Saturday, July 26, 2008

My low-carb energy drink

There are tons of energy drink recipes out there, but here's mine... and it's low-carb, too!

In a blender, place:

- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop of unflavoured (or flavoured - doesn't matter) whey protein powder (unsweetened or sweetened with Splenda)
- 1 heaping tbsp of chia seeds (I grind them after measuring)
- 1 heaping tbsp of ground flax seeds
- 1/3 individual packet of sugar-free berry-flavoured drink mix (Nestea, Crystal Lite... whatever)
- 1/4 cup frozen berries (I use raspberries)
- 1/2 tsp banana extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 8 drops Sweetzfree liquid Splenda or 1/3 cup granular Splenda
- 1/3 cup soft tofu (I just throw in a big blob of it - make sure it's the softest one available)
- 2 capsules green tea extract (I open the capsules and pour the contents in - discard the capsules afterwards)

Blend on highest setting for 20-30 seconds. I pour this into a Thermos and bring it with me to work every day and drink it at about 3 or 4 p.m. This has kept me from eating so much in the evenings lately. Gives about 2.5 to three cups. I make sure to rinse the blender out with a bit of water and pour that into the Thermos, too. Don't want to waste any of that goodness!

If you let this sit in the refrigerator or a Thermos for a few hours, it thickens up incredibly (those are the chia seeds at work!).

Popular YouTube blogger Josh recently posted his own energy drink recipe. (It's a joke, by the way. Don't try it at home. Watch it right until the end. I wasn't sure if he was joking until he actually tasted it.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Five months to go 'til Ho! Ho! Ho!

Just in case you forgot. *grin*

Thursday, July 24, 2008

There's nothing like a live music performance

Hump Day
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I don't normally get excited about concerts, but when I heard that Elton John was coming to Moncton, I made sure that I plunked myself down at my computer Saturday morning at 9 a.m. sharp with the Moncton Coliseum website loaded up to the online box office page. At the same time, I had a telephone constantly dialing to buy tickets, hoping to get through if the Internet didn't work out. I got two great seats online!

I'm a bit of an odd duck when it comes to big music acts coming to town. The Rolling Stones didn't tempt me enough. Had it been an indoor concert, I would have gone, but an outdoor free-for-all with a kabillion people just wasn't my style. For the same reason, I won't be attending The Eagles concert. Although the Stones were somewhat appealing -- I do like them -- The Eagles do zero for me, even though I recognize their immense talent and popularity.

Before Sir Elton, one of the only other artists I'd been super excited about seeing in concert was in 1985 when Tina Turner played the Moncton Coliseum. She was at the height of her fame. I couldn't wait to hear You Better Be Good To Me live. The concert lived up to its expectations. To this date, 23 years later, it has stood the test of time as the best concert I've ever attended.

Still in 1985, when I heard that Foreigner was going to play Moncton -- on the night after Tina, no less -- I once again did not hesitate to fork out money to see a favourite band. Hearing Urgent live is still one of the greatest concert experiences I've ever had. The crowd went crazy. There's nothing like the infectious delirium of thousands of fans. It's addictive. I felt it with Tina. I felt it with Foreigner.

Oh sure, I've seen others in concert, including a few comedians, but those 1985 concerts on two consecutive nights were just the bomb, so to speak. They were loud, too. After Foreigner, especially, my hearing was quite negatively affected for a few days. Opening act Joe Walsh's volume was turned up so high as to be physically uncomfortable (and unsafe, if you ask me!).

I've seen crowds show their love to performers and there's nothing better than to be part of it. I can just imagine that being on the receiving end is beyond anything most people have ever experienced. To have thousands screaming your name and throwing flowers on stage must be an incredible emotional rush. You can't get it appearing on television, radio or online. You can only experience it on tour. It's a way to connect with your audience at an emotional level that is just not possible otherwise.

I really need to start going to more concerts. Most live music is good, in my books. Seeing celebrities live in person is a thrill, too. Yes, I'm a celebrity hound. Seeing someone that I've only seen previously on television or in magazines is exciting, be they entertainers or politicians. Even if you just watch the crowd around them, it's interesting to see how people react.

There are those who get giddy, those who stand a respectful distance away and just want to look (that's the category I fall into), and those who aren't impressed by anyone. I'm not necessarily impressed by everyone I've seen, but it's interesting to see them in person because it gives you an entirely different perspective.

Joe Clark was even more odd-looking in person than on television, but so incredibly nice and very tall. John Turner was very personable. Jean Chr├ętien was as cold as a dead fish. Queen Elizabeth was pretty. David Bowie was tiny and friendlier to fans than I would have thought. Shari Lewis (of Lamb Chop fame) made David Bowie look like a giant. Howie Mandel and Phyllis Diller looked exactly like they do on television.

I'm not sure why I'm so enamoured with celebrities. Maybe it's because I've always watched a lot of television. As a kid, I watched way too much. As an adult, my viewing time has diminished considerably because of competition from the Internet, which has become my preferred way to entertain myself.

As for Elton John, I read that some fans were disappointed in the fact that he announced that the Moncton concert would be a solo performance. There would be no band and, I'm assuming, no backup singers or any other of the usual accompaniment at such concerts.

Considering the astronomical price of the tickets, one would think that we would get the "full meal deal", as they say.

I, too, was a bit disappointed at first. My lifelong dream of hearing Crocodile Rock live (one of my favourite songs ever!) would be watered down by a piano-only version. But in thinking more about it, what could be more intimate than just the artist and the piano? When you get rid of the "side dishes" of band members, backup singers and other distractions such as a complex light show, you can be left with something either painfully boring or incredibly beautiful.

There is no doubt in my mind that when Elton John plays Moncton as a solo act -- just the artist and his piano -- that we will be treated to something very rare. It will be intimate, raw and powerful. He can't hide behind a band, the glitz or the glamour. It's a true mark of his talent. He doesn't need all that stuff.

He will sit at his piano just like we were in his living room and he will sing for us. Just him. Just the piano. Just the words. And that voice... and that instrument. And we will be thrilled because it will be special. Disappointed that he's playing a solo gig? Not on your life! I think it's a privilege. And it will be awesome.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Immaculate Heart of Mary church bell (Riverview, NB)

Here's another exclusive blog video report by Walt Forsey!

"Immaculate Heart of Mary church in Riverview is installing an antique bell. Last Sunday, some of the people involved in the project went to the Albert County Museum in Hopewell Cape to make a special rope for the bell. I made a little video of the adventure and you are welcome to use it on your blog."

Thanks, Walt!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Golden Girls' Estelle Getty dies at 84

After several years of failing health, Estelle Getty - who played Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls - has died. She was 84. Here she is in a dramatic scene from the show where she comes to terms with the death of her cross-dressing son.

Canadian Idol fan photo: Zack Werner and Jean-Marc

Canadian Idol judge Zack Werner met up with young fan Jean-Marc at the Pearson International Airport in Toronto on July 21,2008. Jean-Marc, who was on his way to England for a vacation with his grandparents, took the opportunity to meet Zack when he saw him on the flight between Winnipeg and Toronto and Zack graciously agreed to have his photo taken! What a guy!

Do YOU have a Canadian Idol or American Idol fan photo? Send the photo to me along with a short story on how the meeting happened by clicking here.

Canadian Idol: Favourite performances and predictions for Rock'n'Roll Heaven Week!

Last night's show was a tribute to "Rock'n'Roll Heaven". Translation: You had to be dead to have your song featured.

This week's was so-o-o-o-o-o much better than last week's complete David Bowie disaster.

My top three performances were as follows:

Mookie Morris (Age 18 - Toronto, ON): I Feel Good

Theo Tams (Age 22 - Lethbridge, AB): No Woman, No Cry

Earl Stevenson (Age 23 - Lloydminster, AB): Light My Fire

Who's going home tonight? I think Sebastian Pigott is a goner. He was in the bottom three last week and messed up again this week. Even the nicest judges - Farley and Sass - had nothing good to say. In fact, I rarely rarely see Farley criticize anyone has harshly as he did last night. So - buh-bye! Mark Day did much better this week, but the tear at the end ruined it.

Feist's 1-2-3-4

This is a really cool song. I like it. I like the video, too! Feist is the stage name of Leslie Feist, who was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia!! Who knew?

And here's Feist on Sesame Street singing a parody of the song. Cutest thing ever!

Jaydee Bixby: Old Fashioned Girl

Last year's Canadian Idol runner-up, Jaydee Bixby, has released his debut single: Old Fashioned Girl. He'll be singing it live on tonight's results show. (The video's a bit out of sync.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Singer Cat Stevens is 60 today

Singer Cat Stevens hits the big 6-0 today! Here he is singing Wild World:

Peace Train:

How NOT to win your court case

"An HIV-positive man convicted of spitting in the faces of two Sedgwick County deputies is sent to prison after spewing a profanity-laced tirade in court.

Michael Gaines was sentenced to 13 years in prison Thursday about an hour after he was led out of the courtroom, still hurling obscenities at the judge and a prosecutor.

When District Judge Rebecca Pilshaw gave Gaines the chance to speak at his sentencing, he commenced an obscenity-laced outburst at Pilshaw and Assistant District Attorney Kevin O'Connor.

After a few minutes, Gaines was escorted from the courtroom and was later sentenced by Pilshaw via a televised hearing.

Gaines, who is HIV positive, was convicted of battery for spitting in the faces of 2 sheriff's deputies while in the Sedgwick County Jail."

Source: ABC News, Nebraska

This week's Hump Day column...

... is about my quest for Elton John tickets and a few thoughts on celebrities. Also, some people have questioned Sir Elton's choice of going solo at his Moncton concert. Does this man really need a band and backup singers to showcase his talent? Well, I have an opinion on that... and you can read all about it in this week's Hump Day column on the editorial page of Wednesday's Moncton Times & Transcript.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Singer Jo Stafford dies at 90

Singer Jo Stafford, one of the famous war-time era female crooners, died on July 16 at the age of 90. Her most famous hit was You Belong To Me:

Here she is (on the left) singing a medley of songs with the great Ella Fitzgerald (on the right):

Part I

Part II