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Monthly Archives: July 2011

U2 360 Tour in Moncton, NB

Published July 31, 2011 - 13 Comments

Bono

Last night a dream many years in the making was finally realized. My mind is still so scatter-brained right now that I can’t even find the words to fully describe the experience.  Moncton’s Magnetic Hill concert venue packed with 80,000 (I’ll be curious to know what the real number finally is) people was just insane.  Add to that the fact that it had been raining through much of the day, and people were slogging through a giant mud pit…  I’m not sure that wearing sandals was the best choice, but hey… I lived.

The 360 Tour stage was amazing.  The sound and light show were amazing.  The 2 CF-18s that buzzed the crowd were amazing.  (See a theme here?)  And the music… ahhh… the music…  wow…  I have to admit that I was unfamiliar with a few of the songs, but that didn’t matter.  They were still awesome.  And when I did hear one of the ones that was on “my list” …  Beautiful DayWhere The Streets Have No NameOne… and finally… With or Without You…    I can now die a happy man.

The entire experience was surreal.  I know that this post doesn’t even come close to doing it justice… but it’s just so hard to put into words.

Amazing.

There was a minor snafu of passing out cold in the mud and being taken to the medical tent, but all in all the night was absolutely amazing.  And no… it was not substance-related.

This is one of many sets of pictures that someone has posted from last night.  I don’t know who this particular person is, but he has some great pics!

 

I’m hoping to be able to link to other posts and pictures that some of the readers and tweeps have as well… so if anyone has anything, feel free to throw it in the comments, and I will add it here!

Just Finished Tina Fey’s Audio Book: Bossypants

Published July 28, 2011 - 3 Comments


I’ve always liked Tina Fey’s work, whether on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Report, or in movies like Date Night. Yet for some reason I don’t think that I’ve ever watched a single episode of 30 Rock, and I can’t really explain why. It’s just never been a thought in my head when I sat down to watch something.

Well that’s about to change.  I downloaded Tina’s audiobook Bossypants
and have been listening to it almost non-stop. Saying that it’s hilarious would be a bit of an understatement. She reads it herself (which I love!) and she’s not only very funny, but also extremely intelligent.  She opens up about the secretive scar on her face, talks about her time in Second City, SNL, and 30 Rock, and her challenges trying to balance her life as a mother, wife, and driving force behind a network tv show.  It’s all very good, and I’d highly recommend reading or listening to Bossypants.

I’m fairly new to the world of audiobooks.  I’ve listened to a couple of them in the past, but it’s not something that I’ve full embraced until recently.  I’m listening to more podcasts, and downloading more audiobooks because I find that I simply don’t make time for myself anymore to read like I used to.  I used to be an avid reader, but over the years I’ve gotten lazy.  The audiobook is a fantastic way for me to consume the content while doing something else… driving to work, sitting at my desk, going for a walk… it’s just so easy to listen to a couple of chapters.  Granted, I’m sure that the people who prefer reading something tangible are going to like Bossypants too!  If you decide to get it through Amazon.com, you can get either the hardcover or the audio version.  It doesn’t matter.  Tina is great either way.  🙂

Time to start watching some 30 Rock!

“Weird Al” Yankovic – Perform This Way

Published July 27, 2011 - 4 Comments

I personally think that Weird Al is a highly under-rated genius.  It’s too bad that he doesn’t get any love from radio.  Well… there might be some comedy-centric stations somewhere that play his stuff, but it should be more mainstream than it is.  Thankfully, we have the internet now!

I read that Lady Gaga initially turned down the request to parody her Born This Way song.  I don’t know what changed her mind… maybe she woke up with a sense of humour one morning… instead of that sense of dreadful ….  style?  I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t really care much about Gaga anymore.  I was initially sucked in by her weirdness, and I’d turn to Vevo whenever she released a new song, so I could watch her video.  Not anymore.  I will admit… I’m still okay with her music, but I don’t have any interest in seeing what she looks like anymore.  Maybe it was the meat dress?  I dunno… She’s different, but I’m focusing on the music… and not the Gaga experience.

I think Weird Al got this one perfect!

Starfrit MightiCan Can Opener Will Change Your Life… I’m Serious!

Published July 26, 2011 - 4 Comments

As I opened my can of soup for lunch today (yeah, I know… what an amazing chef I claim to be…) I remarked on how well my can opener still worked.  I’m not ashamed to say that this is not a rare thought for me.  Maybe you don’t love your can opener as much as I do, but that means that you probably don’t have a MightiCan.  Come to think of it, I might not have a MightiCan either.  When I wrote my post about my new can opener back in 2009, I titled it MagiCan.  Something tells me that Starfrit probably made a slight alteration (I won’t say “improvement, because short of opening the can by itself, I don’t think that you can improve upon the MagiCan) and decided to re-brand it.  Regardless, when I think back to the number of can openers that I had purchased leading up to the Starfrit one, I can’t believe how much of a pain they were!  I honestly would have paid double or triple what I paid for the Starfrit because I was throwing my money away on useless can openers that delivered none of their promises!  Even today, I still remember the lady who saw me holding a can opener in each hand, and stopped to tell me that she had bought one for her mother and one for herself and loved them!  Just a random shopper like me, who felt my pain.  I wish that I could thank her!  I really do. 

You’re probably thinking “Dude, It’s just a can opener…  who cares?”

OK, let me break it down for you.  The Starfrit MightiCan is a genius design. It works!  It opens a can in seconds, without leaving sharp edges.  Your hands never touch the top piece.  The can opener holds onto it, and you just release it over the garbage can, and *poof* …  No mess!  It is designed to work equally well with left or right handed users!  It really is a fantastic tool for your kitchen.  The MightiCan is one of those things that you don’t realize how good it is until you’re fighting with another can opener.  I’ve had mine for 2 years now, and it works as well as it did when I brought it home.  I take it for granted sometimes, but that changes when I go to work and use one of the can openers there.  They’re a painful experience!

I find this commercial a little cheesy, but that’s fine… It’s good to see it in action.  Hmmm… maybe I should experiment with my video camera and see if I can make a better one.

 

I can honestly tell you that if my Statfrit can opened broke tomorrow, I wouldn’t hesitate whatsoever to get a replacement.  In fact, I had been thinking about picking up a few of them and tucking them away as gifts.  I know that a can opener doesn’t seem gift-worthy, but trust me… This thing is awesome.  I’m not just saying that because there’s an Amazon link to purchase the Magican.  I’m saying it because anyone who has come over to my place and either seen me use it, or tried it themselves, always remarks about how much better it is than their can opener.

Nuff said!                                                                                                                                          

What’s On My iPod? July 2011

Published July 25, 2011 - 4 Comments

I realized that it’s been a very long time since I’ve posted the current Top 25 songs in iTunes.  There are a few new readers who have probably never seen one of these posts.  Well, sometimes I like to take a snapshot of the Top 25 playlist that iTunes determines automatically, based on my listening habits.  Because everything ties back in with iTunes, it includes music from my iPod, iPad, and iMac  (and someday my iPhone if I ever get it working again).  So I’ll take a snapshot and reset the play counter on all songs afterward.  There are usually a few “repeat offenders” on the list… songs that, for whatever reason, always seem to be on my mind.  They’re usually theme-based, and it’s not too hard to figure it out.  It’s been like that ever since I discovered music back in the stone-age… just ask my family about hearing Phil Collins on never-ending repeat when I was a teenager.  Or Steve’s “Slit Your Wrist” tapes that my friends affectionately coined them.  I’ll be 40 next year, but some things never change.  This would be one of them.

So… without further adieu… my Top 25 most played songs for July 2011.  Enjoy!

Where Does Love Go When It Dies Def Leppard
Get It Right (Glee Cast Version) Glee Cast
In the Middle Theory Of A Deadman
Magic B.o.B Feat Rivers Cuomo
A Groovy Kind of Love Phil Collins
Poison & Wine The Civil Wars
With Or Without You U2
Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart Alicia Keys
No More I Love You’s Annie Lennox
With Arms Wide Open Creed
Good To You Marianas Trench
Knowing Me Knowing You ABBA
It Ends Tonight The All-American Rejects
Let It Go Blue October
Where Them Girls At David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj & Flo Rida
Who Dat Girl (feat. Akon) Flo Rida
December 1963 (Oh What a Night) Four Seasons
Not Over You Gavin DeGraw
Broken Lifehouse
Mad Ne-Yo
One Of Us ABBA
All Out of Love Air Supply
The Rose Bette Midler
Halo Beyonce
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me Culture Club

 

Hmm…. just a quick glance through the list…  yup!  Some things never change!  Slow, slow, slow, fast?  Ohh.. that’s a new one!  Magic by B.o.B.  I’m a little surprised that it’s up there!  It’s a good song but I didn’t realize that I had been playing it as much as iTunes says that I have.  Granted, sometimes when I’m at work I forget to turn my iPod off and that throws off the stats a little.  But I figure that if a couple of songs get an artificial “bump” in the charts, they’ll still get overtaken by the ones that I do listen to more often.

Get It Right is a really nice Glee original song sung by Lea Michele.  I’m going to miss her when she leaves the show after next season.  In the Middle by Theory of a Deadman is an unreleased (I believe) song that someone told me about last year.  We were comparing lyrics of our favourite songs, and I’d never heard this one until then.  It is really well written!  Part of me wishes that they would release it… another part of me is comforted somehow that it never reached mass appeal… does that make it more special than if it had been a hit song?  Maybe.  I’d say the same thing about Blue October’s Let it Go. I don’t believe that it was ever released, but I love it.  I’m so glad that Yasmine tweeted about it.  She’s a huge Blue October fan, and this song is great!

A Groovy Kinda Love is one of my favourite Phil songs, although I suppose it’s not truly his song, seeing as how it’s a remake.  It’s from the movie Buster.  I love Phil… don’t waste your time with Buster.  Sorry Phil.

Poison & Wine is one of those songs that I heard in a performance on So You Think You Can Dance.  It was an amazing performance… and the song just suits it so well.  I’ve never heard of The Civil Wars before.  I think they’re an idie folk duo.  I downloaded the rest of the songs from their album and wasn’t overly struck with anything else, but Poison & Wine is amazing… the lyrics are so conflicting.. I love it!  “I don’t have a choice, but I still choose you.  I don’t love you, but I always will.”  I could listen to it for hours… and I probably have!

The rest of the list looks familiar… A mix of mostly slow songs that have appeared on the list before.  Then there’s things like Where Them Girls At which I like now for it’s upbeat sound, but probably doesn’t have any real staying power.  There is usually some “now” song that appears in these lists because they’re popular at the time, but fall to the wayside as time goes on.

And then there’s With Or Without You which is never, ever, ever going to go away!  One of my favourites of all time, and I can’t wait to see U2 perform it on Saturday!  I’ll be in my own little version of heaven!

December 1963 (Oh What a Night) … Hehe… remember that one, Murph?  Kingston?  1993.  “Oh what a night… late December, back in 93… what a very special time for me.. as I remember, what a night… oh what a night.. you know I didn’t even know her name… ”        We’ll just leave it at that!  🙂

Lifehouse, ABBA, Air Supply, Beyonce, Ne-Yo, Marianas Trench…  yup, pretty much standard fare!

There is one little thing that made me laugh, though!  Culture Club??  Haha… In a brief moment of shame, I contemplated replacing that with something else.  I wasn’t even aware that I’d been listening to any Culture Club, but hey… It’s a diverse selection of music in iTunes.  It might not look like it, based on this list, but it is.  It’s not just slow songs, but they’re the ones that I tend to gravitate to, especially on my night shifts… nice and mellow.  They call me mellow yellow…   No, they don’t.

Anyway, I’ve cleared the current play counts, so whatever it played from now on will make up the next Top 25.

Good Times!

It’s Time For Another Vacation!

Published July 25, 2011 - 2 Comments

I got home from work about an hour ago, and it’s so nice out there that I really don’t want to go to sleep… but I know what will happen if I try to stay up, after having worked a 12 hour night shift.  Eventually I will fall over.  And that will not be pretty.  But guess what??  I am on vacation!  Yup!  The last of my 2011 vacation starts right now!  I go back to work Aug 6, and then I’m a slave to The Man until 2012.  So I’d better enjoy this stretch off while I can!

Do I have any plans?  Hmmm… I’m thinking very hard about taking the kids camping for a few nights.  I’m heading to see U2 in less than a week.  And I’m going to lay in my hammock, regardless of how quickly it seems to be falling apart.

I suppose that it’s probably time to drag myself into bed and get a little bit of rest.  Today’s mission is to not completely sleep the day away!

Life is Short… Enjoy the “Now”

Published July 23, 2011 - 3 Comments

Tonight I stopped in to see a buddy of mine who is in the hospital receiving chemotherapy treatments.  Thankfully it’s not as serious as it might sound.  Not that anyone wants to have to deal with that, but it could be much worse.

He said something to me which resonated quite loudly… about saving for the future.  There’s so much emphasis on saving for your golden years, that we sometimes forget about the “now”… Saving for retirement is one thing, but we still need to enjoy our lives now… because now might be all we have. (He didn’t really say it like that… but I’m expanding with my own thoughts.  He just said he was going to start spending a little more now, and not worrying about the future as much)

It’s time to start thinking about now.

Infolinks: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Published July 22, 2011 - 0 Comments

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Infolink in-text advertising stats since I implemented it on my blogs earlier this month.  I’m pleased to say that people must be finding some value, because there have been a few clicks.  Even better, the clicks are spread across the different blogs, so I know that it’s not someone simply clicking on things here.  I have run into a problem trying to get it to work on www.LadyAshburnhamPickles.com for some reason.  I suspect that the theme might be interfering with it, which is a shame because I think that site would be perfect for in-text advertising.  I would try using a different theme, but I actually have that site looking pretty much like how I want it to look, so I’d prefer not to screw with it at this point.

I have also scaled back the number of in-text links once I finally discovered that was an option, so the blog no longer looks like a chaotic mess of links.  It should be a little easier to read, which really… is the point.  The advertising is nice, but I suspect that it will be sometime next year before I’m able to get that first payment into my PayPal account.  But that’s ok… slow and steady wins the race…

Income Tax Woes

Published July 22, 2011 - 8 Comments

It had always been my understanding that child support payments were not tax deductible.  At the same time, the parent receiving those payments was required to claim them, but they did not count toward their income.  I’ve been opposed to that concept well before it applied to me personally.  I don’t understand how someone can receive thousands of dollars over the course of a year, yet for that to not be considered “income”… or at the very least the parent who pays that out not be able to claim at least a portion of it, seeing as it’s a considerable portion of their income flowing out.  Now that it affects me personally, I’m even more opposed to it, but alas… I am no tax lawyer.

So I was quite surprised, while filling out my taxes in April, that there was a field in the program to enter child support payments made.  I don’t remember seeing that before.  If it was there (and chances are, it probably was) I certainly never filled it in.  But I decided “what the hell… what’s the worst they can do, deny it?” so I filled it in.  I tallied up all the payments that I’ve made to my ex over 2010.  We have an agreement that is non-court ordered.  Just something that we decided when we split, based closely on the formula the government uses to determine the amount.  I filled in the number:  $10,455.  When I completed the rest of my tax forms, I was equally surprised to see that I was getting a refund!  It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten a refund.  Out of curiosity, I removed that child support figure, and watched my refund turn into an amount owing.  There was a considerable swing from one column to the other!  Hmm…. interesting.

I e-filed my tax return, and began the wait.  It wasn’t too long before I received a letter asking me to justify the amount that I had entered in that child support field.  That really wasn’t a shocker.  It made sense that they were looking for a little more information, than me simply entering a random number in there… and a fairly large one at that.  So I printed out all the statements I had, highlighted the payments I made, wrote up a fancy-sounding “letter of agreement” for me and my ex to sign, found someone to witness it, put the entire thing into a nice package, and dropped it in the mail.. with 2 stamps!

I received my response in the mail yesterday.  An equally large package, containing everything that I had sent them, and a cover letter on top:

We have revised your return based on the information provided.

SUPPORT PAYMENTS MADE

We have adjusted your claim for an allowable deduction of support payments (line 220) from $10,455.00 to $0.00 for the following reason(s):

  • Child support payments paid under a court order or written agreement dated after April 30, 1997 are not deductible.  Please bend over and take it like a man.

I may have made up that last bit… but SERIOUSLY?!?  C’mon!  Why did you make me jump through hoops to justify that amount if you were just going to deny it anyway?  Evidently, you wanted to know if the agreement was prior to 1997.  (Apparently life was better then)  Had I known that, I would have backdated the damn letter!  Umm… my kids would have been…  very very VERY young in 1997, but hey… had I known how married life was going to turn out, it would have been smarter to have written an agreement in the event that we had children someday… Kind of like a pre-nup!  That didn’t happen.

So guess who owes a considerable tax bill now?  (With interest, I’m sure!)  Go on… take a guess!  The same guy who is not getting a new Macbook Air now.

Oh… almost forgot one thing…

Canada Revenue Agency…  YOU SUCK!

Something is Missing…

Published July 21, 2011 - 0 Comments

Something is definitely missing.  Can you feel it?  I certainly can.  Do you know what it is?  I do.  It’s like a counter-weight to all the good things going on.  There’s nothing that I can really do about it though, so it’s just a case of letting things unfold as they’re meant to.  If the universe has a plan for me, she’s keeping it pretty quiet.  I know that I have some things to work on, so I guess I will try to put more of an effort into those, and worry less about things that are completely out of my control.  If it’s meant to be… then let it be.  If not… well…

So close… yet so very very far…

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