Super fun time weekend with Dad

Vero went to Mont Tremblant with her sister so that left Sierra and I all alone for the weekend.  This took a lot of mental energy.  Not to handle the situation, but to ensure it was the greatest weekend she has ever experienced in her life!  Much preparation is needed for such an event.  I can’t just have her hang around the house all day long and consider that a ‘super fun time weekend with Dad’.

First stop, Larose Forest!  Google Maps led us astray a little bit and I ended up on a road which is closed during the winter.  I only clued in when I ended up on what can only be described as an ATV trail.  Luckily, my parental senses took over and made me realize I should just backtrack and go check out the parking lot with a giant P7 sign.  Sure enough, we found a lot with three entrances…one for a hiking trail, one for cross country skiing and another up the road for dog sledding.  There wasn’t even any need for the snowshoes that I packed which was a bonus!

The first part of our trek was underwhelming.  But about 300 metres down the path, the actual forest appears and it was like something out of Middle-Earth.  This wasn’t some Vars cemetary path riddled with birch trees…this was something else!  What a fantastic path.

We only encountered two cyclists during our trek for an hour through the woods.  Luckily there are some signs which pointed me towards a lone picnic table in the woods.  Sierra is unfortunately in a tight squeeze on the backpack so it was good to get her out of it and take a break (read: 30 pounds on my back is quite heavy!).  Here Sierra is enjoying a snack while getting really excited any time she heard a bird chirping.

Hanging out.

After our break she still wanted to walk around.  We ended up encountering a bridge which she thought was quite incredible.  She ran up and down the bridge a few times.  Then I realized our trek out of the woods would take us about 6 hours if I let her stare at every branch we encountered so I put her back into the backpack.

I like this picture.  It only took 40 tries.

When we exited the path and were walking up to our car, we heard quite the chatter down the road.  After listening for a few seconds I realized it could only be the sounds of many dogs barking!  There must be some dog sleds up ahead!  We walked down the road and sure enough, we encountered about a dozen vehicles with dog sleds next to them.  I had never seen that many dog sleds in my life.  Sierra was having the time of her life.  I ended up chatting with one of the women there.  Turns out that they pay a membership fee to have the trails groomed and so they go every weekend they can to train the dogs on these trails.  Must be a really interesting group to be part of.  Sierra was not too happy when I decided to head back to the car.  I’m pretty sure I found teeth marks on the security straps of the backpack as she was trying to chew her way back to seeing all those dogs.

Luckily I found something else to distract her with.

If Vero notices some tree sap on Sierra’s jacket, this is where it originated from.

Sierra trying to get one last look at the dog sleds before leaving.  All in all, the Larose Forest was a great success and I can’t believe it’s been there all this time and I only went to visit now!

After lunch and an afternoon nap we headed to the St. Laurent mall so I could look at some frames to hold some comic artwork in.  Unfortunately they didn’t have any in stock so I decided the only way to salvage the situation was to bring Sierra to Toys R Us.  My favourite part was when she found a house set that she already has back at home.  I managed to snap this photo in the split second that the box decided to jump out at her.

Toys R Us…the ultimate daycare?

The next morning our plans for visiting Ethan and Ellie for a morning music session fell apart so I had to rack my brain for something else to do.  It was a beautiful morning once again and the sun was out so we decided to go for another walk.  This time we went back to the Vars cemetary path.  There’s no picnic table in the middle to have a snack at, but it’s a nice path nonetheless.  I didn’t need the snowshoes which was a bonus. 

Another great snack in the woods.

When we got off the path, I knew I needed a break in a few hours (aka, I needed Sierra to nap) and the only way to do that is to make sure she expels some energy!  She walked most of the way home.  However, as any true adventurer knows, you don’t have a time limit when there are wonders around.  Here is Sierra taking a look at an eaves trough making some noise.

One driveway later she encountered a mud puddle!  There was no shortage of things to discover in the span of 20 meters.  It was going to be a long walk home!

My favourite part of the walk home was that at one point, she looks at me, proceeds to sit down on the pavement in the middle of the street and then lie on her back.  I had a good laugh at her.  Clearly she was pooched!  I threw her back into the backpack and we headed home.

In the afternoon I was racking my brain for what we could do, but I saw that it was sunny out and hovering around zero degrees so we decided to have a campfire.  It was a great idea until two minutes into it when she wasn’t having any of it.  I brought her around on her sled for a few laps and when she finally convinced me to leave and go inside, Vero, Andreane and Danielle had arrived home.  The super fun time weekend with Dad had officially closed!  I hope she had fun.  I sure did.




I miss Lost

More specifically, I miss watching shows in a world where on-demand didn’t exist.

Now, before you and tell me that I’m crazy, of course I prefer the on-demand world.  I was one of the first people out there figuring out how torrenting works so I could download the latest episodes of Lost on my computer so I wouldn’t have to rush home from whatever I was doing in order to catch the latest episode.  On-demand is a fantastic addition to our lives because it allows us to live our lives a little more.

However, at the same time, it has taken something from us.  It has deleted the ability to have a collective experience surrounding a cultural event.  Say what you will, but I’m saying that the tv series Lost was a cultural event.  Much like when a new Netflix series drops unexpectedly and everyone jumps into the zeitgeist of How to Make a Murderer or Stranger Things.  It gets people talking…but not for long.

 I am re-watching Lost right now with Vero.  It’s an exciting time for me because I get to watch the show knowing what will happen, but I also get to see Vero’s reaction at all the mysteries that need solving and remember (fondly) how I was asking the same questions along with my friends.

That is the problem with on-demand television right now.

Television production concept. TV movie panels

Instead of your friends getting together one night for dinner and saying “Yeah, what’s up with that monster on Lost?!”, the conversation veers more towards “Have you seen Stranger Things?  Isn’t it awesome?”.  That’s where the conversation ends when talking about the newest, greatest TV series out on Netflix.  We basically get to share and compare a few notes on how we think the TV series is great, but that’s it.  We don’t get to dive into details like “OMG, what is Character X going to do about Situation Y?!”  There’s no concept of the water cooler talk where we discuss specific mysteries.  Because…the mystery has already unfolded over a 10 hour series which you probably binged-watched over the weekend.  The moment is gone and was captured in your mind for 30 seconds until you put on the next episode.

Network TV still subscribes to the model of one episode per week so we haven’t completely lost the concept.  But in an on-demand world, it’s hard for me to find people who have watched the same exact episodes at the same exact time as me.

Me: “Did you see the new Star Trek Discovery episode?  SO GOOD!”

Colleague: “Oh no!  I have not.  I will catch up.”

Fast forward the next week, I’ve already gone past that moment in time and never think of bringing it up again.

Nat: “OH MAN, it’s crazy what happened in the latest episode of Rebels!”

Me: “Wait, I haven’t seen it.  Let’s all pause our talk.”

I’ve essentially killed the conversation because it’s not like Nat is going to come back and say “So…what did you think?”  Nat has already moved onto another series that she wants to talk about.

I miss Lost…and I’m glad to be re-watching it with Vero because it brings me back to the time where it’s exciting to talk to someone about what is going to happen in the next episode.  Of course, in an on-demand world, we just hit play and watch a new episode.  But at least those few minutes in between are interesting and gives me a glimpse back to a more interesting time to watch TV.

Sierra’s 21st Month

I don’t know about you, but spring is in the air around Ottawa.  It’s quite rare that we have consistent above zero temperatures near the end of February.  Perhaps we’ll be out on the bicycle by mid-March!

Sierra is loving life outside and enjoys going on the slide as much as she can.  I think it upsets her when we do arrive from the daycare and we go straight indoors because it’s too dark/cold outside.  But for the past week it’s been neither so we get to have some fun outside with her for a few minutes before heading inside.

Speaking of having fun outside, I have to say the hot tub has been getting some good use in the past month.  I have to say that I don’t really care to venture out in -20 degrees unless a friend is with me goading me on.  But when it gets to -5, no problem convincing me to sit in the tub and stare at the moon!

The daycare that we drop Sierra off to has someone come in to give little notes on how Sierra is doing.  Today’s note said something like “She likes to play independently, but also tries to have fun with the other kids as well.”  I noticed the same thing when we were at a birthday party last week.  She likes keeping to herself and playing with some toys.  Granted, it all comes down to the age factor as well…the kids at the daycare are at least a year older so they are able to run around a lot easily.  But it does gives us a glimpse into what sort of person she will be.

At this point, we don’t think she has any allergies at all which is completely different than a year ago.  We are very happy with everything we have tried in the past month.  She even ate some peppers and didn’t react at all.  We do notice a little rash that appears on her legs and little feet from time to time so we’ll have to keep an eye on it.  Perhaps it’s a form of eczema.

She babbles a lot more these days and it almost seems like she is forming sentences of non-sensical words.  She does has a few key words for items: Aye is yes.  Na na is her soother.  Maman is pretty well everyone she sees!  It’s funny…she knows I am Dad, but she doesn’t call me that at all.  I wonder where kids pick up different words for items?

She has always loved to hear music and starts bopping around in her carseat when a good tune comes on the radio.  I’m starting to now get her to choose the album to listen to.  I typically show her the Arcade Fire ‘Everything Now’ album and she says “Aye!”.  She really the tunes Everything Now and Put Your Money on Me.

We bought a new sleigh off of Kijiji.  Turns out that it was our neighbour selling it!  We are enjoying it so far but unfortunately the back runner cracked when Sierra fell off so I’ll have to see if that’s salvageable at this point.  I have to say it’s getting impossible to bring her for a walk on the street with this thing considering the lack of snow!  Luckily we have trails near us.

Vero and Sierra going for a lap around the track we snowblew in the backyard.

Was I telling you all about my new parka?  It is the cats meow but near of February, it’s impossible to wear outside without sweating off 20 pounds!

Oncle Claude and Aunt Mary dropped by for a visit and Oncle Claude taught Sierra a new way to be entertained.

While it takes Sierra a few minutes to warm up to people visiting, she hit it off instantly with Aunt Mary!

We thought it was hilarious that she wanted to wear the scarf like this for her ride.

The learning tower is in good use each night around suppertime.  Here Sierra is helping out Maman with some muffins.

We thought this was a hilarious sign on the bus.

Mom and Dad came down for a visit for a few days to help finish off the suspended ceiling in the bathroom.  Surprisingly the renovation went off without any major complications!  We must be finally learning.  This is a photo of us enjoying a spaghetti supper at the Vars school.  Sierra sure loved her spaghetti but Dad and I had to scoop up a whole bunch that she had left on the floor!

Mom and Dad made this table set for Sierra.  Here’s Dad and Sierra building some puzzles.  Sierra is pretty good at them…you can ask her to find the cat and she’ll find the pieces and put them together.

This photo reminds me of Vero and her friend Vero.

Vero and Mom took Sierra over to the Vars carnival while Dad and I worked on the bathroom.  It was a pretty cold day so there weren’t too many people around.  All the more room for Sierra to play!

Sierra sure loves the swingset.

Grandma taking Sierra for a ride.

Sierra practicing for the inverted Skeleton competition for the Olympics.

We just happened to be downtown during Winterlude so we walked around and enjoyed the balmy weather.

It was a great day to check out the ice sculptures because it was during the middle of the week so there weren’t many people around.

I thought this was a neat use of lost mittens.

I love going to check out the ice sculptures each year.  It’s pretty incredible what they can accomplish!

Check out the beer glass Mom and I found at Michael’s!

Not to be outdone by Mom’s future Christmas gift!

Mom and Dad made us a Newfie ugly stick!  Supposedly if you go and listen to some music in a pub in Newfoundland, chances are, you can find a few of these lying around that you can use to make some noise.  Pretty neat idea!  

A smiling competition.

Yes, this was the best picture out of the forty that we took.

Hey, you come to this website to get some life tips once in awhile…here’s one for you.  If your Mom makes you some slippers that need to be thrown into the washing machine and then into the dryer….have her actually read the instruction instead of suggesting that we just boil them for awhile and stink up the entire house!

Etienne and I checking out a new path around the Ottawa river at lunchtime.

Once in awhile we have a bee show up in the house that we just can’t seem to get rid of!  At least Sierra seems to enjoy its company.

Sierra going to town on this chime xylophone.

Mike and Melanie were nice enough to invite us over one Saturday afternoon for a campfire.  Maxime and Sierra had some good times out in the snow.  I managed to really bang up my knee that day when jumping into the snow…Ottawa has this wicked type of weather which leaves layers of ice in the snow.  So basically when I jumped in, it felt like my knee hit an ice rink.  It’s still oddly sore a month later when I kneel down.  I guess it’s just repairing itself?

Kids having fun.

I’m not entirely sure how Mike managed to position himself like this in the snowbank but it looked hella comfortable!

Sierra telling Vero and Melanie a story.

Max and Sierra were enjoying the wagon ride.

Time to start using a fork kid!

It’s rare that we manage to snap a photo of each other!

Sierra had a great day at daycare for Valentine’s Day.

Probably the first time we ever gave Sierra a candy.  She seemed to like it!  Num num!

I now have competition for the St Hubert sauce that Vero decides not to finish eating.

Sierra helping us put up safety straps on the dressers.  She really loves working with tools and understanding how they work.

Sierra and I enjoying a drink after a hard day of work.

I have no idea why she does this, but I find it hilarious that Sierra is mesmerized with these plates that appear in department store floors!  She always stops for awhile to investigate them.

The long walk home.

My colleague Yoon asked me the other day “Can we bring our kid into work on Monday?”  “No, why?”  “Because it’s family day and the daycare is closed!”  Vero and I didn’t even clue into this considering public servants in Ottawa don’t get family day off!  Luckily I was able to take it off.  Sierra and I started the morning off taking a walk in the woods which was quite the trek considering we had to blaze a trail ourselves!  She’s also getting to the limit of what this backpack carrier can handle.  I had a good laugh when I noticed she was licking my jacket.

After having a nap in the afternoon, we sat down and played with the play dough that Grandma had made us.  Still as salty as a I remember!

Mark the date and time.  Sierra now really likes TV.  Specifically, she loves watching Full House.

We went for a birthday breakfast for Jona’s fourth birthday.  Man, that kid got a lot of awesome toys I want to play with.  Unfortunately for him, he burnt his fingers on one of those candles that sparkle.  You know how it has that piece of steel near the bottom?  Yep, he went for it.  While everyone felt bad at the time, I managed to get it on video and we are going to look back and think how awesome it is that we captured that moment.  Hey, it’s like the old saying goes…it’s not a party until someone burns their flesh!

You can’t go for a walk in Vars without stopping at the swing set.

Seriously, how awesome is this photo that Vero snapped?!

I managed to go downtown to see The Dears at Club 27 (home of the old Zaphod’s).  No Mistakes in Space (killer name!) opened and they were quite great!  The Dears, of course, did not disappoint.  It’s cool to see them in play in a small club like this…they last played at the National Arts Center so I had no idea if they would stick to that size of venue or not.  I went there alone but stumbled into Evan and Erica along with Erica’s parents so that was a welcome surprise.  The show was great, the crowd was great, everyone was having a great time.  I especially enjoyed how there is really no backstage so they band has to weave through the crowd to climb onto the stage!

Another grand event in my fortieth year!  I finally managed to go to Di Rienzo’s for a sandwich!  Let me tell you…it was immense.  I could only eat half of it.  I couldn’t comprehend how much meat they put on this thing for $7!  It was a great eat and great value, but I have to say I like the bread selection more at La P’tite Epicerie down the street for my work.  But that’s not to say that Di Rienzo’s is bad.  I would go back any day!  It’s a sandwich institution!




Going to Chicago!

As luck would have it, I managed to score a ticket to go see The Smashing Pumpkins in Chicago in August!  I’m pretty pumped.  My setup to acquire tickets was a little hilarious…I wish I had a picture.  I had my ipad with the Ticketmaster app open, I then had my computer with Ticketmaster running as well as another computer I borrowed from a colleague to handle getting tickets as well!  I also found out that Ticketmaster in the US has an automated phone line that I could try.  Vero also was helping me out on her end which was greatly appreciated.

After letting go of a few sections I wasn’t really interested in, I honed in on a single ticket, center floor, 19 rows from the stage.  Not too shabby I think.  I’m now going to the United Center in Chicago on August 13th for the show!

I’ve always told myself that if the Smashing Pumpkins ever reunited and they had a show only in Chicago, I would go and check them out in their hometown.  Well, 3 out of 4 original members isn’t bad at all and it turned out that the family trip to Gaspe would have been cut significantly if I had decided to go see the Pumpkins in Montreal on August 8th.  This way, I get the best of both worlds plus a fun trip to (hopefully) a fun city!  Even though I don’t watch baseball, perhaps I should try a hot dog out at Wrigley Field.



Great news!  Sierra is now communicating to us via the word ‘yes’!

However, I believe there’s either some Scottish in her or a pirate because she says “Aye” when we ask if she wants more Cheerios or anything else for that matter.

Sierra’s 20th Month

It’s January here and it’s been mighty cold.  -40 for a few weeks at the beginning of the month was not a fun time for Sierra…not much to do when you’re stuck indoors!  We did our best to go to a store and let her walk around whenever we could.

Sierra has had a rash that would show up on her cheek and other areas of her body from time to time.  At first we thought it might be an allergy of sorts.  Then we started thinking it might be some form of eczema.  Whatever it is, it prompted us to try some non-scented bath wash/shampoo and some different creams to put on her body.  We have no idea if any of this helped, but it went from her cheek down to her legs and feet and at the time of writing, it’s all cleared up.  Maybe it’s some weird rash that spreads through the body and then the skin gets used to it and it disappears?  Who knows.

For the past week I tend to put on videos about elephants or hippos or other creatures while Sierra eats breakfast.  She gets really excited when she sees these majestic creatures.

Sierra having fun with her new abacus…always handy if the nuclear war destroys all calculators.

Good thing we were cleaning out the storage room otherwise it would have been months to stumble upon another Christmas gift that was wrapped up in a shower curtain!  Nanny had bid on this item from a silent auction in Gaspe…it is a frame of all formats that music has been released on…78s, 45’s, 33 1/3, 8 tracks…you name it, they got it.  Quite an interesting history lesson!

I’ve been really inspired to write music during the past month.  I managed to finish up two solid tunes which I’m quite happy with.  Here’s my trusty helper showing me how to use the guitar pick.

Sierra practicing some yoga moves.

New Year’s Eve dinner over at Jon and Chantal’s, where we had supper with a monkey.

Victor Von Dube with his eye on the prize.

The kids put on a great spectacle for us.

Photographing children is an exercise in futility.


Standing straight and tall!

Sierra is starting to play with her food in the morning instead of eating it.  This drives me slightly mad.

We got to head up to Lynn and Sue’s for a night which was fantastic (although it was -40 outside so there wasn’t much fun in the woods happening!)

Sierra really enjoyed traveling the world.

The kids playing in the morning

I’ve been working at Place du Portage since 2001 and I never knew there was a greenhouse in the building!  Nat and Etienne were quite amazed at the selection.

While Ellie enjoyed opening gifts for her first birthday, Sierra was scoping out the toy room.

Aunt Trish managed to capture Sierra a few times

The trick is to start them young in building Ikea furniture so they can handle their own Billy bookcase when in university!

For the past few months Sierra has been interested in what we were up to when making supper.  I stumbled upon the idea of a ‘learning tower’; something that can allow kids to safely watch/help out at the counter height.  Someone developed an Ikea hack so I bought this step stool for $25 and spent another $10 for wood (let’s not count the other $20 of screws!  I figure that’s a negligible cost considering I used 10 screws out of a pack of 100).  Other than freezing my ass off outside in the garage in the middle of January, I would say it was a success.  The only issue I had was there were no wood coloured stools at Ikea when we dropped by so I (I mean Mom) will need to paint it white.  An important thing to remember is that this thing can still tip over fairly easily.  Mike and Melanie one that was pretty much the same design and poor Max tipped it over one day.  I’m wondering if I can learn from that lesson and perhaps attach a piece of plywood on the bottom so it would make it harder to tip over.  I’ll think about it over a few beer.

It’s exciting to see Sierra very interested in how tools work.

At work, they were moving us to the fifth floor so everyone stored their plants and other assorted junk in my office on the second floor while they moved.  I felt like I was living in the jungle for a few days!

Showing off her latest masterpiece.

With the fourth floor closing up for renovations I begged Vero to come visit me at work before they tore it all down.  It was in this very spot back in 2005 that Vero rounded the corner and I was blown away by this stunning human being.

A re-enactment of my reaction when she rounded the corner.

This was definitely her reaction years ago.  No lie.  It was neat to see Vero come back to the fourth floor after all these years (she had worked there as a summer student).  Some things had changed and others hadn’t.  

Check out this awesome Deadpool that Amy made for Sierra!

Near the end of January it started to get to be nice outside so we took advantage of it and went snowshoeing.  Last year we were able to carry Sierra in the sling but this year it was time to try out a sled.  We had a bought a nice big red one and it was horrible as she kept falling off when I would pull it.  We resorted to using her baby sleigh that she is nearly done with.  From the looks of it, she didn’t mind at all!

From my vantage point, I couldn’t tell if she was having a good time or not with those screams.

I think she must have been getting tired at this point?

She sure loves those bubbles.

Mel and Jon invited us over for supper (where we could also try out some tunes for their wedding in July).  I snuck off to the basement to hang out with the cool kids at one point.

Sierra is still pretty shy around the kids (maybe not the ones at daycare?).  I tried to get a few photos of her but she was always on the outside just minding her own business.  No matter, it’ll take a few years for her to realize these friends are awesome.

Theatre friends plotting the demise of their husbands.

I had to leave the party early to see Big Wreck on their 20th anniversary tour of ‘In Loving Memory Of’.  It was a great night out with Etienne at Algonquin College.  The only thing that sucks about the college is that you have to finish your beer before going into the theatre!

Killer, killer night with them playing their entire first album (and b-side Ill Advice, only one of my favourite Big Wreck tunes!).  They also finished off with a couple of extra tunes and blew our minds with guitar solos.  Seriously, how insane is Ian Thornley on the fretboard?  Also, I have to point out that Algonquin College always offers a great view from the floor, especially if you venture to the right hand of the stage where there is no one standing.

See ya!


Review: Bullet for my Valentine, Breaking Benjamin and Avenged Sevenfold at the Canadian Tire Center

I came for Breaking Benjamin, I left being a fan of Avenged Sevenfold.”

Decent view of everything going on!

A few months back I see that Breaking Benjamin is coming to town along with Bullet for My Valentine and Avenged Sevenfold.  I was a huge Breaking Benjamin fan ever since we saw them open up for Evanescence back in 2004.  So it didn’t even matter who was touring with them this time around…I was going to see them again.

Tyler and his brother Ryan graced us with some burgers and beers for the show and along with Eric and Mike in tow, we headed out to the Canadian Tire Center for 6PM.  Quite the early start but that’s what you get with three bands on the bill.

While I thought our seats would have been quite good, they put us directly perpendicular with the screen so there was no way we would have been able to see anything going on.  Luckily, our section had tons of extra room so we just meandered to the other end of the row and sat down there with a decent view.

Ottawa isn’t generally known for being the best crowd I have ever witnessed but I have to admit that when you bring in bands that haven’t generally hit the area, the arena gets filled with rabid fans who have been waiting years to see their favourite band.

Case in point…the floor was PACKED for Bullet for My Valentine and the crowd was on fire.  In fact, there were two distinct mosh pits going on for the entire night.  It was quite awesome to behold.  I believe Mike summed it up best (well, with my paraphrasing) by stating “I want to be on the floor and in all that energy, but my body is quite comfortable sitting here sipping on a beer.”  I couldn’t agree more.  It’s exciting to be in a crowd with all that energy…but you couldn’t even have alcohol on the floor which is a very lame new rule at the Canadian Tire Center.  Is that happening all over Canada in other venues?

Bullet for My Valentine was awesome.  They brought the energy up instantly and we were all amped up for the rest of the show.  Mike is a huge fan and was happy with their set.  I can’t say I know many tunes, nor do I know many tunes of Avenged Sevenfold.  They were icing on the Breaking Benjamin cake.

After going to get another beer, Eric stumbled upon a fifty dollar bill!  We feel bad for that kid who lost his Uber-ride home money, but hey, it ramped up our night!

Here’s where a confession has to come out.  I really was excited to see Breaking Benjamin.  They are in my top hard rock acts of all time list.  But you know what?  I came out of that show severely underwhelmed for the first half of their set and they managed to bring me back up a little with their rendition of the Imperial March and a few covers of Tool, Nirvana and Pantera.  But…man, it kind of sucked.  Musically, they sounded great!  But there was no energy to their music and I swear if I ever see the frontman take the catwalk again, I will leave the room.  Every chance he got, he was out there strutting his stuff, no guitar in hand.  I also was quite peeved that between every song there was some weird atmospheric musical intermission.  Dudes…you’re a band with 8 songs to play.  Don’t have a minute long PA speaker song happening between songs.  Keep the energy up and power through those things.

Well, that’s that.  Eric and I were severely underwhelmed with what we saw.  Not sure what to think anymore of that band…I think it’s a mix of 1) the logistics of their stage show 2) coming after Bullet for my Valentine who had so much more energy 3) maybe I’ve just grown out of their style of music 4) seriously dude, stop strutting on the catwalk so much!  I honestly don’t know if I would even bother going to see them in concert if they stumbled back into Ottawa.

With that bad taste in our mouth, I had high hopes for Avenged Sevenfold, a band that Vero’s cousins introduced me to and at the time, I thought they were a band that blatantly stole riffs from Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden.  I gave them a chance and they had some good tunes but I hadn’t fallen in love with what they had to offer.  I did start to enjoy their latest album The Stage which they were currently touring.


If it didn’t end up being one of the better concerts I’ve seen in a long time!

Avenged Sevenfold blowing our minds.

Seriously, I am officially a huge fan now.  The crowd took everything the band threw at them and threw it back at them.  So many mosh pits, so many hands pumping in the air.  It was an awesome show.  I have been thinking that we are witnessing the end of an era of bands who can take control of an entire arena…Metallica, Guns N Roses, Bon Jovi…they are getting up their in age.  There’s not many bands that can take an arena and transform it to an experience….well Avenged Sevenfold is one of them.  Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates are insane on the guitar.  I feel Gates is like Kirk Hammett on steroids.  I also laughed at how he looks like a mannequin most of the time up on screen but I can understand why…he needs to focus so much on playing these face melting riffs!

The mark of a great band is that you don’t even have to know half their songs but you are still entertained by their show.  Entertained we were.  Eric said it best: “How have I not known about this band all these years?!”

Incredible night had by all.

Twenty years of rocking and still going strong.  Strong being the 200 level with comfy seats.


RIP Dolores O’Riordan

Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries died today at the age of 46.  No real details at this point, but what does it matter anyhow?

A few thoughts are going through my mind, memories mostly.

  • I have very vivid memories of listening to ‘Dreams’ on the dock at Angele’s house in Moonbeam, along with Carol.
  • I wasn’t into music until the mid-90s and that was the height of the Cranberries power over our brain, our ears and our heart. I remember hearing their music at friend’s houses, at parties…wherever you went, it was on.
  • I remember being in Carol’s basement trying to play guitar and I’m pretty sure I was trying to learn ‘Dreams’ on guitar. Even now I probably would have a hard time with the picking pattern!
  • I remember seeing them at the Molson Amphitheatre in 1999. Man, we had horrible seats, but it was still a great show.  I remember it was back in the day of when I would write down the songs of the setlist as they were playing…so I always brought a piece of paper and a pen with me.  That didn’t last too long.  Kids reading this are probably asking “Why didn’t you just write it in a note section on your phone?”
  • I also remember Collective Soul opening up for them and they were touring their Dosage album. MAN, what a killer tour.
  • I remember the shock of the ending of ‘I Just Shot John Lennon’. Quite surprising the first time you hear that song.
  • To The Faithful Departed is still my favourite Cranberries album. They just brought a level of aggressiveness which was typical of most stuff coming out of the 90s.
  • I remember trying to get tickets to see them in Montreal last year. I didn’t manage to but I just found a few weeks ago that the tour had ended up being cancelled due to Dolores having back problems.
  • Will my kid ever have musicians that have an incredible force such as the Cranberries? I’m not sure!  I feel that many musicians don’t have a lot of staying power these days.
  • Wow, she was only 46 years old?  That’s only six years older than I am!  When I was younger, even if you would have said to 15 year old me that Dolores was 21 years old, I would have thought that was so far in the future that I couldn’t even fathom being that old.  Now?  Damn, 6 years isn’t that far away!

RIP Dolores.

Bonus: I dug up the greatest photos of all time from the August 27, 1999 concert I was at.  Collective Soul opened, Cranberries closed and as you can tell by the photos, we had the greatest seats in the house.






Someone should get me a portal gun so I can go back in time and tell myself not to waste my film on this memory!