Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Where in the World is Clay Aiken?

Clay's really been jet setting lately. This picture was taken in early July at LA International Airport. It looks like a paparazzi shot. Clay looks like a guy in a hurry with his long strides and the girl who is most likely his personal assistant can barely keep up with him. I wonder what he was writing in that notebook. That man is a master multi-tasker. Maybe he's working on another book or writing songs, I hope. Maybe he's writing his daily letter to his brother in Iraq.

He's been reportedly spotted in Seattle and Vancouver recently and he blogged about doing a photoshoot in a posh mansion in LA this week. He also visited one of his Bubel Aiken Foundation's Camp Gonzo locations and hung out with the campers and staff for a few hours.

It looks like those shorts (he probably has a dozen of the same ones) and sandals are the base of his summer wardrobe.

Now all we need is that press release. Album release date, tour venues and dates would be nice, Clay! We need time to plan, you know! Chop Chop!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I'm Responsible for my own Joy. Claymate is my rank.

Claymates. I've come to embrace the word. I wasn't a Claymate until recently. I used to think it was a funny play on words that reminded me of Playboy Magazine's Playmates. Although I think that Clay is gorgeous and dead sexy, I didn't objectify him like the Playmate/Claymate association might have indicated. I've watched the jealousy and hatred that was aimed at Clay Aiken over the last few years and wondered why. I've watched them try to diminish me by ridiculing my love for this man. I know the answer to WHY now. It's fear. Fear that Clay is more talented and a better person than they or their own favorite Idol is. Fear that a man who lives a life where he sincerely tries hard to live up to his obligations as a celebrity, and wants to be someone that his kids will look up to, makes the soul-less ones want to tear him down.

The haters use the Claymate term like it's a bad word and I'm tired of it. Mates=friends and I'm definitely a friend of Clay's. I'm going to embrace the term and shout it loud and proud from now on.

I'm Clay's friend, he doesn't owe me anything for my love and support. I'll help him steer through the dirt and mud that is thrown at him. I am the captain of my own happiness and Clay is a part of that for me. We circled the wagons around Clay 6 months ago when we were shocked at how low some hateful people could stoop to smear the reputation of an authentically nice and talented man. We can steer our own course to the happy times that are ahead of us. The Claymates encircle you Clay.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Uganda’s ‘night commuters’ seek protection from abduction

“We come to the shelter because I fear being abducted again. I was eight years old then. I do not want my brothers and sisters to be abducted as I was. We walk fast in the night to be here.”

Each night, Angel (quoted above), aged 14, walks a kilometre to the safety of a shelter at St. Mary’s Hospital, Lacor, with her four siblings.

Nightfall in northern Uganda brings with it the fear of abductions and a unique way of coping – “night commuting”. As many as 12,000 children have been abducted by the armed opposition, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), for use as soldiers, sex slaves and porters since June 2002. An unknown number have been killed, while over 15,000 have escaped or been rescued by government soldiers – the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF) – since the war began in 1986.

Insecurity in the Gulu, Pader and Kitgum districts of northern Uganda has led to parents sending their children to sleep in urban areas or into the middle of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). However, the night commuter phenomenon is also symptomatic of the broader issues relating to the protection of civilians in northern Uganda.

Walking several kilometres each way, many children sleep at specially established centres in towns and their outskirts, such as Lacor, about five kilometres from the town of Gulu. These centres, run by non-governmental organizations, provide a safe and clean place to sleep, clean water and sanitation, basic health care and counselling.

However not every IDP camp is near a centre which offers protection. Each night, tens of thousands of children and a number of adults who are too far from these centres move into the middle of the IDP camps because they feel safer there than on the edges. Those who move to the middle of the camps do not benefit from any special support or protection.

The number of night commuters varies depending on perceptions of safety. A sharp rise since the beginning of the year can be directly linked to the heightened activities of the LRA after the collapse of the peace talks which were initiated to end the conflict between the LRA and the government of President Yoweri Museveni.

Trying to evade abduction and brutal attacks, most of the children commute without the protection of adult family members to spend the night in urban areas, hospitals, churches or on shop verandas. In so doing, they run the risk of harassment from both government soldiers and the LRA.

Barry, 12 years old, walks two kilometres to reach one of the centres. He has lost both parents in the war. “I come to the centre because I feel safer here,” he says. “I am afraid to remain at home as I may get abducted. I live with my aunt. Both my parents were killed by the rebels.”

After almost two decades of conflict in northern Uganda, there are still reports of continuing human rights violations, killings, mutilations, abductions, rape and sexual violence. Children bear the brunt of the general climate of violence, their rights violated on a daily basis. With no security in their own homes, they struggle to find an illusion of safety in night commuter shelters.

"The idea of childhood as a protected time of healthy growth has been effectively obliterated in northern Uganda."
The State of the World’s Children 2005, UNICEF Report


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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sweet Southern Boy

littlec of Clayversity made this perfect post. I want to share it with you.

One day a young southern boy walked onto the stage of the famous Ryman Theater and started singing. When he finished his "judge" told him to go back to driving a truck "you'll never sing on the Grand Ole Oprey" and he never did. He didn't go back to driving a truck either. Instead he worked his butt off and Changed the music landscape forever Critics booed him, haters trashed him, djs refused to play him, he ignored them and continued to sing his songs. He became so famous he only needed one name------------Elvis

49 years later another young southern boy walked out on stage in California and started singing, week after week. His "judge" told him to go to broadway because "you're not what we're looking for, a recording artist" He didn't go to broadway. Instead he works his butt off and is also changing the music landscape forever Critics boo him, haters trash him, djs refused to play him (but that is about to change) he ignores them and continues to sing his songs. He is becoming so famous that most people know him by one name------------Clay

49 years from now people will still know the name------------Elvis
49 years from now people will still know the name------------Clay

Just for fun and because he can, Clay did an Elvis set during his Jukebox Tour last Summer but don't be thinking he's any Elvis Impersonator because he also sang about 60 other songs by artists as varied as Sam Cooke, The Goo Goo Dolls and Ricky Martin. He simply has no limits to his talent.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Thousand Different Ways

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. No I'm not going to get all poetic and rapturous. I don't have to because Jaymes Foster, Clay's executive producer, did it for me.

Clay blogged. He suggested that we might want to read Jaymes Foster's blog ;) Sure, Clay, whatever you say honey!

She told us that "Our" album is ready. The CD title is "A Thousand Different Ways." It was finished as of last night, July 16th. She said it was a long journey but very much worth the wait. They started down one path and ended up on another that she's sure we'll be pleased with and one that they are very proud of. She talked about working with some of the greatest singers on the planet, she named Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and Andrea Bocelli. She now realizes that Clay belongs among those most amazing singers. She said that they tried to capture Clay's voice as if he were singing live and she feels that the songs he chose showcase that. She can't say anything more about the song selection just yet but she will when she can.

This is my favorite part. "But, I believe you will hear him singing in ways that you have never heard or even dreamed of. His musical talent, instincts and abilities have astounded me."

RCA will make the formal announcement soon and "Clay and I are sure that you will love this album in "A Thousand Different Ways"! ;)"

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Tears Run Dry

The latest educated guess by the professional educated guessers in the Clay fandom say that the CD will likely be released in September. Ordinarily an artist would have started talking about his upcoming CD by now. You know, the collaborations, the general type of sound they are going for, the producers that worked on the album. There may have been a tracklist by now or maybe the title of the CD or even the first single might have been identified.

Clay's new CD is a better kept secret than the location of Amelia Earhart's plane. We have heard that he had recorded so many songs by last fall that he could put together 4 or 5 CDs. The only thing he had not recorded yet were Mongolian Polkas. I'm pretty sure that was a joke. Then the CD apparently took off in yet another direction. The trouble with Clay is that he can sing anything. The search for a musical direction must be terribly difficult when there is too much choice and the pressure is on to finally have the opportunity to choose your own style, rather than have the record company hand you a dozen songs and you sing them because that's the deal.

Rumor has it that Clay will sing love songs. Thanks a lot Clay. Almost every popular song is a love song. That really narrowed it down. Then we hear that he'll re-interpret some covers from the last 25 years or so. Not much to go on there either. Then we hear that there will be some originals mixed with fresh takes on some covers. Lord Almighty! Hurry up Clay! By now I don't care if it IS Mongolian Polkas, just give us the darn CD already! God I love this man!

Last summer Clay put together the Jukebox Tour. He sang about 70 songs from the 50s to present day. He even tried out a few songs that may or may not be on the new CD. This is one of them. I really love this song. I hope it made the album.

This is a cleverly edited montage of the song, put together from fan video at many different concerts and beautifully capturing how amazing Clay sings live. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Clay Rocks!

Kelly Clarkson's tour hit Raleigh North Carolina the evening of July 3rd. According to sightings around Raleigh, Kelly, Clay and Ruben were seen leaving a restaurant after having dinner together the night before the concert and Clay was spotted dropping Kelly off at the venue in the afternoon on concert day. I hope they all had a great time catching up with each other and just hanging out at Casa Clay.

Ruben and Clay, Kristy and another girl took their seats after the opening act, (Rooney). People began to realize that they were there when the crowd near the front started to scream and it grew increasingly loud as more people caught on. Only the ticketholders in the same section as Clay and Ruben were allowed to approach for pictures and autographs and extra security was brought over for the duration of the intermission. When the lights went down and Kelly came out, everyone took their seats and had a great time. Clay was seen standing throughout the majority of the songs, he was bopping and grooving to the music. He later wrote in his blog that he had a wonderful time at the concert and recommended that it was a great show and to get tickets if you don't already have some. Nice guy.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy July 4th Everyone!

I Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend and now please enjoy this most excellent rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

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