Tuesday, September 30 : 3:35 AM : 1 comments :

It was pointed out to me that I haven't had a weekend to myself in two months. Normally this would be an amazing thing, and it still is, but I'm kind of in need of a free weekend. What would I do on this free weekend? Probably turn desperate mid-Saturday and start to call people to see what they're doing. But I hold out hope that I can hang out by myself for more than forty eight hours. I've grown up that much at least, right?

I've recently decided to dedicate the coming months of my life to a few very specific things: reading, writing, movies, basketball, and chess. These aren't any different than the things I've generally prioritized but I'm doing everything more focused this time. The last one, chess, I've decided will become my new number one hobby. Faced with declining physical skills, an inability to motivate friends to play board games, and a need to get away from video games, I've decided that I will now dedicate my gamesmanship to chess.

I consistently lament the fact that all the things I'm into, few of the people around me are into. Well, the solution to that has always been staring me in the face. Why try to get your friends to (reluctantly) play chess with you when you can just hop online and play with strangers? So that's what I did. I'm such a go-getter these days that I immediately signed up for a Premium membership on www.chess.com and have been steadily getting my ass handed to me nightly. It's super thrilling.

In thinking about some past relationships, I realized that one of the biggest problems I've had as a potential mate is that all my favorite things to do are essentially solitary activities. I mean, look at what I just dedicated the rest of my 2008 to. Nothing requires another person around (except strangers) and most of them are actually better done alone. During my stroll through the Internet, I've discovered that the majority of single women like doing social things. They want a guy who has a sense of adventure. Whether that be going to new places, hanging out at places with people, doing some hiking or running, these are all things that involve being out and about.

I like staying at home and doing nothing. What's dateable about that? But I know the dirty secret of active people. They are only active some of the time. It's nigh impossible to really be exploring a city, hanging out late at night, and then waking up early for a beautiful run on the beach. I call bullshit and say that most people are actually at home watching TV.

I know this is totally not true but I'd like to keep believing it.

It's like blah, blah, blah  

Friday, September 26 : 4:24 AM : 0 comments :

There used to be a time when I had at least one long email writing session a day. Meaning one huge long conversation email exchanged back and forth with a friend. That friend always rotated of course, as people came in and out of my life, but it was something I felt a connection to and built up a habit with. I stopped for awhile though, maybe because my main email buddies did their thing, or I did mine, but now I'm sort of back in the habit and I find that I really missed it. I occasionally go through this apparently, this detachment from personal emails.

I think I communicate so much better via email, and writing, I've realized I prefer it oftentimes.

Along those same lines, I used to have certain phone calls I'd make every day. Some to just say hi and check in. Some to shoot the shit. But again, that disappeared somewhere along the way too. And now that I'm trying to become a phone person again, I've discovered that I've lost the knack for it. The phone became a communication tool instead of a conversation device. A quick three minute call to set up something to do, ten seconds to say "I'm here, where are you?" But never any long phone calls anymore. There was a time when 1500 minutes a month was just barely enough (just daytime minutes mind you) and now I'm not even close to using up my 450 a month. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I kind of liked being a phone person, sort of.

I do dislike the "What did you do today?" phone call though. It smacks too much of just retelling often mundane events that usually border on the uninteresting. I'm not one of those people who can really relate in an interesting way what I do on the daily and unless the other person can, I kind of mentally zone out sometimes. I realize, however, that this is possibly an important aspect of maintaining a relationship. Both relationships and Relationships. This is where I think technology could really help me. Someone can just see what I've been up to by following along on Twitter or the moblog and I can do the same. Then if that sparks any fun conversation, perfect! Basically this is my weak PSA for Twittering, Loopting, and moblogging.

One thing that I am psyched about recently is that as I turn my attention to reading and writing, I have some (new) people to share that with. It requires someone who reads, of course, but also someone who wants to write, wants to explore, and more importantly, wants to share and critique. The one thing I've never experienced is having writing buddies, or a writing circle. I've taken one writing class in all my life, a children's story class at UCSD, and I found the experience novel, if not terribly helpful. It's hard to say negative things about someone's story when you barely know them.

You would think it's easier to critique (even constructively) a stranger's work but I found that in a classroom setting, everyone just pulls their punches and keeps this distance from actually engaging in talking about someone's work. Or maybe this was just the case with this particular class. I do recall a poetry class I took and this one guy said that "cacophony" should never be used in a poem. It was my poem of course and I was initially like, "Oh, duly noted." Then I thought about whether or not I actually respected this guy's opinion -- his poems were good -- and decided that I really didn't because I knew nothing about him. Plus, how can you say a word should never be used? It's all subjective isn't it? Then again, in retrospect, he was right. "Cacophony" should never have been used in that poem. For sures.

They Say Vision  

Tuesday, September 23 : 10:08 PM : 1 comments :

The rain is gone, I can see clearly now. I had my eyes checked out today and it turns out that I've been seeing blurry for quite some time now. I have a slight stigmatism in my right eye and my left prescription has been underpowered. Now I know why things turn fuzzy after being up and about for awhile. Usually when I put in my contacts there's an adjustment period before I can see totally clearly but now I realize it's not me, it's the equipment.

My mom loves to tell me to not fall asleep in my contacts because it'll ruin my eyes. "You only have one pair of eyes for your entire life, you have to take care of them." Of course, she says this about everything so I tend to ignore her. Maybe I shouldn't discount the advice of someone who was prudent enough to have two kids for the price of one...

If I had to rank the five senses in order of importance to me, it would go: Sight, Hearing, Taste, Touch, Smell. Re-ordering that in order of what I think works best for me naturally, it would probably be: Touch, Smell, Taste, Hearing, Sight. Basically biologically I'm failing myself. Or maybe I only value the things I suck at. Like six years ago I had an ear cleaning at the doctor's and it pretty much changed my life. Maybe now that I have new contacts I should also clean out my ears, stop smoking to recover my sense of taste, and then I'll be a new me.

I'm hoping to buckle down over the next few weeks and get some writing and reading done. The biggest impediment to this -- aside from distractions -- is the need to eat once or twice a day. In order to combat that, I swung by Costco and purchased warehouse sized portions of essential foods. Sadly, those essential foods turned out to be clam chowder, chips and salsa, iced tea, brownie bites, cans of corn, and ice cream.

Sometimes I wish I could just take a pill with all the essential nutrients and vitamins you'd need for a balanced meal. Then I wouldn't have to go through the process of eating. Between the preparation, the actual eating, and the coma afterwards, it's a good couple of hours out of the day. Imagine if you could just pop a few pills, save that time, and only eat when you want to taste delicious things. Clearly, I don't live to eat, I just eat to live. Do you?

Tick Tock  

Sunday, September 21 : 2:53 AM : 0 comments :

I'm wondering where the hell the summer went. It's creeping up on October already. I mean, it's not like I haven't had an enjoyable few months but how can it be time for people to return to school already?

I think one of the overlooked reasons for why life after school is this endless mashup of time is because we don't have clearly delineated seasons. There's no summer to hang out, there's no winter break. Everyone is just doing their own life events, going on their own vacations, all of that. Where's the communal solidarity? Crike, I'm even repeating myself. I think I covered this gripe in my timeline post. Geezes.

Anyway, I guess summer is pretty much over and it's time to turn my attention toward serious things like finding out what to do next. In good news, my unemployment has been extended another few months, I sold my stock at a profit, and I'm flush with optimism and cash. Such a dangerous combination don't you think? Far better to be full of cash and pessimistic, because then you'll spend less and save more.

But I've never been a hoarder. My money goes flying out of my pockets all the time. What's the opposite of frugal? Wasteful?

One of the things I admired about my father was that he wasn't your typical penny pinching Chinese person. I mean, I'm sure he knew how to save a few bucks (at least I assume he did) but he also knew the value of money -- or more importantly, what it wasn't worth. I never got to ask him his philosophy on money, the making or keeping of it, but from what I saw, he wasn't afraid to be comfortable and even extravagant. I'm not sure if that comes from a space where he had money and could afford to be "loose" with it or if that was just the way he handled things.

I wonder if he did it because he liked the pleasure of life and didn't want money to get in the way. Or maybe he did it to maintain a social status? Or maybe he did it because he was a generous person? Or maybe it was because he was accustomed to a certain lifestyle? Did he ever worry it would run out?

I guess I could ask my mom these questions, I'd assume she knows. I guess I could ask my mom a lot of things actually. But then she'd ask me things right back. And her questions aren't as fun or innocent.

I spent a few hours this weekend huddled up on my couch reading "Watchmen" in anticipation of the movie. It's not your typical superhero story by any means and it's definitely worth a read. I've heard that it needs to be read a few times in order to understand all of the allusions and symbolism but I think I'll just cheat and go through it with the help of the Annotated Watchmen site. I don't know why I've never read this thing before but it's pretty damn good.
"This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin.

One of the most influential graphic novels of all time and a perennial bestseller, Watchmen has been studied on college campuses across the nation and is considered a gateway title, leading readers to other graphic novels."
-Amazon product description-

What Women Think  

Monday, September 15 : 2:13 AM : 1 comments :

Listening to: Adele Adkins, whose album is named "19" in apparent reference to her age. Yet another English import but this one I like. Kind of Winehouse-ish but also got her own twist to it. Currently digging on "Best For Last."

So I'm sitting around at home, trying to decompress after San Francisco, flicking channels and hoping for some mind numbing fun. I get to "What Women Want," a Mel Gibson vehicle that explores (in a romantic comedy way) what life might be like for a chauvinistic man's man after an accident allows him to tap into women's inner thoughts. Think Professor XX. I just had to watch, for research of course.

For the most part, Mel hears one of two things from the women around him: "Man, what an arrogant asshole" or "Wow, he's so hot, I'd totally do him." With his new found insights, he chooses to become a womanizing nice guy who plays the Mr. Sensitive card to great effect. Women melt before him as he says all the things they want to hear. There's a few running sub-plots about a strained relationship with his daughter, an overlooked and possibly suicidal office assistant, and the obligatory "business or pleasure" romance.

At first, I couldn't get over how familiar the actress that played his daughter looked. Then I imdb-ed her and it turned out that Ashley Johnson was Chrissy from Growing Pains. Then I found out there was a Growing Pains reunion movie in 2000 and I immediately thought that Lilly and I should probably clear out a night to watch this thing, unless she's already seen it of course. I wouldn't put it past her actually. She has read Kirk Cameron's book.

Anyway so I'm wondering what would happen if men actually could listen to women's thoughts, and vice versa. Would we finally be able to bridge the gap? Would we fully understand each other if we didn't have to second-guess, interpret and re-interpret, or pay attention to context and body language? Would it be heaven or hell? Then it dawned on me that for the most part, the movie nailed exactly what most men are wondering about women, or rather, woman. "Does she think I'm hot?" and "Does she think I'm an asshole?" All of which boils down to "Does she like me and do I have a chance?!" Boys aren't stupid, they're just shallow. Keep throwing those rocks though.

In this way, the movie was entirely illuminating and it gave me some serious doubts about whether being able to hear a woman's thoughts would actually be a good thing. I mean, as annoying as it might be for males to constantly have to feel lost in the ocean of a woman's subterfuge and emotions, it might very well be a good thing because at least it allows the room for hope right? After all, the mystery has never been about what women think, but rather why they think the way they do. And that was something the movie didn't cover, much to my disappointment. The sequel opportunities here are huge, where are you Mel?

I can't even figure out who I'm insulting more with this conclusion, men or women. Probably both. Next up: Do women really want a man who thinks like a woman? Stay tuned.
"I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability."
-Melvin Udall-


Wednesday, September 10 : 2:02 AM : 0 comments :

So I'm 30 now. Writing-wise, you're supposed to type out small numbers and only use numerals for big numbers, but "thirty" doesn't look as imposing as "30." People have been writing out "The Big 3-0" to me so I should give it its proper due. As I'm writing this, Louis is asleep on the couch next to me, breathing heavily and occasionally snoring while I'm wide awake with the TV on. It could be a scene from 1998. The more things change the more they stay the same I guess.

I was trying to think about the best way to take stock of my twenties but it's been hard. Looking over old entries, browsing through pictures, and just trying to bring back memories from when I was still considered a newish young adult, I couldn't come up with anything. And I guess that's the theme of my twenties. I'm still nearly the exact same person. My interests are similar to ten years ago, the circle of my friends are roughly the same, and I'm still searching for the same things: Fun, friends, and freedom.

One of my best friends said that my quirk or weirdness is how long I've been in "this" stage of my life. Despite the end of college, moving all over the place, (some) jobs, losses and deaths, a few successes, and a gentle rocking as the world turns, I've remained early twenties in spirit if not in reality. My other best friend has often said that she's long admired my ability to stand above all worldly pressures and be unaffected by traditional stresses. I'm not sure that's a trait to be admired but both of their statements are true, I'm still closer to twenties Jon than 30's Jon.

Somehow I doubt forties me will be able to say the same thing. If the twenties are a transitional age, the thirties are traditionally about coalescing. It'll be hard to stay unchanged for another decade, if only because expectations and realities for a thirty year old are way different than it is for a twenty year old. Mostly, you're still full of promise in your twenties while any setbacks in your thirties can be more readily interpreted as straight failure. And forget this thirty is the new twenty stuff. It's a marketing ploy and soothing only topically.

If the fear and anxiety of some newish thirty year olds around me are to be believed, it's still the same old panic age it's always been. The good news is that I have company. A few of my peers are comparably confused and perhaps even lost. Any stability found in the past ten years seems temporary and up for debate. That means I'll still have people to swim with; that means I'll still have a few more years to get it right.

Our actual birth date was celebrated together, out among a gaggle of friends. The early part of the night was spent at Tien's wedding, which was beautiful and impeccably organized and decorated. Tien and David looked like leads from a Wong Kar-Wai movie and they had hired a kick ass live band. One guy had three saxophones, a trumpet, and a flute just to himself. The band was nine people deep, it was that serious. At one point they covered Journey, then Michael, then Black Eyed Peas one after the other. Like I said, super serious.

George threw herself a little birthday party and we were united a bit after midnight for some hugging (me) and deliriously happy "Happy Birthdays!" (her). The weekend before that, we also had some birthday celebrations in combination with all of the Virgo birthdays around us and we blew out candles together. I probably should have taken a moment to make a wish but I totally forgot. What would I have wished for? Well, I guess a pony would be out of the question at this point. So maybe a unicorn?


Tuesday, September 9 : 1:21 AM : 0 comments :

I went to a secret bar just now and we all know how much I like secrets. Here's how it works. You walk up to a random door in the Tenderloin and ring the bell. A nice girl answers and says, "Password?" You confidently give her a wink and one of two passwords: the password of the day or the generic one that gives you normal access. She gives you the once over and then lets you in. You're instantly cool. Like instantly.

Okay, the actual location of the bar and the password(s) aren't necessarily super secret in this Internet age but it's still pretty awesome. When's the last time YOU went to a secret bar?

Once you get inside, the decor brings you to another world. Dark oak everywhere, a whitewashed brick wall, dim lighting, and rules you need to follow to maintain the ambiance. No cell phone use, no asking for "a cosmo," no photography, and no standing at the bar. I know, I'd seem to be a poor candidate to be a patron here but whatever, I was just thrilled to be in a secret place. I barely used my phone and I didn't take a single moblog picture. Who am I?

Gemma told me she usually goes to the back room -- accessible through a secret book case! -- but tonight we just chilled at the bar. The bartenders are knowledgeable and seriously dedicated to their craft. We watched them shake the crap out of mixed drinks, very very vigorously, before pouring them out as works of art. I wish I had more tolerance so we could have drank more. This particular bar is the perfect setting for grand conversations because it's really intimate and the environment just screams "Tell me your secrets!"

Maybe I'll be looking for a secrets bar everywhere I go. A place where deep dark things are divulged and revealed. In SF, this shall be the place. Come with me, let's swap some skeletons.

By the way, Gemma also took us to a delicious Filipino breakfast place on the way to the airport. It was located in the back of a casino. On the list of life axioms to live by, "Trust Gemma" should definitely be high on that list. She's like flawless when suggesting fun activities to do. Hell, I trust her so much I even turned and drove down a one way street (into incoming traffic no less) just because she said, "Take this right."


Thursday, September 4 : 12:55 AM : 0 comments :

The bagel store girl said, "Here you go gorgeous," as she handed me my bag. I thought to myself, "Wow, gorgeous is such a wonderful word! Why don't people use it more often?" The only time it really gets used is in describing the weather, like "It's a gorgeous day." What a waste of a beautiful word I say. My hope is to replace my incessant use of "fabulous" and/or "beautiful" with "gorgeous." Note to self: Find gorgeous people/things and say it to about them.

So right after the trip to New York was a one day layover in San Diego where I did some laundry, made sweet reunion love to my dual monitors, and said hello and goodbye to my mom (she's off to Africa for a month). Even in that short thirty six hour period home, I could feel the itch to keep moving. Luckily, San Francisco was on the immediate horizon. In evaluating exactly where I'd like to be for the upcoming fall and winter, San Francisco is the destination that makes the most sense. The weather sucks but isn't horrible. I have friends and family here. It's a city with enough of everything to keep things interesting. But I've never been able to sustain much interest in the Bay Area.

I don't feel alive and energetic the way I do in New York. I don't see how that would change if I moved here. Still, it would still be an improvement on San Diego now wouldn't it? Then again, living anywhere but San Diego would probably require me to get off my butt and get a job. Rent here is just as steep as Manhattan and it seems like you'd need a car to effectively get around. That's staring at maybe $1500 a month for rent and parking and then add some bills and utilities and you're SOL. The minimum I'd think you need to live an adult lifestyle in either New York or San Francisco is about $50,000 a year. And that's cutting it low. I've never made that in my life, much less a whole year. Quick, cash in that life insurance policy. Sell off that comic book collection. Mine for gold or build a railroad.

You know how they say living in New York for seven years makes you a New Yorker? Is there a similar thing about becoming a San Franciscan? Do people become San Franciscans? I feel like they don't. In my generalization, New York molds you, whereas you have to mold San Francisco to your liking. I want to be molded, I think, because I don't have the foresight and drive to mold something myself right now. Hum, maybe that's the problem.

Anyway, we arrived last Thursday and immediately launched into a long weekend full of activities. The Little Mermaid Sing-A-Long, my first ever trip to Napa for wine tasting, shopping on Haight, partying and drinking and a few late night shenanigans. Karaoke, of course.

Coming straight from New York, the most drastic change is this 2am closing time thing. It's just killer. The city goes to sleep and by association, so does everyone else. I don't even know where I would roam at four in the morning. I haven't seen a single sunrise out here yet. San Francisco is literally putting me to sleep.

Let's talk about Napa real quick. I was a bit underwhelmed. I'm not a wine drinker, nay aficianado, and couldn't tell you much else besides "This is a red, eat it with meat. This is a white, eat it with fish." It seems like somewhere along the way though, many of my peers picked up wine knowledge. What the hell, why's everyone getting all sophisticated on me? I personally find the whole wine culture to be a bit pretentious and ridiculous but no more than someone who's a dedicated foodie or something. All that swishing and smelling is so hifalutin isn't it? Then again, I do similar evaluative acts with my movie popcorn so who am I to judge?

I'd personally rather really get into coffee but that's just my own tastes. I wonder how much the appeal of wine is mixed in with the idea of it as a high-class item. It bothers me a bit that knowing about wine is equated to being grown up -- or maybe that's just in my head. On the other hand, I do really enjoy how we've kind of evolved to uncorking bottles instead of popping aluminum tabs.

I did enjoy the overall Napa experience, if not the actual physical space, mainly because we went with so many people and had a chance to play some car games, to get into random conversations, and to just get out and do something different. Even though it was hot as hell that day, we had such an enjoyable and wonderful afternoon driving around collecting wine merit badges. It was, in a word, gorgeous.

Oh and I totally got a number too. No, not from the bagel girl. It was from one of the wine server guys who gave me his card so we could play video games together. We had a little talk about how we both played lots of online games and some MMORPGs. I swear I must have "geek of the universe" written on my forehead because within ten minutes of talking to people I get their geek cred spilled out and into the open. Seriously, just in the last two weeks I found out that this one girl is a super video game and comic book fan, and her friends of many years knew nothing about it. And then a boyfriend of a friend revealed his secret obsession with Magic and D&D to me during a smoke break. I must be doing something awfully right. Or wrong?

Break It Off  

Tuesday, September 2 : 4:49 AM : 4 comments :

So I've been karaoking a lot the past few weeks and have been carefully observing how the magic of karaoke happens. First off, I love karaoke. In an age where people want bars, clubs, and over-21 fun, it's a refreshing change of pace. Plus it's usually a guaranteed great time, it brings people together, it brings the energy up, and you always leave happy, especially if you end with one of my patented closers: That's What Friends Are For or Puff the Magic Dragon.

What I've noticed recently is that the makeup of the karaoke room is so key. Everyone knows that karaoke is conducted in private rooms right? My experience with public karaoke is pretty much nil and karaoke to me means renting a room and singing your heart out for a few hours among friends. Drunken strangers need not apply. If you need a guide to exactly what public karaoke is and how to excel at it, check out Raina Lee's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," a fantastic and hilarious book.

Anyway, the first key to a successful karaoke time is having people who want to sing. It's not even about who wants to get on the mic but the background singers. Nothing makes a karaoke room feel more dead than when the crowd is distracted, tired, or not into it. There are two ways to combat this. Either have a banging song where everyone just has to sing or have the type of people who just sing because music is playing and words are on the screen. Synchronized noise is good.

Obviously, you can't control who's going to be karaoking. It's by nature a group activity and you never know who's going to be into it or not. You can, however, control the banging songs. So what I'm going to try to construct is a karaoke script. I'm taking this idea from football and more specifically, Bill Walsh's West Coast offense. Back when the 49ers were winning everything in sight, Walsh included in his innovations the idea of scripting the first fifteen offensive plays of the game. This allowed his team to have a consistent strategy to start games. Mike Holgren, coach of the Packers and now the Seahawks, took this idea one step further and scripted the first fifteen plays of the second half too.

Therefore what I propose is constructing a playlist of five songs that's always thrown immediately into the que as soon as you step inside the room. See, what usually happens when a group of people gather together to sing? Ten minutes or more of poring over song books as precious time and money seep away in silence. The scripted songs will eliminate that. Also, there tends to be a warm up period before people find a groove and really start blasting out their lungs. It can be really hit and miss early on. As all karaoke veterans know, the first few songs in can really set the tone for the night. Why leave that crucial first step up to chance?

With that in mind, what songs will be in this script? Well, it's obvious that all five will have to be crowd pleasers. A few common songs that everyone can't help but sing along to. It's more complex than busting out simple crowd pleasers though. First, you don't want to use a money song too early. For example, Living on a Prayer is a karaoke staple but it requires maximum energy and is best left as a third-to-last closer so everyone can walk out hyped up. Along the same vein, a classic like Hotel California, while a good song, isn't appropriate to start things off because it's just too damn slow. Obscure songs are out. Along with all foreign songs. English motherfucker, do you speak it...

Another important factor in selecting songs to script is that they can't be overly difficult to sing. Anyone of mediocre singing ability should be able to pick up the mic and start things off. It helps, of course, to have amazing singers on hand but short of that, you have to create a safe space for amateur singers to sing. This also gives the dual benefit of getting everyone involved from the beginning. Don't let anyone turtle up. Karaoke energy is a shifting and tenuous thing. Participation must be encouraged.

So, no performance numbers where the skill level is too high or the song too well suited to only having one person sing. Anything Mariah Carey is a bad idea. Or Michael Jackson. Anything with deceptive scale changes is out too. Lastly, songs that are only good for their well known choruses shouldn't be considered. The entire song needs to be a hit.

Now, while I'm trying to construct a master list of the same five songs to put in for every karaoke occasion, it's doesn't mean you have to sit through all five songs in full. Feel free to skip some if the energy is already high and the que is bursting with great songs. But this idea is seriously genius because it'll be guaranteed to start your karaoke experience off right.

With that in mind, here's the outline of the five songs I'd like to come up with.
  1. This song might be playing in the background a bit as things begin and so should have lyrics that people will most likely know without even having to look at the screen. Put two people on the mic immediately. It doesn't have to be high energy but it shouldn't be slow. Worst case scenario, go Disney (A Whole New World perhaps but nothing Little Mermaid until later, trust me).
  2. A high energy rock song. Perhaps a little Journey (Don't Stop Believing), Aerosmith (Crazy), or Stone Temple Pilots (Plush).
  3. A kick ass girl song. Do a classic like Madonna. Actually, just do Madonna. Britney or Spice Girls might do. Might.
  4. Guy's turn. Boy band or R&B standard. Guys love to croon and girls love to sing along. Think Boys II Men, N*Sync, Backstreet Boys, K-Ci and JoJo.
  5. Pop in a semi-recent upbeat number. Maybe even rap if you're daring. Otherwise one of Ne-Yo's popular songs. It gets people up out of their chairs and dancing. The key is this song needs to get butts moving.
These are just my initial thoughts of course. I'd like to refine the outline and then come up with some actual songs that would be readily available in most quality karaoke establishments. Then I'd like to have a backup song for each in case a particular selection is unavailable. I'm wide open for suggestions to the outline and specific songs.

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