My Taylor/Gray Mindset…Seasons of Change

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taylormindset.jpgTaylor Hicks and Gray Charles.

A year ago those names didn’t ring even the smallest bell for me.

What a difference a year makes, huh?

Next month marks the beginning of Season 6 of American Idol. I can’t believe the insanity is about to start again.

I had not even planned to watch American Idol this past year.

I certainly didn’t plan to fall head-over-heels in crush with a gray-haired singer from Alabama…

or to be sucked into the semi-cult of the Soul Patrol…

or to write hundreds of comments on a blog run by a guy I would later call Gray…

or to spend more money than I could afford on text messages, phone calls, ticket buying, travel expenses, etc…

or to start a blog that would end up featuring a logo of a monkey/robot…

or to make and sell t-shirts with said logo…

or to record a Christmas homage to Mr. Hicks…

or…to make so many new friends.

Yeah…it’s been quite a year.

I remember when 2006 was shiny and new…and I first saw Taylor and I first learned of Gray Charles. Boy…I had nary a clue of what was about to happen in my life.

With Taylor…I have run the gamut of emotions…from intrigued to fascinated to impressed to obsessed to crushed to humbled to wowed.

Yet…even now…after having gone through so many different feelings about Taylor Hicks…I have to admit that he’s still a very compelling character in my life. And, in a bizarro, weirdo (probably stalkerish) way, I feel like…even though we’ve never met…that I’m his friend…not that he’s my friend…but that I am his.

I’ve supported him and rooted for him and encouraged him and defended him. My fangirl crush…though still somewhat sparked each time I see him perform (or smile)…is outweighed by my intellect. I know we’ll never meet or actually be friends…and I guess I’m okay with that. Well…accept for the small part of me that always enjoys sitting down and visiting with someone I care about over a cup of coffee…or a beer.

As for Gray…my emotions have run just as crazy a gamut. I began the year scared and intimidated by our little mystery man. Since then, I’ve revered him and been totally and thoroughly pissed off at him. I’ve been friends with him and, now, friendly acquaintances. My only steadfast emotion toward Gray has been irritation…as I’m sure has been his toward me. But, honestly…that irritation (most of it tongue in cheek) has only worked to make the year all the more fun.

I can honestly say that…Gray Charles still totally fascinates me. I still seek his approval on my writing…my thoughts…whatever. Perhaps my need for Gray’s approval stems from me never having an older sibling to try to gain the respect of…at least that’s how it feels. I admire so much of what Gray has accomplished that I look up to him and hope he sees the same potential in me. That’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a guy who just wanted to run a successful blog…but…there it is. Good or bad.

Yet despite these loony emotions, I really have grown and come to a better appreciation of who I am…and what Taylor and Gray mean to me.

Sure, I’d like to be able to sit down with Taylor and interview him…or better yet…sing a duet with him…(oh…and I wouldn’t turn down a date)…but in all honesty, I’ve gained a huge sense of reality concerning all matters Taylor Hicks. He’s nothing more to me than a celebrity now…and any hope or thought I had about getting to know him or talk with him is totally out of my realm of reason. This makes me sad…but..I take great comfort in knowing that he’s making supreme efforts through Gray Charles to stay in touch with his fan base. That really means a lot.

I’m also thrilled with the fact that his CD is soon to be released. I didn’t think I would anticipate this album as much as I do. I was expecting a watered-down version of his pre-AI days…but, with the taste I’ve gotten thus far, this album promises to really please.

And ol’ Gray? Well…yeah…I still get pissed when he doesn’t respond to my e-mails…but I can at least deal with it like a rational person now. I’ve had my time in the sun with him and with GC.com…and it really was Camelot for a while.

I literally had all the wind knocked out of me when GC.com went offline. But I soon realized…all good things must come to an end.

The site now, since it’s been back online, is still very enjoyable. Sure…the magic of what was has shifted into a new kind of energy…not a bad energy…just a different one. The good thing is that, with these changes, I’ve been able to temper my visit time to his site…which has allowed me to enjoy the music he shares even more and to put time toward my own blog. It really is a relief to not worry about always trying to make the pithiest, most insightful comment. (I remember the days when I would stay up until 2 a.m. to write performance reviews and then hold my eyelids open as I waited for responses to trickle in. I ate it up like freakin’ candy.)

But now, I’m happy and content to share a thought or two at Gray’s. And if no one comments (which is usually the case)…I can cope…and get to bed earlier.

I do miss my exchanges with Gray though…they were the most fun. But I guess you can’t go home again.

Yeah…I guess I’m settling down from my Taylor Hicks/Gray Charles high. The euphoria was grand while it lasted…but there’s something soothing in knowing that I don’t need that high anymore. I just need Taylor and GC.com…sans expectations beyond entertainment.

It’s been a good year. And I have a singer and a blogger to thank for it.

I don’t fully know what to expect from 2007…but I can’t imagine it topping 2006…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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59 Responses to “My Taylor/Gray Mindset…Seasons of Change”

  1. mouser Says:

    Your comments regarding your growth during 2006 as it pertains to Taylor are so very, very on point. It could/should be the feelings of all of us. We have not conceived this young man, but we have influenced his life to a hugh extend and he has influenced ours. Kudos .

    With regard to Gray Charles, I too enjoy his wit and his snarky remarks and his place as a Taylor depository, but he is still just a fan of Taylors as we all are. He is a FAN and I am a fan. Good guy, good job, but not on the same plane as Taylor. Sorry Gray.

  2. double d Says:

    Shel – I get ya. I wrote this exact line at Gray’s just Wednesday:

    “I guess you can’t go home again.”

    It was after I tried to make a joke about Duck Tape, which got the shackles of some of them up and then I had to explain it and Gray is right…it’s just not funny when you have to explain it.

    Right there, at that point, I felt old. Unwanted and un-needed. So I ran over here and asked for validation which Shrew and NOLA gladly provided (with much needed comic relief). Thanks, guys.

    I’ve noticed that Gray is generally a few weeks ahead of where I am on the “rollercoaster” and I see that he mostly posts at MJ’s now, so maybe that’s where he feels that he can “be himself”. I think he likes it here but with work constraints most of us can’t provide a running dialogue and I think that, like Taylor, Gray’s a little ADD — needs instant and constant interaction.

    Anywho, I continue to go Gray’s for Taylor fodder and come here mainly for entertainment. I haven’t laughed so much over a year’s time than I have this year….thanks in an odd way to Taylor Hicks. Who’d a thunk it?

    Not to be the sad clown (that would be Shelley’s title) but this has all assisted me greatly in getting through a pretty difficult “patch” in my life and I’m very grateful for it.

    Shel- I’m glad you’re doing this blog and hope you continue for a long time. You da bestest!

  3. nolagirl Says:

    I know you must feel better now, getting that all out, Shelley. Kinda like a little journaling. πŸ™‚

    It has been a crazy year hasn’t it? On top of the post-Katrina craziness and relationship drama that I was already dealing with, I am amazed I had time to fit in Idol and Taylor! (truth be told, I think Idol, then Taylor, are just what made me stay sane through all of it!)

    More later … work is calling …

  4. leejolem Says:

    Wow, who knew that one man on a reality tv show could affect so many of us so powerfully? Shelley, your comments struck a chord with me for sure. I still haven’t really accepted the fact that I will never meet Taylor and develop a friendship with him. After reading your words I don’t feel so goofy saying that. Yeah, a little sad, but not insane. I know I just started posting on here recently, but all you guys have made me realize that there are other intelligent, funny women out there who have incorporated Taylor into their lives. I wish I had been around here earlier, but I’m really enjoying getting to know y’all now. I feel like a kid that starts at a new school mid-year. I’ve missed out on 1/2 the rollercoaster ride.

    Shelley, thanks for the heartfelt words!!!!!!!!!
    p.s. What the heck does Gray look like and how old is he?

  5. leejolem Says:

    I forgot, Double D , you are not unwanted or unneeded. I scan thru the comments to find your name because I always enjoy your postings. Some people just take life too seriously!!!!

  6. Holeigh Says:

    Wonderful post, Shelley. I can’t add anything else to it, so I won’t try, for fear of ruining the sentiments! πŸ™‚

    For me, all of this crazy came right as my second semester of college started, and I really needed it and all of you great people. I can’t believe all that we’ve been through, but I couldn’t have picked a better group of gals to join the ride, hehe.

    Here’s to a great 2007, even if it may pale in comparison to ’06. πŸ™‚

  7. Squeebee Says:

    Shelley, my sentiments echo yours in many ways. This whole ride , for me, has gradually been becoming less about Taylor, and more about the dear friends I have met in this crazy process.

    The theme of this year can be summed up in one word for me…REAL. I think the reason Taylor has accumulated such a loyal fanbase is because he is REAL. He was just a normal guy looking to catch a break so he could do what he loved and make a living at it. I and many others were drawn to this, in my opinion, because we are in the same point in our lives.

    The theme continues with you, Shelley. You are REAL. You lay it all out there, foibles and all, unapoligetic. I LOVE that, and REAL people are drawn to that. I think that is why we have such a great little community here. So thanks to you, for being a great example, and letting us all be REAL too.

    Whatever this new year holds, I really hope that we all keep in touch, even as all the Taylor buzz dies down(or maybe doesn’t die down??). I really appreciate each and every one of you here!

  8. double d Says:

    Squee…great post.

    Hey, back to the endorsement thread of yesterday…maybe Taylor should do Coke commercials by bringing back

    The Real Thing

  9. nolagirl Says:

    DD – I thought of that yesterday! It could be “The Soul Thing” or “The Right Place” or just the original “The Real Thing” … ahh, the possibilities!

  10. nolagirl Says:

    Going back to our khaki discussion for a moment, this is a great read!

    What Women Want Their Men To Wear

    And bringing it back to Taylor, I found it interesting that the highest percentage for what style would make a man “bed-worthy” is the “He just doesn’t give a damn” type. Can we say fugly shirts? πŸ˜‰

  11. baby duck Says:

    Shelley, I could say the same as much of what you write.

    I’m a little too old and a little too married to want a date with Taylor, but I find it interesting how many of us who followed him throughout the AI5 season see him as a friend. I could envision him coming through the door, flopping down on the couch, making himself at home, and interacting with the family as though he belonged. Of course I know this won’t happen, a fact that is driven home when I hear him in interviews say he talks to his brother, Sean, once a week or two, or that he’s spoken with Elliot once since the end of the tour. These are his family and acquaintances, and if he’s too busy for them, well then I don’t see him stopping by here anytime soon. (But, Taylor, the door is always open.)

    I’m a little wistful when it comes to graycharles. I was practically dancing on my desktop when the site was resurrected. And while I still go there every day, it’s mostly to get the latest news and links that gray posts. Now that there’s so many more comments, I don’t know… the vibe is different. I’ve gotten to where I scroll faster and faster, not seeing the posters I’ve come to admire and learn from. Shelley, you keep his blog alive and witty and moving every time you post there, yet I see you less and less. I’m missing the articulate, witty, even snarky contributors. Double D, I can count on you for a comment worth stopping at… I even learned something about ductape. (that’s the way I say it, and it cuts down on any controversy. Or just refer to the handyman’s friend. Real ductape users will know what you mean.)

    I got so annoyed one day, I took the time to count how many comments were actually adding something to the post. Yes, I really do have a life and better things to do with it, but ya know, when I’m annoyed I try and figure out what the problem is. The first step is to make sure it’s not just my imagination. Upshot: out of 2 hundred and something, there were 142 that were in the “Yeah, I agree, back acha, good post, word” category, and a paltry few hash marks in the “Now that was worth my time” column. S’alright, s’ok, new kind of energy. It’s gray’s blog and he can moderate it as he sees fit. He’s doing an incredible balancing act with the diverse expectations from site visitors.

    But that’s where Monkbot division comes in for me. Here I am, late to the party, and you’ve all treated me with respect and tolerance. I can count on finding humor, warmth, and intelligence here in just the right mix. Thanks for continuing the magic, shelley!

  12. Jax Says:

    Shelley,

    You have such a way with words, I first read this at 3:00am (started to post.. glad I waited), I felt like you were reading my mind. I had been feeling a bit “down in thd dumps” about the whole subject. Now I realized it’s just a transition. The beginning of a new phase. Thanks to you we will be on the bus that follows Taylor from venue to venue .. Of course our bus is way cool .. Good friends, good music, good food and drink and did I mention .. Good Friends.

    I too am a bit down because I will not have that experience, that alot did during the tour, of actually being able to speak to Taylor & let him know how important he has been in my life this year, and who he brought into my life to share this wonderful wonderful ride.

    Will Taylor’s tour come anywhere near me? If Taylor was reading this I would ask him to check out the Florida Theater in Jacksonville, Fl … It’s a beautiful place .. still has an orchestra pit .. acoustics are to die for .. I grew up there .. my Grandfather was senior projectionist .. Many many talented musicians have played there & loved it.

    Gray? I miss him .. I know he is busy & how he does all that he does with a full time job & a family I have no idea. I hope TPTB extend his contract past December … I hope Taylor makes this happen. But I still miss him, yes, there have been times that I wanted to pinch his little head off of his shoulders but I miss him. At the same time I miss the old Graycharles. I, like y’all read GC everyday .. post occasionally, only to be lost in the shuffle. However, having said that .. I am really thrilled with his success .. But I too, sometimes think that in some way we should be part of what is remembered there .. No matter how great the site… without the support of the readers & posters GC would have been just another blog. Taylor hasn’t forgotten us.. Has Gray?

    DD, I feel so bad that I did not post a response to you the other day.. I was having the same sort of day… feeling like the kid that did not get picked for the games at recess … I should have kicked myself in the butt & posted my support of you. I remember reading everything you wrote at GC & being THRILLED when we talked in chat… BTW I felt the same way about all of you ( I will not try to name names.. y’all saw me fail at that lol)… I was hanging with the “cool kids” lol. I laughed so hard. I had friends to share this ride with … Thanks to all of you that helped make it such a blast.

    Shelley — thank you for taking the time & using your talent to create such a wonderful haven .. The friends can still gather & not have to wave at each other across a crowded noisy room. Do I wish you the numbers that go to GC’s? Yes I do, but only if you wish it too. How did I find this post at 3AM? Well it popped up in my Google Alerts… how danged cool is that?

    I hope I have not rambled .. well too much.. I can’t wait for the next leg of our journey together .. We will watch a truly talented, wonderful young man realized his dream and know that we had a part in putting that smile on his face .. Imagine if you will, an entire audience singing his songs back to him .. how humbled he will be by it.

    Much love to each & everyone of you!

  13. Squeebee Says:

    Jax…ask and ye shall recieve…check out Gray’s! Lucky duck!

  14. Jax Says:

    Oh My Goodness!!!!! Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
    Cannot believe it!!!!!!!
    Woooooooooooooooooooooooo

    Ummm did I ever tell y’all that this place is on the “Haunted Jacksonville” tour? ummmmm and that they tell people that it is my Grandfather that is the ghost???

    Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
    Who is coming????????????????????

  15. daunchan Says:

    Jax,
    You get your wish!!!! 2/21 at the Florida Theater!!!
    Jax is home to me. I wish I could be there that day for Taylor’s opening performance at the Florida.
    But that is a Wednesday and I will be at work on the other side of Florida.

  16. Gray Charles Says:

    I’ve noticed that Gray is generally a few weeks ahead of where I am on the “rollercoaster” and I see that he mostly posts at MJ’s now, so maybe that’s where he feels that he can “be himself”. I think he likes it here but with work constraints most of us can’t provide a running dialogue and I think that, like Taylor, Gray’s a little ADD — needs instant and constant interaction.

    – Look for an onset of depression in two weeks. And, yes on the ADD

    Taylor hasn’t forgotten us.. Has Gray?

    – Nope

    I would like to address a few things. Obviously the site is different. I don’t like it as much – I can assure you that no one misses it more than me. Still, it is what it is and without the “backing” I wouldn’t be doing it at all.

    Absolutely the site was about Taylor but it wouldn’t have been anything without the community. I think everyone recognizes that.

    Is it less substantial now? Of course – but no amount of moderating or suggesting is gonna control that one.

    Shelley, I’m glad you’re here. My take on it is that the reason you posted so frequently on GC was that you needed an outlet for your creativity. Now you’ve got one of your own – use it, you’re doing a great job.

    One thing I don’t understand. Jax says “Taylor hasn’t forgotten us, has Gray?” – I want to be clear on something and not to toot my own horn but just to put it out there. All that “interaction” all that “addressing questions” – that was ME making that happen. It wasn’t some grand part of a Taylor Hicks strategy. It was a Gray Charles strategy.

    Frankly, I often think that I pushed it too much – asked him to be too available. I’m thinking he should go back undercover again.

  17. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Evolution of a MonkBot.

    -January: new season of Idol, some Gray hair dude rips it up on Sam Cooke.

    -Sometime in Feb: a little surfing to find Graycharles.com. Check posts daily too afraid to comment

    -MidMarch: (Stevie Wonder week)find strength to post…wrong about the song but sooo right about horns…word

    -April: (I think)gabbly put up…meet a whole host of Zanies including one very smitten Shelley who along side of Rena does the play-by-plays every week. Get lost in “Twilight Zone” chat with KD. Get first glimpse of many of my future MonkBot siblings

    -May: a fevered month, need I say more?

    -Summer: Gray gone, AI Tour, San Jose, Duct Tape, Start reading over at then known Talk! about floral urinals and America’s Got Talent and stalking Taylor at Krogers, And DD Little Richard!Gray Back, but with a twist

    -Fall: Find refuge and solice from hectic work in the loving cyber arms of our new named grouping…Viva la MonkBot. Share personal hopes, triumphs and fears with all of those so dear here! Visit Gray for news, MonkBot for communing.

    -December: New CD…and special old friends. Perhaps even the second end of Gray’s. But enduring MonkBot friendship.

    One note, two blogs, many happy MonkBots.

  18. nolagirl Says:

    Gray said: “Frankly, I often think that I pushed it too much – asked him to be too available. I’m thinking he should go back undercover again.”

    Gray, I am curious as to why you say that… is it because the “exposure” then opened up a whole nother can of worms (i.e. people dissecting his comments ad nauseum), and consequently certain expectations from the fan base?

  19. double d Says:

    Hmmmm, Gray. I contemplated that very thought the other day. (Taylor’s possible over-exposure). Taylor is so “white hot” that any slight move causes tectonic shifts with the fan base. I get nauseous for him at all of the “over adulation”. He’s just a guy, flesh and blood, yet people are putting him WAY up high. That tends to lend itself to a big fall. Just makes me feel like HE is “walking the wire”. Sometimes there is too much of a good thing.

    I recognize (clearly) that you (Gray) were the one pushing the string uphill. In all honesty, I don’t think that Taylor has any kind of “grand plan” regarding his promotion. I think when he hears something that sounds good and can benefit him and it “feels” right (that instinct)….he goes with it. So he went with Gray’s way for a while. I think he’s gotten ALOT of mileage out of that. God knows if he had relied on his site for that support, he’d have had only a fraction of the support he’s had at the performances, not to mention the promotion of his CD.

    My fascination with the Taylor Hicks assention is the old underlying theme of “Good Guy Wins”. At least that’s my perception. I wanted to see a good guy who’s worked hard and is humble (and Southern, who am I kidding), make it big….find the success he has dreamed about. In him, I see my three sons. Sure there dreams are different, but remove the music part and the themes are the same. As a parent, there is no greater pride than to see your children be happy in what they do and who they are. So I think for me it has been parental pride that has kept me on the “Taylor Rollercoaster”. To know, that in a very small way, that I have been a part of it all and a witness to something that might turn out to be pretty cool.

    Gray, I think we’re all just a little melancholy about “how it used to be”. Maybe it was just that brief shining moment…..I feel that we’re being set up for the next “shut down” and that also makes me sad. Promise us Monkbots this, Gray….if you “go away” and are “re-incarnated” on some other blog, that you will let us in on it? Maybe then, we can re-kindle some of the old talks and bemusings of the “Snarkmaster”.

  20. claire Says:

    Shelley, I think everybody is still coming down off the AI “High” that we felt while the show was running, and afterwards during all the tour hoopla. I was nodding along to most of your post. We don’t own Taylor. We can admire him, be concerned for him, worry for him and be happy for him. But ultimately, while Taylor is very aware of the Soul Patrol as an entity, somehow I don’t think he’s aware that somewhere in Ireland a girl named Claire is very very happy that a shy guy from Alabama has gotten the chance he has dreamed of since he was a teenager.
    And yes, I do think Taylor is attractive. But I’m kinda “over” that, in a sense. I know I will in all probability NEVER meet him or speak to him. That’s fine. Honestly, it’s about the music. I’m looking forward to the album release, I hope TAYLOR is happy with it (he sure seems to be), and I , like you Shelley, can accept my admiration of Taylor as something that will stay with me but not be all-consuming, or something to be taken personally. (Remember that rant against Gray at TOSP?? That poor person really needed to step back for a while…)

    I really sometimes stop and wonder at the almost “deification” some people transfer onto Taylor. Posts (at all Taylor sites) like “I’m sitting here listening to (insert song title here) with tears streaming down my face”….sheesh. Large helping of perspective, anyone??

    My name is Claire and I’m a Taylor Hicks fan. Not a FANATIC. There’s a difference, I think….

    And GC.com? Yes, it certainly has changed some. I’ve e-mailed some musings to that effect to Gray (he didn’t answer, LOL…)but the heart of what it was pre-hiatus still remains. A Taylor-based blog with some cool stuff thrown in (and now with “extra officiality!!”). Postings and posters have DEFINITELY changed some. But who says all change is bad? As long as the dreaded glitter stays away, I’m happy. But yeah, if I’m honest, I kinda miss the old days a little, the old crowd…

    Gray, I hope you and Taylor can continue your business arrangement (should you want to),and some dollars at the end of the day would be an added bonus I’m sure.

    Bottom line….I don’t think we want to see another “Finito” post just yet…

  21. baby duck Says:

    Gray said: – Look for an onset of depression in two weeks.

    Ha! That’s the Gray I’ve come to know and love! MmmmWaah! Big smoochie (on the cheek, of course).

    Gray, you’ve got a tiger by the tail and I don’t envy you. As I said, diverse expectations. However, the expectations that are most important to fulfill are yours and now Taylor’s.

    Shrewspeaks said: Perhaps even the second end of Gray’s.

    Say it ain’t so! For everything that it isn’t or is annoying, there’s much more content that compels me to return every day. I still remember how the summer felt without him. Yes, it’s changed, but has gray? He (oh, yeah, and Taylor) is the reason I go there. Let’s hope any thoughts of throwing in the towel would be just passing fancies.

  22. Jax Says:

    Gray,
    Never Never think that I don’t appreciate how much you have done and continue to do… did you miss the part when I said :

    “Gray? I miss him .. I know he is busy & how he does all that he does with a full time job & a family I have no idea. I hope TPTB extend his contract past December … I hope Taylor makes this happen.”

    Sigh… Maybe I just wanted to see if you missed us .. and the “old days” and by your post it would seem that you do .. at times..lol.

    We know you make these things happen for us & Taylor & I fell that he is as appreciative as we are..

    Jax = Friend – or at least tries her best to be

  23. shelley Says:

    have i missed something?

    i didn’t realize there were rumblings of gray closing again…at least not anytime soon.

    where is this information written…or are we taking “creative license” with something he has said or joked about?

    seriously…i didn’t mean for my post to be maudlin…just cathartic.

    and to be very honest…at 7 p.m. last night…i had NO clue what i was even going to post about today…i just sat down and started typing.

    i say this because i don’t want anyone to think i’m down or that i feel gray’s site is “finito.”

    i still find a LOT of vitality in gray’s site. maybe not in the comment section..but the quality of his posts have been pretty great, imo.

    i’d like to read more of his actual WRITING…but the material he’s provided is top notch.

  24. double d Says:

    Claire – nicely said. I agree with the fanatic statement. Exactly.

    I mean, the ONLY song that I ever cried when I heard it was my nephew singing “Gentle Woman (Hail Mary)” at my grandmother’s funeral…Taylor singing The Right Place, not so much.

    Perspective is exactly the point. I think that here at the Monkbot, we get to delve into the (very interesting) lives, and personalities, of the posters. Having a busy life with work, marriage, a teenager, etc., this gives me a great escape to be myself with others who happen to like SOME of the same things I do (and don’t). And, to laugh…I really like the humor. We are all very self-depreciating and that way about Taylor…um Taymit,…Supreme Monkbot.

    The “khaki” thread is a perfect example….’cept I’m still thinking about those flip flops…

    Happy Friday to you all!

  25. claire Says:

    No Shelley, you didn’t miss anything, my dear – I was just kinda musing. Just saying that I hope Gray+Tay continue their arrangement long term if it suits them both. I certainly wasn’t implying that it was coming to an end. Sorry for the misconstrue, dahling.

    And your post wasn’t maudlin at all!!! I loved it and agree wholeheartedly with ya. I admire your honesty here at MonkBot HQ.

    Now, must get bread-and-butter pudding out of the oven, get self into shower and get to our pot-luck Christmas dinner party at the boss’s house in an hour. Mmmm, unknown foooooood…..

  26. double d Says:

    Gray, this is for you….(and Taylor).

    With Love,

    D to the 2nd Powah

  27. Squeebee not ADD Says:

    DD you funny! I had to watch it twice to get everything. I guess I am not the ADD type.

  28. baby duck Says:

    I think when Gray announced the official agreement with Taylor, it was to run through December. I assume it can (and will) be extended or renegotiated.

    Nothing maudlin perceived in your post, Shelley, just thoughtful and thought-provoking.

  29. Gray Charles Says:

    I think I’ll know about any possible “extension” next week. Bobbi Fleckman and I are having dinner to discuss.

    There is this entire “Use Me Up” scenario which I find to be quite interesting. Taylorhicks.com wasn’t developed because it didn’t need to be. I think you’ll see something new in the next few weeks over there. Of course, just like Bill W. sings in the song I was perfectly willing to be used up.

    Savvy observers will notice the positioning of the links to “blog”.

  30. ivoryhut Says:

    I was thinking about this post today while driving around running errands. I, too, miss the old GC.com. I still remember the great posts of Omphalos, FLJerseyBoy, Mind Doc, Shelley’s recaps … back then, majority of the comments had the kind of substance you didn’t want to gloss over.

    The crowd has changed some, and what that means to me is that I just have to read faster because frankly, I’ve always felt a bit of an outsider around Taylor fanatics. My fascination with Taylor has always been about the music, not his looks or his wardrobe. I am just as interested in, say, Ray LaMontagne. Or Cat Power. I don’t need to know Taylor’s every move, and I’m with Claire and DD in that I, too, can’t relate to the crying while listening to his songs. Not bashing those who do, just saying I can’t relate.

    I remember the analogy made during the earlier days of the GC community being like a classroom. I guess if you extend it, the old GC.com was more like a small honors class, and these days, it’s more like those given in an auditorium where taking attendance is downright impossible. There’s still a lot of great stuff being taught from the podium, just not as much engaging and stimulating interaction between the students. (And I’m guilty too for not having contributed anything thought-provoking lately.)

    But what can I say, the professor’s great. I, too, share a deep admiration for Gray. I can’t hope to write in the same league as Gray in all his snarky splendor, so I just enjoy what he puts out there. For one, I attest to absolute ignorance about American pop culture, so I thoroughly enjoy and am challenged by his oh-so-subtle (or even not-so-subtle) references.

    It was Gray’s blog that drew me in initially, and the early community kept me there. Much of that may have changed, but I still check back regularly because of the quality of his posts and musical introductions. And I’m glad for the Extras section because frankly, all Taylor all the time is not my cup of tea.

    In Gray’s site, I feel like that student who only speaks up when there aren’t a lot of others in the room, or when I think that I have the right answer. He’s like the favorite teacher you want to impress, or at least make sure that he knows you’re doing your homework and doing well in tests. He’s not beholden to any of the students; he teaches his class the way he sees fit, and your secret hope in addition to a good grade is to be told now and then that he knows you’re in his class, and not because you’re the dunce.

    For me, Shelley is more like the older sibling who has the added task of nurturing you, making sure you feel okay, reassuring you that you are a member of the family. The one you can go to anytime to ask anything without worrying if it will bring your GPA down. From where I’m sitting, she’s a natural at it.

  31. baby duck Says:

    Double D, we need someone savvy and observant. Where are you?

  32. Squeebee Says:

    baby duck….bwhahahahahaha! I think what Gray is getting at is that it is still listed under “Official Blog”.

    Ivoryhut…love the college analogy. It really does express how I feel about Graycharles.com and Monkbot.

  33. nolagirl Says:

    Man, ivoryhut, your classroom analogy is such a good one! And to further it, from my experience, I was always a bit intimidated in the small classes with a lot of interaction, but in the end always ended up liking those (and remembering them) much more than the big auditiorium classes.

  34. Gray Charles Says:

    squeebee – that’s not what i’m getting at. I’m talking about the next release of taylorhicks.com in 2 weeks or so.

    and fyi, you might want to go listen to gc radio right now.

  35. double d Says:

    baby duck — not sure if Gray is talking his site or taylorhicks.com. And if he means now or in the next few weeks.

    He is a waskaly wabbit…

    Seriously. I think he means the Taylorhicks.com site and when the “changes” are made in a few weeks.

    His links to blogs seem to be on a rotation of sorts, so I don’t think he means his site. Personally, I’ve had my Tin Foil Hat on for a while that Gray is doing “stuff” for Taylorhicks.com.

    But, ya know, he’s fooled me before. But, ya know….hmmmm.

    Maybe starting a blog out of Taylorhicks.com might not be a bad idea. All the current TaylorManiacs HATE that site and rarely go there…

    Even if he abandons the Taylor hayride at some point, I hope that he creates another blog and invites a few folks to join. You know, something like…

    Pop Culture Tourettes

    just sayin’.

  36. Squeebee Says:

    Ok Gray…just give me an “F” and be done with it then.

    Thanks for the heads-up on the song.

  37. baby duck Says:

    “There is this entire “Use Me Up” scenario… just like Bill W. sings in the song I was perfectly willing to be used up.”

    Do I detect a little hardball being played? You go, gray. As much fun as you make it, it’s still business. And don’t forget to ink in enough to cover the interns.

    ::baby duck considers applying for intern position, depending on perks (concert tickets)::

  38. leejolem Says:

    Claire, I think you’re inside my brain. Agreed w/all your comments. I love Taylor and his music, but have never understood the comments about tears streaming down someone’s face while listening to his songs (and i’m the type that can cry at a purina dog chow commercial). Nothing wrong with it, I just don’t get it.
    Double D, I couldn’t agree with you more about the over adulation. I think that would be a burden. Sheesh, he’s a human being and puts his jeans/khakis/pajama pants/etc… on 1 leg at a time like the rest of us (well unless he spins, does fancy footwork, etc… while dressing).

    Random thought–wear is the traveling Monkbot right now? Will we be getting new pics soon?

  39. shelley Says:

    Traveling Monkbot is currently en route.

    Pictures are coming…I promise.

    0–{;8)}=

  40. leejolem Says:

    Oh my gosh–I just got home and re-read my post. Since when is “where” spelled “wear” . Sorry, a long day at the pharmacy. Is that a Monkbot signature at the bottom or an angel with boobs?

  41. Libby Says:

    Wow! This has been emotional. I had never watched AI before Season 5 — and watched only b/c I heard about this great gray haired singer who looked like another friend of mine who is originally from AL. What a life changer — watching Taylor and wanting to help him reach for his dreams — helped me focus and heal from a difficult period of loss. I did not find GC until March and probably did not post there until may or June. I have learned about music, Taylor and the community of gabbly friends that became special.

    I will always remember kind and patient discussions with Squee, Shrew, Kay and Tojo. So happy to get to know more about Shelley — and all of her talents and creativity.

    While many of you have been together for a longer period. I am so thankful for the Monkbot Family who have welcomed me and made me feel a part of a great circle of friends. All of you have been a blessing and a gift to me.

    Shelley – you have written a beautiful blog today — and spurred some of the best comments I have read in a long time. Thank you for all of your love and care to the special community you have built and continue to grow.

  42. shelley Says:

    Leejolem…yes…that is the Monkbot sig…designed by either Shrew, Rowan, Squee or Claire (sorry…I can’t remember, folks…yikes).

    Libby…thank you for the kind words.

    I have to say I agree about all the comments today…they are all so very wonderful.

    Everyone…great job! πŸ˜‰

  43. Squeebee Says:

    T’wasn’t me….I think it was Rowan who came up with the monkbot smilie?

  44. Quossum Says:

    Wow–Great, great post. Great, great comments. I am overwhelmed.

    I’m on that edge right now…that edge. Sometimes I’m feeling like I’m teetering on the precipice, then other times I feel like I’m pretty far back from the edge, looking longingly at the ones still standing on the edge flailing their arms or merrily launching into space.

    I’m still kind of “crushed out,” but somewhat getting over that. “Meeting” Taylor was a good bit of closure, but I’m still not quite there. I’m still jellis of people who are more obsessed and have the wherewithal to pursue their obsession–I’m frustrated because I can’t. I’m glad because I can’t but wish I didn’t want to.

    So I guess I’m still a little behind you, Shelley! Maybe letting go of the quilt could be closure for me–either committing it the tender mercies of the USPS and having the fantasy in my head that he gets it–or actually being able to give it to him–or being able to stop caring if I give it to him or not…meh. I don’t know.

    I’ll be back to read this again later. I needed to hear it.

    –Q

  45. shelley Says:

    Q…great thoughts. I really think it’s so very true how, at times, I find myself jealous if someone for just LIKING Taylor more than I do.

    I guess…to just boil it down…we’re all a bunch of twisted sisters. Ha!

  46. nolagirl Says:

    “I guess…to just boil it down…we’re all a bunch of twisted sisters. Ha!”

    Yep, and what’s “normal” anyway, right?!

  47. leejolem Says:

    Q- If you’re still reading this, I can relate to the gift thing. Did you make him a quilt? My daughter and I painted a ceramic bowl and plate for him and took it to the W VA AI concert. We gave it to one of the staff who guaranteed us she would give it to him, but I suffer from the same “fantasy in my head” about whether he got it or not, or if he even cares, etc.. I’m 41 yrs old and I probably have more important things to worry about, but oh well! Such is the life of a Monkbot. I’m glad to hear someone else has some of these same thoughts. I agree w/you , all great posts today.

  48. Malisa Says:

    “I don’t fully know what to expect from 2007…but I can’t imagine it topping 2006…not that there’s anything wrong with that. “

    Come on LiMBO fans, no one has yet quoted Sam G.?

    Nothing wrong with being Second Best.

  49. Quossum Says:

    leejolem–

    Yes, I made Taylor a quilt (or as my sister calls it “The Crazy Stalker Blanket” {G})–you can read more of the story and see it right here in a previous issue of Monkbot: http://talkweblog.blogspot.com/2006/09/austin-city-skys-limitq-meets-taylor.html

    I agree with Malisa: 2007 *still* has fun things in store for us in the Taylorverse…I just hope I can stay sane and balanced for it all!

    –Q

  50. baby duck Says:

    Quossum, I loved reading your account of Austin and Antone’s. I am a quilter, also, so I read with interest to find out what happened with the quilt, why you still have it. Here’s hoping that you have another encounter with Taylor and it’s the right moment to give the gift.

  51. Quossum Says:

    baby duck–Yes, the quilt remains here at the house, neatly folded and in the same bag that toted it across Birmingham (and elsewhere) in vain! I am hoping that that “right moment” comes up sometime in this future tour, because it’s a nice piece that I’d like Taylor to have, kinda to say “Thanks” for all the enjoyment and, in a roundabout way, new friends that he’s brought me!

    Taylor’s not the only one to get a quilt, though. Shelley did, too–not to toot my own horn or anything {BG}, but you can do more scouring of the archives and read about Shelley’s (and my and my DH’s) trip to B’ham and see THAT quilt and its more successful handoff here:
    http://talkweblog.blogspot.com/2006/08/what-i-learned-over-my-taylor-vacation.html

    –Q

  52. baby duck Says:

    Q, Shelley got a green and purple pineapple?! Lucky girl! I recently realized I’m always attracted to that color combination in quilts at shows, but I have hardly any purples in my stash.

    It was a treat to read about the Birmingham experience. Shelley’s writing is so humorous and poignant at the same time. B’ham is the one event location I really regret not going to. At the time I couldn’t justify a trip across the country just to see the same performance (ha, ha) that would be in my area later on. Those of you who went have a wonderful history together, memories to cherish.

  53. nolagirl Says:

    Ahem … *I* got a quilt too! And have enjoyed it a lot! That Q …. πŸ˜‰

  54. Phile Says:

    “or…to make so many new friends.”

    Just wanted to pull this particular sentence out, because of its truth. I’ve always been on the fringes on this ride, but when the journey is long over (or at least slowed down a bit), friends will remain. Or in my case, folks whose words I simply enjoy reading.

    That’s what *I’ll* take out of this year. And I’m grateful for it. Now, how’s *THAT* for a looney emotion? πŸ™‚

    With much appreciation, Phile

  55. shelley Says:

    not looney at all, phile. πŸ˜‰

  56. baby duck Says:

    nolagirl, I should have known there were Monkbot quilters. Shelley’s blog attracts people who are creative, thoughtful, funny, kindhearted… all characteristics I find in people in quilt guilds.

  57. baby duck Says:

    I am responding to CarMay7, who chose to post her comments about this topic on graycharles.

    CarMay7, it would have been nice if you had commented here, then maybe you would have quoted who and what exactly upset you, and the other person could respond to you directly. As it is, double d has tried to answer you at gray’s, believing you are referring to her, and I am assuming you mean me.

    “…it’s not what you say, it’s HOW you say it.”(ref: Hicklett) may apply to my comments. Although I tried to be to the point, it seems you didn’t take them in the context. The context was the topic of Shelley’s post: a reflection on close to a year spent following Taylor Hicks, his music and it’s evolution, much of which has been blogged about at graycharles. I tried to say what it is that I appreciate about his blog, and what annoys me, as a way of presenting how I see things have changed. I was careful to say that the things that I don’t like are still OK and ALRIGHT. I don’t think that I am the moderator of gray’s blog, and I don’t think I am God and that my opinion is the be-all to end-all. I am sorry if you took this personally. I don’t take it personally when you comment about what you don’t want to spend your time reading. “…all people are different and have different feelings as to why they are here and why they support Taylor Hicks. This is a positive and normal thing.” I expressed those differences in terms of what annoys me, and in hindsight, there would have been a better way to phrase it.

    Most of all, I apologize to Shelley, who has done a great job of providing a site that is very upbeat and positive. It was not my intention to write anything here that would reflect negatively on you personally, Shelley, or Monkbots as a whole. I can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, but I can try to clean up any mess I made.

  58. shelley Says:

    baby duck…I stick by what I said earlier in this thread…all comments in this discussion were wonderful.

    i was very proud of our ’round robin’ talk…and valued everyone’s thoughts and opinions.

    you have nothing for which to apologize.

    i am glad folks feel they have a forum to share their personal opinions and thoughts here…without retribution.

    THAT is what being a monkbot is ALL about.

    respect

  59. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I miss all the good shit!

    Damn you work!

    All I gotta say…and since prolly no one will read this, I can say it loud: I fell for Taylor b/c I fell for Gray Charles first. I have held in my mind a much greater fascination and respect for Gray than I have for Taylor. Maybe that’s a bad, bad thing for a Taylor fan to say…but that’s wassup. Gray is so much more multi-faceted in my opinion.

    Also, I’m so thankful that Shelley had a baby blog called Monkbot!!

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