“Weird Al” Yankovic – a concert review

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have seen some of my “concert bucket list” items in my lifetime. A few years ago I was able to catch both KISS and AC/DC in the same summer, which completely blew my mind and knocked off #1 and #2 from the list. I’ve seen Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, Bryan Adams, and Def Leppard so I’ve had a pretty good ride (which is unusual only because I live in a relatively low populated area and big acts don’t come around too often).

One person who I never thought would come around FINALLY decided to do a tour of the area months ago. I never put him on my bucket list because I honestly thought I’d never be able to see him. Trust me…I never in a million years thought I’d ever be fortunate enough to see “Weird Al” Yankovic from the FRONT ROW!!!

FRONT ROW TICKETS!!I was actually shaking with excitement when Sunshine and I sat down. The view was spectacular and I couldn’t wait for the show to begin. I mean, I have been listening to Weird Al since 1983…and have ALWAYS been a fan (I even pre-purchased his most recent album on iTunes to ensure I got everything in a timely manner…lol). The seats were as awesome as I had hoped they were.

Front row viewWhen the show started, Al appeared on the video monitors that highlighted the stage (one on each side and one on the back wall). In an identical gimmick to what he did on Conan last year, Yankovic sang Tacky live while walking through the back hallways of the casino, eventually appearing live in front of the crowd as the song was ending. What an unusual and extremely entertaining way to kick things off!

Tacky Next up was an original song from his latest album, Mandatory Fun. I’ve always been a fan of his original songs and can list a “Top 5 Originals” off the top of my head, but this one wouldn’t be one of those choices. Still…it’s Weird Al and it was live, so YEAH!!

Right after that came another song from the album, his latest in a series of “polka remixes” that appear on every album. This song was called Now That’s What I Call Polka! and was absolutely incredible to experience live, primarily because of the tempo changes in the song. His video screens showed the songs being parodied, just in case people didn’t know. Now that's what I call polka!At this point, Al left the stage to do the first of his MULTIPLE costume changes. To keep time moving along, the video screens would show clips from the past 35 years of Weird Al references in popular culture. You really don’t realize how much of a cultural icon Yankovic is until you see these different videos over the course of two hours and see just how influential he has been over the years. It’s incredible.

The next song is the only one that fell flat live. I think it’s really because the song itself isn’t very strong, and while I understand the need to play a Lady Gaga parody live in order to seem relevant, Perform This Way was more of a visual experience than a musical one. There are easily a dozen other songs I would have preferred to hear live, but I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining…just being honest. Perform This WayI couldn’t even begin to tell you how surprised and excited I was to hear the next song, the title track to Dare To Be Stupid. I hadn’t heard this tribute to DEVO in years but knew almost every single word because, along with In 3-D, this album was one of the classic Yankovic albums that I listened to repeatedly for months and months as a young teenager (I think we’re talking 1985/1986 for this album). Dare To Be StupidAn absolute classic came up next: Fat. The video screens introduced the song with the first couple of minutes of the video, then Al came out in full fat costume. It was just a fantastic experience to enjoy live. FatAfter another video package, Al came out to do another original from his latest album. This one, again, isn’t a favourite of mine but is still funny as hell because you can relate to it: First World Problems. This has become a fairly popular catchphrase in our household only because it’s hilarious to hear any of us complain about something trivial. We’re assholes like that.

My favourite track from Mandatory Fun was up next, along with props to help things along: Foil. This parody of the Lorde song “Royals” has become a popular live song because in the second chorus, Yankovic mentions wearing an aluminum foil hat to protect him from the aliens. At this point, various people from throughout the audience actually put foil hats on their heads. It was a little surreal, but I guess it’s all part of the fun. FoilA classic Al parody came next: Smells Like Nirvana. It was funny because he attempted to recreate the incredible video by having two gorgeous cheerleaders behind him. They never appeared again for the rest of the show, so I then wondered just what in the heck their job was other than cheerleading. This song has gotta be hard on Yankovic’s pipes with all the screaming and whatnot. Smells like NirvanaNext up was his first of two “compilation” songs, where he did a medley of some of his greatest hits. This particular set included some of my all-time favourites (Bedrock Anthem, Another One Rides The Bus, and eBay) in addition to some great fun like Party in the CIA… Party in the CIAHandyHandyOde to a SuperheroOde To A SuperheroInactive (sung from a Lay-Z-Boy chair)…Inactive…and Canadian IdiotCanadian Idiot After another video package, I saw the outfit that Yankovic was wearing and thought it looked a little different. The music started and I immediately recognized it as Wanna B Ur Lovr, which is a “love song” made up of cheesy pick-up lines that sees Al go through the audience and “serenade” the ladies. Wanna B Ur LovrBeing seated in the front row meant that Yankovic eventually made his way over to our direction. And yes, he ended up singing a line or two DIRECTLY TO SUNSHINE!!

I was freaking out at this point, so between the lights and his moving and my jittery use of my phone, this is the best shot I could get of the moment: SINGING TO MY WIFEHonestly, I think I was more excited about Weird Al singing to my wife than she was. I probably shouldn’t brag about that too much…

Next up was an acoustic set, which was a pleasant surprise. Yankovic proceeded to play four of his all-time classic songs from the 80’s (including the one that got me hooked on Yankovic to begin with): Eat It, I Lost On Jeopardy, I Love Rocky Road, and Like A SurgeonAcoustic medleyOne of his newest hits was next and was one of the highlights of the night, simply because he came out on his Segway and proceeded to CRUSH the song: White & NerdyWhite & NerdyAnother video package aired and Yankovic was ready to keep things going with (arguably) the most popular song from his last album: Word Crimes (a parody of “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke). I’ve said that Yankovic is a musical genius and I stand by that comment. All you need to do is watch the video for Word Crimes and you’ll understand what I mean. Word CrimesOne final video package aired and it was time for one of his biggest hits: Amish Paradise. All band members donned big-ass beards for the performance and it was definitely a crowd pleaser. Amish ParadiseAt this point, Al thanked everyone for coming and left the stage with his band. Of course, at this point every single fan of his knew that this wasn’t the end and knew exactly how the show as going to end. Sure enough, Yankovic and his band came out dressed-up in their Jedi outfits from Star Wars to sing The Saga Begins. It’s funny because I have always disliked the original “American Pie” by Don McLean, but I absolutely LOVE singing this version. The Saga BeginsThe last song of the night was the one EVERYBODY was waiting for (and the lightsabers in the audience confirmed that). It was never released as a single (as far as I know), but for whatever reason his parody of “Lola” by the Kinks has taken on a life of its own and is his official closer every single show: YodaYoda 2 Yoda 1


To say that I enjoyed this concert would be a massive understatement. My face was hurting from smiling so much once it was all said and done. Thankfully, Sunshine enjoyed the concert, as well, even though she’s not a massive fan like me (she enjoys him, but that’s about it…lol). 

“Weird Al” Yankovic is, indeed, a cultural icon who still, at 55, puts on one of the most incredible live performances you will ever see in your entire life. If you ever get the opportunity, I couldn’t imagine recommending seeing Yankovic live as much as I am right now. SEE HIM!!

Dragons: Race To The Edge – A Kids Review

Dragons - Race To The EdgeWhen I was asked by Netflix Canada to review the latest series made specifically for Netflix (based on the popular Dreamworks movies How To Train Your Dragon 1 & 2), I didn’t want to just do any ol’ blog. I figured that I had three members of the target audience together under the same roof, so why not ask them to watch the show and give their honest opinions about it? So here’s the deal…Netflix Canada was awesome enough to send me a “care package” for their latest series, Dragons: Race To The Edge. It was completely unexpected and totally awesome!! Here’s what was in the package…

This was the box that I took out of the package. How awesome is this??
This was the box that I took out of the package. How awesome is this??
This is most of what was inside the package. A copy of the map that Hiccup made, some sidewalk chalk, a toy featuring Hiccup and Toothless, and some snacks that were re-labeled to fit the package (Doritos were
This is most of what was inside the package. A copy of the map that Hiccup made, some sidewalk chalk, a toy featuring Hiccup and Toothless, and some snacks that were re-labeled to fit the package (Doritos were “Dragon Scales”, Goldfish were “Dragon Food”, etc.), and even a pretty cool Dragons lunchbox.

So let me just state for the record that my kids were not coached in any way, shape, or form. I simply asked them to watch at least two episodes of Race To The Edge on a Friday night, then I would interview them on Saturday morning. There was no coaching, no preparation, and no asking them to be nice for the sake of being nice.Race to the Edge 1 The following is the actual thoughts from the target audience of this show: kids aged 8 to 12 (give or take a year). This is also my first attempt at video editing, so be gentle… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmvc2spB3sw Thanks, Netflix Canada! This show is definitely another winner from the team that produces original Netflix content and I’m very happy that the kids liked it.  So if you were wondering if this series was worth watching (especially if you were a fan of the two movies), don’t take it from me that it’s a great show. Take it from the kids who actually watched it!Dragons

Being Tested

CautionRemember just on Monday how I was telling the world how great I was feeling?

I’d like to change my statement, officer.

Well, maybe not entirely. Y’see, the medication DOES seem to be working and I AM feeling a lot better in many areas. But right now I feel as though my resolve is being seriously tested. I feel like I’m fighting to stay afloat and I can’t imagine how I would be going through this situation WITHOUT the medication that I’m currently taking.

Keep calmIt started last week when I was really feeling the effects of the medication. I was working longer hours and getting more done. I honestly don’t know if I should have always been working this hard or if it’s just because of how busy things have been lately, but for the past two weeks putting in 10-hour days has been commonplace. I’ve been doing more work from home, answering phone calls and emails.

Then on Friday a major project hit a major catastrophe. I got a call on my work cellphone on Friday just after 5pm, as Sunshine and I were running errands for the weekend (groceries and such). We made one stop and head back home, where I spent the next couple of hours on the phone with a client and trying to fix the issue.

On Saturday I worked in the morning. We were visiting the beautiful town of Lunenburg with friends when I answered some more work calls and emails. We got home Saturday night and guess what? I had more work to do.

Sunday was the same thing. Sunshine and I went on a nice little afternoon date of frozen yoghurt and the movie Trainwreck (awesome, by the way). I turned off my phone for the movie but when I got out I had texts and voicemails and emails that all needed my attention.

Life is always a testOn Monday I found out that two more projects had hit some unexpected snags and were about to run off the rails. On Monday evening, I really thought I was about to crack…hit a low-point and regress from all of the forward momentum that I’d been having.

But Tuesday, as crazy busy as it was, was tackled head-on and addressed. The three projects weren’t fixed, but I was able to handle all three in a way that “old CBG” wouldn’t have been able to. 

I didn’t explode. I didn’t bring my anger home with me. I didn’t use ice cream or junk as a way to “comfort” myself and feel better about my shitty day. I didn’t withdraw. I didn’t take it out on my wife and stepdaughters.

I don’t know if this can 100% be attributed to the medication I’m taking for my ADHD, but I feel more in charge of myself and my feelings. It’s a very odd thing for me to experience, but I’m welcoming it with open arms.

I’m being tested by the Universe. And I feel as though I’m passing the test. Maybe not with flying colours, but I’m passing. And right now, that’s a great feeling. I’ve got more confidence in myself and my abilities, so I’m welcoming life with open arms. I’m ready to tackle each day regardless of what hits me, and I don’t know if I’ve felt that way before when so much has been on my plate.

Feeling Great

I can’t even begin to tell you just how I’ve been feeling over the past few days. 

VyvanseI started taking Vyvanse just over a week ago on a one pill (20mg) dosage. After a few days, I didn’t notice any change whatsoever. I then upped my dosage to two pills (40mg) last Wednesday, the day of my first Adult ADHD support group session.

Yes…I went to a support group. It was a small, six-person group with four newbies (myself included) and two regulars. The host of the session was very knowledgeable as he’s been diagnosed with ADHD since 1996. One of the regulars is also a coach and was diagnosed three years ago (at age 51!!). It was a pretty emotional night for me, to tell you the truth. I’ll be the first to admit that I’d been having issues reconciling the fact that I’ve got a mental disorder. This session was full of stories and really helped me realize that (a) this is a real thing and (b) I’m really not alone in this. 

I totally realize that no, I’m not alone…but until you actually speak with more than one person who has stories where they experienced things in life that were exactly the same as you, it doesn’t really sink in that you’re not alone in all of this. 

Let me tell you…Thursday brought along an entirely new perspective and clarity. 

ADHD 2It was one helluva busy day at work. Hell…it’s been an insane two weeks at work. Two weeks ago I thought I was drowning. I felt as though I just couldn’t get anything done and what I did do was full of errors and mistakes. Basically, it was the same thing I’ve been feeling for the past year or so. But for whatever reason, I ended up FLYING through Thursday. I had a ton of work dumped on my desk and it was done by the end of the day. Work got done and was mistake free.

Friday ended up being the exact same thing. I started at 8am and ended up working all bloody day until after 4pm, then because of an issue outside of my control had to work at various times Saturday and Sunday. It was definitely a working weekend. 

But here’s the thing: I felt GREAT. 

After Friday’s work-day was done, I was beaming. I felt like I had owned the day and the fog had lifted from my brain. I remembered things, all of my work was done, and if there were any issues going on or mistake made, they were corrected before passed along to clients or supervisors. 

The bottom line is that if this past week had happened a couple of months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to have handled it. At all.

Sunshine noticed the change and has continued to notice the change in the days since. I’m not saying that Vyvanse is some kind of “miracle drug” or anything, but at this point it’s been a big-time success for me and I couldn’t be happier. 

Throwback Thursday

I attended my first Adult ADHD group last night. I’ll write more on that later, but one of the things that was discussed was how education was affected by the disorder.

Y’see, my form of ADHD makes it extremely hard to read and process and remember. I could read two paragraphs and then think…what did I just read? I can’t pay attention to a class lecture because my brain in running in a million different directions and the lecture isn’t stimulating it. I would never be able to study in the days leading up to a test or an exam; I always had to cram the night before to ensure I’d remember it the next day.

I was a 75 average student in high school. I flunked out of TWO different universities before getting my act together. I went to the Nova Scotia Community College in 1995 and was truly inspired. The course was “Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship” and the facilitator decided the purpose of the class would be for everybody to create their own business from scratch, from the concept to the bank loan for the idea to become reality to inventory and staffing costs. 

I ended up graduating at the top of the class that year. I was so motivated that my brain was stimulated on a daily basis. And thankfully, it also helped me get back into university the next year so I could finally start that final push to get my degree.

So this week’s #ThrowbackThursday is a photo from my college graduation, circa 1995. I need to remember this photo because it proves I can do it. It’s not a matter of ability, it’s a brain chemical imbalance that has caused so many issues throughout my life. This is a reminder of what I’m capable of.017


VyvanseSo I’m officially on medication to treat my Adult ADHD. It’s been almost a week now and I gotta say it’s a little weird to be popping five pills a morning for mental disorders at age 42. I’m taking three anti-depressants every morning to go along with my Vyvanse, which is a stimulant whose generic name is Lisdexamfetamine.

What is it? Vyvanse is a nervous system stimulant that affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control, which is weird since my form of ADHD is actually predominantly inattentive.

Vyvanse is a controlled substance, and as such it can be habit forming and abused. It can cause serious issues if you already have heart issues. Thankfully, while heart issues run in my family, I’m doing pretty good in the healthy heart area. 

There are some side effects that I’m already feeling (in one form or another) are…

  • Decreased appetite – Can I be honest? I’m not hating this particular side effect. I’ve been pretty busy at the office this week and didn’t end up having lunch on either Monday or Tuesday. No…not very healthy, I admit. But I haven’t been craving any sweets or ice cream or any of the other foods that I normally crave during the course of a day or an evening. I’ve had a bag of Peanut M&M’s in my computer bag since last Friday night…it shouldn’t have lasted the night, much less the weekend through til’ Hump Day.
  • Headaches – I don’t have headaches all the time, but it’ll come out of nowhere and hit me  pretty hard. It’s almost like a small, sharp object digging into the back or the side of my head. Thankfully, they don’t last very long.
  • Insomnia – This one has been a bitch. I take my meds in the morning, but I still find my eyes wide open at the end of the day. I’m hoping this one goes away as my body becomes more adjusted to the amphetamine because I miss going to bed at the same time as my wife.
  • Dry mouth – I noticed this one today as I was required to make a few phone calls at the office and I found myself desperate for some water. My throat is sore, too. Again, this is another one I’m hoping goes away soon.

At this point, that’s pretty much everything. Not too bad, I’d say. But also at this point I’m not 100% convinced that the medication is even working. I go back for a follow-up in another week or so…I guess I’ll know by then if this is the right medication for me or if I need to find another one. 



























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Preparing for a new Star Wars generation

Star Wars The Clone WarsI’m a guy who grew up on Star Wars. The first movie I remember watching in a theatre as a kid was Star Wars from the balcony of whatever theatre I was at (remember theatre balconies?). As an adult, I was more than happy to pass my love of this movie universe down to my son…and it’s one of the things that we happily get to bond over.

He was almost as excited as I was when the new Star Wars: Episode 7 trailer was released recently. We’ve both been counting down the months until the time arrives when we can experience new Star Wars memories together for the first time.

Star Wars Clone WarsTo prepare for doing that, I decided that we should watch some Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Netflix.  The series is set in the fictional Star Wars galaxy during the three years between the prequel films Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. What makes it fun for me is the fact that the stories are considered part of the Star Wars canon, so they “really took place” and are officially part of the new Star Wars expanded universe that launches with Episode VII in December. The hundreds of books and video games and comic books that have been released over the past 30+ years are just stories but are not considered part of the actual Star Wars universe, so watching The Clone Wars is a pretty cool way to understand character development.

Clone Wars villainsAnd that’s the great thing about watching this series as an adult fan. I could see the progression of Anakin Skywalker from Season One through Season Five, so the way he acted in Revenge of the Sith made a little bit more sense. It was definitely a progression as opposed to “I’m grown up now, so I’m unhappy with my Jedi life blah blah blah”. In addition to that, the series introduced us to new characters that very well may appear in the new expanded universe movies (I just read over the weekend that Cad Bane might actually appear in the upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One anthology movie coming out in December 2016). 

From a kid’s point of view, it’s simply an awesomely entertaining cartoon to watch. The storylines are interesting, the characters are well developed, and the action sequences are fantastic. Add to that the numerous Star Wars “new trilogy” characters that appear in the show and you’ve got my kid’s attention span, which is not easily done these days.

So if you’re a fan of Star Wars, your kid is a fan of Star Wars, or you simply want to watch something fun with your family that’s a little on the “action-y” side, then start streaming away on Netflix! With six seasons to watch, you’ll be able to “binge watch” to your heart’s content. Clone Wars on Netflix