Dear Mikey

January 31, 2012

Dear Mikey,

Well, you are clearly the TMtP expert on Vocal Point nicknames. We’ve certainly enjoyed the knowledge you’ve dropped on us so far regarding them. We have noticed a glaring omission, though. We’re curious: are there any other nicknames that’ve been bestowed upon you we should know about?

You know, besides… “Mikey?”

And, out of ALL the VP nicknames, for all of the guys, which is your ultimate, most epic favorite?

We know this is a pretty straightforward question as compared to that convoluted thing we dropped on Keith last week. Don’t you worry, though. Once we get to know your writing style and personality a little bit better, we’re fairly positive we’ll come up with some sort of a hot mess for you to sort through that’s all up in your wheelhouse.

-Troi and Crusher


We need to talk about Tanner’s hair

January 31, 2012

You know those insanely talented people who just can’t be bothered to fuss with their hair?




Well apparently Tanner’s one of those guys.

Tanner Nilsson

Here’s a little fact we haven’t told you: the whole “Tanner is street” thing was not our only Tanner-meme (if a meme can exist between two people) when we started watching all of these VP videos.  We were fascinated by Tanner’s lack of a hairstyle, which we speculated he’s had for quite some time. Possibly since elementary school.  Now, obviously we’re glad we ran with the whole street thing, as it’s become a pretty popular way to describe Tanner.  And with that streetness, Tanner as he was represented on the blog grew into some mythical unicorn of a vocal percussionist.  But the spectre of the inexplicable hair was always looming over us.  We started to feel like our readers would judge us for not mentioning the things that really make him human. Namely, his utter lack of a hairstyle.  If we’re the jerks who put “Creepy Jake” out into the ether, it would be pretty hypocritical of us to never mention Tanner’s hair.  So, we finally snuck it into a post:

…We repeat all apologies from last week. To each of you.  Except maybe Tanner… a searcher would probably just think you’re pretty cool if they found this blog.  So, we apologize in advance for the future post we have planned to discuss your lack of a hairstyle with you. Seriously, it’s not like it’s bad hairstyle… it’s like a number 7 clipper cut? We’d just like to see you aim a little higher. Kthx.

We were hoping that we’d be able to just mention it briefly there to alleviate our feelings of having kept something from our readers, and that once out in cyberspace, we’d just be able to let it Brooklyn Fade its way out. And then this happened:

Tanner says:

Lookin forward to the future post regarding my hair. I should warn you though–my hair is the real honey badger. It don’t care and it don’t listen to no one. We have a mutual understanding: I don’t bother it, it doesn’t bother me.

Oh. Snap.

So, if the man himself is ready for it, then we feel me must oblige.  Here we go, Tanner!

First of all, it’s not like Tanner’s hair is always completely devoid of style. And by that we mean, one time there was a hint of effort.  During the intro piece for the Elvis Medley performance, we can see Tanner sporting a bit of a fade. Yes, we know… it’s a fade, but hey, it’s at least considered a legit style, especially if you are time-traveling to the ’80s.  We can’t quite tell if Mrs. Tanner (she was the future-Mrs. Tanner here) likes it well enough, or if she’s thinking, “Dude, you’re lucky I love you so much that I’m willing to ignore that whole situation on top of your head.”

And then, when we’re caught back up to current footage, the fade has, well faded, and we’re back to… this:

No amount of smolder vocal percussion will distract us now. Nice try, bucko!

So, Tanner claims that his hair is, in fact, the true honey badger. We’re pretty sure a lot of guys feel this way about their hair.  But unless your hair actually looks like this:

…we’re not buying it.

There are a lot of options out there.  Since we’re such helpers, y’all know we just had to jump in here, right? So here are some mock-ups of potential hairstyles we think Tanner could take for a spin. (Big thanks to the Hollywood makeover gadget… that mess was way too much fun to play around with.)

So, our first three options consist of the Biebs, Carlisle Cullen, and the Donald.  Um… no winners here.

Next we tried some options all in darker hues.  From the left that is Will Smith, Joe Jonas, and Edward Cullen.  Yeah, we’re not sure why all of the options on In Style’s makeover thing are so horrible, either.  Although without the sparkly mess and wooden acting, the Edward hair isn’t actually that bad.

Then we started to run out of men’s hairstyles to try (seriously, there are more male hairstyles than those that appeared in Twilight films, In Style, we promise).  Eve’s Flock of Seagulls look is the kind of thing a hipster would ironically wear nowadays, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.  And since we know that Tanner is an elf, it should come as no surprise that the pixie cut doesn’t quite work for him.

Hey, that first one might actually look better on Tanner than it did on Keira Knightley… but that doesn’t mean it’s the sort of thing anyone should commit to.  And, we’re not really sure why Miss Piggy was one of the options, but, um… LOVE IT.  And that last one, while also a girl cut, doesn’t actually look that bad.

But you know what, we’re not gonna lie.  None of these really work.  The honey badger hair may have won this round.  But we are persistent little bloggers, and we will find something that can defeat that void of a hairstyle.  It can be done… we just may have to buy Photoshop to make it happen.

-Troi and Crusher

That’s a lot of sauces…

January 30, 2012


Why do people always want to take your picture when you’re eating? Somehow, we can’t imagine this was a “1,2,3 Say Cheese!” photo set-up.

But props for the reflexive Rossface.

Ben’s laidbackedness catches up to him as he probably displayed a perfectly lovely smile about four seconds after this photo was taken.

Looks like maybe Tyler has fallen into one of the classic “Seriously? You’re going to take my picture while I’m eating?” problems and might have some of… whatever that is in his mouth peeking out of the corner of his smile. Next time, closed-mouth smile. You know, just in case.

And Mystery Picture-Taker?  We’re not sure if your food actually looks any more appetizing, but way to be an individual! And go you for bustin’ out the chopsticks!

-Troi and Crusher

Our Mom May Love Vocal Point More than She Loves Us

January 29, 2012

No really, she may.

Yesterday, Troi was home visiting our parents, and it was the first time they had seen her in person since they found out about the blog. Our mom’s McButtery love has only grown since she started reading the blog, and she confessed to watching “Just the Way You Are” at least once a day.  Also, while her appreciation for Pitbull hasn’t developed, she has decided that McPrecious has moved into the upper-echelon of her favorite male singers.  Like, her trifecta of awesome is now Bono, Mac Powell, and McCrockett.


And then, while out at a show, Troi saw Big Mama checking her phone before the performance began.  (sidenote, y’all: Big Mama was coined ironically by Troi’s husband a while back. Our mother is, in fact, tiny. Wee, even. Dare we say, McCrockett-sized.) At first, it seemed like she was catching up on some emails.  A closer glance, however, revealed that she was actually re-reading Keith’s epic LOTR response to his last “Dear Keith.”  Of course.

Later on, our mom called Crusher to catch up.

“Wow, what a fun day on the blog today, huh?” Big Mama remarked.

“Yup, it was pretty epic.  Hey, I can chat for a few minutes but then I have to leave to go out to dinner,” Crusher replied.

“Oh, so what are you guys doing tonight?”

“We’re going out for Mexican.”

“…I meant what are you posting on the blog.”

Our blog-world is now more interesting to our mother than our real lives.  (And Mom, we know you don’t care, but the new Mexican restaurant Crusher went to was really good.)

The rest of Crusher’s conversation with our mother basically consisted of Big Mama gushing over how brilliant Keith’s Fellowship comparison was.  (Her one complaint? Keith didn’t give himself enough credit for being awesome. And we’re with her on that. We’re pretty sure that, like Gandalf, Keith would totally confront a Balrog to save his friends. And if the guys ever found themselves fighting a VP version of Helms Deep, we’re quite certain that Keith would rush in with reinforcements to save the day.) Big Mama actually said, “It was amazing!  I just wonder how he went about doing it.  And to think he wrote it all in about an hour!  It was so great!  You better be careful or he’ll steal the blog away from you!”

Okay Mom, let’s be real.  At this point, Keith is basically our third blogger anyway, and yes, he could totally steal the blog if he wanted to.  And true, his comment was epic and amazing and all of the great adjectives in the world.  But you know what?  Crusher wrote the McButters’ Conspiracy in about an hour.  Where’s the props for that?  Troi can crank out a performance review in about 45 minutes. Still not impressed, Mom? Oh geez, now we know how McCrockett felt during the “Life is a Highway” judging (“You’re great. You’re always great… But in what Keith did…”).  Sure, she likes our stuff just fine, but nothing can compare to what Kevin can do.

Of course, part of the issue is that Keith’s topic was totally in the wheelhouse of things Big Mama loves, loves, loves.  We are a big-time LOTR family.  Just how much?  Well, our mom really, really loves Legolas.  Way back in 2003, she asked for a bathrobe for Mother’s Day.  Which is practical, but lame.  So we bought her the robe… and a life-size Legolas cut-out.  And then we put the robe on the cut-out and left him in the kitchen for her to find in the morning.  (Side note: not our brightest idea… apparently it can really startle a barely-awake person to see a strange figure standing by the coffee pot at the crack of dawn.)  Well, she loved her “Legy” (pronounced Leggy) cut-out, and eventually he made his way into the corner of the dining room.

Where he still is.

We repeat, almost nine years later, there is still a cut-out of Legolas in the dining room at our parents’ house.  And…

…he gets decorated for holidays and special occasions.

So it’s no wonder that she completely geeked out on the VP LOTR post.  But that leads us to one more mini-tangent.  There is another tradition in our family that is relevant to this whole loss-of-motherly-love crisis.  And that is the concept of “Blessèd Daughter.”  Basically, whenever one of us does something pleasing to her, we get the mantle of being Blessèd Daughter.  Likewise, you can lose it (and the other one gets it by default) if you do something unpleasing.  This is always for rather inane things: empty out the dishwasher while you’re home visiting? Blessèd Daughter.  Say something snarky about kayaking? Lose the title of Blessèd Daughter.  Sometimes, if we’ve both lost the title, Troi’s husband or a random friend who’s willing to momentarily suck-up can be bestowed with the title.  There are no benefits, no prizes, no actual effects on reality.  And yet, from high school on, this has been a running joke in our family.

Why are you telling us about this, you may ask.  Well… we’re pretty sure that Keith is Blessèd Daughter right now.  So, enjoy that, buddy.  Like we said, there are no benefits, but you do get bragging rights, if you care about that sort of thing.  And since it’s unlikely you’ll do anything to lose the title, you’re going to have to wait for one of us to win back the moniker.  Actually, Troi’s husband is probably most likely to get it next, as he’s quick to jump when he sees the opportunity to be Blessèd Daughter (it’s always Blessèd Daughter, by the way… gender is irrelevant).

So, yay for Keith and his amazing writing skills that have so completely won over our mother.  You know, we’ve managed to go our whole lives without any real sibling rivalry problems.  And apparently now they’re going to crop up with our internet pen pal.  For real?

-Troi and Crusher

Hip to Be Square, or the One Where Ross has a Backache

January 28, 2012

Happy Weekend, y’all! To help wrap up what has been one of our favorite days here at TMtP, we’d like to do a quick little perf review of “Hip to be Square,” as performed at what appears to be a family weekend or something. Thanks to chaswel61 for posting this on Youtube (all pics and captures from here as well). We’re assuming you’re somehow related to Ross, since you tend to focus the camera on him, which works out okay on a performance like this where Ross is the lead, and we totally appreciate you sharing your VP wealth with the rest of us.

Rossface kicks us off with a quick intro and thanking the crowd for being there. But really, we barely notice this because the bass line is insane. Completely nuts. This is definitely one where, once we started viewing these videos on our TVs with our sound systems (instead of inadequate computer speakers), we were all “Oh hi, Robert.”  Maybe it’s not that hard. Maybe it’s the bass equivalent of quantum physics. We don’t really know. Doesn’t really matter to us either way. Still sounds awesome.

Then the guys get right into their first variation on step-touches.  This performance is kind of all about the step-touches, so we hope y’all are fans of them.  Then at :27, the whole group leans towards stage right, creating a pretty cool angle.  Except… oh Jake.

Humans don’t lean like that.

Then we get a nice close-up Rossface with the added bonus of some accidental close-up Bassmaster Robert.  Next up on the docket at :45 is the groovin’ version of the step-touch.  Just look at Tanner and Robert feelin’ it.  Just look at Ben looking like… a tall Jake.  Wow, that’s pretty awkward.  Is it possible that Ben might actually be just as bad of a dancer as Jake, but without the Creepy Jake faces, he flies under the radar more?  We can’t even figure out how to describe what’s off about it  — it’s like he has no concept of moving through the beat, but instead is just trying to randomly land in the right spot at the right time.  This may prove to be nickname-worthy.  But before we can decide on what that might be, we get distracted by… A group version of the LSR!

This is so exciting!  Keith is (of course) the best.  It’s his signature move after all, and the rest of them just have tourist visas for awesome-town.

We also notice that Ross appears to be suffering from some back pain, a fact which is made more obvious at 1:16.  Poor guy, trying to sell the song for all it’s worth while under such duress.

What was that?  You say that’s actually a cool rock star move?  For real?  Our bad.  We do sort of love the fact that it seems like Ross learned how to be a rock star from watching clips of the greats — there’s a little bit of Mick influence, some Steven Tyler, and maybe a smidgen of Bon Jovi or something.

While Ross heads to the side to put on some Icy Hot, Jake and McButters come to the foreground for a fun little section.  After they finish, Jake carefully scoots around like he’s on a minefield in order to get back to where he belongs.

Then Rossface grits through the pain (like a boss!) and gives each guy an individual intro.  Tanner and Robert each go with a quick wave to the crowd after being introduced.  Keith forgoes the wave but gives a spunky little eyebrow raise.  Tyler and Michael only exist in the disappointment we have that Papa Sterling didn’t film this performance.

Before their intro, McKay puts a hand on Jake to ensure that the stage left group moves forward in unison.  Which, was this some sort of test for McButters?  Giving him Jake and Ben to wrangle?  But he handles it like a pro and even manages a little hand raise of acknowledgement to the audience.  Ross intros himself and then moves into the song quickly with a little rock star move that makes his tie try to escape from his shirt. Which sort of begs the question: Why don’t men wear tie tacks anymore?

And as he continues we get two completely amazing things.  First up, there’s a great little McRoomie cross-stage connection.

Bonded pair.

Then everyone is doing some little improv moves, and McCrockett stumbles upon this masterpiece:

Well hi there, Mr. McRightAngle.

And now they finally move into the final step-touch variation.  This is the most complicated of all of the step-touches seen thus far.  It’s the staggered start, swagger lean step-touch.  Ross gets it started like a champ and then Tanner and Robert hop on in.  At 2:06 we can see that Ben looks terrified of screwing up.  He keeps checking in on Keith to make sure he joins in at the right time, and manages to time his entry into the move correctly.  Yay for Ben!  Jake checks in once on his partner, Tyler, and the two of them nicely back up in unison into the step-touches.  Then Michael (oh hey there, buddy! Haven’t seen much of ya in this video) and McKay move to the ends to solidify the formation with their competence.

But these are not men who will be satisfied with merely achieving the most challenging of all step-touches.  Oh no.  This song is “Hip to be Square.”  You know what that means, right?  Oh yes.  Jazz squares.  You guys just couldn’t resist, could you?  That’s okay, everyone loves a good jazz square.

Unfortunately, Jake appears to blow the first jazz square at 2:16.  But then it looks like he gets it together.  However, it doesn’t really matter, because he’s mostly covered by Ben’s awkwardness anyway.  But perhaps these are just early-in-the-year performance nerves.  Alright Ben, here’s what we’ve decided… we’re not going to give you a nickname for this just yet.  Your dance skills have been placed on notice, though.  Meanwhile, McButters is trying to compensate by just selling it for all it’s worth on the end.  Stage right, on the other hand, is killing it.  Those boys are jazz square pros (hope that’s included in the special skills section of your resumes!).  Then Rossface’s Icy Hot wears off and his back starts acting up again.

Kevin and Robert try to distract the audience from Ross’ obvious discomfort by getting them to clap along to the end of the song.  Rossface manages to fight through the pain to wail all the way to the end.  And then the guys group together upstage and end the song in one of their favorite ways, with a little hop into the air in unison.  Unlike “Jump Jive” they don’t all fall to the ground, but instead most of them manage to stay upright.

Except for Tyler, who falls out of the frame.  And Michael, who leans over, perhaps to check on him.  And Jake, who’s all “What up?”  And, of course, the Kevin-ball.  Oh guys… never change.

-Troi and Crusher