Monday, May 16, 2016

The Sound of Music - Ranking Revealed

Over the last while, in an homage to High Fidelity I've been writing about my Top 5 Albums of All Time. I used some basic criteria to make the list:
  • Number of songs I like on the album (i.e. the fewer songs I skip over, the better)
  • Emotional impact of the album (i.e. how does listening to it make me feel?)
  • Composition of the album (i.e. are the songs arranged in an order I find pleasing?)
Truthfully, though, I went with my gut. I tried to pretend someone asked me, "What's your favourite album of all time?" and then answered as quickly as possible. Lather, rinse, repeat four more times. I spat them out in five blog posts with some detailed explanations and stories behind each one. What I didn't do was put them in order. This post is designed to remedy that.

The first one was easy. The next four? Not so much.

Number 5: Shakespeare My Butt - Lowest of the Low
This is a really fun album with some really happy memories attached to it. If you haven't listened to this one (and a lot of people won't have) you should add it to your collection.

Number 4: Ten - Pearl Jam
I saw these guys play shows twenty years apart and the songs they played off this album still held up. This album will never grow old. 

Number 3: Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
Turn out the lights, close your eyes, maybe have a sandwich, and play this album start to finish. Best destresser ever. 

Number 2: In The Trees - The Watchmen
Another Canadian gem. Such great lyrics and the vocals are truly a gift to your ears.

Number 1: The Joshua Tree - U2
I could listen to this album every day and not tire of it. It's the reason it's #1 and my always answer to the question, "If you were stranded on a desert island and only had one album, which one would you want it to be?"

Of course, no Top X list wold be complete without some honourable mentions! Give these a look-see. I know you won't be disappointed. I'll add more as I get around to it. For now, these will do the trick.

  • The Watchmen - McLaren Furnace Room
  • RUSH - Moving Pictures
  • Led Zeppelin - IV
  • The Beatles - The White Album
  • Nirvana - Nevermind
  • Pink Floyd - The Wall
  • The Tragically Hip - Road Apples

Happy listening!

~Andrew

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May The McFourth Be With You

May 4 is a big day for Star Wars nerds. Fans all over the globe run around greeting each other with, "May the fourth be with you!" My son's class is encouraging the kids to come dressed up as Star Wars characters and is allowing light sabers in the classroom. My wife, out of town tonight and most of the day tomorrow, left a note with the greeting on the fridge. It's going to be a good day, as it is every year.


What's going to make this year's May 4th even better is the fact that it's also McHappy Day. For those who aren't aware, this is the day that McDonald's donates proceeds from every Big Mac, hot beverage, or Happy Meal sale to Ronald McDonald House

I know, I know, McDonald's isn't the greatest food in the world, but they do some really great things with the money. My wife and I saw it first hand when we were at McMaster Children's hospital last year. Our daughter had spinal surgery to correct severe scoliosis and my wife and I qualified to stay at Ronald McDonald House in Hamilton, across the street from the hospital. Avery spent 11 hours in surgery, 18 hours in the pediatric ICU and then 7 days in the hospital ward. Since we only qualified in distance by a couple kilometers, had a great support system between family, friends, and very understanding employers, and the ability to drive back and forth without issue we decided to not take up a room at Ronald McDonald House so that people who were truly out of options could take advantage of the facilities. 

What we didn't know until a couple days at the hospital was that there was a Ronald McDonald House room on our floor. It was a complete and total savior. While our situation and support network didn't have us feeling like we should have used RMcD House we completely underestimated what kind of toll it would take on us. Knowing that there was a retreat in the middle of the hospital where we could go and get home cooked food, muffins, coffee, and beverages, watch TV, read a newspaper, lounge on the couch, take a nap, or just plain interact with other people was a godsend. 

When you're going through the worst experience that you can imagine, when you're filled to the brim with worry, it's little gestures of kindness that make the difference, that keep you hopeful, that let you know that you're not alone and that there's at least one thing that you don't have to worry about. 

So please, from a parent who has seen the true value of the services that Ronald McDonald House offers, take your kids to McDonald's tomorrow. Let them have a Happy Meal. Get yourself a coffee. You can just plain old fashioned donate cash if you want. They're giving away fancy socks if you donate five bucks!

~ Andrew