All That Jazz

This weekend there is a Jazz Festival going on in Fort Langley. I won some tickets to my choice of performances over the weekend. Hooray for those Instagram contests! I chose to go on the Saturday night to the “Frank Sinatra Big Band Swing Dance” located at the Fort Langley Community Hall. I’m a fan of swing music and Sinatra, (I blogged about him earlier this year: Sinatra as a Mentor) so it made sense for me to attend this show.

My wife and I started our date night at the Trading Post Eatery. One of our favorite places to dine in Fort Langley. Afterwards we wandered over to the Community Hall and found a great spot to watch Steve Maddock and Swing Aggregation perform. The band was tight and energized. The crowd they played to ranged in ages from early twenties to late eighties.

The band had everyone toe tapping and smiling. Especially when the Suburban Swing Dancers– a professional group of dancers- began to show off their skills. And show off they did. By the end of the first hour these dancers had broken a healthy sweat. It also got more people from the crowd up dancing.

The music was great and the dancing was fast. I think that next year we will most likely partake in more of the free events and the stages setup all around the community. There’s still one more day to go- so I recommend taking a lazy Sunday out to Fort Langley and enjoy some Jazz.

Queen + Adam Lambert

Yesterday for our 18th Anniversary, my wife and I took the kids to see the Queen + Adam Lambert Rhapsody Tour. Since I’ve always been a huge Queen fan, and the show was on our Anniversary, we had to check it out.

I haven’t been to a concert since my wife and I married. So spending $1000 on tickets was a shock to the bank account when we bought the tickets back in December. But as a coworker said to me, it’s the experience that the kids will remember for a lifetime. And she was right.

The show was amazing. Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen still rock after all these decades. Adam Lambert was an excellent addition to the group. While he is still no Freddy Mercury- Adam Lambert is a showman all unto his own and respected the group’s iconic style.

Here’s a clip of how the show began:

Because this was Queen- the crowd singing along with almost every song was astounding. Myself and family included. From Radio Gaga to the encore of We Will Rock You– the venue was energized. My favorite part was singing Bohemian Rhapsody with the crowd.

We left the show with ears ringing and hearts pounding. I loved the experience and would easily wait another 18 years if I could see a concert like that again.

Rice Krispies

Once in a while people hear something different than what is being said. This is most common in songs. There are plenty of “misheard” song lyrics out there. Some are a lot of fun and I try and use those instead of the original version.

Sometimes people just aren’t paying attention when they are spoken to causing a miscommunication between both parties. This happened between my wife and I recently. In a rather amusing sort of way.

The other night I was sitting on the couch with her as we were watching tv. We often share statements of love and adoration with each other- more so when one of us needs a little emotional pick up. That night was no different. I looked towards her and spoke some kind words. I said, “You’re sexy.” What she heard however was, “Rice Krispies.”

I became thoroughly amused by this and have now gone on to say “Rice Krispies” as a response when she says something kind to me. This new phrase may run its course in due time, or it could end up a staple in our banter towards one another. Who knows.

But for now I still think she’s “Rice Krispies” and will continue to tell her this.

Breaking a Tradition or Breaking a Promise?

Today is July 4th and with it is the American Celebration of Independence Day! Up here in Canada, my family and I celebrate by watching ID 4 every year since I can remember. It has been a favorite Tradition of ours.

I love it because the film is so cheesy and fun and I’ve watched it every year since it came out back in 1996 when I was 20. That’s 22 years so far of watching this film for me. We even made a trip on the Extraterrestrial Highway a few years ago so I could see a time capsule for the film.

But today we may not get to enjoy it as a family- thus possibly breaking a tradition and that makes me kinda sad. It seems like plans and schedules could be interrupting our family movie watching.

My wife and our oldest daughter are working during the day and won’t be done until 6pm. I made a commitment to an old friend and a coworker to go and see their first live musical performance gig this evening. I even bought a couple of tickets in advance. I’d really like to see how good they’ve gotten.

So do I cancel on the family? With our teenage kids growing up and having their own lives- these moments we share are rather important and starting to dwindle. Can I just stop a tradition that is decades old and one that I enjoy?

Or do I cancel my plans to support my friends and their first ever show? I’ve seen my old friend perform over twenty years ago on many occasions, it’s just that this is his new band. But it’s also in Vancouver which is a 45 minute drive there and 45 minute drive home late tonight. I bought tickets for my wife and I, but I hadn’t confirmed if she wanted to go when I did.

So what do I do? Cancel on family or cancel on friends? Who is more understanding? I think I know the answer now that I’ve written out my dilemma. It seems kind of obvious now.

Record Breaking Sound

As I mentioned previously in my blog posts, we listen to a lot of music. We also listen to it in a variety of means. Online streaming to the radio; mp3 to CDs; cassettes and records. All of which have a variance in their quality and enjoyment. My favorite as of late is listening to our daughter’s record player.

First, we started listening to some of my wife’s and my old record collection. Rick Astley, Michael Jackson, ABBA, Village People, etc… Then we moved on to listening to some of our classical music and collections of dance songs. Lots of great stuff.

We have discovered that old records are readily available at our local thrift shops and music stores. Many of these used albums price between $2 and $5. I was happy to pick up an original Star Wars album for cheap. The record was in great shape even if the cover was not. For the price of a couple songs on iTunes- we are now branching out to hear a variety of very interesting renditions of some classic songs.

The current album of choice on rotation at this time is the Mexicali Brass. A truly wonderful style that feels like it belongs on a record. I could not imagine it played through iTunes. Hearing a record pop and hiss adds to the auditory sensations. There’s a certain randomness to the sound you can’t recreate digitally. Every spin of the record is slightly different from the last.

What form of music to you enjoy? Are you an audiophile with some tips?

Let me know in the comments.

Work Tunes

The past few nights at work I have been playing music in my office. From my iPhone I have it connected to a small Bluetooth speaker. This small speaker that can fit in my car cup holder packs a good punch. It is far louder than I expected. A few times I had to turn it down in order to have a conversation.

Mostly I am using Amazon Music and playing a variety of “Radio Stations”. My work environment has become less stressful and more enjoyable. My coworkers have also been enjoying the change of pace. There is more comradery amongst everyone along with more productivity. This happens when everyone has a more pleasant outlook whilst listening to music they recognize.

I enjoy music tremendously. I’m rather surprised at myself that I haven’t been listening to it at work much. Perhaps it’s time to change that and keep those spirits up.

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!”