Fun Music Friday

I’m getting ready to head out on a 5-hour round trip to pick up my son and bring him back to spend Easter weekend with his step-family, so I thought I’d have a little 90′s fun in honour of the playlist I’ll have going on in my car for the journey…

All nite – Big House

These guys had a Canada-wide hit on their hands with a song called “Dollar In My Pocket”. Then came this as single #2. BOOM~!! This song was everything I loved about “hair metal” from the 80’s (this album came out in 1990). They had one more single with “Baby Doll” and then POOF~!! Along came the Seattle sound and this type of music was immediately discarded by the masses. It got so bad that they tried taking new country band Big House to court in order to keep their name. The judge declined because they were such a non-factor in music outside of 1990 in Canada. Oh well…this song still deserves to get cranked up.

Joyride – Roxette

Roxette is one of those bands that are on my “Concert Bucket List”. I know their lyrics are primarily nonsensical. I realize that they’re cheesy power-pop rock. I understand that I’m one of the few people who still listen to them on a regular basis. I don’t care. I love Roxette and I love this song.

Nu nu – Lidell Townsell

Want to impress me? Tell me the name of the song, “Nu nu”, after I told you the artist’s name without looking it up. This song was never the massive hit that it should have become and that’s a shame. It’s a fun, gradual build of a great pop/dance song.

Listen like thieves – Was (Not Was)

I absolutely love INXS and was very hesitant about initially liking this remake. But the more I listened to it, the more I appreciated it for what it was: a totally different interpretation of the song. You may like it, you may not…but this is one that I find quite enjoyable.

Mo money, mo problems – Notorious B.I.G. feat. Puff Daddy & Mase

I remember how packed the dance floor would get every time I played this on a Saturday night. And I don’t care who you are, this song is still as catchy and as relevant today as it was 15 years ago.

Omobolasire – Prozzak

This band was comprised of two members of the Philosopher Kings who took on cartoon personas with British accents (you can’t make this stuff up, can you?). I still listen to this song on a regular basis as it’s on my running playlist. Check this out…you might end up as addicted to the song as I am.

That’s it for this week. I hope that, whatever you do, you end up having a great long weekend!


Running Into The Wall…Already.

I suppose this is the “dark before the light” or the “storm before the calm” or some other similar analogy. Over the last couple of days, I’ve been fighting with myself about this whole exercise thing. I’ve even had conversations with my wife because I’ve felt a little down about how it was going.

I mean, I’ve been running 3 times a week for over a month now. I’ve been eating healthier and cutting out afternoon and nightly snacking. I’m drinking a ton of water and I’m doing whatever I can to get over 10,000 steps on a daily basis.

So why don’t I feel any differently?

Physically, I guess I feel different. I did end up jogging for 20 straight minutes last week…so there is no doubt that I’m able to do something I couldn’t do two months ago (I could barely jog for ONE minute two months ago).  But I’m still winded when I go up and down one flight of stairs. Maybe not completely “winded”, but I can hear myself breathe heavier when I’m done.

I’m also having heart concerns. Twice in the past week, my heart rate shot up over 200 bpm before going back down and regulating itself over the remainder of a run. Even my normal running heart rate is about a 160 bpm average. Because of that my wife, my friend, and my friend’s medically-trained sibling have suggested I see a doctor just to make sure I’m not pushing myself too hard. I know it’s because I’m 41 and I’ve never done any physical activity for any extended period of time before…but it still sucks that I might be pushing myself too hard when I don’t think I’m even doing much at all to begin with.

I feel that I should be able to visibly notice changes when I look in a mirror. No, I’m not looking for six-pack abs or anything…but I don’t see any real change in my physical appearance at this point. I’m embarrassed when I look in the mirror, and I was hoping to be more comfortable with myself at this point.

I also feel like I shouldn’t have struggled to do a 10-minute session yesterday morning after completing a 20-minute one just a few days ago. In fact, I’m going to re-do the Week 6, Day 2 session just because I didn’t feel strong when I ran yesterday morning. I don’t want to move forward until I feel like I’ve conquered what’s already in front of me.

My whole life, though, I’ve found one excuse after another to NOT follow a healthy routine, an exercise schedule, or anything else that was deemed “good for me”. If I didn’t lose weight after a couple of weeks, I’d just quit and start chowing down all over again. If I struggled to run three minutes straight, I’d just say “eff it” and stop doing the program entirely.

I’m certainly not at THAT point again. I’m not going to quit any time soon. I’m just not feeling as strong as I feel I should after six weeks of the program.

So I guess I just need to remind myself that it’s normal to feel this way. Maybe it’s fear of succeeding…maybe it’s my body not quite ready to give all of itself over to healthier living…maybe it’s simply me having an “off day”.

Whatever it is, I need to shake it. I’ve come too far now to let any little excuse turn into a major setback. I’m running a damn 5K in June…come hell or high water.

*****

FOLLOW UP – I wrote this before going on my run this morning. I re-did the two 10-minute sessions and felt really strong. One more obstacle tackled!


The Do-Over

genie-lampYou’re going through an antique store. You come across a pretty cool looking lamp…like one of those lamps you’d see in a movie where a genie pops out of it. You decide to buy it because heck…it’s a really cool freakin’ lamp!

You take it home and decide to give it a rub. I mean…what the heck, right?

THEN THE GENIE POPS OUT!!

He/She isn’t going to give you the normal “3 wishes” routine, though. They are going to give you ONE CHANCE to go back into your own life and have a do-over. ONE THING that you can change.

So…what is it? What is that one thing that you would go back into your life and change? Is there one regret that has always eaten away at you? Is there one moment in time that you wish you could have back somehow?

I’ve thought about this because, on the surface, there are a TON of things I wish I could go back and do over again…

-          I’d change my hair while in high school. I looked ridiculous…even for the 80’s.

1980's CBG

-          I’d actually study hard and ensure that I didn’t get kicked out of not just one university, but TWO!!

-          I’d work my ass off to get better jobs once I finished university because, quite frankly, being a DJ or a suit salesman or a waiter was fun but it really didn’t do anything for my long-term career aspirations.

-          I wouldn’t have walked away from my first child…having to wait 15 years before getting the chance to meet her in person and start a new relationship.

Pebbles

-          I wouldn’t have let my second child move away with her mom. I would have fought to keep her closer to me.

Rugrat - August 2011

-          I wouldn’t have made financial decisions that would adversely affect my credit on more than one occasion.

-          I would have made sure that I was at my mother’s side in the moments leading up to her passing away. My dad, my brother, and I had left the hospital to grab some lunch when we got the call. We didn’t make it back in time to say a final goodbye to her.

mom 8

Sigh…so many things, from the trivial to the serious. I don’t know if I could choose just one thing.

Of course, I don’t know if I should even choose anything at all. If there is one thing I’ve learned from watching Back To The Future and The Butterfly Effect is that any little detail altered in the past…any little change made in history…can affect the future in a massive way.

I’m in a really good point in my life right now. I’ve built pretty decent relationships with my two oldest daughters. I’ve got a good relationship with my son. My step-daughters are MY daughters. I’ve got an incredible wife and I’ve finally got a good job. Everything’s coming up CBG at the moment.

wedding 2

For as many mistakes that I’ve made (and I’ve made a TON), I feel as though I’m finally beginning to live the life that I’ve always wanted to live. No, not everything is perfect…but it’s pretty damn awesome. I couldn’t imagine, for one second, doing anything that would prevent my current life from taking place.

So while some of you may have at least one thing in your past that you would want to do over again, I can’t say that I would.  I’m at peace with my past, I’m happy with my present, and I’m excited for my future.

I’d have to thank that genie for the opportunity before graciously declining his/her offer.

 

THEN I’d hope for that whole “3 wishes” thing!!


What’s YOUR Guilty Pleasure? – Late 90′s Boy Bands

I’m a rocker at heart. I’m also a guy who used to be a club DJ back in the 90′s, so I learned to appreciate an entirely different genre of music: dance-pop. I can’t lie…there are still times when I listen to the occasional Backstreet Boy song.

What’s YOUR Guilty Pleasure? - Late 90′s Boy Bands

bsbcover

 


I’m Not A Hugger, and That’s Not a Bad Thing

I wrote a new post for ParentSociety.com about how not being overly affectionate doesn’t have to hurt a parental relationship.

I’m Not A Hugger, and That’s Not a Bad Thing

Not a hugger

 


Losing A Childhood Hero: RIP Ultimate Warrior

ultimate-warrior-2Listen…I don’t normally do “celebrity tributes” or things of that nature. I also don’t normally discuss my life-long love for the always interesting form of entertainment known as professional wrestling (though I did do a small post about it on my “Guilty Pleasure” blog).

But yesterday morning I woke up to a slap in the face…and it kinda affected the majority of my morning. I woke up to the news that my childhood hero, the Ultimate Warrior, had passed away at the young age of 54.

To put this in perspective, let me back-track a bit.

I started watching local wrestling in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It was Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling and I fell in love with these crazy characters who beat the living heck out of each other. The curtain hadn’t yet been pulled back on the scripted aspect of it all, so I grew up thinking it was real…and that put these guys high up on a pedestal.

The Great Malumba…Leo Burke… “No Class” Bobby Bass…The Cuban Assassin…Killer Karl Krupp…I could go on and on. Most of these guys were from the area and other wrestlers would be brought in from time to time to “spice up” the territory (everyone from Andre the Giant to Randy Savage passed through here in the early 80’s).

Then the World Wrestling Federation launched WrestleMania and quickly began syndication of their weekly program: Wrestling Superstars. This is when everyone and their dog began to watch professional wrestling. Guys like Hulk Hogan, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, and The British Bulldogs were superstars that I would look forward to watching on a weekly basis. I looked up to them as any young teenager would. I was now a MASSIVE wrestling fan.

I was so hardcore into wrestling that I would buy Pro Wrestling Illustrated on a monthly basis. This was considered to be the bible of pro wrestling at the time, and anybody who was anybody would be written about in this magazine. It also talked about different promotions from around North America, so I got to read about guys who weren’t in the World Wrestling Federation.

One of those guys was called “Rock”.

Rock & StingNo…not “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson. Not even Don “The Rock” Muraco. This guy was in a tag team called The Blade Runners and was partnered with a man called Sting. These guys didn’t last together long, as Rock would move on to another territory and change his name to become a different persona: The Dingo Warrior.

Dingo WarriorWhere he was wrestling in Texas, I really don’t know if “Dingo Warrior” had any type of significance at all…but I saw the pictures of this huge, muscular guy with face paint and I was immediately intrigued. I mean…holy crap, right?

It wasn’t too long before he debuted in the WWF under what would become his permanent moniker: The Ultimate Warrior.

Hogan vs WarriorJim Hellwig had made the big time. He became Intercontinental champion. Then he defeated the long-term champion Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VII in Toronto for the WWF title. I followed his career and looked up to this guy who entertained me on a weekly basis.

I graduated high school in June, 1990. In September of that year, when I went to university, I put an Ultimate Warrior poster up on my wall (I’ve got a photo of that room around my home somewhere…I just wish I could find it). At this point, I knew that wrestling was scripted but I didn’t care. He had been entertaining me for years and I looked up to him as being (a) a bad-ass and (b) someone I had followed before he became an international celebrity.

The Ultimate WarriorOver the years, Ultimate Warrior retired and had many (MANY!!) issues with Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment. After a brief time in World Championship Wrestling in the late 90’s he retired to raise a family. He officially changed his name to “Warrior” and began to do motivational speeches at colleges. He made headlines by getting caught on video saying that “Queering doesn’t make the world work.”

He was far from perfect.

But something happened in the last year. The WWE reached out and attempted to mend fences (they had put out a dvd called “The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior” back in 2005). Whatever they did worked because not only would Warrior return in video game form in 2013, he would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at this past weekend’s WrestleMania 30 festivities.

Ultimate WarriorWarrior even came out on television Monday night to address the fans. He seemed slow and plodding, like he was limping or hurting in some way. Whether or not that was just me or had anything to do with his untimely passing doesn’t matter now. It was just nice to not only see him mend fences with WWE after feuding for so long, but to also say “goodbye” to his millions of fans for what would be one last time…even if his words were a little eerie in retrospect.

“No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe a final breath and if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized.

In the back I see many potential legends. Some with warrior spirits and you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and the intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends as well. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans and the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever.”

James Hellwig was walking out of a hotel Tuesday evening with his wife and two daughters when he suddenly grabbed his chest in pain and collapsed. He was taken to hospital where he was declared dead upon arrival. At this point, there isn’t a cause of death…but where Warrior was so adamantly anti-drug (at least in his later years), I would be surprised if it had anything to do with an overdose.

Anyway…I just wanted to write this all down because I was a massive fan of this man’s character, his work, and his legacy. He was always kid-friendly and took great pride in being a positive role model…never becoming a bad guy (or in insider terms, a “heel”) after hitting it big as a good guy (i.e. “babyface”).  He took what he did very seriously…almost too seriously…but his dedication to the character and what he believed in was something I admired, regardless of whether or not I agreed with everything he said.

Yesterday saddened me. I lost a childhood hero…and I suppose I’m getting to the age where that is going to happen more and more. Still…it sucks.

RIP Ultimate Warrior. Thank you for everything.

Ultimate Warrior Hall of Fame


My Father’s Second Wedding

After three years and two fiancés, my father is ready to get married for the second time.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, but my mom passed away in February 2011. They say that time heals all wounds. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s true…but only if you allow it.

I say that because my dad waited a few months before jumping into a relationship to stop himself from being lonely every night. I never saw the connection, but he claimed that he loved her and that they were happy. For whatever reason, she never really fully connected with the rest of the family but we just wanted to see my dad happy…so we didn’t say anything and did our best to be nice.

Just over a year ago, my dad came back from Florida a single man…having made the decision that this woman wasn’t right for him. As Sunshine and I both breathed a sigh of relief, I wondered if he was really ready to move on with his life now. As a couple of months passed, he told me that he was going out on a date. I was hesitant, but happy…it had been two years and he already realized that jumping into something for the sake of not being lonely wasn’t going to work. I thought he was ready.

Thankfully…this woman was a gem!

Not only did she make my dad laugh, but she was a former working woman who was just entering her retirement stage as dad was. She didn’t want to just sit around and do nothing all day; she wanted to get up and get out and live her life.

Honestly…I had never seen my dad that happy in a VERY long time.

When he talked about proposing this time, nobody in the family batted an eye. We were all happy for him and were more than willing to welcome this wonderful lady to our family. Thankfully, she said “yes” and they made plans to spend the rest of their lives together.

They both went down to Florida this past winter. I gotta be honest…I was a little bit nervous about the outcome. Not only did they come back still engaged, but his fiancée told me that they didn’t really fight once the entire time. A huge smile crossed my face: my dad was finally legitimately happy and in love one more time.

And I’m not only happy for him, but I’m really happy at who he is with. She is an older version of Sunshine, and that works just great with me.

She’ll never be my mom, but she’ll be a welcome addition to our family. I never thought I’d be happy to see my dad re-marry, but I’m glad that it’s happening.

Life’s too short to be unhappy.


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