Monthly Archives: September 2014

Simpsons Sunday – Season 26

Hello and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday post in my blog. This week is the premier of Season 26. Are you excited? I am, especially since an iconic character is slated to be killed off tonight. I was going to reveal who I thought it would be here but at the last minute I decided against it. My main reason for this is because I don’t want to spoil it for the fine people who: write, produce and contribute vocally and artistically to The Simpsons. I have too much love and respect for them and especially since I tweet out this blog to some of them most of the time. I would never even think of pulling the rug out from under them or anybody associated with this groundbreaking show.

Having said that, I did post a comment on Twitter, when the question was posed as to who the fans think could be killed off. I Will probably leave that until next week’s post. Speaking of which, I will compose a post next week celebrating the life of the character in question and recap all that happened up to tonight.

As for the rest of this upcoming season: Bart will get a new teacher who is a bully, Homer and Bart will try to resolve father and son issues, Marge will open a sandwich restaurant chain, Homer will be hypnotized to have the mind of a 10-year-old boy and he will become Barts new friend and A whole lot more I’m sure. Of course, there will be the annual Treehouse Of Horror special on October 19, which will feature The current and former voices of the Simpson family. If you’d like to learn more about that check out one of my previous posts.

Don’t forget, there is also The Simpsons and Family Guy crossover to look forward to this evening as well. A few days ago Bart and Stewie’s crank calls to Moe were leaked out and some people Took offense to it. The name Bart used as his fake name was Lee Keybum as in leaky bum. Moe Will most likely respond in his usual way and Stewie thought it was “the coolest thing ever.” When Stewie calls Moes Tavern he says “hello Moe. Your sisters being raped.”

Are you really surprised? Don’t forget, this is an episode of family Guy and The Simpsons our guest stars on it. This is a TV show which pushes the envelope, by going over the edge at times with jokes that make this clearly an adult cartoon. That is why it is called Adult Animation… It is meant for adults to laugh at and kids can enjoy it too, although the jokes are geared towards the adults Who are mature enough to realize that most of what the characters are doing isn’t necessarily right all the time. But this is also comity and with comity you can stretch the truth in order to enhance jokes.

Also, let’s take a very brief look at both child characters in the scene for a moment. Stewie is a one-year-old Genius psychopath and Bart is his usual mischievous 10-year-old self. What do you expect from either of those two characters? I’m not that surprised! After all, in this episode of Family Guy the griffins are visiting the Simpsons in Springfield. I think we should just try to relax and enjoy both episodes this evening for what they are and leave it at that. Okay?

On the birthday front, the late great Phil Hartman would’ve turned 66 years old on Wednesday. Of course, he voiced such characters on the Simpsons as: Troy McClure, Lionel Hutz and Lyle Lanley. If he was still alive today, would he be voicing one or all of the characters I mentioned on the Simpsons? I’m just asking because well, I’m curious to know what might’ve been. I bet you that if you were still alive there would’ve been a Live action movie about Troy McClure and he probably still would’ve voiced him today. Also as a Canadian, I’m proud to say that he was one of the Simpson’s Canadian content who is actually born in Canada but not a character Who was created to be from Canada. In fact, both him and Wayne Gretzky are from the town of Branford Ontario, where it is also the home to W Ross McDonald school for the blind. That is where I went to school and discovered the Simpson’s for the first time in the early 90s.

As usual to end each Simpsons Sunday post, I recommend checking out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
I also recommend checking out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
I should also mention Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
For some strange reason everyone I know hasn’t heard of them yet. Hopefully I can change that.
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. I would much prefer getting an email so I can reply directly to you, but that’s just me.
One final thing to mention is that you can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again soon.

My Adventures With iOS 8 Continued

Hi there. This is another post on my adventures with the new iO S 8 software from Apple. If you read my post on Saturday you know I recently updated it to my iPhone and my iPod touch and I mentioned having problems with the update at various points.
I mentioned not being able to use my Bluetooth keyboard, which I had bought into thousand 12. It has always served me well up until now and this is because of the new iOS 8 software. It has taken away the ability for every key to work properly. For example: I can no longer control the volume, speech rate, copy and paste, etc. from my Bluetooth keyboard to my phone. This has hampered my ability to compose emails and even this blog. I now have to use my touchscreen or dictation and to say it’s frustrating is an understatement. When I can actually write something using the keyboard every few seconds it looks for other devices which use Bluetooth including my iPod touch, for some strange reason. I have no intention of pairing my iPod touch with my iPhone nor vice versa. I don’t understand why Apple has done this but I don’t like it and that is why I am composing this entry in the blog today. I should also mention that I still have the occasional problem of voice quality degradation. This is also a result of my iPhone or Bluetooth looking for other devices. This happens when I either right with the keyboard or use the touchscreen to compose something and I correct the problem the same way I discussed in the last post about this issue. What happens is when I am writing something it automatically switches off and restarts by saying “voiceover on” and either the voice quality is the same or it has degraded somewhat. It is not very helpful if you’re trying to write something either in a blog or to compose an: email, text message, etc, if your iPhone is your end all be all device and this keeps happening.

The good news is that the problem with my Bluetooth keyboard was resolved on its own but only for a few minutes. Now, it is the way I have described it , with various buttons being disabled by the new iOS 8 software. I have heard that there was a patch that was supposed to be issued yesterday but apparently a A lot of people didn’t like it and they went on social media saying “no, don’t update quote” and Apple took it down after an hour. Frankly, I’m pissed because maybe this new update would have resolved my problem with voice over and Bluetooth combined. Shame on those people who demanded that Apple take the new iOS 8.001 down. I sincerely hope that when the next patch is introduced this does not happen again and hopefully, my issues discussed above will be resolved and I can get back to composing as normal.

Otherwise, my iPhone and my iPod touch are working okay with no problems whatsoever. Once again, I hope that Apple can continue to strive for excellence in all their products, whether they are connected to Bluetooth or not.

Weather Wednesday – Are You Ready?

Hi there and welcome to another Weather Wednesday post. The question I am posing this week is simply, are you ready? Are you ready for the colder weather?

I ask this especially after the summer that really wasn’t a summer in parts of Canada, in particular Southern Ontario. Yes, there were a couple of days here and there when the mercury went up to the point of a heat warning but it wasn’t really a scorcher this year.

For me, the next few months are not good because I am not a fan of winter and I don’t like the fall either because it is the precursor to the subfreezing temperatures that are no doubt on the way here. The only good thing about the next few months is Christmas and staying inside, listening to all the winter related weather warnings on my Weather Radio. I get off on it because it is entertainment from where I sit in my apartment, so to speak. If I am actually in the nasty weather, that is a completely different story.

As long as the cold weather is approaching we should take as much advantage of the above freezing weather as we can, before the snow flies.

If you have any comments you can reply here or email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will get back to you.
Also, for more weather stuff you can subscribe to my Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter mailing list by emailing me at wxrnewsletter@gmail.com and I will send you all the issues so far. You will also receive the next issue when it comes out.
Another blog you may want to follow alongside this one is from Phil Chadwick. He is a retired meteorologist from Environment Canada and his specialty was severe weather. Here is the url.
philtheforecaster.blogspot.com
Check it out if you are a weather nut. He has stuff in there that I didn’t even know. Well, after all, he did work for Environment Canada for many years and he retired in 2011.
Well, that’s it for today’s blog post. Talk to you on Sunday.

Simpsons Sunday – Top Ten Season Premiers

Hello and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday post. For those of you who read my blog entry for yesterday, I was talking about the new iOS 8 and how it affects me and the use of both my iPhone and my iPod touch. One thing I forgot to mention was that I am glad that all the same voices are still intact when I use voice over. Although, I was hoping for more of them but they are there for use with Siri. I jokingly refer to the female voices as my girlfriends. Yes, I’m a little strange but is that partly why you read my blog? 🙂

Anyway, I have decided since the premier of Season 26 is 1 week away, to make my own top 10 list of the best season openers in the history of the series. I will try not to limit the list to the first 10 years of the show because there are so many interesting: plots, New characters and turning points that occur during the series’s continuing run that you just can’t overlook them. However, I will not include any of the Treehouse Of Horrors or Who Shot Mr. Burns Pt 2 in this list because:
1. The Treehouse Of Horrors are anual Halloween specials:
2. The Who Shot Mr. Burns Pt 1 and 2 stands on their own, as the only 2 part episode in the history of the series, so far. They also of course, end and start Season 6 and Season 7, respectively. Although it is tempting because John Walsh host of America’s Most Wanted, did A profile of the plot of Who Shot Mr. Burns PT 1 as if it was a real crime profile on America’s most wanted.
One more thing before I get into the list, I would have loved to have put Season 8’s You Only Move Twice on the list. It is one of the most loved episodes in the first 10 seasons because of the one time character Hank Scorpio, voiced by Albert Brooks. He has to be one of the coolest bosses anyone could work for. On the other hand, he is also a super villain. As a Canadian, I love that one of Bart’s class mates at his new school is from Canada and his name is Gordy. Cool huh? Unfortunately, it isn’t a season opener.

So without further ado, here is my top 10 season premieres of The Simppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppsons and I do bend my own rule in this list. Keep a lookout for it.

10. The Mook, The Chef, The Wife And Her Homer makes the No. 10 slot because we meet Fat Toney’s son Michael and it also features Metallica as guest stars in this episode.
9. I’m going to put Clown In The Dumps on this list because it has one of the most anticipated happenings in the plot in that a character will die. It hasn’t aired yet but the talk on the internet and other media makes this yet to be aired episode already a top ten potential favourite. As for which character will die, I will not speak about it until next week. However I will say that I think it may not be as obvious as what has come out on the internet and social media. I will leave that until next week.
8. The Falcon And The D’ohman is another good episode opening Season 23. This is mainly because it gives the fans the answer as to whether Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel have remained a couple after Season 22’s finale The Ned-liest Catch, when they meat and become a couple. Of course, they remain this way until Marcia Wallace’s death on October 25th 2013 and Edna Krabappel is retired in her memory.
Okay, you can say that the two episodes are in the same vain as Who Shot Mr. Burns in that they end and begin Season 22 and 23 respectively. However, the difference here is that the fans decided whether Ned and Edna should stay together. Who Shot Mr. Burns was probably decided before the end of Season 6 and there was a contest to find out who would guess who shot him. Anyway, Season 23’s premier makes it on the list and that’s final.
7. Lard Of The Dance is another standout episode which opens Season 10. We meet Allex Whitney, who is voiced by Lisa Kudrow from the TV show Friends, at the time. I think it’s a hoot that Alex tried to get Principal Skinner to organize a school dance in an elementary school and she realizes that everybody isn’t dancing with each other. The fact that she acts and talks like someone twice her age is also hilarious.
Meanwhile, Homer and Bart go into the Business of selling greece, thanks to Apu. Obviously it doesn’t last. Both stories together make it one of the best season openers in the first 10 seasons of the series.
6. The City Of New York VS. Homer Simpson is another episode which I like because it is one of the many, in which the family travel outside of Springfield. We also get to see how Homer reacts to such food as Khlav Kalash, drinking cans of crab juice to wash the taste out of his mouth and having to find a restroom,while waiting for the parking enforcement officer to show up. As well as trying to leave despite the boot on his car. Of course, he first tries to bight it off earlier in the episode before being informed to call the phone number on it. Let’s face it, he would eat anything no matter how nutritious or dangerous it is for him to eat.
We also see: Marge, Bart and Lisa take in the sights of New York City and a musical. They also take a ride on the subway and Bart pulls one of his crazy antics again, by claming to have no taste buds for fellow passengers. He would do anything to draw attention to himself and that’s the way we likes it.
I think the two contrasting stories make this episode one of the best season openers and Frank Sinatra’s signature song New York New York at the end of the episode makes a lot of sense and is a nice touch. I don’t know if he was a fan of The Simpsons but I think it is cool that he or someone in his Entourage allowed the song to be heard at the end of the episode.
5. Homers Barbershop Quartet is another good season opener. It flashes back to 1985 when rock music was becoming stale and there needed to be something new to shake things up. This is when Homer formed The Be Sharps with: Principal Skinner, Apu and originally Cheif Wiggum. Their manager Nigel ask the band to replace chief Wiggum because he was “too village people. “Of course, they found Barney singing in an Irish tenner voice and he was the new member. They won a Grammy for the song Baby On Board and then things fell apart.
I like that the writers referenced The Beatles in this episode and that George Harrison guest starred as himself. He wasn’t my favourite Beatle but he did influence me to try and play slide guitar when I was learning to play back in the late 1980s.
Another thing I like about this episode is that when auditions were held to replace chief Wiggum, grandpa Simpson and Groundskeeper Willie were two of the three auditions that made me laugh the most. Grandpa did a parody of old McDonald had a farm and groundskeeper Willie did his own rendition of the 1960s hit by Petula Clark Downtown. Jasper’s rendition of A Summer Place was funny but not as much as the other two failed auditions. Oh, I shouldn’t forget Chief Wiggum’s failed attempt by singing If I Could Walk With The Animals in disguise. Ha ha, nice try chief. Over all, this episode is one of the ones that should have been put on an iTunes collection or something because Season 5 isn’t on iTunes yet, at least in Canada that I know of right now.
4. Camp Krusty is great because we get to see Bart and Lisa looking forward to going away to summer camp. Well, they go and it is a living hell for everyone because of the absence of Krusty The Clown and the bullies of Springfield Elementary School: Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney — serving as camp counselors. Eventually, Bart sparks a riot after the kids are told by Mr. Black, the evil Director of the camp that Krusty is paying them a visit but it is actually Barney, disguised as him.
Eventually, Krusty gets wind of this and shows up to appease Bart and the other kids and he promises to give them the time of their life, in Tijuana.
Once again, it is not on iTunes yet and it should be, either on a collection or as a part of Season 4. This is most certainly one of the greatest episodes in the golden period of The Simpsons.
3. Stark Raving Dad is number 3 on this list because it combines warmth with absurdity. First of all: Homer is put into a mental institution and he is bunked with someone who sounds like and says he is Michael Jackson. He eventually convinces his new friend to come to the Simpsons home and Bart tells his friends that Michael Jackson is here. Word spreads throughout the town and when everybody sees a large white man instead of Michael the crowd disperses. Meanwhile. Lisa’s birthday is forgotten and Michael convinces BART to write her a song. Eventually it comes together and Bart plays the song for Lisa with Michael the next morning at 6:00 AM. She says “that is the best present ever” and hugs Bart. Then Leon Kompowsky starts talking in his normal voice and admits that he is a brick layer from Paterson NJ. He was an angry young man until he started talking like Michael Jackson and everyone is grateful for him helping both Homer and Bart. He leaves and the episode ends with Lisa’s birthday song playing.
I am not the biggest fan of Michael Jackson but I do like some of his songs that rock a bit. I do like the song that Bart wrote for Lisa at the end of the episode and it does choke me up a bit every time I hear it. That is partly why it is where I put it in the top ten.
okay, you may have noticed that the: Season 5, 4 and 3 premiers are in the top: 5, 4 and 3 positions respectively. I may be thought of as lazy for including them in this order but take a look at numbers 2 and one and you will see why Seasons 5 through 1 are at their respective positions.
2. Bart Gets An F is at number 2 because it shows that: while Bart may be the mischievous school hating bratty boy, he does occasionally make an honest effort to try and pass his tests in school.
We also see that Mrs. Krabappel does show that she has a heart and comforts Bart when he breaks down and cries after failing his exam, initially. However, she does barely pass him thanks to an obscure reference he makes while crying.
Another important thing to note about this episode is that we are introduced to mayor Joe Quimby, when he declares the day Barts blizzard a snow day. Of course we see more of him as the series has progressed.
1. Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire is the series premier and of course, the premier of Season 1. Plus, it is a Christmas special and there are a few of those in the history of The Simpsons.
We learn that the characters have changed somewhat from The Tracy Ullman shorts. Bart isn’t just the bratty brother, terrorizing Lisa and Lisa isn’t the female Bart like she was during this period.
Bart does show some compassion for Homer, when he finds out that his job as a mall Santa only gives him a pay of $13, when he says in a sad tone of voice “ohh! – Come on, Dad. Let’s go home.” When either Aunt Patty is trashing Homer Lisa gives one of her more intellectual speeches which confuses Patty.
We also are introduced to: Barney, Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Milhouse, Patty and Selma and Moe the bartender.
It is at the top for the fact that all the new characters and changes we see evolve in the show over time are so up front in this episode. All though Homer’s voice stil sounds like Walter Matthau and the mechanics of the voice we now know as Homer still had yet to be worked out. However, that voice in it and the first 13 episodes worked at the time. If the Walter Matthow sound was stil there past Season 2 it probably wouldn’t have worked and the writers would have a harder time developing Homer’s character, without the change in voice that Dan Castellaneta made and knew needed to be made, in order to convay more emotions.

I must confess that I haven’t necessarily watched all 10 episodes listed here and of course, Clown In The Dumps hasn’t aired yet. I based where I put them on whether they were not just funny to me but also a turning point in the series. That is why I put The Falcon And The D’ohman at no. 8 and Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire at No. 1. You can also say that Bart Get’s An F is another turning point early in the series, as a season premier as well. It shows us that Bart can at times make an honest effort to do good in school and Mrs. Krabappel isn’t always uncaring about her job and her students. She actually did something nice for Bart and obviously, he appreciated it by kissing her and after realizing what he had done he spit it out.

I’m sure if Lisa The Vegetarian was a season opener it would have made the list because of it being a turning point in the series. Hmmm, maybe I will do something more on episodes which are turning points some time.
Speaking of Season 7, Who Shot Mr. Burns Pt 2 was first aired 19 years ago last Wednesday. I have that episode on my iPhone and iPod Touch but not the first part. It is available on a collection with 20 episodes featuring 1 from the first 20 seasons of The Simpsons on iTunes, called The Simpson’s 20th Anniversary Collection. There are a number of others on iTunes but this has most of my new and old favourites and some of them are listed here.

As usual to end each Simpsons Sunday post, I recommend checking out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
I also recommend checking out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
I should also mention Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
For some strange reason everyone I know hasn’t heard of them yet. Hopefully I can change that.
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. I would much prefer getting an email so I can reply directly to you, but that’s just me.
One final thing to mention is that you can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again on Weather Wednesday.

IOS 8

Hi there and welcome to another post in my blog. Today I’m going to talk about iOS 8 and how I have adapted or rather, had to adapt to it. I am going to probably say some things here that relate to my blind Twitter followers and blind people in general, who use an Apple device.

Since last Thursday I have upgraded from iOS 7.12 to the new iOS 8 but did not buy any of the new iPhones, when they were released on Friday. I have one of the newer iPhones which has a memory capacity, which allows for the new iOS 8 software. It takes up quite a bit of memory and the older iPhones are probably going to be either left on iOS 7.12 by people who own them, such as the iPhone4 and 4S. They may also be discarded for a newer model, if it has finally become too slow to work with in certain apps. Now I am happy I had to upgrade early in retrospect, because of this new update.

I will start with the update itself! I waited on purpose, to update it the next morning after it was released on Wednesday September 17th. Last year I upgraded on the day of the release of iOS 7 and I couldn’t install it right away, until the next morning. I’m not sure why this was but I didn’t want to repeat history again.

So, I have now updated my device or rather, devices. I say devices because I now have an iPod touch as well as an iPhone. I have my reasons for that which I will not share here. If you would like to know why, just send me an email and I’ll tell you.

Anyway, now they’re updated and we are ready to update the devices themselves. This includes updating the voices for voice over and making sure everything is set the way I want to, from location settings to how I am alerted by various apps. To be honest it was not quite as easy as it should’ve been because somethings weren’t allowing me to be accessed. For example: on my iPod touch I could not access The Internet because it wouldn’t recognize my iCloud password. Hmmm, pretty strange but also quite frustrating. I had to go to the Apple Store to get that rectified and voilĂ , they helped me and I was therefore able to help myself the rest of the way with both the iPhone and the iPod touch. Actually, I’m getting ahead of myself because the next day was equally frustrating.

The rest of my Thursday was spent working on both the iPhone and the iPod touch. I also began to explore some of the new options in the accessibility feature. I found to my horror that the quality of the voice was degraded somewhat and I have problems using my Bluetooth keyboard. This is the same keyboard I bought into thousand 12, when I had bought my first iPhone. This was meant to help me type emails and everything else which requires text, faster than I could using the touchscreen. I would also use it for copying and pasting text from emails and on occasion, the Internet. However, I can no longer do that anymore. Some of the keys are no longer functional on my Bluetooth keyboard. Hay, at least I can still type. Unfortunately the voiceover cuts out and comes back in again, thus requiring the phone to keep typing a character or a whole bunch of spaces continuously until I lock the phone and unlock it again and I have to erase the word along with the unwelcome holding on a character or the space bar by the phone. You can imagine how it feels, when you are in the middle of typing a sentence, when the voice over decides to cut out and restart the phone again. Even working on the blog has become a problem, because of the update and the probable bugs in the system. To somewhat rectified the voice quality boondoggle, I would ask Siri to turn voiceover off and then back on. For some reason it works and I don’t know why but hey, at least it works.

On Friday I was messing around and was curious to find out what a brail display was like. I can read both grades 1 and 2 brail and I wanted to feel what it was like on the iPhone. I don’t know what I did but I had disabled my voice and all I ccould do was use Siri. That was okay but I couldn’t respond to tweets or text messages. So, off I went to the Apple Store and once again, they fixed it for me, by reseting all settings. I spent the better part of an hour doing the rest of what I had to do, to set the iPhone the way I wanted it. This also allowed me to back up both the iPhone and my iPod Touch. The process of backing up both devices takes longer with iOS 8 because of how much memory it requires. I found that out today, when I went to where I knew they had free Wifi which I could use.

I have also been given new apps which I don’t need, such as iMovies. I have no intention of using it but I keep getting updates for it in the App Store. I think that may have been the problem with the voice quality but I’m not sure.

Anyway, as of the time I am writing this, I am using Siri and my Apple keyboard and the iPhone is behaving as I had explained earlier. However, I am still continuing to type, despite this.

If you like what I am saying or if you disagree with me you can reply here or send me an email at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will respond if I feel it is required. I am certainly looking forward to updates to this and any and all bug fixes.

Weather Wednesday – Severe Weather For All 4 Seasons

Hi folks and welcome to another Weather Wednesday. Today, let’s take a look at all 4 seasons in terms of severe weather. Basically, I’m going to take stalk of all the weather that could hinder us throughout the year. I will go through all 4 seasons and list the severe weather that could occur during: winter, spring, summer and fall.

Winter:
Winter storms which include: snow, freezing rain, strong winds and maybe even thundersnow or thundersleet or something with thunder in it. Let us not forget the ice storms that can occur, such as the one which affected Toronto last December. Also, snowsqualls and lake affect snow isn’t out of the question either. Oh, don’t forget any rain that may also fall if the temperatures are warm enough and on rare occasions a thunderstorm.

Spring and fall:

We get some of the same weather as winter but there are more thunderstorms that can occur when it is warm enough and they may even be severe enough to give us a tornado or two. Of course in the fall, the northerly winds are prominent and they will blow the dead leaves off the trees and as a kid it was fun playing in them. As adults, raking them is a real chore, all though it isn’t as bad as Shoveling snow but it still is a nuisance. You can’t forget the frost that can develop on cool spring and fall nights when the temperatures go to near freezing.

Summer:

Pretty basic in that any severe weather you will get will involve: rain, thunder, hail and some tornados. Plus you may get some hot and humid days too.

You should also be on the lookout for: hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons throughout the world on the news reports. They can and have developed during the fall! Remember Hurricane Sandy in 2012? Another well known storm was Hurricane Hazel, which had an affect on Southern ontario and particular Toronto.

I have only scratched the surface of what you can expect throughout the year with severe weather. Really, you just never know what mother nature will do to us from one day to the next.
If you have any comments you can reply here or email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will get back to you.
Also, for more weather stuff you can subscribe to my Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter mailing list by emailing me at wxrnewsletter@gmail.com and I will send you all the issues so far. You will also receive the next issue when it comes out.
Another blog you may want to follow alongside this one is from Phil Chadwick. He is a retired meteorologist from Environment Canada and his specialty was severe weather. Here is the url.
philtheforecaster.blogspot.com
Check it out if you are a weather nut. He has stuff in there that I didn’t even know. Well, after all, he did work for Environment Canada for many years and he retired in 2011.
Well, that’s it for today’s blog post. Talk to you on Sunday.

Why Queen Rocks My World

Hello my friends. This is a rather unusual day for me to be blogging but listening to Queen a few days ago gave me the creative spark for this entry. I am going to tell you why Queen rocks my world.
To give you some background on how I became the fan I am of the band, in 1977 or 78 when I was a really little guy, my youngest sister Jackie had the News Of The World album on vinal record. She had put the first 5 songs of side 1 on tape and I remember hearing We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions and liking the songs but I had no idea what they would make me think of later in life.
This is going to sound really strange to everybody reading this but when I hear the harmonies leading up to the chorus of We Are The Champions I think of playing with plato back when I was going to either nursery school or kindergarten. I don’t understand why I think of playing with goo, compared to what the song is really meant to be but there it is. I don’t remember hearing the song Sheer Heart Attack back then but I do remember hearing We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions as well as: All Dead, All Dead, Spread Your Wings and Get Down Make Love. This was when I was 4 or 5 years old and I think I turned out sortof okay.
Fast-forwarding to 1991, my best friend and room mate at school Bob Reid had managed to get me into Queen by playing songs from Sheer Heart Attack such as: Tenement Funster, Flick Of The Rist and Lilly Of The Vally. He had it on vinal and put it on tae for himself when he went to school each week and actually thought it was one song. So did I, until my Mom read out the track listing to me when I had bought the cassette first and then the CD a month or 2 later. Bob and myself both had Queen’s Greatest Hits on tape as it was released by Electra records in North America in 1981. His version was different from mine in that it had the Dolby noise reduction on it which made certain parts of songs hard to hear. Plus, it blotted out certain words like the word hard in the line “I work hard every day of my life” in the song Somebody To Love. My version also had the full length version of Keep Yourself Alive on it, while his had the single version with the early faid out.
I began to pester my Mom to buy me all the CD’s as they had come out on Hollywood Records in 1991 and for some reason, she obliged and she took me with her sometimes to buy some of them. Others, she would go out and get them for me. These days I would go out and buy them myself on CD or on iTunes. I just downloaded all the studio albums and I have some comments to make about the editing of some of the tracks that are not correctly edited and mastered on the Hollywood 1991 CD rereleases, compared to the originals and the 2011 deluxe rereleases.
On News Of The World the track It’s Late is missing some guitar at the beginning of the song on the 1991 rerelease and it was restored on the Queen Rocks compilation in 1997. It thankfully is heard on the 2011 deluxe rerelease, like all the other screw ups I will mention here.
Good Old Fashion Loverboy from A Day At The Races has a slight edit during the words “just for you.” This is when Freddie sings the line “be my Valentino just for you.” This was also restored on later rereleases of Greatest Hits compilations and on the 2011 deluxe version.
On In The Lap Of The Gods from Sheer Heart Attack there is a bar missing in the vocal section on the 1991 rerelease. This just before the first time we hear the phrase “leave it in the lap of the gods” being sung in harmony. Thankfully it was also fixed in the 2011 deluxe version.
On Crazy Little Thing Called Love there is a little edit on the 1991 rerelease, which sounds like the tape has been stopped on the second d major chord in the main riff. You have to really listen for it to hear it. Thankfully that was fixed in the remastering on future compilations and on the 2011 deluxe rerelease of The Game.
On the track I Want It All from The Miracle there is a different version from the single or the original EMI 1989 version on the 1991 rerelease. The chorus is sung only once before the second verse, without the harmonized second chorus. There is a different sound to the drums when the song goes into the final 2 choruses after the guitar solo and Freddie sings the second bridge again with a slightly different melody. On the 1991 rerelease the drums sound more dense and after “I want it all” is sung Freddie sings “yeaheeeeeyeah heah” as you hear on the single, when the song starts cold, meaning with only vocals. On the single and the 1989 and thankfully the 2011 deluxe version the original 1989 EMI version is restored.
As for everything else, it’s all good and even the track assignments are better on the deluxe versions. For example: the track Stone Cold Crazy starts with the kick drum and guitar feedback right away on the 2011 deluxe version, while there is a slight length in the song on the Hollywood 1991 rerelease, which has the reverb from the snare drum from In The Lap Of The Gods. You have to really listen for it but it is there.
Another thing that deserves comment are some of the remixes that ended up on the Hollywood 1991 versions and the bonus material on the 2011 deluxe versions. I wasn’t impressed with some of the contemporary remixes of some of the songs like: Dragon Attack, Seven Seas Of Rhye, and Flash. Well, I take back what I said about the remix of Seven Seas Of Rhye somewhat because the samples from Queen are kinda cool. However I was not willing to try and turn on kids I went to school with, who only listened to bands like: Poison, Cindarella, Warrant, Extreme and Metallica with tapes that had a rock album on them but also have a hip hop type of track at the end. I made a big mistake once when I made a tape with the Hollywood Bonus Remix of We Will Rock you as the first track and I was mocked for it by my peers. Despite this it didn’t stop me from listening to Queen.
I liked all of the bands I listed above too but not to the same degree they did and that’s why I gravitated to a band like Queen. They could rock with the best of them all though they could also write some rather unrock and roll stuff too. Plus they also did some techno stuff like: Radio GaGa and Invisible Man. However I liked and always will come home to the hard rock material they have recorded because I am a guitar player and I like the sound and the energy.
We even played a Queen song in my high school lab ensemble. We did Dragon Attack during our June 1992 concert and I of course, sang lead vocal on it. I pushed hard to get that song in our repertoire that year and well, I got my way. As for singing the song I think I did the song justice and I sure hope that Freddie would be proud. During the Christmas noon hour concert my friend Bob Reid and myself did Thank God It’s Christmas and I learned it in about a day or two, after my Mom had brought home a 3 CD boxed set with the 2 North American Greatest Hits packages that came out that year and a bonus CD with an interview with all 4 members of Queen and the song itself at the end of the disk. Bob played keyboard and I sang lead vocal and played guitar on the song and it wasn’t a bad rendition of the song.
In 1995, when Made In Heaven came out I went out and got it with the help of a good friend and I immediately stuck it in the CD player and gave it a spin. I listened intently to Freddie’s voice on each song so I could figure out when his vocals were recorded. If you listen very carefully you can tell what period of time a song came from that he layed down a vocal.
For example: It
s A Beautiful Day was recorded in 1980 and I knew that his voice was a bit younger on that track but I wasn’t quite sure how old it was. This is when I began to learn more about it on Wikipedia and on the 2011 Deluxe Version of The Game. The idea from which that song was hatched was included as a bonus track and it was just Freddie and a piano.
Another surprise for me was finding out that the track Mother Love was the last song Freddie sang before he died. As his illness progressed his voice was still strong but it became thinner and thinner. This song however, sounded like it was recorded in 1989 or some time before then. It was only when he goes up high that it is apparent that it was very close to the end of his life that he layed down the vocal for that track.
Fast forward to 2014, I still love Queen but my tastes have become harder and I listen to other metal bands like: Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Pantera, Korn, Stone Sour, Sepultura, Soul Fly, Five Finger Death Punch, Metallica, Trivium and many others. While all the bands I mentioned here may not all be directly influenced by Queen they have some of their DNA. Most of them have written songs with guitar harmonies as a part of the beginning of the song or a guitar solo. In some cases they are used as a part of a song going into a transition in place of strings.
Others have name checked the band as a main influence, yet they sound nothing like them. For example: Jonathan Davis the singer for the band Korn stated that Freddie Mercury is one of his big influences as a vocalist. It makes sense because he does tend to sing in falsetto some times and he does have a range to his voice. He can pull off harmony vocals on the albums and do his trademark screams and growls as well as singing.
Even The Smashing Pumpkins have been influenced by Queen in that Billy Corgan has been known to multitrack his guitar parts. On one song in particular: through The Eyes Of Ruby from the Melancholy And The Infinite Sadness album. There are about 65 guitar tracks which include harmony guitars like what Brian May does with Queen. Also, Trent Resnor from Nine Inch Nails has said that Queen are an influence on him. He even used a sample of Body Language at the end of a remix of one of his songs and covered Get Down Make Love as a b side of the single Sin from the Nine Inch Nails debut album Pretty Hate Machine.
How many bands have been an influence in varying degrees on as many bands as The Beattles and The Rolling Stones? I can’t think of any. Even Metallica has mainly influenced bands from the heavy metal genre. If there were know Queen we wouldn’t have either: Lady GaGa or Katy Perry. Even Fu Fighters had a chance to play with Queen a few times. Brian May has even helped out on some songs. He even played with grunge band Soundgarden on a version of a song called New Damage which was released on a compilation in 1993 called Alternative NRG. You can find the song on Youtube if you like and it isn’t bad.
To close this entry in the blog: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon have made a real impact on many genres, media and our lives in the last 41 years. Since Queens first album in 1973 hard rock has never been the same, with the crunch added to the guitars for affect and the musicianship of all of them put together has made Queen one of the few acts to help define more than one genre of music. This is also thanks to innovation on the part of the band and the people who have helped produce their albums. If we didn’t have Queen would we have the big drum sound that was prevalent in the 1980s? Would any other band besides Kiss use concussive pyrotechnics during their live show? Lest we forget that Freddie liked to involve the audience in the show by call and response and by entertaining and not just playing for them.

Anyway, that is me gushing about how much I love the rock band Queen. I am very excited to hear what Brian May and Roger Taylor have done for the new album entitled Queen Forever. If it is anything like Made In Heaven it should be good; even if it isn’t like the early stuff.