Saturday, March 31, 2007

Planting New Green Sprouts

In the afterwash of the Rheostatics swan song, I've been in a particularly appreciative, almost serene, state of mind. Do you ever have those days where everyone you see is absolutely beautiful? Gorgeous.

I got home without incident and spent the afternoon playing with the kids and reading The Story of Harmelodia, the children's book written, illustrated and recorded by the Rheostatics (yes, those guys again). My voice caught in my throat and I got a little weepy while we read, sang and danced to the story. Yes, grieving and letting go is always an ongoing process, but I took great pride in hearing Kai talk about "monkeybirds" and "Popopolis" and was relieved that Rei wasn't frightened by Dr. Drumstein.

"To the Rockery!"

Ovation

* * * Warning: Minor Spoiler - 24: Day 4 in paragraph 4 - (Jeffy, I'm speaking to you) * * *

Jeffy, Moxy and I entered the illustrious Massey Hall, with great anticipation of the Rheostatics' final concert. We found our seats abutting a pole, allowing for storage of coats. On the other side, there were 6 empty seats beside me.

After an earnest, but ineffective intro, from CFNY's Dave Bookman (how can you not know that "Mac it" or "attack it" do not rhyme with "rheostatic"? Try "automatic" or "hippocratic" or "problematic" ...), the Harmelodians took the stage and launched into one of their many marine sagas "Saskatchewan". To my mind, they were setting up the perfect bookend for closing with their Lightfoot remake, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald".

The setlist was above reproach. Mind you, there was a delicious tease of "The Ballad of Wendel Clark Parts I and II", as a cardboard cutout of the esteemed Leafs captain peered out from beside the drum kit. Captain Clark's tribute was not played, but his likeness was danced around the stage for a spell.

I clapped with giddy delight as Dave Clark (no relation to Wendel) and Don Kerr appeared for a rendition of "Northern Wish". I haven't been this excited since Tony Almeida blasted his way back into action on 24: Season 4. Their music is so haunting and vivid; I glanced at the ceiling and could see a starry bright night sky in my mind's eye. Other songs revealed undersea vistas, and evoked cramped car roadtrips and late-night gas station stops.

To hear the ensemble segue from "Dopefiends & Boozehounds" into an islandic groove was particularly rewarding as the crowd, unprompted, with one voice, cried out, "ALOMAR!" That was when I knew I was part of something special. Here was a legion of patrons, who knew the songs, knew the words, knew the stories, and were there to pay their respects to the Rheos and soak up the unique soundscape on more time.

Emotions were very close to the surface that night. From shouted pleas from the crowd, to Martin's frustration with his failing voice, to Dave's sardonic and impassioned soapboxing, to Tim's steady professionalism, there was a determination to live in the moment and create something special.

There was a deep sense of profound thanks and appreciation from both sides of the stage. The show finally had to come to an end, and while "Wreck of the Eddie" was not played, the acoustic sing-along "Record Body Count" was entirely fitting.

Thank you Rheostatics, for richly textured musical tapestries, for making my high school years bearable, for being proud Canadians. You are very star.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Wardrobe Mis-Function

Eager to see and hear The Rheostatics again (this will make at least 6 concerts of theirs I've attended), but saddened at the prospect of their disbanding, I wanted to pay proper tribute to the occasion. What to wear?

My first thought was to find a Wendel Clark Toronto Maple Leafs jersey (an obvious homage to "The Ballad of Wendel Clark, Parts I and II") but not owning one and not wanting to pay for something I'd only wear once, I had to think of something else.

I'm not sure what a holey Mackinaw (Joe) looks like (a tribute to their song "Horses") so I settled for my Accordian Revolution T-shirt and a hooded parka-like coat to approximate the early logo of their Green Sprouts Fan Club.

After a Thai-rrific supper at Salad King with Moxy and Jeffy, we checked into our hotel (using a special room promotion arranged by the Fan Club or record label), we trooped off to Massey Hall. Crowded around the merchandise table, I managed to purchase the last Large-size T-shirts for Jeffy and myself.

More on the show later.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Question of Bums

It turns out Rei's latest renderings of people has caused confusion around the pelvic area. Are those bowed legs or bums?

Comparisons to other works verifies leg attachment occurs above the end of the spine, perhaps a depiction of a coccyx?
more pics
Not bums, but legs. Although I am now curious to find out how Rei would draw bums on people...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Family Portrait

This is what we look like.
family portrait
It's nice to see that we're holding hands. (Except for me, on the end, in green).

Saturday, March 24, 2007

in Vogue

This morning we did some family shopping. Actually, the kids were shut out this time; Shelley got a new jacket and I bought new glasses. It's been a few years since my last new pair, and I'll have to wait a couple weeks before they're ready. In the meantime, here's the specs on the specs:

Friday, March 23, 2007

Elite Prognostication

More basketball talk: of the 16 sweet teams playing in the latest round of NCAA basketball, I picked the 8 winners almost two weeks ago. My usual Kentucky blinders couldn't dissuade me this year from choosing the teams I thought would win rather than the ones I'd like to see win.

This has been my best bracket ever; I am definitely winning my office pool.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Backbencher Brilliance

Listening to the presentation of the Ontario budget on CBC Radio, I wondered who decides which MPP gets to sit by the microphone and mutter accolades of support for his/her party.

This particular MPP's repetoire was limited to "Hear, hear!" and "good investment" and maybe a "wonderful" if he was feeling particular effusive. It grew a bit tedious hearing the same thing over and over in the background. Do they not have access to thesauri at Queen's Park?

If I knew I was miked for sound, I'd be calling out random superlatives like "how magnanious of us!", bringing it streetstyle ("Super D McG is representin' in da House!"), channelling the Simpsons (alternating between "Woohoo!" and "HA-ha!") or maybe some spoken word poetry or Inuit throat singing.

Don't ask me what I think about the budget itself, I was too busy imagining I was a politician. "It's Sorbar-iffic!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Reveille

This morning Kai was calling out for "Daddddyyyyyy" in the early hours of morning. (At least we know now that he remembers that word). When I didn't get there right away, he proceeded to call out something that sound like, "Wiggggles!" Maybe it was "Reikoooo" but I suspect not.

Regardless of what he was wailing, it did wake us up.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mommy Mix-Up

Kai has lately taken to calling me "Mommy". We were sure that he could discern between Mommy and Daddy but I guess Shelley and I have been together so long that we've become each other.

He does have some of his mommy's taste in music. Over breakfast, he was rocking out to AC/DC's "TNT" chiming in with some well-placed "oi, oi, oi"s.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Dentist-try

After much hype, (gently broaching the topic, offering extravagant bribes, etc.) Rei went to the dentist this morning. She was cautious and apprehensive, but did well to sit in my lap in the chair, opening her mouth wide like a shark and permitted her teeth to be counted.

No cavities, no ill effects from fingers-sucking, and no tears. We forgot to bring our Dora the Explorer goes to the Dentist storybook with us, but that was the only setback.

It was a special Daddy day beginning with the dentist, followed with a trip to Adventures on Wonderland and a McDonald's lunch (the extravagant bribe). It makes me think I should get a reward for a good trip to the dentist.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Kentucky Fried Wildcat: NCAA Update

As expected, the Kentucky Wildcats bowed out of the big dance, deferring to the Kansas Jayhawks. Although Kai looks a bit too happy to remove his Kentucky cap.
Wildcat fan
All told, my bracket is mostly intact; my Elite Eight are still in. UNLV has been a pleasant surprise, I haven't cheered for them since the early '90s. (I do find it ironic that this year's version of the Running Rebels do better playing at a slower pace). But you likely weren't thinking about that anyway. I suspect were it not for a cute kid picture here, you'd have skipped this post altogether.

Friday, March 16, 2007

No Boys Allowed

Rei and Shelley have gone to Shauna's today for a "Girls' Sleepover". Boys' Night at Home involves bed per usual with a couple of stuffed animal friends for Kai. For me, an evening of basketball, beverages (with varying degrees of carbonation and/or caffeine) and bracket revision. (From the first day of the first round, I'm keeping pace with Bill Simmons at 13/16. And for day 2, 6/8 so far).

It's a good thing the college games are on so I can see some good basketball tonight. The Raptors are stinking it up against Houston. Yao!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tip-Off

The Madness is upon us and Shelley has resigned herself to being a basketball widow for the next few weekends. You should be warned the next few posts will likely be about the NCAA basketball tournament and be of fleeting interest to the majority of you. My picks have been made (Kansas beats Georgetown; Florida and Ohio State complete the Final 4), beverages purchased and Kentucky blue is out of the closet (even at my most optimistic, I don't see the Wildcats past the 2nd round).

Already one goal has been accomplished: Duke's gone. Athough I have to confess I picked them to advance to Saturday; I'm happy to be wrong. Eric Maynor is making a name for himself as a clutch performer, keeping George Mason at home, and today, defeating the Blue Devils (pauvre Paulus). Maynor's one to watch while you can – before all the hype over Greg Oden and Kevin Durant gets too ridiculous.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"... once was lost / but now am found"

Walking home from a church meeting this evening, I spied something glinting in the newly-uncovered lawn. I walked over, wondering if it might possibly ... just may be ... yes! my missing keys!
*Phew!* Who knows what local rogues might have done with my M&M Club Max account number or an Old Milwaukee bottle opener?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bookworm

There's nothing like getting into a good book:
Bookworm

Monday, March 12, 2007

Games and Fun

Ursula and I had a morning of waste-o, building roads, cities and planting farmers in the realm of Carcassonne. In all the games we've played, this was first time we played one ended in a tie. The crown jewel of my 109 points was a 44-point city that I didn't have to share with my esteemed opponent. Urs was excellently playing the field and farmed her way to 109 also. Bon jeu! C'├ętait un travail superbe! (Is that the translation for "superjob"? It is for now).

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fun and Games

After church, where Kai tumbled out of the pew into the aisle and proceeded to cry for Daddy necessitating a premature hymn sing, we headed into London for an afternoon of Family Funfest.

Rei's lack of expression is more camera avoidance than fear of revolving wooden horses.
Merry Go Rei

Unsure what to make of the texture, Kai eventually remembers he likes cotton candy.
Cotton Kai

Rei's winter plumage camoflagues her well in on the Ferris Wheel, but there she is, high in the sky.
Ferris

The venture went better than intially expected and Rei won a couple items on the midway by fishing a frog and sinking a couple basketballs, just what we needed: more stuffed toys.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Judge Boyardee

At the invitation of the pastor at the Baptist Church, I attended a Mission Support evening that featured a presentation from a missionary in Angola currently back on home assignment.

Supper was an array of 8 different lasagnas, 6 of which were vying for the coveted Lasagna Cup. As an impartial outsider, I was an official judge. Yes, it was a hardship to sample and critique 6 pieces of meaty, cheesy pasta, but I persevered.

#4, for its use of fresh mushrooms, not canned, red pepper, and the fact that it was still hot made up for its lacklustre appearance and won my vote. Seems like the people agreed with me, pan #4 had emptied very quickly.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Malaise

I imagine it's that time of year where, despite the lightening, lengthening days, the drear of winter has sapped my energy and enthusiasm.

So what's been the latest in our news?

Shelley's been preoccupied with Facebook and Grey's Anatomy, courtesy of my sister's DVDs of Seasons 1 & 2.

Rei has re-immersed herself in Hi-5; the appearance of new episodes has prompted the timed recording of TVO at 8:00 each weekday morning.

Kai continues to expand his vocabulary, adding "fun" to his proficiency with "NO" and "up", singing "Mr. Sun" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider", and, like his sister, requesting episodes of Hi-5.

As for me, I registered for the CBC Radio 3 website and have been diligently working on my playlist (you'll likely have to register yourself to hear my mix). I had a touch of illness that benefitted from taking a sick day yesterday.

With the time change and the promise of spring, perhaps I'll bounce back.