Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas For Me

As I sit here stressing about the last minute gifts left to be bought and whether I have enough Christmas cards for everyone, I long for the days when I was a kid and Christmas was fun and magical, rather than stressful and draining on the wallet.
I remember getting a few weeks off school where I would follow mom around the kitchen, helping bake the most delicious cookies, or helping dad secretly wrap presents.

Evenings we would take a trip to town to look at all the Christmas lights, often driving by the spectacular display put up by a former teacher, a tradition I still enjoy doing now.

Christmas Eve at home was usually spent playing games together, and watching for Santa up in the sky. I would always put out cookies and milk for Santa, sometimes even a day or two early. Living in the country I made sure to leave some carrots and even oats for the reindeer, whom my parents would make look as if they were really in the yard, although I’m sure it was probably just the resident white tailed deer.

I couldn’t get up early enough Christmas morning, peaking in my stocking and snooping under the tree to see what Santa brought. We always began the morning opening our stockings first, before sitting down to a special breakfast that mom had cooked. Then came the rest of the present opening before the family started to call.
The rest of the day was for relaxing and enjoying our new things while mom prepared dinner.

This was, and is still my favorite routine for Christmas, but as dad worked shift work, this routine didn’t always work out. And sometimes we traveled to Calgary to spend Christmas with various family members.

Now that I’m older and off on my own, my days leading up to Christmas aren’t as fun. I’m left to do my own shopping, write my own Christmas cards, and do my own baking. I don’t put up many decorations, partially on account that I haven’t acquired very much in my time alone, but partly because it doesn’t really feel like home.

The only days off I get are Christmas day and Boxing day, leaving me to use some vacation days so I can have some extra time with my family. We still have a games night Christmas Eve, and it’s been extended to include my best friend and her family, as well as old school friends who are also home for the holidays.

So while I’ve incurred some more Christmas duties to add extra stress and financial strain during the month of December, I still enjoy the basic warmth of spending some extra special time with the people I love for the holidays.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

From Bad to Good and Good to Bad - Live Edition

A few weeks ago I found out one of my favorite bands from high school was touring with one of my least favorite bands from high school. I ranted about this for days. In the years since high school, The Used have taken a huge downturn with their music, and I am no longer a fan of their more current music, while Three Days Grace, whom I never paid much attention to, has become one of my favorite rock bands.
An hour after publishing that blog, I was invited to this show with a good friend. I was excited to see how different they have become and how they compare to each other live.

Starting off the show at Edmonton’s Rexall place was Canada’s own Default. They put on a decent set, playing a mix of their older hits and material off their newest record. Singer Dallas Smith has a great voice, but the overall sound of the band falls within the likes of other Canadian rock bands. They have yet to set themselves apart from the crowd, and are flying fairly low on my Canadian talent radar.
Following them was The Used, hailing from Utah. Not sure how the American post-hardcore band made it onto the roster between two Canadian rock bands, but I was interested to see them live again, despite not being a fan of their newer music.

They stared the show off with a few new songs of off their recently released album, which I was not familiar with. They were definitely a few steps away from the hardcore sound they started out with, and sounding more like your generic commercialized rock band.

The Used’s style has changed drastically over the years, replacing their angsty screams, with more mellow tunes and a calmer sound. For me, the appeal of the band was their raw emotion portrayed through their songs. I remember friends and me driving around town on our lunch break from school, screaming along at the top of our lungs. Their newer songs are not even worthy of me humming along to.
Following the less than stimulating new songs, the band then took a trip down rock and roll memory lane, playing a montage of songs from their very first release. This was the part of the show I was most looking forward to, but became quickly disappointed. The lead singer, Bert McCraken, can no longer sing or scream like he used to do to the fact that in his earlier years in the band, he would scream until he vomited onstage. These actions have caused noticeable and severe damage to his voice, apparent not only from the lack of screams, but from the shakiness of his voice midway through the set.

To help cover, bassist Jeph Howard has taken over Bert’s screaming parts and guitarist Quinn Alman also offers backing vocals that present no consolation.
I had high hopes that the band would play either of my favorite songs, ‘Box of Sharp Objects’ or ‘Blue and Yellow’. I was forced to slump back in my chair halfway through ‘Box of Objects’, it sounded nothing like it used to, and reinstated the fact that this is not on my list of favorite bands anymore.

I wonder if The Used was ever any good in the first place, or was it just a compliment to my angsty high school attitude. Has their sound actually changed that much, or did they always possess the over commercialized sound?

Unimpressed with the supporting acts, I was confident headliners Three Days Grace, hailing from Ontario, would make up for my disappointment.

With the release of their first studio record in 2003, Three Days Grace was another band that blended in with the current trend of rock. Their album mimicked the current release by fellow Canadians Finger Eleven, among others, and offered no distinguishable sound to set them apart.

These days they are still true to their alternative rock sound, but they have managed to write some really kick ass anthems that I can’t help rocking out to. Even their live show has evolved with their journey to rock-stardom, encorporating pyrotechnic fire balls to compliment the fierce attitude.
The rocking out began immediately as the band opened with their two singles from their recently released album “Life Starts Now”, before moving to some of their older songs.

Singer Adam Gontier offered a few words of thanks to the fans who have supported them and offered thoughts to the band after a family emergency earlier in the month, which forced them to cancel a number of shows in British Columbia. To those people who had nothing but complaints and ill words for the bands action, Adam says he hopes they never come to another Three Days Grace show or buy another Three Days Grace record. He then somberly dedicated the next song, ‘World So Cold’ to the woman in his life that was recently lost.

Halfway through the set the band took a break for Neil Sanderson’s drum solo. To me, no drum solo will ever compare to the epic-ness of Travis Barker’s solo during the recent Blink 182 tour this summer.
Following the solo, Adam reappeared behind the crowd by the sound booth, giving the people at the back an up-close view while singing an Apocalyptica cover before making his way back to the front of the stage. I can always appreciate a little bit of crowd interaction during a show.

They ended the set with one of my favorite tracks ‘Riot’, which left the rowdy crowd craving another taste. We were treated to three more songs for the encore, including ‘Animal I Have Become’, from the bands second studio release “One-X”.

While I found no value in the opening bands, I walked away entertained after Three Days Grace. They are your typical rock band, but they do it well.




Friday, November 27, 2009

Inspiration

Most people that are close to me know that my number one dream in life is to visit Japan. When I finished college I opened a separate savings account to begin saving for this trip.

Since that time I grew restless and dipped my fingers in the cookie jar to take a couple girls trips to Sin City. I've also had my living arrangements change drastically, and I have alot less money to set aside then I used to. Paying off credit cards and covering living expenses isn't leaving me much extra funds to set aside. But I still haven't forgotten my dream, and still put away a tiny bit here and there, knowing some day in the future, I will be able to see that wonderful country.

My friends and family also help me out, by constantly reminding me what my dream is, and that I need to find a better way to save so I can board an airplane before life gets in the way. While sometimes I wonder if they are just trying to get rid of me, I appreciate the extra encouragement.

Last week I started my morning off by reading an email from an old friend. I'm going to share it with you, so you can see how wonderful the people in my life are for supporting me and encouraging me to reach my dream. And maybe his words just might inspire one of my readers to go for their dreams in life.


Hey friend!

It's been a while hey... I hope this message finds you well.

So, I am not exactly sure what prompted me to write to you. Actually, that is a lie. I read your blog, and was struck with the inspiration to attempt to inspire you... if that makes any sense? Haha...

My attempt at inspiration has a specific purpose however - that being to send you to Japan.

I read somewhere that the hardest part about travelling in making the decision to go. I made that decision a while ago, and now, after having seen Japan, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam - I am sitting in Australia at fifteen minutes past midnight, writing to you, while I await my 9:30am flight to Singapore, for a visit there, and a couple days in Malaysia as well... hopefully.

I say this not to ignite envy - but to stir up motivation.

Reading your blog affirmed my opinion that you and I are a lot alike - and I guess that is where my decision to write this to you came from. I just know that before I had any desires to travel, you already had dreams to see Japan. And I know that the idea of packing a bag and getting on a plane to the otherside of the world can be a little nerve racking... but really, after you leave for the first time, it becomes easy... almost.

If you can afford to go to a million concerts - Japan can't be that far off...right? Just go. Work out a time frame. Make a budget. Book time off work. And book your flight.

I have attached a couple pictures - so that if my words don't inspire, they may back me up by igniting that envy I mentioned before... Deer that eat out of your hands in Nara; A mountain of monkeys in Kyoto; more history that boring old Canada will ever have! Do it already!

Deal?

Anyway - I'd love to hear whats new and exciting in good old Red Deer - so feel free to fill me in!

-Greg



Thank you Greg for your kind word and inspiration! I promise I will keep working on getting myself there. I've come to realize that I should probably be cutting back the number of concerts I'm attending and putting that money aside. It's so hard when there are so many amazing artists touring through here though!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bright Lights


Ontario born Lights made a stop at the Memorial Centre in Red Deer for the very first time this past weekend. After finishing a tour across the US, she is now making her way across Canada promoting her new album ‘The Listening’.

Lights is the most adorable girl I’ve ever seen and perhaps the most eccentric. She is every nerds dream with her comic book heroine appearance, and love for video games and comic books. Anyone who follows her online is well aware she is an avid player of World of Warcraft (known as WOW), which is a highly involved video game. She’s even written a song based on the game. But she’s taken her love for superheroes and fantasy worlds even farther by creating her own animated comic, featuring herself as the protagonist, and which can be viewed in short episodes on her Myspace page online.

While being a bit of a geek (ok, a huge geek) with her love of comic books and video games, she is an incredibly talented individual. And her nerdiness definitely shows through her music, with her intergalactic beats, video game references, and even her album artwork and music videos. Lights showcased these interests, as well as her passion for creating unique music, on stage for her local fans.

At the age of 9 Lights had acquired her first guitar and wrote her first song from the handful of chords she had learned by the age of 11. Following that she learned to play the drums, keyboard/piano and synthesizer and as she showcased at the show, she excels at all of them. Not to mention she possesses one powerful set of pipes which is not always apparent through her radio singles.

I arrived a bit late at the show, missing the opening act, Jets Overhead from British Columbia. My friends and I kind of giggled at the fact that we felt REALLY old, as most of the other attendees were tweens and younger. There was a group of young girls behind us that couldn’t have been more than 5 years old. I think that was the first concert I’ve ever attended with children so young!

Armed with an immense smile bright enough to light up the entire auditorium, Lights took to her microphone and keyboards to an explosion of tiny, girlish screams. Backed by her band on the drums and synth, she proceeded to entertain the crowd with her poppy vocals and imaginative beats. She played most of the songs off her latest album, and all of the singles I was familiar with. Explaining the thought behind some of the songs, and explaining the way they were written, including ‘Pretend’, which was written to be played on the piano, but is synthesized on the record.
Filling the space between songs, Lights often turned to interludes reminiscent of Super Mario Brothers video games, or played snippets from her own animated comic. By the end of the show, we were left to wonder if Captain Lights managed to survive a confrontation between the enemy or not.

Before the last song of the evening, Lights takes the time to introduce her band and then Russell, the keytar. Yes, the keytar has a name. Following her last song, the giant, bright smile that’s remained on the young girls’ face for the entire performance doesn’t diminish a bit as she waves to the crowd and exits the stage.
The crowd erupts into cheering and chants for one more song. After a few minutes of tiny voices chanting for Lights to come back, she reappears back onstage, minus the band, for a two song encore, in which she played a cover of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’, and an acoustic version of her own single, ‘February Air’, which sounds just as good acoustically as it does with synthesized beats, as it was played earlier in the night. During this final song of the evening, my heart melted listening to the little girls with their painted up faces singing along, and they knew ALL the words. If I wasn’t already smiling at how great this show had been, I was definitely grinning at how adorable those little kids sounded.

Previously I was only familiar with the four singles Lights has released over the past couple years, but I still had a feeling she would put on a great show. And my instincts definitely proved me right, as I was blown away by her performance and her new album is now on the top of my must have albums. Lights unquestionably proves that good things come in small packages, Canada really does possess some amazing talent and that being a nerd is definitely cool.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Leave Love!

Alright, so I was apparently having a bit of trouble, and no one was able to leave me any comments. It appears I have now fixed the problem and welcome you all to leave me some love (or not), but let me know what you think!

Cheers,
B

Monday, November 9, 2009

My First Love

The biggest thing that defines me is music. It is something that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and I feel that it will be a huge part of my life until the day I am no longer on this earth.

I can remember when I was young, my parents making me mix tapes which I played until they wore out. Among my personalized tapes, I had various tapes of my own, and as I grew up, so did my collection. I had them on in the background as I built castles out of Lego blocks and dressed up all my Barbies. They were present on long car rides, and were a staple to my bed time routine. It was a rare night when I wasn’t falling asleep to my favorite songs playing quietly.

I had an eclectic taste, even before I knew how to turn the dial on the radio. My favorite tapes include my Disney silly songs, the Beach Boys and Billy Ray Cyrus. My parents are big fans of country music, and so I was brought up listening to the likes of Ian Tyson, Garth Brooks and George Straight. While country is not one of my favorite genres to date, I still do feel a sense of nostalgia hearing a song I remember from childhood. That’s one of my favorite things about music, the memories certain songs trigger when you hear them.

It was in junior high when I began learning about new artists out there and my tastes in music expanded. I was slowly moving away from the country music as I discovered pop and rock music. This was the time when the boy bands and pop groups were huge. I loved the Spice Girls and Christina Aguilera. Britney Spears was never a favorite, but I still listened. My love for the boy bands alternated weekly between the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync, I couldn’t decide who I liked better. I also grew a fan of groups like Green Day and Matchbox 20 and fell deeply in love with Our Lady Peace’s ‘Clumsy’ album. Much Music became my new favorite channel, and I couldn’t wait to turn it on when I was visiting at Grandma’s house. I remember seeing ‘I’m Just a Girl’ by No Doubt for the time on Much Music and wanting to be just like Gwen Stefani, with her hot pink knotted hair and pink braces. Marilyn Manson was very intriguing to me, although his music was nothing my parents would ever allow me to listen to. Instead mom pushed more conservative music on me, which I occasionally gave into, and fueled my obsession for the Hanson brothers. Everyone knew in 7th grade that I was obsessed and I’m still not ashamed to admit I loved them. Believe it or not, they had some great songs besides the well known hit ‘Mmm Bop’. And for those of you who don’t know, they are actually still around making music today!

The first concert I ever attended was Britney Spears. I do admit it was very exciting to go to my first stadium show, although I was never the biggest Britney fan. The opening bands have long since been forgotten but I still remember making the trek to my seats and waiting anxiously for the show to start. The sound all the screaming fans energized me as the lights dimmed and the music began. To this day I still get the same exhilaration at a concert, no matter how big or how small. I find no bigger thrill than a room full of people eager to see their favorite performer. That is complete happiness.

Entering my high school days my tastes continue to shift and expand, constantly making room for new favorites. I was into bands that were nowhere near mainstream, and most people outside of my circle of friends had never heard of before. I began attending concerts on a regular basis, averaging nearly one a month. My wardrobe was beginning to be taken over by tshirts collected at the various concerts I’ve attended. I began noticing a trend after every show, still high on adrenaline, always exclaiming that it was the best show I’ve ever seen. To this day I still have a hard time deciding what the best show I’ve ever seen was, because to me they are all amazing. In my final year of high school I was required to complete the work experience program. Since I was interested in pursuing a career in writing, I decided to go to the local newspaper to see if they had any odd jobs I could do and observe how it works behind the scenes. Instead, I was offered a chance to be a reporter. While I had a few assigned pieces here and there, I usually had free range of my articles and based many of them on my main interest, music. Upon graduation, I moved to the city to attend college and I continued writing about music in the college paper. I began reviewing local artist’s albums, and writing about concerts and my crazy adventures along the way. I took my reviews even farther by writing for an online publication, and I was soon having press packs sent to my home address to be reviewed. After a year of listening to an overwhelmingly large range of bands and singers trying to get their sound out there, I lost interest in doing album reviews and put my writing on hold.

But that didn’t mean the rest of my music inspired habits died down. I was still spending all my extra cash on new CD’s, continually expanding my collection to its current level of well over 200 CD’s. I’ve even become addicted to I-tunes over the past year, catching up on the latest singles and sampling new albums before I decide to buy. I don’t even want to know how much I’m spending on I-tunes monthly on top of the CD’s I buy. I never have a moment in a day where there isn’t music playing somewhere, between the radio at work, two I-Pod’s, my truck stereo, home stereo, or computer. I even went so far as to get a tattoo of a treble clef on the back of my neck to show my commitment to my love of music. My closet began overflowing with concert tshirts and I was still attending as many concerts as I could afford. I’ve tried to list all the bands I’ve seen in the past few years, and I’m pretty sure the list has exceeded 100 different bands, some of which I’ve seen multiple times. Many of my friends can’t believe how many concerts I have been to, and instead of asking ‘What’s new?’, they ask what concerts I’ve seen recently, and what concerts I have coming up. My bulletin board at home is overflowing with ticket stubs I’ve kept as mementos, waiting to be put into my concert scrapbook, which is now full. I made the mistake of adding up the total I’ve spent on all of the concerts on that bulletin board and nearly choked on the number on the calculator. With the money I’ve spent over the past year I could have easily gone on vacation somewhere, put a down payment on a new vehicle, bought an entirely new wardrobe, and much more. While those things would have been really nice to have, I don’t think I could have had as many fun adventures, met as many amazing people, seen as many talented people, or made as many truly unforgettable memories. Music is truly, my first love.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Behind

Well I haven't posted in about a week. Was a very busy girl last week with yoga and tea, bootcamp, BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) Night, Haunted Houses GALORE, friends, family and SHOPPING! Needless to say, no writing got done. However, I did get quite my fill of Halloween fun!

Stay tuned and don't be afraid to leave some love (although I think some I am not getting my comments?? Stupid blogger!)

Cheers,
B

Monday, October 19, 2009

Red Deer Advocate

Just wanted to let you know that my blog is now included in the Red Deer Advocate Blog Section! Go check out what Red Deer thinks of my stuff!

Cheers,
B

Friday, October 16, 2009

Making Money Behind Bars

I never used to be a fan of rap/hip hop music, but the past few years I've grown fond of a very select few rap and hip hop artists. Included in that list is T.I. who I got into after hearing his sixth album, Paper Trail, which was released last year.

This album was written while T.I., whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr., was on house arrest following an arrest for federal weapons charges in the fall of 2007. During the year under house arrest, waiting to hear his then undefined prison sentence, he wrote one of the my favorite albums of all time.

In March of this year, T.I. was sentenced for his charges, one year and one day in prison, which he began serving in Forrest City, Arkansas on May 26, 2009. Last month I was surprised to see a new single from T.I. on the I-Tunes charts (which I peruse regularly to keep up-to-date with new releases). Isn't he suppose to be in prison? How is it possible that he recorded a new song with Mary J. Blige? Was this written and recorded prior to him entering the Federal Correctional Facility?

Fast Forward to current time. Another single has been released by the 'King', Hell of a Life. How is it possible that someone serving time for a federal crime is still able to work and make a dime (how's that for a little freestyle, haha)? The average criminal behind bars isn't allowed to continue working whatever career they may have had before being committed, why does America allow T.I. to continue recording music?

Obviously I'm not familiar with the 'system' in America, and also don't know when and where these songs were recorded, it was just a question that came to mind.

Today's lesson for the kiddies out there: Don't buy illegal weapons and don't expect to make money if you get arrested for it, life doesn't work that way!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Food For Thought:

The amount of money I've spent on concert tickets over the past few years could have probably sent me to Japan by now...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

From Good to Bad or Bad to Good?

Last week I found out one of my favorite bands from high school, The Used, was opening for Three Days Grace. This completely shocked me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy and respect Three Days Grace's music, even more so given that they are Canadian and I am a huge supporter of Canadian talent. However, if you had asked me seven or so years ago, when The Used albums never left my CD players, if I would see The Used going on tour with Three Days Grace, I would have laughed in your face.

In high school I associated Three Days Grace with the likes of Nickleback and Default, and all those other bands that sounded the same. I had their first album, but nothing stood out to me aside from their over played first single. I also noticed far too many similarities between their album and the Finger Eleven disk that was released shortly before. At the time I didn't think they were very original whatsoever, and took a long time to actually get into their music.

The Used's first album, self titled, was by far their best work. That was the album that made me fall in love with the band. It was heavy, powerful, and full of emotion. This was underground, something not yet widely discovered and unlike everything getting airtime on the radio. I used it to pump me up when I needed some energy, but also used it to pick me up when I was down. I remember like it was yesterday, driving around town with some close friends with this album cranked singing along at the top of our lungs.

Their third release, In Love and Death, followed a CD/DVD combo. This record seemed to have lost some of the rawness of their first album, but still produced some killer singles. It didn't earn enough time in my CD player though, their self titles album still dominated.

The record after that disappointed me a little more as I felt they were continually moving to a different sound than their initial release. I still supported the band, buying their live album Berth, and their third studio album Lies for the Liars. It seemed the screaming, that was said to have induced the singer to vomit on stage, featured so dominantly in the first album was slowly fading to just singing. I can understand why, obviously continuously vomiting is not healthy, but I feel it created a distinct for the band (the screaming that is, not the puking).

I recently purchased the latest single on I-tunes and was completely disappointed by what I heard. I'm not sure if it's the fact that my musical tastes have changed, or if the band is really so different than the album I first fell in love with. On the contrary, I'm far more into the past two albums Three Days Grace has put out as of late. Their last album got a lot of play on my I-pod and I'm really digging the new singles released over the past month or two.

Still, hearing the news that one of my favorite bands from high school is touring with a band I never pictured gaining much momentum in the industry was shocking to me. But now I've come to realize that bands are continually evolving their sound, sometimes in a direction you dig, and sometimes in a directions that is less your taste, and in cases like this it could bring together bands you would never picture together.

Edit: An hour after writing this I was offered a free ticket to this show. Weird.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Coolest Travel Intern

I recently came across a call out from an adventure travel company based in Toronto, Gap Adventures. It was a witty blog posting from the CEO Bruce Poon Tip, asking applicants to show him why they think they would make the best intern. It is a three month internship in Toronto. Airfare is taken care of but it's up to you to find somewhere to live. Being 23 with the world at my fingertips, I thought it would be an amazing experience, and who knows what could become of it after the internship is up. So I applied.

I decided to share with you my essay on why I believe I could be a perfect fit for the job:

There is no doubt about it, that I am the perfect fit in your company as the ‘coolest travel intern’. I am young, full of energy and potential, and hope someday to have written about experiences I have had all over the world. I love working and learning new things, and will never give anything up without giving it my best effort. ‘Working smarter, not harder’ is one of my favorite motto’s in the workplace and I am always looking for ways to streamline and simplify existing routines. My day planner is my life, and while I pride myself in having a great memory, I still may not survive without my ultimate organizational tool. I consider myself to be outgoing and make friends easily and never turn down an opportunity for fun and adventure. I believe these are the perfect combination of traits needed to be your right hand (wo)man. In case that wasn’t enough to convince you, I’ll rewind the tape a little and let you see they key things that have shaped who I am over the years.

I hail from the small town of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains (clever name for the town isn’t it?). I was raised an only child by my two parents who often argued over who passed down the wit and charm and good looks I possess today, or wait, maybe they argued over who was ‘weirder’. I avoid this argument as I believe they are equally weird and am happy I didn’t end up with that gene. I happen to consider myself highly unique and perhaps a bit eccentric at times, but never weird.

Growing up I spent my time writing whimsical stories about the characters in my head. English was always my strongest and favorite subject in school, despite never being fond of the strange teachers. I swear they were never the one to influence me the most. You know, most kids have one teacher that leaves an impact on them, I promise it was never the weird English teachers. As I aged, my wondrous stories of fantastical times turned into lines of rhymes as I filled many books full of poems. My parents often had a hard time keeping the supply of notebooks stocked as the ideas flowed from my brain.

I had thought high school should be my time to explore and experience new things (don’t worry, not THOSE kinds of things). I was a fan of playing touch football, and thought attempting my hand at rugby would be a good idea. It turns out rugby is much different than football, and I never did grasp the object of the game. I realized that running around, yelling about who knows what, not really sure where to go or what to do wasn’t much fun and I suddenly wasn’t so sure I wanted to continue on with this sport. My decision was finally made the day someone had their finger bent in a way fingers shouldn’t be bent. Sports were not my thing, back to the notebooks for me.

My fondness to join the working force led me to be known locally as ‘the movie girl’, as I provided my exceptional customer service, computer, and cleaning skills to both the local theatre and video store. Simultaneously, I followed my love of writing, and approached the local newspaper for my work experience program in my last year of high school. I was given the chance to be a reporter and injected a little of my spunk into the weekly paper for a full semester. It was one of my best accomplishments being able to see my name published and having the chance to share my thoughts and stories with the town.

Upon graduation at the ripe age of 17, my parents hustled me out of the house and to the nearest small city, Red Deer, to attend college for Business Administration. I was sad to learn there weren’t really any red colored deer anywhere near this city, but found a new love in marketing and event planning. I went on to major in marketing, and while deep in my studies, found time to write music and concert reviews for the college paper, as well as an online publication. I then decided to jump into my own event planning and began organizing small local concerts at various halls in the area, featuring bands from all over the Western provinces. It was then I learned how easy this planning stuff had come to me, and knew that someday down the line I could use these talents on a larger scale.

The sad day came when the party life, I mean student life, had to end and it was time to get out and find a real job. I was hired on at the local credit union, and after 6 months of dealing with the worst customer service job on earth, I found myself in a cozy office working as an administrative assistant, preparing mortgage documents and miscellaneous other tasks assigned to me by my new family. During this time, I incurred a new nickname, the ‘Superstar’. I believe some days I hear my boss referring to me as a god-send, and spend countless hours listening to my coworkers’ concerns as to the state of the department if I were to leave. I do assure them that since my arrival, I have worked hard to streamline all procedures and have kept detailed step by step guides, complete with pictures on nearly all duties I’m responsible for. This often leaves my boss speechless and blown away by my swiftness and efficiency with the various computer programs. Not included in the how-to guides are the frequent runs to Tim Horton’s though. I am confident they can make it there, but I may need to document everyone’s orders so Susan doesn’t end up with Crystal’s Chai tea with milk, and Elissa doesn’t end up with Susan’s coffee with two creams. It can get confusing. My time spent with the lovely ladies of this department has also taught me to understand the language of ‘boss’. It can be a tricky one, but I think I’ve mastered it and know exactly what she’s looking for and often have the task completed before she’s done explaining. I’ve become a master at decorating through all of the different holidays, and could nearly be certified to teach the generation above me how to work computers.

This brings us to present day, where I find myself ready for a new adventure. After small trips to Hawaii, Las Vegas, Arizona, California and New York City, I am itching for more. My dreams for future travel include Japan, Greece, and Montreal (I’ve been dying to have some poutine there.) I also have a strong desire to explore the rest of this great country I live in, having not been any farther east than Drumheller, home of the dinosaurs!

Hopefully after that brief history you can be assured that I do not come with any ounce of weirdness. I am ready for any challenge you throw at me, and promise to complete any task to the best of your ability. I have a great dodgeball arm but admit you may want to put me on the opposing team for volleyball as I’m not very good. I have mastered the notion of nodding when someone thinks they are right, but will most likely roll my eyes as I walk away. I am ready to open a new chapter in my young life and hope that chapter can be describing to my readers how awesome my new boss Bruce is. Just be careful, you might not want to send me home after three months…

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Adventures in E-town - Part 2

After a short 2 hours of sleep, I awoke the next morning still excited from the previous night's events and for the events to come later that evening. My half day of work went by quickly, and I was soon catching a quick nap and shower before heading off to the big city again.

We arrive later than we had hoped, which didn't leave much time for visiting pre-show. We walk into the dressing room to find a much different atmosphere than the day before. There were no random celebrities creating a buzz of excitement, but rather a room of very tired men.

City and Colour started this show surprisingly with a different show than the night before. I was glad they decided to switch up the set list somewhat. Their performance of 'Coming Home' was just as they told us it was going to be, mind blowing. One of the best performances of that song I've heard live ever. This nights performance went off without any noticeable mishaps, although Dallas did hit his glasses on the mic once towards the end of the set. Tonight's set also included a wardrobe change by Scott and Dylan, as they returned on stage wearing matching t-shirts with wolves in the moonlight. The story was Scott and Dylan have a badminton team called Space Wolf, and they bought Dallas a matching shirt for his birthday. Just a little band silliness.





After the show we arrived in the dressing room to find the boys of In-Flight Safety, a band from Halifax, who were good friends of City and Colour. They were in town to play a show the next night and came to hang out. I urge everyone to check out In-Flight Safety's music. They are amazing musicians and a genuine, friendly group of dudes. Along with the adorable Hannah Georges, we all headed back to the Crown and Rose for drinks and good times. Alot less excitement than the previous night, but words cannot explain how great it was to sit and share stories with such great people. Two of my favorite things in life are music and friends, and these two nights were most definitely filled with great Canadian music, and new and old friends. I wish I had a normal camera so I could have captured more moments from two of the best nights of my life, but I guess I will always have my memories.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Adventures in E-town - Part 1

The other day A and I headed out to Edmonton to see City & Colour, as she's good friends with Dallas. During the drive we see a big truck with a trailer and a large unidentifiable object on the back of the trailer. A and I were trying to figure out what it was as we approached and were shocked as to what we saw as we passed it.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, that is one smashed up airplane! So scary!

After scrambling to get out the camera phones, we continue our journey, unbeknown to us, the events that will occur later in the evening.

Fast forward a couple hours and you will find us hanging out in the dressing room, chatting it up with the band before the show. Stu, the tour manager, walks in announcing to Dallas that 'Brett is on his way, he'll be here soon', to which Dal excitedly announces that he forgot to tell everyone Bret 'The Hitman' Hart was coming! Really? Bret Hart? So strange. Even stranger was how excited Dallas was that he was coming. A few more moments pass, and Stu walks in again stating Bret was in the venue. At this point Dallas, very flustered, exclaims he needs to brush his teeth, while Scott is across the room quickly tucking in his shirt. I was thinking to myself how ironic it was that these people were so excited that Bret Hart was coming to meet them, while at the same time, other kids get just excited to meet THEM. And then Dallas kicks everyone out of the dressing room, he needed a moment before Bret arrived.

A and I wandered to find our tickets and passes and had a chat with our new friend Phoebe, who is running to be Much Music's newest VJ. Having given Dallas ample time to have his moment and chat with Bret, we wandered back to the dressing room to see what was going on. We sat and listened as Dallas and Bret exchanged stories and laughs, all the while still thinking it was so strange that they were so excited to meet each other. Dallas later showed off a picture on his Blackberry of him and Bret together. So proud!

It was then time for the opening act to begin so we made our way to our seats to watch. Hannah Georges was the girl opening and she was so adorable. Her music embedded a sense of happiness in me. A felt like she should be frolicking through a grassy field. Very light hearted and happy music. She reminded of an indie version of Lenka. I encourage everyone to check out her music and live show if she's ever in your area.

Between sets we made friends with the couple next to us and filled them in on our secret that Bret Hart was in attendance. In return they shared their finding of Mike Comrie and some of his NHL Oilers friends. I thought it was pretty rad that there were so many 'celebrities' in attendance. Our new friend began asking us about the band and how we got our great seats as they had got theirs that day. He then shared where his love for the band had come from, which was after hearing 'Body in a Box' following the death of his friend from an avalanche. What a heartbreaking story. But we assured him he would not be disappointed by the show.

And then the moment we were waiting for, City & Colour. Alone on stage with his guitar, Dallas begins the show with 'Forgive Me', with Scott (bassist) and Dylan (drummer) joining in mid-song. A and I had high hopes for the boys as they divulged to us that they hadn't actually practiced since they were together last in May. In fact, they hadn't even seen each other until they arrived at the airport. Backstage, the boys said they weren't going to fill the audience in on this little secret, which would have been for the best in case they DID make a mistake. However, Dallas went against his word and informed the crowd on their lack of practicing. Following that both Scott and Dallas forgot a line in the song, which was barely noticeable if it weren't for the fact that they both looked at each other in the way you would when you screw up. The rest of the show went much better, aside from a tiny mishap during the solo in 'Sleeping Sickness'. Scott provided some humor with his stories while Dallas focused on tuning his guitar a few times. His first story of the evening was about his love for the Oilers and how he got last minute tickets to a game last time he was in the city. This was when I thought to myself 'I wonder if he knows Mike Comrie is in the crowd?'. Dallas's wit and humor between songs also never gets old, nor does counting the number of times he hits his face on the mic (tonight it was ZERO! Good job buddy!). And of course who can get tired of listening to some of the greatest songs I've ever heard. Again, hearts to the amazing Canadian artists out there. Nearing the end of the show Dallas played 'Body in a Box', and I glanced over to the side to see how my new friend was taking the song. He has quietly shedding a few tears to himself and my heart ached for him. To listen to the song closely is enough to make me cry sometimes, but knowing how much pain and sorrow the man next to me was feeling made my heart ache.

Post show we walk into the dressing room to find 5 really big dudes have been added to the mix of musicians and retired wrestlers. They were the members of the Oilers we had scoped out earlier. A and I sat in the corner realizing we were the least important in the room, but still enjoyed listening to the various conversations occurring around the room. A short time later, everyone heads for home and we're left with the band gushing about meeting some of their idols. Scott was as giddy as a child meeting Santa, exclaiming that had he been asked who his top 5 favorite Oilers players were before the show, he would have listed the 5 guys who were just in the room. I couldn't help giggling to myself over how funny it was to see.

It's at this time where the guys needed to leave the venue and head back to their hotel room. We say our goodbyes and thanks for the show and good laughs and head out of the city. A and I can't get over how bizarre the night had been, with the random people showing up backstage. Then A gets a text from Dal inviting us out for drinks. We were nearly out of the city, but decided we had nothing to lose by going back. Or did we?

Upon driving in circles around a few blocks, we manage to find the hotel but are having a difficult time finding parking. A pulls into a lot that was nearly empty, but we learn it costs $7 to park there. That wasn't happening, we go to leave and she accidentally backs into a parked car. Oh no. The damage to the other vehicle was pretty good. Nice sized dent in the back corner. A's car however only had a couple scratches. Go figure. She did the right thing and left her information on a note under the windshield wiper and we left to find cheaper parking. This certainly called for a drink. It was nearly 2:30am by the time we left the hotel bar after reminiscing over old songs, listening to more stories and avoiding the strange friend Dallas had made that was hanging around (when you have to tell someone that your psychiatrist thinks you're normal, I think that means you aren't). Many thanks for Lyndon, the bartender who stayed after closing to pour our drinks and hang out. It was a sad moment saying goodbyes to the guys for good, despite knowing we would be back the next day.

It was one long, sleepy drive home, seeming much longer knowing I was to be up for work at 7am.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Inexperienced Concert Girls

I am not a fighter. I don't believe that proving your strength over another person solves any sort of conflict whatsoever, and as such, have never been in a physical fight myself.

Last night I attended the Bif Naked concert at the Wild Bill's, and after a couple songs, C and I found ourselves near the front of the stage. We were doing what normal people do at rock concerts, sang along to your favorite songs, rocked out, shouted, threw your arms in the air, clapped, and enjoyed the awesome performance Bif always puts on. In return I was being shoved backwards by the 30 something woman in front of me as she was unhappy with the pushing and bumping that happens up at the front. The pushing from the front causes me to hit the people behind me, and in retaliation I am pushed back from behind, again running into the girl in front of me. This is all pretty standard behaviour at a rock show. I should know, I've seen a good 100 or so bands in my day and am quite knowledgeable as to the going ons at these events. This pushing and bumping into each other doesn't bother me, I see it as a sense of camaraderie. Unless of course the pushing is coming from the ass in front of me so the owner of said queen ass can have her five foot radius around her. I'm sorry sister, that's not how it works at the front. I kindly told this girl to quit pushing me backwards, I can't go anywhere and I can't help touching her because everyone else is moving around and bumping into everyone else. She didn't like that reply and kept yelling at me to move back. I asked her if she's ever been to a concert before, because she wasn't realizing that you don't get personal space at the front and that if she wanted to keep her bubble, move to the back of the crowd. This was enough to warrant her grabbing my neck and shoving me back into the crowd. Now this was starting to bring back memories of the Black Eyed Peas concert I attended four years ago, when the girls beside me were clawing at my hair and pulling my hair because they couldn't deal with me standing my ground while they tried to shove me out of the way. Ah yes, another girl who doesn't understand the unwritten rock show etiquette.

I so badly wished I could have punched her in the face, but didn't want to be removed from the venue. Instead I decided to just rock out even harder, and show her what it's like to be at the front of a rock show. Bif ended up putting on an amazing shows playing a good mix of tunes from her newest album, The Promise, as well as some old favorites. There's nothing better than getting the opportunity to watch some fantastic Canadian talent at your local bar.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And So Here I Am

It's been a long time since I've maintained a blog. Today I've had a sudden wave of ambition and motivation - a need to do something to get my ball of life rolling again. I got stuck for awhile, but it's time to dislodge the ball and continue my journey to wherever I happen to bounce to next.

And so here I am.

I recently ended a 2 year stint with a dance group that was a huge part of my life. I learned alot about myself in those two years, and found a new confidence that I didn't knew existed within me. I think the confidence was the best thing that became of dancing. The decision to quit didn't come easy, but I had accomplished everything I needed to accomplish in that point in my life, and knew it was time to move on. I didn't really know where I was moving on to, and that's been a struggle. I have many ideas and plans for life but am unsure of which direction to go or how to get there. Now is the time to pick a direction and see where the path takes me.

And so here I am.