Tuesday night I headed to New London with a friend to see The Mighty Tour – Gaelic Storm and The High Kings at the Garde Arts Center. The show was a lot of fun and there were a lot of jokes about Pat and jumping off the balcony because the last time Gaelic Storm played The Kate (the sister venue of The Garde and where I’ll be going tonight for a show!) Pat decided to jump off the balcony and ended up breaking both his legs because there were some stairs he was not anticipating and no one caught him.
Unfortunately I didn’t keep track of the setlist for either band but from looking at past setlists (where is the Irish folk version of me in CT?!) I believe the show opened with both bands on stage singing The Leaving of Liverpool and Whiskey in the Jar. Then The High Kings left the stage to Gaelic Storm. I think they sang Scalliwag, Darcy’s Donkey (which had people jockeying across the front row and also Pat forcing a woman who was there from Finland to join in. Pat also kept saying that Finland won happiest country for the 6th year in a row and I thought that he just made that up but I actually saw the new article about it when I woke up this morning), Johnny Jump Up, The Night Pat Murphy Died… among others. (Either no one cares or someone will end up commenting to correct me lol) There was a lot of up and down during this show – Pat claimed one song was their last standing song so I stood, only for Steve to tell us to keep standing for a second song! And then a few songs later Patrick said he lied and there was another standing song (at that point I was done and stayed seated!)
After a 15 minute intermission, The High Kings took the stage. Some songs I remember that they did was The Moonshiner, an entirely acapella piece called 1845 that they then had the audience sing back and they said we were the best ones yet – true or not I don’t know – but then they made us do it a second time. But they played an hour+ so there’s plenty more songs I am missing but I was not familiar with them at all, but I did really enjoy them.
Then Gaelic Storm came back out for a handful of songs at the end. I actually really like fiddles in music but not when it’s country so apparently it is the fiddle + bagpipe combo I need for Irish folk music. Gaelic Storm is always a fun time so I was glad I went out, even if it was a bit far away and during one of the busiest weeks I have maybe ever constructed for myself (This is show #1 of 5 for this week… we’ll see how well I keep up with making posts…)
This past weekend was the 2nd 90s con, once again held in Hartford, CT! This year I got a full weekend pass and a hotel room at the convention center!
The first day was 4-8. I immediately went to merch because they had a bear I absolutely needed for my collection. I also ended up getting a pin and magnet and impulse buying a pen and slinky. 🤷♀️
My first stop was Joey Fatone’s booth and of course he left as soon as I got in line. But he was back quickly, I managed to snag one of the last Joey/Buzz shirts he had and did a photo/auto combo and was super excited he had on a care bears shirt! (See also last paragraph where I mention my love of collecting bears, care bears included)
Then I hit up Chris Kirkpatrick’s booth and asked him for dinner recommendations for my trip to Nashville next week (stay tuned to see if we end up there!) I also did a photo/auto combo with him and had both him and Joey sign masked singer photos!
By the time I got through Chris’ line, it was just about time for my *NSYNC duo photo op so I headed that way and ended up the first through. Joey said hey and was ready to do a photo and then realized we needed to wait for Chris. Then when Chris came we realized he was in the wrong spot since he has a sling so we repositioned and Joey made them take a 2nd photo. So thank you Joey for the BOGO. (I prefer the 2nd one too!)
I then made my way up to the ballroom for the Steve Burns panel, which I was waffling on because I didn’t have time to see Jeff Timmons, but I am soooo glad I did the panel because it was amazing to hear all the behind the scenes from Steve and how he created a lot of things used on the show (and they initially wanted a more conventionally handsome host but his pilot went over much better with the kids they showed it to in a focus group!)
Then it was time to head back to the hotel and rest up.
I started the day waiting to get into the panel room and ended up doing 3 panels in a row – Hocus Pocus, All That and Full House.
Hocus Pocus was Omri, Vinessa, Thora and Jason. I was hoping Kathy Najimy might have showed up as well, but no such luck. They talked a little bit about how they filmed just for a couple weeks on site in Salem and then everything else was on sets. There was also a lot of discussion about how it was released in July so it never really caught on initially but then like 10 years later it started gaining traction and now it’s bigger than ever, especially since the sequel is out. It was fun to hear all the behind the scenes stories about filming and special effects and magic.
All That was Lori Beth, Danny and Kel. Amanda was supposed to be reuniting with them but unfortunately had to cancel last minute due to illness and it sounds like she’s not in a great place right now so I’m definitely wishing her the best with her mental health so maybe she can come next year! After the three came out and were chatting for a bit, Kel said he had something he wanted to do for us and yelled “HEY YO KENAN!” and Kenan ended up joining them! Lori Beth was absolutely hilarious and their stories about skits and doing the voices of some of the more iconic characters really took me back. Kel also said how he feels bad that he may have gotten kids hooked on Orange Soda and says there’s now orange soda with probiotics and electrolytes and he loooooves that now. Lori Beth was hating on Danny’s mustache and ended up shaving it off mid panel with a razor that she had tucked in her bra! You never know what’s going to happen at 90s con…
Next up was Full House which was Candace, Andrea, Dave and Jodie. I feel like they talked a lot about the same stuff as they did last year. Dave ended up being impressed with the ASL interpreters and kept making fart noises to see what they would end up doing to sign them as so now I know the variations of ASL for fart… Everyone keeps asking me about the interaction between Jodie and Candace – they didn’t sit near each other but they did interact and talk to/with each other during the panel so I can’t confirm or deny if any beef has been squashed or what’s going on there.
After Full House was the costume contest so I left to try and find food. I probably should have stayed because Chris Kirkpatrick ended up being a judge and the concession stand I went to was out of food other than salads and vegan wraps. I ended up getting the wrap as I needed to eat something and got back in line for the Saved By The Bell panel.
For Saved by the Bell it was Mario, Elizabeth and Mark Paul. They also talked a lot about behind the scenes and gave a lot of kudos and credit to Dustin Diamond for being such an amazing actor and not really caring what anyone else thought. They talked a bit about their first kisses, behind the scenes stories and when they all first met, what they’re up to these days, etc. It did seem a bit awkward at times and Mario almost seemed like he didn’t even want to be there but it was nice to see 3 of them as last con I went to it was only Mark Paul on the panel by himself. (Elizabeth had been slated to come but had to cancel.)
Then I was freeeee to roam the floor. I ended up trying to see Jeff Timmons but he wasn’t around, but was able to knock out Sabrina’s Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda, then went for a witchy trifecta with Thora Birch and by the time we did all that, Jeff was back. OF COURSE as we are chatting, MMMBop starts playing and I tried not to react at all. Jeff ended up telling me 98* would be touring in the fall and should be coming to CT in September so that was good to know! (I am kind of hoping the date he said he thought it might be isn’t accurate though as it’s pretty close to 90s Con Tampa which I am debating going to!) After that, Joey’s VIP line had no one in it so I mean, of course I had to go see him again. He ended up saying he loved MY shirt this time and I was glad he got the reference (Chuckie from Rugrats) because no one else seemed to. (And just after we left a line a couple girls came up to me and said “Your shirt, we know we know it, but can’t think of it…” And once I said “Chuckie from Rugrats” they were like “ohhh yeah!”) We ended up leaving a bit early to hit a local restaurant before the mad dash showed up – and we played it juuuust right as the line was nearly out the door when we left!
I opted to not go to the after party and instead hang in the hotel to rest up some more.
My initial plan was to jump in line for Kathy Najimy ASAP and just hang there until I made it through or it was time for the 1pm Boy Bands panel. However, she unfortunately needed to leave early due to a family emergency. So I decided once again to just do panels all morning.
First up was Sabrina The Teenage Witch – with Melissa, Caroline, Beth, Nate and Jenna. It was absolutely hilarious, although the panel host kind of couldn’t keep them under control. They had some absolutely wild behind the scenes stories – even one about a lion (or panther?) that got on the loose and all the different props that didn’t quite work and were trying to kill them. They talked a bit about their favorite guest stars and even some of the mishaps with the guests on set as well. Caroline Rhea is absolutely hilarious and I think Beth was trying to keep her in check but it was not working at all! lol
Next was Clueless. Alicia, Stacey, Elisa and Breckin were in attendance. The ASL interpreter caught Breckin’s eye and he ended up saying “poop” to see what would be signed and then rapped a couple of songs to see if they could keep up with them. The interpreters absolutely could and he ended up getting up and hugging one and saying thank you. He seemed enthralled by watching them the entire panel. They talked a bit about Brittany Murphy and how they missed her and were sad that we can’t see what she would have been up to now and how she’d most likely be killing it because she was a great actress and singer and would have had so many opportunities.
Then it was time for the main event – the boyband panel! Joey and Chris from *NSYNC and Jeff from 98 Degrees. They all were absolutely hilarious, but I figured as much with Chris and Joey there. Poor Jeff kind of got railroaded and kept being told be was the “serious” one. Jeff “I am not!” Chris “Watch this” *Jeff answers the question with a serious answer* I had totally forgotten that Chris has been in a band with both Joey and Jeff too. They talked a bit about when they first were starting out and toured together in the UK which I didn’t know much about and also that 5ive and 98* apparently had some beef.
After the panel we grabbed some food and then wandered around a little bit before it was time for all the *NSYNC photo ops to start. Mine was the last, since I had a trio. I was on the fence about doing a fun pose or not, but when I walked in I told the guys my plan and they all agreed to it so that was fun! It came out perfect! Then we ended up going back to Jeff and he saw my Hanson popsocket and started saying how he really likes Hanson. Well, I guess I *should* have reacted when MMMBop was playing the day before. But this time 5ive was playing and when Chris came back to his table he yelled over to Jeff “They’re playing this just for you!” and Jeff started saying how they were a two hit wonder. We also went to see Caroline Rhea, and she ended up taking a picture of my shirt because she thought it was funny! After that everyone had seemed to start breaking down so we unfortunately missed out on The Golden Gays and a few of the other photo ops that were set up.
Then I got stuck trying to leave the parking garage – I had paid in the hotel but the machine ate the receipt. He ended up making sure I go the receipt texted to me and it was a good thing he did because they were trying to get me to pay another $45. Once I showed the receipt they got a manager involved and all was good, but I was there for a good 5 minutes lol
Overall it was an exciting and exhausting weekend and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!
Solving The Price Is Right caught my eye, but I guess I should have read and comprehended the subtitle of it a little better before I dove in to read it. “How Mathematics Can Improve Your Decisions on and off the Set of America’s Celebrated Game Show.” I’m a software engineer – I’ve dealt with a LOOOOOT of Math in my life. I don’t really need to be seeing graphs and percentages when I’m trying to read a book about a game show. So unfortunately this book became my first DNF of the year.
However. If you’re looking for statistics and an in depth analysis of The Price is Right and how to make your wagers should you ever find yourself on the show – and you’re ready, sooo soo ready for tons and tons of math – GO FOR IT and read this book. It just wasn’t the right match for me but I am sure there are more statistically minded people out there who would absolutely love this one.
I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
The Price is Right is television’s longest-running game show. Since its inception in 1956, contestants have won cars, tropical vacations, diamond jewelry, even a live horse, and the hosts’ excited catchphrase “come on down!” has become part of our everyday vernacular. Part of the program’s enduring appeal is the apparent ease of the game, guessing the cash value of certain prizes. But, if that’s the case, then why do so many contestants come away from the show empty-handed?
Solving The Price is Right is an in-depth exploration of the underlying probability theory of the popular television program that explores how biases and behavioral pitfalls limit our ability to successfully apply logic and math both on and off the show. With rigorous data and analysis compiled from Seasons 47 and 48 (356 total episodes), investor and math practitioner Justin L. Bergner draws strategic and mathematical insights from all facets of the show, from Contestant’s Row bidding to the Showcase Showdown, and all 77 Pricing Games, using a combination of game theory, probability theory, statistics, and pattern recognition. In each section, Bergner summarizes contestant performance, highlights the biases leading to sub-par outcomes, and shows how outcomes can be improved by executing the right strategies while avoiding cognitive biases.
Throughout, Bergner applies the lessons learned to the fields of business, finance, and our real lives, shedding light on themes of reverse psychology, strategic patience, and the importance of establishing what is sufficient for success in our pursuits. The result is a truly unique and meticulously researched book that uses Solving The Price is Right as a lens to examine our own choices – and how to make better ones.
Justin L. Bergner graduated cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics with a specific focus on Game Theory and Probability Theory. Since receiving an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he has served as an Equity Investment Analyst and Portfolio Manager. He maintains the popular mathematics blog www.popculturemath.com.
“It’s been a long night in New York City… it’s been a long night in Newark too…”
Saturday night John Mayer kicked off his SOLO tour at The Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. I am not sure I realized I was going to the kick off show when I first bought tickets, but even once I did realize it was going to be the opening night I still didn’t realize just how special it would be.
I had never been to the Prudential Center before. I ended up buying an accessible ticket and parking in the garage that had a bridge to the center (for a whopping $51). I was pleasantly surprised that once I got inside I was almost at my section! I couldn’t have planned that better if I had tried.
JP Saxe opened the show, I didn’t think I knew anything about him, but then he sang “If the World Was Ending” and I did know that song. He seemed to like the F-word but otherwise was a nice 30 minute or so set.
As soon as the lights dimmed for John, pretty much everyone was up on their feet. When he kicked off the show with Slow Dancing in a Burning Room I knew this setlist was going to be pretty bananas, and that it absolutely was. There were a handful of songs I hoped/thought he would play and I think he hit almost all of them. I’ll be curious to see how the setlists changes (or not) as the tour progresses. He had also said that the setlist was just a suggestion and at any time a sign could knock him into a different song entirely. It seemed like he only ended up adding one song from the printed setlist – Split Screen Sadness. All I Wans Is To Be With You was on the setlist but was skipped.
“There’s no tour in my entire life I thought about more than this one. There’s not been more times in my life that I have been on this stage in my mind than this one. I have been here before a thousand times. Half of those times it was a BUST. But I forgot about the fact that you’d be here in your own loving and incredibly enthusiastic way and now I realize that everything’s ok” he said after finishing Queen of California and it seemed to take him a few songs to shake off those first show doing something completely new nerves. He also mentioned he had talked to his pal Andy Cohen that morning, as he does every morning, and Andy assured him that we knew what we were getting into when we bought the tickets – that it would be him SOLO and that’s what we were expecting.
My favorite part had to be when he played a video of him from 2002 before Room For Squares was taking off and then did Neon and Why Georgia. He also talked a bit about how he’s not really nostalgic for his songs/work that he’s done (and acknowledged that we are) and that he may not feel the same way as he did when he wrote some of the songs, but the songs are a reminder that at one point he did feel that way. After he did the ‘deep cut’ Home Life, I’m not sure if he thought it went over very well, because he teased a bit of “On Broadway” and said it was a trick to make people who didn’t dig it forget all about it and defer the applause… He also started Wonderland – to massive cheers – and then asked if the song was stupid. But said he was going to sing it sincerely. Has he not been all these years?!
He played the piano for a few songs – a bit of New Light, You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me and Changing. At the end of Changing he ended up looping the piano and playing the electric guitar over it and it was pretty amazing. He said it was some of the craziest shit he’s done. He also said he had made a rule that he wouldn’t loop the guitar this tour – but he didn’t say he couldn’t loop the piano. He also said he was allowed to break the rule – which he did end up breaking before the show was over.
There was a new song Driftin’ – in the set. Online chatter seems to be that everyone loves it but I wasn’t that into it. Of course, maybe hearing it a few more times will change my mind as I’m always a little iffy about new songs the first time I hear them. He also talked a bit about Why You No Love Me and how he wasn’t going to play that because he didn’t think it worked and wouldn’t it be funny if he DID play it. But he’s not playing it.
When he left at the end of the main set I was hoping he’d do an encore. The entire place went NUTS. I’ve never been one to get goosebumps, but I absolutely had them. I hope John felt it too because he seemed very unsure how him solo was going to go over. And it went over amazingly well. I’m so glad I’m getting to see another show on this tour in a couple of weeks.
I do kind of wish that the venues were a bit more intimate for this type of show – but the ticket sales and demand seemed to be so crazy he probably did need the larger venues. I also feel like I cheated listening back to the recording to write this… but if it’s out there might as well use all the resources I can, right?
I absolutely love learning more about Katherine Johnson, so I was super excited to pick up the new Young Katherine Johnson book. This tells some stories about her growing up in the form of comic strips. A lot of funny ones but some series ones too about the racism she and her family had to deal with. I thought this was a fun approach to teach some good lessons and some history as well, both of which very important, in a way that kids would enjoy. It also has some interactive math related questions throughout with answers at the end of the book so you can see if you figured it out correctly.
I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
A close and playful glimpse at the childhood of one of the world’s greatest geniuses and cultural icons, Katherine Johnson who was the subject of the hit film Hidden Figures!
Katherine Johnson grew up to be the first Black woman to work at NASA, figuring out the path for spacecrafts to go around the Earth and land on the Moon! But before she set her sights on outer space, she was busy making the Earth’s surface her laboratory!
Equipped with a mind for math, nothing gets past Katherine: how did Noah manage to put 48,000 animals on his ark, not to mention all that feed?!
Accompanied by her brother Charlie and her chicken Lucinda, Katherine makes the world her playground and sometimes dreams of a Moon that could answer her questions… or even, growing up in the early 1900s, a more equal society where black people and white people could have the same rights…
Clay Play! Whimsical Gardens shows you how to create over 30 magical miniatures! I’ve always wanted to start doing crafting with clay, but haven’t made the jump yet. The little mushroom homes in this book are so adorable though, one of these days I need to take the leap. The book starts out with various supplies you might need and some details on how to make certain shapes with the clay as well as how to store your clay when you’re not working with it. Then it dives right into the homes, which are made using jars! How clever! My favorite was the ladybug cottage that is also featured on the cover of the book. No whimsical garden would be complete without fairies, elves or gnomes! The accessories were all adorable too. Certainly a lot of adorable ideas to consider!
I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review from Net Galley. I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
Full-color illustrations and easy-to-follow directions explain how to transform simple balls and coils of polymer clay into more than 30 enchanting keepsakes that include fairies, gnomes, and elves with their adorable cottages and hideaways; popular garden ornaments such as a mini wishing well, birdbath, and welcome sign; and a variety of cute little plants and animals. The detailed, step-by-step instructions feature numerals corresponding to color photos that provide helpful examples. Crafters of all ages will adore these fun-filled projects, which make charming decorations and unique gifts.
The Lonely Girls in the 4th book in the Lucy Kendall Crime Thriller Series. You’ll need to read the other 3 before this one as it is not a standalone. I absolutely devoured books 1-3 over the weekend and then had a hard time getting back in the zone to get into this one. But once I did… oooh the twists and turns! One thing that ended up happening I did have a thought in the back of my mind that it may end up happening, sort of. It kind of went above and beyond anything my own imagination could come up with. But a young girl that Lucy helped when she worked for CPS goes missing and the crime scene is absolutely staged to look like the death of Lucy’s sister and Lucy is absolutely being targeted by someone. When her best friend goes missing next, she’ll do anything it takes to find her… and then things just start getting wilder and wilder! Definitely a great ending to this series – it ends with closure! Looking forward to reading some more books by Stacy Green in the future.
I received a free e-copy of this book from Net Galley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.
About the Book
The room spun and my legs gave way as I looked at my name scrawled in blood-colored lipstick on the mirror above the girl’s broken body. Was this young girl dead because of me?
When the body of a vulnerable teenage girl is found on a remote farm in the Maryland hills, Private Investigator Lucy Kendall knows her past has come back to haunt her. Lucy’s sister died when she was a young girl, and the dead teenager looks exactly like her—her dark hair dyed blonde, her wrists slashed.
Lucy’s name is scrawled on the bathroom mirror above the girl’s body, and the dead girl is clutching a silver coin in her small, fragile hand, identical to the one which has just been mailed to Lucy. Lucy is shaken to her very core, determined to find out why a cruel murderer wants her to feel responsible for this girl’s death.
Lucy vows to track down this twisted killer who seems to know so much about her family’s tragic past. But when her closest friend Kelly is abducted and Lucy receives a phone call saying she has forty-eight hours to find her, she knows the evil perpetrator won’t stop until she comes face to face with him. As the clock ticks and Lucy frantically tries to track him down, she is sent messages showing her friend growing weaker and weaker. Lucy cannot let another innocent life be taken. But can she find Kelly in time? And what will her abductor want in return?
Gripping and spine-chilling, The Lonely Girls will keep you up all night, unable to put it down until the final heart-pounding twist. Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner and Robert Dugoni.
***Previously published as All Fall Down.***