Music is awesome.
And as much as I love music now and have my own favourite bands and singers and albums, my love of music started when I was little with the radio and cassettes at home with my mom and dad.
When I think back to those days there are songs that always remind me of being a little kid. So today, in an homage to the music that I remember from my childhood, here is a list of songs that I learned and loved back in the mid-80′s and will always have a fondness for.
Genesis: Invisible Touch
Released on the album of the same name in 1986, this title track went to #1 in the US, #4 in Canada and #15 in the UK. I can remember the cassette sitting on the shelf beside the radio/tape player in the kitchen for what seems like years. I botched the words a lot, but loved it anyway and to this day love Genesis. While I may be willing to debate Phil Collins vs. Peter Gabriel at any time, I do believe that they are stronger together than either of them are on their own.
Juice Newton: Queen of Hearts
Released on the album Juice in 1981, this hit is as catchy as they come. And while it’s a country track, I don’t that should discourage anyone from loving it completely! This is a sing-along song and catchy and a ton of fun. Finding reasons not to love it seems like a task that would take more effort that I can imagine.
Fun Fact: Alvin and the Chipmunks recorded the track for Chipmunk Rock in 1982.
Randy Travis: Forever and Ever, Amen
Released in March 1987, this track hits right in my 5 year old wheelhouse of being able to learn words to songs that I’d hear over and over again. Randy Travis was a country powerhouse and while Forever and Ever, Amen isn’t my favourite song from his library (that honour goes to Deeper Than The Holler) it was a big hit and I’m sure I heard it more than my share of times.
Simon and Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Released 12 years before I was born, this classic track is in my memory bank because of my mom’s love for Simon and Garfunkel. I also could have gone with Mrs. Robinson – but Bridge wins this race. It’s a gorgeous song that lends itself well to beautiful voices and that is the kind of thing that I want to listen to.
Note: I will now freely admit on the internet that I bought the CD single of Clay Aiken’s cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water from American Idol season 2.
Deniece Williams: Let’s Hear It For The Boy
Released in 1894 (when I was 2 years old) I really shouldn’t have much memory of this as a radio hit. But, I think the reason that I remember the song is Footloose and the fact that it was a hit on VHS in the 80′s. I love that soundtrack and I love this song!
Those 5 tracks aren’t the only music of my youth, but they do hold great memories and I do love it when I hear them.
I hope that you’ve got a similar list that you can use to go to a happy place through the power of music.
Related info that you may find awesome and interesting. Remember, your headphones can make a huge difference in your listening experience: The awesome sound of the NCredible NTunes is available at WIRELESSWAVE storesacross Canada. For a limited time, they’re FREE with the activation of select handsets on the Rogers network, so come on down and check them out!
Tonight it seems that I’m starting to get back on track with the help of some pics that I’ve been able to take of some sweet street art in Toronto.
Note: Thanks to Trish for coming out and snapping pics with me.
I can’t tell you why I like the street art that I like. I can’t tell you what makes good street art (I’m not qualified and I would never want you to take my word for it.) but I can show you some of the things that caught my eye when we walked into Graffiti Alley near Tecumseth St. earlier in the evening. Trish had a camera strapped on and I had my iPhone… we snapped up a storm.
As you’ll see – there’s no real rhyme or reason to what I’m posting here. I love the Gang of Gnomes. I think that the Family Portrait is pretty cool too. But then things get random and fragmented and it gets harder and harder to explain.
Note: I don’t know any of the artists that painted these pieces. I don’t know how long they’ve been there. I don’t know how many other people have come in and taken photos and posted them online. All I know is that there often seems to be something special about wandering into Graffiti Alley with no plan and a camera.
The first time that I took a trip into the alley was with Rannie and we took pics (me with my old blackberry) and I knew that I would be back.
Example: I can’t tell you why I like that picket fence with the gap in it. I think it looks cool against the grass green background and I like the trees on the ends. Maybe I do want a little white picket fence in my yard some day… Maybe I just need more photos like this one.
Same with this one of the Butterflies on a Stump in the Woods, I think I like it because it reminds me of the country and the trees and the nature that we don’t get to see very often in the city. It’s like looking at a scene from my mom’s yard spray painted on a wall in Toronto. That’s a pretty cool thought to me. Although I’m sure the artist had a different inspiration.
I also really like when city scenes are portrayed in street art. There are many and they are awesome. When houses, apartment buildings, condos, stores, cars, streets, sidewalks, cars, etc. are painted with just the right amount of detail that you stand there and wonder how long it must have taken and how talented the artist must be… it’s good art. And again, I have no authority to tell you what makes good art. But that description makes as much sense to me as any other.
Here’s hoping that you get the chance to check out Graffiti Alley and the many other places that are filled with amazing street art in Toronto and around the world.
There were a lot of stories in the 1st round and I would imagine that we are going to see a few more storylines open up in the 2nd round of play. The puck drops on Tuesday night with 2 games, Ottawa in Pittsburgh 7:30pm & San Jose in Los Angeles 10:00pm.
Let’s take a look at the conference semi-finals in the west first and then the east to see who will have a chance to play for the right to face-off for Lord Stanley’s Cup!
Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks: Kings in 6
The Sharks swept the Canucks in their first round match-up which was not expected and showed us all how much “will to win” they are bringing to the Stanley Cup tournament in the spring of 2013. Meanwhile, the Kings were in a helluva physical battle with the Blues in St. Louis that resulted in many claims (and rightly so) that it was the best series in the first round (that was before the game 7s).
In this 2nd round go I’m taking the Kings because that’s who I think is going to win. I think that they’re going to do a better job handling the Sharks attack and, if they aren’t hurting too badly, will be able to dish out some hits that could get the Sharks off of their game. I also think that the mental toughness and recent positive experience of the Kings will help them out while their twitter account (@lakings) will continue to be brilliant. Look for Jeff Carter to score 4 goals in the series.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings: Blackhawks in 5
The other western conference series gives us an original 6 shootout that should be just another step to the finals for Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp and company. Kudos to Detroit for outlasting the Ducks in the 1st round, but while they may be better than we gave them credit for, they aren’t as good as the boys from the windy city.
If the Blackhawks are able to get on the powerplay they should put up some series goals that may be too much for the Red Wings to overcome. I also think that the ‘Hawks feel like they should win, can win and know how to win this series and that’s a good feeling for a team to have. Provided they don’t take 4 wins for granted when the puck drops, they should get through to the conference finals.
Note: I had the Ducks getting through the west to the finals… that isn’t going to happen – so I’ll take Chicago in their place now.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators: Penguins in 6
Listen, I know that as a Habs fan I picked Ottawa to be moving their gear out of Kanata and onto the golf course. I was wrong. But this time I won’t be. The Penguins are the favourite to win the east. They are stacked with offensive talent. And while they have questions in goal, they are good enough to move on.
Yes, I addressed the Penguins problems in net. How could I ignore them? In my round 1 preview I said this: “I think NYI will solve Fleury in 1 game and make everyone question him just like last year…”, well they did a little bit more than that and now we’ve seen back-up Tomas Vokoun in game action. Maybe we’ll see him again against Ottawa. I think they have to give Fleury a chance to regain his form and I think that the Penguins will get the job done.
Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers: Bruins in 7
Both the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers had to play 7 games in the 1st round to get their 4 wins and they are probably/likely/without a doubt tired and worn down. That is why I think this series will go to 7 games as well. Neither team is at full strength or full speed and I think games 1 and 2 will highlight those facts in Boston.
This series is also the 2nd original six pairing in the 2nd round – that’s pretty cool. And the series also features 2 top tier goalies with Rask looking to stay confident and Lundqvist looking to stay hot. I think King Henrik is the better tender… but I think Boston is deeper and more productive in their 3 top lines and that will be the difference. Don’t look for a ton of goals in this series – you probably won’t find them. The Bruin will bang and crash and grind this one out on their way to Pittsburgh.
So… there we have it. My picks for the conference finals: Chicago vs. Los Angeles and Pittsburgh vs. Boston.
There’s a lot of hockey left to be played, so buckle up and get your water bottle ready.
And prepare yourselves for more cheering and more heartache… Because It’s The Cup!
A few days ago I posted about the great weather that Toronto has been having and gave some suggestions for spending lovely summer days in the city. However, as beautiful as our city is, it can be nice to get out of town and enjoy the sunny days out in the country.
Whether you’ve got a cottage to go to, you want to camp or you’re lucky enough to have parents you live out in the country like me, it can be refreshing and relaxing to get out of the lights and out where you can see the stars.
When you pack up and head down the highway the question starts to become, how are you going to spend your time? Here are some ideas for you!
Swim in Nature’s Water
That’s right kids, it can be okay to swim in water that isn’t in your pool. I did it when I was a kid, it’s a ton of fun. And let me put your mind at ease, the fish and turtles do not want to be anywhere near you, so you can stop worrying about them. If you are visiting a provincial or national park you can ask about the water quality and it will likely be posted at the beach as well, pay attention to those posts. Get out your bathing suit, bring a towel, blow up a beach ball and get your swim on!
When I was little we fished with my dad when we went camping, good times. Once the fam took a trip out to Napanee to fish near the bridge. If you’ve ever been to Napanee you know what I’m talking about. I love fishing, learned it then, still do it now. Last summer I fished in the pond at my parent’s place and even got some friends involved. Look, Rayanne even pulled a little bass out of the water on her first cast. She’s a natural. But mine was bigger. Whether you’re fishing from a boat, from a dock, with worms or with lures, I wish you a ton of luck. Don’t hook yourself and make sure you get your licence – it’s cheap and many Canadian Tire stores issue them.
Hit the Trail for a Hike
Walking in the city is much different than walking out on the trails in the country. Trade the concrete sidewalk for a dirt path and change out of your loafers and into your boots. When you’re going for a long hike remember to bring water with you so you can stay hydrated, it’s important. And bring snacks too, trail mix got it’s name for a reason and homemade treats are a great idea when you’re out for the day. Remember to keep packaging to a minimum and ALWAYS PICK UP YOUR TRASH when you are on the trails. Everyone will appreciate it. Thank you.
Cruise the Water
Boats are awesome. Canoes, paddle boats, dragon boats, fishing boats, speed boats, sail boats, all of the boats! There’s something magical about cruising on top of the water with the breeze in your air and the smell of the water in your nose. When the weather is right, it’s awesome. When the weather is rough, it’s a challenge. The trick is to enjoy it no matter what and always be prepared. Please remember that if you are going to be driving a boat you MUST HAVE A LICENSE. It’s not hard to get, you can do it today with an online boat licence test.
Sit Around a Fire
Campfires are great. I love ‘em. I love building them, lighting them, playing with them and enjoying them with friends. Get your firewood ready, pile it up and get a match. And once your flames are tickling the sky do whatever you want. Tell stories, play games, drink beer, have a sing-along, the options are endless! Remember that safety comes first so don’t leave your fire unattended and make sure that it’s out before you go to bed. Also remember that a camp fire is one of the greatest things ever, so enjoy the heck out of it. Whether you sit on a stump or a lawn chair or right on the ground, there’s no end to the good times that it can bring!
There are a million options when you’re looking for things to do when you’re outside of the city. Get some friends together, come up with a plan and enjoy the heck out. It’s going to be an awesome summer wherever you choose to be.
Remember to play safe and be awesome!