Monday, December 31, 2012

Look at What Book I Got Early: 'Elimination Night' by Anonymous

About a week and a half ago, I wrote on BuddyTV about a new book coming out, Elimination Night, written by someone who's familiar with how American Idol is run behind-the-scenes. This book (out January 8), while a work of fiction, is most obviously based on Idol season 10, with characters based on Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson, Nigel Lythgoe, etc. Last week, I received a copy of the book from the publisher to review, and I started reading it the other day, on Friday.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I Recommend: 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' Film & 'Catfish: The TV Show'

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations:

Movie:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (in theaters)


(Image courtesy of Warner Bros.)

The Hobbit is a book that I grew up with. I'm sure I have read it more than once as a child. But looking back, I realize that it's been over 10 years since I last read it, since some time in middle school. When The Lord of the Rings movies were released in theaters, my 92-year-old great-aunt and I went to each one together. (She and I share a love of reading, and always talk about such stories as Harry Potter, Hobbit/LOTR and more.) We've been anticipating the release of the start of the middle-earth stories, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And as is tradition with us, we went to see it recently, in 3D/24 FPS.

Monday, December 24, 2012

'I Recommend: 'A Game of Thrones' Book & 'Ruby Sparks' Film

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations:

Book:
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) by George R.R. Martin


(Image courtesy of Bantam Spectra)

I first heard about this series around the time that season 1 of the TV show adaptation was on the air. Everyone was talking about HBO's Game of Thrones. And I noticed all the awards and accolades it received. And what piqued my interest was that people were comparing it to Lord of the Rings, and that author George R.R. Martin is the American J.R.R. Tolkien. But I guess I never took my interest any further than that--until earlier this year when season 2 marketing and promotions were in high gear. Then I broke down and read some of the information on the Song of Ice and Fire wiki page and Martin's wiki page so I could get a better sense of what this series was all about.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Recommend: 'Chely Wright: Wish Me Away' Film & 'The Casual Vacancy' Book

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations:

Movie:
Chely Wright: Wish Me Away (on DVD)

(Image courtesy of Beverly Kopf & Bobbie Birleffi)

I'll be honest here: I had no idea who Chely Wright was before I found out about her documentary, Chely Wright: Wish Me Away. But I am so glad that I do know about her now and her personal story. She is the first country music artist to come out as gay. And she was pretty much shunned by the people in her own genre for it, the people that wholeheartedly embraced her before. And that is something that needs to change. Yes, we're making great progress in this country when it comes to equality and acceptance, but there are still people and groups who are still stuck in the middle ages. And it's sad to think about that.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I Recommend [TV Edition]: 'Commander in Chief,' 'Revolution' & 'American Horror Story'

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations:

TV Shows:
Commander in Chief (on Hulu)



(Image courtesy of ABC)

Commander in Chief is an ABC political drama that aired during the 2005-2006 TV season. It chronicles Mackenzie Allen as she becomes the first female President of the United States. But she doesn't get there through an election. Rather, she's first the Vice President, then the President has an unexpected death. The Constitution states that she's now the President.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I Recommend: 'Land of Stories' Book & 'Katy Perry: Part of Me' Film

(Image courtesy of Jeff Dodge)
Jeff Dodge's Recommendations:

Book:
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

Before I talk specifically about the story, I'll preface this by quickly recapping how I ended up reading this book. As I mentioned here back at the end of August, I had entered a contest from Hypable to win a signed ARC of Glee star Chris Colfer's debut novel--and I won (and as you can see from the above photo, the prize also included a Land of Stories tote bag). I finished reading it recently...and so now you're caught up!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Recommend: '8' (Prop 8 Play) & 'Recount' Film


(Image courtesy of American Foundation for Equal Rights)
Jeff Dodge's Recommendations:

Play:
8


When this one-night only play based on the whole ordeal surrounding California's Prop 8 in 2008 was released on YouTube earlier this year, I couldn't wait to watch it. Unfortunately, time slipped away from me and I ended up not getting to it until not that long ago, in the latter half of the summer. But even though it took a while, I am still glad I saw it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Emmys 2012: My Predictions vs. Winners

(Image courtesy of ABC)
Last night, ABC aired the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards. Anyway...so how about that weather?

No? You don't want me to make a distraction? Okay ... well, out of the 24 major categories, I only got eight correct in my predictions this time around -- that's only 33%, people. And I thought last year was bad, where it was 46%. Am I getting worse every year or what? I seem to do better at the Golden Globes and at the Oscars, so I guess better luck next time for me?

I better just get it out of the way ... below are the list of winners compared to my predictions:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jeff Dodge's 2012 Emmy Predictions

(Image courtesy of ABC)
The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards are coming up tonight (Sunday, September 23) at 8pm ET/5pm PT on ABC, hosted by late night host Jimmy Kimmel. And with all of these award shows, I usually post my predictions over at the TV Watch Online BLOG. But from now on, I will be posting them here on my personal blog (in order for me to streamline the process a bit). Go ahead and check out my predictions below:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Won 'The Land of Stories' Book (ARC), Autographed by Chris Colfer

Last month, I entered a contest on Hypable to win an autographed ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, by Chris Colfer, who plays Kurt Hummel on Glee. And I ended up winning! This signed ARC was delivered to my house the other day, and it also came with a Land of Stories tote bag.

Check out a photo of the book and bag below:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I Recommend: 'Harry Potter Page to Screen' Book & 'The Amazing Spider-Man' Film

(Image courtesy of Harper Design)
Jeff Dodge's Recommendations:

Book:
Harry Potter: Page to Screen by Bob McCabe


Put simply, if you are a Harry Potter fan, you NEED this book. Harry Potter: Page to Screen -- The Complete Filmmaking Journey by Bob McCabe is a 540 page tomb showcasing every little detail that went into creating and filming the Harry Potter movie series. Part 1 has separate chapters for each movie and how each one was made, and Part 2 goes through the art of HP, such as the costumes, set design, digital effects and prop making. And the introduction and first chapter talks in-depth about how Warner Bros. and the whole team got into making this series in the first place, from acquiring the rights, hiring a director and screenwriter, creating the look and casting the characters.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I Recommend: 'Political Animals' Miniseries & 'Opening Act' TV Show

(Image courtesy of USA)

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations:

TV Miniseries:
Political Animals (Sundays, 10-11pm, USA)


However many weeks or months ago I first heard that this show was being created, I was a little intrigued, but nothing much more. I say that because at the time, all we knew was a general idea of what the show was going to be about. And since I'm a political news junkie, I decided to include this show in my TV Schedule doc of upcoming shows.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I Recommend: 'The Artist' Film & 'The Enchantress' Book

(Image courtesy of Warner Bros. France)
Jeff Dodge's Recommendations:

Movie:
The Artist

Monday, June 25, 2012

I Recommend: 'Life in a Day' (YouTube Film)

(Image courtesy of YouTube)
I'm back, people! I just looked it up and saw that it has been two months since I last posted on here. And I deeply apologize. May and June have been extremely busy for me: May for work reasons, and June for personal reasons (vacation), and then the procrastination afterwards. But I know I need to get back into it, and what better way than with a recommendation, which has been a signature piece here.

So let's get right into it. Here is what I Recommend:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I Recommend: 'Game Change' Book, 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' (US)

(Image courtesy of HarperCollins)
My last Recommendations of the Week were a few weeks ago. And I apologize for the long wait. I didn't realize it had been that long, and I can't believe how busy I got. Fortunately, I'm back this weekend for another go-round.

But I'm changing it up just a little bit. Ever since I started this recommendations segment back when this blog launched in January, it has always been called Recommendations of the Week. And the reason why it was called that was because it did start out as a weekly segment. But I don't always have something to recommend every single week, so the title doesn't necessarily fit anymore. During the next couple weeks or so, I may test out some different variations of the same name (as well as a few formatting changes). It may be "I Recommend" or possible "My Recommendations." I'll let you know when one sticks for good.

So let's get right into it. Here is what I Recommend this time around:

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations:

Books:
Game Change by John Heilemann & Mark Halperin

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Recommendations of the Week: The Adventures of Tintin, Hugo, Titanic 3D

(Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures)
It's time for another of my Recommendations of the Week. These recommendations can be something that happened in the past week that I read, wrote, watched, participated in, etc., or something coming up in the following week. Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below.

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations of the Week [4/1-4/7]:

Movies:
The Adventures of Tintin (on DVD)
Hugo (on DVD)
Titanic 3D (in theaters Wed., April 4)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Recommendation of the Week: The Hunger Games (Read My Review Here)

(Image courtesy of Lionsgate)
It's time for another of my Recommendations of the Week. These recommendations can be something that happened in the past week that I read, wrote, watched, participated in, etc., or something coming up in the following week. Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below.

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations of the Week [3/25-3/31]:

Movies:
The Hunger Game (in theaters now)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Quote of the Week: Albert Einstein

This week's Quote of the Week comes courtesy of Albert Einstein. Usually, my quotes have been connected to either writing or some holiday or event happening during that particular week. This week, however, I want to share a quote that I'm sure has a lot of meaning to all of us.

Here is this week's Quote of the Week:

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
--Albert Einstein

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recommendations of the Week: The Ides of March, Demi Lovato: Stay Strong

(Image courtesy of Columbia Pictures)
It's time for another of my Recommendations of the Week. These recommendations can be something that happened in the past week that I read, watched, participated in, etc., or something coming up in the following week. Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below.

You may have noticed that I took last week off. There were no Recommendations of the Week, Quotes, Videos/Photos or anything of the sort. In terms of the recommendations, I didn't feel there was enough substance for me to provide one. But I'm back this week full-on with some great recommendations. So here they are...

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations of the Week [3/11-3/27]:

Movie:
The Ides of March (available on DVD)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Video of the Week: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

I'll admit, this week's Video of the Week is probably my favorite video I've shared on this blog. This past Sunday at the Oscars, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film (I'm pleased to say that I correctly predicted this short to win).

And now that it's won, they have posted the full length short film on YouTube. I watched it yesterday and fell in love instantly. If you're a book lover like I am, you'll also love it. It follows our main character who seems to be a book lover as well. There's a big storm and we get a sort of Wizard of Oz feel to it for the first little bit. After that, it takes on a life of its own as he walks into a bookstore and the entire short is all about books. The concept is unique and brilliant. The animation, just as strong. I won't give everything away here, because I want you to experience it full for yourself.

Here is this week's Video of the Week:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quote of the Week: Gary Henderson on Putting Off Writing

(Image courtesy of WritersBreak.com)
Since I am in the early stages of writing a book, I have some quotes lined up that fit in well with where I am at in this process. Today's is particularly fitting, and I'll explain why. Here is this week's Quote of the Week:

"Never put off writing until you are better at it."
--Gary Henderson

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Recommendations of the Week [2/26-3/3]: Oscars (& Buy Hunger Games Tickets)

(Image courtesy of TheUrbanDaily)
It's time for another of my Recommendations of the Week. These recommendations can be something that happened in the past week that I read, watched, participated in, etc., or something coming up in the following week. Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below.

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations of the Week [2/26-3/3]:

TV Shows:
Academy Awards (8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT, ABC)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jeff Dodge's 2012 Oscar Predictions

(Image courtesy of TheUrbanDaily)
Whenever the Emmys, Golden Globes and Oscars come around, I always make my predictions for who will win over at TV Watch Online. With the 2012 Academy Awards coming up Sunday night (8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT, ABC), I have now posted my predictions online. Click HERE or the link below to check them all out.


Who do you think should win? Does it conflict with who you believe will actually win? Share your own predictions in the comments below.

Friday, February 24, 2012

American Idol 11 Week 6: The Best from Final Judgment Parts 1 & 2

(Image courtesy of FOX)
Until I start recapping/reviewing American Idol when the live shows begin, I will be providing who I think are the best and my favorites from the auditions, Hollywood Week, Vegas/Performance Challenge and Final Judgment.

American Idol 11: Final Judgment - Part 1
Air Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 [8-10pm]

*Joshua Ledet
  *During his Final Judgment performance, I kept thinking that he's like the male Fantasia; his voice is very reminiscent of hers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Video of the Week: Crazy Chair Illusion

A couple weeks ago, I shared a really cool YouTube video, "The Joy of Books," where the owners of a bookstore did stop-motion video of all the various books in the store moving around. This week, I've got another YouTube video, called "Crazy Chair Illusion!"

Here is this week's Video of the Week:


(Source: BrussPup)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quotes of the Week: President's Day, Washington's Birthday

(Image courtesy of the White House)
In honor of yesterday being President's Day and tomorrow being George Washington's birthday, I thought I would post some quotes by a few Presidents, including Washington. Here are this week's Quotes of the Week:

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
--George Washington

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Recommendations of the Week [2/19-2/25]: Celeb Apprentice (& Buy Your Hunger Games Tickets)

(Image courtesy of NBC)
It's time for another of my Recommendations of the Week. These recommendations can be something that happened in the past week that I read, watched, participated in, etc., or something coming up in the following week. Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below.

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations of the Week [2/19-2/25]:

TV Shows:
The Celebrity Apprentice Premiere (Sunday, 9-11pm, NBC)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

American Idol 11 Week 5: The Best from Hollywood Week Part 3 & Vegas

(Image courtesy of FOX)
Until I start recapping/reviewing American Idol when the live shows begin, I will be providing who I think are the best and my favorites from the auditions.

American Idol 11: Hollywood Week - Part 3
Air Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 [8-10pm]

Hour 1: Group Performances

Reed Grimm, Creighton Fraker, Jen Hirsh - "Hold On, I'm Coming"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Photos of the Week: Katharine McPhee (from Idol to Smash)

NBC's new musical drama, Smash, premiered last week to great ratings, and the second episode aired this past Monday. If you've been following my Recommendations of the Week, you'll know that I've been speaking very highly of this show, which stars Katharine McPhee, who we originally were introduced to on season 5 of American Idol.

In honor of her show premiering recently, I thought I would share a couple photos I took when I saw her in concert. American Idol has been on for 10 seasons now (currently in its 11th), and every year the finalists embark on a nation-wide tour each summer. And I have been to every single one of them. If you haven't been to one yet, I highly recommend it. It's very family-friendly, like the show is, and provides great music.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Quotes of the Week: Abraham Lincoln (In Honor of His Birthday)

(Image courtesy of Britannica)
In honor of Abraham Lincoln's birthday (which occurred two days ago), I thought I would post some quotes by the man himself. I knew I wouldn't be able to pick just one, so here are just four of many, in this week's Quotes of the Week:

Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Recommendations of the Week [2/12-2/18]: Grammys, Survivor Premiere & More

(Image courtesy of Ya'akov)
It's time for another of my Recommendations of the Week. These recommendations can be something that happened in the past week that I read, watched, participated in, etc., or something coming up in the following week. Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below.

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations of the Week [2/12-2/18]:

TV Shows:
Grammy Awards (Sunday, 8-11:30pm, CBS)
MTV First: Taylor Swift (Monday, 7:54pm ET, MTV)
Survivor: One World Premiere (Wednesday, 8-9pm, CBS)
Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice crossover (Thursday, 9-11pm, ABC)

First up, I'm recommending the Grammy Awards! And there are many artists that I can't wait to see perform tonight. There's Kelly Clarkson. And don't forget Carrie Underwood. Plus, the one person everyone is dying to see make her long-awaited return is the one and only Adele! She hasn't been able to sing in a long time, since she's been having vocal problems and had to have surgery.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

American Idol 11 Week 4: The Best from Hollywood Week Parts 1 & 2

(Image courtesy of FOX)
Until I start recapping/reviewing American Idol when the live shows begin, I will be providing who I think are the best and my favorites from the auditions.

American Idol 11: Hollywood Week - Part 1
Air Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 [8-9pm]

309 are left in the competition.

*Johnny Keyser

Elise Testone
  Husky voice

Baylie Brown

Hallie Day - "Natural Woman"

*Jessica Phillips
  R&B voice, which I really love.


American Idol 11: Hollywood Week - Part 2
Air Date: Thursday, February 9, 2012 [8-9pm]

185 contestants are left in the competition.

(There were no performances showcased in this episode, just drama and preparing for the group round).

My latest Recommendations of the Week will be online on Sunday, February 12.

Follow me on Twitter @TheJeffDodge. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, either tweet me, e-mail me or leave a comment below.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Quotes of the Week: Black History Month

(Image courtesy of MassVacation.com)
I love coming across fantastic, inspiring, moving, funny and other quotes that stand out to me. So I thought I'd share various quotes in the weeks to come that I've come across. My idea is to share at least one a week here on this blog.

In honor of this being Black History Month, I thought I would post some related quotes. And I had a hard time choosing just one, so here are this week's six Quotes of the Week:

For Africa to me...is more than a glamorous fact. It is a historical truth. No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.
--Maya Angelou

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Recommendations of the Week: Super Bowl (But Not For the Game)

(Image courtesy of BrokenSphere)
It's time for another of my Recommendations of the Week. These recommendations can be something that happened in the past week that I read, watched, participated in, etc., or something coming up in the following week. Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below.

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations of the Week [2/5-2/11]:

TV Shows:
Super Bowl (Sunday, NBC)
Smash Premiere (Monday, 10-11pm, NBC)

Unless you're from some indigenous tribe, you know that the Super Bowl is today! Giants vs. Patriots! And you know what? I could care less. I mean, really. I've never really understood the fascination with it. But since this game is the most hyped game of the year every year, I do pay attention somewhat. But I don't really watch the game itself. I watch the start when they do the National Anthem and the kick-off. Then I'm done. I come back for the half-time show, and I'm gone again. Then I come back towards the end to see who wins. And when it comes to the commercials, I usually watch them online.

Friday, February 3, 2012

American Idol 11 Week 3: The Best from Portland/St. Louis Auditions

(Image courtesy of FOX)
Until I start recapping/reviewing American Idol when the live shows come around, I will be providing who I think are the best from the auditions.

American Idol 11: Portland Auditions
Air Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 [8-9pm]

Audition City: Portland, OR

Jermaine Jones - "Superstar"
  He does great on the low notes, and his voice reminds me of Ruben Studdard.

Britney Kellogg - "You're No Good"
  Her husband held her back from chasing her dreams, and he cheated on her; she has two boys. She's from Vancouver, WA, the state I live in.

Naomi Gilles - "Crying"
  She's a little shouty in the louder and higher notes, but overall it was good.

Jessica Phillips
  Her boyfriend had a stroke. Her voice is strongly R&B.

45 went through to Hollywood.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Video of the Week [2/1/12]: The Joy of Books

This week's Photo/Video of the week will actually be a video. The past couple weeks, I've been focusing on photos that I've taken. But I came across another YouTube video recently that I just have to share. Since I'm a writer and a book lover, I loved this video, and I'm sure you will too.

Here is this week's Video of the Week:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Quote of the Week [1/31/12]: Walt Disney

(Image courtesy of NASA)
I love coming across fantastic, inspiring, moving, funny and other quotes that stand out to me. So I thought I'd share various quotes in the weeks to come that I've come across. My idea is to share one a week here on this blog.

Here is this week's Quote of the Week:

All your dreams can come true, if you have the courage to pursue them.
--Walt Disney

I love this quote. And it's very reflective of what the one and only Walt Disney has been able to accomplish himself. The thing is, I've been in the thick of it during a difficult time when I was trying to make my own dream come true of becoming a teacher. I hit some roadblocks, and I ended up changing majors in college. I spent almost my whole life trying to pursue this dream.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Recommendations of the Week [1/29/12]: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Glee & More

(Image courtesy of Yellow Bird)
It's time for another of my Recommendations of the Week. These recommendations can be something that happened in the past week that I read, watched, participated in, etc., or something coming up in the following week. Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below.

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations of the Week [January 29]:

Movies:
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Foreign Film-Sweden)

A couple of weeks ago, I recommended The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the original, Swedish version. They captured that book extremely well, and I had a blast watching it. And it was only the second ever movie I've seen where I've had to read the English subtitles throughout (the first for me was The Passion of the Christ).

Saturday, January 28, 2012

American Idol 11 Week 2: The Best from San Diego / Aspen / Galveston Auditions

(Image courtesy of FOX)
As I mentioned last week, I will not be extensively covering American Idol until the live shows begin. But I won't be silent in the meantime. Each week, I will provide a list on this blog of my favorites from each audition city.

American Idol 11: San Diego Auditions
Air Date: Sunday, January 22, 2012 [10-11pm ET/7-8pm PT]

Audition City: San Diego, CA (aboard aircraft carrier USS Midway)

*Ashley Robles - "I Will Always Love You"
  She has a 5-year-old daughter, and is a DJ at night.

53 went through to Hollywood.


American Idol 11: Aspen Auditions
Air Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 [8-9pm]

Audition City: Aspen, CO

No one stood out in this episode.

31 went through to Hollywood.


American Idol 11: Galveston Auditions
Air Date: Thursday, January 26, 2012 [8-9pm]

Audition City: Galveston, TX

Skylar Laine
  Country voice

Baylie Brown
  She auditioned back in season 6.

Kristine Osorio
  She is in the middle of divorcing; now a single mother.

54 went through to Hollywood.

Tomorrow (Sunday, January 29), my latest Recommendations of the Week will be online.

Follow me on Twitter @TheJeffDodge. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, either tweet me, e-mail me or leave a comment below.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Photo of the Week [1/25/12]: A Snowman Among Snow

As you could see from last week's photos, these photos and videos I feature might not always be ones I found online; they may also be ones I have taken myself. This week's Photo of the Week is a snowman a few of us built recently. Last week, the Pacific Northwest was pounded by a major snowstorm; I live in the area and we were definitely hit hard.

While out in the snow, I decided to build a snowman, and others helped me finish it. I didn't know that snowmen could grow hair, did you? You can't tell in the photo, but the hat he's wearing says Alaska on it, so I guess our snowman traveled all the way from Alaska, where I'm sure the temperature suited him.

(Image courtesy of Jeff Dodge)
The other night, it rained while we all were asleep and much of the snow melted. Yesterday, I looked out the window again and there's no snow left in that area; only sticks, rocks and a carrot remain. With the rising temperatures as well as the rain, our beloved snowman passed away.

If there's a fantastic photo or video you've taken or seen recently, sent it to me via Twitter or e-mail, and I might share it on this blog.

Follow me on Twitter @TheJeffDodge; I tweet various thoughts and opinions there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quote of the Week [1/24/12]: Lady Gaga

(Image courtesy of talktomegaga)
This week's Quote of the Week was submitted by @FunkyMrG on Twitter. By the way, he runs the great entertainment website, The BizzNiz. I recommend you check it out.

"Don't tell me the Sky is the limit when there are footprints on the Moon."
--Lady Gaga


Here is what @FunkyMrG said about this quote: "It allows people to believe that just when they think they can't go further, they see something else in the distance to strive for! Keep going, work for what you believe in, fight to make the dreams you have a reality and have the faith in your ability to do it!"

This above quote has been said in different variations by others before, but it's great to hear Lady Gaga say it, don't you think?

What do you think of this quote? What does it mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

You might have heard that the Northwest was pounded by a snowstorm last week. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so tomorrow's Photo of the Week will feature a photo I took of a snowman a few of us built. As a tease - I didn't know snowmen could grow hair.

If there's a great quote, photo or video you've come across, send it to me via Twitter, e-mail or in the comments below, and I might share it on this blog.

Follow me on Twitter @TheJeffDodge. I tweet various thoughts and opinions there. Anything I post on this blog will be tweeted there as well (so that's the best way to find out when the blog's updated).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recommendations of the Week [1/22/12]: Smash, Alcatraz & More

(Image courtesy of NBC)
Wow! This week went by fast, at least to me. Did it for you? And based on traffic to the blog, you enjoyed reading the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote and the Alcatraz prison photos that I took 10 years ago.

It's Sunday, so it's time for another of my Recommendations of the Week. These recommendations could be something that happened in the past week that I read, watched, participated in, etc., or something coming up in the following week. Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below.

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations of the Week [January 22]:

TV Shows:
Smash (Pilot Available on iTunes & On Demand Now; Premieres February 6, 10-11pm, NBC)
Alcatraz (Mondays, 9-10pm, FOX)

Starting this past Monday, the pilot for Smash became available to view on iTunes, Comcast On Demand and other outlets as well. I watched the pilot and immediately fell in love with this show. Forget February 6 when the show makes its primetime debut; I'm looking forward to February 13 for episode 2! There's been so much promotion so far, so I can't fathom how you wouldn't know what this show is about. But just in case you haven't, Smash is about putting on a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, going from conception and casting to rehearsals and eventually to finally performing it for the public.

Smash has an extremely strong cast, including Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty, Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston. I won't give a line by line account of each plot point because the show hasn't aired on TV yet. But this is what I will say. I know I've only seen one episode, but if this pilot is anything to go by, I love that they're not relying on the music too much, as Glee has unfortunately progressed to over the past couple years. Granted, Glee did start out as a character and story driven show. But anyways, the songs that were included were placed in just the right moments and weren't forced or out of place. Since the show is about putting on a musical, they placed the songs in the areas where they should be, such as during auditions or rehearsals. And that final number performed by McPhee and Hilty was exceptional; I was blown away by the song, the voices, production level and editing. Some TV critic online (I can't recall who it was) has seen episode 2 and said the continuation of this story doesn't disappoint at all. Can't wait!

I've already seen the pilot twice now, once by myself and once with my parents. And I don't think I'll be able to resist watching it again on February 6.

And by the way, starting on January 23, Smash will be available to view on NBC.com and Hulu.

Now onto Alcatraz, the new J.J. Abrams show that debuted this past Monday. I came into this show with both excitement and trepidation. Excitement because it's J.J. Abrams combined with Alcatraz - should be a winning combo. Trepidation because I was worried that it would become too much like any other crime show, like Grimm did. After watching the 2-hour premiere, I did come out of it with excitement. Based on just pilots, Smash was probably better. There are areas where Alcatraz could improve. But the parts that excited me are what's making me want to continue watching. There were some shocking revelations and other things that came out of nowhere that just blew me away (including the second Alcatraz prison). If the show can continue doing that sort of thing, I might be in it for the long haul.

During some of the scenes where we could see familiar parts of Alcatraz, I got excited because I've been there in person as a tourist (have you seen the pictures I posted last week yet?). It was cool to see the outside of the Administrative Building since that's one of the pictures I took.

Music:
Kellie Pickler: 100 Proof (In Stores January 24)

If her previous two records are any indication, this new one, 100 Proof, is going to be just as fabulous. I've heard two songs so far from the album, "Unlock That Honky Tonk" and "Tough." Both fit Kellie Pickler's voice extremely well. Kellie seems to get more attention for her quirky personality, but when it comes down to it, she has one of the best voices in country music, I believe. She didn't have the best voice when she was on American Idol season 5, but she's been able to bounce back and truly grow as an artist in her career. I'm looking forward to 100 Proof, and I hope you are, too.

Politics:
State of the Union Address (Live this Tuesday night, 8pm ET/5pm PT)

Every year, the President of the United States speaks before a joint session of Congress for the State of the Union address. Last year's was an interesting one, with the Republicans and Democrats sitting with members of the opposite party instead of separately to show a sense of unity after Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Tucson. Unfortunately, in the year since, things are back to normal with partisan gridlock. And now that we're in the middle of an election cycle, this year's could be interesting as well.

Website:
TV Watch Online (@TVWatchOnline)
Bieber Guy (@Bieber_Guy)
BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge Blog:
Recommendations of the Week [January 15]
Quote of the Week: Martin Luther King, Jr. [January 17]
Photos of the Week: Alcatraz Prison [January 18]
American Idol 11 Premiere: The Best from Savannah/Pittsburgh Auditions

TV Watch Online BLOG:
Golden Globes 2012: My Predictions vs. Winners

Bieber Guy:
Review: My Worlds Acoustic

BuddyTV (Articles I've Written):
'Glee' to Go Jive Talkin' with Bee Gees Tribute
Exclusive Interview: 'White Collar's Marsha Thomason on the FBI, Cable TV and 'Lost'
'Glee' Casts Jeff Goldblum and Brian Stokes Mitchell as Rachel's Dads
Exclusive Interview: 'Royal Pains' Reshma Shetty on Season 3, Her Medical Background and Learning
'Survivor: One World': First Impression Awards

#1 Recommendation: Smash

Tomorrow (Monday, January 23), my next Bieber Guy review will be online over at my Bieber Guy blog. This week's review will go more in-depth with the single from Justin Bieber's My Worlds Acoustic, "Pray."

Follow me on Twitter @TheJeffDodge. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, either tweet me, e-mail me or leave a comment below.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

American Idol 11 Premiere: The Best from Savannah/Pittsburgh Auditions

(Image courtesy of FOX)
If you have followed me before over at the TV Watch Online BLOG, you will know that every year I do Idol-Talk, where I give my commentary on every episode of American Idol. And I have done this with America's Got Talent as well. Over the course of last summer and fall, I did the same thing for both America's Got Talent and The X Factor, but this time over at the former OMGWire.com.

Now that American Idol has started up again, I'm back. But this time, things will be different. I am thoroughly exhausted from covering these talent shows all year long last year. American Idol from mid-January to the end of May. A week later, America's Got Talent starts up and runs through mid-September. A week after that, The X Factor begins and runs through into December. This past month has been the only month that I've had off from doing these recaps/reviews.

I'm being serious when I say I was exhausted once X Factor ended; I enjoyed the show, but it wore me out. And when American Idol was almost here again, I'm being truthful when I say I wasn't really looking forward to it. But once I started watching the premiere this week, we were barely into the first hour and I was hooked right back in. They know how to get you, don't they?

I've never really enjoyed recapping the early episodes because it's hard to write down everything when many of the auditions go by so fast. That's why I prefer the live rounds when I can take my time and write some comments after each performance during the commercial break.

So that's what I'm gong to do. I will not be doing my full-blown Idol recaps/reviews until the live shows start up. But that doesn't mean I won't be sharing my thoughts on these auditions. No, no, no. On this blog, I will be taking a little bit of time each week to sharing a list of my favorites and the best singers from the auditions. So here they are...

American Idol 11 Premiere: Savannah Auditions
Air Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 [8-10pm]

Audition City: Savannah, GA

David Leathers, Jr. (17) - "Remember the Rain" / "Never Can Say Goodbye"
  He looks 13, and has a higher pitch voice reminiscent of a young Michael Jackson.

Elise Testone
  She has an old-soul sound, though her audition went by a little too fast.

Amy Brumfeld - "Super Woman"
  She lives in a tent in the woods.

Stephanie Renae - Carrie Underwood's "Inside Your Heaven"
  She reminds me of both Carrie Underwood and Lauren Alaina. She does need to open her mouth more when singing, though.

*Schyler Dixon
Colton Dixon - David Cook's "Permanent"
  Brother/Sister. They both auditioned last year. This time around, only she is auditioning, but he is there to support her. After she auditions, the judges ask Colton to audition. She's got something in her voice I like; he's got a good voice, too. The judges majorly broke the rules because he didn't register; he should be automatically disqualified. Unless the producers set this whole thing up; if so, it sounds more like something Simon Cowell would do on The X Factor.

42 went through to Hollywood.


American Idol 11: Pittsburgh Auditions
Air Date: Thursday, January 19, 2012 [8-9pm]

Audition City: Pittsburgh, PA

Creighton Fraker
  I'm really intrigued by him, but I don't know what to think either way.

Erika Van Pelt
  She sings at weddings.

Hallie Day - "I Will Survive"
  When younger, she attempted suicide.

38 went through to Hollywood.

These Idol posts won't be as long in the future. I just had to set everything up for what's to come. And by the way, once I start doing my regular Idol recaps/reviews, I might be doing them not on the T.W.O. BLOG or here, but on a different website - more details to follow.

Tomorrow (Sunday, January 22), my latest Recommendations of the Week will be online.

Follow me on Twitter @TheJeffDodge. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, either tweet me, e-mail me or leave a comment below.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Photos of the Week: Alcatraz Prison [January 18]

Last week, I debuted my weekly Photo/Video of the Week segment when I showed a YouTube video of a cat pushing another cat down an opening in the floor. This week, I want to share some photos.

Two days ago, FOX premiered their brand-new J.J. Abrams created TV show, Alcatraz. I was able to squeeze in time to watch the premiere yesterday. I think I might give my thoughts on it in a different post coming soon, but I think it definitely has a lot of potential to be a great show. There were some things I really loved, and some things they could work on. But regardless, this is a show that I've been anticipating for months now. And there's a big reason why, besides the fact that it's created by the genius that is J.J. Abrams.

I went to San Francisco about 10 years ago when I was younger. I took a bunch of pictures all over the city, as well as when we went to visit Alcatraz prison. Ever since going there, I've always had this fascination with Alcatraz; I don't know what it is about it, but it interests me. Since it's been turned into a TV Show and it just debuted this week, I thought I would share with you all some of the pictures I took when I went there, to give you a sense of what it's been like since closing down and being used as a tourist destination.

Alcatraz Prison, Spring 2002:

(All images courtesy of Jeff Dodge)
Arriving on the island
Water Tower (seen in Alcatraz Premiere)
Warden's House
Administrative Building (seen in Alcatraz Premiere)
"Alcatraz and the American Prison Experience"
Rows and rows of prison cells
Looking inside one of the prison cells

Some of the things in the above photos may seen familiar to those of you who watched the Alcatraz premiere, such as the Administrative Building seen within the first two minutes of the show and the water tower briefly shown.

Have you ever been to see Alcatraz prison in person? If so, what'd you think of it? And did you watch the series premiere of FOX's Alcatraz? Will you keep tuning in every week?

Alcatraz airs Monday nights at 9pm on FOX.

If there's a fantastic photo or video that you've taken or seen lately, send it to me via Twitter or e-mail, and I might share it on this blog.

Follow me on Twitter @TheJeffDodge. I tweet various thoughts and opinions there. Anything I post on this blog will be tweeted there as well (so that's the best way to find out when the blog's updated). If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, either tweet me, e-mail me or leave a comment below.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quote of the Week: Martin Luther King, Jr. [January 17]

(Image courtesy of Library of Congress)
I love coming across fantastic, inspiring, moving, funny and other quotes that stand out to me. So I thought I'd share various quotes that I've come across in the weeks to come. My idea is to share one a week here on this blog.

But this week will be a little different. It's still a quote, or rather, a few quotes. But they are quotes from a speech that we've heard for years. On Monday, we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Today's quotes are from his most famous speech, "I Have a Dream."

Here is this week's Quote of the Week:

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'
---
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!
---
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

I think we need to listen to these words carefully, because they still hold true today. We still need to let freedom ring, we still need to make sure that everyone is created equally, people need to be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin or their religion or their sexual orientation or anything else. These most basic of issues that Dr. King preached back then are still coming up today, and we need to do something about it.

What do you make of these quotes and this speech? And how do you think Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message still resonates today? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Tomorrow's Photo of the Week will feature photos that I took quite a few years ago when I visited San Francisco; the photos will be of Alcatraz prison. This is to celebrate the series premiere of the new FOX show, Alcatraz, which debuted this Monday.

If there's a great quote, photo or video you've come across, send it to me via Twitter, e-mail or in the comments below, and I might share it on this blog.

Follow me on Twitter @TheJeffDodge. I tweet various thoughts and opinions there. Anything I post on this blog will be tweeted there as well (so that's the best way to find out when the blog's updated). If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, either tweet me, e-mail me or leave a comment below.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Recommendations of the Week [January 15]

(Image courtesy of Yellow Bird)
Hello everyone! I've made it through the second week of my new blog here. I hope you've been enjoying what I've put up this week, like my favorite quote of all time by Nelson Mandela and the YouTube video of a cat pushing another cat down an opening in the floor.

So since it's the start of another week, it's time for another installment of my Recommendations of the Week. These recommendations could be something that happened in the past week that I read, watched, participated in, etc. or something coming up in the following week. Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments section below; I would love to read what you have to say.

Jeff Dodge's Recommendations of the Week [January 15]:

Movies:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Foreign Film-Sweden)

I read the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson last summer/fall. The first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, became my favorite book I read in 2011. Over the previous year or so before then, I kept hearing about these books and seeing them on the bestsellers lists. Since an American film version was going to come out at the end of that year, I decided to read the books to gear up for the movie. And before I started reading them, I also found out there were Swedish films made out of the books (if you aren't already aware, the author was Swedish and the books first came out over there).

I wanted to go through this process the right way, so I first read the books, then I was going to watch the Swedish films, and then finally the American one. Yesterday, I finally saw the Swedish film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, English subtitles and all. And I really enjoyed it. I believe this is only the second film I've seen where I've had to read subtitles because it's in a foreign language (the first was The Passion of the Christ). Since I've read the book and loved it, I could easily nitpick certain things with the translation from book to screen, such as the climax. That scene didn't feel long enough; I would've sworn there was more to it in the book. But I was able to just really enjoy it as a film. The cast all did a great job, including Noomi Rapace as the titular character, Lisbeth Salander; she looked a little older than she's supposed to be, but that didn't bother me that much because Noomi was able to really capture the spirit of what Lisbeth is all about.

In the next couple of weeks or so, I will be watching the remaining films, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. And when it comes out on DVD, I will be sure to watch the American version of the first book. I'm interested to see how Rooney Mara interprets Lisbeth. I've seen the trailers and some images for this version, so I'm really looking forward to it. And I discovered recently that extended versions of these Swedish films came out, so I might have to catch up on those some time as well.

TV Shows:
Golden Globe Awards (Tonight, 8pm ET/5pm PT, NBC)
Smash Pilot (Monday, Comcast On Demand)
Betty White's 90th Birthday (Monday, 8-9:30pm, NBC)
Alcatraz Series Premiere (Monday, 8-10pm, FOX)
American Idol Premiere (Wednesday, 8-10pm, FOX)

There's a lot of good TV coming up this week. First, we've got the Golden Globe Awards tonight. If you haven't yet, click HERE to check out my predictions. Tomorrow night, NBC will also be airing a special celebrating Betty White's 90th Birthday. I absolutely love her, don't you? I can't imagine anyone not loving her, am I right? I will be tuning in to that special, for sure.

Then there's Smash! I've been anticipating this show for months and months now, ever since it was announced way back when that American Idol's Katharine McPhee had been cast in the starring role on some new musical show. Smash follows the journey of bringing a Broadway show about the life of Marilyn Monroe to life, from conception and casting to performing for the public. Besides Kat, there are other excellent casting choices, including Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston.

Smash doesn't officially make its primetime network debut until September 5 (or, the day after the Super Bowl, as NBC has been promoting it), but we can watch it early on Comcast On Demand beginning January 16. There will be other ways to view it earlier starting January 23. Over the past several weeks, I've been watching all the promos, previews and featurettes for Smash, and I can't stand it anymore; I need to see this show! And if Smash lives up to its hype, don't be surprised to see it again on a future Recommendations of the Week.

Wow, there's a lot going on on Monday. Besides Betty White's special and the early look at Smash, Monday night will also see the series premiere of J.J. Abrams' brand-new show, Alcatraz. Besides Smash, this is another show that I've been anticipating for months now. In recent weeks, there have been various previews released. And I've been able to get a sense for what the show might be like. I do have a little worry for this show, though. I worry that the crime show aspect of it may overwhelm it and it will have a feel like any other crime show (even though it involves Alcatraz). I mean, look at Grimm. That show had a fairy tale aspect, but it was still bogged down by feeling just like any other crime show, which turned me off. J.J. Abrams is a genius. After Alias, Lost and Super 8, I still have faith in him, though.

I went to San Francisco years ago when I was younger. I took a bunch of pictures when we went to visit Alcatraz prison. Ever since going there, I've always had this fascinating with Alcatraz; I don't know what it is about it, but it interests me. That's another reason why I want to watch this new show. Speaking of the pictures I took, I'm hoping to put some of those pictures up on the blog here for this week's Picture of the Week. Stay tuned for that.

Then on Wednesday night, it's the return of the #1 show on TV, American Idol - the show that I watch religiously. After The X Factor aired this past fall, I am a little worn out from these shows, but I'm still looking forward to coming back to the show that started it all. I just hope that it's not the "beautiful" and "in it to win it" show of last year and that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are able to be more tough on the contestants and not be like the coaches on The Voice.

Politics:
South Carolina Primary

If you're a political news junkie like I am, then it's a great time to be following all the latest political news. Two states have already voted, and now it's time to focus on South Carolina, who votes on Saturday.

Websites:
TV Watch Online (@TVWatchOnline)
Bieber Guy (@Bieber_Guy)
BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge Blog:
Recommendations of the Week [January 8]
Quote of the Week [January 10]
Video of the Week [January 11]
Jeff Dodge's 201 Golden Globe Predictions

TV Watch Online BLOG:
T.W.O: Golden Globes 2012 Predictions

Bieber Guy:
Review: Book - First Step 2 Forever

BuddyTV (Articles I've Written):
It's Official: No 'Glee' Spin-Off, Graduating Seniors to Stay
'Glee' Casting Rumor: Sebastian to be Series Regular in Season 4?
*Exclusive Interview: India de Beaufort Talks Playing a Villain and Fashion on 'Jane by Design'
*Exclusive Interview: Dillon Casey Talks Loyalty and Romance 'Nikita'
     *BTW-I actually did interview the above actor and actress, and I'll have more coming up soon.

#1 Recommendation: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish Version)

Tomorrow (Monday, January 16), my next Bieber Guy review will be online over at my Bieber Guy blog. This week's review will cover Justin Bieber's My Worlds Acoustic.

Follow me on Twitter @TheJeffDodge. I tweet various thoughts and opinions there. And anything I post on this blog will be tweeted there as well (so that's the best way to find out when the blog's been updated). And if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, either tweet me, e-mail me or leave a comment below.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jeff Dodge's 2012 Golden Globe Predictions

(Image courtesy of MTV)
Whenever the Emmys, Golden Globes and Oscars come around, I always make my predictions for who will win over at TV Watch Online. With the 2012 Golden Globe Awards coming up Sunday night (8pm ET/5pm PT, NBC), I have now posted my predictions online. Click HERE or the link below to check them all out.


Who do you think should win? Does it conflict with who you believe will actually believe? Share your own predictions in the comments below.