Rock the Park 2011

I’d like to start off by saying that I should have been a teenager in the 70’s.  Musically at least.  Perhaps from the mid 70’s to the mid 80’s.  I grew up on my parents’ music and it never really left me.  When I was little, my mom got me to clean the house by putting on albums by Bon Jovi, Meat Loaf, and Joan Jett.  These were some of my favourites but there were so many others that lace the memories of my childhood Saturdays as I helped my mother vacuum, dust, declutter and various other chores.

My parents are huge music fans of any kind and I took this personality trait to heart.  I almost always have music of some kind playing wherever I am and I love all different genres.  I re-purchased a great deal of my parent’s albums/tapes on CD when I got older and I now have all these songs on my trusty mp3 player as well.

As you can imagine, because of how much I love music, I’ve been to a lot of concerts.   A few years ago, I had to put myself on a concert/hockey game embargo for a year because I added it up and had spend almost a two grand on them in a little over two years.  For me, that’s a hell of a lot of cash.  So I went a year without concerts and as soon as that was over, I was right back at it.  I saw Three Days Grace and Our Lady Peace (for the third time) almost right away.

One annual concert/festival that my fair city does every year is something that, in my opinion, is really very awesome.  It’s called Rock the Park and it takes place over three days every summer with 12 bands or so participating.  It was started in 2004 to support the Bethany’s Hope Foundation and if I heard it right this year, it has raised over a million dollars for this charity.  Some of my favourite bands have played this concert over the years, such as Journey, Def Leppard, and Alice Cooper.

In the previous 6 years, I’ve always wanted to to go Rock the Park.  My parents went for a lot of the shows and the summer that my sister was working with the RCMP, she worked the beer tent so she got to see the concert for free.  I was always either busy or didn’t have enough money to go and never was able to partake.

This year though, when they announced the line up, I was all over it.  The first night there weren’t a whole lot of bands that I desperately wanted to see but the Friday night was headlined by Meat Loaf and the Saturday had Our Lady Peace performing.  It’s hard to get the opportunity to see bands that were at their massive peak in 10-20 years ago so the opportunity to see Meat Loaf doesn’t come around often and I try to see Our Lady Peace whenever I can because they always put on an amazing show.

As the concert came closer, however, I didn’t manage to get around to getting any tickets.  However, my friend and I ended up with free tickets for the Thursday night show, featuring Trooper, Loverboy, Steppenwolf, and Poison.  Despite the fact that it was the second hottest day ever recorded here in the city of London, we totally went.  It was great.  All kinds of fun people, great music, beer and fun times.

Trooper

Loverboy

Steppenwolf

The most epic thing happened right before Steppenwolf took the stage.  I was waiting for my friend to use the porta-potty (don’t even get me started on these things) when a man came up to me and said, “Do you have fifty bucks?”  Being slightly suspicious, I cautiously inquired as the the reason he would as me such a question.

What he said next had me tingling all over and jumping around in excitement.  He looked at me and said, “I have two tickets to tomorrow night’s show and I can’t use them.  I’ll go as low as $40.00.”  I immediately pulled out my wallet and saw that I $30 left and told him my friend was in the washroom and could he wait a couple minutes.  When she returned I hopped up and down and asked if she had ten bucks.  SHE DID!

We scored two $60 tickets to the Meat Loaf concert for $40.  A savings of $80 to see the concert I most desperately wanted to see.

We didn’t end up staying for Poison because it was freaking 44 degrees with the humidex and we were melting.  We reasoned that we had tickets to the preferred show for both of us and we could deal without seeing Brett Michaels in concert.

We went again the next night, thankfully a much cooler night with more misting stations set up for us to prance through and cool down in.  We got to see Blue Oyster Cult (a little bit of Don’t Fear the Reaper) and Cheap Trick which was just awesome but nothing compared to finally getting to see Meat Loaf live in concert.  It was so cool.  I had been dying to see this concert since I was a little kid with a broom in my hands, belting out Bat Out of Hell even though I didn’t understand what the lyrics meant at all.

The Loaf!!

Patricia could really belt out the female parts to the songs, she was AMAZING!

When he sang Bat Out of Hell, I danced my butt off all over Harris Park!

So in summary, I have now been able to cross another old school yet epic concert off my list.  It’s getting down to the wire, people…some of these bands are getting hard to track down in concerts nearby.  I may have to start travelling more.

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Weird Things Seen In Stores: All Video Game Edition

I’m always on the lookout when wandering around in stores for things that seem odd or funny to me.  I can’t help but snap a picture for later amusement and sharing with my friends.  Lately, I’ve spotted a few different things that seemed quirky or odd to me, all in relation to video games.

Wii Baby

I was shopping at Costco, one of my favourite stores to wander around aimlessly in.  I never miss the section with all the books and video games because they’re always at least five bucks cheaper than anywhere else.  I was in the gaming section when I frowned, seeing a stuffed doll and thinking it was out of place.  I was wrong.  This is an interactive baby that’s also a video game.  Yes folks, that’s right.  As far as I can tell, you shove a Wii-mote up inside the baby and it becomes a video game.  Not only does that sound like something that really didn’t need to be made into a video game, but also the concept of putting the Wii-mote into the baby to make it a video game controller just isn’t right.

Bioshock 2: New vs. Used

I’ve been curious about Bioshock for a long time, but was never able to play it until recently when we got an HD television.  I tried on the boyfriend’s PC once and almost threw up because of the first person perspective.  We were checking out EB games one day and as always, I checked the prices on the used PS3 games.  Bioshock 2 used was priced as $17.99.  On a whim, I checked to see what it was priced as new.  I stared dumbfounded at the price sticker on the new copy that told me it was only $9.99.  I picked them both up and looked at them in shock and then smiled happily to myself as I put the used one back and purchased a brand new copy for myself.  I sincerely hope it was a pricing error and I got to stick it to EB games that day because the prices on their used games generally suck.

Mary-Kate and Ashley's Sweet 16

I remember when these two were on Full House and they were funny and cute and we all learned good moral, family values every Sunday night.  I also remember when I stopped caring about them.  This was in the used PS2 game section at EB and honestly, it kind of ticked me off.  for one thing, the price is $14.99.  Who the hell is going to pay $14.99 for a game about a sweet 16 birthday party…even if it does have Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen in it?  The part that really irked me, however, was written near the bottom right  of the cover.  It says, and I quote, “Real Games for Real Girls”.  Really?  Last time I checked, I was a girl.  I can’t really see myself playing this and haven’t really missed its presence on my shelf beside games like Call of Duty: Black Ops or Resident Evil 5…both of which are MY games.  I get that there are girls that would enjoy this game, to each her own.  I have no problems with that.  What I have a problem is them making it seem like girls have been sitting around forever, waiting for a game to come along that was all about girly pink birthday parties and turning sweet 16.  Finally the day has come.  It’s almost as bad as the stupid Wii Baby.

Dirty Dancing for PC

I loved Dirty Dancing when I was a kid.  I still love it.  It’s one of my favourite movies of all time.  But I can’t understand who would think it would ever make a good video game.  The concept of the movie lends nothing to a video game whatsoever.  In fact, as far as I could tell from reading the back of the case, the premise of the game was that you were staying at the resort in the movie and all you do is play little mini games.  It is like a million other pieces of shovelware out there and they decided to slap a classic movie title on it, hoping to sell more copies.

Scott Pilgrim at Starbucks

I actually saw this one last fall and it isn’t something I found weird.  I found it to be totally awesome.  I know that the Scott Pilgrim thing is actually a comic book and a movie as well, but it counts as a video game because I own the video game and freaking love it.  It’s also awesome, because I love Pumpkin Spice Latte and was thrilled to see its return with the approaching Thanksgiving/Halloween season.  Whomever drew this rules as a Barrista, a nerd and a human being in general.  My hat off to them.

Why I Win at Mortal Kombat (When Playing Against the Boyfriend)

Jade, one of my faves

Let me begin by saying that I really am not very good at Mortal Kombat.  I can manage well enough, but for the most part, I’m always just button mashing and when I do something nifty, it’s almost always by luck.

There are a few moves by my favourite characters that I have memorized, but my timing is always off and I never do them on purpose at appropriate times.  So why, you ask, do I always win against the boyfriend?  Because I always play as one of the female characters.  He asked me once why I did this and I simply stated, “Because it helps me win.”

I like playing the girl characters for several reasons.  One, they are fast and light and very “kicky”.  I like this.  I spend

Sonya, the longest legs for being kicky

most of my time bouncing around and kicking at my opponent and then bouncing out of the way again.  Sort of like a cartoon character on speed.

Secondly, it’s so very rare in a game that I get to play a girl, that I’ll take the opportunity to do so.  Don’t get me wrong, a good game is a damn good game, but I’m still a girl and it’s easier to identify with the character I’m playing if they’re

a female.  In Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and every other role playing game I’ve ever played, I always make a female character.

Thirdly, and I hate to say it because I know that it sounds so bad on my part, but I use these scantily clad characters to distract the boyfriend and win the game.

Mileena, the boyfriend's fave

I noticed it the first time we played the game together.  The boyfriend actually knows most of the moves for his fave characters so it was difficult to play along but I commented a couple of times on the costumes strips of cloth the characters I was playing were wearing and he got distracted looking at them.  I won.

I then pointed out the, shall we say, largeness of the assets on the female characters and I won again.  It was awesome.  I had a secret weapon and this was not one of those times when a girl should be annoyed by her boyfriend looking at the half undressed video game chick on the screen.  I love games and I can learn all the moves and skillfully navigate my way through complicated dungeons and solve puzzles with the best for them…but I can’t play fighters.

I’m a button masher and any kind of boost in my arsenal is acceptable.  Besides, I will say the characters are all very well done.  They’re pretty and they’re colourful and they kick ass.  So what if they’re half naked.  Perhaps in Outworld, that’s how things go.  The only one that confuses me is Sonya anyway.  She’s supposed to be a special agent of some kind.  I wouldn’t think her outfit would be very effective on the job.  Mostly I think her boobs would fall out and the bad guys might fall down while staring at them, but that’s about it.

Besides, I have to admit that I can’t have a double standard about this anyway.  If the boyfriend can sit around with me while we play Resident Evil 5 and I comment on how buff Chris Redfield is or when I drool over Nathan Drake in Uncharted and he never says a word, then I can certainly allow him to ogle the very well animated women of Mortal Kombat.

I always say there’s no room for a double standard when it comes to men and women.  If I’m allowed to ogle, so is he and everyone can be happy when gathered around the PS3, no matter what we’re playing.

The Creepiest Mannequins Ever

Remember back when Old Navy commercials were kind of catchy?  They always had some dancing, some trendy little pop song, some lame theme going on for whatever they were selling.  If it was winter, they were playing in the snow with their Old Navy mittens and scarves, in the summer, they were wearing flip flops that they got at Old Navy for a moderate price.

I didn’t mind those commercials.  I wasn’t on the edge of my seat waiting for a new one to come around, but they weren’t horrible.

Now, however, their commercials are absolutely atrocious.  I HATE them with a passion and can’t stand it when they come on the television.  In case you don’t know what I’m talking about (and if you don’t, you’re damn lucky), I’ll enlighten you.  The following is a photograph of that which is so creepy.

The Old Navy Mannequins

Don’t worry, the photograph itself can’t hurt you.  I’m not completely certain about the ones in the store, though.  I tend to avoid them.  With their happy little smiles and their inane conversations on the commercials, they’re they most shudder inducing mascots I’ve seen for anything.  There’s even a freaking DOG!  What’s with that.  He can’t wear clothes and has no business advertising a human clothing store.

And the dialogue! I can’t stand it…if these are real world problems of people who shop at old navy, then I’m going to have to stop shopping there.  And I love their tank tops so I don’t want to.

Yes, that’s right…she needs new jeans.  While they’re nice jeans, buying them is not a horrible, life changing event that would cause her grinning idiot of a plastic boyfriend to spaz out.  I could see that reaction if she’d dropped the bomb that she was going to have his grinning, idiot plastic baby, but not because she was going to buy new jeans.  I just don’t get it.  I want the days of the trendy pop songs about sweaters back.

Movie Review: Killer Klowns from Outer Space

The boyfriend and I had an experience lately that bears repeating.  We were bored one night, flipping through Netflix, and arguing about what to watch.  Finally, he suggested Killer Klowns from Outer Space.  I was annoyed enough with the flipped that I just said that was fine and he could put on whatever he wanted.  So he chose this one and we settled in to watch.

I will start by saying that I hope to hell that whomever made this movie intended for it to be as over the top ridiculous and cheesy as it was because if they were actually going to frightening, they failed on an epic level.

In rating it on the Cheese Scale, I give it a good rating.  This means it is it was quality cheese.  These movies are amusing, contain a the right amount of humour and character likeability with an amusing plotline.  The downside is, there’s not a whole lot of rewatch value to these ones.

I will say that the reason I liked the characters is that they were acted so badly.  I laughed my ass off at their apparently intended serious acting that was so awful, it blew a school play out of the water.  I love stuff like that, it makes my bad eighties movie just that much better.  To give you a run down of the bizarre and sometimes baffling things this movie had to offer, let me share some of the finer points of the film with you.

Just in case you care, there are definitely spoilers in this post.  If you are peeing your pants in anticipation to see this film, don’t read the rest of this or you will be saddened and dismayed.

First of all, the Klowns come to Earth in what can be described as a falling star/spaceship/circus tent.  Yes, their spaceship appears as a circus tent.  The first person to find this tent is an old man thinking he’s going to get rich and his blood hound named Poo.  That’s right, his dog’s name is Poo.  I believe at one point he calls it Pooh Bear, but it’s funnier the other way, so that’s what I go by.

The main character breakdown is as follows:

1. An old police officer who hates all the young punks in town (anyone under thirty) and continually mumbles monologues about how he hates those crazy kids.  Somewhat akin to the unmasked villain at the end of every episode of Scooby Doo.

2. College guy and girl up on make out hill who see the falling star and make the discovery and try to warn everyone.

3. Young police officer who is more open minded and used to date the chick that was on make out hill.

4. The moron twins who drive an ice cream truck and think that it will get them laid.  They talk rather like the teenager on The Simpsons with the squeaky voice.

The generic teenager working all the crappy jobs.

The Klowns themselves are bizarre.  They are really tall, look like they’re wearing blow up clown outfits and have very creepy but also very fake looking rubbery faces with yellowed, pointy teeth.  I’m actually fairly certain they spent most of the budget on the costumes for the Klowns.  They kill people by shooting them with a ray gun that cocoons them in cotton candy and then liquefies them, allowing the Klowns to insert silly straws (yes, silly straws) and suck them out through that.  Grotesque yet humourous.

They also have guns that shoot popcorn at people.  In the beginning, I was unsure as to what this would accomplish but apparently the popcorn later turns into snakes with Klown heads that try to eat you.  This just confused me to no extent.  Why would popcorn do this?  Eggs I could see, but popcorn is so buttery and delicious that I can’t see it harming me.  Though, I guess I couldn’t imagine being liquified by cotton candy and sucked up through a silly straw either, so there you go.  Something I found particularly amusing was the creation of a balloon animal dog that followed a scent trail.

During the inevitable takeover of the town, a biker gets his head punched off by the little Klown after the biker breaks his little bicycle (the Klown was wearing little boxing gloves at the time and acting quite impish).  A shadow puppet on a wall captures several peoples’ attention, then the several people and they are fed to a bag of popcorn…and we all know what happens when the popcorn gets involved.  There is a car chase involving a little Klown car, an ice cream truck, and a police car which is just ridiculous.  During all this, the townspeople are being collected up in their cotton candy cocoons with a giant vacuum on the Klown car.

One of my favoured discoveries in this film was the way to kill them.  Are you ready for this?  Pop their big, red noses.  Yes folks, that’s right.  The Klowns’ weakness is that giant red nose they all sport and by destroying it, they will spin around in a bright green tornado, turn into a crystal and then explode.

Just as a random observation, by the way, the main chick changed into leg warmers in the second half of the movie and then was kidnapped inside a giant balloon and taken back to the space ship.  I think she deserved it because the leg warmers were polka-dotted.

And now, for the final battle.  We arrive at the local amusement park, where the Klowns have moved the space ship to better disguise it.  Five Klowns get out of a tiny car and kill a security guard with pies…he melted and the little clown put a cherry on top of the goo pile.  This was awesome.  The boyfriend and I laughed quite a bit.  The ice cream truck losers fell into a ball pit with two girl clowns with giant, inflatable boobs.  They were in heaven.  They (dumb ass preppy guy and young cop) rescued the leg warmer chick and then they all tried to escaped.  Dumb ass preppy guy (wearing an argyle sweater) opens a door and finds another door.  He commented loudly, “Another Door!”.  This gag is repeated and every time he says, “Another Door!” like it’s the biggest shock in the world

The last boss (yes, I play too many video games) was a giant Klown with a crocodilian style head.  There was no special effort in finding his weakness, it was the same as the smaller Klowns.  The young cop popped his nose with his badge.  The spaceship blew up and that was pretty much it.

I love cheesy movies and this delivered on that whether it was intentional or not.  There was some unfinished business, however, that bothered me at the end.  How did the moron twins escaped the big boobed Klowns and why it was never defined whether leg warmer chick officially wanted young cop (that would be my choice) or dumb ass preppy guy in the argyle sweater?  The three of them just hugged at the end.  Though perhaps after all their harrowing trials, they will form a permanent threesome and live happily ever after.

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Random Thursday Playlist – Week 2

So another Thursday came and went and I found myself paying more attention to the random songs that were playing on my mp3 player again.  I don’t know what it is about Thursdays, perhaps for some reason I need something to distract me on Thursday mornings.  I used to think that Wednesdays were the worst out of the week, but I’m starting to think that Thursdays really suck the most.  It’s so close to the weekend, but still…it’s not yet Friday.  On Thursday, I know that there’s still one more day of the week before I can sleep in.

So here are the 25 random songs that greeted me on this previous Thursday morning:

1. Tubthumping – Chumbawamba: I know that this song is pretty freaking stupid but I love it.  It’s got the dumbest lyrics and I still dance to it every time.

2. She Bangs – Ricky Martin: Yes, that’s right.  I have Ricky Martin on my mp3 player…but just that one song.  I don’t know how it snuck into my “I like it” list of songs, but it did.  Ryan, if you’re reading this, I totally blame you.

3.  Independent Woman – Destiny’s Child: I wasn’t a huge fan of Destiny’s Child, but I love movies where chicks kick ass.  As corny as it was, I loved Charlie’s Angels.  They kicked everyone’s asses in that movie and it was awesome.  Also, Bill Murray is awesome in everything.

4. Eye – Smashing Pumpkins: Lost Highway was a screwed up movie.  I mean, completely messed up.  I was totally sober when I watched that movie and I didn’t understand a single thing that was happening for the entire film.  However, this song was on the soundtrack and it’s freaking awesome.  I love Smashing Pumpkins from back in the day.

5. Changes – Butterfly Boucher ft. David Bowie: The Shrek soundtracks (at least for the first two movies) were freaking awesome.  They had so many great songs and I love this one.  Bowie rocks…he’s had my fan devotion since I was 11 years old and saw The Labyrinth at a friend’s birthday party.

6. Happiness and the First – Our Lady Peace: I LOVE Our Lady Peace.  They have been my favourite band since high school and the only band for which I have purchased every album and gone to every concert that came to my area.  They totally rock and I will probably hit every other concert they play anywhere near here.

7. Lithium – Nirvana: I do have to admit that I wasn’t really a huge fan of Nirvana until I met the boyfriend.  He’s a total fan boy and he got me into them.  It was like a homework assignment; I had to take CD’s to work and listen to them while I was there and I do really enjoy a lot of their music now.

8. Bleed It Out – Linkin Park: I will admit to a wee bit of a crush on Chester Bennington and I love Linkin Park’s style.  If any musical group ever got the combination of rock/hip hop type genres right, it was this band.

9. Through With You – Maroon 5: This one is a repeat off last week’s playlist.  I really like Maroon 5.

10. The First Cut is the Deepest – Sheryl Crow: I’m actually rather proud that this is the closest thing to an emo song that I have on my mp3 player.

11. Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Poison: Yeah, sometimes I like the old school 80’s ballads.  I think this is my mother’s influence (though not specific to this song/band I’m sure).  She usually had me rocking out to Bon Jovi and I picked up some others along the way.

12. Should I Stay or Should I Go Now – The Clash: I am not really a huge fan of The Clash, but I definitely respect how awesome this song is.

13. Cupid’s Chokehold – Gym Class Heroes: Honestly, this song isn’t that great.  I think my cousin had it on her mp3 player when we went to Florida and I heard it  a few times and it grew on me.  It has since grown away from me and I’ve simply failed to remove it from my own mp3 player.

14. Angel – Sarah McLachlan: This is one that will always bring back memories of my Grandfather.  My cousins sang it at his funeral and even though it makes me sad to hear it every time, I can’t bring myself to take it off the player.

15. Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell ft. Michael Jackson: This is a very odd song.  The chorus rocks (because MJ sings it) but the rest of it is just so weird.  But it’s Michael Jackson…so it’s still awesome.

16. XO – Fallout Boy: First of all, this band named themselves after a fictional superhero sidekick from The Simpsons, so right away, they get awesome credit for that.  For another thing, until Ashlee Simpson went all Yoko on the band, they were a fun bunch to listen to and their videos were intriguing most of the time.  I miss them and it makes me a sad panda.

17. Heartbreak Warfare – John Mayer: That’s right…a John Mayer song reached the list.  I don’t know how and I don’t know why…it simply made it in.

18. For a Change – Neal McCoy: I picked up a compilation of country music way back in the day while I was at The Beat Goes On (totally great used CD/DVD/video game store where I never fail to find things at great prices).  It looked alright so I picked it up.  This was on it…end of explanation.

19. No Fear – Terry Clark: She’s marvelous and she’s Canadian.  I love her music, it’s some of the best country music out there.

20. Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind: I love that this song is about meth use and they used it in the sound track for The Tigger Movie.  It just makes me smile.

21. November Rain – Guns and Roses: This one is all compliments of my Dad.  Mom contributed a lot to my musical tastes over the years, but my tastes for heavier stuff (and oddly enough, ABBA) came from my Dad.  Thanks, Dad.

22. Santa Monica – Theory of a Deadman: The boyfriend will be glad to know that, so far, no Nickelback has made it onto the random playlists for the world to see that his girlfriend actually likes them.  However, he’ll probably think that this is close enough.

23. I Don’t Want to Wait – Paula Cole: Hey, I’m of the age that Dawson’s Creek was the sh*t back in the day. (I always rooted for Joey and Pacey)

24. Paradise by the Dashboard Light – Meat Loaf: All I can say is, I’m a huge fan of the Loaf.  I love it…this was another contribution from my mother.  I killed her Bat out of Hell tape and bought it for myself on CD a few years later.  I loved him in The Rocky Horror Picture Show for his one scene as Eddie and he was great as Bob in Fight Club.  Everytime one of his songs plays on my radio in the car, the boyfriend says it sounds like they’re from a musical.  My answer every time is that I would totally go see that musical, buy the DVD should they film it and also pick up the soundtrack.  A message to Meat Loaf…do it up Mama Mia! style and I’m there!

25. Alberta Bound – Paul Brandt: rounding things off with a great little Canadian number in the country genre.  Love this song, I always have to sing along at the top of my lungs in the car.  Though I do have to admit, I’ve never actually been Alberta bound.  I generally stay around the Southwestern area of Ontario.  I’m not really one for traveling.