Don’t Worry – Be Happy

Back in 1988, I got a tape cassette for the “Cocktail” movie soundtrack. I had never seen the film- I was only thirteen at the time (I still haven’t seen it). Going to movies at that age were generally comedic or of a family style. But this film had a soundtrack that perfectly summed up that year.

I listened to it on my ghetto blaster over and over. A favorite song being, “Don’t Worry- Be Happy“. I played this soundtrack so much that a couple of years later- when my parents bought their first CD player- I was given the soundtrack again on CD.

To this day, I still like this soundtrack and that particular song. The advice is prevalent even more so in this day and age. So get out there and live life. The best way to do this-

Don’t Worry – Be Happy

April is Here

Somehow I lost January, February and March. Except for a couple of key moments, like my birthday two weeks ago, the past three months blasted by. Ahhh!!!

I need to take it easy a bit more. With a quarter of the year gone, it’s time to reel it back a bit. The first thing I am going to do to achieve this? Change the music I listen to. No more Heavy Metal or Industrial music. I have discovered the joy of Lounge Music.

No joke.

Hearing covers of “Fame” or “Funky Town” or even Pink Floyd’s “Money” brings me joy. We ate dinner tonight on our back beck as the sun set, listening to some amazing lounge covers. Even our kids commented on how it felt like we were eating at a restaurant on a patio as we tried to guess the songs as they played.

Hearing Michael Jackson’s “Don’t stop ’till You Get Enough” covered by Bossa N’ Disco made my busy day at work seem calm and relaxing. I almost completely forgot about work until I wrote that sentence. I’m off to discover some other great Lounge Style Covers before bed.

Hanging out with My Daughters

Last night and today I’ve been hanging out with our daughters. It’s been a great time. I offered up a ton of suggestions for things to do: video games, go karts, mini golf, and billiards. None of which they wanted to do with dad. So I let them offer up suggestions.

Here’s what we’ve been doing:

First we had an early dinner of sushi at our favorite restaurant- Nikko Sushi. My oldest daughter was in great spirits and allowed for some selfies to be taken. So I took full advantage of it yesterday and today.

After dinner we hit up an escape room. We did pretty well as a team, but was unsuccessful in the end. So close. I enjoyed working together with them on the puzzles. Seems my daughters are rather smart. They must get that from their mother.

Afterwards, we hit the shopping mall for the last hour before it closed. My oldest daughter bought her first pair of Doc Martens. She was super excited. There is also a record store that opened up back in October. We bought a couple of used albums for fun since my other daughter has a record player and we have a healthy collection of Vinyls. Before we left the mall, we hit up Starbucks for a couple of Frappuccinos. We ended last night watching a movie- “The Hangover” Which was their choice.

This afternoon I took them to the local high school to watch a musical performance of “Heathers” based on the 1988 film. It’s neat to see the teens in the show that my daughters previously went to elementary with. The role of JD is the son of a friend of ours. He did a bang up job. As I’ve said before, I enjoy supporting the arts in all varieties. Especially when it’s kids showcasing their talents.

All-in-all I’ve had a great time with my girls. Tonight will be a quiet night at home marathon watching Season 3 of “A Series Of Unfortunate Events”. These past couple days are things I rarely did growing up with my father. I’m glad my girls enjoy my company. I enjoy theirs.

Music Of The Night

Every so often I throw on one of the soundtracks to a musical that we own. I have always loved show tunes and movies that incorporate music to tell a story. My first memory of enjoying a musical was “Annie” back in 1982. I recall sitting in the back of the station wagon facing the window humming one of the tunes.

The first stage performance I saw was “The Phantom of the Opera” at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. Sometime around 1989. It was grand. I saw it again a couple years later. It was still just as good. In between I saw performances of “Cats” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”. I was on an Andrew Lloyd Webber kick.

My other favorite was “Les Miserables”. This one was darker and not as magical. But the story moved me as a teenager. Years later, I would go to see a live performance again. This time, when my wife was pregnant with our first child. I took her on a date to see this show, again performing at the QE, it was our one and only fancy date that we have been on.

Our kids grew up enjoying Disney movies. Many of which have great musical numbers. One our trips to Disneyland, we almost always went to see “Aladdin” performed live. In October we saw “Frozen”. Our kids love these shows.

I’d like to take them to a show sometime soon that is more Broadway than Disney. I know that they would appreciate it. Especially since our kids attend the Fine Arts School and have an immense appreciation of music and acting and the work that goes into it all. As well as the fact that they know many of the songs already after hearing the soundtracks played.

Just like the main title song suggests from that one musical, “GO GO GO JOSEPH!”

Streaming Music

I have finally come to the conclusion that I need to adapt and stream music. Or rather, pay for streaming music. Even though we have radio waves freely out there to use. Plus those radio stations have apps that are free to use. (CBC Music is a personal favorite). But which paid service do I want to try?

At home, I have used Kodi to play music throughout the house. This finds free streaming radio stations and has a ton of options. I have loved this so far. But I want some music on the go.

In our cars, we have used SiriusXM. Mostly for the free trial or the cheap 6 month package. But I have found the songs seem to be repetitive over an 11 hour loop. So this service is no longer a choice that I wish to spend money on.

Our oldest daughter uses the “Free” version of Spotify. Which is okay. But it has limitations and advertisements. I’m not sure if I want to pay for this service even though it is one of the largest out there.

Having been an avid iPhone user, there is always Apple Music. I *had* our music library on iTunes and shared it on our devices. Our hard drive bit the dust and whatever songs I have on my iPhone is about it. Plus the occasional album or song my kids have wanted. I’m sad that our 500 cds that I painstakingly transferred to digital are gone.

Since we succumbed to Amazon Prime just before Christmas, this seems the most likely choice at the moment to use. We are enjoying the Prime Video streaming that is included with subscription, so that’s been worth it alone. My wife also received a Kindle for Christmas and is looking forward to reading books that are also included in the Prime membership. Why not just give in and try their streaming music option? So today, I downloaded the app for our iPhones and will be spending some time browsing it.

What service do you use? Are you happy with it? Should we just stick to fm radio and old cds? Maybe we should keep the record player warmed up… I know our fourteen year old is loving that option at the moment.

Groundhog Day 2019

After seeing “Groundhog Day” in the theaters when it first came out in 1993- I always wondered what it would be like to relive one day over and over. I saw that movie in the theater??? Ya, I was 16 at the time.

Since the debut of that film, many shows and movies have taken similar spins on the premise. Two of my favorites are:

Run Lola Run (1998)

Every second of every day you’re faced with a decision that can change your life.

Lola is a young lady whose boyfriend is caught up in crime and she needs to save him. It showcases the choices and adverse effects little moments can have. This is a beautiful 120 minute film with three possible outcomes. The soundtrack is also phenomenal with a mix of German and English throughout.

This is a film that my wife exposed me to at the start of our dating life. As I fell in love with my wife, I also fell for this movie. She bought it for me on DVD and I bought her the soundtrack on CD. About a year later, I bought her an original German movie poster of it and had it framed for her. A few years later we bought a new car. The first song we played in our brand new 2003 Honda Element was “Wish” from the soundtrack sung by the lead actress, Franka Potente.

This is my other favorite “Groundhog Day” inspired show:

Supernatural: Season 3 Episode 11. “Mystery Spot”

Sam relives the same day over and over again having to deal with his brother Dean’s death repeatedly.

“Supernatural” tv series has been around forever it seems. This particular episode came out in 2008. It stars one of my favorite characters in the series: The Trickster.

Much like the film “Groundhog Day” that it copies, the day starts off with the radio playing the same song over and over again. This time using Asia’s “Heat of the Moment”. My daughter marathoned through the “Supernatural” series last summer and loved this episode so much, she downloaded the song. She chose it as her alarm for the first day of school (which was on a Tuesday, just like in this episode).

Unfortunately this show has its ups and downs and not every episode is as entertaining as this one was. But The Trickster makes a few appearances in later episodes. Such as the episode titled “Changing Channels” which was clearly a rip off of the film “Stay Tuned” from 1992 starring John Ritter. I saw that in the theaters as well. Gawd I’m old…

Maybe I really don’t want to relive one day over and over. It’s better to reminisce and move on. All of life’s choices can make big impacts even if the decision is relatively small.

Madonna Sing-a-Long

C’mon Girls! Do you believe in love?

I’m just going to put this out there.

I enjoy listening to Madonna.

The other day, I pulled out her “Immaculate Collection” CD from my music assortment. I popped it into my car’s CD player and put it on shuffle.

You know, commuting in and out of Vancouver is much more pleasant when you sing along to music. Boy, do I love to sing along!

Sitting in my car is a crocheted BB-8 that hangs out by my cup holder. I’ll pick him up by the head and flip him around as I drive. His ass makes a great impromptu microphone. Occasionally I’ll stick it in my family’s face to try and get them to sing along as well. A lead singer needs his back up vocals!

Rocking down the highway to some classic Madonna makes me happy. I know most of the lyrics to Madonna’s songs from the 80’s and 90’s. Some of the lyrics I mumble or sing incorrectly for fun. Even though I belt them out, I still have to have her music cranked up. It drowns out my inability to sing. But I sure look like I’m having fun.

So I take a note from one of Madonna’s lyrics:

Express what I got,

oh baby ready or not

Express yourself!

Re-String

I learned something new this week from a coworker of mine. How to re-string a guitar. At first I was intimidated by the notion- since I’ve never really had any experience with it. But I knew I could do it with a bit of guidance.

First, we removed the old strings and gave the guitar a wipe down. I learned about using an oil as well on the fretboard to protect the wood. I also learned about how to adjust the neck if required to straighten it out.

I had taken the advice of getting a set of thinner gauge wire for my daughter to use. They will be easier for her hands to help create the sound she will be happier with. I’m looking forward to hearing her play once again.

After learning what needed to be done and the care we should put into the maintenance of the guitar, I’m feeling much more comfortable about doing it myself. It’s not rocket appliances. In fact, next time I will teach my daughter what needs to be done so that she can take it on herself.

Any further advice on care of guitars would be appreciated in your comments!

Cozy Music

I’m glad to have a couple of days off- I can now enjoy our home. It’s become very cozy for the holidays. Besides just the decorations.

Even our oldest has decided to lay down by the fire and listen to music. She has discovered that she has full control of the music that plays in the house. All from her iPhone. I let her download an app the controls our music.

At the moment, we get to enjoy a variety of Christmas music played from the Radio Addon on our Kodi Box. It’s been the best part of our home theater setup. Access to the internet and a variety of commercial free music of almost any genre!

A few years ago I installed small speakers all around our downstairs. This allows for a Disneyland like feel. As you walk through our downstairs, the left and right speakers slowly melt from room to room.

Playing Christmas music really makes the home feel inviting. Add a fire, a comfortable blanket and some warm tea- you may not want to leave.

Classical

Yesterday we were listening to the Classical XM Radio station in the car. Our kids enjoy classical music. It may be from the fact that I would often play classical music throughout the home. Or perhaps it was from… Baby Einstein.

We owned every DVD and CD from when our first child was born- over sixteen years ago. The videos were played pretty regularly in our home and the cds were on all the time in the car. I even left them to play when our kids weren’t in the car.

I remember developing an appreciation of classical music because of Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes. Yesterday we heard “The Barber of Seville” by Gioachino Rossini. My kids had never seen the Bugs Bunny version. It dawned on me that their love of classical differs from mine. Our middle child pointed out every instrument as they came up. She now wants to mention to her teacher that they should play it in Orchestra.

This astounds me. Back in my high school days, there was no love of Classical music by any of my classmates. My children have an excellent variety and almost eccentric taste in music. I do believe this comes from me. I’m glad for this.

Time to show them some Bugs Bunny. How did I miss this as they were growing up?