Let’s See…Something’s Supposed to Happen Today….What Could It Be?

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I know, I know…we’re all filled with glee beyond comprehension that this day has finally come.

Taylor Hicks…the unassuming guy from Alabama who had us riveted to our televisions every Tuesday and Wednesday night last winter and spring…the guy who we emptied our bank accounts for to make sure he would win American Idol…the guy who had the biggest concert tour all summer (I think he was accompanied by a few other singers)…the guy who we all lurve…finally saw the fruits of all his hard work (and ours) with the release today of his national debut album, “Taylor Hicks.”

How good does that feel!?!

We’re all so very proud of Taylor and wish him well on the sale of his new album.

And I know we could recount story after story of all we did to get him here…and all we’re doing to booster the sale of this album (which I’ve YET to hear).

However…I’d love for us here at Monkbot to share something a little different today.

Instead of saying how wow’d we are by the album…or how proud we are of Taylor…or how heartily we wish him well (which I’m sure we could all say TONS about)…let’s, instead, look at what goodness we’ve encountered through this entire adventure.

Let’s applaud Taylor by sharing how his journey has led to MORE than simply a wonderful album.

Allow me to go first.

In March I began sharing myself with total strangers at a little blog called GrayCharles.com. I nervously put myself out there (like so many of us did), fearing ridicule and public shunning.

But ridicule and shunning were the opposite of what happened.

I was embraced by a community…a community that was rich and vibrant and smart and funny and irritating and challenging.

It made me feel great.

As time wore on…I began to drift toward certain names on Gray’s blog…Holeigh…Quossum…FLJerseyBoy…Double D…Ascme…Hope…and so many others.

These people would welcome me warmly in chat…they’d e-mail me…and, with some, we’d chat on the phone for hours.

I was having so much fun…but I didn’t realize that I still had more growing to do with these folks and others.

In July I met up with NOLAgirl in the Big Easy and she escorted me and my family around the Quarter.

In August, I was privileged enough to travel with Q and her husband, James, to the AI concert in Birmingham. It was on that trip that Q presented me with the most beautiful handmade quilt I’ve ever seen (plus, it’s purple…my favorite color).

At WorkPlay, a friend with a little pull tried to get me a meeting with Taylor…it fell through, but the gesture was very much appreciated.

Jan of Soul Patrol Relief managed to get Q and me to a special presentation at Lynn Park in Birmingham…which got us up close to Taylor.

I was able to return Jan’s kindness at Lynn Park by giving her a place to stay when she was stranded in Jackson on her way to a LiMBO event.

I’ve received cards and letters and phone calls and e-mails and photos from so many of my “Taylor friends” that I hesitate to try and recount them all…for fearing of leaving someone out!

And everyone here at Monkbot has given so much to make this little site so very special.

From Bamaborntxbred helping me post when I’m not able…to MindDoc’s concern for my well-being when I posted a video of my drive home…from Shrew making Monkbot fliers to pass around in San Jose…to everyone who signed up for Traveling Monkbot and everyone who is contributing to the progressive story…y’all’s contributions have been amazing.

Plus…just yesterday…I received the most fun (and unexpected) care package I’ve gotten since college.

Sweet, precious little Ivoryhut sent me a box filled with all kinds of Filipino goodies inside. (I now know what Coco Jam is….yum!)

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Of course the bag of Monkey Chocolate Banana candies grabbed my attention first…however, I then spotted a bag that said “garlic” and I had to rip it open (I’m convinced that it’s my insane love of garlic that has kept me single this long).

Everything in the box looks delicious…but none of it compared to the letter that accompanied the gift. Ivoryhut, your words meant so much and summed up how I feel about you and each of your Monkbot siblings. Thank you!

I’m proud of the last 12 months. I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of Taylor Hicks, and I’m proud of Gray Charles.

But I’m also proud of each of you…for proving to me that there is so much goodness in the world.

Today really is a day to celebrate.

Excerpt from Ivoryhut’s letter…

Just sending you a little something as a token of gratitude for giving me a reason to look forward to hanging around online again. You’ve created a warm, inviting place where others like me can feel welcome, and I feel like I’ve gained all these great and cool new friends that I can’t wait to hang out with every day.

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20 Responses to “Let’s See…Something’s Supposed to Happen Today….What Could It Be?”

  1. Shrewspeaks Says:

    No fair Ivory Hut copied off of my paper.

    Seriously, this all started as a Taylor adjunct and is now the core of my online experience.

    Do you realize that MonkBot has been up and going strong longer than Gray’s first run? And the tone has not changed. And we have projects (my favorite was the birthday card challenge, but I havn’t received Mr. Traveling MonkBot yet) Well done little MonkBot, well done!

  2. shelley Says:

    Thanks, Shrew.

    About Traveling Monkbot…be watching for something posted in the next week! šŸ˜‰

    And…he’s actually in transit now to his next destination…not heading to New Jersey, yet…but soon!

  3. shelley Says:

    Um…I have a confession, y’all.

    I just checked iTunes (7:13 a.m.) to see if “Taylor Hicks” was online to download…which it is.

    So, I downloaded it!

    Now I don’t have to wait for my album to come in the mail…and I can start working on my review!

    Yeah!

  4. double d Says:

    Well, it’s hard to capture the feeling in the few short minutes I have before work.

    I know it’s been said, but I’ve never been “on the net” for anything but stock news, email and a little light shopping. However, my incessant need for information on things I like caused me to use my Google prowess to research a sweet young fella that I happened to catch on the AI auditions. I’m all about the “Home Team” (GEAUX TIGERS and GEAUX SAINTS!), so the Birmingham kid had from …I was booorrrnnnn on the rivah….

    One night, after purusing a few other Taylor sights, I stumbled upon GrayCharles.com. I liked the clean, easy look of the blog and someone was running a pretty interesting thread on Gladwell….WTF? Gladwell? I gotta read this….then I was hooked.

    I lurked for quite a while but started posting and felt a kinship with Shelley, Shrew, NOLAGirl, and many, many others. We talked Taylor, sure, but we talked about Shrew’s big account presentation, NOLAGirl’s FEMA Trailer, and the death of my cat…friend stuff.

    Shelley provided a place for us to come to when Gray shut down. It started a little slow, but Bama and Shelley kept us laughing and me coming back. You are all now part of my day and one that I miss when I’m not available.

    I’m so tickled to see Taylor get up there and WOW all those folks…I think that Taylor represents a little of the underdog in all of us. He did what so many of us have wished that we could do. Stand up for what you believe, succeed but keep who you are.

    So, yeah, I guess Taylor has been the catalyst. But really, for many it’s the touchstone that keeps communities of friends together — be those geek or glitter.

    Well done, Taylor.

    p.s. Shelley – I downloaded at 11:15pm, last night. AND burned a CD for today….heh.

  5. Holeigh Says:

    These posts always make me smile. šŸ™‚

    By now I’m sure you all know my college student point of view story, but I’ll keep it light, haha.

    Basically, Holeigh was an 18 year old freshman in college. I’m quite shy around people I don’t know, so that after-Holiday quasi-depression was setting in and I started watching AI, something I had never done before. I figured I’d watch Simon be a jerk during the auditions and be done with it, but then my roommate said, “Wow, look at that guy, he’s gotta be way too old.” And I said, “hmm…no, I think his hair is just grey, I don’t think he’s that old.” (My dad “suffers” from the same affliction of premature greyness.)

    And then it happened. He opened his mouth and *bam*! (Haha) I was hooked…I don’t remember how, but I ended up at GC in early March and the rest, as they say, is history. The family was much smaller then, so I also got to noticing familiar names (Shell, Q, MindDoc, TrueNorth, FLJerseyBoy, DD, Ascme, just to name a few) and the connection was instant, even though I think I was the youngest poster in those days.

    That family atmosphere is what keeps me coming back to Shelley’s blog this day…Taylor and his music are fantastic and I’m glad he united us, but to have a group of people you can talk to about anything? That is truly Something. šŸ™‚

  6. nolagirl Says:

    First of all, Ivoryhut – how sweet of you to send such a fun package!

    Second, I broke down and downloaded the CD on iTunes (at friggin work, mind you, and then burned a copy) so that I can listen to it on the way home tonight. I said I wasn’t going to do that, but crap, that Dec. 21 delivery date from Amazon pissed me off, so I said screw it. I’ll give my mom one of them so that I am not stuck with 2. šŸ™‚

    And last but not least, great sentiment on today’s post Shelley. As most of you know, Idol last January was literally a sanity-saver for me and my family. We were still in a daze from Katrina, and living at first in a partially gutted home and then the damned FEMA trailer when it was time to start work on the house. Every Tuesday we’d make the big outing to my brother’s house to view the show and eat and drink and just …. live. And forget about insurance companies and killing each other in the tight space of the tin-can trailer.

    Of course, Taylor popping on the screen was icing on the cake. To be honest, I think if Taylor on Idol would have happened at a different time in my life, all of this wouldn’t have happened. I was living with my parents, on a “break” with my long-time boyfriend, hating my job and living in a city that was depressing to say the least … I needed a break! Something to latch on to. Under normal circumstances, I would have been more busy with life and less likely to Google Taylor Hicks (which is where this all started, of course).

    It’s funny though, because the reason that Taylor and Idol met at all is because of Katrina. Funny, huh?

    So now, house is done, back with the love of my life, job change forecast in future and have some new friends and a ton of great music in between. I’ll take that. šŸ™‚

  7. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Okay, I don’t have a lot of time right now…but here are a few of my favorite things (all b/c Taylor was on AI):

    -Shelley, DD, Shrew, Nola, Q, MindDoc, Shrew, Ivory, Rowan, Claire, Jan, Soul Karen, Gray, and all of you lovely SPers and Monkbots that I forgot to mention. I prolly shouldn’t have written any names…but I know how good it feels to be recognized…

    -Monkbot projects and the creativity that Shelley allows us to explore.

    -DD and her “Taylor is so cool…” throw downs. (And the kittens and Monklex).

    -Nola and our off topic conversations that no one else can relate too.

    -Shrew always laughing at me…or, ummm, with me.

    -Gray being inspiring and skeery in the same sentence.

    -The great Monkey vs. Robot debate at Gray’s. This will remain one of my all time favorite experiences in my life.

    -Hours and hours of my life being sucked away by the internet and television. Not that I’d be doing anything better anyhow…

    -Hundreds of dollars in overcharges on my cell phone. (Ahem! Shelley.)

    Seriously though, the one major thing in my life that has changed…the one thing that I can truly attribute to Taylor and to Gray too: I have become so proud of my musical taste. I’m so much more aware of why I listen to certain types of music at certain times. I’m not like most Taylor fans in that I am not an “Artists with Soul” kind of girl….(although I could argue that my favorite artists put their heart and soul’s into their music too)…I have bought so much music this year…Nope, not RLM or John Legend or Corinne Ray Bailey….More like the Burden Brothers, My Chemical Romance, Rock Kills Kid, Street Drum Corps, etc (oh and Taylor Hicks heehee!)….but, still, I haven’t bought this much music, or gone to as many live shows in years.

    It’s like chasing something. First you go to a show, you hear the opening act, buy their cd, find out who their influences are…buy their cd’s, go to their shows…etc. It’s been awesome!!

    And don’t get me wrong. I am such an open spirit when it comes to music. I am not hard to please…I love “Artists with Soul” and pop music and hip-hop and country and bluegrass, classical, big band, etc.

    And the deal is; I wouldn’t have followed my (music)heart this year if I hadn’t been opened up to it by Taylor…and if I hadn’t been educated by Gray.

    I guess that was longer than I intended!

    I love y’all!!

  8. leejolem Says:

    I almost feel that I’m not qualified to post today, since I just started commenting a few weeks ago, but I’m not one to keep my mouth shut–so here goes:
    1.I look forward everyday to checking GC and clicking over to the Monkbot division because it makes me laugh, smile, sometimes even tear up a little. I wish I had been here from the beginning (whenever that was), but hopefully you guys will keep putting up w/me from now on (someone has to represent the midwest-go Colts!)
    2.The last 3 years in my life have been rather stressful and Taylor and his community have helped me smile, laugh, enjoy music on a whole new level.
    3.I have really enjoyed my daughter and I bonding over all things Taylor. Our experience at the WVa concert will never be forgotten (we both got to touch Taylor and he mouthed the words “thank you” to me since we had driven 300 miles to see him).You guys should see her doing her impression of Taylor–it is HI-larious!
    4.Lastly, how can I leave off my adoration of the Monkbot? There is something about a monkey w/cymbals and an antennae that I find irresistible. Viva le Monkbot!!!!!

  9. baby duck Says:

    The goodness I’ve encountered has to start with the music. Between the mp3’s, the Artists with Soul, and the hundreds of recommendations in comments, I’ve discovered alot of music that’s new to me. They’re being posted at a rate faster than I am able to check out. This summer when Gray was down, I filled the void by going through the archives and sampling the songs that were mentioned. Bama, I can relate: “I haven’t bought this much music… in years”. I wonder if the music industry realizes what a boost Taylor has given it?

    I feel privileged that knowledgeable people would share their insights about playing guitar, or what pitchy means, or how tracks are laid when a song is being recorded. I appreciate when people listen to a newly-released Taylor recording, and share their thoughts on the sound. And I value that Taylor is elevating us with the development of modern whomp in his music.

    I’ve been reading at gc since early on in the AI season, and I can see by the relationships you’ve formed what I missed by not being a participant. Thanks for letting a relative newbie climb aboard.

  10. claire Says:

    Well, thanks to Nirak at the Boogie, I will in a few short days have my very own copy of Taylor’s CD, currently winging its way to me across the Atlantic Ocean. (Well, actually it’s probably still in a mailbox somewhere, heh….)

    I too have started buying/listening to different types of music since AI ended. Although I was aware of artists like Jeff Buckley and Ray Charles before Idol, I never really gave them much thought. Now I listen to both. And Ray LaMontagne? I had never heard of him until I heard Taylor sing “Trouble”. I bought his first album and LOVE it. I think Santa might be bringing me his new album for Christmas šŸ™‚

    I also had NEVER surfed the Internet, posted at a blog, or any of that stuff before this year. It’s been an education. My first post EVAH was at GC. (Actually, reading back over my early posts is a little embarassing now. I think I may have been a little more fangirly at the beginning. I’m over that now, thankfully! Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to stomach my own posts!!)

    It’s been a real eye-opener to be a part of a few different sites (here, GC, the Boogie) and see how different people react in different ways, not just to Taylor but to things in general. It’s taught me a lot about human kindness, empathy, Netiquette, with a whole lotta laughter and the occasional WTF? thrown in.

    And now T-Day is here. I’m very, very happy for him. It’s great to think that a decade+ of dragging himself in his minivan around Birmingham and the SouthEast have led to this. Where will the next five years take him? And will we all be still here to talk about Taylor (and monkbots, shoes, beagles, squirrels, Ugly Betty, Greys Anatomy, life, love, git teeth, etc..)

    Before this post gets ya all teary-eyed, may I just say THUD!!!!!!!!!!, HAWT!!!!!!!!!!!, SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!, and dump a bucketful of glitter on y’all.

    From your Irish MonkBot Sistah.

  11. nolagirl Says:

    Love your sign-off Claire – heh. You’re a funny lady! But now I got your damn glitter in my eye, and it ain’t pretty.

  12. HicksChick4Soul Says:

    Heck yes I do a funny Taylor impression leejolem, lol. Anyway, so I havent been a fellow member of the monkbots for very long, but my love for Taylor has been around for along time. Since Leejolem mentioned out WA trip and how wonderful that was I’m gonna tell everyone about my/leejolem’s adventure to Walmart which really can’t qualify as an adventure, but just really says how sad and pathetic we are. So we go to Walmart at like 12:00 in the morning (and keep in mind that my mom had been calling Walmart since that morning to see if they would have that CD out at that time and I believe they thought we were crazy which we are) and head straight to the electronic section where the CD’s are, and I grab all of them CD’s but of course miss Leejolem won’t let us buy all of them in fear of us going bankrupt. Then I supposedly do this thing called gorilla marketing (which in this case would be called monkbot marketing….hardy har har)when I saw the Justin Timberlake CD I covered it up with Taylor CD’s (sorry JT fans-I had to do it…Soul Patrollers know why), and that was our exciting adventure to Walmart…arn’t you all raving with jealousy?

  13. Squeebee Says:

    Well, there is not a lot left to be said that hasn’t been said already.

    This whole AI/Taylor Hicks thing has been a crazy ride. I saw Taylor audition and thought…”Hmmm….this guy can SANG, but they will never let him win the thing.”

    I sporadically watched AI over the next month or two, but I think I really stood up and took notice somewhere around “Something” week. Believe it or not, Chris had been my favorite up to that time. *Ducks to avoid objects thrown by fellow Monkbots*

    I was blown away by the connection and conviction Taylor had to the songs he sang. From that point on, I quickly fell into a fangirly vortex that has mostly dissapated into a deep respect and admiration for a great artist and, I believe, a good person.

    A sidebar to all of this is an interesting realization I came to. While talking to a fellow Taylor fan (splenda…if you’re reading…I miss ya gal!) It came out that the most likely reason I was so drawn to Taylor was that he is a lot like my husband in a lot of ways. My husband is also a musician, has a passionate personality, and is a sensitive soul. So, this whole ride has helped me to appreciate again what I have in him, which was much-needed after 12 years of marriage.

    So here I am now, having made some great friends (and losing track of some, sadly) and I feel really comfortable here with all of you. SO Thanks to Shelley, and all of my fellow monkbots, for nurturing an environment where people can share their lives and *gasp* agree to disagree without fear of reprisal.

    Viva Le Monkbot!

  14. double d Says:

    My little Squee to the Bee….

    CHRIS?!?!?!

    Ok. Everyone is entitled to ONE faux pas. Glad that Taylor utilized his Men in Black nuclear blast thingy to “Taylorize” you through the tube….more Koolaid?

    In other news…Taylor opened his can of “Whomp” ass on the music industry today. However, one VERY IMPORTANT review is highly anticipated and not provided due to “civic duty obligations”. It ain’t official until Shelley provides her Monkbot review.

  15. leejolem Says:

    Sqeebee, I’m glad you mentioned “Something”. No one really talks about that performance and that was probably my favorite!!!!!!!!!!!That was when HC4S and I got hooked too.

    HC4S, we are not sad and pathetic, just devoted fans (ok, going to bed at 3am was kind of pathetic)

    I too am awaiting Shelley’s review with baited Monkbot breath. Let me just say that I love me some power ballad (the “insidious scourge” of the music industry).
    Is Shelley really at jury duty? ugh šŸ˜¦

  16. double d Says:

    “insidious scourge”…heh.

    for the record, that power ballad RAAWKS! (that’s right…two A’s; no typo)

    Can’t. get. it. out. of. my. noggin’.

    “knuckle knocks” all around. It’s a GREAT day in the neighborhood. Dare I say WOOOO!?

  17. nolagirl Says:

    leejolem – Yep, she’s really at jury duty. I know, I know, don’t they know about her Monkbot schedule?! Geez!

    DD – With the Saints high, it’s REALLY a great day in the neighborhood! WHO DAT! šŸ™‚

  18. double d Says:

    And, before I leave you to attend yet another Xmas party (yes, me and the Monklex are highly sought after for lampshade entertainment), don’t forget that tomorrow…something from my “NEVER thought I see it list”…

    “…Taylor Hicks joins Martha to make a fragrant holiday garland.” — just for NOLAGirl.

    Taylorization of the world continues. Don your sunglasses.

  19. nolagirl Says:

    Ha ha, DD. That crap never gets old – I was telling my sister-in-law about it a little while ago and was cracking up over it *again*!

    P.S. Listened to the whole album on the way home. Let’s just say it was a nice ride. šŸ˜‰

  20. ivoryhut Says:

    Just got back from California early this morning, and despite the exhaustion, I was instantly excited when I realized that the box must have just made it to you. Glad to see it reached you intact, and that your mailman is not walking around with monkey chocolate banana candy stuck to his teeth.

    Yeah, that’ll show you what happens when you say stuff like “I don’t even know what coco jam is.” Heh.

    (By the way, the monkey candy is Japanese, and I’d never seen it before until that afternoon I spied it in the international supermarket and knew I just had to include it in the box.)

    So now I’ve added sending food to folks I’ve never even seen in person to my list of new things for 2006.

    Note to self: send Shelley more garlicky stuff.

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