30 Years Ago Today – Bruce Springsteen Released Born in the USA

 

30 “years burning down the road” and the album that changed my musical landscape was released.

While not the best album in his catalogue, Springsteen’s Born in the USA was certainly his most commercially successful one, and it opened up my eyes and ears to his earlier work and led me on a wild ride that thankfully shows no signs of stopping. His music makes me think, inspires me when I seem to need it the most, and has gifted me with friendships that I can’t imagine being without. For that I will be forever grateful and forever a fan. 

“I’m ready to grow young again.”  ~ No Surrender

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My Forever Friend – Lisa van Steen

We “met” through a Bon Jovi fan club (WHAT WERE WE THINKING?!?) but bonded over Bruce, and I will always consider you my forever friend and sister from another mother. I will keep you, your girls, your family & friends, and your fur babies in my thoughts as you begin your journey to rest with the angels. May any pain and sadness you take with you be replaced with the joy and peace you so richly deserved. I will miss your sarcasm and quick wit more than I can say. 

This is YOUR song and it will always remind me of our friendship and the strength you had (even if you didn’t believe in that strength yourself). 

RIP my beautiful “caterpillar” friend. Love you bunches. xo


2013, Don’t Let the Door Hit Ya…

Thoughts turn bittersweet as I bid adieu to 2013. While a new year brings new hopes and dreams to be realized, 2013 had its share of challenges and an unthinkable loss that will forever linger.

My wish for all of you, especially my family and closest friends, is to love more, laugh harder, live better and take care of each other cuz this ain’t no dress rehearsal. 

Happy 2014 from the West Coast. I’ll get the lights. ❤

 

A Different Christmas This Year

It’s a different Christmas this year for me and my family. It’s the first one since my oldest brother Andy passed away, and learning to navigate all the traditions and things that we’re used to doing has been an ongoing process.

But the smiles are still important, even more so. The joy of hearing my nephew’s giggles, the surprise in everyone’s eyes as they open their gifts, sitting down at the dinner table on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day to enjoy all my mom’s hard work, then hearing her sigh and finally be able to relax when it’s over. It’s all different this year, but these are traditions that I’ve known all my life and familiarity at this time seems so important.

So while things may be different and forever changed for us, I can’t think of a better way to start the festivities than by wishing all of you who grace my life everyday the very best for a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. Please be good to each other.

Merry Ho Ho!

Thanksgiving 2013

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Despite recent circumstances that had me questioning the idea of a happy thanksgiving,  there is still much to be grateful and thankful for; to quote my nieces and nephew: 

 “Care deeply, Work with joy, Live with love, Cherish the moments, Dream from your heart.”

 Words to live by.  ❤  

 Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian pals…and to all of you who share your lives with me everyday, thank you.  

Life Just Sucks Sometimes

Life isn’t always fair or right or just and it often doesn’t make sense. Asking why just leads to more questions than answers, and the answers you do get are often never the answers you really want anyway.

The past week has been a very difficult one for my family – my oldest brother Andy passed away, of what we still don’t know for certain yet, and exactly when we don’t know either. Answers I suppose, will come soon enough, but they won’t change the fact that he’s gone, nor will it change the fact that my mom lost her son, my brother Peter and I lost our oldest brother, my sis-in-law and nieces and nephew lost their brother-in-law and Uncle, and most importantly, that his daughters lost their dad while they were continents away. To those of you who I shared the news with once I heard, your thoughts and prayers and support are forever appreciated. Thank you for respecting my wishes of keeping it to yourselves while we waited for my 13 year old niece to get home from Hawaii (she didn’t need to hear about her Uncle via social media first and she won’t be seeing this message for a while, so she can have a little time to absorb the news). As well, Andy’s girls didn’t need to be burdened with questions especially since they’re still so far away on vacation in South Africa.

As many people who know me know, I’m a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and have traveled far and near to see his concerts. Well, I took my brother Andy to see Bruce Springsteen in concert twice; the first time was during the solo Devils and Dust tour in 2005 and while he enjoyed it, he said afterwards that he’d really like to see a full E-Street Band show, so three years later, when Bruce returned to Vancouver with the band for the Magic tour, I took him again. The one song he wanted to hear most of all was The River. I’m so happy that he got his wish that night.

So, if you’re so inclined, as you listen to that performance of The River, please think of your family; if you have siblings nearby hug them, if they’re far away, give them a call. Life is too damn short to wait until tomorrow. ♥

http://youtu.be/j-ma_L3mKBE

Springsteen – Los Angeles Night 2…or as I like to call it: “Fucking Elbows on the Stage Night”!

So far my week of California Springsteen shows had been fantastic. Didn’t make the pit in San Jose, but had a perfect spot right in front of the soundboard. Great show, great crowd, well except for the Stevie Nicks wannabe doing her interpretive dance right in front of me for much of the night (why do all the hair flickers seem to find me?). And really, you can never go wrong with the sexy trifecta of Something in the Night, Candy’s Room and She’s the One. Bam!

LA Night 1 had me in Loge 3…great people around me and it was fun to watch the crowd on the floor during the show, which seemed a little less energetic than San Jose (possibly owing to Springsteen’s Aunt having just passed away the night before, who knows); regardless, the crowd certainly didn’t lack for enthusiasm.

Had GA’s again for LA Night 2 and we had decided that we would get to the arena around 3:30pm this time (calling it our “strategy”, of course, knowing full well that it’s all just a crapshoot), but LA traffic had other plans for us and even though we left for the arena in what we thought was plenty of time, we miscalculated LA traffic and began to panic as we got stuck on the freeway. The decision was made to take an early exit off the freeway to try the surface streets but we were still worried about missing the wristband giveaway, especially when the road we had to be on ended up being closed closer to the arena. Finally after much hand wringing and a few choice words, we got to the arena at about 3:50pm or so to collect our wristbands – 888, 889 and 890 (all those 8’s had to be lucky, right?). 😉

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4:30pm rolls around and they start corralling us into lines for the lottery draw…and the winning number is 877. HOLY SHIT! That means I’m 13th going in and I’m screaming like a little school girl to no one in particular. I’ve made the pit before but never been let in THAT early. They took us down in small groups once we got our second wristbands (the coveted pit band), and once we were on the floor, I couldn’t believe that the front of the center catwalk was still clear, so that’s where I headed and that’s where I stayed for the rest of the night.

I took a pic before the show because I still couldn’t believe I was finally elbows on the stage:

The butterflies had calmed down at this point as I settled into my center spot, when Bruce suddenly appears (an hour before show time) with a group of people, giving what looks to be a tour of the stage. He tells us these are his relatives (and newest members of the E Street Band LOL), grabs an acoustic guitar to strum, poses for a picture with the group (after unsuccessfully trying to figure out how to take a picture himself), then shoos them offstage and PROCEEDS TO PLAY “FOR YOU” on the acoustic guitar to a half empty arena.

The guy is now his own opening act! 😉

I have no idea why I didn’t grab my camera; at this point I think I was just so stunned about what was happening, but at least I took a quick pic with my iPhone. I posted it up on Facebook and Twitter and then just focussed on the rest of the impromptu performance…”see you in a little while” he said, when it was over.  At this point my phone is blowing up with texts and tweets and FB messages and the butterflies are back. Lo and behold, who has re-tweeted my photo & comment but the official twitter account of Bruce Springsteen (you bet I’m taking a screenshot of that):

Being retweeted by Bruce Springsteen

Right after he left the stage, I had to lean over to a guy we had met in line (he and his buddy were also from Vancouver) and say “what the hell just happened here”? LOL

The show starts late, but for the next 3 hours I am transfixed and soaking it all in. A music critic I am not so I won’t get into dissecting the show except to say that it was fucking awesome! I was sweated on, sung to, had my fingers stepped on, got to grab a little (oh okay, a lot of) ass, helped deposit him back onto the stage during crowd surfing time (in what I can only describe as the PERFECT dismount) and get high-fived for it by him after that, got kneeled right in front of and strummed THE guitar during Born to Run for what seemed like the longest time.

Did I mention being kneeled in front of?
(Photo courtesy of Joanne Blum Jackson.)

I haven’t been able to wipe this shit-eating grin from my face ever since. Show number 17 is in the books and I will never forget it.

There really are no words except thank you Bruce Springsteen for a kick-ass show and by far the best concert experience of my life. All I now wanna know is, why the hell isn’t it September 22nd and my next show already (which moving forward will now be referred to as my birthday show)?!? 😉

Oh and THANK YOU LA traffic, cuz without you being hell on wheels we would not have made the pit!

Here are some pics from that magical night:

Here’s a link to all of my LA 2 photos, if you feel like checking the rest out:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/slymphotos/sets/72157629557423054/

Here are photos from LA Night 1:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/slymphotos/sets/72157629916942207/

And just a few from San Jose:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/slymphotos/sets/72157629531718090/

A note to all those a-holes who have labeled the Sedin’s, the “Sisters”…

To all the idiots who have labeled the Sedin’s “the Sisters”.  

Take a look at the hit Henrik took last night from Dustin Brown, take a look at his head hitting the ice, take a look at how shaky he looks trying to get up to the bench and then take a look at him shaking it off, coming back into the game after going off ice briefly and putting in a non-stop 3 minute 21 second shift right after.

Listen to him after the game not complaining and saying it was a clean hit. Those are the Sedin’s; they’re a lot tougher than people give them credit for and a lot tougher then the majority of asshole fans who taunt them day in and day out and call them Sisters.

I’d rather have them on my team then a Crosby.

NHL Playoffs Bring Out The Stupid

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Figures, it would take the NHL playoffs to bring me back to this blog, but what can I say, there’s nothing like the playoffs!

While I do feel that the “official” anything representing an organization should remain neutral and professional, and my initial reaction was that it was troll baiting and kind of classless, the reaction to the @LAKings twitter account by some Canucks fans is so over the top, it’s downright embarrassing. No one even knew the LA Kings had a twitter account before this and now with one tweet, they’re “in the news”.

Ridiculous!

Everyone put your big hockey panties on and concentrate on either playing the game or supporting your team. 

Not all Canucks fans are idiots like the morons who are sounding off about the Kings’ tweets, but I’m sick of them being thought of as the majority of Canucks fans, by other teams’ fans and the media alike. The majority of Canucks fans aren’t the idiots reacting now nor or are they the ones who trashed the city last June, and I for one am sick and tired of being lumped in with those asshats.

It takes four wins to win a Series, and this one is far from over. The Canucks will have to play WAY better to come out of this one with 4 wins, but some people forget that this game can turnaround on a dime. I hope the @LAKings twitter dude knows how to spell karma cuz, more times than not, it has the potential to come back and bite ya on the ass.

Go Canucks Go! 

Vancouver 2010 Olympics!

Well the Olympics are just 5 days away, and while I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about the games coming here when we were first awarded them, I have to admit that as each day passes and we get closer to the Opening Ceremonies I am getting a little excited. Still not happy about the cost over-runs, our homeless and drug trade situations are still a mess and I don’t doubt that while you’ll see all the beautiful things Vancouver (and British Columbia) has to offer, you’ll also see some of the ugly.

In case you weren’t aware, there are some great websites to follow, first and foremost of course is the official Vancouver 2010 website:

Vancouver 2010

From there you can pretty much find out everything you need to know about the Vancouver Games, some interactive kids stuff to help your kids get involved, schedules, torch relay info, etc. I think I heard that Matt Lauer from NBC’s Today Show might be carrying the torch, I know they will be broadcasting live from atop Grouse Mountain during the Olympics so I know you guys in the U.S. will be getting a lot of coverage. For those of you living near the Canadian border and accustomed to watching the Olympics on CBC, be warned that CBC lost out on the rights to cover the Vancouver Games; CTV is the official Canadian broadcaster. That might mean you’ll be stuck with NBC’s coverage. 😆

For those of you who might actually be coming to Vancouver for the games, this site is a must:

Free Stuff to Do During the Games

It’ll point you in the direction of all the free events to check out while here, and given the cost of some of the events, free is very, very good.

Vancouver has slowly been restricting vehicle traffic to the downtown core and you should know there will be no parking near Olympic venues. Therefore, public transportation will be an important thing to know about, and since I work for the company responsible for public transportation, I can say we have a pretty good website to help you get where you’re going. They say waits for the Skytrain (aka subway) could be upwards of 1 to 2 hours, so plan your trips accordingly.

TransLink

My VP and I made a deal that if I could go to Macworld in San Francisco, something I’ve done since 2002, which happens the week prior to the Olympics (I’ll miss the Opening Ceremonies), I would be an Olympic Transit Host – as he put it “tell people where to go”…he might live to regret that. 😉 I’ll be stationed at one of our Skytrain stations on the newly opened Canada Line, near the Curling venue…..with near being a 20 minute walk to the venue.

Of course the crowning glory of most Winter Olympics is the gold medal men’s ice hockey game, which will be played at GM Place, the home of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks – only don’t get confused; for the duration of the Olympics, GM Place will be known as Canada Hockey Place since GM is not one of the sponsors of the Olympics. That’s the one event I wish I could have gotten tickets to, but the cost was just too rich for my blood. I’m just glad my shift ends the day before that game so I can be screaming at my tv cheering on Canada (hopefully they’ll get in to the Gold medal game) and scaring my neighbours. It should be noted that during these Olympic games, the NHL sized rink will be used and not the international sized we’re used to for the Olympics, I think that might be a first.

You can read about that here: NHL Sized Ice for Vancouver 2010

Now if we could get some more snow on Cypress Mountain, the site of freestyle skiing and snowboarding, we’d be good to go!

Oh and if you are attending any events, bring Visa or Cash only; other credit cards and debit cards will NOT be accepted at Olympic venues or when purchasing souvenirs from the official Olympics “store within a store” at The Bay in downtown Vancouver.

Was born and raised in Vancouver, and while there are times I want to leave, there really is no place like it. Looking forward to writing about the Games here.

Welcome to Vancouver!