Music Monday: Rhythm Nation

I showed this video to my daughter a couple of weeks ago. She is into dance – having taken a few different classes before settling into Irish Dance a few years ago.

This blew her away.

There are two components to this video. The first is the song itself. Listen to the words. Rhythm Nation is about unity, making things better, essentially a positive message of hope. It’s a good song.

What makes this song even better is the visual component to the video, the dance. The feet beat out a rhythm that accentuate the music, driving the message of the song home even further. But that’s not the best part.

Dancing in music videos these days has become son “quick cut” that you rarely if ever see the whole routine from start to finish. With this video you did. I remember going out to clubs at the time and when this song would come on there would inevitably be one or two people who danced the routine from this video.

Because they could.

This video shows off the whole dance and it is not something just slapped together. Everything was intentional and deliberate. The choreography was, and still is, stunning. And it is only effective because you can see it all.

It is a shame music videos are not as prevalent now as they were 20 or 30 years ago. I would discover new music this way, and yes, you can still see music videos online today, but you sort of have to know what you are looking for. That sense of discover is gone now with no dedicated format for the music video. That means a video such as this if it were to come out today just would not have the same impact.

 

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Welcome Grace Marie

grace born post 01We had a boy’s name picked out pretty much from the moment Laura found out she was pregnant (again). Girls names this time were more difficult.

Everybody thought we were going to have another boy.

The punchline is that we had a girl, but the set-up is more interesting than not.

From August on down to Tevye the kids have all been born at home. There has been little to no reason to even entertain going to the hospital. That changed with this pregnancy.

Laura’s age (she turns 45 next week) was not the factor. It wasn’t even the fact she tested positive for Group B Strep. That only requires antiobiotics to be administered 4 hours before the baby is born. It was a concern, certainly, because Laura’s labors are usually rather short.

What facilitated the need for Laura to be admitted to the hospital to give birth was her blood work. Her platlet count was low. Nothing horrendous, but the risk of bleeding was enough that, when combined with the Group B Strep, a trip to the hospital was called for as a preventative measure more than anything else.

Since Laura’s labors have historically been short knowing when to go to the hospital was going to be tricky. So it was decided she would go to the hospital to be induced so as to control the pace of the labor – essentially when it would begin so as to make sure the antibiotics were administered in time and to monitor her for any bleeding after the birth.

When? Oh, right now.

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Wednesday afternoon Laura was admitted, antibiotics given and Pitocin (a drug meant to cause contractions facilitating the beginning of labor) started at 8:30 p.m.

Grace Marie was born eleven minutes after midnight on Thursday.

Our 2nd daughter. We were all surprised. Ne have never found out the sex of any of the children – until they are born.

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Everything went well. There were no complications and in all probability Laura could have delivered at home.

Actually everything went well enough that Laura was able to go home Thursday evening.

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The other kids were each born well after their due date. Ciárán was the soonest at 6 days late and Déla at 12 clocking in as the latest (or 17 days late depending on which due date you want to go by). The smallest baby was Ciárán at 9 lb 6 oz and the biggest Xavier at 10 lb 2 oz. Grace was born three days before her due date and weighed in at 10 lb 4 oz. That’s right, our “preemie” weighed the most of any of the kids.

Everybody is doing well, both Laura and Grace are healthy. Grace is doing a good job latching on, she is wetting and soiling diapers at a good rate, everything you would hope for.

And of course the kids are ecstatic.

grace born post 04

 

 

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D&D On The Big Screen

It’s been a while since I have posted anything on the topic, but if you’ve been reading this blog a while you know I like Dungeons & Dragons. There is a lot about the game I enjoy, the storytelling, the teamwork, the puzzle solving, etc. Well, I’m not the only one who enjoys the game.

unnamedApparently the audience demand for Dungeons & Dragons has grown to the point where there are people who watch other people play the game. On a regular basis. And when some of the more notable figures in “nerd circles” get together to play in front of an audience it winds up being even more of a draw.

Well, now that has gotten to be such a draw that Fathom Events is bringing Dungeons & Dragons to theaters for one night. The annual Penny Arcade Expo is host to the ongoing live event where the Acquisitions Incorporated campaign is played out in front of an audience. It has grown increasingly popular, so much so that apparently one auditorium is no longer sufficient.

THE FOLLOWING IS TAKEN FROM THE PRESS RELEASE

Each year at PAX West in Seattle, thousands of Dungeons & Dragons fans crowd into a music hall to watch people play D&D together. Some wait in line for hours because they know there’s something special about being in Benaroya Hall when Chris Perkins runs the Acquisitions Incorporated gang through another zany adventure. The players feed on the energy of audience and the atmosphere is electric – now D&D fans across the country will get to experience that electricity up-close-and-personal when D&D is broadcast live to movie theaters nationwide for the first time.

On September 4 at 6 p.m. PT, in partnership with Fathom Events, D&D aficionados across the country will be able to go to their local movie theater and sit with an audience full of fans to watch the premier D&D performance of the year, as hundreds of theaters across the U.S. will be showing “Dungeons & Dragons Live from PAX West.” Tickets can be purchased beginning today, August 5, by visiting www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices. For the full list of locations visit the Fathom Events website – and you don’t need to wait in line to snag a ticket to this exclusive event!

In addition to experiencing Acquisitions Incorporated in your local cinema, each event attendee will receive an exclusive D&D adventure module. The 32-page booklet contains a four-hour adventure including tons of Dungeon Master tips to help new players as they are offered the chance to become interns of Acquisitions Incorporated. The best part is that the adventure follows the upcoming D&D storyline Storm King’s Thunder and can be used to introduce players to the giant threat wreaking havoc across the land.

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Pokemon Go To The Fair

Pokemon Go players wander around their neighborhoods in an attempt to gather that elusive …. whatever they are looking for.

Pokemon_Go_Logo_fairThe Washington State Fair is going to open up for Pokemon Go players to wander the grounds and check out the various gyms and Pokestops. The grounds will be open and free on August 8 for Pokemon Go players (enter through the Gold Gate) from 11 – 4.

Not only will the grounds be open that day for Pokemon Go players, but BBQ can be had from 12-1:30 (while supplies last) and the scone trailer will also be open. The other vendors and rides will be closed.

Monday, August 8
11 – 4
Washington State Fair – Gold Gate
110 9th Ave SW
Puyallup, Washington

 

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July 2016 Geek Fuel Unboxing

Let’s post the video first so you can see August’s reaction to what he received this month.

Here is a closer look at what was in this month.

He loves the shirt.

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The button was also clever and very well liked.

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The jury is still out on this month’s game.

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It’s a shame we already have one from ThinkGeek. August would have been much more excited if that were not the case. We are, however holding on to this for when we need to replace one of the shower curtains.

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Playing cards with Alien inspired artwork.

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Finally a Plants vs Zombies decal.

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Overall a decent month’s offering. The two Ghostbusters themed items were the best received. Even the other stuff is good.

 

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Bigger Than A Simple Loaf Of Bread

Yesterday I had a couple of errands to run in the morning. Ciaran and Dela were at camp so I only had August, Xavier and Tevye.

One of those errands involved going to the bread outlet store.

franz outlet

Shamelessly stolen from Google Maps

Thing is, we don’t get to go there often because it really is pretty out of the way. Since we were headed to the south end of the city I decided to swing by and pick up some cheap (day old) bread.

So there I was with August, Xavier and Tevye in the bread outlet store.

It wasn’t crowded, empty of customers actually, fortunately, because Tevye kept slipping out off my grasp. At least he was mostly trying to dance instead run off (which he usually will do).

We got our breads and wound our way to the check-out. I had to have both hands free, so Tevye was a couple of feet away from me dancing. August and Xavier were completely oblivious to their surroundings.

Suddenly there was somebody behind me in what was an empty shop. He smelled of cigarettes, beer and…. whatever else. It was obvious he was homeless.

franz loafsHe asked for fifty cents to buy a loaf of bread as he did not have enough.

Where did he come from? What was he doing in the store with a loaf of bread in his hands if he didn’t have enough to buy it?

I looked at the cashier trying to get a read on her take on the situation. Was this a regular who caused trouble?

When I didn’t get any sort of feedback from the cashier immediately I decided to just go ahead and buy the guy’s loaf of bread for him.

He thanked me and the cashier was nice enough but I still couldn’t get a read from her about this person. Doesn’t matter. I wanted the kids to see me buying this man a loaf of bread. It doesn’t matter what his circumstances are, he was obviously in a much worse position than we are.

I wanted my kids to see me buying this man a loaf of bread. It was a simple act, one that cost me only $1.50, and maybe this guy was scamming me, but it was more important to give this guy a little bit of help in the small way I could.

I wanted to set that example. When in doubt, help out.

Better to help somebody who does not need it than not help somebody when needed.

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Phamily Foto Phriday 7-22-16

Welcome to the “all Ciárán” edition. Sometimes he gets overlooked or passed over, not intentionally, but it happens. This week is not the case.

It was his birthday a little earlier this month.

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He was happy to once again be having his birthday at home instead of while on vacation.

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A couple of days after his birthday was his birthday party. We did the video game truck like we did last year.

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This this past week it was Cub Scout Day Camp. Here he is playing some sort of “ninja” game that I have never understood.

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One of the regular stations every day of the week involves food. Here he is on one of the days making a fruit pizza.

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Another station the scouts have every day is BB Guns which he greatly enjoyed.

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Another day at the food station, and this time they are analyzing the frequency of the ingredients in their trail mix. An introduction to data analysis.

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A number of animal pelts led to a discussion of wildlife conservation.

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Ah, the boat making.

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Here he is traversing the slack-line. In the rain.

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And making a windchime.

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His favorite station, however, was archer. Every day the kids got to shoot and every day it was his favorite activity.

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Where To Stay

People ask one of two questions when I tell them we spend a couple of weeks at Yellowstone National Park earlier this summer. One is the inevitable “How was it?” The other question people ask first was a bit surprising.

“Did you camp?”

And this question was asked by people who know me, people who know how young our children are.

Now, I’m not saying it is impossible to camp in a tent with small children. What I want to impress on you the reader is the people asking know that not only do we have a 26 month old, a freshly minted 2 year old, one who is rather full-on in the throws of toddler-hood, but we have 4 other children with us ranging from the ages of 6 to 13. And on top of that, Laura is pregnant.

yellowstone 09

Who in their right mind would camp under those circumstances?

We rented a cabin outside of the park. In order for it to have enough space for us all at a price we could afford it wound up being a bit outside of the park. So much so it was an hour and a half minimum to get anywhere interesting inside Yellowstone National Park.

Thankfully everybody had their own bed.

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What we would do is get up in the morning, drive into the park to wherever we were going, spend a few hours there, have lunch, sightsee some more, then come back to the cabin for dinner. Well, most of the time. There were a couple of nights we ate dinner in the park or in West Yellowstone, but mostly we ate dinner in the cabin.

And breakfast every morning.

 

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Music Monday: Queen (Part 3)

I now have all of Queen’s released studio recordings, which may not seem like a big deal, but it is not as clear cut a prospect as you might initially imagine. There are of course the fifteen albums the band has released, but that’s not the whole of it.

Each of those studio albums has been rereleased a few years ago for the band’s 40th anniversary with each one including a second disc containing 5 or 6 extra songs. Most of the songs on the second disc are demos or live recordings, but there are some B-sides as well as a couple of unreleased tracks.

queen band 01What I have done is taken all of the “extra” tracks and compiled them into one playlist in (mostly) chronological order. I have not taken the demos and edits of various songs already on the fifteen studio albums, but instead focused on the actual B-sides and other harder to find or unreleased material. I am also not including songs such as “Somebody To Love” where George Michael sang lead at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert.

In addition to the studio albums there are a few new and reworked tracks on compilations. These are possibly the least “Queen” tracks on this playlist, but they are still quality tracks for fans of the band (and I like them, which is the most important factor).

Here is how it goes:

“Mad The Swine”

Left off the band’s first album Queen due to time and space constraints.

“See What A Fool I’ve Been”

A live stable that was recorded and used as a B-side for a Queen II track.

“Feelings Feelings”

Recorded during the News Of The World sessions a track that did not make the final album, or any thereafter.

“A Human Body”

A B-side from The Game.

“Soul Brother”queen band 02

Another B-side, this time from Hot Space.

“I Go Crazy”

From The Works, used as a B-side.

“Thank God It’s Christmas”

A non-album single from 1984.

“Chinese Torture”

This Miracle is represented the most here with four tracks starting with this instrumental idea that never made it into a full song.

“Stealin'”

The first B-side from The Miracle.

“Hijack My Heart”

Another The Miracle  B-side.

“Hang On In There”

This track was released on The Miracle original CD release as a bonus track, but not the vinyl or cassette.

“Lost Opportunity”

A B-side from Innuendo.

“There Must Be Something More To Life Than This”

queen band 03From Queen Forever a reworked Freddie Mercury solo track to become a Queen track. Originally it was recorded, or at least attempted to, for the Hot Space album.

“Let Me In Your Heart Again”

Intended for The Works it was never finished until its release on Queen Forever.

“Love Kills” (The Ballad)

A reworking of this Freddie Mercury solo song from the Metropolis soundtrack had been intended for The Works but it did not come to fruition until Queen Forever.

“No One But You (Only The Good Die Young)”

Originally recorded for the Queen Rocks compilation it is the only song by the three surviving original members recorded after Mercury’s death.

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Phamily Foto Phriday 7-15-16

We went on a family road trip vacation to Yellowstone this month. Tevye did not get his regular nap schedule so there were times when he simply fell asleep where he was.

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The little guy got so tuckered out just being carried around sometimes.

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Sometimes he was so tired he couldn’t even finish his lunch.

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There were a couple of mornings when we had to get up and get going that were tough.

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There was a lot of time spent in the Millennium Falcon – getting from our cabin into the park or from one sight to the next. It was inevitable sleeping would happen.

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Tevye wasn’t the only one who got tired on the trip.

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Even coming home on the final day Tevye fell asleep, but we made it home safe and sound.

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