Friday, February 26, 2010

Officially an Albertan now?

Last night I went to my first official country concert. A friend (who attends a lot of concerts) mentioned last fall that Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans were coming to the Jubliee. It so happens that four years ago when I worked at the Jubliee (Northern Alberta Jubliee Auditorim) the first concert I manned the doors for was also Corb Lund. At the time I had only lived in Edmonton for a few months and had never heard of him. Since then I have become more familiar with his work thanks to the format change of the CBC2 radio a couple of years ago, and was therefore quite keen to see him live, properly (i.e. not while working).

I can't say much about the opening act. Our tickets had just said "Corb Lund and guest" so I wasn't too sure about what to expect. It turned out to be an Edmonton singer who had some local recognition, but I was never able to catch his name. They were all right, I like the second to last song (more rock-sounding) the best. They also performed an unfortunate song called "Love Car," which I thought the lyrics for were rather lame; however, they weren't who I paid to see, so...whatever, they were okay--enough.

After the opener there was an intermission to allow the stage to be reset for Corb Lund and his band. We just sat in our seats during that time and chatted. When the lights went down a single figure all in black came out first: the bassist. Having been a bass player I know it's not the most glamorous of instruments and so I'm not sure there has ever been a string bassist to meet with such applause when arriving on stage. He started out with an impressive solo while the other band members (I think lead guitar, then drums) strolled out and jammed until sufficient suspense was built as we waited for Corb to appear. It was all very dramatic, and I'm sure they very affect that band was hoping to create.

The show proceeded with a rapid pace and very little banter filled the space between the songs. It didn't seem necessary to announce titles as much of the audience seemed to know what songs were coming up after only a couple of notes. I recognized some of the music, as Crob gets pretty good play on CBC these days, but I definitely didn't know all the lyrics to any of the music performed. Regardless, I think I seat-danced and slapped my thighs or clapped my hands during most of the concert. Many of the songs were taken at a fast tempo and at times I wondered when exactly Corb had the time to breath with the way the words spilled past his lips.

I've already touched on the bassists, but the whole band was quite good. The lead guitarist played a regular electric guitar, but also a lap slide guitar. He had the chance to showcase his skills with a number of solos during the show as did the bassist. The drummer didn't get the chance to cut loose except for at the end of the evening when Corb attempted to get a spot on him to recognize his unsung talents. I've never understood the appeal of playing the drums, but he did put together a solo that impressed even me. Although Corb played rhythm guitar most of the night he did take on a couple of solo riffs that demonstrated he's no slouch on the guitar either...oh right, and he sang the whole night.

So now that I've been to a country concert does it make me an official Albertan--especially a country concert like Corb Lund where most of the songs are about living in Alberta, where it's "east of the Rockies and west of all the rest?" Hmmm...probably not. I like Ontario, heck, I like Toronto and want to go back there some day, but Alberta does have great blue skies and tall mountains to hike. I'll probably miss these aspects when we do move back home.



Friday, February 12, 2010

Lightening round

A variety of events have taken place recently that I have thought I should blog about, but haven't due to time. Since I see this blog as something of a online journal I don't mind other people reading, it seemed appropriate to take a few minutes to record these occurrences. I will try to keep my comments on each one to a few sentences, hence lightening round.

Friday, February 5th, 2010: FIP (Forum for Information Professionals)
I presented my research project at FIP (a conference run by the U of A Library School) last Friday. I was a bit nervous, but I managed my way through without too many trips or bobbles. I am strangely blessed with the ability to not say "um." I would guess around 16 to 20 people attended and I had a number of questions throughout my talk, which seemed to suggest that people were interested in my topic. I may give this presentation again, if I am accepted to CAIS (Canadian Association of Information Systems) in June.

Saturday, February 6th, 2010: Sherlock Holmes
Andrew and I went to see Sherlock Holmes on Saturday. I wasn't sure what the movie would be like from the trailer--it looked souped up with explosions and fights, and I wasn't sure if I would like it. As it turned out, I loved the movie. I thought the plot was interesting, and it was helped along with good actors. What I liked most of all about Sherlock Holmes was the music, composed by Hans Zimmerman. I think I need to get the soundtrack.

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010: Figure Skating
I learned how to do a flying camel spin on Wednesday, and actually managed a few half decent ones (although today's practice was less successful). That means there's only one element (axel) I can't actually do for my next test. I will probably be talking my junior bronze free skate in March, anyway. I'm also having a program choreographed so I can finish off my preliminary free skate test from last year. It's challenging (for me), but it should be fun.

Thursday, February 11th, 2010: Pirates of Penzance
Andrew and I, along with a couple of friends, attended a performance of Pirates of Penzance by the Edmonton Opera Company last night. I've seen it a couple of times before (Stratford Festival, a community theatre group in Calgary), and I played Ruth when I was in grade 7. I enjoyed the show immensely, especially the "faux ballet" with Major General Stanley, which occurred in the second act. Also, the copper ensemble was excellent. I find that in community theatre, the coppers tend to be the weakest part of the show, so it was nice to see them well done.

Friday, February 12th, 2010: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
Andrew and I, and a couple of friends, are going to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies (on television) tonight. I've prepared a main course for us to maow down on while we take in the spectacle. Some Wii-playing may also be a part of the evening.

Go Canada, Go!



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hip Hallelujah

I had what was hopefully my last physiotherapy appointment this morning. I blogged last year that I was experiencing severe pain when I tried to run, which is problematic since running is one of my main forms of exercise. Since then (December 2009) I've been going to the Glen Sather facility at the University of Alberta. I picked the Glen Sather because it was close and it was anticipated that they would be familiar with dealing with an injury like mine. I also guessed that they've would have some pretty good PTs working there. I'm quite lucky, as it only took 4 visits for the problem with my iliotibial band to heal up. I still have to do stretches everyday, and a series of strength moves twice a week, but I can eventually phase those out once I've worked my way down to zero pain.

I still get a small amount of pain or discomfort in my knee, although usually when I'm not paying attention and sit at my desk with my legs crossed and tucked under my chair. It's pretty minimal though (I'd rate it at a 1 or 2 out of 10--compared to the 8 I experienced before). I find a well placed ice pack sooths the ache quite nicely. Interestingly, I tend not to feel any pain when I'm running; a good thing, since I'm now working on rebuilding my endurance. At the end of the summer, before my injury occurred, Andrew and I were running around 18 kilometres on Saturday mornings. I would like to get back to that and even push beyond up to marathon length runs. Right now I can handle about 7 kilometres before I feel completely exhausted.

We haven't decided on a race yet, but I would like to enter something this year. Unfortunately, we won't be able to fit in the Calgary race this May, as our European trip will interrupt our training for it. I would like to run something with a sizable number of participants--I like running with hundreds of other people on the course with me--so I'll have to start looking to see what I can find.