Scout’s Honor

American Idol

American Idol

When it’s cold out, it’s nice to stay indoors and watch tv. And it looks like it’s time again for Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr and J. Lo to hear America sing and to choose a winner on American Idol. I just saw the trailer yesterday and I can’t wait.But again, there’s the Voice that still echoes in my ear from last night. Ryan Sill really did a nice job on Duran Duran’s Ordinary World, didn’t he? I hope America voted for him. I would.

Do you think you can be a judge? Show up and listen to someone sing? You hear a few bars then you give them your opinion. Maybe it’s a little harder than you think with no music training or an ear for good sound. But if you find yourself making comments and critiquing after every song then I think you’re up to it.

I’m gathering a list of people who are interested in listening to music and giving an honest opinion on the song, artist and arrangement. If you’re up for the challenge, please drop me an email and I will forward you to a music scout that will pay you for a review. There’s no obligation whatsoever nor any cost. There’s no limit to how many songs you have to listen to or set a quota. It’s all good and fun. Scout’s honor.

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Little Mouths to Feed

Doctor Fish

Doctor Fish

When I was in Singapore a few weeks ago, I stopped by a foot spa on my way to the Singapore Flyer which turned out to be like the London Eye but over Singapore instead. There were a lot of commotion at this foot spa because people were crowding around a fish tank full of fish and a few people had their feet in it. What kind of foot spa was this?

It turns out that the fish is known to be of the ‘doctor fish’ variety and they like eating dead skin. People paid 30 Singapore dollars to have their feet immersed in a fish tank for 30 minutes. Once your feet hits the water, doctor fishes swarm to them and start eating. It’s like a scene from Indiana Jones with piranha fishes going at fresh flesh.

Azim was a paid customer and had his feet photographed. I asked him how it felt and he said it tickles at first. There are literally hundreds of these fishes fighting to get the dead skin from your feet. You have hundreds of little mouths to feed and an endless supply of dead skin.

These foot spas are very popular in a lot of Asian cities but there are very controversial at home in Canada. FYI, they are illegal here to open and banned in Canada and the US.

iDevice popular on cruise ships

iPad Class

iPad Class

It was standing room only at the ‘iPad, iPhone and iTouch’ orientation class on Celebrity Cruises’ Millenium ship, SE Asia Northbound trip. I couldn’t believe how popular this class was but a lot of people travel with their Apple devices, including me.

The instructor was Apple certified and he knew his stuff pretty well. I have been using iTouch, iPad and iPhone for a number of years but I managed to learn a few new tricks in this class.

They taught us how to “print screen” and why do it. They also showed us how to conserve battery power, how to use our device as a hotspot and share our internet connection and on the newer iPads and iPhone 5, “air drop” was demonstrated. Over 3 days at sea, they had a session at least once every sea day and every session was full house.

As long as I own Apple (AAPL) shares, I’m happy to see how popular Apple products are.

Disney Out? Disney In

Jack Singer Hall

Jack Singer Hall

The quickest way to get some culture in you is to attend a concert at the Jack Singer Hall. Last week, I got free tickets to see Disney in Concert performed by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (or CPO). I would have easily skipped the event because after living in Anaheim for a year and going to Disneyland almost every other week, you can say I was Disney’d out.

The tickets I received were pretty good. It was dead centre and in the orchestra section in Row O. From where I was sitting, I had a commanding view of the entire orchestra and stage. I felt sorry for the people in Row A and B because they were too close to the stage. If it was Celine Dion then they would have had an advantage over me but for the Disney Concert, I think I had the best seats in the house.

There’s something magical about the Jack Singer Hall. First of, it’s cozy and intimate versus the Jubilee Auditorium which is too large for this kind of venue. Second, the sound is incredible in the Jack Singer Hall. Everything sounds so natural and real. You could hear every instrument in its clarity and tone. And that’s why the CPO plays here and not at the Jubilee.

When the concert started, I was amazed at myself. I was actually enjoying the tunes and singing along too. They played all the favourites including Colour of the Wind from Pocahontas, Circle of Life from Lion King and A Whole New World from Aladdin. Along with the CPO, there were four vocalists that sung their hearts out. And they were good too.

The vocalists were Candice Nicole, Whitney Kaufman, Aaron Phillips and Andrew Johnson. One of them used to work for Disney and I can tell you, she played the part of Belle in the Beauty and the Beast and Ariel in the Little Mermaid very well.

Great Fishing Hole

Glenmore Reservoir

Glenmore Reservoir

I’ve been looking for a nice fishing hole for a long time and think I’ve found it. Unfortunately, it looks like the rest of Calgary have found it too.

According to the Outdoors Men Forum, people have been catching nice sized rainbow trout. I personally don’t care to eat trout only because I think there’s too many bones but it’s fun fishing and letting the fish go, unless you’re standing next to someone who is fishing for dinner.

If you want a great fishing hole, head to Glenmore Park by getting onto Crowchild Trail and drive south. When you see the rowing club on your left, turn in to the parking lot and get your gear together. Head down to the back of the rowing club where there is a floating pier. A lot of kayakers and canoe enthusiasts launch from this pier.

Fishing is good just south of the floating pier. On most days, you will find a number of people fishing off the shore. It’s a beautiful way to spend a Sunday, sitting there fishing and looking at Heritage Park across the way.

A Jovial Nite with Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi

I miss attending concerts and so when Bon Jovi came to town, I picked up some cheap tickets for $10 and enjoyed a night of music from up high. I didn’t even know there were seats up there. They called it the Media Section but I was as high as the guy who operates the spotlights.

The one thing I don’t do anymore is to spend big money on concert tickets. I’m through lining up at ticket booths for tickets or fighting the crowd online. I don’t want to pay more than a CD for a few hours of blasting my eardrums.

Jon was very good that night. Of course, I was hoping to see Richie Sambora but he had to cancel out at the last minute. Jon had said something about him not being able to play for a long, long time. And he added that he was ok, not being at a hospital or hurt. For Richie not showing up, Jon did an awesome thing. He donated $100,000 to the Calgary Homeless Society. Good of him for doing that. Awesome!

Jon has aged since the last time I saw him but he still can hit the notes. He sang a few of his classics such as “It’s my Life”, “Living on a Prayer”, “Wanted Dead or Alive” and he sang a few new hits from his Because We Can album.

I’m looking forward to the next concert where I can score some cheap tickets.

Boat People in Alberta

Calling all boat owners and boat people who drives in Alberta: How would you like to attend the 2013 Vancouver International Boat Show in February? If so, read on.

The Vancouver International Boat Show is going to be held at two venues this year. One at B.C. Stadium underneath the big white inflatable roof and the second at Granville Island Maritime Market and Marina. The dates to keep track of is between February 7th to the 11th, right before Valentine’s Day. Perhaps, buy her  a boat this year and maybe, she will let you drive it.

If you’re an Albertan who have a valid driver’s licence and you would like to attend this show then go to this link and enter ‘Alberta11’ in the promo code field. The admission tickets worth $12 will be waived. You will need to show your Alberta licence at the door so lets not order it for the fun of it. Lets be honest about this.

If you’re going to take advantage of this great tip, please ‘like’ my post.

Chinese Festival

Lion Dance

Lion Dance

After attending the Chinese Festival on Saturday in Chinatown, I have to admit that it was better organized than the first year. My day started at the James Short parking structure with a nice surprise – free parking. That was very nice of the City to provide that to alleviate parking woes in Chinatown.

We were greeted by the dragon or at least the kung fu master who was holding the dragon’s head. He said we had some time before they started the dragon dance so we decided to wonder and browse the kiosks selling knick knacks.

There were the usual stalls that were selling iPod cases for $5, $10 and $15 for the premium cases. One stall sold Angry Birds slippers, Angry Birds pillows and Angry Birds keychains. There was even t-shirts that read Save the Birds – not sure if that was a play on the Angry Birds franchise.

Our friends from Asia Snacks were setup, but not selling our favourite egg puffs. They were too busy with taking orders for their Vietnamese sandwiches, to fire up the waffle-like maker so they kept telling us to come back later. We ran out of patience and ended up at the Dessert House for the egg puffs which were excellent. The mini doughnuts van was out and so was the Noodle Truck, both were very popular. TD Canada Trust were giving out personalized zodiac pins, ZipCar was promoting their new hourly car rental service in downtown Calgary and GlobalFest was selling tickets at their booth. There was something for everyone that attended the festival. Too bad it was only for one day, August 11th but I’m glad they ran it from 10am to 8pm.

 

Joe’s Crab Shack in Old Sacramento

Bucket of Seafood at Joe's Crab Shack

Bucket of Seafood at Joe’s Crab Shack

After waiting for our friends from Reno to arrive at the car rental facility south of the airport in Sacramento, we took both cars and navigated down down to Old Sacramento for some cajun / creole seafood. Located right on the river was Joe’s Crab Shack. The menus weren’t thick but there were a lot of choices. When our drinks arrived, we had made up our mind.

My wife and decided to order a bucket each. Our friends from Reno ordered a larger bucket to share. My wife ordered Joe’s Classic Steampot and it came with tasty dungeness crab, snow crab, boiled shrimp and smoked sausage. My taste buds were up for some crawfish so I ordered the Orleans which came with a pound of crawfish, 12 shrimps and an Andouille sausage.

The waitress came by to put a bib on each of us. It’s hilarious wearing this bib but I can tell you, it helps when you’re trying to get the meat out of the claws. Too bad they don’t give you gloves because I had to visit the little boy’s room to wash my hands. Eating crawfish is not for the squeamish. You need to grab the tail with one hand and the body with the other hand then you twist in opposite directions. The shell falls off the tail portion and that’s the part you eat.
Joe's Crab Shack on Urbanspoon

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Illusionists from Down Under

Adam Stabs Box with Selina inside

Adam Stabs Box with Selina inside

Click here and watch this. Don’t blink or else you’ll miss it. Adam and Selina Murby are a brother and sister team from Australia. They are illusionists and are awesome to say the least. If you are in YYC this week, head on down to the Stampede and catch their show. It’s amazing!

Adam will put Selina in a box, stab wooden spears from all sides. When you think no one is in the box, a hand emerges from the top of the box. Adam continues to stab more wooden spears including one from the top to the bottom then later, after Adam removes all the spears, Selina emerges from the box unharmed.

Adam also invites a participant from the crowd and performs the Chinese Linking Rings which is always entertaining, but the metamorphesis trick is something else. Selina gets into a box with a clear front glass. Adam gets on top of the box with a curtain. He lifts it up to cover himself then in a second, Selina drops the curtain. They have switched places in a second. Amazing!

At the Stampede, you can line up after the show to have your photo taken with them. Or you can purchase their poster and they will autograph it for $5.