Monthly Archives: March 2014

Simpsons Sunday – The Guest stars

Hello and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday. This week I am going to talk about the guest stars who have appeared on the show and I have my own idea’s for who I would like to lend their voices to the show.
My favourite guests on the show are people who I am huge fans of and I have followed for a long time. Here are my favourites in no particular oarder: Paul and Linda McCartney, George Harrison, Rodney Dangerfield, Metallica, Albert Brooks, Kid Rock, Rob Halford, Sir Patrick Stewart and George Carlin. The last of these has inspired me to write and everybody I have listed here are people I have been a fan of for most of my life, ever since they came on the seen.
In the case of Metallica, there is a connection here to the band and principal Simpsons voice actor Harry Shearer. He has played on the same stage with Metallica twice in his career, both times with Spinal Tap as Derek Smalls. They first met at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on April 20 1992 and some time after one of their sets both bands met and the guys in Spinal Tap gave the guys in Metallica the gear’s about making an all black album. This hilarious exchange can be seen on the Metallica home-video a Year And A Half In The Life Of Metallica. 
In the movie This Is Spinal Tap, the band released an album called Smell The Glove, which had an all black album cover. Metallica released their self-titled all black album in 1991 and it has obviously done quite well and is a classic.
The second time was at the Live Earth concert in London on July 7th 2007. In this case Spinal Tap were premiering a new song called Warmer Than Hel. This of course, was during the time when climate change was being talked about on the news and is still discussed from time to time to this day.
In the case of George Carlin, he had worked with Simpsons cocreator Sam Simon on The George Carlin Show in 1994. It lasted 27 episodes but I only saw a few of them. This was also the time when George’s voice timber changed and became stronger. You could also say mature but I won’t because I don’t think that word is appropriate to describe this point in his life. If you would like to read about The George Carlin Show and his entire life, check out the book Last Words, which is in both text and audiobook form. Just for the record, the audiobook is read by George’s brother Patrick Carlin. It also features an interview with his daughter Kelly and his co-writer Toney Hendra, who also starred in This Is Spinal Tap with Harry Shearer.
As for people I would like to be future guest stars on The Simpsons, I have some idea’s of my own, who I think should give it a shot. They are: the members of Slipknot, the members of Stone Sour or just Corey Taylor, Larry The Cable Guy, Lewis Black, Dave Grohl and if they haven’t already, Jerry Seinfeld and Jeff Dunham. I think all the people I mentioned could provide something different to each new story provided by the writers. This would also provide an element of surprise for the viewer, particularly with people such as Jeff Dunham who is a ventriloquist and Slipknot, who normally appear masked but can either voice themselv’s either masked or unmasked. The possibilities are endless and there can be potentially many more stories that can be hatched.
I have read that the first person to turn down a guest starring role on The Simpsons is William Shatner. He could have been an additional secondary character or just guest starring as himself. He would have been great for his range but he decided not to go for The Simpsons, for whatever reason.
Okay, okay. Maybe some of the names I mentioned may be more suitable for Family Guy but I feel that they would be great on The Simpsons too, just to give the show an extra zest. I am sure that the writers have their own idea’s as to whom they would like to guest star on the show. Hay, there is a fourth grade teachers spot available. Anybody? I’m just asking.
Also, happy birthday to classic Simpsons writer George Meyer who turned 58 on Thursday. He has had a hand inwriting such classic episodes as: Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington and Bart VS Thanksgiving, among others. He left the show in 2006 but co-wrote The Simpsons Movie in 2007. He has also worked with David Letterman and on Saturday Night Live, before being hired by Sam Simon in 1989 to write for The Simpsons. Also, happy birthday to Simpsons music writer Alf Clausen, who turned 73 on Friday. I have nothing but respect for what both of these people have done on the show to give us all joy every week for the past 25 years.
Well, that’s all for this weeks post. Enjoy this evenings episode called You Don’t Have To Live Like A Referee. Also, check out Chris Ledesma’s blog. He is a music editor on the show and he can provide some really cool insider information as to how music for episodes and the couch gags were conceived. Here is the url.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
I think it is very cool that someone on the inside like he is, gives us the fans of the show, a peak into how the music is put together. If you know me at all, music is my life and I also have perfect pitch. This of course allows me to be able to sing along with a song in tune with the music, provided I can hear myself. Anyway, that’s all for this week.

Weather Wednesday – CANWARN And SKYWARN

Welcome to another Weather Wednesday. This week I am going to try and talk about what both CANWARN and SKYWARN are. They are weather spotting programs managed by both Environment Canada in Canada and The National Weather Service in the US. This will obviously interest anyone who has a passion for the weather and who may also be involved with emergency services, Government, constabulary and even the Ham Radio community. If I left anyone out, I apologize.
SKYWARN has been around since the 70s and CANWARN was started in 1987, by members of the Windsor Amateur Radio club and one of the main people who were the building blocks in it getting off the ground, was Randy Mawson VE3TRW. He worked for Environment Canada for a long time and has instructed many CANWARN training sessions over the years. He retired in 2013 and well, some people refer to him as the Father of CANWARN. Well, that maybe true and I think it is.
Eventually, it spread across most of Canada, thanks in part to a tornado in Edmonton in 1987. It is active in: Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I don’t know about British Columbia but I have heard that it isn’t active there.
I personally have been involved since 2008 but haven’t had to report anything yet. The training is about how to spot cloud formations and learning about the various types of thunderstorms that occur in the summer severe weather season. I find it interesting and I get to not only learn new things every year but I get to meet new people when I go to a training session.
If you would like to go to one, they are held during the late winter to summer across Canada, depending on where you are. In Ontario, the training sessions are held during the April to June time frame and a session lasts about 2.5 hours. You can find out about the nearest training session to you on the web. Just google CANWARN and you may find something.
SKYWARN generally operates the same way and the sessions are held at roughly the same time of year. The interesting thing is that on NOAA Weather Radio, it mentions spotter activation during severe thunderstorm events. In Canada the Weatheradio network doesn’t do that, dew to how it works. See previous posts for more on this.
Anyway, that is a rough idea on how CANWARN and SKYWARN work. There is SKYWARN in different parts of the world such as the UK and there are other weather spotter training services throughout the world.
As I mentioned earlier, the Ham Radio community is an integral part of both CANWARN and SKYWARN. Without people like myself who are licensed Ham’s they probably wouldn’t have been able to work and yes, Randy Mawson is a Ham. I mentioned his call sign earlier in this post. My call is VA3WXA. 73, I mean all the best.

My date with the dentist

Hello again readers and welcome to another post from my blog. Today, I’m going to talk about going to the dentist. Why? I have to go. Yet, I’m not afraid of going to the dentist.
This brings up an appointment I had to go to on January 14, 2004. To give you some background on this story, during the Christmas holidays and 2003 I was suffering big time with a really bad tooth ache. I have had canker sores all of my life but this was a real doozy. All Christmas Day I was in sheer agony.
It started early that morning, when I woke up and all I could feel was pain in the mouth and it really really hurt and I couldn’t go back to sleep for almost 24 hours.
I went to my dentist as soon as I could book an appointment and there was an abscess, which required the removal of four of my wisdom teeth. Before the appointment I would be taking: addville, Ambussille and Midol. Yes, Midol actually worked.
When I went I had brought along my CD player so I could listen to one of my favourite CD’s at the time: Ænima by Tool, which still is one of my favourites to this day. It also got me through the September 11th attacks and the 2003 blackout. In fact, I was listening to that CD when I had learned about it. I digress.
I heard everything despite the laughing gas and of course, I was num so I didn’t feel any pain as they were pulling my teeth out. As for what I could put into my body, I had to refrain from eating hard solid foods and I had to resort to drinking Boost for a day or two. I didn’t mind that because I knew what it was but I didn’t like the taste at the time, because it was in a tin can and not the plastic bottles like they are now.
As you can imagine, it was really painful after the freezing had worn off and I was prescribed Percocet and Tylenol three. They both serve me well later on, when I had trouble sleeping and when I came down with a cold in early 2005.
I mention this experience because I have to go again for some possible bone removal and I’m not looking forward to it. However I’m not afraid of it.

Dreams

Hello again welcome to another blog post. Before I begin I would just like to say that my name is Gord and I love to sleep.
I know this is rather a weird topic to discuss but dreams are one of my favourite things about having a snooze. Of course, when you wake up things are back to normal and it sucks.
As a kid my dreams didn’t really make any sense and there was no real structure to them. The exception to this rule was at the end of some of them a monster type creature would sit on my chest and growl or hum. It scared me and sometimes I didn’t want to go back to sleep in fear of it happening again.
There were also times when I tried to find my bed and I couldn’t. I didn’t understand what was happening. I actually thought that I was taken away from my home and I was left by myself to find my bed again.
These days, my dreams actually make more sense and I remember some parts of them. Some of my favourite ones is where I go on a bus trip somewhere and I would try to enhance it by sleeping with the window open. I can hear the city buses outside and the trucks also sound like highway coaches sometimes. I also like to sleep with my Weather Radio on and that also makes my dreams more interesting. Sometimes I dreamt that I was on a bus trip to Niagara Falls or maybe even parts of the US. It is just weird but I love it.
Sometimes the old dreams come back but not too often. There are even times when I had a dream that I was back at my old school and was with the students again. I even imagined that I was driving a car and I think I was pretty good for having no eye sight to speak of.
I don’t remember every detail of my dreams but I do have those memories that stand out. I also like it when TV shows go into dream sequences. I find it very fascinating that they can do that. I’m sure The Simpsons has done this many times, with Homer falling asleep at work and with other characters as well.
That’s it for today.

Simpsons Sunday – Fan fiction

Hello again and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday. This week I’m going to talk about fan fiction.
As I am relatively new to the internet and how fans of TV shows write their own fictional accounts of what the show is about, I recently discovered Simpsons fan fiction and I have some things to say about it. I have found that people like to put the characters in the future and that’s okay. For example: I found a story in which Bart and Lisa are in their college and university years. Bart is close to being an alcoholic and Lisa is going to university. She gets a call from Milhouse about Bart being stationary for 4 days or so and she comes to see him to try and find out what is going on and why he is behaving like this.
Okay, it may not be the exact story but it is close. I only read part of it once and that is what I remember from it. I can see Lisa still being the same brainiac she is now and maybe Bart would be an alcoholic and ending up in rehab. Then again, maybe he grows out of his current traits and becomes a model citizen.
For me, my approach is to leave the characters alone, as far as age is concerned. However, I don’t mind bending the personalities just a bit, to suit my purposes. However, I will not stray too far from the characters common traits. What I am trying to do is get down to the bones of how each character is and at the core of the show, everyone really does love each other. Whether they are friends, family, etc.
I actually have 2 stories I have written and I am continuing to tweak them, as my own fan fictional episode or short story. They are quite a bit different from what you would expect from a normal Simpsons episode and this reflects what I said earlier about getting down to the basics of each of the characters and showing that if things suck enough they all pull together, in order to help each other.
One story involves Krusty The Clown quitting his show, after an internet contest to see who could impersonate him. It goes so well that he has chosen a winner named Gordie. This guy actually is based around me in stature and because I can also do Krusty’s voice in real life.
Basically, Bart, Millhouse and Krusty’s Dad Hyman all go to find Krusty in Toronto Ontario Canada and try to convince him to come back. It takes a while but he finally gives in and returns to his show and Gordie goes back to being himself, because he didn’t want the gig full time. He feels it is a slap in the face to the loyal fans of Krusty The Clown.
Another story I have been working more intensely with is much more complicated and is more suitable as a short story rather than an episode of the show. To make it is short as possible, Homer has an accident at the nuclear power plant, which renders him totally blind. He finds it hard to cope but everybody rallies around him, especially his kids and he eventually feels better.
Mean while, Bart and Lisa are excused from class, when Bart throws a fit and is told to leave the classroom by Mrs. Krabappel. Lisa has been given the day off because Miss Hoover wanted her to check on Bart. In this story, Nelson is more of a friend to not just Bart and Lisa but also Milhouse, who does get hurt in this story. He has an asthma attack and later Ron, he gets hit in the face with a squishy. This Knox his glasses off and he can’t see.
It turns out that Sideshow Bob knows the truth as to why Homer is now blind and he tells Bart and Lisa, who are reluctant to believe it completely but after Homer finds out about why he is now blind they believe him. The culprit is charged with attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison. Miraculously, Homer’s eye sight is restored somewhat near the end of the story.
That is the very basic outline of my story. I started it long before Marcia Wallace died and just before Season 25 started airing. It took a lot of research into all the characters and about blindness itself. I am blind but I didn’t want to just go with my own knowledge so I did some additional research.
There are more elements to the story and I even brought back an old character from season two. I also tried to give as many characters a roll in the story as I could but I just couldn’t include everyone. However, I am still coming up with new idea’s for the story so it will be even stronger, by the time people see it. All though, I would like the people involved with The Simpsons to see it first before I do anything with it. What I have given here is just a very basic explanation of the plot and there are more twists and turns in the story and some surprises.
If anyone is interested in reading what I have done just send me an email
blindgordie@gmail.com
I will get back to you and send you the story. Once again, I have some pollishing up to do of some of the parts and it isn’t final yet. I don’t intend either of these to be episodes or specials but I would like them to be put out there so people can see how some fans see the characters, independant of how they have developed over the years. If you have any contributions that you think you could make to help me make it funny, be my guest. I welcome anyone who is a fan of the show to add their own lines for the various characters.
Well, that’s all for this weeks post. Enjoy tonight’s episode called The War Of Art. This episode has the same name as a 2001 CD by American new metal band American Head Charge. I don’t think it will be as violent but we’ll see how it turns out.

Spring Is Here…. Really?

Hello my friends and readers. Welcome to another and of winter and beginning of spring. It sure feels like spring doesn’t it? Yeah, right. I’ve heard that the weather is supposed to be unseasonably cold until about the end of March or as late as mid April.
Folks, unfortunately the transition from winter to spring is not always easy. The weather can be very tricky at this time of year just like when fall becomes winter. Some years, spring just doesn’t arrive, until about the first or second week of April, with sunshine and mild to warm temperatures. There are other years when spring arrives early and then it gets cold or very cool again. In my memory: 1990, 1995, 2000, 2003 and 2012 are years that I would site as early springs, with either a full return or a partial return of winter. In 2010 the spring was a long one but there wasn’t really a return of winter but it was as cold for one day, without the accumulation of snow and there was no deep freeze. However, there was a pay back, when an unusually cool air mass crashed into Southern Ontario in May, bringing snow and cool temperatures back for a few days. This was after a week or so of temperatures in the 20s and upper teens.
I wonder what this year will bring? According to the Farmer’s almanac we should Seaspring start here in southern Ontario around April 1 but according to Environment Canada Springlike temperatures aren’t supposed to arrive until about April 15 or so. So, it’s hard to say who is right but we will see how it all plays out. In the meantime, it is spring time, despite what it feels like and what it is forecasted to feel like for a while.

Whether Wednesday – freezing rain bad. Why?

Hello again. This is another Weather Wednesday blog post for you to digest. This week I’m going to tell you a story about freezing rain and why I try to avoid it when I can.
In March 1989 I was staying the weekend at school for a wrestling meet and the forecast called for freezing rain on the Saturday. This also happened to be the day we were taking our guests from the schools for the blind in: Oklahoma and Arkansas, to both Niagara Falls and Toronto.
When I tried walking from the residence to the dining room it was very slippery, because it had been raining all night, with freezing rain. By the time I went out the door it had changed to rain but it was still very icy and I almost fell. At the time I weighed about 80 pounds and I was just as tall as I am now.
Anyway, I had help keeping my balance and I made it to the bus we had chartered for us. We went to Niagara Falls and Toronto and it was slippery all through the trip and it was also cold with the mist from the falls.
The trip was good and I bought a tape by a band I liked at the time and it was worth almost falling on the ice.
Now that I am older and I can reflect on it, I pity anyone, who is a pedestrian and has to walk on the ice during or after a freezing rain event. This also helps to explain why I am so strongly in favour of services like Weather Radio in both Canada and the US, to help people keep up with the latest forecast and also save lives. What if someone falls on the ice and hits their head so hard that the impact kills them? I have the same respect for lightning and I am very cautious, when I hear that thunderstorms are in the forecast. Sadly, most people don’t take the weather as seriously as I do and they are either injured or even killed by occurring adverse weather events at the time.
Next week I will be talking about volunteer programs that the weather offices in both Canada and the US have started to help them with spotting weather. I should say, allows them to help us to help them wit spotting weather.