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?

Geoff Has Talent

Our friend Geoff Robertson is a talented musician. We have gone to see him perform about three or four times now. He does sing country music, which isn’t my taste, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Supporting friends as they pursue a passion is something I love to do.

Last night we decided to take the kids out for dinner as Geoff performed. We went to Bob’s Bar and Grill in Aldergrove to watch the show. This is the only venue we go to because it’s local and the food is reasonably priced and quite tasty.

The kids enjoyed hearing Geoff as well. He does some great covers of folk style songs the everyone recognizes. After a couple beers, I’ll sing along from my table to the chorus. “West Virginia Mountain llama!” Last night during one of Geoff’s songs he asked me to do harmonica. I didn’t have a harmonica, so I mumbled some noises that may or may not have sounded like a harmonica.

Here’s one of his original songs. It’s a humorous jingle. The kids liked it as well. Sorry about the background crowd noise, but we were at a bar and grill.

Please enjoy. And always support your local musicians and artists!

Spiderwebs

Spiders don’t bother me. But I’m not a big fan of actual spiderwebs. When I was younger I used to deliver the local newspaper door to door twice a week. Walking up to people’s homes I’d oftentimes get a web in the face.

I hated it. Took a few times until I realized that if I held a rolled up newspaper in front of me that I would stop my face from meeting the webs. Being a kid meant I was stupid, this proves it.

After my childhood, I was a teenager who would wander around nature trails using a stick to swat at those invisible lines. I still do that. So I don’t really like spiderwebs. But I do like No Doubt’s Spiderwebs song. It’s fun to sing along to. It also reminds me of my early 20’s.

I also have a spiderweb shirt that I’ve had for about 25 years as well. I love this shirt and it has held up because I only wear it 3-4 times during the month of October. It’s a satin shirt, and I really don’t like forking over money for dry cleaning.

I always vacuum our home of cobwebs just to put out fake spiderwebs at Halloween. Pretty sure that it’s kind of a pointless endeavor.

Halloween Music

I love everything about Halloween. Often overlooked is the music.

I’ll throw on an old White Zombie or Marilyn Manson album during October a bit more frequently than I normally would. There are certain styles of music that set a tone/feeling. But cute/ silly songs like Monster Mash or Purple People Eater isn’t my thing.

I do enjoy hearing tv theme music from Addams Family or The Munsters. Something about those 1960’s tv families that make me smile.

I also enjoy The Nightmare Before Christmas songs. I can sing them all off by heart. (Even though it is a Christmas movie.) But it’s a good soundtrack to crossover from October into December.

I’ll Teach You To Be Happy

As much as I didn’t like high school, I’ve been trying to find some more positive aspects of my time there lately. So I began going through some of my old cds that I picked up during those “formative years.”

I never had a great cd collection at the start of grade 8 as most were mix tapes or soundtracks to movies on cassette (Prince’s BATMAN anyone?) However, back in the early 90’s, when I was but a nerd in grade 10, one of my favorite cartoons came out with a cd so I needed to purchase it.

The Ren and Stimpy Show: YOU EEDIOT!

The leaflet inside is still in pristine condition, considering how I read the lyrics until every song was memorized. Ya, back in the day before you were able to Google lyrics- if a cd came with lyrics, it was kind of a big deal.

I’m not saying I became popular because of this cd. But I found a kinship in other students who also enjoyed The Ren and Stimpy Show. Singing songs like “The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen” or “Happy Happy Joy Joy” made me happy. It even opened up the door to other comedy cds and shows. A specific love of Monty Python was hatched at this time as well.

This is a song about a whale.

NO! This is a song about being happy: Happy Happy Joy Joy

The hardest part about being a teenager in the 90’s was the fact that you could only bring one cd at a time. And you hopped to hell that your “Anti-skip” on the CD player didn’t drain your battery before you finished your day in school.

Sharing an earbud and with a girl was also a sign that she was into you. Ya, listening to half a stereo sound was a true sign of affection. It was also a great way to ignore people.

I’m starting to feel better these days just listening to the goofiness of this album. Happiness is on its way.

Now boys and girls, let’s try this again.