Author: geekydadsden

Raising a couple of kids while being the biggest kid in the house.

Best PERSON for the Job

Ok. Real quick rant here. I’m seeing a lot of hate being directed at Joss Whedon, especially on twitter, over information coming out that he is being tapped to write and direct a Batgirl movie. The fanboys/Buffy/angel crowd LOVE it. Then there’s the group of people, a vast many of them that all they’re saying is “why not a woman director” etc. How Hollywood is sexist etc etc.

Here’s my issue. Isn’t equality about being the best person for the job. Not man. Not woman. Person. Why would you offer a property worth millions to the owners and studio to a woman director just because they’re a woman.  What if they aren’t as good as, say the guy who created Dollhouse, Buffy, Angel and wrote/directed the Avengers. That’s equality. If a female wants the job, be as good as any of their male counterparts.

Having a job handed to you based solely on your sex is not equality. Just. Do. Better.

Courage – Saying Goodbye to a National Treasure

Tonight, I sit with a heavy heart.  Tonight I said goodbye to an old friend.  Tonight the curtain came down one final time.  Tonight I said goodbye to The Tragically Hip.

I’ve always been a music lover.  One of my earliest memories is sitting on my little stool, old twirling baton wedged between couch cushions, singing along to Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” aka….to 4 year old me…”let me sleep on it”.  I was raised in a house full of music, true neither of my parents played an instrument, but I was constantly listening to, not just kids music like Raffi, and Sharon, Lois and Bram, but to such musical talents as Gordon Lightfoot, Burton Cummings, The Eagles, Billy Joel, Doug and the Slugs, John Denver, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Kenny Rogers and all at a fairly Early age.  It wasn’t long before I developed my own loves and I can still remember trying to learn to moonwalk while wearing one shiny glove.

Thing is, I lived in a very small town…in the 80s.  I didn’t venture far except for the odd road trip to Toronto to visit family or a half day car ride to other towns like Ottawa or Kitchener for summer vacation fun.  Because of that, coupled with being enrolled in a very small Catholic school and also having a pretty big case of shyness, I was a pretty sheltered kid.  I lived in my bubble and didn’t venture too far out of it.  The most rebellious music we heard back then was when Bon Jovi first surfaced and with the dawn of Guns N Roses..oh…look out…we were a bunch of certified 12 year old Bad asses.  I’d call my music horizons limited at that time..to say the least.

Then the glorious day came, circa 1990, when I graduated from Grade 8 at a school of about 70 kids (Grades JK-8 inclusive) to the local highschool which, at that time, boasted over 900 kids.  Little did I know that, musically, my life was about to change dramatically.  During my highschool days I started hearing these odd words I’d never heard before.  Words like “Nirvana” and “Pearl Jam” and “Stone Temple Pilots” and “Radiohead” and  “Soundgarden” and “Smashing Pumpkins” and, late to the show, “U2” and “Nine Inch Nails” and “The Red Hot Chili Peppers”.  My mind was spinning.  All this great music where have you been all my life.

During this time I was also, of course, introduced the music of The Tragically Hip. I don’t remember who, I don’t remember when exactly, but I do remember how I felt the first time I listened to them.  I remember feeling like this was a group of guys who know me and grew up seeing the same things I saw.  Swam in lakes, fished in canals and rivers, rode bikes and got skinned knees and built forts and caught fireflies.  It’s a  bit cliche, I know, but that’s how I grew up.  I also remember listening and being immediately thrust back to my childhood and remembering all that stuff that made it fun.  Immediately I was hooked, both on the music and on the feeling it gave me.

51lg2boujt-lIt was 1990..grade 9…a time where I was so nervous every time I had to board the bus for school that I’d have, let’s just say an upset stomach so as not to get too graphic.  I was a shy,  overweight kid who was teased quite a bit those days so you could say that my self confidence wasn’t exactly soaring.  It was also the time I first heard the Hip’s album “Up to Here”. The first track Blow at High Dough smacked me in the face with it’s mellow guitar intro…followed by a harsh high note and the first words “They shot a movie once…In my home town” and I immediately remembered the time where they used a historical sight in my little home town to shoot some crappy werewolf B-movie.  Nobody saw it, it never really saw the light of day as far as I know.  But it was huge news at home, and anyone and everyone was talking about it so that song immediately spoke to me. New Orleans is Sinking, 38 Years Old, Boots or Hearts, all songs I remember well and still play almost weekly if not daily. I was an instant fan, and even though I’d never call myself a superfan (lord knows every once in a while I’ll hear a song and think “I don’t remember that at all”) all I knew back then was that I wanted another album sooner than later. in my travels I did go back and find their previoius EP …the only song that I really liked off of it was Highway Girl. But that sufficed…for now

220px-road_applesThen in 1991, last half of 9th grade came “Road Apples” and more tracks that immediately cemented my love for the band.  Little Bones, Twist My Arm, Three Pistols, Fiddlers Green.  All classics.  While in high school there would be two more Hip albums released…My favourite “Fully Completely” in 1992 and “Day for Night” in 1994.  Each album a little different than the last, but all with one thing in common.  The ability to take me back in time to simpler days living in Cottage country.  Then off to college in the big city I went, more albums followed and, like all the others, each one succeeded in making me feel like I was home.  By this time the shyness had abated and although I was still the overweight kid I had found a little more of myself, by that time these albums had written themselves into my DNA.  They were now part of me.

Fast forward eight albums and 20 years into the future.  Anticipation of a new album and, shortly after the news that the band’s frontman, Gord Downie, had been diagnosed and treated for incurable Brain cancer.220px-man_machine_poem  The tour that would accompany this album would likely be his last.  The country reeled and I was deeply saddened which prompted me to pull out some of my Hip music again.  Not that it had really gone away but I felt more compelled to listen to it with a more attentive ear than I had given it since adulthood, marriage, kids, life etc.  Life can move pretty fast and it’s easy to forget some of life’s small joys.  Either way, I was looking forward to that trip back to my childhood, so I strapped in to listen.  But when I did the strangest thing happened…while I was taken back there to a degree, I found myself transported, more so, back to high school and the music rekindled many memories there.  I had since moved away and made a life in Guelph, Ontario, got a job, married, had kids all those things that many do as an adult. As always the music took me back.  Back to a time of tests, anxiety and discovery that was high school.  It made me nostalgic, I mean it always did make me long for summer days on the lake, summer nights by a bonfire, but this time it was a little different.  Even though it was hard at times, those years were some of my happiest.

Along with the usual feelings I got from the music, the other thing I felt was a sense of urgency.  I’d only ever seen the Hip live one time previously in 2013 so I knew I had to go one more time.  Luckily my lovely wife shares the love of the band and was right on things when tickets went on sale.  Despite the rush and fever and scalpers and online ticket buying bots and every other thing she was able to get floor seats for us, and we were lucky enough to see them in Hamilton on August 16, 2016 at the FirstOntario Centre.  What an amazing night.  One I’ll always remember with both a smile and a tear.

Then there was last night’s final good bye.  The Swan Song.  The (presumably) last live tragically hip show ever.  Live streamed and broadcast across the country from the band’s home town of Kingston Ontario, you could feel the excitement in the air.  I have not felt something like this outside of a major world championship or Hockey final.  It felt as though the whole country was sitting down and watching as Gord finished the final song “Ahead by a Century” and took his final bows. I shed a tear, as I’m sure many Canadians did.  But now that I’ve had time to reflect it wasn’t so much goodbye for me, it was more of a farewell.  It will never be goodbye for me I don’t think, I will always play and share their music with whoever will listen.  But to Gord and the band I say “farewell”.  Fare well in everything  you do with your time on this planet, fare well with your family, fare well with your friends, fare well with your health.  And when the inevitable happens I hope we all Fare well dealing with the void you will leave us with. For me you will always be Canada’s band, our best kept secret, our poet, our storytellers.

I truly hope that this isn’t it.  That there will still be more music, more stories, more chapters in this band’s history.  But if it isn’t, I hope we can all show Courage as the lights fade on one of the greatest things my country has given me.

“I come from downtown, born ready for you
Armed with will and determination, and grace, too”

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Already Gone

history_of_the_eaglesOver the last few days I had the pleasure of watching a great Documentary about one of my all time favourite bands, the Eagles.  History of the Eagles:The Story of an American Band (available on Netflix) was amazing.  It told the story of the bands beginnings, right from when Glenn Frey and Don Henley were growing up.  It spoke of their childhood, early songs, early music inspirations and first bands and first friends.  It goes on to show the bands beginnings from playing in early bands together, meeting new members, becoming backing band members to Linda Ronstadt, to breaking off and forming the Eagles.  Drugs, song writing, tribulation, paying dues, travel in vans and station wagons, networking, and even living with other well known talent (Bob Segar, Jackson Browne).  Ups, downs, drugs, band fights, members leaving, members joining, trashed hotel rooms, drugs, commercial success, money, girls, sex, flying bottles, drugs, name calling, guitar smashing….this had it all.

But while watching it, I kind of got a bit sad.  I got sad because, after thinking about it a bit, I realized that there aren’t really any great band stories like this any more.  These days its all about Vine and YouTube and Facebook and getting famous that way (I’m looking at you Justin Bieber).  There is no paying your dues, no banging out a song in your garage, no failed first bands, no terrible songs.  It has, in my opinion, left a giant hole in music today.  When I go to listen to Google Music, there’s a reason why I tend to gravitate to the feeds from the 80’s and  90’s (sometimes early 2000’s).  Music just doesn’t have the power or emotion or,  dare I say, soul behind it that it had in those decades.  And in it’s wake we have “artists” that are basically spoiled, rich, entitled, brats.  Behaving badly for the entire world to see.  I’m not saying that history’s rock stars haven’t behaved badly, but you would never see Ozzy being carried on a security team members back on the Great Wall of China because he was “tired”..just sayin.  You rarely heard the word “Diva” or anything else like that and the.  These kids have no idea what it’s like to struggle to make it, they just had everything handed to them on a silver platter by some agent and music company executive who was just looking to up their profit margin.

It’s not just in Rock and Pop music either.  I have almost stopped listening to Country music (which I love) because when you turn on country radio now all you get is Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line.  Synthesized drums, rapping, auto-tuned.  Basically pop music with a southern accent.  And gone are the days where you could be an regular, dare I say ugly, singer and still make it.  Now you have to be “pretty” and “bankable”.  So long to the days where Conway Twitty, Pam Tillis, or Lyle Lovett could be big names and make good music based on talent alone.

I think Dave Grohl said it best.

“When I think about kids watching a TV show like American Idol or The Voice, then they think, ‘Oh, OK, that’s how you become a musician, you stand in line for eight fucking hours with 800 people at a convention center and… then you sing your heart out for someone and then they tell you it’s not fuckin ’good enough.’ Can you imagine? It’s destroying the next generation of musicians! Musicians should go to a yard sale and buy and old fucking drum set and get in their garage and just suck. And get their friends to come in and they’ll suck, too. And then they’ll fucking start playing and they’ll have the best time they’ve ever had in their lives and then all of a sudden they’ll become Nirvana. Because that’s exactly what happened with Nirvana. Just a bunch of guys that had some shitty old instruments and they got together and started playing some noisy-ass shit, and they became the biggest band in the world. That can happen again! You don’t need a fucking computer or the internet or The Voice or American Idol.” – Dave Grohl

Amen to this, Mr Grohl…..AMEN

 

MAY THE FARCE BE WITH YOU

Busy Start to the Year

12509816_10156499284445341_1335422937708619311_nUgh…where has the time gone?  It has been so busy the first 3 and a half weeks of 2016 I’ve barely had a minute to do anything, never mind writing in this blog.

Few things have been going on.  My Oldest daughter (grade 1), who is diagnosed ASD (higher functioning) has started medication.  Turns out she may also be ADHD as well and met all the criteria for it so we’ve been trying her on meds to help her focus.  Well I have to say so far that it’s been an unqualified success, at least so far.  She’s more focused, fewer outbursts in class, and her Occupational Therapist has made comment on how impressed she was at her improved focus and willingness to learn as well as her printing has improved greatly.  Another thing we’ve started is a math program called Dreambox to help improve her math.  Again it’s amazing how technology can help with stuff like this now.  If you have a child who struggles with math I highly recommend that you speak to your child’s school about this program.  It’s amazing

On the more Geeky side, I’ve seen Star Wars The Force Awakens 3 times and loved it.  Obviously.  ***spoilers follow if you haven’t been to see it stop now** The first couple of viewings the only real problem I had was how Rey, a non trained force sensitive could defeat (completely Bitch slap really) Kylo Ren.  Then I read THIS ARTICLE.  After that I saw the movie a third time and it completely changed the final battle for me.  I enjoyed the movie even more after this.

I do have to admit I was a bit disappointed that Ep VIII won’t be coming now until December 2017 but at least we’ll have Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to tide us over.

That’s about it for now…

M.I.A. Due to the Empire

Sorry everyone.  I’ve been MIA the last few days.  I’ve been busy, boarded up in my basement, sitting in my easy chair….Playing tb1bxvwifxxxxbaxpxxxxxxxxxx_0-item_pic

Really really good.  There’s a couple of the online Multiplayer modes I don’t particularly care for but there’s lots of content here.  So I may actually be a while before I resurface

KIDDING.  Of course.  I have two small kids..both of whom have been sick all weekend.  I have been playing a lot into the nights though and I LOVE it

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

 

I’m a kid again

Yesterday we had “parent observations” in my youngest daughter’s JK class. While there I had kind of one of those “ah ha” moments.

Having kids means becoming a kid again yourself

We started the day with roll call and a couple of little poems and alphabet games. Then it was outside for some play to, as the kids and teacher recited melodically, “exercise our bodies and wake up our brains”.  While outside my wife was busy talking to the teacher about this and that.  Me? I was there to play.  I played catch, did some bean bag tossing and ran around like a 5 year old.  So much fun.  Then when they were lining up to go back inside they did this little popsicle song that involved dancing to which my wife and I happily joined in with.

Inside we went for some circle time, more letter learning, another song and dance.  After that there was some tabletop activities where I was quite content building cup pyramids with the kids and stringing beads on strands of gimp. (do you remember gimp?…late 80’s kids whats up!!).  After that wifey and I slipped out to avoid the inevitable tears if my daughter knew we were leaving.

Afterwards It dawned on me how much fun I had and how often I have felt like a kid again since having kids.  From being able to show my girls my favourite cartoons from when I was a kid like Scooby Do, Bugs Bunny and comic book cartoons to playing games that I enjoyed like Operation and Hungry Hungry Hippos.  Heck we even Played Candyland the other day and it was actually fun.

Running around outside, lying in the grass and looking at clouds talking about what they look like, bikes, scooters, tobogganing in winter, skating…all these thing that I once enjoyed as a kid I’m enjoying again.

I even had a little conversation about this with a friend on Facebook while talking about my SplashN Boots post

I didn’t realize this at the time..but I think maybe a big reason people have kids just may be to feel like a kid again themselves.  Maybe kids, and later in life, grandkids, are the fountain of youth?

Geek Vs. Chic

geekculturememe

I have a love of pop culture.  I like to be up on (best as an almost 40 year old geezer can be) the latest coming and goings of celebrities I like, actors, musicians, all of that.  I have to add that I only give a hoot about the ones with real talent, not these pseudo-celebrities who have no talent other than being on reality tv, followed by millions of twitter followers or in tabloids every damn day…(I’m looking at you Kardashian/Jenner families)

So, with the constant media coverage of these idiots and their duckface selfies, I am growing ever concerned with the kind of role models my two daughters are going to be growing up with in the years to come.  I mean look at what it’s like now, I can only imagine how things are going to progress in the next 10-15 years. I just don’t get what the appeal is for the people who follow and emulate these idiots and copy their selfies, their fashion,  These girls who put all the value into physical appearance and having the latest and greatest cell phone, best clothes, coolest online personae.

As a parent this scares the poop out of me.  I don’t want kids who place more value on material or shallow things than they do on honour, honesty, bravery, willingness to fight for what’s right.

This is why I love the geek world and I have been showing my girls the geek world.  Many of the female characters tend to be strong, independant, tough, fighters, leaders.  They aren’t usually the type to wait for the man to save them.  No damsels in distress for my girls.  Granted…they’re only 5 and 3 so they still love Disney Princesses, Barbie, My little Pony and others.  But I always encourage exposure to strong female characters.  Anna and Elsa (Frozen), Astrid (How to Train a Dragon series), Merida (Brave) to name a few, as well as many of the characters in the Marvel and DC universes…well most of them…sorry kids..no Jessica Jones until you’re older.  Yes she’s a strong female character but a little dark for my kids’ age range…hehe.  When my youngest daughter’s Halloween choices were Maleficent and girly Darth Vader (she has a thing for villains) well I know I’m doing something a little bit right.

I can’t force them to like everything I like, Lord knows I’ve tried….but when I give them the choice between watching something fluffy and simple or something more in the “geek” vein and they choose to go geek…I always smile

Kids are F’ing Weird part 2

So today after school I did what I usually do. I take the kids’ lunch bags, open them up to see what’s left and take the empty containers out to wash. Upon first inspection it appeared Parker didn’t eat her apple sauce. No big deal, rarely does a day go by that one or both of the kids don’t eat something we put in their lunches.  So I grab the pouch out of the bag….HMMMM

Does it look full??


Looks full right?  Wrong Brother!!.


EMPTY!!  She actually took the time to eat her Apple sauce, re-inflate the pouch at some point, and carefully put the lid back on for the trip home.

Kids are F’ing Weird

But as they say…the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.