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.

Quiet, eh?

Quiet Sign

Quiet Sign

It was great seeing our mayor on Sunday at the Shaw Charity Classic when he presented the winner, Rocco Mediate with a white hat. It was quite the presentation with Rocco looking nervous as though he had to do the hoky-poky in front of a cheering crowd. Before giving it to him, we all had to shout a loud “Yahoo!”.

The tournament went really well and I think it gave the Champions Tour’s players a chance to see Calgary and to take in some western hospitality. Most of them were very gracious and they spoke highly of our downtown and the people that make up our fine city.

I had a chance to take a few pictures on Wednesday at the Pro-Am and to get autographs. I walked with Mark O’Meara and Jay Haas for a number of holes then switched over to Esteban Toledo and our own Canadian, Dave Barr. I enjoyed chatting with Fred Funk and told him I enjoyed his commercial with the “skinny jeans”.

All of us were treated to a free Greek yogurt from Liberte. And kids were given stuffed space creatures from Shaw. There were plenty of Big Rock beer on ice and lots of action around Fred Couples who was the crowd’s favourite for the week.

One question I have, who designed the trophy?

Burger Week

Little Hamburger

Little Hamburger

If you’re craving for a burger then this is the week to have one because it’s ‘Burger Week’ in Calgary. From May 3 – 10, 16 restaurants have prepared their best burger for you to test out. After eating it, go to YYC Burger Week and submit your vote. Most of the participants are downtown with a few on the outskirts such as one on 37th Street at Murdoch’s Bar & Grill, in Bowness at NOtable – The Restaurant, in Inglewood at The Fine Diner and in Ogden at Naina’s Kitchen.

Unfortunately, none of the fast food joints like McDonald’s, A&W, Harvey’s or Five Guys are in the race for the best burger.

My first encounter with Five Guys when I was in Thousand Oaks, California. At its Grand Opening, they had a line-up that wrapped around the block. There was so much hype in the papers, on the radio, word of mouth – everywhere. When I finally tried it, I found it nice and juicy. The first thing that impressed me was the amount of free toppings that you can get with your burger. Aside from the typical condiments, you can get jalapeno peppers, green peppers, mushrooms, grilled onions, tomato and lettuce.

Compared to the one on Macleod Trail SW, they could be more generous with the fries. In the states when you order the ‘little fries’, you get a heaping mound of fries that they have to bag for you to walk away with. Here, you’re lucky to find 10 more sticks in the bag. The burgers are freshly grilled but not as juicy as I remembered them to be. And the prices? What can I say, more money here as always.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

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.

 

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.

 

 

Recycled Percussion

Justin Spencer of Recycled Percussion

Justin Spencer of Recycled Percussion

We attended the Stampede the other day and had a chance to catch the popular act at the Bell Centennial Plaza where Recycled Percussion from Las Vegas performed. These guys are awesome! If you get a chance to see them, do so. They are so energetic, funny and talented. They were on the fifth season of America Got Talent and now they are performing in their own show in Vegas at the Tropicana hotel.

They are all percussionists. Justin Spencer is the lead percussionist and is the world’s fastest drummer. Ryan Vezina is the second lead percussionist and duels against Justin in their act. Matt Bowman is the guitar player and Todd Griffin (aka DJ Pharoah) is the Media Director.

They play everything from Queen to the Beatles. They accompany the music by beating on makeshift drums, made out of barrels, garbage cans, hub caps and an aluminum ladder. Justin and Ryan climb up and down the ladder, beating on the steps while Matt and Todd beat on the barrels. It is high energy and good sound.

Catch them at Stampede until Sunday or see them in Vegas.

 

Best Gyro Sandwich

Gyro Sandwich at Opa!

Gyro Sandwich at Opa!

When we think of Santorini, we think of the best gyro sandwich we have ever had. With that craving in mind, we tried the Opa! Souvlaki fast food restaurant in the Southeast on Heritage Meadows and had the second best gyro sandwich.

The Gyro sandwich featured a nicely toasted pita bread, wrapped around a skewer of meat  and topped off with a healthy serving of taziki sauce. You have a choice of greek salad or fries that comes with your sandwich. I recommend lamb but if you prefer, chicken is good too.

As for the salad, it is absolutely delicious. Nice morsels of tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, green peppers and feta cheese. The dressing is light and is the best part. Service is awesome!

OPA! Souvlaki of Greece (Heritage Meadows) on Urbanspoon

Before I forget, the 12th Annual Greek Festival is this weekend. It runs from Friday 12:00 noon to Sunday at 6:00pm at the Hellenic Community Centre located at 1 Tamarac Crescent SW. Entry is $5.00 and kids under 12 gets in free. We’re going to be there on Sunday so see you all there!