Monthly Archives: November 2013

BEING BLIND AND DRIVING

Hi all. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I was born blind at birth. For most of my life I have resented it because I wanted to be able to do what my parents did. My Dad drove a car and other people in my life also drove. For some reason I had an infatuation with buses as a kid. I have always enjoyed riding them and I even had a chance to sit in the drivers seat a few times. Of course I didn’t try and move the vehicle.

An odd thing about this is that my Dad used to go with me and we would drive in and out of the garage on weekends, when I was home from school. This is where I eventually learned why they teach you in driving school, to put your hand on the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 positions. I had always thought it was 9 and 3 until I heard a George Carlin bit on driving.

When I was a kid at school, I used to ride a 3 wheeler around on the playground and I was a good driver, despite having no sight in either eye. I also never had any scrapes with anyone else, who had sight.

Now that I am older, I have to get around with a white cain and it is both easy and hard, depending on where you are. The one thing I have learned is to listen for traffic going beside me, when I am at a light. If it is flowing in front of me it isn’t safe to walk across the street. However, if it is moving beside me, I am free to go.

I hope some day the technology is such that people like myself will be able to drive and I may be able to do what I have always wanted. I have always dreamed of being a bus driver, but unfortunately it isn’t possible because of my blindness. Let’s hope this comes true, with the advent of gps, maybe it is possible.

HOW THE SIMPSONS AND SLIPKNOT SPEAK TO ME PART 2

Hello my friends. I hope things are good. This is the second part of yesterdays post on how both The Simpsons and Slipknot speak to me. You will learn about all the different sides to my personality.

Let’s explore why I like Slipknot first. When I heard them in 1999 their aggressive style attracted me because there was no other band who were this heavy and at the same time, accessible. They have some melodic parts in their early songs from the first CD and I have always liked melody. At the same time the rage and anger in the music was something that made me take notice.

In the 90’s I became a fan of bands such as: Nine Inch Nails, Pantera, Marilyn Manson, Korn, Sepultura, Soul Fly and Fear Factory. All of these bands have a sound that doesn’t really attract a mainstream audience and yet, most of them were played on the radio by the time 1999 showed up. All of them have a similar kind of rage in their music that Slipknot had and still has but they didn’t necessarily have all the elements in their music that Slipknot uses to get their message across.

There is also a sense of darkness that I found attractive as well. I am generally a happy guy but I must admit that I have a part of me, who is attracted to dark music and dark humour. Some of Slipknot’s songs reflect that part of me as well, such as: Snuff, which is the closest thing they have written to a power ballad. The difference is that it is darker yet accessible.

Slipknot also reflects a part of me, who says “fuck you” to authority and will question it sometimes. This has resulted in me becoming a loner who was happy to be alone. Maybe that is why a band like Slipknot has kept me as a fan since 1999 and I have stuck with them throughout all their twists and turns throughout their career so far. They are the only band that caught my attention immediately and has held it ever since.

On the other hand, The Simpsons reflects the warm and fuzzy side to my personality. After all, it is about a family who really love each other, despite how certain characters get along together sometimes.

As I said in the last post, my personality may be a cross betwene: Dr. Hibburt and Mr. Burns. Dr. Hibburt is a good natured character in the show and Mr. Burns is the villain. I am not mean but I can be rather posessive of my material goods and can be greedy at times.

The other characters my personality crosses with are: Bart, Homer and Lisa Simpson. With Bart, I have some of his rebelliousness toward authority from his age on the show. I wrote a nasty letter to a staff member at our school and I got in trouble for it. I did it because she slapped me the first time we met and that made me dislike her ever since, thus the letter. Unlike Bart, I didn’t have run ins with everyone who was in authority at school. There were some people who were always nice to me and took me at face value.

With Homer, I have his silly child like side. I show it to people I know, who will laugh at it and will except it for what it is. I guess I have his musical abilities as well because I can play guitar, sing and play drums. Another thing I also share is Homer’s stupidity. It isn’t obvious but I can do dumb things sometimes but my ass is always saved by either myself or someone else.

With Lisa, as a child I tended to be winey if I didn’t get my way and I probably still am. I am always trying to get noticed and get very upset when nobody listens to me. Her musical abilities on the show have also struck a chord with me because of how great a singer she is (through Yeardley Smith) and my rather secret love for some forms of music, other than rock. However I have no aspirations for politics and I am not a vegetarian, yet I love animals like Bart. I do have a soft spot for cats and small dogs. Also, like all 3 of them, I do enjoy children’s cartoons because of the sound affects.

I also enjoy the general humour on the show. I appreciate that they touch on serious topics in a very funny way, such as bullying. I was a victim of it when I was at school and it doesn’t bother me how they approach it, despite this.

I also enjoy the touching moments on the show that just make you want to cry. Such as: when a character dies, someone is in trouble, when a Father reunites with his son or when Bart and Lisa display their love for each other as siblings. I get choked up when I watch episodes with moments like that. One moment that did it in particular was in the movie, when Marge, Bart and Lisa left without Homer, when they were going to save Springfield. Homer returned to find them gone and we hear Marge’s message to Homer on their wedding video. Now, that was very touching.

My favourite episode is Lisa’s First Word. It has all the posssitive elements of the show and I like how Bart calls Homer by his name instead of Daddy. However, it makes me jump when Dr. Hibburt gives Bart a needle. Why? I’m afraid of needles because they hurt.

If there is one thing that can tie the two entities together is that they both have a clown. In the band Slipknot one of the members wears a clown mask as a part of his head gear. On The Simpsons there is a character called Krusty The Clown, who is a kids show host but is also a rather unpleasant person off air.

Another thing that ties them together for me is they both have stayed with the same principal people over the years. Slipknot has had the same lineup despite the death of their bass player in 2010. The Simpsons has had the same voices throughout the series, despite suffering the deaths of voice actors who voiced semi regular characters on the show. These include: Phill Hartman as: Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz. Also the death of Marcia Wallace, who voiced Edna Krabappel, one of the teachers at Springfield Elementary School. I applaud both the band and the show cast for sticking it out through everything and still being here to entertain us. I also happen to like everyone involved with both the band and the show, despite that I haven’t met anyone on The Simpsons yet and I have only met Slipknot once. I’m just glad that they are both still active so I can continue to enjoy what they do.

Well, that is why I love both The Simpsons and Slipknot and how they have touched my life in a positive way. Talk to you tomorrow. By.

HOW THE SIMPSONS AND SLIPKNOT SPEAK TO ME PART 1

Hello readers and potential new ones. Yesterdays post was how I got the name Blind Gordie. Today I would like to bring up two things I love that are very much the same, yet different from each other. They are: the heavy metal band Slipknot and the long running television show The Simpsons.
Let’s talk about The simpsons first. They are a disfunctional family and they live in a fictional town of Springfield. They are surrounded by many different characters who have outstanding qualities, in that you can tell them all apart from each other.
Now we will get to Slipknot, who are a 9 piece metal band from Iowa and they wear masks and cover-alls on stage and in press interviews. They are surrounded by management and a record label who supports their creative process and what they are doing. The members are not names but numerals decided amongst each other and the number each member has is special to that person. Why do I like both with the same enthusiasm? How do they both speak to me? Well, just come with me and I will tell you in this post and the next one.
In the case of Slipknot, I like mostly Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music anyway. When I heard them for the first time, it was during the New Metal trend in the late 1990’s. This was when bands like: Korn and Limp Bizkit were popular and Grunge was over. I discovered them on a campus radio station in Hamilton on their metal show and I was hooked by the aggressive nature of the music. They were slated to open for one of the bands I liked at the time but it didn’t happen, when they came to Toronto in June 22nd 1999. I kept hearing more and more from Slipknot and I was hooked. I bought the first CD and had it on my stereo at the time almost continuously, until Nine Inch Nails released their new CD in September. I have followed them ever since; having seen them twice and met them in 2000. For more on that, check out one of my previous posts.
In the case of The Simpsons, it took a long time to hook me in. There were many factors distracting me from the show at the time: I was going through high school and all the tribulations along with that, I wanted to be a rock musician and I focused all my energy on that dream until it fell apart and I had no TV. Unlike Slipknot, I didn’t really care about the show when it first went on air because of all of the above. I didn’t really start hearing it untill about 4 years later, when I would watch the occasional episode on a TV we had at our boarding school. I thought it was funny and the voices were interesting.
Another distraction was the show South Park and its own brand of humour. I got into it briefly and lost interest in about 2000. However throughout the 90’s to present day I always kept hearing more and more Simpsons clips on the radio. When I managed to gain access to the internet I started using Google and found Wikipedia. I looked at my favourite bands and comedians and found that most had appeared on the show. So, that lead me to start looking at their Wikipedia pages and also, read up on all the characters and voice actors. Why? Because I was, and still am, curious.
Another landmark event for me was finding their episode of Inside The Actors Studio on Youtube in late 2012. Hearing the voices of the actors for the first time was just a treat for me. The most surprising was Dan Castellaneta’s normal speaking voice, compared to his other character voices on the show. When he went into character it further blew my mind and I thought “wow! I used to do that back in the day, imitating teachers and other staff at school.” Unfortunately I didn’t really have the voice then to do it justus.
I also went on Youtube during late spring and summer of 2013, looking for old episodes that I missed or read about. I heard most of them and found other clips as well. I also found most, if not all the fan sites on the net. I even took The Simpsons personality test and I am a cross between: Dr. Hibbburt, Mr. Burns, Bart, Lisa and Homer Simpson. I think I have a lot of Homer’s traits, except that I am not overweight, I am smarter than him and I don’t drink.
That is it for this post. In the next one I will get into more detail on how both the band and the show speak to me.

HOW BLIND GORDIE BECAME BLIND GORDIE

Hi all. I feel I should get this out of the way today, and that is explain why my blog name is Blind Gordie’s Blog. Well, here is the story.

Back in 1986 I had become friends with Kristy Knite, who is a radio personality. She worked at Q107 at the time and I would request bands such as: Twisted Sister and other heavy metal bands that didn’t get as much radio play as I thought they should. She had taken me out to one of the big recording studios and I got to feel the two inch tape that was used at the time and is still used by most people. I even got to help with the recording of drum tracks by simply saying “rolling” after pressing the play and record buttons.

She even went with me to see Def Leppard in June of 1988 and before that she let me go on the air with my own show for an hour. I had some free rain as to what I could play but they made some suggestions and I took them.

She left in 1988 to go to 97.7 HTZFM until 1999. From there she worked at a record company until 2002, when she returned as a temp for another on air personality who was on maternity leave until July 2003. When the other lady came back Kristy stayed on and she has worked at HTZFM ever since.

Mean while, I had been listening to Q107 until 1995. I slowly migrated to HTZFM, when I went to the CNIB in Hamilton for 5 years. It got me through the bad days and the good ones too.

I started to become a regular caller into the station and eventually wu’n some prizes like CD’s, concert tickets and other stuff. I started actually picking up my prizes in 2000 and as a result everyone at all 3 radio stations in the building knows me now by name.

In 2003 there was an event held at The Pen Centre in St Catharines where listeners would pay to hear a song played on the radio. All the money went to a charity that they all support. I came down for that and at some point Kristy or my other friend named Dianne Daniels said something like “well, Blind Gordie requested Left Behind by Slipknot.” I don’t remember exactly how it went but that is kinda how it started and it became a character, which is a more out-going version of my own shy introverted personality. I would call into the station and say something like “hi this is Blind Gordie” and I would introduce a song I would request on the request show week nights at 7:00 P.M. The nice thing about all of this is that everyone knew I was blind and they treat me well.

When it came time to get my own email account and name my blog, I chose blindgordie for that reason alone as a tribute to my friends at 97.7 HTZFM. My Twitter name for one of my accounts is the same except the b in blind and g in Gordie are in caps.

That is basically the story behind my email address and the name of my blog.

I hope you enjoyed it. Talk to you later. By.

HOW MY MIND WORKS

Hi folks. Todays post is on how my mind works. This is going to be one of many on this topic and I will take you through my litttle head and lead you to the other side.

This first post is an explanation on how to my way of thinking, the song THE SHOW MUST GO ON by Queen reminds me of Lisa Simpson, who is voiced by Yeardley Smith. Well, just sit tight and prepare for a ride through my head. If you know your musical notes you will grasp it more easily than if you don’t.

The song is in the key of b natural minor and it changes to a higher key of C sharp minor after the first chorus. It goes back to the original key for the next chorus until after the guitar solo. When Freddie sings the lyrics “my soul is painted like the wings of butterflies. Fairy tails of yesterday will grow but never die. I could fly my friends.” This section goes to another key altogether and uses some interesting chords that are rather sophisticated for a rock song. After that it goes back to the original key and the chord progression that is heard throughout the song.

Now, what does this have to do with Lisa Simpson? Well this kinda shows her evolution throughout The Simpsons but not in the right order. The verse and chorus being in the same key with the same chord progression kinda ties together the fact that she was thought to have no real distinct personality from Bart, at first. The key change is her becoming a vegetarian and the key change back to the original key is her becoming a practicing Buddhist later on in the series. The middle section is her true intelligence coming out on the episode “Krusty Gets Busted.”
Keep in mind that this has nothing to do with her musical tastes throughout the show but her evolution.
If you are a Simpsons fan and you either disagree with me or you agree, let me know. You can either reply or if you would like you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will respond to any messages I receive. Also, if I am going over your head, listen to the song and you will hear what I mean in my own odd way.

That’s all for today. Talk to you tomorrow

MY VIEWS ON CELEBRITIES

Hi all. Today on this rather cold Toronto morning I would like to discuss my views on celebrities and how they are portrayed by us regular folk and the media. I should also point out that I have met some celebs who have all been nice to me and they have all taken the time to shake my hand and talk with me for a moment.

In person, they are just like us. The only thing is they get to travel around the country, or the world, doing what they do for a living. I have never really been star struck and I always try to find out what they sound like before meeting them. Here are a couple of stories about meeting my two favourite bands.

On April 7th 2000 the metal band Slipknot was in Toronto for a meet and greet at a record store, which still exists to this day. I arrived and bought something and was given a promotional CD from the band. I went back outside to line up and a few minutes later or something I was pulled to the front and taken in by someone at Road Runner Records. I got to meet all 9 guys. One of the members, Sean, who is known as Clown was guiding me around. One of the guys shook my hand and I don’t think he wanted to let go. He held on for a few seconds. I can’t remember who it was. Anyway, I got an autographed video tape and a picture of them playing air hockey.

Another story involves the singer for Slipknot but he was in his other band Stone Sour. This took place on December 6th 2002. I heard on the radio that Corey Taylor of both Slipknot and Stone Sour was coming to do an interview and I went to the radio station. At the time it was a store front studio and anyone could walk in.

I was lucky in that got there before Corey and the folks at the station took me inside and sat me down. When Corey came in he had just woken up and came down to do the interview. He was very nice and he asked that there were no Slipknot questions during the interview. However he did talk with me about the new Slipknot DVD at the time: “Disaster Pieces” which came out shortly before.

We both had Tim Hortons coffee. I had a double double and he had black. When he took a sip he actually said “hot” after taking a breath through his mouth. This is the same guy who sings in Slipknot and tells the croud “get down on the fuckin ground right now” at a certain point during the show. Oh, I also went to the Stone Sour concert that evening and it was awesome. I sang along with almost every song and I think Corey may have seen me.

Anyway, that didn’t change anything for me about him. It just made me like and appreciate him more as a human being.

To end this, what I am saying with these stories is that not all celebrities are assholes and a lot are probably very approachable if we just be who we are and not try to bother them all the time for an autograph or something. Just be normal and you may have a better chance of getting an autograph or something from a famous person.

Well, that’s all for now. Talk to you later. By.

WHO AM I PT 2

Hi all. In my last post I mentioned how I came into the world and my favourite bands and TV show. I do have other interests that I try to keep up with.

One of the more lesser known public broadcasts heard on radio is a service provided by both NOAA Weather Radio in the US and Weatheradio Canada in well, Canada. These can only be heard on receivers which can tune into 7 frequencies in the 162.400 to 162.550 MHz range. These include: standalone Weather Radios, Marine radios, some CB and GMRS radios, Police Scanners and lately Ham transceivers.

I have been into it since 1988 and in 2011 I started my own newsletter which talks about it and other related topics.
I do all the writing and a friend of mine does the secondary co-editing for me. I also do other work relating to it including: making phone calls and sending out emails to various people who help me with their own contributions in each issue.

This leads to my hobby as a licensed Ham Radio operator. I have been a Ham for 4 years and my call is VA3WXA. The WX is for weather and the A is for alert. However some people misconstrue it for amateur, intentionally just to piss me off. 🙂

I chose it because I am also a trained weather spotter. All though I haven’t really had a chance to use what I have been tought yet.

If you live in Canada you can go to CANWARN training sessions each spring across the country. If you live in the US, you can go to SKYWARN training sessions across the country, also in the spring. Both these programs are volunteer driven by both Environment Canada and The National Weather Service. Both CANWARN trained and Skywarn trained spotters have helped out with detection of severe weather of many types throughout the year.

If you would like to learn about my newsletter you can go to http://www.qrz.com/db/va3wxa and there is a lot of stuff to go through but it is worth the read.

That is just about it for now. Talk to you later. By.