Friday, February 07, 2014

Be Happy

There's too many sad songs out there.
Not that it's a bad thing

But sad songs tend to make people.... well... sad.

Why would you want that?

Now it is true, that people will remember sad moments more vividly than they do happy times. Perhaps because sad moments tend to happen more scarcely than happy. Sad songs also tend to hit the heartstrings of listeners, especially if they can make a personal connection to it.

Case and point:


So lately the radio/tv/internet/wherever the hell I turn has been playing the song "Say Something" by A Great Big World. Apparently their song wasn't good enough in the original version, so they brought in Christina Aguilera to accompany it, and the song shot to the top of the charts. They made a video of it too, which is quite touching (save for when the camera keeps cutting to Christina, where she keeps touching her face, as if she has a rash or something).

See for yourself (grab some tissues to dry your eyes too):

See, it's a great song. Very well done. Almost too well done. Because for me, once I heard it, it stuck in my head all day. And it wouldn't leave my head. And it would keep me from being happy.

Not good.
I had to do something to make it stop.

Some of you reading this probably have the song going on through your head now too. Even though you hit stop on the video a while ago. And now you might be cursing me for ruining the rest of your day with this sad song playing in your head and keeping you awake while you lay in bed, trying to make connections between the song lyrics and moments in your life, reducing you to tears, and making you sit up just to have a good cry.

Sorry.

But last night I decided I was not going to let this sad song overtake my day. I had to be happy.
I needed a way to make myself smile when I heard or thought of this song, rather than level me to despair.

So I simply changed the lyrics.
Now when I hear the music hit, I can't help but crack a smile.

Background info to the new lyrics: 
A few years back, my twin, Joanne, went to Peru and asked me if I wanted her to bring anything back for me. Normally I would ask for the tackiest keychain she could find, but since she was headed to Peru, I had to ask for something that I had always wanted since I heard about their existence.... a Titicaca toque! These are toques knitted by groups of men on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Some of these people actually live on islands made of reeds that could take up to a year to construct!

She did not fail

Now my wife Heather, bless her, thought I was crazy for asking for, and wearing such a thing, but she embraces my craziness, regardless of how silly I may look. Even if it may embarrass her at times.

So.... lets go back to the sad song:


Now stop crying you sissy, time to smile, and be happy.

Play that video again, and substitute the lyrics with the ones I have provided below:

"I'M WEARING"

I'm wearing my Titicaca toque
Because it's cold out, and I want to
I'm gonna go walk the dog for you
I'm wearing my Titicaca toque

And it was knitted by hand
Way down south in Peru
By a talented man

High, by a freshwater lake
The highest one on Earth
It takes the cake

I'm wearing my Titicaca toque
I'm sorry it's mine and it's not for you
I'm gonna go wear it out with you
I'm wearing my Titicaca toque

And I'll be getting high-fives
You'll be so embarrassed
But I'll feel so alive

I'm wearing my Titicaca toque
And I'm sorry that you didn't get one too
Let's go by ourselves to Machu Pichu (Oh-oh-oh-oh)
I'm wearing my Titicaca toque

I'm wearing my Titicaca toque
I'm wearing....

Face it, that song will never be the same to you anymore
You're welcome!
sleep well

Monday, January 13, 2014

Destined

The best memories I have of my father were watching movies with him, and the long drives we would take in cars. Growing up each summer, the family would make a road trip to see relatives in Calgary. My absolute favourite part of the trip was always the drive there and the drive back. It would always be hits from the Bollywood classic films from their golden era (the 60's and 70's).


Now most of these songs I didn't know the full lyrics too, let alone know what they were singing about, but the music and chorus from some was always instilled in my head. Perhaps it was the great background music that accompanied the drive through the Rockies.


It's been over 14 years now since his passing, and those drives are now a vivid memory, yet his old cassette tapes (and the equipment to play them, even) are long gone.


There was always one song that my dad always kept on rotation, it was on a tape that easily had to be one of his favourites. It was always playing on the road trips we would go on, and now it had been well over a decade since I had heard it. So I thought I would go on some sleuthing of my own to try to figure it out. Not just figure out the song, but also try to learn why my dad liked it so much.


Now I could have simply asked my mom or sisters about it, but I felt that this was something that I would have to discover for myself, and it would keep me from feeling all awkward if they ever asked why I was doing such a thing.


There were some clues that would help me in finding it:


1: It must come from a Bollywood film. Considering that the Bollywood film industry makes more films each year than any other film industry would make this difficult.
2: It would be from 1984 or earlier, as I believe that was the earliest that I ever heard the song.
3: It was probably from one of my dad's favourite singers, Mohammed Rafi.
4: It involved a chorus of men and was somewhat of a sad song


My best help on this was going to be the internet (youtube specifically). I figured all that I would have to do is type in "Mohammed Rafi" and go through the many songs in that man's discography. This was going to be difficult as Mohammed Rafi was one of the most recorded playback singers of all time. This first step I would do in my spare time. It took me a good 2 years in my spare time here and there to go through all of Mohammed Rafi's songs. After finding what was listed as his entire discography on piratebay, downloading it and listening to that as well, the one song I was trying to find was not there.


Some of Mohd. Rafi's songs are here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_axl1r4j94


Fail


Not a problem, really. As I was in the first year of trying to find this song and listening to Mohd Rafi sing, I also considered that this elusive song may have been sung by another. So after another year went by and I was confident now that this song was not sung by Mr. Rafi, I went back to piratebay and downloaded the entire discography of Kishore Kumar. I thought I was due to find it now, as it was 2011, and I had already been searching on and off for 2 years. And personally, I was a bigger fan of Kishore Kumar and listening to his songs would be fun anyways.


Kishore Kumar songs here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQXtPh4ml9A


Fail


Neither one of these singers (Mohammed Rafi or Kishore Kumar) had sung the song that I was looking for. So I stopped looking.


I was married now, there was a baby on the way, and life was going to get busier, I was not going to have so much time to find that song. Whatever was left in my memory that I had of it would have to be cherished.


So my son, Khyden, was born and life can't be any better. Parenthood is crazy and great. One weekend just a couple of months ago, one of my sister's, the Communist, had flown in from Edmonton and wanted to see the baby. So the wife, the kid and I went to my eldest sister's house (where the Communist was staying) to pay a visit. Now the Communist is the youngest of my three older sisters, and as a child, she had always had the vision of becoming a lawyer, which she had successfully done. And as my two eldest sisters and myself can attest, the Communist was definitely "daddy's girl."
She began by getting a degree in social work, went to law school and now helps in the plight of others that need it. Very determined and driven to make sure justice is served right. Kinda like a superhero, which I now realize may be a reason why her husband married her (as he is devoted to comics), but I digress.


Anyways, as we were over visiting, mom had the television turned on to watch one of her Bollywood soap operas (which are a hoot) and during one of the commercial breaks, it showed footage from the funeral of a Bollywood playback singer. His name was Manna Dey. They then began to play a handful of samples of the over 4000 songs he had recorded in his career. And that's when it hit me like a truck. His voice.


No, it wasn't the song I had been looking for these past few years, but I was certain now that the song must have been sung by Manna Dey. Not Mohammed Rafi, not Kishore Kumar. Future research revealed and Manna Dey used to be Mohammed Rafi's neighbor when they both were playback singers for the same production company. Go figure.


My drive had returned. I was now determined to find this song that had eluded me all along.


So back to youtube I went... and it only took me five minutes.


It came from a movie named "Vishwanath"
The Internet Movie Database description of the movie states: An honest lawyer, Vishwanath is implicated and imprisoned at the behest of powerful underworld don, GNK and his associates. After his release from prison, Vishwanath decides to seek vengeance, but finds out that it is virtually impossible to do this through due process of law. So he decides to change his identity, hire a gang of crooks and assassins, to carry out his vendetta.


Here's the kicker. The release date of the film was January 20, 1978.
That also happens to be the birthdate of The Communist.


Destiny?


Without further ado, here is the song that had eluded me all these years.
Enjoy.


http://youtu.be/Dqf5cTN5qQo









Friday, January 03, 2014

Questions from a new dad (#1)


Dear Sharon, Lois and Bram,

"One elephant went out to play,"

I get it. Elephants are cute, and we all like to play. Now imagine an elephant playing! I see where you're going. Heck, imagine if it was a baby elephant playing! The possibilities are endless. This is going to be a great song!

"Upon a spider's web one day."

Ok, hold up.

A spiderweb? First off, have you guys seen an elephant? They are big.
Secondly, when's the last time anyone went to play in a spiderweb?

Where are you going with this? Is it perhaps a tiny-pigmy elephant that is yet to be discovered? Because that would be the cutest thing ever of all time imagined. But the fact that it's on a spiderweb means it is in grave danger. RUN TINY PIGMY ELEPHANT!!!

Or is this the world's largest arachnid?
I'm trying to put my kid to sleep here and you're on the verge of giving ME nightmares! If an elephant is on a spiderweb, imagine the immense proportions of the spider. And since you have stated that it is just an "elephant" I have foregone the conclusion that this is the undiscovered micro pachyderm of my dreams.
Spiders make webs not to play on, but instead to catch their prey.
You are singing about death, and by your voices, I can tell that you are smiling!

This is not nice.

So lets be realistic. An elephant going onto a spider web to play, will truly result in a sticky mess where the web is trampled and the spider is destroyed (or left homeless).

"He had such enormous fun,"

Ummmm... So let me get this straight.

He actually got on the spiderweb and there was no resulting damage?
And you still just refer to him as an elephant (no special mouse-sized breed living in the far depths of an isolateed jungle). My guess is that by your use of the word "enormous" you must be comparing his actual size to the amount of pleasure being had. Therefore it is now safe to say that he is a regular sized elephant (Asian or African, yet to be determined).

This spider is damn huge! RUN. SAVE YOURSELF!!!!!

"That he called for another elephant to come!"

Have you lost your mind!!!!!
Two elephants, on the web of death?
I do not support this motion.

The atrocities of this song have led me to discontinue any further play of this track. I fear the outcome will be too tragic for my liking and I do not wish to expose my son to the possible catastrophe lingering in the later verses.

I wish you well with your endeavors.

Good day,
Amn Johal

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Where the wild things are...

Had a funeral to attend a couple of weeks back. Friends of the family, well actually, distantly related, from my dad's side. They own a farm in Pitt Meadows, and the grandfather had just passed away. Just a month after one of his sons died, if I'm correct.

Anyways, get to the funeral home and walk up to see the body, resting all peaceful in the casket, but you can sense the cold from the skin and acknowledge that the character has left that vessel. Then I made eye-contact with one of his sons (who was a real good friend of my dad), in his late 40s, eyes glazed over.

Found a pew near the back. Far enough to limit the sound of the ladies crying in the front rows, but not too far to appear disgraceful.

After the ceremony everyone congregates in the lobby. The son finds me and walks up. Knowing that my own father had passed away 8 years ago now (seems like yesterday), he doesn't let go of my hand after the shake and asks me "how did you hold up?"

Normally I'm really quiet at things like these, but i don't know what came over me. I looked him back in the eyes and replied:

"When I was little and the family would go out on excursions to the stores or to visit friends and family, I would always reach up my hand and grab onto one of my dad's fingers. Because at that age, my dad was the strongest and bravest man in the world. No one could contend with my dad. I could walk into any jungle and know that my dad would always be there and I could always reach up and hold his hand.

Of course, as years went by, I came to know that everyone has flaws, nobody is perfect, and neither was my dad. I would rebel, go against his wishes and state that I was my own man.

But that day he died was the one moment in my life where I didn't know what to do, how to handle myself, or act like that 'man' I said I was. I was little again, and if I was to reach up for security, his hand wouldn't be there anymore. And I realized that I had gotten through those rebellious years knowing deep down inside that if I ever needed to reach up, his hand would have always been there for me.

So I hold up now, hoping I learned from him and knowing that one day I'll have my own child reaching up for my hand as they walk into that jungle. I'll try to be as strong and brave as my dad was, and I thank him everyday for that."

Been a while since I've been bear-hugged by a grown man.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My top three injuries this year

yes... i do feel like i killed the blog.

so let us start anew:

My top three injuries this year!

#3 - went bowling earlier this month (for just the 6th time in my life) and apparently had a few beers to boot. picked a large size bowling ball (size 15) and threw it down the lane, knocked down four pins. Went back to the ball rack to pick the ball up and try my spare... but it wasn't there... so i spun other bowling balls around to see if they would fit my fingers. as i did, the ball i just threw shot out of the ball-return-machine-thingy and smashes into the end digit of my pinky finger on my left hand. yes... it hurt. three-quarters of the nail are still purple.

(side-note: had to keep calling everything "bowling balls" because if i just said "balls" reading it over, it would make me giggle)

#2 - HOBO SPIDER BITE FROM HELL! last month (october) somewhere... somehow.... i was bitten by a spider on the inside of my thigh. so thankful i wear briefs instead of boxers cause who knows what would have happened! anyways, leg swells, hurts to walk, then hemmorages and forms a bloodblister, which pops and leaves a whole in my leg that i could stick my finger into... the scab finally fell off yesterday... and now the skin around the bite is remarkably smooth since all the dead skin from the bite removed all the hair. anyways... google-image "hobo spider bite" and you'll see what it looked like... which also scares me... because after all... when was i bit? in bed? while leading ghost walks? was it in my locker and made home in my costume pants? *shudder*

#1 - SALIVARY CALCULI!!!!.... never in my life have i experienced such continuous pain than when i had my left salivary gland blocked by a buildup of calcium. who would have thought that something that small would hurt me more than the time i blew my knee. i don't even wish this to happen to my worst enemies. brought tears to my eyes.

so there you have it... i'mma try to write more often now.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A'ight, here goes:

After being tagged by The Mighty Solomon I now must reveal 8 interesting/weird/nutso (take it in what sense thou wilt) facts about me... so here we go:

1) I pride myself on being on time to scheduled meetings and events. Nothing really peeves me more than people who are late. Especially those who call and tell you they will be there in five minutes. Then you call them three hours later and they again say they'll be there in five minutes!

2) Homeless people who have pets tick me off. HOW THE HELL CAN YOU AFFORD A PUPPY???!!! I WORK A BLOODY FULL-TIME JOB AND I CAN'T AFFORD A PUPPY!
YOU BASTARD!

3) Sometimes.... when no one else is in the car.... I listen to QMFM

4) Aside from dogs, all other animals seem to dislike me. Some to the point where they want me dead. There was the monkey who tried to kill me in India, the elk to tried to kill me in Jasper, the moose who i thought wanted me dead (also in Jasper), the freak squirrel in the west bastion of fort langley... etc...

5) I will cry in movies, if it calls for it. Heck, i'll even cry at songs, if warranted and no one watches

6) I have a habit of grabbing strange tiny objects (key chains, coins, what-have-you) and trying to see if they fit in my eye like those fancy english-folk spectacles... you know, the ones with only one lens and you'd have to squint to hold it in place... ya those.

7) I think i was born to be a taxi driver. I just love driving. I'll drive anywhere and everywhere if i have to or not. I'll drive aimlessly if i have the time, i just love to explore.

8) As a child, i loved looking out my bedroom window during rainstorms. The little splashes on the road being carried by the wind made it look like thousands of troops marching into battle!

So there we have it, 8 pointless facts about me.
So now i will tag two others to do the same:
Jared and Shaun, take it away!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Classic Sholay Scenes

Here are a few scenes from my favourite film of all time. Some may have subtitles, others won't, but subtitles aren't necessarily needed. If you want to see the movie still, DO NOT WATCH THE LAST THREE VIDEOS!!! ENJOY!: