Reviews

Chance the Rapper at Budweiser Stage

Here's a fun fact that gets less fun the more you think about it. Last night, I attended the very first concert at Budweiser Stage. That's pretty cool until you realize it's the same ol' amphitheatre you've been to dozens of time with fresh paint and a new name.

Chance the Rapper

I was there with my oldest daughter to see Chance the Rapper. The last time I took her to a show, it was Selena Gomez, and the crowd was so young there were plenty of parental units in the crowd. This time, it was 99% high school and university students and I was the unicorn. For fun, we tried to find another person on the lawns who looked like they were over the age of 30. We struck out.

Chance the Rapper

My oldest two kids have been playing Chance the Rapper around the house for years, but it wasn't until last night that I realized how many of his songs I knew. It was fantastic with the most positive vibe I've ever experienced at a concert. When the skies really opened up around 10:45pm and the lightning became more frequent we were played out with Blessings 2 and Michelle and I bolted for the bikes.

As we biked west on an empty Martin Goodman Trail, soaking wet and full of song, it was the absolute best feeling. What an amazing night.

Blessings, indeed.

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Dream Big: Engineering Our World

I took my three oldest kids to the Ontario Science Centre yesterday. That's where you'll find the OMNIMAX® Theatre, where the giant screen is a dome with 13,000 watts of sound being delivered from 44 speakers. It's really something else.

We saw "Dream Big: Engineering Our World", an incredibly inspiring film about how creative and compassionate engineers improve the world we live in. Several stories are shared, each one more inspiring than the last. And as an added bonus, it's narrated by Jeff Bridges.

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If all goes according to plan, I'll end up with an engineer in the family.... or four. The key is to dream big.

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Gleason

I'm a sucker for movies on a plane. Even mediocre flicks hook me when I'm mid-flight. Heck, I shed a tear during Kevin Costner's Draft Day.

Having already been underwhelmed by the new Ghostbusters and pleasantly surprised by the new Barbershop, I decided to try a documentary. There was one called Gleason which I just assumed was about Jackie Gleason. I decided to give it a go.

This movie was not about Jackie Gleason but former NFL player Steve Gleason who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 34. I was completely drawn into Steve's world where I clinged to every syllable and openly wept like a baby several times.

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I'm unsure if the documentary is just that good or if this is the aforementioned plane effect, but I spent the next hour completely reevaluating the priorities in my life, particularly my relationships with my four children. The faucet was open and feelings were gushing out.

Should you trust a man who admitted to shedding a tear while watching Draft Day on a flight? Of course you shouldn't. But if you're facing adversity, struggle with father issues, are a parent or simply interested in a different perspective, I highly recommend this documentary. And not just because it features Pearl Jam and a tearful Ed Vedder discussing his own father issues. That's just icing on a very thought-provoking cake.

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Canadian Premiere of I Am What I Play at The Royal

I attended the Canadian premiere of I Am What I Play at The Royal last night. You might recall me writing about this documentary. It features Meg Griffin, Charles Laquidara, Pat O'Day and our very own David Marsden.

Marsden was at the premiere, and we chatted before the curtains went up. A number of old CFNY staffers were there, as well as radio fan Erin Davis who gave me a big hug. It was a great atmosphere.

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And for this longtime fan of radio, it was a great doc. Aside from Marsden, i was only slightly familiar with Meg Griffin from her appearances on Howard Stern. The others, Charles Laquidara in particular, were great story tellers.

And that's what makes Marsden so great. The man is an excellent storyteller, with fantastic stories to tell. It's why his appearance in episode 106 of my podcast is one my personal favourites. I Am What I Play features plenty of great Marsden tales with old audio, video and photos I had never seen. I've finally heard what Dave Mickie sounds like!

If you love radio, you'll adore this doc. It's also got a great soundtrack and closes the only way a good radio story should.

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Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre

On Friday, I did something I had never done before. I attended dinner theatre.

The show was called "Getting Hitched! An Engagement Party Directed by Alfred Hitchmock" and it took place at the Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre at 2026 Yonge Street. If you've never been to dinner theatre, you're served a nice meal and then characters in the production start milling about, chatting you up at your table. Then, the show begins with a murder and your job is to track the clues and figure out whodunit.

Spoiler alert: I was the murderer. Here's photographic evidence.

Fwd:

Good food and good times... Visit http://www.mysteriouslyyours.com/ for more info.

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Cinderella at the Elgin Theatre

Cinderella at The Elgin TheatreWe attended CINDERELLA - The Gags to Riches Family Musical at the Elgin Theatre yesterday. It was my second Ross Petty production, so I knew exactly what to expect.

There's fun call and answer, lots of booing from the audience when Petty hits the stage as the evil step mother, and parodies of current hit pop songs. It was a fun night.

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Now, it wasn't as funny as SNOW WHITE, the Deliciously Dopey Family Musical, the last Ross Petty fractured fairy tale I attended, but people of all ages will laugh out loud.

If you'd like to buy tickets to CINDERELLA - The Gags to Riches Family Musical, go here.

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ASUS Transformer Book T100 Review

ASUS Transformer Book T100 ReviewI'll spend a little time on a desktop running Ubuntu and a tablet running Android, but otherwise it's always my work-issued MacBook Pro or my LG G2 phone. It's been a while since I played with Windows on a laptop and I've never used Windows on a tablet.

That's why I was intrigued by the ASUS Transformer tablet. It's a 10" tablet that comes with a keyboard dock, so you can convert it into a laptop. It also runs Windows 8.1 and includes Microsoft Office.

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I feel sorry for folks using Windows 8.1 without a touchscreen. It really seems designed for touch and counterintuitive if you're just using a keyboard and mouse. But if you want Windows because it's what you know and / or need, the ASUS Transformer Book might just be the tablet for you. And it is a touchscreen, making Windows 8.1 actually bearable.

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Pros: Switching from tablet to laptop is super easy, and the battery life seems pretty good. It's light and has a USB and HDMI port, which you rarely see with tablets.

Cons: Coming from a MacBook Pro, it feels awfully plastic, but then again it is a great deal less expensive. And the Windows apps suck, especially if you're used to Android or iOS, but you can run full Windows programs to adequately compensate.

I can't wait to start playing with my new ASUS Transformer Book

In terms of value, I recommend this device, especially if you're a fan of Windows. For a 10" inch tablet / laptop hybrid, the price is right.

This ASUS Transformer Book T100 was provided by Intel Canada as part of the #IntelCanada Insiders Experience program.

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The Science of Rock 'n' Roll at Ontario Science Centre is Awesome

The Science of Rock 'n' Roll at Ontario Science Centre is AwesomeToday, I took my kids to the Ontario Science Centre to see the IMAX film "Island of Lemurs: Madagascar" and check out The Science of Rock 'n' Roll experience. Both were pretty awesome.

"Island of Lemurs: Madagascar" is what you'd expect from a Morgan Freeman narrated IMAX movie about Lemurs, which is to say it's excellent. There's a lot about these cute little guys you likely don't know, and all of it is rather fascinating, and I'm a sucker for anything IMAX.

Psyched for the Science of Rock N Roll at the Ontario Science Centre

But the real attraction at the Science Centre these days is The Science of Rock 'n' Roll exhibit, and it's only here for a limited time. If you love music, you could easily spend an entire day reading about the history of rock, watching the many informative videos (narrated by Alan Cross, no less) and mixing, recording your own music.

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The kids loved the hands-on interactive components, as did I. The hardest part is letting them have their turn.

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Any time you can combine rock with science, you've got the perfect activity for the kids this summer. Throw in an IMAX film and you've got yourself a day to remember.

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Hotelscan: Comparing Prices for Hotels and Accommodations

Kieran asked me to review hotelscan.com, and since I'm planning a trip to Europe in August, this seemed like the ideal time to give it a whirl.

Hotelscan lauds itself as "an independent price comparison website for hotels and accommodations all over the world".

Whether a brand-name hotel for a business stay, a bespoke-experience bed&breakfast for a honeymoon or a frugal hostel for a backpacking trip, Hotelscan lets people compare hotels and prices across dozens of websites in ~50,000 cities of the world. With unique algorithms tailored to unearth the best deals of the moment, ability to search for hotels next to any address or landmark in the world and a pleasant, expertly crafted user experience, Hotelscan is the easiest way to compare hotel prices and travel more for less.

It's pretty sweet and easy to use. If you're planning a vacation, it's worth a click on over to ensure you're getting the best deal.

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ROCK OF AGES at the Sony Centre

Rock of Ages at the Sony CentreI honestly knew almost nothing about ROCK OF AGES before I saw the musical last night at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. I had read somewhere that Tom Cruise sang Guns N' Roses in the movie, but that wasn't enough to get me to watch it. I just knew there'd be singing.

It was great fun. As a child of the 80s, it was awesome reliving tunes from Poison, Warrant, Whitesnake, REO Speedwagon and more.

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So if you like fun, you'll dig ROCK OF AGES. But you likely already know that because you've likely seen it already. I'm apparently the only one who was missing out.

ROCK OF AGES is here through March 24. Ticket prices range from $25-$90 and can be purchased in person at the Sony Centre Box Office, 1 Front Street East, Toronto, over the phone at 1-855-872-SONY (7669) or online at www.sonycentre.ca.

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