Tag Archives: United States

Arrival Rocks Palm Springs With ABBA Music

When it comes to ABBA Tribute Bands, Arrival from Sweden is the world’s best. It is the most authentic recreation of an ABBA concert you’ll ever see, and Vicky Norbäck-Zetterberg, founding member of Arrival, has gone to great lengths to ensure the most authentic show possible, including enlisting the help of ABBA’s costume designer, Owe Sandström, to recreate some of ABBA’s signature costumes and choreography that’s be researched to match how ABBA originally performed the songs live. All the music is created live, unlike some ABBA tribute bands that actually bring recordings to sing to their shows. And who can resist authentic Swedish accents as they are real Swedes who are able to accurately sing the songs the way ABBA did.

Arrival’s performance in Palm Springs was part of the 2010 Evening Under The Stars charity event benefiting Palm Springs AIDS Assistance Program. The event was held on the grounds of the O’Donnell Golf Club, just a short walk away from Downtown Palm Springs. As the event was $395 a plate for the charity dinner, I was attending as a guest of the band. I had the opportunity to hang out with the band before and after the performance along with a couple of other guests the band invited.

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Doctor Who Returns With A New Face

When Doctor Who was relaunched in 2005 at the hands of Russell T. Davies, it was returning after nearly a decade away from the public eye. Russell T. Davies viewed the relaunch as more of a picking up where the story left off as opposed to being a complete restart as the current trend for bringing new life to past entertainment properties.

To aid new viewers in getting up to speed with the lore of Doctor Who, a new companion, Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper, so the getting to know the world of Doctor Who is told through the eyes of a character that’s meant to be the audience, someone from our time and experience being drawn into this fantastic world for an incredible journey. Old enemies of the Doctor, familiar to long time fans are new to Rose and new audience members and they become educated quickly. The end of the first season taught the audience about one of the Doctor’s greatest tricks to ensure it’s long term endurance, the ability of the Doctor to regenerate.

As Christopher Eccleston left the series and David Tennant took over the role, for the character of the Doctor, what this allows is the Doctor to take on a new face and personality every time the Doctor regenerates. This easy way to change actors also allows each new actor to bring their own touch to an established character. David Tennant’s first season as the tenth Doctor was aided by Billie Piper’s second season as Rose Tyler, as those of us new to Doctor Who had Rose’s getting used to the new Doctor to help aid us through the process as well. Eventually the storyline had Rose depart being the Doctor’s companion and we had a few others take on being the Doctor’s companion during David Tennant’s run.

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Where Have All The A&W’s Gone?

Every once in a while I get a craving and generally nothing really satisfies it until I get what I’m craving. And today I was just getting the bug to have some food from an A&W restaurant. I grew up in Canada and A&W’s are one of the first and larger fast food chains in Canada. I’d even go so far as to say they are far more popular in Canada than I’ve seen here in the United States (using in Southern California anyway). Usually when I get a craving for A&W its due to nostalgia for the Canadian A&Ws. I know the last time I got a craving for A&W and went to one of the ones here in San Diego I was disappointed because American A&Ws are nothing like the Canadian ones. The menus don’t offer the same items and the food doesn’t even taste the same. So I knew I was probably setting myself up for another disappointment but it’s been a couple of years since I last went to A&W but I was willing to chance it.

These days A&W is one of the “brands” of restaurants part of the YUM! Corporation which consists of all the restaurant brands bought up by the Pepsi Corporation. (In Canada, A&W’s were started by the American A&W’s but were sold off in 1972 and have no ties to the American A&W operations) I’m not sure if YUM! is just a new name for the division, a spun off & separate company, or even sold off, but anyway, they are home to familiar restaurant names, like Kentucky Fried Chicken (or KFC), Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, A&W, and Long John Silvers. Pepsi originally bought up these restaurants so they could ensure these restaurants served only Pepsi products as beverages. One of the concepts YUM has been doing in recent years is putting in single locations that offer more than one brand in one restaurant. Usually it ends up being a KFC or Taco Bell co-branded with one of the other not quite as popular brands.

In any case, all of the ones in San Diego county were KFC/A&W’s and oddly enough all of them are in the South part of the county, none of them were in North County. So none of the locations are conveniently located for me. So I headed off to the closest location that Google maps pointed me to. I even checked it on the street view to see the location before going there and sure enough, there was a KFC & A&W combination store. However, when I got there, the signage for the A&W was gone, just the KFC remained. From the dirt on the walls where the signs used to be, it looked like it must have been a recent removal. Continue reading Where Have All The A&W’s Gone?

Last Visit Of The Vista Home I Grew Up In

Vista HouseIt seems as time goes on, the only constant in the universe is that things change. My parents have finally sold the home in Vista, California that they’ve owned since 1988 and yesterday, I stopped by the house to take a final look and hand over my key and garage door opener. I wanted to make sure I got a chance to take one last look at it before it was completely empty and handed over to the new owners this Friday.

When I got there, the movers were there doing the final packing of everything into boxes. They were hard at work packing away the contents of the kitchen when I arrived. Yesterday was just the last day of packing so that it would be all ready for today to make the move to their new home in Temecula, California. I stayed for a little while to visit my mom who was supervising the packing. She showed me pictures of the new home and all the work they’ve done to it in the last couple of months since they bought it. They had done some serious renovations including the removal of some half-walls, completely replacing all the flooring and carpeting as well as giving the kitchen a much needed makeover. I’m sure I’ll see it soon enough with Thanksgiving being next week.

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America Needs To Lighten Up And Get A Sense Of Humor

Mr. T SnickersWhile this is technically old news, I just heard about it for the first time today through an article relating to advertising considered to be offensive. The commercial in question here that I am writing about is what I found to be a hilarious commercial for Snickers candy bars that uses Mr. T to poke fun at the supposed lack of masculinity when it comes to speed walking.

The commercial was widely regarded in the humorous spirit the ad was intended to be viewed. According to the Advertising Standards Authority of the UK the ad barely ruffled feathers and a spokesperson for Mars, the parent company of Snickers candy bars, the ad was meant to be funny and was positively received in the UK. If the commercial is designed to be funny and the intended audience of the commercial does find it funny, what is the controversy?

The controversy is that some American organizations took great offense to the commercial and have caused such a ruckus about it that Mars has opted to permanently retire the ad and no longer show it anywhere in the world. Keep in mind the commercial was made for the UK market, it wasn’t shown in the United States at all prior to the controversy. The parent company of the advertising agency responsible for the ad received an open letter challenging the ad in a US advertising industry title and the Human Rights Campaign declared the commercial offensive to the gay, lesbian, bi, transgender community by implying that the speedwalker was a homosexual and the attack on the speedwalker both verbally and with Snickers Bars being shot out of a machine gun, is essentially a hate crime.

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Kylie Minogue Finally Lights Up The Hollywood Bowl

Kylie Hollywood Bowl SignI know this review is a bit late and I still need to get to my reviews of the “Kristina” shows from Carnegie Hall, but I’m trying to fit in the time when I can. So apologies to my readers anxiously anticipating my reviews.

I wasn’t expecting my chance to see Kylie Minogue in person to be such a last minute affair, but I had been hoping my new Blackjack Training program I am I developing would not only be released long before this concert, but it would also help brining in the funds to purchase much better seats for the show. But as the concert has come and past and the project is still not yet ready to launch, I ended up scrambling last minute to make sure I had the night of October 4th off work, and purchased some tickets. I decided I wasn’t that fussed about having great seats, as I felt it was just more important to be there. So I bought a couple of the cheapest tickets available so my good friend Rod Reynolds and I could see the Australian pop diva bring her first ever United States tour. I didn’t know it at the time I bought the tickets but they were second row seats……second row from the back.

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Join Me And See Kylie Minogue At The Hollywood Bowl

Kylie Minogue Hollywood BowlOn October 4th, Kylie Minogue plays the Hollywood Bowl. In her only Southern California appearance, I decided I am going to take opportunity to see the global megastar live in concert. This may be my only chance to see Kylie Minogue in concert on “my turf” so to speak.

While Kylie plays Europe and Australia every time she releases an album, the United States rarely gets more than a television appearance. Granted she doesn’t have the same popularity here in the United States as she does abroad. But I think it’s awesome that she’s coming to the United States and Canada (does it really count as including Canada when its just a single show in Toronto?). I have several of her concert DVDs from past tours and they’re always enjoyable to watch. Welcome to California to perform Kylie.

I wonder if she’ll incorporate an ABBA song or two as she was recently at the BBC2 concerts in London paying tribute to the music of ABBA.

If you’d like to join me, tickets are still available from TicketMaster. Click here to visit TicketMaster and let me know if you’re coming. I’m not getting fancy seats. I managed to get $30 tickets in section N1 which is pretty close to center albeit pretty far from the stage. I just bought my tickets this morning too. The show is not yet sold out.

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On My Way To New York To See Björn & Benny’s Kristina

Kristina Carnegie Hall InfoLater today I will be boarding a couple of flights that will take me to New York City. My flights are “Red Eye” flights that will deliver me to New York first thing tomorrow morning. I’m excited to be seeing the new English translation of the epic musical, Kristina, written by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The show is based on Vilhelm Moberg’s epic novels in “The Emmigrants” series which chronicles the adventures of Swede Karl Oskar and his wife Kristina as they move their family from famine stricken Sweden to the wild’s of America in the late 1800’s.

Kristina is not being staged as a complete show, it is being staged in a concert style at the famed Carnegie Hall. The purpose of which is to record the show as well as gauge the reaction to it to see if there’d be interest in a fully staged version. The original Swedish epic was a definitely considered an epic masterpiece by those who saw it, but at a four hour running time, is going to have to undergo some trimming if its ever going to be staged fully here in the United States. The concerts will be a good indication of where some of the trimming has been done.

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Hooked On Classics – Blast From The Past

Hooked On ClassicsHaving hit a little bit of music boredom with the more limited selections on my iPod Touch, I decided to bring out the iPod Classic which is loaded with over 11,000 audio files. I let it play on random and one of the things that came up was “Hooked On Classics – Part 1 and 2” from the original “Hooked On Classics” album by Louis Clark and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

I ended up taking the iPod off random and played the full album. It’s been a very long time since I last listened to it. I don’t remember when exactly I added the Hooked On Classics albums to my iPod as the last crash of my iTunes wiped out the date added for every track I added prior to December 10, 2008. In any case, I was happy I had it on my iPod to enjoy without having to dig out the CD.

I remember having worn out two cassettes of this album back in the early 1980’s. I loved it. To me it was all the good parts of classical music without so much of the really boring stuff. And I suppose a disco-esque drum track didn’t hurt either for helping keep those classics going at an upbeat pace. I remember Hooked On Classics being very popular when it was originally released in Canada. It was released on the K-Tel label which I always had some collections of popular music from them. Probably my favorite of which was “Raiders Of The Pop Charts” which capitalized on the Indiana Jones theme which was current at the time.

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The Tube Of Nestlé Smarties Finally Reach The End After Three Months

SmartiesMy good friend Liesbeth was very kind to bring me back a tube of Nestlé Smarties from the Netherlands when she attended the International ABBA Fan Club’s Annual ABBA Day in Roosendaal back in April. I was unable to attend myself this year, and I had asked if she would be so kind as to bring me back some Smarties from her trip. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, sometimes it’s good to get a little bit of the goodies you grew up on, but aren’t available in the area you currently live. In this case, a tube of Smarties candies which are available in several countries, just not the United States.

As Liesbeth returned and presented me with the tube of Smarties, I was within my first couple of weeks on the Belly Fat Cure program by Jorge Cruise. So I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the whole tube in a single sitting or even spreading it out to two or three sittings. I wasn’t sure of the exact sugar content as the Dutch nutrition labeling didn’t quite give me the information I was looking for, so I peeked at Nestlé’s website in Canada to see what the Canadian version of Smarties had for sugar content and basically, in order to enjoy this tube of Smarties, I was going to have to limit myself to about five pieces a day. Which I was perfectly willing to do in order to enjoy my Smarties and be compliant with the Belly Fat Cure program.

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