[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
There are some goodbyes that are easy to write, and other times when you really aren't sure what to say.

This is the latter.

Both of these two were people that I thought had a good shot at winning this season. [livejournal.com profile] whipchick because come on - she's awesome. Plus she's proven that she is more than capable of winning.

[livejournal.com profile] porn_this_way because this mini-season has been so completely crazy, just all over the board - where people seem to want something new and different, and she is someone that I knew was capable of giving that to them!

There's very little space left to navigate, but coming into this week, I had them both pencilled in as people I expected to see for at least a couple more weeks.

But that's why you play the game - to see what is going to happen.

And certainly those remaining are awesome as well! (Which should go without saying - but I'm going to say it anyway) and this just gets more and more painful as we go.

Losing these two though? In that same week? Yeah, that's rough...

Thank you to both of you for coming out this mini-season. You're definitely a huge part in what helped make it special.
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Just as a "heads up", because more and more people seem to be caring about this these days:

LJ Idol polls are unisex.

Like this one: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/931251.html

Well, OK - it's *barely* unisex, in that it's almost completely women. But "barely" still counts!

If nothing else, voting is open for both women and men - voting in the same place!

If that offends you, you can vote in this separate, completely binary gender specific, poll instead. The Women's poll is located at http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/931251.html
and the Men's is http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/931251.html
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
I finally was able to go see Captain America: Civil War this afternoon.

As someone who used to be a huge comics fan (and recently got back into reading them, in part because of the MCU movies) I really enjoyed it. Which is strange considering how much I *hated* that crossover. That was one of the reasons why I *stopped* picking up Marvel comics. I disliked the very concept of it, and definitely hated what they did to Tony Stark during it and how it shaped it after the fact. (and of course, as someone who loved the character of Bill Foster, that will never stop pissing me off!)

***

We've got our own Civil War brewing. Or maybe it's just a couple of polls: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/931251.html
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
I've heard there are some people who wanted a Home Game thread. So here it is! :)

Sharp words
Art Is An Infection
Going tharn
Surreptitiously
Behind the curtain

were the topics this week.

So if you're not a current contestant, but still have something you want to share - this is the place!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
A few words from [livejournal.com profile] clauderainsrm:


This is one of those weeks where, after seeing the entries, I really don’t feel like eliminating anyone. It seems cruel to have people leave the competition who have put out things that I have enjoyed this much.

But sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do.

And so eliminate someone I shall… actually, I’m going to eliminate two contestants this week.

Much like last week though, there is a set-up of expectations on how this is going to work, and I am moving counter to that!

The contestant with the fewest votes in the first poll will be eliminated. The same goes for the second, unless that’s the same person (because they are already “out”. So it would go to the next contestant… I’m saying that in advance due to the fact that someone always asks that question. Now, when they do, someone can just cut and paste the answer! Thanks Future Idol-Question Answerer! I appreciate it! )


So make sure you read, comment and vote for your favorites. And believe me, you are going to have favorites this week. This is the kind of week where you just post the entire list and tell people who love to read “Just click a link at random, you are going to enjoy it!”

I have no idea how people are going to make the decision this week. I’m just glad I don’t have to do it!

The poll closes Monday, May 16th at 9pm EDT

Good luck to everyone!







[Poll #2044655]


[Poll #2044656]
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Good morning Idolers!

I'm not sure if you saw this yesterday, but there is an anthology out there featuring several former contestants that is having an Indiegogo campaign! So check it out, and if you can help - do so! If you can't, then spread the word so that others can find out about it! https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/marked-by-scorn#/ (One of the levels is $4 and you get the e-book version! That's a really great deal! With the names that I know on that list, it's bound to be a good book.

Speaking of "good books", this is a good time to mention our Amazon store! http://astore.amazon.com/li0cd-20

There's a lot of great books there as well! (and of course, just by visiting it before doing the rest of your Amazon shopping helps!)

Which reminds me that I need to start coming up with the new incentives for our Patrons! https://www.patreon.com/user?ty=h&u=70027

What are some things I could offer that might tip you over into joining the team? ;)

***

Happy Friday the 13th!

***

http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/929542.html is the place where you go to link your entries! I hope to see a lot more action there, and soon! :)
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
I had a lot to talk about today, but I've temporarily forgotten all of it! :)

I'm sure I'll remember later and put it in the comments...


OH! I have the first 12 potential topics for Season 10!! That's exciting! (Granted, about half of them were from the "not used" pile from Seasons 6-8. But I really like the new ones. It's still a way off, but I like what I have so far)

That's just one thing I was going to say. If I remember more as I go, I'll insert them. If not, as I said before - it'll be in the comments. :)

***

It's been an interesting week work wise. There was a water main break that shut us down early on Monday. They ordered porta potties, but as soon as they realized they wouldn't be in on time, they let us go. Or rather, they told us to leave and OUR bosses mentioned it us two hours after that decision. ;)

Yesterday, it was announced at 9 am that the building was shutting down. They told us at 11:30 that we were leaving at noon.

After making an 2 hour bus ride into work (my ride is about 2 hours and 15 minutes) I got a call telling me the office was closed and to turn around. I was in a "bad neighborhood" at the time, so I waited until I got to the bus depot (also in a bad neighborhood, but there are more people around) a few minutes later to hop off the bus and wait for the next one. (Plus - more options on what bus to take home)

When the bus was in sight, I got a phone call to come in!

The water main is still busted - so no running water/no restrooms. There have been talks that we will find out "in two hours" what is happening today. Which means we will find out a few hours after that. :)

***

While I'm waiting around to see what is going to happen next - YOU KNOW! You're going to write your entries and link them over at http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/929542.html
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
All the talk of "how things used to be" in Idol, and of course the anniversary has gotten me thinking "What are some *positive* changes?" I think a big one is that very few people have my phone number now. ;) I used to give it out, that and my work email - so that if someone had an issue that we could talk it out. You know how many people called to yell at me? Or tell me how much Idol sucked because (so-and-so) did better than "they should have"? (People doing "better than they should have" is pretty much always code for "I don't like their writing/how could anyone else?" ;) )

Yeah, more than a few.

How many people did I sit and talk to their bad days? Quite a few.

So maybe it's NOT as personal these days and I don't have the same good connections with everyone that I had in previous years. That also means that I don't get the same levels of the bad stuff either. ;)

And I don't mind the "talking through their bad days" bits - I'm only an email away if you really need to talk, or vent, about something.


It's just the "bad days" were frequently *really bad* and they usually ended up using Idol as something they could take it out on! (Because I *knew* they were having a bad time, why would I put that twist into the game now???" Um... maybe because the game isn't organized around your life and the twists have little to do with you?) That's the part I don't miss.

What else? Hmmm - I don't miss the trolling groups.

Although there is still a ways to go, I don't miss people not getting that all of the aspects of LJ Idol, and it operates on different levels, all of those are actually writing-related in that they correspond to things and distractions that all writers face day-to-day. (The Idol ones, IMO, tend to be more interesting! :D)

No death-threats and even the worst "this is stressing me out" email hasn't been anywhere near the "LJ Idol ruined my life!!!!" level.

So good job folks on being sane. Or at least "sane".

Now that I think of it, I wish double quotes were a thing ""sane"" because that's pretty questionable with this group. ;)

***

Speaking of not knowing about sanity levels - there's a Topic thread: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/929542.html
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Still reeling a little from last night: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/929469.html

Which, that's when you know that Idol is "appointment TV", or "appointment Internet", when you're never quite sure what is going to happen next. Heck, I set the schedule and the twists and I wasn't 100% sure (especially there at the end with the surge) about what was going to happen. I certainly wouldn't have predicted those results - in fact, when I saw the byes being used in what *felt* like a strategic fashion (it could have all been coincidence of people just needing time off - and probably was, but "strategic" is a better narrative, so I'm going with that! :D) I thought I saw the writing on the wall for someone else!

I also knew that my own twist on the votes would be unexpected in that spot, so that it would put things a little more up in the air.

That said, the poll is closed, so I can address a question that was put out there into the cyber-ether: the moral implications of byes.

Do they exist? Yes.

(Both byes and morals both exist, although some would say the latter are social constructs and the former are Gary constructs)

I'll go with this angle to it: Have there been people who, in the finals, have used, as one piece of their argument, "I never used a bye"? Yes. There have been. They were proud of that fact. They weren't judging others for needing to do so, but that was an accomplishment that they didn't.

Have there been times when someone was "boxed in" by byes? Where they didn't have one left and everyone else - or nearly everyone else - used them, at least one time I *know* (because they told me) that it was an in a purposeful strategic act to get rid of them or force them into an one-on-one with someone they thought was more likely to survive? Yes. That has happened as well.

There are moral arguments to be made with just about everything we do in our lives. Some people disagree with that, but those people are wrong. ;)

Most of the time though it's not going to be "light and dark"/"good and bad". I won't say that there are shades of grey, or how many there are, because you are writers and people who love writing in general and I don't want to injure your souls with those words. :)

All of that said - Idol is a game. It's writing. It's a game. It's a community. It's all of these things and a whole lot more to a lot of people. People decide how they are going to get to the end. Some people are going to clash along the way, when tempers get high.

People are going to approach things with different levels of comfort. And that's OK. As long as everything is above the belt and no one is trying to "game the system", it's all good.

Ultimately, all you can do is focus on your writing and make sure that it's something you are proud of that you are putting out into the public eye. Because everyone, except one person, is going to be eliminated over the next couple weeks. "Not winning" is pretty much guaranteed. But there are more ways to win than ending up in the victory circle at the end - and the best way (IMO) is to be true to who you are and putting out writing that makes you proud of what you have accomplished.

That's the true moral victory.

(Which isn't the same as an Idol victory. An Idol victory is the best victory of all!!!)

***
Speaking of victories - the new topics are up, for you to use to get one step closer: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/929542.html and a new Work Room to use to help you: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/929949.html
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
The deadline is Friday the 13th! Who is about to get murdered in a summer camp and who is throwing their black cats under every ladder they find?

The byes seemed more like a trap than a help last week - although they *did* end up helping some people - but now they are out, so hopefully they can manage to battle on without that safety net!

What are the topics that interest you the most and how are you planning on structuring things to make sure you get everything in on time? http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/929542.html
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Your fellow contestants have given us a few more options - for a brand new week.

Once again, you will be picking two of them - and linking your entries to this thread.

What are your choices this week?

Glad you asked! They are:


Sharp words
Art Is An Infection
Going tharn
Surreptitiously
Behind the curtain



The deadline to link your entries back to this thread is Friday, May 13th at 8pm EST

Have fun!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
This was really tight.

How tight? If I were to expand the perimeters by 4 votes, we would have 8 more people leaving. (beyond the limit. Even expanding to by 2 votes would put it over 10 people leaving (but adding 8 to the mix is more dramatic, and illustrates my point - so let's go with that!)

Even "the top" is pretty crowded, with the middle breathing down it's neck!

From a contestant only standpoint, it would appear that the field is pretty evenly matched as far as this week goes!

Unfortunately though, the nature of the game says that some people must leave us this week.

fortunately, there is Last Chance Idol that they can immediately jump into if they sign up: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782944.html and complete the first entry: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/783873.html

So, I'm really hoping that we will see them there, and that they can fight their way back into the mix!

With that said, it's time to post the names. I would say there are some "shockers" in the mix. Definitely not names that I was expecting to be saying today. But then again, the bottom changed hands so many times in the last 24 hours that I really wasn't sure how it was going to shake out!

Leaving us this week are:
[livejournal.com profile] emo_snal
[livejournal.com profile] furzicle
[livejournal.com profile] lapis_lazuli615
[livejournal.com profile] mstrobel
[livejournal.com profile] swirlsofblue
[livejournal.com profile] veronica_rich
[livejournal.com profile] xlovebecomesher

Thank you to all of you for coming out - and I hope to see you in Last Chance Idol! (especially a certain someone who is *really* close to hitting 100 Weeks!)
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Well, at least one part of my birthday went right!

Today is the final day for people to get in their votes for the main competition: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/784297.html

Tomorrow is the deadline to submit the first entry http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/783873.html /sign up for Last Chance Idol http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782944.html

How did *your* weekend go?
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Tomorrow is my birthday! Happy Birthday to me!

As usual, people have been asking me "Gary, what do you want for your birthday?" and I have been saying "voices in my head/invisible people who hound me - just tell me Happy Birthday".

Which of course is total lie. Because, there are some things I want:

(1) My Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the local team, the Tampa Bay Bucs, tomorrow. I would like the Steelers to win. If you can somehow arrange that, major thumbs up.

(2) That thing that has been hanging over my head is still there until Oct 2nd, at which time I will find out if it is going to drop on my head or disappear. If you want throw some good thoughts toward it disappearing - that would also be appreciated.

(3) Idol related - I want this post to have at least 100 comments. :)

(4) Those of you who are eligible to vote this week: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/784297.html do so!

(5) Have people sign up for Last Chance Idol! http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782944.html and submit their entries: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/783873.html for Week 1.

(6) If you have the interest, and the means to do so, become an Idol Patron! http://www.patreon.com/user?u=70027

(7) If you feel like getting yourself a little something special at Amazon, do so through the Idol Store link: http://astore.amazon.com/li0cd-20 (there is a ton of Idol-related stuff in there, plus you can click-thru to your regular shopping)

(8) You can find my wishlist at Amazon by searching for clauderains@rocketmail.com :) (seriously though, I'm just throwing it out there to be funny. Unless of course you're serious. :P)

(9) I'm serious about that at least 100 comments thing.


What are YOU doing this weekend to celebrate my birthday?
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
It's the day before my birthday weekend officially starts!

Still waiting for some good news. Well, I'm waiting and I'm *hoping* that it will end up being good. Although I'm doubting it. So if you can send me some good vibes, I'd really appreciate it.

As for the rest of you still in the competition, or signing up for Last Chance, last night I revealed that this week's vote is CONTESTANT ONLY http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/784297.html so hopefully you are busy reading and getting those votes into me.

There were some questions scattered about, so I'll try to bring them all into one place, to make it easier:

How many people can I vote for? As many, or few, as you want.

How should I send in the votes? You want my ideal ballot - ok...As a list of names in alphabetical order. No numbers or links or anything other than the name. The body of the text works best -Not as an attachment.

I sent in my votes - how do I know if they are received? I will send you an email when they are officially received and recorded.

How do I know if I am eligible for vote this round? Are you a current contestant? Yes? Then you can vote.

Have you been eliminated and not brought back into the competition? Yes. You can not vote.

Are you someone who is just observing, but not in the competition? Yes. You can not vote.

Are you someone who has signed up for Last Chance Idol and completed/linked your first entry by the deadline? Yes: You can vote. No: You can not vote.

Are you a monster who lives under people's beds? I'll consider allowing you vote if you could do me a couple favors! ;)

Should I write something for Last Chance Idol? The main competition vote ends 24 hours before the deadline for Last Chance sign-ups/first entry due. If you really think you are in danger - sign up for Last Chance. If you don't - don't, and then if you are voted out, writing something! If nothing else, writing the entry gives you something to Home Game while you wait!

How do I tell if I need to do something or if it's Last Chance Idol/the other way around? I mark things "Last Chance Idol" if they are for that. If I don't mark it that way, it's for the main competition.

I want to sign up for Last Chance Idol - where do I do that? http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/783873.html

Where do I find out what the first topic is? http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/783873.html

I have ideas and want to talk to someone about them - Where do I find the Last Chance Idol Work Room? http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/784521.html

How will we know who goes from Last Chance Idol to the main competition? I will tell you.

What if I have a question that is not covered in this? Ask.

If you had two pieces of information to give to people, what would they be?

(1) You are going to be the winner of LJ Idol Season 9, you can do this!
(2) I am lying to everyone except one person. ;)
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
It's my birthday weekend - and what better way to spend it than by having a contestant only voting!

That's right. If you are a *current contestant* in the main competition (not Last Chance), then you are eligible to send me a list of your favorites (as many as you wish)!

The entries are located at http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782025.html

Also, anyone who signs up for LAST CHANCE IDOL http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782944.html and submits their first entry by the deadline http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/783873.html is eligible to vote as well! Which means there has never been a better time to sign up!

Send your votes to clauderainsrm@gmail.com

The deadline for me to receive these votes is Monday, Sept 29th at 8pm EDT

We will be losing 5-10 contestants who receive the fewest votes. (the amount depends on where the separation line ends up being). So make sure to get your votes in to keep your favorites in the running!

Unfortunately, [livejournal.com profile] binaryorchid had to drop due to that horrible thing called Real Life (tm) and although I would like to drag her back into Last Chance kicking and screaming, I'm not sure that she will be able to do that due to the same circumstances. :( So thank you for coming out and I hope that you will continue to come out to support your favorites whenever you are able!

As for the rest of you - Good luck!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
The topic is due today: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782025.html

and Last Chance Idol sign-ups are happening now: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782944.html

***

Any thoughts on the new season of Survivor or the finale of Big Brother? (I had to watch the last part of it so I could give a certain 11 year old the results because it was on past her weekday bedtime)

***

My friend's book about asexuality is now available: http://astore.amazon.com/li0cd-20/detail/1631440020 Well, it's been available for a little bit now. But she was just interviewed in the New York Times http://op-talk.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/why-asexuals-dont-want-to-be-invisible-anymore/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0 so this was as good of a reason as any to promote it here, via the Idol Store!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Congratulations to a "certain winner of Season 8" for her "Honorable Mention" in the Mark Twain Humor Writing Contest. That's a pretty big deal.

It is especially cool given that it was with an piece originally written for LJ Idol!

Which puts it in the pile of "works originally for Idol" that have ended up appearing in various literary publications, anthologies and a course a major media viral onslaught or three. (including pieces that have ended up in TIME and the Washington Post)

I don't mention this to brag.

Well, OK, to totally do mean to brag. Because the writers who pass through these cyber halls are *worth* bragging about.

What they do during the competition - and what they do after, as a result of having been in Idol, that's worth highlighting now and again.

So are the people who show up because they want to write some stuff and have some fun. They come in with a different mindset and a different plan for what they want to do with their writing. When they meet their goals, that is worth praising as well.

There are as many different ways of looking at Idol - at competing in Idol - as there are contestants. Winning means different things to everyone. Which I think is great, because it is just one more component to this diverse mix that we have, and part of "being successful" in Idol is figuring out where you fit in: What do you want out of this, and are you focused enough to get it?

Which means if you are just trying to write entries and have fun: Are you making deadlines and interacting with your fellow contestants?

If you want to write entries with hope of using them for latter sale: Are you using the topics in such a way as to give you material for that?

If you "want to win": What is your plan to do that?

One of the bigger hangups I've seen over the years, that never ceases to confuse me - is when someone says "This is what Idol is about"... and someone else comes along and *believes them*. Because that person isn't making some blanket statement. They are making a personal one. That is what Idol is about *for them*. It's what *they* are willing to put into it.

It's like someone saying "I only had time to read my friends list" this week and coming along and assuming that *everyone* was doing that, all the time. Or "humor doesn't do well"... sure, they can say "this or that entry didn't work at *that time for some reason." but over the years, there are plenty of funny entries that *have* done well. It just takes the right person to do it at the right moment for that "established fact" to explode all over the place.

What got me thinking about this was that I was just going through my old emails, searching for a specific item and came across one that I had completely forgotten about. (I think they had some search terms in common). It was from someone who was really unhappy because they "thought they were in a writing competition" but that it was "really just about (name redacted) using her friends list to decide who was going every week"/"a popularity contest".

Why did he think that? Because someone mentioned that so-and-so was doing well, and had a large friends list - and that anything he did wasn't people enjoying his work, and giving him votes, but rather her evil plot to get rid of someone else.

This was (maybe) Season 6. So the details aren't as important as the message. We talked for quite some time, back and forth, but once he was given an excuse to think that there was something wrong with his own writing, it was something he never let go of.... his success wasn't due to his efforts any more than his failures would be. It was all decided by this one person and their whims. It made me sad at the time, and it was even worse looking back on it, and remembering how much I, personally, had enjoyed his work and tried to tell him that. It is especially frustrating being the guy who sees all the votes. So I knew exactly how "influential" she was, and it wasn't anywhere near what was being assumed.

But that was the narrative he chose to believe. Because it was easier for him to think that way.

How you approach Idol is going to end up impacting your overall experience and what you ultimately get out of it. (Whatever that might be!)

I *want* you to have fun. Hopefully, you are - and maybe getting some other long term benefits from it as well.

If you *are* having fun - and want other people to join in and have some as well: That's what Last Chance Idol is all about: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782944.html (well, it's about me torturing new people - but don't tell them that! That's part of *my* fun!)

Oh yeah - there is also a topic due TOMORROW: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782025.html for those in the main competition. So get to it!!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
I just posted about Last Chance Idol: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782944.html
so if you know anyone who has been on the fence, it's time to knock them off of it!

What are they doing just hanging out on a fence anyway? Are you friends with cartoon cats, howling in the alleyway?

YOUR topic is located right over here: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782025.html and the Work Room is http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782280.html

It's time to let the world know about the wonders of Idol... so fly my pretties, fly!!

***

Apparently *some of you* aren't actually winged monkeys. Which is a shame. Because winged monkeys are pretty awesome. You are pretty much failing in life by not being one. :(
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782025.html is where the this week's Topic is - and http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/782280.html is where to find the Work Room.

Where do we find your sense of self respect after what *you did* this weekend?

Yes. We've all seen it.

There are pictures on the internet.

There is no hiding your from your shame.

and oh yes, you should be ashamed of it...

*shakes head* We all thought better of you. Although really, we probably shouldn't have...

What do you have to say for yourself?

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