Bod & Heart Submit Syllabus, Plan Aiken Concert

IS IT JULY YET? -- Clay Aiken launches his Summer Symphony Tour with July 4 festivities in Frisco, TX. Hawt graphic by Cindilu2.

Aiken Summer Tour Awaits

Bod, Heart Submit Final Report

Since we -- BOD and HEART -- masterminded Tuesday's successful cath lab procedure, we thought we'd pass along some of our experiences, which, hopefully, will prove beneficial for others scheduling similar medical adventures.

This blogging thing has been kind of fun, but our next assignment is physical fitness. We want to make sure Caro receives the same good report next year or if the terms "stress test" and "cath procedure" are used in the same sentence, she will be able to run fast enough to get away. Just teasing, though that's not a bad idea.

HEART: Before we tell you about our day at the hospital, we thank you -- from the bottom of me -- for all your thoughtful messages, good vibes, prayers, candle flames, and my specialty, love, that you have shown us these past few days.

BOD: Perhaps the third time was the charm, as the two-year pattern of cath procedure-stent intervention has finally been broken. All along, Jnyoyo has predicted only positive results because our appointment was scheduled on her birthday. Maybe she was our good luck charm!

HEART: Since the ole girl has been in a Valium Fog all day, we'd better do the talking. Just before we rolled into the cath lab, she had to chew an orange-flavored baby aspirin (ewwww!!!) and swallow a valium. Add that to her normal Aiken Fog, and functionality has been rather limited.

BOD: So while she's recuperating, we thought we'd take over the blog and share some of what we learned this time around. Since all cardiac systems seem to be functioning well, we feel very qualified to pass along helpful hints to others scheduled for medical procedures

Bod & Heart's Procedure Syllabus

1. Plan to leave all modesty and inhibitions at home. In the prep area, as well as the lab itself, caretakers will be both male and female. When all is said and done, they will have seen and dealt with your body from all angles.

In this, you just have to go with the flow. While a male nurse was wielding his razor, that crazy Caro asked if he couldn't just go ahead and wax both legs. He grinned and went with the flow.

2. Despite living in the Age of Technology, be prepared to repeat your medications list at least three times, often within 30 minutes. Makes you wonder who's in charge of networking.

3. Be aware that lying in a bed across from a nurses station with side-by-side computers encourages acute waves of that dreaded syndrome -- Internet Withdrawal Trauma.

4. Make sure your accompanying family member has a similar disposition because it's best to be around someone who sees humor in the serious.

As in previous years, Caro's sister was her partner. Every time we go through one of these procedures, Sis brings along three bags of newspapers to read and discard. So in a sense, these annual get-togethers clean out one house while filling up another.

5. Instead of trying to remember all the nurses' names, assign them a nickname. One of our favorites this year was Hummingbird. No matter what she was doing -- asking for the meds list, securing an IV, you name it -- she hummed the same three-note phrase over and over.

Both music majors, Caro and her sister immediately knew the intervals of H-Bird's song, for which they politely refrained from analyzing or harmonizing. Wonder what H-Bird would have done if the siblings had added impromptu alto and tenor lines to her tune. That was our FUNNY BONE interjecting, btw.

Expect Frigid Temps in Cath Lab

6. Rolling into the Cath Lab where the thermostat is locked on 55 degrees, mentally transport yourself to a warmer climate. Be careful with your movements (i.e., don't start doing the hula on the flat board) because the techies have you so well-monitored, they recognize even the tiniest adjustment.

It doesn't count that you were trying to slip freezing fingers under a blanket. What matters is those digits may have entered a previously sterile zone. Sheesh!

7. In our vast experience (three caths and two stent interventions), technicians are (a) good-looking, (b) intelligent, (c) fun-loving goof balls, or any combination. On this excursion, ours personified (a) and (b) in spades.

8. Ask lots of questions. We learned the reason for the 55-degree temp setting is to cut down on bacteria growth. Another is that the technicians get quite warm in the long lead vests worn beneath their scrubs. The chilled, shivering patient can ask for more blankets to cover non-sterilized areas of concentration; but no matter what, this is usually a teeth-chattering occasion.

PHOTO INTERMISSION: To warm things up, here are five clickables from six talented visual artists, including Amazing_CA, photo by Karen Eh, 1; Amazing_CA, photo by Scrpkym, 2; A Beautiful Mind, 3; Ambassador of Love, 4; and Cindilu2's July calendar, 5.

Heart Receives Rave Reviews

We don't know about y'all, but after that hawt interlude, we had to look for our Clay Aiken church fan. Lawd Jesus, indeed! Back to the syllabus ...

9. During a cath procedure, the patient might as well enjoy the picture show on the overhead screens. What an awesome opportunity to view your BOD in action. This year HEART performed exceptionally well with good blood flow from all angles. The suspect area from the earlier stress test turned out to be nothing at all; and the two previous stents are "looking good," our doctor informed. All in all, a Standing-O!

10. The main event is followed by 30 minutes in the Holding Room where technicians apply constant pressure to seal the catheter's entry area. Best of all, the patient is rewarded with a steady supply of blankets from a nearby warmer.

Amazingly, our duo of nurses have offspring majoring in oboe and flute; so the discussion centered on the procedure and music. While one nurse presses, the other feeds the info into a computer less than three feet away, again stimulating serious IWT symptoms.

11. Physicians require their cath patients to lie perfectly still for 2-6 hours following this procedure. Our doc opts on the safe side with the max, so our horizontal incarceration began at 4 p.m. Back in the original prep room, any ideas that the fast since midnight would finally be rewarded with food were promptly dispelled.

First, a beverage is allowed, followed two hours later with a meal. Miraculously, lunch/dinner arrived at 5, which no one seemed to mind, especially us. Eating from a flat-on-your-back position requires a certain degree of hunger and dedicated resolve. We were "up" for both.

Clever Clay Friend Finds a Way

12. These days a friend who wants to check on a patient's status must be cagey and quick-witted. Sis was on a bench outdoors fielding phone calls from relatives, so her cell was busy. Not to be denied, Sally888 dialed the hospital and informed the operator she was calling from Georgia to inquire about her sister.

"What's her birthday?" she was immediately asked. This "sister" knew the day, but guessed at the year. Next, Sally had to supply our street address, to which she has mailed many items. Promptly, a handset was brought into our room by a nurse who said, "You have a phone call from your sister." One very clever sister!

13. This point is second nature for Clay Aiken fans. Whatever you pack, be sure to include a variety of CA music to last a day or two. A Clay-filled iRiver Clix sustained us during those long hours in prone position.

Following this spring's computer crash, Margaret5828 helped us replenish Clay's early demo and AI2 performances, while Aspiegirl made sure we included, among others, what has become this week's theme song -- "All Is Well."

14. The plus side of checking into a hospital at noon for a 2 p.m. procedure is that one has all morning for last-minute preparations. For sure, Caro provided us a full cardio workout clearing a path for her sister, running the vac, and mopping the kitchen floor -- all before 9 a.m.

The bad news is release time is not until 10 p.m. Actually, after that morning workout, we didn't really mind the bed rest.

Heed Nurse's Exit Instructions

15. Be sure to listen to the nurse's final instructions -- no driving, no alcoholic beverages, no lifting items 10 pounds or more for 24 hours. First thing Caro did was pick up her moderately heavy overnight bag and walk towards the wheelchair for the traditional departing chariot ride. Nurse Stern gave us a sound lecture.

16. No matter how rough the IWT got during the day -- and, believe us, it was intense! -- be assured the trauma was immediately relieved when we returned home. Without passing go (or collecting $200, for that matter), the ole gal fired up this laptop to catch up on happenings around Clay Cyberspace.

17. For the required 24 hours, Caro and her sister, roommates even in college, enjoyed a good old-fashioned slumber party, a nice way to end the day.

BOD and HEART: Since this is our swan song in the blogging world, thank you again for all your kindness during this week's ordeal.

Though the Aiken Fog persists, the other seems to have dissipated; and this journal will be back to regularly-scheduled programming *SOON*!

After all, Clay's Summer Tour begins in less than a week, and there are plans to finalize for our Aug. 12 Knoxville sojourn -- starting with a similar tune-up procedure for the car.

Below is a clickable of Cindilu2's opening graphic:

It's been real. Take care, and have an awesome week, Clay Nation!


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Aiken Holiday Tour Dates Surfacing

MAGICAL MEMORIES -- Clay Aiken's Summer Symphony Tour 2007, which opens in Frisco, TX, on July 4, promises to add many magical moments. Graphic by MNmeesh, photos by Snix and Karen Eh.

Heart of Tuesday's Matter

Holiday Tour Dates Surface

Clay Aiken has proven he's a popular concert artist and with the summer tour opener just 10 days away, November and December dates for the Magical Holiday Tour 2007 are already surfacing on orchestra websites.

The latest additions are Dec. 19-20 concerts in Minneapolis: Clay Aiken Christmas with the Minnesota Orchestra. This information is from the symphony's website:

As the first runner-up to FOX TV’s second American Idol, Clay Aiken wowed television audiences in 2003 with his sweet Southern charm and glorious voice. His debut album went to No. 1 on Billboard’s “Top 200” during its first week of release and went on to triple platinum status.

His first holiday recording, "Merry Christmas with Love," debuted at no. 1 on Billboard’s “Top Holiday Albums” chart. Now, joined by the Minnesota Orchestra, you’ll hear Christmas favorites like “Winter Wonderland,” “Sleigh Ride” and “The Christmas Song.”

Advance ordering for these concerts is available for 2007-08 season subscribers beginning June 25. Tickets go on sale to the general public August 13.

Link to Kalamazoo, MI Site

The Magical Holiday Tour list currently includes these dates:

Nov. 26 Wichita, KS -- Central Christian Church
Nov. 30 Kalamazoo, MI -- James W. Miller Auditorium
Dec. 4 Wilkes-Barre, PA -- The F.M. Kirby Center
Dec. 7 Albany, NY -- The Palace Theater
Dec. 19 Minneapolis, MN -- Orchestra Hall
Dec. 20 Minneapolis, MN -- Orchestra Hall

Clay Interviewed in Weekly Reader

The featured celebrity in this month's Weekly Reader, Clay answered questions from students aged 8 - 16 regarding Afghanistan, charities, children with special needs, music, American Idol, fame, and down time. The image links to the entire interview, but here is the first question:

1. What was it like over in Afghanistan and how were you able to help children through UNICEF? Nicole C., age 16

CLAY AIKEN: The people of Afghanistan were extremely friendly and gracious. Everywhere we traveled, we were greeted warmly. With the exception of visiting my grandparents, I have never felt more welcomed. Since 1949, UNICEF has been working for the survival and development of children in Afghanistan.

I witnessed UNICEF's extraordinary education work, which has helped hundreds of thousands of children return to school, provided them with school supplies, trained thousands of teachers, built hundreds of schools or provided tents so children can study sheltered from the weather.

And it's not only children who are receiving an education through UNICEF-supported programs. Women, who were forbidden an education under the Taliban regime, now walk for almost an hour to learn how to read and write and experience formal education for the first time.

TBAF Assists Tornado Victims

In a report this week, CA fans learned that The Bubel/Aiken Foundation was quick to respond to needs of Greensburg, KS, directly hit by an EF-5 tornado on May 4 with winds in excess of 205 mph, destroying 95% of the town.

More than 1,200 citizens were suddenly without homes, belongs, schools, churches, and nearly all local business, which meant most were also without employment. Twelve residents of Greensburg and surrounding communities lost their lives.

When TBAF learned of the tragedy, they contacted the Beta Alpha chapter "KC Voices Making a Difference" and asked how they could help. Within days, 100 blankets and more than 200 t-shirts were on their way to Jen Layne, the chapter contact, who distributed them to Greensburg residents.

The items were handed out to citizens during the city's first church service since the storm, where more than 1,000 huddled under a makeshift tent and reconnected with neighbors and friends. They were also distributed at high school graduation where everything for the 25 seniors - caps, gowns, diplomas, class rings, and letter jackets, were donated to replace those that were lost. Each graduate received a TBAF blanket that day for which they were very grateful.

The complete report can be read at the Bubel/Aiken website.

Clay's the Thing in Off-Broadway Musical

On June 22, News&Observer staff writer David Menconi reported on "Idol: The Musical." These are selected paragraphs, but the entire article can be read in full here.

When "Idol: The Musical" hits the stage in New York next month, Clay Aiken won't be there in person. But there will be a bust of Raleigh's hometown "American Idol" star onstage, and someone singing "Burnin' Hunk o' Clay" to it.

Yes, Aiken is coming to the theatrical stage, but only as inspiration. "Idol: The Musical" is billed as a musical farce about a "delusional group of 'Idol' fans in search of fame." It begins previews at New York's off-Broadway 45th Street Theatre on July 5.

The cast of "Idol: The Musical" consists of eight high school seniors in Steubenville, Ohio, where they've built a shrine to Aiken in a barn and meet every day to worship. There's a basketball player who would rather be a male stripper in Chippendales, a goth girl, a cowboy with poor fashion sense, a guy who plays accordion while reciting Shakespeare -- and Emily, the leader, whose fantasy it is to marry Aiken someday.

"The audience loved the show. It's universal, an everyman story," said producer Todd Ellis. "Everyone wants something better than what they have, to be discovered."

For the very latest in CA happenings, stay tuned to Clay's Daily Double.

PHOTO INTERMISSION: This clickable interlude features the talents of six visual artists from Clay Cyberspace, including Amazing_CA, 1; Amazing_CA, photo by Karen Eh, 2; A Beautiful Mind, 3; Amazing_CA, photos by Denise Bernadette, 4; and Ztilb, photo by PermaSwooned, 5.

Heart of the Matter

This is a transcript of a Sunday morning discussion between my BOD and my HEART. The topic is Tuesday's cath procedure with possible stent intervention. I just sat back and took notes ...

BOD: Listen up, HEART, this the BRAIN speaking for the rest of Caro. We are assembled because we want you to know we are tired of spending our annual "vacation" at the hospital. This will be the third consecutive year we have had to go to this cath lab convention. Do you have a crush on the doctor or something?

HEART: Hey, guys, it's not my fault. The docs can't even figure it out. I know people who would kill for her cholesterol readings; the last LDL was 73. Do you know how awesome that is?!? She reads labels, watches sodium and cholesterol intake, doesn't touch fried foods, rarely eats red meat. She never has used much salt and should own serious stock in Mrs. Dash. Now that you mention it, that surgeon is kind of cute though.

BOD: Yeah, we know. With all that label reading, grocery shopping takes a lot more time when she could be blogging or practicing or something useful. But, hey, we've got to blame somebody; and we are tired of getting punctured and x-rayed every June. Do you know how many times the technicians have to stab our WRIST to put in an IV? The blood vessels have tried running away, but some super duper nurse always comes along and catches them.

HEART: Hey, it's no picnic for me either. They are going to send all kinds of objects into my area through that catheter -- dye, a balloon to flush out possible plaque, maybe a new stent, and who knows what all.

BOD: Wait a minute, Ticker ole buddy, before that catheter gets to you, it has to enter through a main LEG ARTERY. We all have to give up something for these annual get-togethers in the cath lab.

HEART: Well, we will get to rest. From noon on, she will have to lie flat on her back. If a new stent is required, we'll be in the hospital overnight. If not, you guys have to lie still for six straight hours before we can depart the premises.

BOD: We have another complaint -- do you realize we will have been under a 16-hour fast by the time we get to eat?

HEART: Guess these docs have heard stomachs growling at them before. After this procedure, even hospital food might taste good.

BOD: OMG, can you imagine the Internet withdrawal trauma all of us will be undergoing?!?!? It's a good thing that IV contains relaxation meds. Wonder if the hospital has a spare laptop. They could stave off all kinds of anxiety symptoms if they'd just let her sign onto those Clay Aiken websites while she's hooked up.

HEART: Don't worry -- she will have lots of Clay with her, either on CDs or an mp3 player. The man does have a great voice and maintains a special place in my chambers.

BOD: You sassy thing, you -- I thought you had a crush on the surgeon!

HEART: You know what I mean. I just love to listen to Clay sing.

BOD: Yeah, we do, too; but under different circumstances. We'd better hope they fix what ails the ole girl because she really wants to attend the Aiken's summer concert in Knoxville.

HEART: You think I'm broken now -- just see what happens if she can't go!

BOD: Everyone knows the Claymates always provide fantastic Clack. Meanwhile, can we get some cooperation so we don't have to do this next year? We promise to exercise more. What can you do, HEART?

HEART: I react to two main factors -- heredity and lifestyle. And Clay Aiken, of course!

BOD: OK, let's hope the third time is the charm. Meanwhile, she's giving us a heckuva workout cleaning house, packing an overnight bag, etc. We're tired already. Guess lying down won't be so bad after all. Plus, HEART, we kinda like watching you star in those picture shows on the overhead screens.

HEART: Well, she has lots of friends sending good vibrations. Did y'all see that card Cindilu2 emailed this morning? I read that Cindy even grew the flowers and shot the photo. It's for sure our "black" THUMBS couldn't get those results.

Clickable by Cindilu2

BOD: Of course, we did -- our girl probably used up a tree in tissues! And then she had to play Clay's song, "All Is Well" a hundred times. That led to "A Thousand Different Ways" and John Denver, Eva Cassidy, Alannah Myles, Evanescence. Oh, HEART, you must really be loving all this!

HEART: Well, I was mighty touched. Many thnx, Cindilu2. I'm sure all will be well. After all, we are old hands at this; and I do know how to pick good 'n cute surgeons.

BOD: Guess we should thank everyone for all the good vibes and prayers they've been sending in blog comments and emails. Thnx for thinking of us, y'all! We'll be in touch -- either late Tuesday night or sometime Wednesday.

Below is a clickable of Meesh's opening graphic:

Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!


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Cyber Fans Counting Down to Aiken Tour

ANTICIPATION -- Clay Aiken's Summer Symphony Tour 2007 opens in less than two weeks. Graphic by Amazing_CA.

Thrills from the Heels

Cyber Fans Count Down to Tour

Whether your concert is the first week of July, mid-August, or via Clack, the fact that the countdown for Clay Aiken's Summer Symphony Tour opener dipped under two weeks Wednesday inspired tumultuous rounds of cyber celebrations.

Countdown tickers are prevalent on message boards, as well as at the top of many fan blogs. Even for fans who plan to enjoy this tour via cellcert, recaps, and Clack from attendees, anticipation is much more animated and widespread throughout the CA fandom.

One of the best articles about the upcoming Summer Symphony Tour was posted at Live Daily Tuesday. Below are a few paragraphs from Kym Kilgore's article, which can read in full at the site:

Clay Aiken Supports ATDW

The summer jaunt will finally give Aiken a chance to fully support his third studio album, "A Thousand Different Ways," which snagged the No. 2 spot on The Billboard 200 when it was released in September. The singer found himself in a somewhat awkward position when the record hit shelves, being that he'd already lined up holiday shows for the remainder of 2006, limiting his ability to promote the new set.

"A Thousand Different Ways" comprises 10 cover versions of love songs spanning the last three decades, plus four new tunes. Renditions of Harry Nilsson's "Without You," Elton John's "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word" and new single "A Thousand Days" are streaming at Aiken's MySpace page.

Aiken, who was the second-season runner-up on FOX-TV's "American Idol," has used his music career to further his humanitarian efforts. The former teacher created the Bubel/Aiken Foundation to promote and fund education and recreational programs for children with special needs, and he acts as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.

The performer also added "best-selling author" to his list of titles when he released his autobiography, "Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life," in 2004.

Compliments of Claystruck, here is a beautiful way to keep up with the Summer of Tour dates:

Clickable Tour Schedule

In other tour news, tickets for the recently-added Fort Myers, FL, concert -- 8/16 in Edison College's Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall -- will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. via the box office or online.

Contact/order information can be viewed at the Barbara Mann website or on the clickable image below:

Barbara Mann Website

Clay will be the exclusive musical guest for the "Capitol One Holiday Celebration on Ice" this winter, and fans may want to bookmark this link. The show, which will be taped on Nov. 6 at The Orleans - Las Vegas, NV, will be air on NBC-TV at 2:30 p.m. EST Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, the Summer Symphony Tour (a.k.a "Summer of Love," "An Evening with Clay Aiken," "Soft Rock and a Hard Place 2007," "A Soft Rock Summer") is just around the corner!

PHOTO INTERMISSION: This clickable interlude features graphics from tours past as fans anticipate July-August concerts. Included are designs by A Beautiful Mind, photos by Invisible926, 1 and 4; Amazing_CA, 2; Aikenfan6, photo by Invisible926, 3; and Ztilb/Pink Cocoa, 5.

Basketball Fan Finds Baseball

As un-American as this sounds, baseball has never been my favorite sport -- except for 10 days during the month of June. That's when the NCAA College World Series transforms Omaha, NE, into a baseball mecca; and for the past three years, this basketball enthusiast has been glued to the ESPN-televised games.

My love affair with the CWS began three years ago when my brother Chuck stayed in my home while visiting our mother for her June 22 birthday. Mama Mac passed away the following month, but our family recalls many fond memories on this special day.

An any and all sports aficionado, Chuck was assured a willing viewer three seasons ago when he told me Tennessee and Texas were in the running. Together, we led the cheers for the eventual champion, the Longhorns of Texas, from my den. Mama Mac was her son's partner for afternoon CWS games, and her nursing home room was converted into a spirited baseball grandstand.

In 2006, I became an avid viewer as my team, the Carolina Tar Heels, progressed to the finals, losing to Oregon State, 3-2, in the deciding game of the best of three series. The clickable below is from the opening ceremony of last year's Game 2 between UNC and OSU.

Photo by John Workman

Nebraska Claymates Send Memos

Earlier this month 1inNebraska4Clay and Cclazy12 began reminding me via blog comments and email that once again the Heels were in the tournament; and the three of us have high-fived and traded assurances through Carolina's victories and the loss that put the team in a must-win situation against Rice University Thursday night.

The 61st CWS marks the 58th year that Omaha has hosted the event at Rosenblatt Stadium. During the annual 10-day span, the city is transformed into a baseball mecca when the best in the college game come together for the crowning of a national champion. A fair-like atmosphere surrounds the festivities, and I am told by the Nebraskans that the UNC team said Omaha smells like Krispy Kreme doughnuts. How's that for a Clay Aiken connection?

I am now such a fan that I enthusiastically watched UC-Irvine win consecutive come-from-behind, extra-inning games, only to lose to Oregon State Wednesday night. The OSU Beavers will meet the the UNC-Rice game winner on Saturday. [UPDATE: Carolina won Thursday's game, 7-4!]

An interesting aspect to this year's telecasts is the intermittent focus on the Win Probability of competing teams. The Win Probability for a specific situation (inning, number of outs, men on base, score, pitcher's record, and numerous other factors) is determined by first locating all the teams that have encountered this identical situation, the result being a computerized win-loss percentage. More can be read on the subject at Wikipedia.

Tar Heels Celebrate Victory

UNC Team Visits Transplant Center

In the Piedmont Triad, Chase Jones, a freshman team manager for Carolina, is providing the Greensboro News-Record with a dugout view. This is an excerpt from one of his blogs:

On our day off, the team visited the Lied Transplant Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. This involved traveling the pediatric floor and visiting kids with all sorts of maladies.

For the first time, baseball was the least of anybody's worries. Everything was about making these kids happy, giving out autographs, pictures and words of support.

When asked if he were going to "kick butt" when he could do karate outside of the hospital, an 8-year-old with all the future in the world responded: "If I make it."

Those were easily the four most powerful words I had ever heard. Baseball is what brought us here, but just maybe it is not the most important thing about our stay in Omaha. Making a difference in a child's life is.

Cupid a Baseball Fan, Too

Apparently, Cupid is a baseball fan, too. Correspondent Allen Stoye this week provided the Chapel Hill News a love connection side bar, as junior catcher/designated hitter Benji Johnson proposed to the gal he met during the 2006 series. Michaela Ammerman, a senior airman at nearby Offutt Air Force Base, accepted.

This basketball enthusiast will be watching her team tonight and, hopefully, in the best-of-three championship games to follow. It's for sure I will be in good company. [FINALS UPDATE: OSU, 1; UNC, 0 -- Go, Heels, Go!!!]

As in previous games, prominent in the Omaha stands will be Carolina's beloved head basketball coach Roy Williams.

Below is a clickable of Amazing_CA 's opening graphic:

Meanwhile, take me out to the ball game ... and have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!


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Aiken Fans Finalize Summer Tour Plans

COMING SOON -- Amazing_CA's graphic, photo by Kareh Eh, promises Clay Aiken's Summer Symphony Tour is just around the corner.

'An Evening with Clay Aiken'

Fans Prepare for Summer Tour

As the calendar inches ever closer to the July 4 opening concert of Clay Aiken's Summer Tour, fans are excitedly finalizing travel arrangements, wardrobe additions, and pre-concert get-togethers.

The 2007 tour has several monikers, a few of which are "Summer of Love," "An Evening with Clay Aiken," "Soft Rock and a Hard Place 2007," "A Soft Rock Summer."

Drop by any CA message board, and you will find a concert forum or thread with all manner of details about each concert. Anything you want to know about the venue (website, address, phone/fax numbers, tickets, seating charts, capacity, photos), as well as driving directions, available lodging, closest airports, tour badges, pin/tee shirt designs, pre-party gatherings, promotion and publicity for each event.

Clack gathering, cell certing, and the all-important "representin' list" for each cyber community are continuously being updated.

With the posting of Meet & Greet info at the Official Fan Club, considerable collective finger-crossing has become the norm as members await the announcement of the six fans who will win a few minutes' time with Clay prior each concert.

Tour emoticons have been populating CA message board posts for weeks, and a few even found their way into this blog entry.

Tour Van All Decked Out

This weekend Angelty of Clayversity shared photos of three magnetic signs that will adorn her summer tour van transporting several fans to eight concerts -- Ohio, Cary, Asheville, Knoxville, Atlanta, Tampa, Orlando, and Fort Myers. Below are clickables of two of the signs.

Clay's Angels on Tour

"We will have fans from Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Brazil hopping in and out of the van as we travel down the East coast," Angelty said. "At all times we will have at least five people in the van and sometimes six. Three of us will ride in the van for the full length of the trip."

The magnetic signs are 12" x 24", on a white background, and cost $19 each, including shipping. Though he doesn't work with photos, the owner of Vinal Decals and Signs will assist customers in personalizing their selections. "I sent him the profile pictures, and he was able to convert them. I chose the colors and font size," she added.

If you happen to see the "Clay's Angels" van along the East Coast during July and August, be sure to honk!

Summer Tour advertisements have begun popping up in the media, symphony brochures and websites, even billboards. Below are a few promos from coast to coast.

July 4 Frisco,TX, Opener

Houston Symphony Lauds Singer

The Houston Symphony website features Clay on the opening page and in a section all his own. You can read Clay's segment below or link to the page here. The clickable on the right is a picture of the marquee at Houston's Jones Hall.

Houston Symphony Website and Jones Hall Marquee

Who can explain why a singer becomes a pop star? Sure, talent and ambition contribute to the rise of many singing sensations, but skill and drive alone do not guarantee a berth at the top of the charts. Ultimately, it is an almost inexplicable reaction between a singer and his or her audience that creates a superstar career, sparking the kind of fanatic devotion that propels a performer into the pop stratosphere.

Such was the explosive reaction when Clay Aiken burst onto the music scene. An unlikely pop star, Aiken has remained steadfast in his desire to remain true to the simple values he learned as a child in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“I still live in the town where I grew up,” he says. “I like surrounding myself with people I know and love.” It is this authenticity that his millions of fans have responded to, an almost supernatural earnestness that feels unconventional in the cynical world of today.

Clay will be performing hits from his two studio albums "Measure of a Man" and "A Thousand Different Ways" along with American standards.

Columbus, Los Angeles, Orlando Promos

The above flyer, entertainment insert, and "sold out" poster promote concerts slated for Columbus, OH, Chemical Abstract Service ( 7/21); Los Angeles, CA, Greek Theatre (8/4); and Orlando, FL, Hard Rock Cafe (8/19).

Thnx to a southern California fan, much of Clay Cyberspace has enjoyed the view on this billboard for the 8/5 performance at Indio's Fantasy Springs Casino.

Clickable Indio Billboard

Tickets for the recently-added 8/16 concert at the Barbara Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers, FL, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Graphic Artists Focus on Tour

The CA fandom's graphic artists have created some amazing visuals touting the singer and a multitude of names for the tour. Featured below are graphics by Katt45, photo by KarenEh, 1; Ambassador of Love, 2 and 5; ClayIzzaQT's mosaic of Clay photos, 3; and MNmeesh, 4.

My Leap Up the Ladder

This weekend I took a deep breath and signed up for online banking. I realize I'm a bit tardy; but I finally climbed up another wrung of the technological ladder. Fortunately, I was able to enroll online while speaking with a bank representative.

The I.D. queries contained the typical security choices -- middle names of relatives, favorite pet, previous street address, etc. -- and one that inspired a few chuckles:

What is the name of your favorite entertainer?

Giggling, I told the perplexed representative there was no way I could use this question because everyone I know -- or who has ever read my blog -- has this answer down pat. She laughed, and we completed my leap up the digital ladder with another selection.

Younger Fans Enjoy Clay, Too

Clay Aiken and music of the 80's continue to register with all ages, even youngsters, as these stories will attest.

Craving Clay (Clayversity): I operate childcare from my home. This morning I wanted to watch the rerun of Clay on "Martha," but this is challenging with five children from 1 to 4-1/2 running around. I turned it up as loud as I dared, sat as close to the TV as I could, and hoped for the best.

Of course, there were arguments, tears, OTT behavior, etc. However, right before Clay came on to sing I told the kids I really wanted to hear Clay sing and asked them if they could be quiet. All five of them sat down right in front of the TV and were quiet as little mice while Clay sang "A Thousand Days."

When he finished a four-year-old boy said, "That's Clay Aiken; I like him." The two-year-old girl kept repeating, "Clay Aiken, Clay Aiken" over and over. Then the first boy said that he has a microphone at home and likes to sing, too. It was a nice moment in an otherwise challenging day.

Kwhite1022 (Clayversity): On a lighter note, my four-year-old and I were listening to my 80's CD and the song "Higher love" came on. The chorus has a line, "Bring me a higher love," to which my daughter starts singing along at the top of her lungs, "Bring me a PIE of love!!!"

She was so hilarious that I about busted a gut. In her "strawberry shortcake" world, a pie of love makes perfect sense. She still sings it that way and refuses to learn the correct words!

Below is a clickable of one of the many beautiful Summer of Love tour posters Claystruck has designed:

Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!


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