A Family of Vinyl Junkies

To say that enjoy a wide breadth of musical diversity in this household would be the understatement of the century and, oddly enough, any one of the cats will easily have more musical talent than the three of us combined.  My mother once aspired for me to be an accomplished musician but that dream all went up in a puff of polyester smoke when it was discovered that I couldn’t comprehend reading sheet music and, well, I don’t think either Kelly or HRH has fared much better but, regardless, we are big fans of this thing called music.

Putting on a record is pretty much on par with taking off your shoes and hanging up your coat in the front hallway when you get home, especially seeing as how the turntable is just another few paces inside the home.

When it comes to music, we play everything.  Of course, we don’t play a lot of electronica or dance music, but you also don’t tend to find a lot of Skrillex and Daft Punk albums at the local Thrift shops (also electronica music makes my cavities vibrate unpleasantly).  The Thrift shops, you see, is where we really shine as a family and let our freak flags fly.  Personally, I love nothing more than walking into a local Goodwill with only a handful of loose change I scooped out of the car’s ash tray (which, not being a smoker, is naturally where I keep all my loose change for just such a random Thrift store purchase) and walk back out with a small stack of unknown records under my arm, and this behavior is something we have come to embrace as a unit of vinyl junkies.

And we certainly don’t discriminate either, hence my opening comment alluding to our household enjoying “a wide breadth of musical diversity”.   We are as likely to listen an opera rendition of the Billy the Kid story as we are to listen to a recording of an authentic Mazatec Indian mushroom ceremony, or maybe just the Ray Charles Singers ‘Spring! Spring! Spring!’ album (of which, I am sure there were a zillion printed) again.   We are not picky people!  It all really depends on what who’s died and what has been donated over the past few weeks which, is kind of morbid, sure, but it definitely keeps us in fresh records and an endless avenue of listening options.  It keeps the music monkey on our back from nagging, so to speak.

So far this weekend, Kelly and I have listened to records by Wilco, The White Stripes, Michael Jackson, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, The Shins, Karl Denison & Soulive, Randy Newman, U2, Frank Sinatra, Spiritualized, Bright Eyes, Fats Waller, and Sufjan Stevens.  Today alone, we have delved into 1950’s musicals (‘Porgy and Bess’), early Psychedelica (Jefferson Airplanes ‘Volunteers’), Big Band (‘The Canadian Brass In Paris’), Easy Listening (‘The Sting’ soundtrack), Yugoslavian folk music (‘Christmas with Kico’)  and, yes, just a couple plain ol, straight up Christmas records (Bing Crosby’s ‘Merry Christmas!’ and ‘Once Upon a Christmas’ by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, seeing as how it’s nearly Christmas n’ all.

I won’t also deny that we don’t also possess an uncanny skill to somehow – miraculously even – figure out that the ‘A Collection of Harvest Songs’ record is the perfect precursor for playing R.E.M.’s ‘Document’, despite being released 31 years earlier in 1957, or that the new Shovels & Rope covers album ‘Busted Jukebox Vol.1’ pairs very well with a dinged up copy of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Songs of Love and Hate’, and that the only logical thing to play after listening to Murray McLauchlin’s ‘Song From the Street‘ album, is more or less anything by The Kingston Trio.

I mean, duh.

Oh, and how many other 13-year-old girls can name more than three Steve Miller Band albums?

Even knowing that there are people out there who have no idea who Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass are makes me very thankful indeed that I don’t have the power to give people polio.  How these pathetic, cultureless troglodytes ever managed to crawl out of the primordial soup from whence we all emerged at one point is completely beyond me.

These are skills you hone over time and dedication to the craft, not to mention a near-hoarding obsession to listen to new and interesting music coupled with a fiscal cheapness to rival Ebenezer Scrooge but, still, it does mean that we listen to a lot of music and that certainly can’t be a bad thing; we cook to it, eat to it, clean up to it, relax to it, argue to it, laugh to it, and Candy Crush to it.  It’s as much a part to our family bonding process as speaking, hugging and door slamming and that is something that I hold very, very dear.

After all, a family that can’t enjoy a good Walter Ostanek polka record together, well, let’s just say I don’t like their chances in making it in the long run.

God help them.

Full Circle

My grandfather was a mechanical engineer, back in the days when you gained your expertise through tinkering and playing around with mechanical things, as opposed to sitting in a classroom learning about them, but I digress.

Let’s just say he knew a lot about the inner workings of machines and stuff.

As part of his job, he regularly looked after and helped to maintain many of the commercial office buildings, apartment complexes, churches and other such structures, particularly in the downtown St. Catharines area.  That meant he would have to routinely go into the dark basements and hot, musty boiler rooms in order to make sure that everything was working A-OK.

As kids (4-5 years old), we would sometimes be allowed to tag along into these usually “off limits” areas.  Of course, we weren’t allowed to touch anything and had to stay right by his side, but I remember it being super cool to see those huge furnaces, boilers, and electrical panels that made the rest of the building work.

It was mesmerizing and exciting to see him at the endless number of dials and gauges, checking temperatures, and running through detailed checklists that he had typed up on my grandmother’s old type writer to ensure that everything was up to snuff and working properly.  For a while, I even wanted to be a mechanical engineer – it was just so cool – but that eventually faded into my wanting to be a marine biologist, an astronaut, or a veterinarian instead.

Sadly, it would turn out that I was just never smart enough to be any of them.

Fast forward 40 years and I now find myself in a position where I have to go into these very same basements and boiler rooms, albeit for different reasons.  In some cases, these rooms have changed drastically while others haven’t changed at all as if time has stood still for four decades. What hasn’t changed though is my interest into being able to access and explore these hidden and forgotten parts of buildings; a throwback to those early adventures with my grandfather no doubt.

It was at just one of these such places the other day, the Silver Spire Church on St. Paul Street (formerly St. Paul Street United Church), that I saw this old thing hanging on the wall in the boiler room:


My grandfather’s checklist!

Actually, it’s a “Valve Directory” of the things he needed to check.

The machines (valves) have all long since gone or stopped working and the boiler has been replaced, and no one has likely even looked at this for four decades…but there it was.  It was still in the same cheap wooden K-Mart frame and fastened to the wall by a twisted coat hanger that he had affixed to it’s back so that it could hang on a rusty nail.

My grandfather was resourceful to say the least.

It was coated in 40-plus years of dust, grime and cobwebs and the paper itself has begun to rot and deteriorate, but it’s still perfectly legible.

It’s beautiful.

Despite its current condition, I was instantly transported back in time to that five year-old boy staring on in amazement as he ran through the series of tasks listed on the checklist and being in complete awe that he could even make sense of them, much less those huge, complex mechanical beasts.

It was definitely a profound moment indeed.

I asked the superintendent of the building (himself having been there for nearly 35 years) if he would ever consider parting with it.

“That old thing?”, he asked. 

“Whatever the heck for?”

So I told him the story.

Anyway – long story short – I made a $10 donation to the churches “In From the Cold” program in my grandfather’s name, and this old forgotten, dilapidated checklist is now hanging in my bathroom – in its present condition – beside the only other thing I own of my grandfather’s – a “Wet Paint” sign.

It’s funny how things go full circle sometimes.

I wonder too if some day someone will discover something of mine that I have left behind in one of these out of the way places as a testament to my having been there.

What will my own legacy be?

What will I leave behind in 40 years time to be discovered again?

Will they know it was me who left it there?

Will they remember me as fondly?

Only time will tell I guess.

God help me.

The “Anti-Sad Sack Club”

I worked as a bartender all through University and again all around the U.K. for many, many years.  In that time I got to know many different types of “bar goers”, but the staple bread and butter were the solo guys who would come and sit quietly at the bar by themselves.

I used to refer to them as the exclusive members of the “Sad Sack Club”.

Where most people go to bars with friends for the purpose of chatting and having fun, these “sad sacks” were a total enigma.  Sometimes they might engage in a little conversation but, usually, they would just sit and stare complacently at the game on the television, or maybe at nothing in general*.

Where I used to feel somewhat sorry for them, now that I have officially entered “Middle Age”, I absolutely get it as I have now become one of them.

What I understand now is that they are not coming in because they are lonely sad sacks hell bent on feeling sorry for themselves and drowning their sorrows in alcohol, they are coming in to escape.  Most probably, they have wives and kids at home and are seeking some temporary reprieve from the on-going drama that is inevitably going on at home.

You see, at the bar there is no arguing or bickering, no stomping and certainly no door slamming.  This is their “Serenity NOW!” moment – time to themselves to decompress – and they are making the most of it.

Can you blame them?

Now, I refer to these types of solo bar patrons as the “Anti-Sad Sack Club”; the few, the proud, and, hopefully, the inebriated.

God help us!

*Lord knows that I have looked at the same display of seven t-shirts at Brimstone Brewing for more hours than I can count.

Ask Your Mother

There we were, happily cruising along in joyful silence listening to the radio when our celebration of all things Huey Lewis was interrupted by a commercial for Liposol, or Lipitor, or God knows what drug that popular medicine is trying to push off on all the halfwit hypochondriacs these days.  At this point, I usually tune out in favor of the passing landscape and the open road.

But not HRH…no, sir!

She takes it all in.

Every.  Last.  Word.

Suddenly, from the backseat a question is hurled at me like a Greek discus:

 “Terry, what’s ‘erectile’ mean?”

I almost choked, lost control of the car and catapulted us into the adjacent roadside ditch.


Thank you, FM radio.

You see, what had happened was that as part of the commercial at the tail end, the commentator signed off by rapid firing all the possible side effects of which, I had completely zoned out for.  And, of course, “erectile difficulties”  was among them; prompting HRH’s question.

How in the sweet Sam hell do I answer that?

Now I am prepared for most questions but this one, well, not so much.  I quickly reflected on my options but somehow “it’s a type lizard” seemed deceitful and, potentially, could just lead to more follow-up questions which would just enviably end up with me being 100% tangled up in a complex veil of lies of which I wouldn’t be able to easily recover.

I started to panic.

I started to hyperventilate.

Please, Lord.  Make it stop.

In the end, I reverted to the tried-and-true response that I have used in the past with other such awkward questions.  An answer that subtly implies that this is not the type of question that you would necessarily want your step-dad to answer for you; my last resort if you will:

“Ask you mother”.

God help me.

Cuban Survival Guide

(Disclaimer: Before you read this post, understand that we DID have fun…mostly.  But there were definitely several times when we were thinking to ourselves, “WTF?”  This Cuban Survival Guide then was written in the midst of those particular moments as a means of keeping ourselves sane.)

  1. Don’t go! Period. Full stop. However, if you insist on going away, consider somewhere else like Mexico, Jamaica or the Dominican Republic. If you do decide to go to Cuba, please consider the following tips to assist you in being prepared enough to make the most out of it.
  2. Hot sauce, salt, pepper, ketchup, jam, peanut butter, etc. Shit, bring an entire well-stocked pantry and personal caterer or private chef. Accept that since the majority of their food has been imported from just anywhere else other than the United States, the food is going to be terrible, bland and almost unpalatable. Anything you can do to enhance the flavor will be hugely beneficial. I also recommend bringing your body weight in snacks. After all, you can only eat so many over-priced cans of Pringles (which, I’m pretty sure, is the national dish of Cuba).
  3. A blindfold.  There’s little you can do to improve the actual aesthetics of the food you will be served. It’s a fact, the food you are used to is “pretty” and there is nothing “pretty” about Cuban food on the resort. You can season it all you want if you abide by the previously offered tip but, still, that will do little to mask its general appearance. Understand that 80% of the food you will be offered will look like dog shit on a plate.
  4. Extra towels. For all the promises they will make of being able to switch your manky bath and pool towels for clean ones daily, never mind the importance of not losing your precious towel, there is a 90% chance that will be none. By the end of the fourth day, my pool towel could stand up on its’ own and if the wind blew in a certain direction, people started to pass out.
  5. A bat, club or other convenient hand held weapon. Inevitably, you will be forced to defend your position in line at the breakfast buffet from Asians or at the bar from drunken Europeans during happy hour, or have the need to remove oblivious tourists from impeding your 5ft. personal space with their self-sticks.  A large Wegmen’s sandwich (see tip #2) could have the multiple functionality here of serving as both your lunch, and the means by which you beat off intruders.
  6. A large, spill proof mug.  Contain all your alcoholic beverages in large volume and therefore limit your need to go to the bar every 30 seconds for a refill. The other upshot to this is that you will inevitably get drunker quicker and as a result, manage to successfully forget about all the other bullshit that’s probably going on around you.
  7. A small length of rope or twine. This can be used as an impromptu clothesline on your balcony in order to dry out your bathing suit and freshen up your four-day old towels, or hang yourself if it all gets to be too much.
  8. Ear plugs. These can be useful to block out the maids chit-chatting outside your bathroom stall in the morning as you try to evacuate the remnants of your a la cart dinner from the previous night. You may also feel the need to block out the incessant chatter of the idiot on the microphone at the pool throughout the majority of the afternoon.  Tip #6 is also very applicable here too.
  9. A catheter to avoid having to traipse through the “River of Piss” in the poolside bathroom when it inevitably gets blocked up and overflows onto the pool deck.
  10. A ‘Drunk to English’ dictionary to help decipher what exactly the 50-something-year-old tourist beside you insists on trying to tell you. Tip #5 will also come in handy here as well.
  11. A roll of toilet paper.  Cuban toilet paper has the texture of grit sandpaper and given you the stupid amount of time you likely spend in the bathroom anyway, your asshole is likely to be turned in raw hamburger in short time. Also note: it is not necessarily customary for toilet paper to be automatically provided in public bathrooms outside the resort.
  12. Cuban bills in small denominations. Sit in the same location every day and tip your server each and every day.  If you’re going to be eating flavorless dog shit, you may as well have it served with a smile.
  13. Handi-wipes. All the normal, practical uses aside, you can use them to wipe down your table in the resort restaurants before sitting down, since it is likely that the only other time they have ever likely been cleaned is when the waitress might have flicked a grain of rice or kernel of corn off it with her finger after the previous diners left.
  14. Febreeze.  Spray it in the room, spray it on your four-day old towels, spray it in your eyes each time you spy a fat chick by the pool in a micro-bikini. Shit, I’d recommend spraying it in your mouth just to get the sensation of something resembling “flavorful” from time to time.
  15. Something to mark your deck chair by the pool or lounger on the beach. The bat or club (tip #5) is only useful providing you are there wielding it.  Bu should you temporarily retire for lunch or dinner with your dufflebag of condiments, you will need to mark your turf.  You can use a brightly-colored handkerchief, scarf, towel, or maybe even a landmine.

God help you.

Hair Today; Gone Tomorrow

I have been getting lots of grief around the house lately from both Kelly and HRH  regarding my hair.  Apparently, my hair is getting too long and, for whatever reason, this is very upsetting to the ladies in my life.  Heavens forbid should I ever make any negative commentary towards their own chosen hair styles, but when it comes to my own it’s no holds barred.  You can read that as I’m harangued about it every 3.2 nanoseconds throughout the day.  I wonder if this is how Samson felt when Delilah kept nagging about his glorious locks.  One has to wonder then who’s providing Kelly her ‘eleven hundred shekels of silver’ (Judges, 16:4)?

The problem is not that I really want  to grow my hair long, it’s more that I’ve just recently lost my regular hair lady, hairdresser, barber, what have you, and I’m a devout creature of habit.

So now I’m lost.

Where do I go now?

Damn me and my profound sense of loyalty.

There are no other local barbers or hair dressers in my area (aside from the one that caters to all the old biddy’s at the Retirement Village down the street and, yeah, NO!) so I’m in a real pickle.

And I can’t just go anywhere  lest I end up looking like this:

Believe me, it’s happened before.

You only need to look at any of my high school yearbook photos to validate that fact and, God knows, the world is a happier place without that particular hairstyle back in it.

What to do…what to do…

Personally, I couldn’t give two shits.  Hair is simply the yard work of the human body so the girls might just have to get over and embrace this new developing ‘mountain man’ look.

God help me.

Yard Work: A Survivor’s Tale

They say that ever man has his nemesis.  For my father, that nemesis was the lawn.  Every Saturday morning they engaged one another in a pitched battle the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Gilgamesh squared off against Enkidu.  Trust me, it was epic….Sisyphean even.  On a certain level, I think my father enjoyed the challenge while another part of him found it meditative.  Me?  I do not share this same fixation for my front lawn; far from actually.

In fact, I think it’s safe to say I hate my lawn and my lawn hates me.

I realized this just yesterday as I was taking care of my own front and back yards in anticipation of a backyard summer end BBQ this weekend.  However, in its current condition I wasn’t so much ‘cutting the lawn’ as I was ‘weeding out the remaining bits of grass from my weed garden’.

Sadly, it’s true.

I’ve never been one to attempt to keep up with the Joneses.  As a result, our lawn is the abomination of the neighborhood. Where everyone else on the street is feeding, trimming, weeding, watering and otherwise tending to a lush green carpet of freshly manicured sod that rolls outward from their front porch down to the roadway, I’m doing everything else but.

The way I see it, my whole approach to lawn care is more to the ‘au naturel’  style of things where my lawn is representative of the indigenous flora and fauna.  That is to say, I wear my weeds with pride.  And same goes for the golden rod, dandelions, hogsward, crab grass, thistles and prickly weeds of all sorts.  I consider myself to be the neighborhood arbitrarium.

Photo might not be 100% accurate.

The problem is that I’m very conflicted when it comes to lawn care.  First, I am completely loathe to introduce any unnatural chemicals or treatments in the ground soil, likewise, I hate the idea of needlessly wasting water when the Earth’s own ground water tables are being drastically depleted.  There are people who probably brave snakebites by walking barefoot 10 miles a day to and from the only well, hundreds of miles away, for the sole opportunity to sip a single cup of clean, fresh water and here I am hosing it over my lawn with reckless abandon.

That doesn’t sit well with me.

Secondly, I don’t particularly like the work either.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of work.  I will happily run for 3 hours in stupid ° weather, but spend 20 minutes on trimming the edges along the driveway?  Fuck that shit.  I hate cutting vines at the back of the shed that will only grow back at the blink of an eye, I hate getting lashed by sentient sticker-bushes, and I hate the awe-inspiring weeds taller than I am and the noxious stinging insects that chase you around the yard, especially when you start to sweat.  They’re like mini harpies sent by the Garden Gods to torment you in your labors.  I hate the limb-severing shrapnel you get from the weed wacker as well as my hands continuing to vibrate for 12 hours after I’ve finished operating the mower.

I also hate the constant reminders I get that I haven’t actually done any of this yard crap in the past two weeks.

You can practically set your clock to it.

Kelly: “Honey, you really need to cut the lawn.”

Me: “Hmm. It’s been two weeks Thursday already?”

God help me.

What do you think?

“What do you think?”

Never have four words that when strung together will strike fear into the hearts of most men.

Usually, they are sprung on you with the same sense of total ambush that, say, a ninja might suddenly appear out of nowhere to Shang-hi you with a pair of nunchucks.  One minute you’re making a sandwich in the kitchen and the next thing you know, your wife is standing in front of you, hand on hip, and asking “what do you think?”

Then there’s that immediate sense of panic.


Even though you have absolutely no idea what she’s talking about.

Maybe she’s asking you to weigh in on the current socio-political climate, the rise of Isis in the Middle East, the demise of Cecil the Lion, or maybe she’s just asking how you feel about the sandwich you’re currently consumed with.  Or, maybe (just maybe), you should have noticed something about her that you failed to comment on and now she’s testing you to see if you noticed at all.  Who knows?

But be cool.

Show no fear.

First step: drop everything you’re doing. Sandwich included. This question, albeit innocently phrased, is something that demands your full attention because either you’ve fucked up and are about to be raked over the coals for not noticing something that men might find dismissible like a slight change in her hair color or style, or she’s particularly concerned about something and, therefore, so should you.

Being too aloof at this point is only going to set the ninja off and you’re likely to end up with a nunchuck to the temple Bruce Lee-style.

Second step: respond with a casual “think about what?”, assuming you genuinely don’t know what she’s on about.  This is a perfectly acceptable response providing you are genuinely engaged with her via eye contact, etc. If you ask dismissively while still catering to your sandwich, then WHAM!, straight to the temple.  If you’re honest and sincere in your response you’re likely to get filled in with the missing detail so that you can offer your two cents appropriately. If not, well…

God help you.

Hell’s Playground

One of the headaches of the summer for a lot of parents I suspect, is the arranging all the day camp and daycare options for your child (children) once school lets out in June. There is no task in my daily curricula that requires so much mental focus, concentration, cunning and guile than trying to locate, schedule, plan, and register for all HRH’s necessary summer camps.

Truthfully, Kelly suffers through most of this process and my sole anxiety is usually in finding these places and making sure this gets handed off to that person on time and that she is packed appropriately with this  in order to prepare for that, and if this person should say anything about blah, blah blah, then you tell him blah, blah, blah and, yeah, just like that there.  The worst part is that this all usually happens before I’ve even had my morning cup of coffee.  So while this is all playing out, day in and day out, I just take it as the Summer months playing the role of just another Evil Monkey throwing yet another barrel at in my general vicinity.

Just jump over it and keep on rockin’, baby.

So while we’re weaving and careening down the QEW at high speeds en route to our destination, HRH decides to read me some of the waiver forms I’ve been instructed to immediately hand over upon arrival.

Now, remember, this is a waiver form for a ‘Musical Theater Camp’.

At first it all sounds pretty much like any other run-of-the-mill insurance waiver form.

“I____________ (“Participant”), acknowledge that I have voluntarily registered to participate in activities as part of Kids’ College Summer Camp (“Activities”).”

Sure, sure.  You bet.

But then it goes on to get a bit more sinister.

“I understand that the Activities are potentially hazardous and there is a risk of injury, and even serious or disabling.”


What kind of musical theater “camp” is this anyway?  We’d already practiced correctly pronouncing the word ‘theater’, with the appropriate rolling of the vowels to give one the instant air of undeserved snobbery and now they are telling me she might be disabled?

Personally, I prefer to operate within the more commonly accepted and unwritten “you break it, you buy it” policy.  If you damage the goods they’re your responsibility to own up to it and do the right thing.  In this case, I’d expect nothing less than a full complimentary meal at the culinary institute’s on-campus restaurant.

But, I digress…

Anyway, what might cause “serious injury” at a musical theater camp?  Are they going to be free falling from a high object into a stack of cardboard boxes?  Am I going to be picking up my step-daughter at 4:00pm or Hal Needham?  Or will the daily curricula be more that of, say, ‘American Ninja’ where she’ll be navigating through an obstacle course of floating doors, door handles, a salmon board, and something known only as the “ButterflyWall” (whatever the hell that is).

Maybe I should get dropped off at camp and she can go to the office.

I had HRH  keep reading from the backseat.

Then the form goes on to say:

“I am voluntarily participating in the Activities with the knowledge of the risk of injury involved, and agree to assume any and all risks of bodily injury, death or property damage, whether those risks are known or unknown.”

Holy shit!

“Know or unknown?”

What could they possibly mean by unknown?

Do they mean poltergeists and other paranormal type of “unknown”  shit?  Is there a risk that she’s going to be possessed by some demonic entity, or something?  Is Zuul going to take up residence in her soul until the Key Master shows up with the goods?

Maybe I should bring a priest at 4:00pm?

Then there were other questions as well about any medication that might need to be administered, potential allergies and even a request for information regarding any possible legal custodial issues.  I guess that’s in case any “baby daddy’s” decide to show up and try to go all Amber Alert with the next Judy Garland, no doubt.

While this is all well and good, I remember when I was sent off to summer camp.  I hated it.  Anyway, I certainly don’t remember having to bring any forms, nor were my parents ever required to sign my life away.  Basically, they would just slow the car down to a reasonable enough speed and I would commando roll out to the curb while they sped off in a cloud of dust and gravel.  Hopefully, I had ended up at the right place.  So that meant no water bottle, no sun screen, no hat, no swim goggles and no four course meal packed neatly inside a thermo regulated lunch bag.  We were pretty much left there like Moses’ to wander the dessert (our neighborhood park) for the next eight hours, risking exposure and potentially dying of thirst.

I’m surprised then that now we’re also not required to supply her with a personal assistant, chef, masseuse and possibly a stunt double. As it is, she might need some support given the incredibly dangerous environment that I’m apparently dropping her off in.

God help her.

Catching Up and First Concerts

It has been exactly 24 weeks since I’ve posted to this blog; that’s 168 days.

Did you miss me?

Believe me, it’s not because life hasn’t been eventful over the past few months or anything; quite the opposite in fact.  We’ve been insanely busy since, well, May.

How busy?  Well, I’ve gotten married, spent 5 weeks traveling for work, 8 weekends dedicated as a volunteer for the SunRype Tri-Kids group, a recent family vacation to the Finger Lakes, my half iron triathlon this past weekend (click HERE) and, well, the summer’s not even over yet is it?  Plus I’ve trying to keep up with a full training schedule.  It’s been ridiculous.

The real challenge has been finding the time to sit down long enough to write but I felt the need to kick start this blog up again.

I could talk about HRH‘s recent addiction to YouTube videos (seriously, it’s like crack), her interest in baking weird foods (okay, I guess I kinda did write about this, click HERE), what it’s like to be a married man (it’s no different) or what it’s like to spend 6 days in a trailer with two 10-year-old girls.  Shit, I could talk about any number of things but they’d all be in hindsight.

Most recently, we took HRH  to see The Flaming Lips in Toronto, Ontario as part of the Pan American Games celebrations in Nathan Philips Square (click HERE).  Most people my age would probably claim Glass Tiger, Luba, Sass Jordan or some other schlocky flash-in-the-pan 80’s band as their first concert experience (me, personally, I saw Robert Plant but I’m cooler than most) but HRH  can now say that she saw the Flaming Lips.

Did I just earn myself some primo “Cool Dad” points there or what?

If you’ve never seen The Flaming Lips perform live before, it’s a complete trip.  From beginning to end it’s lights, confetti, balloons, and blow up dancing creatures of all sorts.  It’s total Disney on acid; perfect for keeping the full attention of a classic ADS 10-year-old girl.  She managed to make it three quarters of the way through the performance (and she even recognized a few songs along the way) before her little internal clock began to wind down at 10:30pm or so.  One late night street meat purchase and one smashed out rear passenger window later (it’s a long, stupid story) and she was crashed out and snoring in the backseat like a narcoleptic sea lion on the car ride home.

As far as concerts go it was – okay.  As far as experiences go, I think she really enjoyed it.  It might not have been Steve Miller kind of cool but, hey, it was still pretty awesome and I look forward to doing more of these kinds of cultural things in the future.  And while I know there is inevitably a One Direction, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, or god knows what other FM pop pablum band concert in my not-so-distance future, at least I can reflect back on this experience and, hopefully, carry a little more weight with our next concert experience into more mutually familiar musical turf.