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LJ Idol Week 29 in Review
cap, captain miss america
I told you all I'd get to this eventually.

This week, there are seventeen players. There are two topics: "The Worst Thing That I Ever Ate" and "Price to Play."

The field is small and the difference between the top and the bottom is even smaller. So I decided that this week, I could talk a little bit about all the writers left. Everyone left is so good that it's just hard to pick some to highlight.

agirlnamedluna wrote a story that at first reads like creepy, dark, "The Most Dangerous Game"-esque survival drama, until you realize that it's all made up of therealljidol references. I think that even if you don't get the references, you'll enjoy this at face value, but it is completely turned on its head and is actually quite humorous once you realize whom she's talking about. Read it here.

alephz wrote a non-fiction piece about life as a gamer and the self-awareness of living as a stereotype. It's full of biting humor and down-to-earth observations of ordinary life. Read it here.

alexpgp wrote an autobiographical piece about playing against a Chess Grandmaster and the insights and lessons that this man shared with him in his youth. I really enjoyed it as it's not the first time he's written about chess, and it's been neat to learn about how his relationship with the game has changed over the course of his life. Read it here.

beautyofgrey wrote a piece that blends autobiography with hard facts and observations on the human condition that has a really eloquent and poetic flow to it. Read it here.

cacophonesque wrote about food and her experience forcing herself to stop being a picky eater, and also about her struggle with dermatillomania and dermatophagia. It's frank, open, and I think very brave stuff to be talking to strangers about. Read it here.

fourzoas wrote about her family's history as it relates to bread, and how being diagnosed as a diabetic changed her relationship with food. She does a neat job of relating her own personal experiences to her father's and to a longer tradition of family history and how that family history shaped the way she relates to food. Read it here.

gratefuladdict wrote a story about a recovering addict becoming a wife and mother. It's sharp and truthful and left me with a knot in my stomach. Read it here.

intrepia wrote her own retelling of Hansel and Gretel from Hansel's point of view. It's well-conceived in how Hansel responds to the witch's treatment versus what Gretel sees from the other side. Read it here.

java_fiend wrote a story about campers driven to extremes for the sake of survival. The thing I like about this story is that it also functions as a character study and in-depth look at the relationship between the two characters and how it breaks down over time. Read it here.

mstrobel wrote about learning how to ice skate, and the thrill of trying to do something even if you fail the first time. I really liked this because it contrasted with a mind-set that many people, including myself, all too often fall into: the idea that if we aren't good at something, we might as well give up. Read it here.

notbatman wrote about his allergy to pine nuts. He has an easy, straightforward style to his writing and even writing about a near-death experience seems almost cheerful when it comes from him. Read it here.

rattsu wrote about the history of Mad Cow Disease, its origins, and how breeding science changed in the Industrial Age. She is keeply perceptive and writes really chilling yet educational posts about scientific ethics in the modern age. Read it here.

rivermirage wrote a story about the transition from hobbyist homesteading to the very real difficulty of maintaining a farm in the modern age-- with a surprise twist ending! Read it here

strryeyedgrrl wrote an open letter to the Universe, in a sort of winding, stream-of-consciousness style that really lets us get into her head. Read it here.

talon wrote a story about a new soul given the choice of what kind of life it would like to live. He does an exceptional job of choosing the right voice for his fiction, and of nodding to various inspirations in the text of his stories. Read it here.

theafaye wrote about her grandmother's hobby of crashing criticize the food. It's clever, quirky, and thoroughly amusing. Read it here.

And of course, I wrote a story that I'm really proud of, my modern retelling of a popular myth, with pop culture references. It's one of my favorites that I've done as part of LJ Idol.

Below the cut, as always, is the poll. I'd really appreciate it if you'd consider ticking off the box to vote for me, especially since this week, the voting is the closest it's ever been. cacophonesque is currently in last place, and while I usually don't do this, she's one of my best friends, so I would love it if you could toss a vote her way, too. And do read all the lovely entries and vote for everything you like. There is seriously not a single one that is without some kind of merit, and I've gotten to know and like all the contestants who are still in the game very much.

Poll #1576034 LJ Idol, Season Six, Merged Tribe, Week Twenty-Nine
This poll is closed.

The Ballot:


The poll closes at 9PM EST on Thursday.

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You Tea, are awesome!

All your little write ups are just lovely. This is why I like reading other people's rec lists - they often get me to see something in a piece that I didn't first time around.

And boy, the polls are going to be tight this week. I don't think there's a single person who can rely on being safe. Alas, my favourites are all lagging at the bottom end.

"This is why I like reading other people's rec lists - they often get me to see something in a piece that I didn't first time around."

I like to skim through comments for the same reason. :)

Yeah! Sometimes someone else will pick up on something that makes me say, d'oh.

Comments have got me to go back and read an entry I couldn't get through first time round and in some cases even got me voting as a consequence. I think it's a real shame that comments seem to be down across the board now because to me they're just as much a part of the entry as the entry itself.

I agree. It seems kind of disappointing to me that now that there are way fewer entries and they're all really good across the board, it's obvious that far fewer people are reading and commenting, and far fewer people are voting. It isn't super surprising, because a lot of people who've been eliminated have stopped paying attention, but it is disappointing because I really do think the entries keep getting better.

Have you been looking at the number of participants in polls to see whether we have been losing voters? Because the fact that the polls have all been in the same region of tightness for a few weeks says to me that it's not so much that people aren't voting but that they're not commenting for whatever reason. Yes, people who get knocked out do often tend to lose interest (although not all - it's nice seeing people who are on the jury commenting because you know that they are taking the responsibility seriously), but that slack is usually picked up by people who start looking at more entries when they've been voting for just their friend(s) up until now. I know that by this point when I was watching season 4, I was reading all the entries and voting for more than just my friend when in the beginning I was only voting for her and that's quite commen.

Maybe it's do to with the fact that this is by far and away the longest season of Idol yet so people are struggling to find the time for it any more? I don't know. There is definitely less love being spread around :o(

Yeah, I actually keep a spreadsheet with voting statistics (that I keep meaning to clean up enough to post).

In weeks 27 & 28, we had 223 voters. In 26, we had 237. In 25, we had 265. In 24, we had 251, but that's an anomaly, because in 23, we had 312 and in 21, we had 370 (22 was contestants-only). Week 20 was 432. So in less than ten weeks, the number of voters has almost halved. Which makes sense, because the number of contestants has more than halved, and I would assume a lot of those votes were their friends. But yeah, it does look like we've lost a bunch of voters. And readers, and commenters. Which is too bad, really.

Oh! But I will agree with your observation about the duration of this! It has been a really long time, so I'm sure for spectators or contestants who already got eliminated and have other things to do, it's time to move on.

Edited at 2010-06-10 05:10 am (UTC)

I wish I were organised enough to do the spreadsheet thing. There are so many statistics that might not be useful to anyone but would be really interesting just for my own personal interest. It does show, however, that what has probably happened is that the majority of people who have gone were friends-only voters and we're left with hard core Idol fans who are genuinely reading everything and voting according to merit, which would also be born out by the fact that we don't have any obvious front runners any more, or at least not people that are running away in front by miles. The tighter results, while nail biting for those of us living through the polls, really suggest to me that it's a consequence of people reading all (or at least a large proportion of voters are doing that - there's always going to be some people who just vote for their friend) and that's got to be a good thing. Even if it means that we're likely to see a few shock exits over the next couple of weeks. Although I'd struggle to say who I definitely want to see go this week, I could give you a few names that I definitely don't want to see leave and I'm bound to get disappointed sooner or later just because that's the nature of the beast.

Yeah, I think the statistics are crazy fun just from curiosity's sake.

I think the other thing that's happening is that for those core voters, as the field gets tighter, there's probably more impetus to limit to a smaller group of entries to vote on, as opposed to ticking a couple "oh, and I like that one, too!" boxes. I know I think a lot harder about who to vote for at this stage-- but that's part of why I thought I would go the opposite way with the recs and rec everyone. In the past, I wouldn't rec every entry I voted for because there were just so many. Now, at this stage, I didn't vote for everyone, but that doesn't mean I don't think they were good.

I just went and looked at an equivalent week last year: in week 22, which was the Top 15, there were 874 voters last year. 874! Compared to what currently stands at 202.

I agree with every piece of this.

Not only that, but I think replies to comments can be telling as well. (Which is too goddamn bad, because generally I'm pretty lousy with that and I quickly devolve into "Thanks! :)" ) I've never counted a brief response or a lack of responses against a contestant because shit happens and time is short, but there have been a few cases where an especially good reply to a comment has swayed me.

I really try to comment back to everyone who comments. I don't always have time to comment to people on their entries but I know that someone didn't need to take the time to comment to me so I do try to say something back.

I've never not voted for someone because they haven't replied to comments, although if I thought an entry was borderline, that could make the difference. I know that sometimes recently I've read an entry and been stunned that I was the first person to leave a comment because I can't imagine I was the only person to have read it.

Having said that, it would be interesting to see whether there is a correlation between replying to comments and whether people will bother in future. I think even a simple "thanks" is more than enough to say that you appreciated someone taking the time to stop by and there have been occasions when I was going to leave a comment, saw that no one had been acknowledged and decided not to say anything. I don't know whether that is a factor now with people who aren't getting as much feedback or not.

I know I've been less inclined to leave comments on entries to people if they have shown in the past that they're not really interested in having an open dialogue with me. But then I prefer to use LJ to create conversation with people who interest me rather than just compliment a person.

In the Idolverse, the two are one and the same for me. I don't give out compliments for the sake of them, although sometimes that's all I've got to offer to an entry that I think is special enough to deserve it. However, if I leave a comment to someone, it is because I'm hoping to strike up a dialogue, even if it's only going to be a short one. If I feel like I'm talking to thin air/myself, I give up bothering.

Yeah, sometimes (at least in terms or Idol entries) all I have to offer is a compliment on an entry I really enjoyed, but even then it's nice to have something like a simple "Thanks" in return. When I realised that, I made more effort to try and respond to people where "Thanks" was all I really had to say.

I don't think everyone works like that, though, in terms of wanting to have that sort of dialogue, so it's interesting to see where everyone is at. I know I get along better with those who've been just as interested as I've been about having open dialogue with me, though. And in terms of Idol, I think having that makes me more inclined to read their posts first, even if they're now just writing for the Home Game.

That is very true. Sometimes, more of the story that has been told in the entry comes out in the comments!

Thank you so much! And yeah, I like reading other people's rec list, too. Sometimes people make you see a piece in a different light that you hadn't considered.

It's pretty crazy right now! I'm curious to see whether it splits or stays like this till the end.

I think it's just going to get tighter and tighter, which really shows how much it's down to personal taste this time round. I don't remember the past couple of seasons being this tight for this long.

I obviously don't know how other seasons went, but I just think that everyone left is so damn good. Even a couple of the people whom I thought were weaker surprised me with incredible entries this week. Sure, I have my favorites of this week and my favorites overall, but no one is bad.

That's pretty much how I feel. There are people I prefer over others but that doesn't mean that the ones I don't especially like are bad, just that their style isn't to my taste.

Yes, this! There are a few people who are absolutely skilled at what they do, it's just not my cup of tea. And sometimes I vote for them anyway because I can appreciate how good they are at it.

Thank you for the very kind words. :)

Oh, you're very welcome! I thought your piece was very entertaining for being about almost dying!

It is entries like this that really highlight why you will likely win this whole shebang! Thank you.

Aw, that's very sweet of you! Thank you! And you're very welcome. You're a really wonderful writer and I'm glad I've gotten to know you.

Awww. Thanks, Tea. I'm still making my way through reading all the entries... but I like seeing your little summaries. :)

Also, thank you for the plug... this poll is going to be a rough one. And I prolly won't even be able to check it when it closes, because I'm supposed to be going to craft night.

I will text you if you would like! But remember, you are not going to be around to check it because you have fun and exciting activities to do with fun people in real life, and that is even better!

<3 I really enjoyed writing them all up.

It is true! And I am glad that I have been having more chances to spend time with people and do activities. If you could text me, that would be grand. :)

I am going to do activities this weekend! I would like to do more activities though!

And sure, will do!

Thank you! I've been planning to do it for a while, it just got small enough that I felt like I could!

You rock!

I can't believe this is almost over--I've been doing Idol almost as long as my little one has been alive!

Oh wow! That is kind of crazy when you put it that way. And you rock, too!

This is really awesome, Tea. I love what you did here!!!

Aw, thanks! I figured that at this point, reccing is sort of like shooting fish in a barrel.

Oh I LOVE that you did this! And you did it so wonderfully too -- I keep meaning to rec the entire field but I can never seem to find more words than "________ is awesome!" and "_______ is amazing!" XD

But I should try one to round out your list:
teaberryblue wrote and drew a modern retelling of a popular myth, with pop culture references, that will creep you the f*ck out with its delightfully sinister outcome!

Aww, thank you! I did put myself in there!

And I have just been waiting until I had the time. I hope I have time to do it every week at least till I'm eliminated.

This is really cool. Thanks!

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