Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Where I find new music: Part 13 - Shazam

Well, I don't really hear the song first on Shazam, but that's where I go sometimes to find a song I heard when I was out and about and I've forgotten about.  So I just heard The Walker by hear Fitz & The Tantrums on the car radio and I remember I Shazam'd it a while back (Jan 25th), but didn't remember if I'd purchased it.  No I haven't - gimme a sec.

Great vid too.

Also dug up Run Run Run by Celeste Buckingham and the Trentemøller remix of Springsteen's State Trooper (that I heard on an AMC show) - and it was free

Life's too short for a long, mediocre read

I'm not a big reader.  I'm not a very fast reader.   I've had periods of my life when I gobble up a series, but many years of literary indifference and tiring from the written word.  That being said, I rarely give up on a book.   Why ?   Perhaps I feel it's disrespectful to the author.  There was something that attracted me to the book in the first place, maybe it will get better, maybe I should give it a real chance, maybe I'm not settled into the writing style yet.  So many times I persevere through a mediocre read, ending up perhaps with a feeling of accomplishment, but far from satisfaction, nor any gain of knowledge or insight and maybe not even that entertained.   

I occasionally pick up a book that my wife has read for one of her book clubs.  Some turn out to be very good, while others I start, never formally give up on, and they end up being added to the pile of "I'll read it some day" books.  Recently I enjoyed a book called This Book Will Save Your Life by A. M. Homes.   So much so, that I thought I'd try some of her other novels.  I signed into the library website and easily found a couple of titles and reserved them.   They quickly (perhaps too quickly) showed up at my local library for pickup.  I picked up Music for Torching and plodded thought it for a while but felt I wasn't really into it.  I started May We Be Forgiven which had an interesting premise, but again, couldn't get into it.  

For some people they simply stick with writers they love.  I've had periods of my life where I have focused on one writer such as Steven King, Lawrence Sanders, Clive Barker and Robert J Sawyer.  But I prefer to move around the genres a little more these days, but the risk is that I won't find something that works for me.

So, Ms. Homes, please don't take it personally, I'm sure a major part of the problem is me.  But I think it's sensible that if I'm not enjoying my current read, I'd like to save a few hours of my life and move on.  So, for me, I think it's ok to give up on a book, life's too short for reading things that isn't grabbing my attention and filling up my entertainment tank.

I find that downloading book samples is a good way to see if you will actually enjoy a book.  I had a little time to spare the other day and browsed around Indigo and picked up a few books that caught my attention.  I noted their titles, then that evening I did a little more research on the books at home and downloaded a sample of Time and Again by Jack Finney.  I quickly got into this classic time-travel story and couldn't wait for a online order and popped back to Indigo to buy the book at full price.  Loving it, review to come.

Combine all your life's little slices of perfect moments and you may have a personal on-screen classic

We all want a perfect life. We often compare our lives to what we see in the movies or on the TV screen. Wouldn't it be nice to be that TV family that all get along with their lives filled with family vacations, valuable life lessons and constant love and humour. Not to mention their perfect home. Or the perfect romantic dinner in the movie set in New York or the stroll through the city streets of Paris. What about the exotic sail or the the calm swim in the crystal clear Caribbean Sea. 

Unfortunately no one's life is really like that all the time. But some of us have been lucky to experience some of those moments in our lives. Some of us enjoy the love of family moments and laughter with friends quite often. Our days may not be full of these moments and we may often feel our lives are quite boring. But if you were able to assemble all those perfect moments into a film of your life, it would be pretty awesome. 

And of course, don't forget your soundtrack (as Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat currently sing "lucky I'm love with my best friend" in the background !)  I, for one, fill my life with music and take tracks I hear from TV and movies all the time. I can't say a have a definitive playlist down to a 2 hour movie soundtrack, but it wouldn't be too challenging - actually a lot of fun.

We can all assemble a life movie in our heads, but is there a more creative project opportunity here ? I have photographs of many, many parts of my great life and some video. Actually, I created a short movie for my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. Maybe I should do the same for me (coincidently as I'm in my 50th year of being). Do you need narration or do the photos and videos tell enough of the story ?

And the film themed life doesn't have to stop at the romantic comedy.  Of course, we want to avoid drama if we can, except for perhaps the sports drama.  I remember that rainy Saturday in Calgary playing ultimate trying to get into the top ten bracket...

So we have moments of our lives that can be fair substitutes for scenes from When Harry Met Sally, Modern Family and perhaps even Chariots of Fire.  But I hope you don't have horror or war stories that you want to bring back to memory.  Which leaves a whole pile of movie genres for which we have no parallel in our own lives and that's what makes sci-fi, historical fiction, some of the AMC series and spy action movies worth the price of admission.

So work with me here, picture the opening scene from your personal film - do we start chronologically at your birth with your youthful parents or do you start with a image of your face today in the mirror and tell the story of how you got here or maybe go Tarantino and start in the the middle with a scene from a hospital bed and a story that will be your classic.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Last night I dreamed: CNE, NY and icy sidewalks

Disclaimer: it made sense at the time when I was writing this down with sleep still in my eyes

Special preview opening of the CNE.  My wide walks in holding photos and an Ecuadorean race car driver sees his photos and says we should sell/ donate his autograph online.   

I'm in NY and commuting by train and meeting up with my work colleague (LC).   We end up at a restaurant that has a slot car track.   Mom is there and she has two cars on her lane.   On the train, an old friend is wrapping gifts that she stores on the train.   My brother-in-law (RS or GR) comments about new running shoes.   

From my hotel, I hear Blondie outside, I get to the window and she performing for a crowd right outside my window and notices me.    Debbie Harry offers a sexy pose and I ask if I can take some photos.   But the lighting is very difficult and I take loads of shots before I get the lighting and post-processing right.  But I still can't find the best shot.  

I'm trying to find the NY restaurant to meet my work colleague (LC), and there's a guy bugging me trying to make me take his taxi.   

Earlier, I'm in the neighbourhood and the sidewalks are very slippery.   Old neighbour is walking to work and falls down.   I make it home and find a bunch of work people hanging out, incl. DM.  There's a small dog that is looking for attention.   I escape to a room and watch a tv show  - Blondie is performing, Chris from Coldplay is doing a cameo.   My wife comes home and is disappointed I've watched it without her.   It was also some sports game.