatted down and looked through Taylor’s keyboards and kept saying I just wanted a “small fix” of Zac, so when they finished off the set with Zac coming up front for I Believe in a Thing Called Love I was very happy 🙂  That is, until he told my friend he couldn’t give her drumsticks because he only had 2 pair and then walked off stage only to give the drumsticks to someone else instead.  I’m sure there was a logical explanation, but it rubbed me the wrong way.  (Also pretty impressive was that they did not have any in-ear monitors so they had to turn the speakers in on them and Zac mentioned he couldn’t hear much at all, but they still managed to put on a great show!)

Isaac’s solo show (Setlist)

Last year, Isaac was very late for his solo set and made it a request hour which a lot of people didn’t like. (I liked the idea of it, even though he didn’t play anything I shouted out at him)  This year, Isaac was relatively on time and was very prepared for his set.  He also told us a little bit of the back story with a few of the songs he played, which I always really like hearing. He once again did “A Life Without You” which has only ever been played at the solo shows at BTTI. I also got 4 new songs out of him – Beautiful Eyes – which he explained was about dying during child birth which I never actually realized listening to it before and he had played back in 2000 a few times but not at any of the shows I was at and then he did 3 songs that had never been done before – David Garza’s Too Much as well as Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah (which I do feel is covered WAY too much but I let that slide) mixed in with Amazing Grace.  Could Isaac have won the solo show for the year again?  Yeah, I think he did.  Most of the time Isaac’s set ends up my favorite.

Night 2 – Acoustic (Setlist)

When we sat down and saw that the stage was set up for an acoustic set I had 2 feelings.  The first was “Yay! I should be able to see Zac tonight because he will be up front!” and the 2nd was “Oh crap I think they may play With You In Your Dreams”  My Dad passed away 2 months before and I knew my first time hearing it was going to make me cry.  Throughout the set I kept counting how many songs they did and knew that the show was almost over and THOUGHT we were in the clear – but they stuck it in as the last song.  Good thing it was last because I was such a mess during the song I’m not sure I would have been able to make it through the rest of the set.  Instead I had some time to regroup before Cards Against Humanity with Zac started.  There was nothing too remarkable about this setlist – acoustic was not one of my choices for the sets but I mean, any Hanson show is better than being anywhere else and any Hanson show on the beach is better than any other Hanson show. (Maybe.)

Taylor solo (Setlist)

The 2nd solo show was from Taylor. Taylor always has more songs to choose from than the other two since he sings lead on the most songs.  Before he started his 3rd song he talked about how it had almost been a single from Underneath and then didn’t end up making the album and something about it having “Bubblicious” in the lyrics.  There is one song from the 2003 era that I had NEVER before heard live.  In fact it’s part of the reason I started keeping track of how many times I had heard songs live and perhaps is the reason I now run a site that calculates that for everyone (hansonstage) and this was the song that Taylor was about to play. The song that I posted about on Hanson.net every time there is a “what do you hope they play?” thread.  I honestly do not know what to do with myself now that it has a “1” on my list.  What song do I obsess over now? I feel like that was the ultimate achievement.  Then 5 songs later he did it again – with another song that probably would have been my next obsession – another song from the same era that they had only ever really teased in concert before (and only a couple of times, at that) – Breaktown.  I didn’t even get video from the beginning because it took me so long to process what was really happening in front of me when he started it.  Taylor also did a couple of songs solo that I thought were a little bit weird – You Never Know was weird in a GOOD way with him solo and Get The Girl Back was weird in a.. not so good way with just him doing it solo.  Taylor also did a ridiculous set of 15 songs.  I kind of thought it never was going to end and I think I would have been ok with that.

Special Guests Set

I was very excited for Andrew Ripp to be a guest at this BTTI.  I had seen him previously open for David Cook and chatted with him about Hanson after his set and I knew that he would be a fun time and was a lot of fun on stage and had a great voice.  I didn’t realize how awesome he would be throwing a setlist together on the spot while I laid in a beach chair looking up at the stars with the waves crashing behind me.  It was perfect!  Of course, then I got sick and after 1 of John Fullbright’s songs I ended up having to leave and missed the rest of his set.  He didn’t really grab me with his song and I could hear some of it from the room, at least.  But it seemed like Andrew Ripp won a LOT of people over and I hope he is in consideration to be an opening act on a future Hanson tour because even though he’s just a guy with a guitar he has ENERGY which is what so many of their openers seem to be lacking.

Zac solo set (Setlist)

Zac’s solo set was probably my least favorite set. That’s not to say I didn’t like it, but I did have trouble getting in to it because a lot of the songs were about loss so I was just struggling with keeping it together for his set.  I did like that he told some background stories about the songs and what they were about because a lot of times they are so vague about those things.  He also did Juliet and Do You Believe In Love which are a couple of my favorite Zac leads, but even that couldn’t really redeem things for me.  He also didn’t give me any never before heard songs.  Sad face.  He is getting better and better at being on stage alone, I think though.  There’s definitely been an improvement since his first solo set back in 2014.

Final show – Members Only (Setlist)

The last time they did a members only themed setlist was 2014 and I think that if you ask anyone who was there they will say it was one of their favorite Hanson shows ever, if not THE best.  I am not sure that it will ever be topped, but they did try with the setlist they put together for the final night.  A lot of the Members Only songs have never been played live before, but unfortunately only one such song made it into this setlist (Freak Out) and everything else I had heard.  They did end up doing I believe all from the “Sound of Light” EP which is probably one of my favorites of their members only EPs.  The show started out with no lights on the front of the stage being on – which was strange.  Then they were completely in the dark before the 3rd song so we turned our cell phone lights on them until things were fixed.  That was weird and I wasn’t sure why they had them go onstage if the lights were an issue, but I guess they had to somewhat keep things on time.  Feeling Alive on the beach was amazing – I love that song so much in general but just putting it in the beach setting brought it to a whole other level.  They seemed to be having trouble starting out with Roller Coaster Love and I’m not sure Isaac wanted to play it or remembered how to play it but they worked it out.  They finished the encore out with some album songs (singles) that hadn’t found their way into other sets.  We did see they skipped “Ive Got Soul” from the setlist, but no great loss there.  For the finale they brought up Andrew and John to sing Back to the Island and Andrew even did a rap (the lyrics were on the stage in front of him but either way, totally impressive) and then our 5th year at BTTI was over and only Taylor’s after party was left before we’d all have to head back to the real world.

 

I thought that this year had some really solid setlists and some really good performances.  Things seemed a bit more polished than last year and I am ready to fork over all my money for year 6.

 

 

 

Srapbook Saturday: July

July was another pretty busy month – Nick Jonas & Demi Lovato, Hanson, a Mets game, Parachute and Jim Gaffigan show filled my days.

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Book Review: The Complete X-Files

xfilesI never really watched The X-Files myself, but the rest of my family did so this was a show I did catch episodes of here and there.  It talks a bit about how the show went off the air in 2002 because in a world after 9/11 people didn’t want to believe that the government was hiding secrets from them anymore.  The book goes into the behind the scenes of the show and episodes and there are lots and lots of photos! Each season seems to be represented in the book and as someone who is not a diehard I thought that it was a nice compilation about the series and the material on the new season as well.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Celebrate the return of one of the greatest sci-fi shows of all time with this detailed guide featuring exclusive material from the brand-new season.

Returning after more than a decade off the air, the 10th season of The X-Files promises to be one of the most anticipated television events of 2016. The Complete X-Files, Revised and Updated Edition is the only authorized debriefing on all ten seasons of the cult television series and the X-Files films created by Chris Carter. The book takes readers into Carter’s never-before-seen archives with explanations of unsolved plots, breakdowns of popular episodes, a discussion of the FBI’s paranormal investigations bureau, and other insider information. In addition to exclusive interviews with the cast and crew, The Complete X-Files, Revised and Updated Edition features exclusive material and unpublished photographs from season 10, giving fans a backstage view of the making of this sci-fi phenomenon.

Throwback Thursday: Josh Gracin 5/10/09

Headliner: Josh Gracin
Opener(s): NA
Venue: Wolf’s Den
Cost: $0

Setlist: