Saturday, 12 January 2013

Radio Ga-Ga

Those of you who know that the title of this blog actually refers to a song by Queen, rather than the artist we are actually going to discuss, are probably too old to read this particular blog entry. Continue at your own risk.

Last night my wife and I went to a spectacle; a grand spectacle the likes of which I am not sure I have experienced before. I might describe it as a Katy Perry concert if Katy Perry and her dancers were all high on blow.

Anyway, the concert begins with the artist coming out (to a song I admittedly did not recognize) on a horse. Yes you read that correctly. She lead a procession of her dancers around the triangle-shaped stage ON A REAL HORSE. Oh, and the concert began EARLY. Five minutes before her posted time (we did not bother to show up early enough to see the two opening acts, a performance artist and random idiot DJ).

As if the horse didn't get the crowd pumped enough to start the show, she didn't waste any time getting into the hits, as the second number was BORN THIS WAY. That had everyone on their feet, jumping, fists pumping, singing along......great way to get things really going.

Just a few numbers into the show, I wasn't sure if I was at a concert, a Greek tragedy, or a Roman orgy.

Editor's side note: I texted the above line to my music loving buddy Kevin last night to which he replied:

"An orgy with a horse. Check that off the bucket list".

Well played, sir.

There was the aformentioned horse, motorcycles, a meat dress, a meat couch (probably not ACTUALLY made of meat, although I wouldn't put it past her), a giant castle, aliens, a phone call to a fan in the audience (I kid you not), a heartfelt rendition of Happy Birthday to a girl in her "monster pit" celebrating her 18th birthday, too many costume changes to count (one for just about every song), a huge inflatable balloon featuring outstretched legs from which the singer emerged to kick off "Born This Way" (see pic directly below), and music. Boy, there was music. If she missed any hits, I can't think of any. Sure there were some moments that sounded like pre-taped loops during some of the more intricate dance numbers, but not many of those, and Gaga's voice was powerful and on point. She really, really, can sing.

I'm not sure how I would describe her if I was pressed, but I know one thing she ain't, and that's a Lady. And that's not an insult.

Early on, during Bad Romance, she emerged in this little number:

Which can only indicate that she is, in fact, the love child of the Man from Glad and the Pagan boss from Dragnet, played so spendidly by Christopher Plummer:

Now, before any of my loyal blog readers asks me if this show was as good as the shows I saw last November, please go back to Planet UMustbefuckingjoking. Comparing this extravaganza to an evening with Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney or even Steve Winwood is akin to comparing Anthrax (the metal band) to anthrax (the bacterial disease). They had about as much in common.

Having said that, I went into the show as a fan, and came out a bigger fan. Not only did I have a great time at the show, there is a genuineness to Lady Gaga that comes out when she speaks. She preaches love and tolerance, and I think we can all use a little more of that.

Her final number, Marry the Night, performed with a handful of fans picked out of the "Monster Pit", was the perfect ending to a fabulous evening. Not only had she started early, she finished 20 minutes late.....and I can't remember the last time 2 hours and 40 minutes went by so quickly. Bravo, Gaga. Bravo.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Here's to 2013....

2012 was, for the most part, a pretty great year for me. Sure, I lost another job (the third one in 6 years) due to no fault of my own, but it was really not a great job anyway. Well, the job was fine, but I was working for Sterling Shoes, which was a pretty lousy company. And if that wasn't bad enough, early in the year we were purchased by Town Shoes. I used to compare Sterling to a circus; if Stering was a circus, Town Shoes was the gum on the bottom of the shoes of the guy who cleans up the horse shit at the circus. What a bunch of morons.

Anyway, that not withstanding, I was very much looking forward to taking a few months off anyway and enjoying the Holidays without the stress of commuting from Chilliwack to Richmond. When I won the WSOP Circuit Event at the end of October, let's just say that my "few months off" expanded slightly......just how slightly remains to be seen.

Oh, funny story....went to yoga the day before yesterday, and behind me was a woman who was there for the first time. That's always interesting, because they tend to have no idea how tough it's going to be and they spend a lot of the class flailing away as if they were being swarmed by bees. This lady was no different, except that she was even more distracting than usual. I spent a lot of the class staring at her in the mirror....and not for the reason you might think. She was making noises. Odd noises. I wasn't sure how to describe them at first, but as the class went on, they started to sound like high pitched whining of some kind. I was starting to think I was doing yoga with this fine fellow:

Talk about distracting.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the year in review. Well, the entire year was pretty good, but it just got better and better as the end of the year got closer. In the span of three weeks, I saw Steve Winwood, Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney in concert, won the poker tournament, and spent nearly a week in Vegas celebrating said win. To say that was "Treat Yo Self" week would be an understatement.

Ups and downs in the hockey world, as my Kings won the Stanley Cup for the first time....but that was the last NHL hockey game we got to saw, due to this ridiculous lockout. I am SO disinterested in the NHL right now, we'll see how long it takes me to get excited again when they finally settle this damn thing. Probably watching the Kings raise the banner will do it. We'll see.

The NFL was pretty damn good to me too, as one of my wife's favorite teams, the New York Giants, pulled off a huge win in the SuperBowl. I'm a fan too, although they aren't near the top of my list, but that still seemed like a win. And Tracey and I both got a real nice present from the Colts, who we are both big fans of, as they came from nowhere (2-14 last season) to finish 11-5 and make a very unexpected playoff appearance. Very exciting! And, of course, my beloved 49ers won their division again and look poised to have another deep playoff run. How about a 49ers/Colts SuperBowl? Dare to dream.

On a family note, my Mom moved back from Alberta and seems very happy to be back. We are thrilled, of course, and we had a very lovely Xmas dinner with her and her significant other. Last year was the first time I hadn't seen her at Xmas in a very, very long time so it was sure nice to have her back. Our immediate family grew by one, as we adopted a new kitten, Ashley.

She is incredibly sweet and we are sure she is going to be a wonderful addition to the family. There are still some growing pains between her and the other cats, but things have improved a lot and a little more time should make them closer. Even if they don't all become best buddies, I'm sure they will tolerate each other enough to make our home drama-free, at least on the cat front.

It wasn't all good, of February, we lost our beloved Pepe, who had been Tracey's cat since he was a little kitten, close to 17 years. That was an unbelievably tough time, and we still miss him to death. He was so special and the bond that he and Tracey had is hard to describe.

And, I was really sick for 7-8 weeks in November and early December. Doctors took all kinds of blood but couldn't find out what was making me so tired; but my Doc did say he had seen evidence of a virus going around which only featured one symptom: extreme fatigue. That's what I had, not much doubt about it, as I was SO tired that it was tough to do anything. I rarely went to yoga, and when I did manage the energy to go I could hardly make it through the class. Not only did I miss yoga, I paid dearly for it on the scale, gaining about 15 pounds......'cause my appetite was not affected and it was Holiday time, so it's safe to say I didn't eat as well as I could. It seems to have passed now though, I'm back at yoga regularly and the extra pounds will be gone soon.
My Dad is still hanging around, same as he has been since he had his cancer surgery last year. He tries hard but I admit it is irritiating as Hell to put up with him. Not sure how long we are going to be able to continue to let him live here, we are taking it week by week and month by month at this point.

There is no reason to dwell on the negative of course, especially when there are so many positives. My wife continues to be the love of my life, and we are just a couple of weeks away from a trip to Vegas to celebrate her 30th birthday (if by "30th" I really meant "40th"). All of her siblings, and her mom,  are coming with us so this will be a very special trip. It won't be the only trip, of course; in early February I am heading back to Vegas, solo, to play in another WSOP Circuit event at Caesar's Palace, and just a few weeks after that Tracey and I are headed back to Disneyworld!!! We have an amazing two weeks planned in Florida so there is lots to look forward to in 2013....and that's just in the first quarter! Throw in a planned family trip to Disneyland in early December and we are looking at another great year in travel. Again. :-)

Here's hoping you all had as good a year as I did, and that we all continue to prosper in 2013. Thankfully those damn Mayans didn't know what they were talking about (or, perhaps, they never really predicted the end of the world anyway!).

Engemoen out.