Friday, March 30, 2007

What Xylophones Were Meant To Do

There's been a trend over the past year or two, of video game music being recognized and performed as the well written and insanely catchy compositions that they truly are. There was a tour last year where a full symphony orchestra performed a full length concert of video game themes through the ages, accompanied by a large screen showing the games the tunes came from. I'm telling you, something like that would get me excited to go to the symphony!

Then there was a clip a few months ago with a teen violin virtuoso performing the theme from "Halo", which looked cool, but since I'm not a hardcore first-person-shooter video game player, it didn't really mean much to me. Instead, I've spent my video game time playing the games which emphasize FUN over violence. Who's the hero of that genre? Mario, of course!

And his games always seem to have great musical backdrops... Including "Super Mario Bros. 2", which had a particularly bouncy and hummable soundtrack. So now we have Christine, who is quite handy with her Xylo-Mallets, giving Mario's vintage digital tunes a fresh new sound - but despite being fresh and new, it's every bit as toe-tappingly addictive as it is in its classic 8-bit glory. Hit play above, and enjoy. Happy Friday!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Naughty, Naughty Chickens!!

First off, a confession. When it comes to documenting life's adventures through photography, I completely suck. We've got a good enough digital camera, and it's perfectly easy to get the pics off the camera and into the computer... And yet, I *NEVER* seem to remember to grab the camera and take a picture when things happen that would be so much easier to relate with actual photographic proof that they occurred!! Now, when I had a camera phone, I did quite a bit better, with the exception that the pictures I did manage to take were of hideously low quality. But now that I'm on a crackberry that has no camera, I find myself, once again, after something happens, saying "D'oh! Why didn't I get a picture of that??"

Okay, now that my shortcomings have been aired, here's what happened this weekend.

When we bought our house, the previous owners had done a full remodel on it, and left evidence scattered around the property. One such piece of evidence is the old (and I do mean old!) kitchen sink, which had been propped up against the side of the garage ever since we moved in. Sure, we've said many times that we need to just go get rid of it, but it just hadn't happened yet... Until Saturday, when we finally said "enough's enough, and it's gotta go!" So we went over to that area next to the garage, where the kids park their bikes and discovered that there was more than just the sink - there was lots of remodel related junk there. So we got all the little pieces tossed into the back of the truck, and then went to move the monster iron sink.

(Time out for another quick update: Cindy's dad moved up here on Friday, and is staying primarily with us until we find him an apartment in Fircrest. I'll get another post up telling about that... maybe even with a picture... So he was outside with us when this story all took place. Thank you, we now resume the story of the naughty, naughty chickens.)

We went and got gloves on because the sink was big, heavy and filthy, and Cindy was quick to point out that it probably had spiders in it. Then we grabbed on and pulled it away from the house to start its journey to the dump. And we saw something that shocked us much more than spiders would have... We both utterred some sort of shocked exclamation, and called Dad over to see what we had discovered. As he made his way over to where we were, he said, "What is it? A Snake?? A Rat?? A Lizard??"


Our naughty, naughty chickens had discovered that tucked underneath the sink was a great place to make their own nest to lay their eggs. There were FOURTEEN EGGS in the nest!! All three colours were there, meaning that all three of the hens had been using it... It was impossible to determine how long they'd been using that nest, but for the last several months, the egg production in the APPROVED nest has been very low. And I have caught the girls over in that section of the yard before, and shoo'd them back into the APPROVED poultry habitat. Now I know what they were doing back there.

We finished moving the extremely heavy sink into the truck, and buried the potentially rotten eggs deep in the ground I was digging up to become our vegetable garden. Then it hit me - WHY didn't we take a picture of the nest!!?? It was startlingly perfect, nice and round, old leaves shaped into a bowl, with more than a dozen brown, green and blue-green eggs laying in it. The eggs were even segregated by colour - brown down the middle, with the two shades of green on alternating ends. It looked like an Easter Basket! But since I didn't take a picture, I found a pic of a basket of eggs that at least match the colours of our surprise egg hunt.

So I put up a fence to block that part of the yard off, and though they COULD fly over it, I'm hoping it'll stop them. But I will be checking there for eggs the next time there aren't any in the approved egg location.

And I'll be sure to get pictures the next time something newsworthy takes place...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Back to Broadcasting!

As most of you (hopefully) know, I've had music in my veins my entire life. This culminated during the '90s, when I worked by day, programming music for businesses (Steak & Ale, Bennigan's, Rave, Williams-Sonoma and NikeTown were a few of my accounts) and then on Friday nights, I hit the airwaves of KNHC 89.5 FM in Seattle as DJ Mike Brady, producing the Friday Night PartyZone. As the century turned over, things began to wind down on the music-as-a-profession front. AEI Music (day job) merged (got bought) with (by) DMX Music (yeah, the one that does music for cable-tv systems), and my job was eliminated. In the meantime, the drive up to north Seattle for the radio station was getting longer and longer as I moved further and further south, and the station politics were getting more and more aggravating. So in late-2000, I retired from the station too. Ever since then, other than an occasional wedding reception or company party, my musical ambitions have been fulfilled by singing or playing in the music team at Church - which is great, I totally love it!! However, as someone who pretended to be on the radio from the time I was 4 or 5, and then getting there later, and then not being there, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it. A lot.

Sooooooooo, long intro aside, a year ago, a good friend in Melbourne, Australia, brought the PartyZone label back to life as the Saturday Night PartyZone on his local station. A few months later he asked me if I'd like to guest on the show, which I jumped at! Now, he's gotten his SNPZ syndicated on several continents of the world, and in the process, encountered an Internet-Only station in the U.K. that was looking for an '80s show. While I love pretty much all (good) music, the '80s stand out to me as the pinnacle, the best that Pop Music has ever acheived. And I'm continually backed up on this, by people who were far too young to have lived through it like I did, but still say (unprovoked!) that they think the '80s had the best music.

Now, I'm about to start producing a show for GenerationMix! It'll be a one-hour weekly '80s show, and I am totally excited!! I don't know what my time slot will be yet, and I'm still trying to get the perfect name for the show... So if anyone has any great ideas, I'd love to hear them!! Watch this space for updates as we get closer to the first show going out... And of course, if you have any '80s requests, I'd love to indulge you... =)