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I missed the Rush concert this weekend.

Rush is by far my favorite band.  My first cat was named Geddy after the singer, Geddy Lee.  Back in California I had a personalized license plate that read, “RRUSHH.”  I’ve been to many Rush shows, mostly back in the Hold Your Fire and Presto days.  Rush took a long break from recording new music and touring at some point back in the late 90′s, and I haven’t liked much of their new stuff since then, but I know they still put on a great show, and I’d love to see them again.  The past couple of tours, I’ve had logistical difficulties, but this year I could have gone.

But there was one problem.  For Adam and I to attend would have cost over $500.

Now, that’s not really much more than what I paid back in the late 80′s in Los Angeles, if you take inflation into account.  And back then, I had a lot less money to throw around.  But going to Rush concerts was one of my top values, and I bought good seats from ticket agencies whenever I could manage it.

But now, I’d rather spend that money on a new vanity for the powder room.  Does that make me a pathetic old fart?  If so, I guess that’s what I am.

I still do enjoy listening to Rush, though.  A few days ago, La Villa Strangiato came up in the rotation while Sammy and I were driving around town.  She had never heard it before, and she asked me, MOMMY, IS THAT DARTH VADAR MUSIC?

I’ll exchange a concert for that, any day.

So far today,

  • I woke up rested after a real, full night’s sleep
  • I had a great parenting moment, getting Sammy to try on some new clothing while still getting her out the door and to school without a major battle, and learning something in the process (maybe I’ll write about it later)
  • I saw the first spring plants reaching up an inch or so above the ground
  • I heard Rush’s Limelight on the radio
  • I didn’t need to turn on the heater in my car
  • Sammy spelled “red” and “Adam”
  • I had an excellent Reuben sandwich at our local deli
  • I had so many good writing ideas at lunch that it took me a half hour to transcribe them from my voice-recorder when I got home
  • There was a fire engine at the deli which made Sam scream with delight
  • We met the firemen and even a fire-lady
  • The manager of the deli gave Sammy a balloon
  • I learned that Vivaldi wrote sonnets to go with The Four Seasons (via Lynne)

Happy Birthday, Vivaldi, and Happy Impending-Spring to Everyone! (Except those in the southern hemisphere, I suppose.)

Sammy got some great loot for Christmas and I’ve been wanting to write about all of it, but I only have time for a quick post today, so I’ll tell you about my favorite gift that she received.

Adam’s aunt and uncle sent Sam a few CD’s from this great collection from “Classical Kids - A Symphony of Stories for all Ages.”   They are like audio books with music.  A story is told about a famous composer - Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven, etc. - and his music is played in the background, and as part of the story.  There is a little bit of historical accuracy in the stories, but they really aren’t meant to teach you about the composer.  Here is the description from Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery:

The story:  Katarina, a young violinist, arrives at the Pieta orphanage where Antonio Vivaldi was music director.  Aided by Giovanni the gondolier, she searches throughout Venice for clues to her mysterious past.

The Music:  Over two dozen excerpts, including Vivaldi’s best-loved Four Seasons (with real sound effects), guitar, piccolo and trumpet concertos.  Also featured are many of the violin pieces played by young violinists today.

Sammy loves these stories so much.  I think she is listening to the music in a more active way.  I’m fine with excerpts, as opposed to whole pieces.  At her age, it might even be a better way to listen.  We listen to all kinds of music at home, including classical, but the way the stories are interwoven with the music is a whole new experience for her.  She just stands and listens, totally captivated.

I’d been meaning to get her some audio books but hadn’t found anything that seemed right.  These are perfect.  There were times during our snow days that she would listen to Vivaldi three times in a row, and it is over 45 minutes long!  Obviously, this is wonderful for me too.  This is a real alternative to television when I simply must have a break. 

I think these CD’s are a perfect gift for kids from 2-12.  And parents will appreciate it too!

She did it again!  She improvised an instrument!  I especially love how she interrupts her song to scratch an itch and then picks it back up right where she left off:

(Link to video)

One of my favorite apps for my new Droid phone is called Shazam.  When a song you love but don’t know the name of comes on the radio, you hit a button and hold your phone up to the speaker.  The program somehow recognizes the song and tells you what it is.  If you want to buy it, you click another button, and, voila!  The song is now on your phone.  So far I’ve purchased Judas Priest’s You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’and LeAnn Rimes’ I Need You.  I know, strange taste I have.

I’ve tried to use Shazam on classical music but it has failed every time.  I’m not sure if they haven’t built classical music into the database or if the music wasn’t loud enough or what.  I should look that up.  Anyway, the last time I tried it, Sammy and I were in a bagel shop.  Sammy was very interested in the music, which I didn’t recognize. (Luckily, the DJ later informed me that it was Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.) 

While we were listening, the piece was a bit frenzied and a little scary.  Sammy said, MOMMY, THAT’S MAD?  (She always identifies music with emotions, telling me which songs are happy, which are sad, and which are mad.)  I answered, “Yes, it does sound a bit mad, and it sounds a little scary to me.  It makes me think of Snow White running away from the wicked Queen through the forest.”  We listened for a while, and she repeated, with more certainty, THAT’S A MAD ONE.  And then, MOMMY, IS THAT BEETHOVEN?

Forgive me, Internet, for I have sinned.  It has been 143 days since my last confession.

Michael Jackson was my first crush.

I have some mixed feelings today, but mostly I feel sad.  I don’t know whether the allegations of molestation were true.  If they weren’t, he suffered a massive injustice.  If they were, he was evil.  Either way, though, his life was obviously a mess.  What a sad ending for that adorable little boy who sang like an angel and taught the world a new way to dance.

A Little Thing

The Spirit of Radio by Rush gives me the exact feeling that the lyrics extol, especially when it comes up on my iPod unexpectedly!

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Harry Binswanger is on Twitter
  2. I added a couple of new features to The Little Things.  I’m too tired to explain them now, but maybe you can have some fun searching for them.
  3. I think I mentioned that we bought Samantha a harmonica after her experience with a friend’s iPhone.  She can actually make some nice noise with it, which is about all I can do myself.  Adam is determined to learn how to play “Dixie” on it.  This guy, though, is amazing.  Skip to 2:30 for the best part – the William Tell Overture on harmonica! (Thanks for the tip, Chris!)

I was a bit dismayed to find out from LB at 3 Ring Binder that the melody from Eric Carmen’s pop song, “All By Myself” was taken straight from my beloved Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto.  I really don’t care if he stole it or it was subconscious or it was a coincedence – I just hope I don’t associate the two forever.

It did get Adam and me talking about copyright infringement in music and Adam found these two hilarious videos, showing how common some chord progressions really are.




Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Our friend Kyle is visiting from Orange County.  He’s a teacher at the best school in the country, as far as I’m concerned.
  2. Watched Dr. Horrible.  Joss Whedon is a genius.
  3. Cooked and ate an excellent dinner, if I do say so myself.  Top sirloin with garlic and thyme, baked potatoes, and a basic salad.  You just can’t go wrong with The Joy of Cooking.

I’ll never hear YYZ the same way again.  I thought we were supposed to think that Rush was an amazing band for making all this sound with only THREE musicians!


(via list of the day)

This is Nora.  Her servants are my aunt and uncle-in-law, Betsy and Burnell.  Betsy is a Suzuki Method piano teacher and has given us some great tips for fostering Samantha’s love of the piano.  They also gave us Nora’s book, which Sam absolutely loves.

You might find something a bit familiar about 36 seconds into the video.