Go Eat Worms

Today I was driving with my daughter and began to sing a song from my childhood. I’m not talking about a song from the 70’s or 80’s- I’m talking about a song I learned in my very early years of elementary school.

“Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me…”

Seriously. This song was taught to me as a child in grade one at a Catholic school. But that’s not what astonished me. What surprised me was that None of my kids or my wife had ever even heard this song.

Why was I taught such a depressing song about oneself? “Everybody hates me.” Honestly, reading the song lyrics make me think of how a person is so hated that they want to be dead and eat worms. Crazy.

But there it is. In the deep recesses of my memory. It blurted its way out nearly forty years later. My teens think I’m weird for learning the song and for even singing it randomly.

Did anyone else out there learn this song? Or any other strange songs that really may not be good for molding young minds that haunt you from time to time? I’m not talking Baby Shark or Barney the Dinosaur style.

Let me know in the comments.

I’m A Loser!

I may not have been the first to lose this year. In fact, I was forth to lose in my household. But amongst friends- I need to let you know that I have lost already in 2020.

Last year I made it to December 10th. This year I lost five days earlier. Losing at Whamagedon sucks. But it means that for the rest of the month I don’t have to avoid it any longer.

I put on Christmas music throughout the house for breakfast. I stepped outside to move the cars in the driveway and then returned. My daughters and wife were all in the kitchen- staring at me. That’s when I heard it. A groan came over me. That was when the three of them accused me of setting it up to get them out. I showed my wife that I had blocked numerous versions of the song on Spotify. Looks like I missed one of them

Had I taken another two minutes outside, I’d have survived. But likely the three of them would think I had gotten them out on purpose. So it was probably better that I were to lose as well. In our family- my son is the soul victor (so far).

Are any of you still in? Or has Wham! hit you with their rendition of “Last Christmas”?

Let me know in the comments if and when you get knocked out.

2020 Wrapped

Spotify released their regular update of what you have been listening to for the year. Since this was my first year of using Spotify- it was interesting to see what my style was.

Even though I knew my choice in music is eclectic- having it backed up with evidence proves my musical taste is odd.

I knew before this Spotify list came out what my number one song was. “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” is a great dance/disco/pop style of song. It ended up being one of my top five songs of the summer.

Even though that song was my number one song, I ended up having Gorillaz as my number one artist. I was also the top 1% of their listeners this year. One of my favorite songs was inductive of the feelings of coping through 2020:

Humility

“Calling the world from isolation
‘Cause right now, that’s the ball where we be chained
And if you’re coming back to find me
You’d better have good aim
Shoot it true
I need you in the picture
That’s why I’m calling you (calling you)”

Watch the video here: Humility on YouTube. It’s a great song with vibrancy throughout. It also made me miss our yearly trip to California. Soon this Covid life will be in the past. But in the meantime, I’m going to see if I can keep enjoying 500 or more genres well into the next year.

What was your 2020 Wrapped? Share your playlist in the comments- I’d love to hear what you hear.

Generational Music

Mama said don’t give up, it’s a little complicated.

I like the song “High Hopes” it has a good beat and I love the lyrics. Our oldest daughter doesn’t always like the fact that I enjoy the music she listens to. But then again, she has been known to enjoy the music I once liked. At one point, my wife had a good bond with our daughters over Katy Perry.

Our son had become obsessed with Green Day: Dookie a couple of years ago when he discovered it on an old iPod of mine. He also has a penchant for comedic songs like I do. So we bond over it.

However, it’s our middle daughter who loves every style of music the same way I do. She also listens to it like I do- in a very eclectic manner. Moving from classical to pop, etc. Her taste in music is similar to mine so we often sing along together. The only exception is she has a closer connection with my wife’s taste in music than I do. Our daughter has snagged the old records and cassettes of my wife’s and plays them regularly.

Music is meant to be shared. I wish sometimes that I was talented enough to write music. Maybe one day I’ll monkey around with it- I always had high, high hopes…

Crisco

Two weeks ago I mentioned how it was getting close to choosing Music for November. Specifically Christmas music. I’m not going to lie, I’ve snuck in a couple playlists since then. Especially on Saturday when we pulled out the decorations.

I love playing music. Over the past few months I have enjoyed Spotify as it plays on all of my devices.

Last night as I was driving home, I wanted my iPhone to play some Christmas music. Only this time it wasn’t in my car or on my phone. My Spotify account was still connected to our home. So my music was being played for my family and not me.

They got to enjoy some Christmas Disco. Or as my daughter has decided to dub it, CRISCO. Probably my most favorite term this year now. And very fitting considering how much baking we do during the holidays as well.

From here on out, when I’m baking and listening to Christmas music- it’s only Crisco for the whole household!

Music For November

Halloween is over, so no more spooky music playing in my home. A few years ago I began playing Christmas Music at the start of November. This year my wife has asked me not to.

So what do I play in the mean time? Should I put on Guns N’ Roses “November Rain” on repeat? I have no problem playing that song for hours on end. Pretty sure my family would think it is some sort of torture by the fourth or fifth time it starts. I could always play Disco.

I’m not sure why, but my family despises my disco music. I’m always up for a bit of dancing around the house to some classic 70’s beats. “Disco is not dead! Disco is life!

Or I can just put on some calming Chamber music. I love classical music as an ambience for our home. Considering we do call it Castle Havelka.

I’ll still be sneaking some Christmas music in soon in hopes that the family doesn’t notice. Maybe Christmas Disco or Christmas Chamber Music…

Spooky Music 2020

Recently, I have been playing spooky music in our home. It all started with Creepy Carnival Music that I discovered on Spotify. I was enjoying it last weekend, but my family was not a fan. So I played some more “fun” music.

My daughters and I have been singing along to “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “Little Shop Of Horrors” and “Wicked”. All very lively and kooky musicals. It’s great that I know the words to two of the musicals. Unfortunately I have yet to see “Wicked” but it is on my list.

While the family was out this evening, I had to make dinner. So I decided that o wanted to listen to Nine Inch Nails. It has been years, so I chose to play “Pretty Hate Machine” on of my all time favorite albums. I discovered a version done by Vitamin String Quartet that was beautifully crafted. Somehow I missed this album when it was released- 2002! Probably because I was busy becoming a father for the first time.

What do you listen to at Halloween?

Let me know in the comments.

Forgotten Songs of My Teenage Years

This morning I spent a considerable amount of time putting together an eclectic playlist on Spotify. Find it Here. Creating this playlist sent me down a rabbit hole of nostalgia.

Many of the songs remind me of old friendships and fun times. Driving around town, sitting in my bedroom, even hanging out in class, buying albums through Columbia House, and overplayed songs on repeat. Using one headphone as you shared with a friend of the opposite sex and not hearing the stereo sound. But willing to sacrifice that for a chance to sit closer.

I still have many of my cds. But they are stored away in a steamer trunk as I don’t have a way to play them except in my car. And even then- using Bluetooth to play different playlists is the new normal. So much more convenient than the large booklets of cds we once carried around.

Enjoy the musical trip down my memory lane. A couple songs are NSFW but fun nonetheless.

Edit: An old friend asked to make this “Collaborative”. Anyone who knew me from my teenage years and can think of a song that reminds them of me- add away!

Autumn Jazz and Mixer

Spotify Fun

I discovered an Autumn Jazz mix on Spotify. It has some great classics, and tons of songs that I know from years of hearing them. I appreciate these playlists more than expected.

This playlist is filled with a bunch of 1940’s-1980’s music. Lots of trumpets and swing style songs. Great as background music while siting around.

I catch myself dancing around the house as well while no one is here. Even shaking my butt in my chair while sitting at the table having lunch. If music moves you- why not share the joy with others?

Honestly, I was listening to White Zombie earlier this morning. Which is quite the difference to what I am listening to now. Do you have an autumn go-to playlist?

Playing 78’s

Today marks what would’ve been my father’s 78th birthday. Over the years I have not been too kind in sharing memories of him. This year I am going to do my best to share a couple of bittersweet experiences instead.

In the past I have gone to visit his grave and enjoyed a Molson Canadian beer in his honor. That was the beer of choice by my father. I remember the stale scent of Rothman’s cigarettes and beer emanating from his beard as I grew up. It was a very distinct odor on evenings and weekends that only my father possessed.

During the day, he would have the aroma of Halls Lozenges mixed in with the scent of Cigarettes. He always had a package in his car and would pop one in his mouth from time to time. They sat in the change holder near the car stereo. After unwrapping one of the square candies, he would bunch up the waxed paper into tight little balls while a song played on the radio. At the end of the song, he would place the tiny paper balls into the car’s ashtray. It was an odd habit, but one that was distinctly his.

I never knew my father to enjoy music the way I do. In September of 1981 he did buy a brand new stereo from Sears. Perhaps as a birthday gift to himself since he rarely wished to celebrate birthdays in group settings. The JVC LXI came in numerous large metallic framed pieces. A set of oversized 12” subwoofers, an amplifier, tape deck, radio and record player. I was with him when he purchased it from the local Sears in Edmonton. We brought it home and he set it up in the dining room on the china cabinet. Where it would remain until we moved.

I remember that once it was set up, he put on a record and I sat directly in front of one of the speakers to listen to the music. I was five at the time and just amazed at the magic behind how it worked. After a few hours, my father made me wear some headphones instead and turned off the speakers.

For the remaining few years in Edmonton, my mother would put on her “Highland records” and sing her Scottish songs. Occasionally ABBA would be put on the turntable (I think that’s where my love of disco originated). I was never allowed to touch the records in fear that I would scratch them. As well, my records were only permitted on my children’s plastic record player- not the high end one that my dad purchased.

Looking back on that purchase, I realized my father didn’t do it for himself. He did it for my mother… and in a way for me. I became entranced by music that wasn’t just learning my ABC’s. I fell in love with all genres and memorized numerous song lyrics as I grew up. The only music my father would listen to was the radio on his commute. No cassettes or records were ever played by him in our home.

Nowadays, in my home, music is always being played throughout the house. I set up speakers in every room, and we play music that keeps us all entertained. The family sometimes argues over what to listen to, because they don’t always want to listen to disco… but that’s okay. We all enjoy the fact that music brings us together.

Perhaps now my father listens to his collection of 78’s in the afterlife. Keeping his emotions to himself like he always did. His bits of sharing while he was alive was minimal, but effectual. I always thought he liked Elvis because of the records he owned, but I could be wrong.

That’s my story about my father and how he inadvertently created my love of music. Happy Birthday Dad.

More Than A Feeling

I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away.

Something about music can bring forth memories or feelings. Hearing songs from years ago can truly raise your spirits. I have become fascinated over the years at the variety of genres that I enjoy. Each time I put on something new, I find I over indulge in the music.

Unless it’s country. No time for that genre to pollute my ear holes.

I have written about music numerous times now. It’s nothing new to my readers. I would like to write my own music eventually. Just don’t get me to sing- I am self conscious about that. Especially if it were to hit the interwebs.

Hopefully one day I can piece together a song and say, “Here’s a little number I tossed off recently in the Caribbean.”

Because reasons…

You’re The Cream In My Coffee

I heard a song today and it made me smile.

I’m not a poet,
How well I know it,
I’ve never been a raver,
But when I speak of you,
I rave a bit, its true.
I’m wild about you,
I’m lost without you,

You give my life its flavor,
What sugar does for tea,
That’s what you do for me.
You’re the cream in my coffee,
You’re the salt in my stew
You will always be my necessity,
I’d be lost without you
.

I listened to this song a couple more times as I drove home from work. There was something about the crack and hiss of the old recording that made it magical. It was as if the old song was speaking directly to me. Like the voice inside my head was reminding me of how much I love my wife.

Sure, it sounds cheesy. And it is. But it’s also true. I came home and at the dinner table I said the line to my wife, “You’re the cream in my coffee.” I thought I was being sweet.

My wife promptly reminded me that I don’t take cream in my coffee.

Come On Out to a Speakeasy!

At the end of the month, there is a dance in Fort Langley Community Hall that I am excited to attend. It is an opportunity for the community to support the Langley Fine Arts Dry Grad event happening later this year. There will be drinks available for purchase as well as a couple of Blackjack Tables and auction items up for grabs.

There will be plenty of “Old Timey” themes and music throughout the night. Personally, I love music from a century ago and feel inspired to be attending a Roaring 20’s dance. Because these are parents of Fine Arts students planning it-you know it’ll be well thought out and executed. Dressing the part from 100 years ago isn’t necessary, but it is encouraged!

For all my local friends who want to enjoy an evening out helping to support the Dry Grad- you can buy tickets here: Eventbrite. So get on your dancing shoes and flapper dresses! I’d love to see people attend and have a good time on February 29th!

Please share this throughout Langley and let’s make it a monumental event!

Groundhog Day 2020

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.

Come On Get Happy

Sometimes I overly express that people should be happy and take care of themselves. The truth is that it’s also totally okay to not happy. Look at my life. I’m a tall, thin guy who has trouble finding pants. And that sucks.

But music makes me happy. And something about music from decades ago is great for chasing away my existential blues. Those classic pop songs that you can sing along with.

Sometimes I wish I could write music. Music that others would sing for generations- even after the Hits no longer held the charts.

I also love discovering unique music at thrifts stores that was tossed aside. I’ll pick up all sorts of music from 1920’s thru to the 1980’s. Albums that no one knows or would ever need to know. They get play time now in my home.

Am I making people happy? I don’t know. Maybe in some inadvertent way. Buying an album at a thrift store ensures money goes back where it’s needed. Playing those albums brings joy to me and sometimes my family. That joy gets spread in the world to their friends.

So maybe I can make people happier.

Concert Ticket Stubs

What do you do with old concert tickets?

When I was a teenager and for a few years afterwards, I enjoyed going to concerts. Over the years, much of my musical tastes have varied to a point that I’m not sure I love one style only.

I attended shows in small venues to outdoor weekend long extravaganzas. The 90’s were filled with great shows and the music industry was booming thanks to cd’s and radio. All before mp3s or streaming.

The other day I found an old photo album of mine. Inside I discovered a page of ticket stubs. Concert tickets and show stubs ranging from comedy to magic, or gothic to alternative music. I can remember each person I attended these shows with. I loved the experiences and keeping these ticket stubs was a great reminder of these shows.

Nowadays tickets are mostly on your phone, with no way to keep them. Perhaps a screen shot? Or saving an email? Having a physical stub is a tactile item that I personally used as a memento. I also cannot believe the difference in show prices. A show cost $25 or less in the mid-90’s. Last year I went to see Queen in the nosebleeds and it cost $160! And no ticket stub!

Ya, I’m old. And I love music. I’ll gladly pay 99¢ for a song now. Or search out old records at the thrift shop. But concerts are a thing of the past for me. Because without a ticket stub, did it even happen?

Sisters Forever

A couple of years ago we discovered the joy of Andrews Sisters Jing-a-Ling on a drive home from the school. Our daughters enjoy the song and love to sing with it. It has become a staple in our Christmas music playing.

Our two girls seem to always get along this time of year. Last week when we were decorating, the two of them were loving and caring. Hugs and silliness abound. Seeing them get along like this warms my heart.

I know that over the next few years life will change. Our teenagers will become adults. They will grow up and move on in their own ways. I don’t want to look towards the future with a heavy heart. Instead I am trying to enjoy the moments we have now because these will soon become a distant memory.

And just like when we discovered the Andrews Sisters, I will become pleasantly surprised when my memories resurface once more through music and photos of yesteryear.

Enjoy the now- it’s a gift of joy. I guess that’s why it’s called The Present.

First One Out

I thought I was doing so well this year. Last night at dinner my family and I were talking about Whamageddon and how many covers there are out there. How each time a cover came o the radio, we were sure that we lost the game.

I lost the game early this morning. I got into my car and drove to work. I turned on the radio and listened to the news station. For about twenty minutes I received updates on the world and my traffic commute. Since I was driving my daughter’s car I switched over to the FM stations in hopes to listen to some loud classic rock music.

As soon as I hit the FM button, I heard “Last Christmas” just begin. It was as if the universe knew that I was to lose the game today. A large sigh and acceptance that I now had nothing left to fear from Christmas music, I let the song play out it’s familiar theme.

I even sang along.

Are you playing along with Whamageddon? Have you lasted this far into the month without hearing the original Wham! Song? Let me know in the comments.

Ghost of Christmas Present

Waking up mid afternoon after working a night shift can be bad enough. Having the house empty when you sleep usually means there’s no one to wake you- so you constantly wake and check the time to make sure you didn’t oversleep. So sleep gets broken up.

I woke up to hear noises downstairs. My brain knew that no one was supposed to be here. Maybe it was the dog? Perhaps someone stayed home?

Nope.

Turns out my family left the Christmas Music radio station on. What I heard was Christmas classics faintly echoing through the house. Those joyous hits were scaring the poop out of me.

I think my family left the station on in hopes that I would lose Whamageddon 2019 on day one!

Are You Ready For Whamageddon 2019?

December 1st is coming up. That means it’s time start the annual Whamageddon Challenge.

This game has been going on since roughly 2010 according to Wikipedia. The rules are pretty simple:

  • The player must go as long as possible without hearing Wham!’s Christmas song, “Last Christmas”
  • The game starts on the 1st of December and ends midnight of the 24th of December
  • Only the original version of “Last Christmas” applies, the player can listen to remixes and covers of the song
  • The player is out as soon as they recognise the original version of the song
  • The player must post “#Whamageddon” on social media as soon as they lose the game
  • Seems fairly straightforward. I have yet to make it to December 24th. I’m trying to get all the listenings in of the song already before the game starts. The easiest way to win would be to avoid all Christmas Music Stations. But I enjoy Christmas Music and shops may have a way of catching you off guard. Because as soon as you recognize the song- you lose.
  • Let’s do this people! See how long you last.
  • Ringing In My Ears

    I have suffered from Tinnitus since I can remember. Silent rooms force me to have background white noise to help.

    Unfortunately I love to listen to music as well as often as possible. In our home I have speakers set up everywhere. When I play music, it follows me around the house. When I’m alone, it’s usually pretty loud as well.

    My cars have always had loud stereos as well. Only on bad tinnitus days do I crank my music while driving. Otherwise I listen to news radio. But I have to have something going in order to remove the ringing in my ears.

    My tinnitus probably stems from the ear infections I suffered as a child. Or over the years from the music I listen to. So far I haven’t had any significant hearing loss according to my hearing tests. So that’s a good thing.

    Let the music play!

    Dark Clouds

    Two lovers in a cage,

    Trapped and ever so afraid

    To step outside;

    From the world we hide.

    The street life

    And the bright lights

    Blind their eyes;

    And send us running to obscurity-

    We need to break free.

    Trapped you see.

    Trapped here in mediocrity.

    Don’t ever trust a soul on planet earth.

    Dark

    Clouds

    Drift away

    To reveal…

    Sunshine.


    These are song lyrics from a mid-nineties British group called “SPACE“. The CD was titled “Spiders“. I loved the style of this band back in the day. I even had the opportunity to see them perform at a club in Vancouver way back when.

    This particular song has been stuck in my head since I took the above picture yesterday morning on my drive home. It’s not just the lyrics, but the instrumental parts as well that ring on in my mind. I like the final line in the song.

    Dark clouds drift away to reveal sunshine.

    That’s what I work towards every day. A bit more sunshine and lot less gloom. Go give Space a listen to. I’m going to dust off my cd and listen to it later on.

    Vivaldi

    The past few days I have been enjoying listening to Vivaldi: La Cetra, 1-7. It has made my drive to and from work a bit more pleasant and calm. There’s something about hearing stringed instruments as they eloquently form each piece. As I listen to La Cetra I can also pick out the piccolo and harpsichord. Two very unique sounds that work well together.

    Many know Vivaldi as written Four Seasons which is also a fantastic piece. I’m a huge fan of classical music and the variety of styles that come with each composer. Next week I am planning on listening to another composer as I travel to and from work. Perhaps Mozart, Bach, Handel or Beethoven. Whichever suits my fancy on my first day of commuting.

    Do you appreciate classical music?

    Who are your favorite composers?

    Let me know.

    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.