Monday, August 29, 2016

Oompah Loompah Doompedee Do

The film adaption of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" came out not too long before I was born and has long remained one of my favourite childhood movies.  (The 1964 Roald Dahl book is quite likely one of the first fantasy-type books I read when I was learning to read on my own.) Its main character was a quirky, blue-eyed figure who made a teachable moment without sounding preachy.  Perhaps I'm starting to sound my age but I much prefer these older style of imaginative stories that used real people and bright colours compared to a lot of the computer-generated pablum we see today.  I never saw the 1995 remake of the original film and don't intend to.

At any rate, to get back on topic, I was quite saddened to hear of the death of Gene Wilder who will forever be known to me as Willy Wonka.  While I know he did do other work and play other characters, for me at least, Willy Wonka was his defining role. As with the passing of a figure who was part of my childhood, I'll admit it was tough not shed a bit of a tear.  Thoughts of oompah loompahs solemnly carrying his casket did bring a smile to my face and I'm sure Mr. Wilder would have  seen the humour in that.                                                                                                 

Thank you Mr. Wilder for being part of my childhood. 

Monday, August 15, 2016


It seems that we had a really short summer on account of all the drama back in May.  The past few days I've really started to notice the daylight getting shorter.  I still get home before the sun sets (at a little after pm) but that won't last too much longer).  And while it may mean that fall is around the corner, it also means that the upcoming concert season is fast approaching as well.

With the season schedules in hand (Calgary actually mailed one to me.  Aren't I special?) for both Edmonton and Calgary, I began planning out concerts that I can get to on my days off.  The work schedule I have only runs to the end of the calendar year but I sat down recently and worked out my work schedule on paper all the way until next June so that I could plan out the entire concert season.  My schedule could potentially change but I don't see it happening any time soon which allows me to predict future concert dates with a reasonable degree of certainty.

I even have a potential concert planned to see the Vancouver Symphony in late November.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to see it given the distance and the fact that hotels in Vancouver seem to be priced just as insanely as its other property prices.  But hey, its the VSO so how many opportunities will I really get to see something like that?  And for a Rachmaninoff piano concerto and a symphony by Sibelius, I'd gladly do what I could to make it there.

As for my Edmonton and Calgary concerts, it really is amazing how much great music I could potentially see.  I doubt I will be able to get to all the concerts on my list but I'll give it a shot.  I plan to be as prudent as possible to fit as many in as I can at any rate.  

The list is just so Edmonton there's Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 21 and the "Haffner" Symphony, Chopin's Piano Concerto no.2,  Vivaldi's "The 4 Seasons" (overplayed but seeing the entire thing live will still be a treat.), the Faure Requiem, the Dvorak Cello Concerto(!), Brahms' Symphony no.2, Sibelius' Symphony no. 7, and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (take THAT wild fire for messing up my chance to see in Calgary back in May!

As for Calgary, there's Chopin's Piano Concerto no.1, the Brahms Requiem, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Shostakovich's Symphony no.9, Mahler's 9th Symphony, Mozart's Piano Concerto no.21 again (because hey, why hear it once when you can hear it twice?), Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 23, and his lone bassoon concerto, Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony, Beethoven's Piano Concerto no.3 (a personal favourite) and his 6th Symphony, "The Planets" by Gustav Holst and a golden opportunity to see the Juno-winning Gryphon Trio perform.

It's all just so tantalizing. It's happening soon....and it all kicks off September 30 in Edmonton.

Monday, August 1, 2016


As if dealing with the aftermath of the largest civil evacuation in Alberta history wasn't  enough,  parts of the city are now dealing with the aftermath of yesterday's deluge of rain.  I suspected it was going to be an unusual day when I was woken up early yesterday morning by some pretty intense thunder and lightening.  

In a span of about 2 hours the city reportedly received something in the neighbourhood of 85mm of rain and I found myself nervously checking my basement for signs of water throughout the course of the day.  My side yard resembled a small lake at one point as did one patch on my neighbour's front lawn but fortunately the rain soaked right in to the ground and was pretty much back to normal by day's end.  

Other parts of town didn't fair as well though and  Gregoire and downtown  did experience some flooding.  This is the worst we've had since the 2013 flood which did some significant damage to parts of downtown.  One of those areas hardest hit was our heritage park which after being closed for three years for repairs is actually scheduled to finally reopen tomorrow.  I'm hoping to get down there to pay a long overdue visit on my next set of days off.  I held my breath as I checked their Facebook page for news that it hadn't been hit again and all indications are that it is okay.

Here a few photos of Gregoire that I gleaned off of social media.

I really do feel for those who have come back from May's forest fire who are now dealing with the wrath of Mother Nature yet again.  It seems as if this community just can't catch a break.  If I do know one thing though, it's that this is a very resilient and determined community.