Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Face on a lunch box

Davy Jones, 1945-2012
I was saddened to hear that Davy Jones, lead singer of the teen idol band The Monkees had passed away this morning at the age of 66.  Thinking about The Monkees brings back a personal recollection for me.  I had their faces for company every day at lunch time when I was in grade 2 back in 1968-69.  Our grade 2 class was so big from the last batch of baby boomers that some of us had to be bussed to the next town where they had a smaller enrollment.  I wasn't all that familiar with The Monkees as our tiny town only had one channel - CBC, which didn't carry their TV show.  So when it came time to pick a lunch box, I think it was The Beatles one I really wanted -- but it sold out!

I remembered my lunch kit as a sky blue colour but the only ones I could find a picture of were white.  I was fairly sure it wasn't white so I kept looking and BINGO! I found it.  Apparently only the ones manufactured in Canada were blue.  You will never guess how much it would be worth today (had I kept it in mint condition-- yeah right!)  One just sold recently for $374.00!

Here are some other examples.  
Did anyone have one of these?
Come to think of it, I don't remember my thermos looking like that blue and white one. I think mine was like the red capped one on the far right?  So far my memory has served me well.  Too bad I can't find an exact match, but nevermind.

This started out to be a post about Davy Jones and The Monkees, but since I really don't know much more than that this was one of my older sister's records, it is now about my lunch box and about me in Grade Two.  I remember the principal used to oversee our lunchroom, which was upstairs in one of the older kids' classrooms.  All the other kids went home for lunch as we were the only bus students.  No one ate lunch at school in those days.  There were very few working mothers.  I had a working mother.  She didn't work because we needed the money.  She was a career woman type who married late and wanted her own spending money.   If the moms were working, there were older siblings, or fathers, aunts, grandparents or neighbours that could be counted on to look after the children during the lunch hour.  Nowadays hardly anyone ever goes home for lunch. Nobody is home.  Our school had to start offering lunch time supervision because otherwise we kept losing students to the Catholic school which did have it.

Back to my lunch room.  This principal  was a short, older woman with her hair in a severe bun at the back of her head.  She was very no nonsense, strict and taciturn.  We had to be very quiet while eating or it was bad for our digestion.  There were rules about the order of eating things.  She monitored everything.  I remember I got heck once for not peeling an orange properly.  We all had to stop and watch one certain student peel her orange as she was doing it in the prescribed manner!

But not everything was bad at that school.  I liked my teacher, I always enjoyed school anyway, and recess was especially fun because I got to hang out with some new kids for a change.  I also met my future husband at that school!  We were in a split grade, and he was one of the grade three boys in our class.  I barely remember him as he was very quiet.  He says he remembers me singing at recess to "Que Sera, Sera".  I had forgotten I used to sing that!  I remember I loved singing on the bus ride home. Usually I would be singing Julie Andrews songs, like "My Favourite Things" and "Do Re Mi" but also "Just a Spoonful of Sugar" and Supercalifragilistikexpialidocious"!

Now that I'm a grown up career lady (that's a matter of opinion), I've been thinking I should treat my lunch with a bit more respect.  I've been bringing it in a shopping bag for years and I'm getting pretty tired of that.  Perhaps I need something more like this to make my lunch time more interesting...

Davy Jones, I tip my thermos to you for your inspiration!

How about it?  Does anybody else want to design an RA lunch box?  Send me your designs and I will display them here!  Who knows, maybe someday we will see some in the stores?

Monday, February 27, 2012


I have to thank Netflix for introducing me to this show.

Season 5 premiere trailer (2009)

She's gorgeous
And so is he!
I have finally found a TV series that both my husband and I can enjoy together.  He can ogle the female lead (Emily Deschanel as forensic anthropologist Temperance "Bones" Brennan) while I do the same for the male lead (David Boreanaz as FBI special agent Seeley Booth).  I wasn't completely taken with the the whole concept at first.  Deschanel's character was completely social inept and kept making irritating remarks like "I don't know what that means" for every reference to pop culture that it seemed like she must have existed in a cave.  I also didn't like it when Boreanaz's character kept referring to the scientists as "squints".  Seriously?  Do people really use that term, especially in front of the people they work with?   But the series grew on me because it is not meant to be taken too seriously.  It is actually pretty darn funny!  The romantic tension is very believable too, with lots of longing looks and witty banter, adventures and always a murder to solve, and sometimes one of them is in danger and the other one has to rescue them!  And did I mention the humour?  That's the best part.  Romance and humour - it gets me everytime!

As much as I enjoy ogling David Boreanaz's good looks, he is certainly no Richard Armitage, as was disappointingly obvious in the season 4 2-part premiere where they visit England. Booth has a melt-down in the middle of a traffic circle because he's annoyed that things aren't exactly the way they are back home.  Can we say "ugly American"?  I was not impressed.

Other than that episode, I really enjoy the humour and romantic sparks between the lead characters and also other cast members of T.J. Thyne as entomologist Jack Hodgins and Michaela Conlin as artist Angela Montenegro.

We have been watching an episode or two almost every day since December.  You might say we're addicted.  My husband remarked lately that he is glad we don't have to wait a whole week between episodes!  So now we have just started season 4 while they are on season 7 in the real world.  I have heard some of what to expect as the story moves along, but please -- no big spoilers!

Oh yeah, one more thing - I love the theme music!

Yes. I do like this series, and I make no bones about it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Canada's thriving music industry owes much to this man

(October 17, 1922 - February 21, 2012)

It may seem strange to honour a bureaucrat, but this man served his country with a passion for the artistic talents of its people, and the vision to lead the way to a future which promised a share in it.
In 1949 he began his career at the National Film Board, and in 1968 he became  the first chairman of the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Television Committee). Juneau caused much controversy by bringing in Canadian content rules.  A law was passed forcing Canadian radio stations to play 30% Canadian content during peak hours of air play.  At the time there were very few Canadian performers who had recordings available.  Most of our talent had to venture to the larger audiences of the U.S. to find fame.  So it was an awful lot of Anne Murray, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Gordon Lightfoot until radio hosts were able to find new talent to draw from.

It was a case of supply meeting demand.  Since radio needed more Canadian music, many new record producers sprang up looking for new singers and songwriters and bands to promote.  Is it any wonder then that Pierre Juneau is so honoured today by the Canadian music industry?  Canada's equivalent of the Grammy Award is named the Juno (a simplified spelling of his name).  In 1971 he was honoured as Canadian Music industry Man of the Year and given his own Juno Award.  He went on to become the head of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) from 1982 to 1989 where he increased Canadian content to 95% which also helped to encourage new Canadian production companies.

Here is a web page by the Canadian Songwriters Virtual Hall of Fame.

The CBC's tribute:

Monday, February 20, 2012

FanstRAvaganza 3

Graphic art by Bccmee
Yes, it is almost that time of year again my friends.  That magical week when all those who wish to blog about Richard Armitage may band together and celebrate.  It is the Third Annual FanstRAvaganza!  Mark your calendars for March 12-18 so you don't miss it!

Begun with a simple suggestion from Maria Grazia of Fly High! to Nat of Richard Armitage Fanblog, it grew from the beginning 7 participants to just over double at 15 blogs last year.  This year it has more than doubled and become even more complex.  With 10 anchor blogs leading the way, there will also be 24 tag team bloggers -- a grand total of 34 participating blogs!

Here is this year's line up:

      Anchor Bloggers:
        1.   Servetus @ Me + Richard Armitage
        2.   Traxy @ The Squeee
        3.   Nat @ Richard Armitage Fan Blog
        4.   Christine @ CDoart
        5.   Bccmee @ Richard Armitage Vids & Graphics
        6.   Frenz @ RA Frenzy
        7.   Mulubinba @ An RA Viewer's Perspective
        8.   Fanny @ Distracted Musings of One ReAlity
        9.   Judiang @ Confessions of a Watcher
        10. Jonia @ Jonia's Cut
      Tag Team participants:
      A is for Armitage
      An Obsessed Fanatic
      Avalon's Realm
      C.S. Winchester
      Cerridwen Speaks
      Crispin's Eclipse
      Do I Have a Blog?
      Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Country Life
      Fly High!
      Funky Blue Delphinium
      I Want to be a Pinup!
      Just Another Armitage Fan
      La Loba
      Me, My Thoughts & Richard Armitage
      Melanie's Musings
      Mr John Thornton
      Musings & Other Enigmas
      Phylly's Faves
      Searching for MY Mr. Darcy
      Something About Love (A)
      y que iba yo a contar
      White Rose: Sincere and Simple Thoughts

    As you can see I will be a tag along blogger this year.  I have only committed myself to 2 posts, after last year's juggernaut of 8 posts!  I will be away from home during the week so I hope I will be able to keep in touch from using my Kobo e-reader. Have fun everyone!

    You will be able to follow along on Facebook by liking the FanstRAvaganza page.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012


    I will admit it, I am a lover of chocolate! The smooth, rich, melt-in-your-mouth, dark sweetness is a temptation too difficult for me to resist.

    Shall I compare thee to a chocolate bar?
    Thou art more smooth and more sweet:
    No calories can I gain from afar
    To witness all your work is my treat
    If my imagination causes me to melt
    Over consumption may cause my complexion to dim
    Even more might make love handles felt!
    By chance I found you, looked for more on a whim
    And now my craving I cannot deny
    I seek you out -- my mind in such a haze
    I look, I listen and I sigh
    To velvet richness of voice, brooding azure gaze.

    As long as you are there and I can see
    I will continue both to sigh and squee!
    (With apologies to William Shakespeare)

    I found this funny German video quite awhile ago and I have been waiting to share it with you.  A rough translation follows, but I am sure you will get the gist of it!

    John Thornton vs. Chocolate / by miltonlass

    I found an English translation for this song from a commenter on a blog called Dans Mon Cafe about the German singer Trude Herr.
    "I never have any dates. At the very most I get to go for a short walk with my parents. But my father says, this is how it should stay and gives me chocolate (as compensation). But recently I just exploded because chocolate's simply not what I want.
    (refrain): I don't want any chocolate! What I want's a man! I want someone to kiss me! And make me weak and defenceless! 
    I celebrated my birthday just a while ago, together with my aunts, who gave me flowers and chocolate. But I yelled "I don’t want that anymore!"
    Last Sunday I bought lottery tickets at the fair and won. But the prize disappointed me a lot. Because I got a teddy bear, chocolate, and marzipan. I threw it all angrily into the crowd while screaming at the lottery ticket seller: 
    Just Sayin'

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    My Guitar Man

    Lorenzo Pagans and Auguste de Gas,
    the Artist's Father. c.1871-72 by Edgar Degas
    When my husband turned 40 I was all set to put up with-the dreaded "mid-life crisis".  I thought he might want to buy a car with a souped-up engine, or return to his motorcycle riding early days or worse yet, decide he had more wild oats that needed sowing!

    But no, at the age of 40 my dear husband decided it was time to learn to play guitar!  And he did so, with only the help of a DVD and the occasional lesson with a fellow player.  He is now some 10 years later, quite good at it, although still too shy to play in public.

    But that's okay because I enjoy his private concerts, especially when we sing together.  He even taught himself to sing on key from a video!

    The first song I'd like to feature is from the early '70s and has a calm and peaceful vibe. It's by the group Bread headed by lead singer and songwriter David GatesThe lyrics describe very well the attractiveness a guitar player has for me.

    Guitar Man / Bread (1972)

    I have had a fondness for John Denver ever since I first heard him singing Take Me Home Country Roads.  My favourite of his songs was Annie's Song, and it still has the power to make me teary.  He wrote this song about his wife, who later left him.  I don't think I could ever leave a man who wrote me a song like that!

    Here he is singing about his old guitar. In his introduction to the song he tells us the history of it and his song explains why it is so important to him.  The guitar was cremated with him after he was killed in a plane crash in 1997.  His ashes were spread over the Colorado Rocky mountains.

    This Old Guitar / John Denver (1974)

    portrait of John Hiatt by Jim McGuire
    My husband's excellent taste in music was my introduction to John Hiatt.  I came to really appreciate his raunchier sound, and especially his lyrical style. One of my favourite of his songs is The River Knows Your Name which I posted on my All Wet blog post last summer.

    In this next song Perfectly Good Guitar I can't help but agree with him when he sings:

    It breaks my heart to see those stars
    smashing a perfectly good guitar
    I dont know who they think they are
    smashing a perfectly good guitar.

    I never understood that practise of Rock stars smashing their guitars on stage. What a waste!

    Perfectly Good Guitar / John Hiatt (1993)

    Neil Young's album Prairie Wind is so special to me.  In it, he explores his youth living on the prairies of his Canadian home in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  He developed the album after a terrible interlude in his life where he almost died from a brain tumour.  This caused him to reflect on his past, how he came to be the person he was, and which direction he should take in his future.

    This video comes from his performance at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.  Jonathan Demme filmed his concert there in a movie called Heart of Gold. It is a very moving film and the best concert movie I have ever seen. In this song he is accompanied by Emmylou Harris.
    UPDATE: 24/09/13 (The original video is no longer available, so I have replaced it with this one from a benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Katrina).

    This Old Guitar / Neil Young (2005)

    *****UPDATE (Feb. 10, 2012)******

     I have realized that I should have included one of my favourite guitarists and singer/songwriters of all.  George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps takes his love of his guitar to almost spiritual levels. When I stumbled upon this fanmade video I knew I had to add it to this post.  The video shows George Harrison as a young Beatle cavorting with his bandmates, and in his solo career after The Beatles' breakup. Throughout he is shown playing various types of guitars. His sense of humour and his pensive otherworldliness really come through for the camera.  It is a wonderful video!

    I look at the world and I notice it's turning
    While my guitar gently weeps
    With every mistake we must surely be learning
    Still my guitar gently weeps.

    I thought this might be the best I could do until...

    I discovered Heirs of Durin's fabulous post about how various musicians are reproducing the song first heard from the Hobbit trailer.  She has found sheet music,  a piano version and of course a guitar version!  And being the talented graphic artist that she is, here what she came up with when trying to imagine Thorin Oakenshield playing it on guitar.

    It certainly works for me!

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Austensibly* in Bath!

    OR Phylly's Bath time (part 2).  *Title explanation.
    On a previous post (which I began in September!), I reported that I had taken a bus tour in July 2010 and visited the Roman Baths Museum in Bath, UK.  However, there is another reason why visiting Bath is so interesting, especially if you are a fan of the novels of Jane Austen, as I am.  Jane Austen lived for a time in Bath and also used the location as a setting in her novels, particularly Persuasion.

    Bath is a very picturesque small city, situated in the Avon Valley. The steep streets rise from the river up to the Cotswald Hills. It is a place I hope to return to because I certainly didn't have enough time to take in all the beauty of its vistas, its architecture and its historical sites. 

    My Bus Tour Guide
    Our bus trip was to visit the Roman Baths Museum.  When we arrived at our stop beside Bath Abbey, with the Museum right around the corner, our guide explained that our guided tour would begin in a half an hour.  So we had that much time to explore the area on foot before the tour started.  My goal was to find the Jane Austen Centre.  Luckily there were well labelled street signs everywhere but I had no idea how far away it would be.  I gave myself 15 minutes to find it so that I knew I could get back on time.  I started in the direction the street sign gave me.  The street inclined steadily upward so it was a bit of a workout but I was in  better walking shape from my previous jaunts than I had been since I arrived on England's shores.
    After 15 minutes of hiking uphill following the signs I still hadn't reached my goal.  I stopped to consider my options.  I decided it couldn't be very far off (this was complete optimistic conjecture), but as the way back was all downhill it would be a quicker return trip.  The clincher was I was in dire need of a toilet!  Less than five minutes later I reached my goal!

    I was met at the entrance by a life-sized statue of a lady in Regency costume whom I assumed was supposed to represent the authoress, or at least one of her characters!   After nodding respectfully at my greeter I crossed the threshold.  The first room to the right of the door was a Book shop and while my brain was clamouring to examine that space, my bladder was much more insistent.  A sign on the stairway in front of me beckoned to the basement where I was able to find relief in the usual offices.  In that  room I was amused to find a little shrine to Colin Firth's Darcy on the wall.
    Powder Room Portrait

    After quickly perusing the gift store for any easily portable Austen memorabilia, I realized that books were the only items for sale.  Normally a book would be the perfect thing, but because of luggage weight restrictions I knew I should restrain myself.
    Down the hall from the entrance was a roped off section which appeared to be the museum.  It looked very intriguing and as no one was around, I pondered stepping over the rope to have a better look at what I would be missing. However, my manners and morality forbade me doing so and also I should admit, my fear of being caught!
    The top of the stairs had a waiting room where some people were watching an introductory video before the next museum tour started.  Down the hall there was a little Tea Room which I deeply regretted not being able to visit, but it was absolutely time to be getting back!

    I had less than 10 minutes to hoof it back to the Roman Bath Museum but I am proud to say I made it back precisely on time. Good thing, or I would have been in trouble with my husband!  I had to let him have a few choices in our tours as I had dragged him off to every literary tour I could find!  The Roman Baths were really a very worthwhile place to visit.  It satisfied both my historical and my husband's technological interests.

    After our very interesting tour we had a few more minutes to spare before boarding the bus back to London.  I couldn't leave without having a peek at the Pump Room which was right next door to the Baths.  It was a large room full of many tables glittering with fancy place settings and the lively chatter of many customers enjoying their afternoon tea.  Right by the entrance to the room was the actual "Pump" where we were encouraged to sample the water which was free for the asking.  So I did have a sample which was tepid and mineral tasting, but not as bad as I might have thought.  I have also drunk the water from a Glacier in the ice fields of the Canadian Rocky Mountains so it was interesting to have that comparison.  The young lady who gave me the drink kindly consented to having her picture taken.  She seemed surprised that I was interested, but I knew it would be a good picture.

    As the bus climbed the hills on its way out of town our guide pointed out a row of houses, one of which was where Jane Austen had lived with her parents when her father retired from the clergy in 1800.  I almost missed it, but I think this was the right photo. Some day I must return to Bath to enjoy the place in a more leisurely manner!

    And what does Jane Austen have to do with Richard Armitage?  Just that I am not the only fan of both that author and that actor. Many Austen fans yearn to see Richard Armitage chosen to star in a remake of Persuasion.  Here is a mashup trailer with Richard's character of John Thornton in  a movie with Kate Winslet.

    Richard Armitage stars in Persuasion / by Elizzybrigth

    Austen's most cherished hero was Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.  So here is another fan's creative way to make Mr. Armitage into Mr. Darcy.

    Pride and Prejudice Trailer / by beccybubb

    Last but not least, feast your eyes on this graphic artist's
    portrayal of Mr. Darcy.

    Don't we wish it were true!