Make-A-Wish Foundation

It seems the annoying little rattle that I had in the back of the new-to-me car didn’t require any extensive tearing apart of the back hatch covering or wheel wells after all …you only had to put the seats down and carry some amps for it to disappear. Success! Now I’m happier :)

The TriCity RatPack had a gig at the OTS Park (never been there before …big place!) that was for the Make-A-Wish Foundation last night. The many in attendance, decked out in their 50’s-ish flair, had a wonderful time ….raffles were won, auctions were auctioned and dancers danced away their fine foods to the entertaining trio of yesteryear. Musically it was fine …some of the tunes I hadn’t played before, but when things start going they kinda play themselves in a way, so all was good.

I’m certainly enjoying the Unrealbook for gigs like this as well. It’s just so easy to get emailed some PDF lead sheets and then drag them onto the application for quick use. I had a rehearsal after the soundcheck the other day with a different band …and it was nice to have all the tunes in one handy little place. Having said that, losing my iPad would kinda suck! Yesterday for example, as I was having a few spiced rums to warm things up while waiting to go on stage, I realized I left my iPad in the car …so I had to make the mad dash to grab it just before we began. That was a minute of panic to be honest, but all was retrieved and the show went on. Worst case scenario I’d fly by the seat of my pants….

That might not be so bad now that I think about it.



I got me one of those ‘new to me’ cars the other day. It’s a Hyundai. I don’t quite know how to pronounce it but I like to emphasize the letters that don’t make sense. It works in conversations ….but I’ve had a few strange looks at the same time. It came standard with a standard transmission as well as 138 thousand kilometres pre-installed. It’s all old-lady-to-church miles too, and apparently her church is in the next province. It also has a few bells and whistles too; vanity mirror (both sides!), an arm rest, perfectly sized big-gulp holders, a stereo that beeps when you push buttons, intermittent wipers and a fancy onboard computer that resets your trip milage at the push of a button. I know, I’m getting spoiled. It also happens to be a little newer than any other car I’ve had in this crusty life of mine …12 years newer! Yep, it’s a 2011 …you do the math.

It seems fine though, and with a little proper maintenance it should last me quite a while. Ol’ Mazda took her last trip a few weeks back too. It was kinda sad ….as I was walking away from her in the Pick and Pull lot I accidentally left the key on and heard this small, whimpering beep-beep-beep. I went back and turned it off and of course reassured her everything would be fine. I told her not to worry, but I don’t think that helped. It was hard to do, but at the same time it had to be done. She’s got so many pieces of her that are from that yard anyway ….I’m sure she’ll fit right in. I hope.

I also got me a cold-thingy. This one comes with one runny side of a nose, one sneezy side of a nose, an achy head and of course a sore throat. I think it’s pretty nice too, and I think I got it from Orrin. It would make sense cause he’s always sick and probably telepathically infected me just for fun. It started when I brought him half a dozen french horns the other day, so I don’t blame him for being miffed. I’ll shake it off though. What’s that saying ….”Feed a fever chocolate and starve a cold with liquid sugar”? I think that’s it, if I remember those early motherly bits of wisdom passed along by good ol’ Mom. She’d be proud that I remember things like this. Yep, so proud.



“Now that’s how you buy something!”

That’s what I heard in line at a local Subway earlier today from a customer just a few spots ahead of me. About half a dozen patrons along with myself were stuck waiting as a guy not only ordered a few extra soups (soups take time to prepare btw ….stupid soups) but had issues with his debit/credit card in the machine. Subs were lined up for inches along the counter, patience were getting thin, and the ‘toasted’ request was losing its warming impact. But it happens, and that’s why I’ve always carried cash for those small purchases because it’s just that much faster. But not anymore.

Interact Flash is quickly claiming lost ground for what was supposed to be humanity’s monetary saviour. When Interac first appeared its appeal was a speedy, all-in-one transaction that would make carrying cash obsolete (mostly) and speed customers through their retail glory. That didn’t really happen though. Instead you had line ups made worse by people waiting and waiting for that ‘Approved’ to finally appear on screen ….not to mention banks scoring off your newfound love of debit card technology with transaction fees. I hated it. I remember when I heard that 7-11 had swipe-pass technology that you could preload and carry on your keychain. I was ecstatic! Sadly it was only in the US, and so I dreamed for the day we were invaded by our gun-slinging southern cousins.

But that wait is gone with contact-less pay cards. I’ve used mine a few times but admittedly not as often as I should as I was under the impression you needed that wifi logo somewhere next to the greasy chicken-type bits to indicate its acceptance. Not so I’ve discovered, and now plan to wave/flash/tap my card at most of those debit terminals just to see if the future is indeed friendly. Minus the bloody invasion.

Of course I should mention the fear that most (myself included) have about such futuristic technologies; that thieves and robbers are actively looking for ways to grab money from your card as it sits ever so provocatively in that bulge by your pocket. Thieves are technologically savvy without a doubt, and remote, hand held contact-less readers are certainly within their skill set, which is why the banks have imposed limits as to how much money you can access in a transaction. There are also small sleeves/covers you can get to place your card in that prohibit the card from being scanned, and when I got one given to me from ‘the Man’ not so long ago I had the ingenious idea of splitting it apart at the edge and taking the two halves and gluing them to the two insides of my wallet. My hope is that they protect everything from getting out (or thieves from getting in); credit, debit or what have you.

I enjoy the ease of it though. I like that you don’t need to dig through your pockets for change and I like that the ‘flash’ takes but seconds to apply. More importantly, I like that I can get my toasted sub in time to enjoy its toasted goodness.

But I still hate the soup.


Image from

former and latter


I don’t get any of these shots. In one you have a guy quite enthused with some wedding decorations and in the other you have a guy pretending to be a ginormous Wolverine-type character. It just doesn’t make any sense. I think it’s just that people are strange. Yes, let’s go with that. And of course the fact remains that I too, by association, am also strange. But at least I didn’t pose for any strange pictures.

Saturday afternoon had me at Gazebo Park along Whyte doing the AIDS Walk and Saturday night flung me out to the hamlet of Sherwood Park for a wedding. The AIDS Walk thing involved a disproportionate amount of sitting around compared to playing while the wedding thing was exactly the opposite. The former had me dressing up as a wall-crawler (kinda) and the latter had me rocking ol’ bluey for the night. The former involved a small salted caramel blizzard and a vodka cooler while the latter comprised 3 spiced rums and delightful late-night meat, cheese and fruit platters. The former also had me topping up the power steering fluid.

Ditto for the latter :(

If I Could Say

If you like your jazz ballads kids, then this might be up your alley. It’s a little tune that was inspired when I heard Audrey working on something for a new CD she’s planning. I stole the opening riff and chord but then changed its quality when I found my ol’ school stylings didn’t fit with a Maj 7 #11 intro. Go figure. Anyway, I eventually became happy with it and eventually became better playing it …hence the decision to give my previous session players the day off and go about it myself. Piano ballads are easy that way; you don’t have to worry too much about playing in time. Whew.

I think my transition back into the A section from the bridge worked pretty nice, and I also liked the flat 5’s I used for a little tension (if I’m even calling them the right chords that is!) The little Ab Maj7 to Ab min7 worked nice too especially with the melody carrying the initial motif over its changing chord tones. It’s all done though, and along with Reason providing the Grand Piano patch, I videoed the whole affair for funsies. You can download the mp3 here (click), the PDF lead sheet here (click) and as per usual find it all on the Music-NEW page to this site. Ditto for searching with the term ilikeslurpees to drum up the other new music posts.

And that’s about it :)

Festival Place

Maybe I’m just not up on all the news and what not (so tell me if I’m wrong of course) but didn’t the whole September 11th thing go by rather low key this year? Perhaps it wasn’t an anniversary? It’s not a bad thing as far as I’m concerned, but it was just that I had expected to be bombarded with a lot of reminders and what-not, and the only thing that caught my attention was when Sergio wore his stars and strips socks to a gig last night. And that was it ….one pair of socks worn by a transplanted American. I’ll take it though.

He wore the socks to a gig put on by the Tri-City Rat Pack. This was a fun little show in the Rat Pack-esk stylings of that older era and featured Donovan, Terrell and Bernard doing their collective best to bring that Las Vegas/Big Band joviality back into the 21st Century. The crowd at Festival Place loved it, and there was more than music to keep their attention for the night; dancers, actors and of course other performers upping the entertainment value. It was a fun night though, and a treat to play at a venue that seems to go that extra mile for us musician sorts.

Hope to be back :)


The opening act…


Here’s a few more pics from the trip. It is good to be back, and I get a somewhat relaxing week before I get back to the regularly scheduled programming. The weather over the weekend has reminded me I need some car work done, kinda in a hurry, and the copious amounts of food have reminded me I need to get out for a run or two. Or maybe ten. Something ….either that or a stronger will to give up the treats.

I hate giving up treats.







Grandpa’s getting noticeably slower. At 96 you’re slow already but since this Spring he seems to be putting in even more effort to accomplish those little things: like standing up from the table for example. Reaching into the fridge. It’s kinda sad but even though he’s still there mentally, physically he’s much closer to needing full-time care. Mom’s doing what she can of course, but it’s not fair on her either. Sigh. She does have some cousins visiting from Sweden at the moment which is nice for them both, but I don’t expect Grandpa to be where he is at this time next year.

It’s been horribly wet for parts of Saskatchewan which is in contrast to the horribly dry for parts of Alberta. It’s raining as I type. I forgot the rain jacket too so I had to pick something up from a local store, and I also grabbed an impromptu suit from the Sis who works in a menswear store here. It’s was one of those modern, skinny-type units that are all the rage ….and was on sale because most of their clientele adhere to the ever growing North American obesity surge. Black with a subtle pinstripe. I’ll have to get a few alterations done when I get back home of course, and that’ll be tomorrow.

Then it’s back to the regular grind for the Man. Yep, 11 years strong for a job that I more or less fell into way back when. I’m looking forward to it though ….getting some more time to myself and hopefully to some music thingys that I seem to have put less attention to since this time last year. Not without good reason though, and I hope to talk even more about that as well.

Till then :)


Jackfish Lake

The end approacheth kids.

Yep, it’s that time of the season when the Baritone Doctor hangs his soiled apron upon a rusty nail and dons his favourite driving gloves for yet another school year chalked full of school stuff ….like chalk. I guess. All his little patients have been given their full physicals and will soon see active duty in the trenches of most Edmonton and area Junior and Senior Highs. The kids too will rejoice with a rousing rendition of their favourite APRO exercise, while the teachers broadly smile ear to ear content in knowing their Spring and Fall concerts will be wonders to behold. Yes, all this and more will soon be coming to a neighbourhood near you. If you’re lucky …and most are.

Aside from that somewhat momentous change in momentum, it’ll be business as usual in those other realms of my life, including gigs – case in point the Crashing gig this past weekend over at Jackfish Lake. I didn’t actually see the lake per se, nor did I witness any jackfish or jacked fish for that matter …but a good time was had by all including this wonderful duo who seem to be having, well …a good time.

Or something similar.


on backs …again.

I tweaked the back a few days ago. It was one of those innocent ‘pulling on something that was stuck’ things while at work, and I suppose I was at the perfect height and angle to inflict damage even though it wasn’t the mightiest of yanks. I felt the muscle (or nerve …or whatever it is) ‘twinge’ a little, and after years of experience knew what I was in store for; two days of mild discomfort or possibly months of never standing quite straight. Happily it was the former.

It’s been a few years now since I’ve been really wrecked in the back department, and so I wonder if I’ve kinda figured things out in terms of prevention? Or I wonder if perhaps the back itself has had enough pain free days to kinda heal? Maybe there’s been some fortunate combination of the two? Whatever the case, I’m glad it hasn’t turned into a long and drawn out thing, cause the busy season at work is about to begin tomorrow and I need the ability to walk upright for at least a few weeks.

Longer would be even better.