September 27, 2012
Conscious is being aware of something;
Conscience is wishing you weren’t.
September 12, 2012
Success doesn’t make Champions; Challenges do.
August 20, 2012
This is the YouTube elimination show link:http://www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent/video/YouTube-Eliminations/1413574 during which the wildcards were announced on August 15, 2012. If you go to minute 37, and start watching then, you will see who chose whom for the wildcards. The names are never announced, they just show the picture of the act.
Andrew De Leon was the last one shown and he was one of Howie Mandel’s four wildcards. If you blink, you will miss it!
Also you can go to the contestants link and it will have Andrew’s picture highlighted, which means that he is back in the competition. Hooray!
The America’s Got Talent Wildcard Show will be this Tuesday night, August 21, 2012, 8:00 – 10:00 pm. It usually is one hour earlier Central and Hawaii time (7:00 – 9:00 pm). Be sure to watch and even more important ~~~VOTE for Andrew. The voting usually begins at 9:55 pm (8:55 pm central) and continues for two hours. Vote often!!! Be sure that you vote during the correct time zone for the telephone that you are using.
August 19, 2012
Chibi Andrew De Leon used with permission of the adorable, talented artist, Mallory Gillentine. Firefly adores this one!
This young Andrew De Leon fan’s original art really tells a story. Andrew has given encouragement and confirmation to many searching teens. Self-doubt, low self-esteem, and lack of purpose are so common with this age group. What Andrew has done, by acknowledging his ‘freakness’, is confirm that it is OK to be different; that it is OK to be unique; that it is OK to be yourself and that you do not have to match anyone elses standards of beauty or acceptance. This young man has made an enormous positive impact on so many hurting, searching teens. His enormous creativity comes through in many areas and this confidence in his own creativity has made it possible for other creative youths to express their creativity in positive endeavors as well. Many of his fans are highly creative, writing poetry, writing and performing songs, making videos, and of course you have seen some of the art that has been generated by his inspiration to his fans.
Kudos to you, Andrew! For the encouragement you have given your many fans!!! And, of course, for your beautiful voice!
August 18, 2012
While critiquing a singing group a few weeks ago, Howie, one of the America’s Got Talent judges, gave every singer some valuable information.
He said that the voting is basically a popularity contest.
And that the more the singer is liked, the more votes he will get.
Also when the song is known and liked by the voters, (past voting has revealed that) then he will receive even more votes.
Ah yes, once again confirmation of what American Idol judges(on another network) have said for years… Song choice is critical to winning any competition.
August 16, 2012
Ok, now that it has been announced that Andrew De Leon has been chosen as a Wild Card for America’s Got Talent, many of you will want to follow him on Twitter.
There are several fan clubs with his name on it and you might want to follow those as well, but there is only one true Twitter account of Andrew De Leon; he has given Portland Firefly permission to publish it here.
Ready for it… here it is: AndrewLeoDeLeon. If you go to this twitter account, you will see a picture of him standing diagonal in the photo with a greenish background. Be sure to click Follow so Andrew can keep you up to date.
This is what you’ll see at the correct twitter account: Andrew Leo De Leon@AndrewLeoDeLeon
Singer, Metal head, LOVE horror films! LOVE classical music (Real Andrew De Leon)
To follow his official Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewLeoDeLeon
PS: This drawing is by Lauren Buitte and is taken from Andrew’s Twitter Profile Picture. Lauren, you are an amazing artist!
Used with Lauren’s permission.
August 10, 2012
Andrew De Leon drawing used by permission of the artist, Lauren Buitte. Well Done, Lauren!
There is a lot of speculation as to AGT’s Wildcard show. The biggest question is who will be called back? Of course, we all want Andrew De Leon back. Firefly believes that with the YouTube performances being held this week, August 14, 2012, that the Wildcard choices have to be announced either that night, Tuesday, August 14, 2012 or the next night Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at the latest.
The next big question is when will the Wildcard show be held? Well, Portland Firefly has done some research and I believe that the AGT Wildcard performances will be held the week after the Wildcards acts are announced. That means they would be performing on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 with voting that same night and elimination the next night, August 22, 2012.
So….Andrew De Leon fans… plan to watch Aug 14 /15 to see who the wildcards are and definitely plan to watch on August 21st, and then vote immediately after the show ends.
Let’s hope Portland Firefly is correct on this call!
August 9, 2012
Adorable picture of Andrew De Leon used with permission of the Artist, Lauren Buitte.
August 7, 2012
Andrew De Leon original art by Lauren Buitte; used with permission from the artist.
Everyone wants to know what has happened to Andrew De Leon? Portland Firefly hopes to bring you up to date a little bit and to give you hope!
As you know, Andrew was sent home from the AGT competition in Las Vegas and we have not seen him since. But we know and he knows that he has not been forgotten by his many adoring fans. Here is what Firefly does know….
Andrew has been relatively quiet on his twitter account lately; so that must mean that he is very busy.
Andrew “has been up and down a lot lately.” (that is a direct quote from him). We do know that he feels great, and is extremely pleased with how well his singing is progressing. So his ‘up and down’ probably doesn’t refer to his emotional state. As a former Flight Attendant, Portland Firefly takes this to mean that he literally has been up and down (as in airplanes). Now where could he be going on a regular basis? Hummmm…..?????
Did he get a recording contract? Are they flying him somewhere to record his first album? That would be Fantastic!
Did he receive a callback to America’s Got Talent for the Wildcard show and are they flying him to New Jersey for rehearsals? That would be Fantastic!
Did he get picked up by an opera company and are they flying him in for training and rehearsals. That too would be Fantastic!
Did he audition for American Idol and is advancing in their preliminary rounds?
Then there is The Voice! Is he going into competition for that show?
So many possibilities…..
But the one that his adoring fans are hoping is the correct one is that he indeed will be called back as a wildcard on America’s Got Talent. And, of course, we are all waiting for that first album to be released so we can bathe ourselves in his heavenly voice as much as we want! Well, whatever the answer may be, Andrew has given Firefly permission to quote him as saying: “I haven’t slowed down and though I can’t give much away about my next step (and there is one trust me), just know that you haven’t seen the last of me.”
Hooray! Good News for everyone who is so taken by the evocative talent of this mesmerizing young artist.
More info on the Wildcard show to follow. (scroll up to see the post of 8/10/12).
August 6, 2012
“While respecting an opposing country’s national anthem is something you would expect any Olympic athlete to do, we know that is not always the case. Following one of his recent preliminary race’s in London, Usain Bolt was in the middle of an interview when the US National Anthem began playing as Sanya Richards-Ross was being presented with her gold medal. Bolt instantly stopped the interview — which was being aired live — to acknowledge the presentation and show respect for a fellow athlete.
For those of you who are thinking “what’s the big deal,” there are plenty of athletes who would just continue their interview without thinking twice about it. That doesn’t mean they would be disrespecting a fellow competitor or country intentionally, but the fact that Bolt didn’t think twice about it says a lot about his character. He may be cocky and even a bit clumsy at times, but Usain deserves credit for this classy gesture.” Steve Del
Portland Firefly salutes Bolt!!!
August 1, 2012
I had a marathon day of errands to run today. So about 1:30 I was pretty hungry and was just getting close to Costco. It has been years since I’ve had a greasy, cheesy, everything, yummy slice of Costco pizza. Well, today the fast ended! I must have been really hungry while out doing my errands because it tasted so yummy and went down so easily and quickly. Firefly was actually happy to stop for red lights so I could finish eating my lunch while driving to my next errand!
July 27, 2012
The Olympic Games begin in London today. Tonight at 7:30 pm PDT (6:30 CDT) and 5:30 (Hawaii) we will be able to see the opening ceremonies. Word is that these ceremonies will be stupendous to watch! So get your dinner and your drinks and get comfy in front of the TV while you oohhh and awwww over the beautiful things you will be seeing.
Another reason that Portlanders will be watching is because the United States Flag Bearer is two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Mariel Zagunis from Beaverton, Oregon. Beaverton is a close suburb of Portland and there is a world renown fencing training center here with olympic class instructors and students.
For one night, Mariel Zagunis will turn her laser-like fencing focus to another important task with the world watching. “I’m just going to focus on not tripping, not letting the flag touch the ground and doing everything right,” she said at a news conference Thursday. Her mother, Cathy Zagunis, a former olympian herself, who is a friend of Portland Firefly is very emotional about this honor bestowed on her daughter by her US Olympic Teammates. Since the flag bearer announcement only came 24 hours ago, Cathy had to scramble to get to London in time to view the opening ceremonies in person (which she hd not planned to do).
Mariel won her first Olympic Gold Medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics in Sabre Fencing. It was the first time in over 100 years that the United States won a medal in that category. Mariel went on to repeat her Gold Medal win four years later at the Beijing Olympics, thus bringing home more Gold for the American Fencing team. She is the most decorated woman fencer in history.
This year in London, 2012 will be her third try for Olympic Gold. We do expect her to achieve her golden goal again!! For more about beautiful Mariel, go to www.marielzagunis.com or check back here in a few days for another post on US Fencing!
July 25, 2012
Well, Portland Firefly owes all of my readers an apology; she is completely human. I really thought that the judges would give us their Wild Card choices tonight, but it seems that didn’t happen. With the exception, of course, of Sharon’s comment that she would call back the male clogging dance troupe of All That.
Oh, how I wanted the suspense to end tonight! Oh, how I wanted to hear that Andrew De Leon is going through to the Wild Card round!
Andrew De Leon fans…. we just have to wait! And it could be a long wait because the Olympics are now taking television center stage and America’s Got Talent will not return until Tuesday, August 14th, 2012. It’s just too long of a wait. I hope that Andrew doesn’t give up… that he continues practicing; because we know we will see him (somewhere) again soon! NBC cannot ignore the popularity and the ratings that this young man will bring to AGT.
When will we know if Andrew is going through to the Wild Card round? Currently, AGT has been promoting the YouTube video acts. Maybe they will be seen first on Aug 14th with the Wildcards coming in the next week on August 21st, 2012. Last year, the wildcards were announced only one week prior to appearing on TV. So at the latest, I think the Wild Cards will be announced on Wednesday, August 15th, 2012. In any event, we all must play the waiting game….
PS: In the past each judge chose 4 wild card acts to perform again for a total of 12 wild cards.
Scroll down to read additional posts that give you more information on Andrew De Leon.
July 24, 2012
A Stanford University physicist answering an ad for NASA Scientists, she was chosen to be the first Women Astronaut in Space. She passed away yesterday at age 61 from pancreatic cancer which she had for 17 months.
As a Flight Attendant, I once had Sally Ride on one of my flights. She was traveling in coach and looked exactly like her photographs. I remember thanking this very humble young woman for what she did and congratulating her on being the first American woman in space. The year was probably 1985 or so and she obliged this single mother by giving me her autograph for my children… Since I had collected several sports related autographs for my son, this one is addressed to my brilliant daughter.
In 2001, she founded Sally Ride Science, a which is aimed at promoting math and science for girls. One of her projects was to develop a camera that could fly aboard spacecraft and take pictures for middle-school students. The fruits of those efforts include EarthKAM on the International Space Station and MoonKAM on the GRAIL lunar probes.
“What might seem like just a cool activity for these kids may very well have a profound impact on their futures,” Ride said after the first student-requested MoonKAM pictures were released in March of this year.
“While she never enjoyed being a celebrity, she recognized that it gave her the opportunity to encourage children, particularly young girls, to reach their full potential,” Hawley, a friend of hers, said. “Sally Ride, the astronaut and the person, allowed many young girls across the world to believe they could achieve anything if they studied and worked hard. I think she would be pleased with that legacy.”
July 22, 2012
America’s Got Talent is having a special taping of two acts on Monday, July 23, 2012 because these two acts must perform outdoors. The performances will be shown on Tuesday, July 24th, 2012.
One is the Human Cannonball… I have nothing to say about that act.
The other is an amazing act called Earth Harp where the building, structure, theatre, etc. actually becomes part of the instrument. It was so awesome to the judges, that William Close was sent directly to New York (actually New Jersey). Somehow “going to New Jersey” just doesn’t have the same ring to it that “going to New York” has! Go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Awd72xG2cSo for his AGT LA audition.
Anyway I found a video of William Close playing his Earth Harp at Burning Man in 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1ad9_FNzVE This one is about 5 minutes long. He never mentioned his Burning Man experience, only stating that he “taught this (Earth Harp building) in schools.”
To get a better sense of the music as well as the Burning Man Experience go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX0Wv5HfIXg&feature=related This video is about 15 minutes long.
What is Burning Man? Well, it is unlike anything you have ever experienced before or will ever experience again… unless of course you attend again!
Held every August near Black Rock City, it is too hot for Portland Firefly. Burning Man is an annual art event and temporary community based on radical self-expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada which is about 110 miles north of Reno, Nevada. Burning Man begins the last Monday in August culminating on the first Monday in September (which coincides with our Labor Day Holiday).
You must buy a ticket and they go fast. It will be HOT, maybe a little cool at night. You must pack in everything that you will need for the duration of the ‘festival’ and carry it ALL back out (trash), because we want to leave the Playa as clean as we found it. That means food, water (although some can be had there), camping equipment, all necessities, including sunscreen, sand storm protection, hat, jacket, bicycle (for getting around the Playa), costumes (It’s a big party), and oh yes, an art car!!! There is no electricity unless you bring your own generator. This is camping at its rudimentary (and sometimes rudest) best.
Even though last year there were Fifty thousand participants, it is a very organized medium-sized city. You can see an aerial view, from a skydiver helmet cam, of Burning Man here: http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=QkTGbqL5t4o It’s cool!
Anyway, I think that William Close and his Earth Harp will be performing in New Jersey the end of August this year instead of performing at Burning Man!
July 19, 2012
Everyone wants to know…. When is America’s Got Talent Wild Card Show going to be held?
Well, Portland Firefly has done a little research and I believe that AGT’s Wild Card Show will be held Tuesday, August 14, 2012 with the results the next night, August 15th.
These are her reasons for arriving at that date:
First of all, last year, it was August 11th.
Secondly, this year there will be almost a three-week hiatus from July 25th (next weeks results show) until AGT again appears on TV August 14th.
This way, I imagine that the judges will ‘announce’ their Wild Card choices on Tuesday, July 25th. Personally, Firefly thinks the Wild Cards already know who they are and have officially known for a week or more. Sworn to secrecy, they need time to clear their schedules and prepare for their upcoming performances, so it makes sense that they would have been notified weeks ago. Also, what if one of the Wild Card choices decides NOT to return to AGT? That would be a huge embarrasment for NBC, the judges, and the show. So, trust me, they are notified way ahead of time.
Andrew De Leon by Lauren Buitte, Artist.
What does this all mean for our Favorite… Andrew De Leon???
We all know that Sharon was so devastated by what Firefly has titled the ‘Judges Plea Bargain’ (scroll down to see Portland Firefly’s post of July 9, 2012), that as she sat wringing her hands, she could not even raise her doe-like eyes to look at Andrew as Howie gently sent him home to the safety of the warmth and love of Austin.
Well, we already know that he has not been wasting time. We know that he has been singing; but how much, Firefly hasn’t a clue. Except we do know that Andrew sings every single day, usually a minimum of two hours.
Portland Firefly’s personal weblog experience indicates that people are using all possible search engines (Google, Bing,Yahoo, AOL, etc) hungry for more information about Andrew De Leon and his blossoming career.
Firefly wonders if Andrew even knows that AGT received their highest ratings the two times Andrew appeared on the show. Yes, he is certainly someone who commands high ratings… and not just in the TV Ratings game… but for his phenomenal singing as well! NBC, AGT and others will not overlook Andrew’s ratings effect which translates to $$dollars$$ for the network.
PS: Please note that on July 25th, 2012, Portland Firefly has written a more recent post with her new prediction of the wild cards being announced either August 7th, but more probably on August 14th with the wild card show to be held the following Tuesday, August 21. Go that date for more info….
July 16, 2012
Portland Firefly received a few comments on her post about the AGT Judges Plea Bargain. She has been under the weather (chemo sick) for a few days and intends to completely respond to the comments within the next day or so. Please remember that post was Firefly’s personal opinion discerned by her observation of the events that transpired over several nights. I hold to my discernment opinions. Only time will truly tell. But we have not seen the last of handsome Andrew De Leon!
Picture used by permission of the artist, Lauren Buitte. She is talented, too!!!
July 11, 2012
If you watched last night’s AGT, you heard the exchange between Howard and Howie. Sharon wisely kept her mouth closed during this ‘Made for TV Ratings” battle. For that is all it was.
Now Howard has changed his tune! He is saying that Big Barry doesn’t deserve to go through. He makes it seem that Howie wanted Big Barry in the quarter finals. NOT TRUE! Howard is the one who pushed for Big Barry to go to the New Jersey PAC stage. Now Howard is backtracking and trying to mollify everyone in the United States by saying that Big Barry took the place of one of the more talented contestants like Andrew De Leon or Flo Jo’s Daughter (Mary Joyner). Howard is so full of it! Perhaps, Firefly should say Howard is so full of Howard that he has no room to entertain any other opinions except his own. Oh, he knows how to get ratings… even if it means lying, which now Firefly sees that he is quite capable of doing on a large-scale. No humility for him, no apologies made by that egotistical judge.
Anyway look at Andrew De Leon’s Austin Audition (http://www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent/video/andrew-de-leon/1404950) and when you do, please notice how Andrew and Howard are practically dressed identically!!!! Both completely in black.. tight black jeans, black tee-shirt with a black leather jacket! Howard has long curly hair and Andrew has long straight hair. Then Howard wears dark glasses while Andrew wears dark eyeshadow! It gives the same effect. Yet Howard is as rude as can be to polite Andrew, who just deflects the insults that Howard keeps hurling at him. Yes, Andrew is my hero. Howard is a coward. Exactly what makes one so capable of attacking another human being so ruthlessly? Whatever happened to kindness and civility?
The only good thing about last night’s AGT is that the word Wild Card was mentioned. Now I’m sure that Andrew De Leon and Mary Joyner will both be called back for the AGT Wild Card episode, but will they be available???? American Idol is currently having auditions around the United States. Hummmmm………
July 9, 2012
Drawing by Dawn Dinosaur
As a disclaimer, this post is Portland Firefly’s own personal opinion. I promised to write more about this and so here I am keeping that promise.
America’s Got Talent. Las Vegas. Andrew De Leon. The most hauntingly beautiful song I have ever heard ~ Zdes’ Khorosho. Three judges, hired for their personalities and ability to keep ratings up while doing their job.
By now we all know what happened. You can go to this link if you want to see it again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9O5Dhl_RmY
Firefly already addressed the issue of Andrew being dehydrated (did you count how many times he licks his lips in the short video?) in a previous post, so we won’t talk about that anymore here. (Scroll down to read the prior posts).
I will be addressing the comments and actions of the judges: Howie (Mandell), Sharon (Osbourne) and Howard (Stern).
Andrew enters the Las Vegas stage, full aware of the importance this particular performance will have on his advancing in the AGT competition. He smiles, tries to read the judges…they are poker faced. I love the red and black he is wearing; his hair, now slightly longer, and make-up are perfect and suit him as they should. This young man knows who he is and will not be swayed by others wanting to change his outward appearances. Good for him; and good for his family for standing by him.
The music begins; expectations are high all the way around; Andrew begins singing. He glances at the judges ~ no reaction. This is the young man who visibly relaxed when he received a positive reaction from the Austin audience and judges during his first appearance. This time, there is no audience, and no reaction from the stone-faced judges. My stalwart hero continues singing, one last furtive glance toward the judges table ~ looking for some sort of approbation. There is none. He experiences some difficulty as his vocal chords tighten up. Andrew De Leon has an amazing vocal range and he goes for the high note. Firefly likes it… but it is a struggle to reach and Andrew knows it. The struggle readily shows on his expressive face. (He should try to learn the phrase “Never let them see you sweat’). Bravely and admirably he stands until the music ends. He is ready for the critique.
Kindly, Howie asks if it is nerves. Andrew answers, ” My nerves. Yes, absolutely.” Sharon is close to tears. She, like so many others recognizes his phenomenal talent and is clearly disappointed ~ for him as well as for herself. Andrew leaves the stage saying “If I’m not pleased with my performance, how can I expect them to be?” His hopes and expectations are beginning to fall as he tries to process why and how this performance went wrong, which direction this might go and where it will take him. A path he didn’t expect to take will be the result.
In reality, his vocal performance was not bad at all; it was beautiful (how could it not be with that amazing voice!) and superior to those of many others. Go back and listen to it again. Firefly is again moved by the depth of feeling that Andrew conveys. One concern that Firefly has is that the way this particular song is written, there are long periods where no words are sung, which gives one the opportunity to feel transported by the scene set by the lyrics and the music of the composer. I doubt if Howard could ever ‘get’ that concept.
Then the judges deliberations begin…. Howard (living up to his last name - stern), ruthlessly attacks Andrew’s performance. Sharon says they should ignore what just happened and put him through to New York anyway. Howie is thoughtfully taking it all in, his mind working to consider different options.
Cut to the end of the episode. The three judges are sitting around a table looking at photographs discussing their possible decisions. I see Howard pick up a photo and say “Please, just give me this guy in honor of my first season as a judge.” Firefly thinks it is a picture of Big Barry – the short older singer that Howard interacted with onstage episodes earlier. Big Barry does end up going to New York.
And Andrew De Leon, the Goth Opera Singer is eliminated. But… here is the key… In the ‘send home speech’ Howie says, “You have a gift. I suggest you hone that gift.” Sharon, wringing her hands, cannot even raise her eyes to see this beautiful 19-year-old man standing before her. I can’t stand Howard right now. For this is unfair and all of America knows it… except Howard Stern.
Firefly imagines The Plea Bargain conversation went something like this…
Howard says “He didn’t practice or sing in public. He is still very nervous, and doesn’t deserve to go through. “Sharon says, “He is so unique and such a talent that we should overlook this case of nerves and send him through.” Then I believe it was thoughtful Howie who came up with what Firefly shall call “The Plea Bargain”.
Howie speaks, ” Andrew is a unique and an extraordinary talent and he deserves to go to New York. But he does need some more practice and some more ‘live performance experience’. We still have our Wild Cards choices to make.” Sharon says, “We cannot do this to him. We cannot give him this extreme disappointment.” Howard, with great bravado interrupts stating, ” Well, I’m voting, NO!” Sharon softly and sweetly says, ” You are only one judge, there are three of us. You do not make all the decisions.” Howie, wanting what is best for Andrew and wanting to smooth the waters, comes up with the solution. ”Lets give Howard Big Barry.” “We will encourage Andrew to practice and get more performance experience. This way he cannot be eliminated in the first several rounds. Then, Sharon, you call Andrew back as your Wild Card. He will have been protected from early elimination and this will automatically put him into the semi-finals when he will have hopefully gained more performance confidence. He will have time to ’hone’ this amazing talent of his.”
And so, Andrew being returned to the love and warmth of Austin is a good thing— hopefully a blessing in disguise. If he uses this time wisely, and Firefly believes that he is, then he will be unbeatable when he returns to New York (actually New Jersey). Portland Firefly figures that he has only another 3 weeks to ‘hone’ his craft; perfect the 5 arias he will need to go on to win, and develop more stage confidence before he is called back to New York as the AGT Wild Card. Firefly actually thinks that Andrew is confident on stage; one only need to look at his two AGT videos. He firmly needs to internalize that confidence. He needs to ‘go to the zone’ each time, as he did just before that first performance in Austin. He has the gift, he has the skills, he has the support of many who have never met him as well as his many fan clubs. And he must continue to protect his voice.
And so, If you were upset when Andrew De Leon was sent home from AGT’s Las Vegas episode, have heart. Portland Firefly firmly believes that this is truly a blessing in disguise for him. I just want him to practice and sing in public as often as he can!!! Oh, by the way, AGT had its highest ratings for the Austin Audition Episode. The second highest ratings were the night Andrew went home from Vegas. Andrew’s YouTube Austin Audition has over 2 1/2 million hits. Trust me, NBC cannot overlook the appeal of this young man. NBC is, after all, all about ratings!
PS: Dawn Dinosaur is one of Andrew’s bigget fans and gave Portland Firefly permission to use this ‘adorable’ drawing of Andrew. It really captures his spirit and I think it is very good. Well Done, Dawn!
July 2, 2012
Well here is another photo of Andrew! He has just finished singing in Austin and is looking toward his family as they applaud and cheer for him.
In his Austin Audition song of O Mio Babbino Caro by Puccini he received a standing ovation from everyone in the auditorium and he was sent to perform for the three judges in Las Vegas.
He actually sang pretty well in Vegas, but the judges were very harsh in their evaluation of him and sent him home. More about that in a later post.
I would like to tell you a few things about flying to Las Vegas. First of all, flying is one of the most stressful activities that one can do. Especially in today’s world of personally invasive TSA (airport security) searches. I have flown extensively for many, many years. I am very comfortable in airports and on airplanes. But TSA and the security searches have taken the fun out of flying. Even Professional, Emotionally Strong Firefly was actually reduced to tears at LAX Security Screening after a humiliating pat down a few years ago.
Anyway, Andrew had never even been in an airport much less on an airplane before he was sent to perform in Las Vegas. Realizing the magnitude of how important this Vegas performance was to his advancing in the AGT competition, you know he was nervous. Now, he gets to navigate the vicissitudes of the Austin airport (thank goodness, it wasn’t Dallas!!!). Check in, check bags, get boarding pass, proceed to security, take computer, iPod and make up out of bag, take off hat, shoes, belt, jewelry, jacket and then pass through the metal detector/body scanner. Now you have to remember to reclaim all your items and repack and get dressed all over again! This time in public view!
Now you get to head toward your gate. Thirsty? A bottle of water will cost you more than a soda at the airport. What would you purchase? Right! What seasoned travellers do is to take an empty water bottle through security, then fill it up for free at the water fountain next to the restrooms. You are already dehydrated from getting up early, all the excitement of the upcoming events, the drive to the airport, and standing in numerous lines. So hydrate!!!
Now you get to sit in the gate area waiting for your seat section to be called to board the aircraft. Finally you see the Flight Attendant at the gate and give her your boarding pass, schlep down the jetway, and finally cross the threshold of the craft. Where is my seat? Oh! Ok, It’s row 12, seat B. Hummmm. I hope it’s not a center seat. Ugh, it is a center seat. You stow your bag in the overhead and sit down and figure out the unfamiliar seat belt latch as it is different than car seat belt latches. Now its time for the F/A Safety demo, the plane leaves the gate, and finally is in line for take off. Take off is awesome, thrilling, powerful and exciting.
I suspect that his flight had to make a stop in Dallas, possibly with a plane change to Vegas but I hope not.
Did you know that the air on the plane is recirculated and very, very dry. No moisture at all. If someone near you is coughing, in three days you will probably get whatever it is they had. I always take Airborne and echinacea WHENEVER I fly. I can’t afford to catch anything at this time of my life. And neither can Andrew.
Did you know that you dehydrate one cup of water for each hour of flight? That is why you should only drink water when flying. And you should consume one glass of water for each hour of flight. Coffee, Tea, Alcohol, and Sodas all cause further dehydration. If you must have some flavor in your water, then mix half water with half juice — too much sugar in juice to drink alone! Especially airplane juices!
Just what does happen when your body becomes dehydrated? Your brain and your muscles dehydrate and your brain cannot think as well. Did you realize that vocal cords are muscles? I think that is why so many of the singers had ‘difficulty’ in Las Vegas. I think they were all dehydrated! They had dry stiff vocal cords. Add to that the hot, dry, dusty Vegas air; throw in some musty air-conditioning and it is amazing that anyone can sing in Vegas at all!
Finally you arrive in Las Vegas…. The Desert Oasis that is powered by gambling and neon lights. It will be hotter and drier than you can imagine. Vegas is also very dusty and many people have an allergy to dust and don’t even realize it. More problems for some.
Well, I think that the reason so many of the singers had difficulty in their Las Vegas performances is because their bodies, which are their instruments after all, were not hydrated. Vocal cords are muscles and need to be well hydrated to vibrate properly. If you add hot, dry, dusty desert air and nervousness to the mix, then there you are with the makings of a less than stellar performance.
But we are still enamoured of Andrew’s unique talent and know that he will do well when he is called back for the Wild Card round in New Jersey. I figure he has about 4 weeks to perfect 5 arias and get some well-grounded live performance experience before he is invited to report to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center for the Wild Card show. No time to waste, Andrew! Study and Practice and Perform like never before! We all want you to succeed!
PS: Check back at www.PDXFirefly.com for more about Andrew. Scroll down a little ways for two other posts about this remarkablely likeable phenomenon that is Andrew De Leon!
July 1, 2012
The CA-125 is the tumor marker test for Ovarian Cancer. Portland Firefly has Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma, the aggressive, deadly sister to Ovarian Cancer.
Firefly has been doing great and her spirits are high. I still feel good, have very few symptoms, have some energy, my color is pretty good (not ashen grey). My hair has grown back to below my ears! My dark blond locks are now a stunning grey which my family and friends refuse to allow me to color! The problem is that this cancer continues to grow ~ yes, even while I have been on chemo these last 5 months.
But… do not be dismayed by this news; Firefly is not dismayed and shall explain the reasons to you now.
A normal CA-125 is 35 or below (0 -35). Firefly’s CA-125 in March, 2009 (three and a half years ago) before my first chemo was 3000. Currently my last result was the highest it has ever been 4854. Again, be not dismayed. Read on….
8/26/11 CA-125 was 19
11/28/11 jump to 668 Chemo/ Carboplatin
12/29/11 down some to 263 Chemo/ Carboplatin
1/26/12 142 Chemo/ Doxil
2/23/12 up again to 529 Chemo/ Doxil
3/27/12 422 Chemo/ Doxil
4/27/12 430 Chemo/ Doxil
5/28/12 skyrocket to 1153 Doctor ill til September; no chemo
6/11/12 tripled again to 3231 New Doctor, new chemo Gemzar
6/28/12 up again 4854 Chemo next week
Some of those numbers look scary but Portland Firefly is not disheartened. (Remember, I look good and feel good). Now I’ll explain while you look at the numbers above.
The CA-125 has been a VERY GOOD indicator for Firefly in the past. Doxil ( a drug that I was on last summer and again January through May of 2012) can change that indicator to being less reliable.
The 2/23/12 jump (from 142 to 529) was very disconcerting for Firefly, because it went up while on chemo, something that I had never experienced before.
Then the rise on 5/28/12 to 1153 indicated the Doxil was not working anymore and it was time to change Chemo drugs as the cancer had obviously changed. My Doctor became ill at this point and I had to wait almost two weeks to see another Doctor and schedule my next chemo.
We drew another CA-125 just before the chemo poison started flowing into Firefly’s Warrior Body on 6/12/12 with the result of 3231. This Cancer wants to devour my body!
Now, three weeks later, after the chemo Gemzar, Firefly’s Ca-125 has reached an all-time high of 4854!!!!! But wait, that is good news! Good news??? Yes, good news. This WAS an increase, but only a slight increase… not a double or triple as it had been in the past few months. And that means that the Gemzar is slowing the growth of the cancer! See? Good News!
So we will continue to pray that the chemo continues to work magnificently because I want, no, I need to have at least another 3 years. I want my precious Grandbabies to know me well enough to hopefully remember me. I never told anyone this before, (not even their parents) but they both have my eyes…
June 26, 2012
I love this photo of Andrew; don’t you?
And the song he sang was totally, hauntingly beautiful. Firefly now knows that it is a Russian Art Song called Zdes’ khorosho or “How Far This Spot” by Rachmaninov.
Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9O5Dhl_RmY
And the lyrics:
Zdes’ khorosho… Vzgljani, vdali Ognjom gorit reka; Cvetnym kovrom luga legli, Belejut oblaka.
Zdes’ net ljudej… Zdes’ tishina… Zdes’ tol’ko Bog da ja. Cvety, da staraja sosna, Da ty, mechta moja!
Andrew starts singing the second line in Russian which would be the second verse in English.
“How fair this spot”
It’s beautiful here…
Look, in the distance
the river gleams like fire;
the meadows are like a colourful carpet,
white clouds sail above.
There is no one here…
here silence reigns…
here I am alone with God ,
the flowers and the ancient pine
and you, my dream.
Firefly also thinks that his make up was superb! But why is she not surprised by that!!
March 10, 2012
N.E.D. stand for No Evidence of Disease. A place that Firefly will probably never achieve. It also is the name of a rocking ROCK BAND composed of talented Doctors! Not just any type of doctor, but Gynecological Oncologists! The type of doctor that manages patients with Ovarian Cancer. These six doctor/musicians come from all over the United States; in fact one of them practices with my doctor and I have spoken to him on occasion.
The band’s acronym N.E.D., which stands for No Evidence of Disease, introduces a deeper, more substantive influence on the band’s music, for each of the six band members are also practicing gynecological oncologists. As physicians, they treat diseases that affect some 90,000 women each year and that result in 30,000 deaths annually. Six Degrees, their newest album, simultaneously solidifies the band’s musicianship (Oregon Music News says N.E.D. would “certainly make it as musicians and songwriters full-time, if that was what they wanted”) while bringing them to the forefront of an awareness movement that is seeking to break through a wall of silence surrounding gynecologic cancer.
On a deeper level, Dancing with N.E.D. is fundamentally about the women who are diagnosed with gynecologic cancer and the life-altering effects of the disease, including the prospect of dying before having children or having to choose their life over having children. Of those fortunate enough to have children, many will die before having the opportunity to see them grow up. The documentary, set to be completed in November, 2011, depicts the heart-wrenching journeys of these women through sadness, anger, fear and hope, all the while having both their physical endurance and emotional courage tested to the limits.
In a final overlap between their music and fascinating backstory, N.E.D. is officially part a non-profit foundation in Portland, OR, called Marjie’s Fund, which is named after a Portland artist and musician who died of uterine cancer in 2007. The fund is committed to raising awareness about gynecologic cancers and providing monies for research in this area. All proceeds from the bands’ endeavors go directly to the fund.
Ultimately, the story of N.E.D. is the tale of the dual lives of six individuals who seek to bring well-being and hope to their patients while collectively writing music that expresses the toughest challenges universally faced by everyone. Fortunately, for patients and fans alike, it is a dual-role N.E.D. pulls off exceptionally well.
N.E.D. returns to Portland, OR, on Saturday, March 10 for what promises to be a great follow-up to their rousing performance at the Aladdin Theater last year. Once again, the band will be playing at the Aladdin. Doors open at 7:00pm, with the show kicking off at 8:00pm. Advance tickets are available now for $25 through Ticketmaster. Day of show tickets are $28.
December 29, 2011
Well, my cute little ball of fluff likes to sleep a lot. Usually when I am working at the computer, she will beg to sit on my lap and other times she just wants to curl up in her extra bed in the office and take a nap. When she naps, Mercedes tucks her head down so the light doesn’t bother her eyes!
So today, there she is napping away. I have heard her make little sounds and little barks and growls while sleeping so I know that she is dreaming. But today she did something I have never heard or seen. Picture this…. my little white ball of fluff is all curled up in her little bed sound asleep and there is no sound but the sound of her tail wagging as it hits the floor repeatedly! Then the wagging gets faster, then slows, then gets faster again! She is such a happy little doggie! She even has happy dreams!
November 8, 2011
The asteroid 2005 YU55, which is wider than an
aircraft carrier, will pose no threat when it makes a close pass by Earth.
Check out how to catch all the action.
Whew! Looks like we dodged the bullet on that one!