Saturday, February 28, 2015

My take on the letter "G" for ABC Wednesday's Round 16

Welcome to my take on the letter "G" for ABC Wednesday.  My Genuine thanks to Mrs. NesbittRogerReader WilLeslie and Trubes for the Generous Gift of their time and talents to keep a Great meme thriving.  I have three musical links for you today.  Perhaps one of them will catch your interest.  If not, feel free to skip over to a few words from the "Unusual words that begin with G" site, or perhaps, you will Gallop along with me on a few of our jaunts over the past week.
You can listen to quite an unusual performance of Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto below.  Percy Grainger (note to self to feature him for the next round) is heard on a piano roll with Andrew Davis conducting in London's Royal Albert Hall.  If you watch it at the youtube site, the comments are interesting.  There is even one from a violinist who played in that performance.  Between the first and second movement, at about 13:45, Rex Lawson, the world's only full-time pianolist, changes the piano roll.  His web site is a fascinating read.  Generally agreed to be the world's foremost expert on all things Pianola related, he comes about as close as anyone could to bringing composers back from the dead.  Percy Grainger died in 1961, and Grieg in 1907.  Grainger studied this concerto extensively with the composer himself, so what we are hearing is musical history coming alive.  
Though I didn't watch the Oscars Gala on Sunday night, Lady Gaga's performance of a medley of songs from "The Sound of Music" Garnered so much attention, it seemed worth the effort to find a Youtube of her performance.  Bill and I thought her Grand dress and impressive voice were Gorgeous and she must have been Gratified to receive such a positive response from not only the public but from the incomparable Julie Andrews.
I listened to "The Great Gig In The Sky" over and over and over when I first heard it (1973) on Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album.   
To be honest, it wasn't the lyrics but rather Claire Torry's voice, the Gentle support of Richard Wright's keyboard performance and Dave Gilmour's Guitar playing that captured my fascination.  That said, the words do give pause for thought.
"And I am not frightened of dying, any time will do, I don't mind.
Why should I be frightened of dying?
There's no reason for it, you've gotta go sometime."
"If you can hear this whispering you are dying."
"I never said I was frightened of dying."
Below, you can hear Claire Torry, the vocal soloist, discuss the experience of making the recording.  She said, "It's given me some Grief for I've never been sure if it was the devil Grinning up at me, or God smiling down on me, and I still haven't figured out which one had the final say."  In the end, though David Gilmore told her to do a 3rd take, she stopped halfway through the take and told them she thought she had done her best in the first two takes, and I believe it was the first take that became the one many Pink Floyd fans know and love.  I wondered this morning about David Gilmour's life. The Wikepedia link reveals a complex man and musician and this site details a number of his important non-musical projects. It is rather sad that Clare Torry had to sue for a share in the royalties, though that isn't mentioned in her interview.  Certainly, it was a different time, and to the band's credit, a satisfactory settlement was eventually made out of court.

Four words caught my eye when researching the letter "G" - the first three found at the Phrontistery site and the 4th when I looked up information about Nina Simone (see concluding section of the post):
gardyloo - warning cry
grandeval - of great age, ancient
granivorous - feeding on seeds
griot - (/ˈɡri.oʊ/; French pronunciation: ​[ɡʁi.o]), jali or jeli (djeli or djéli in French spelling) is a West African historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet and/or musician.

And, Galloping right along :)

I was Grateful for the view from the Gripping vantage point of the dentist's chair last week,
and Greatly relieved to hear encouraging news from my hygienist.
The Burrard Bridge, the almost bare North Shore Mountains (Ghastly news for the ski hills),
and one of our favourite bike routes were all reminders of my Grounds for loving this city
We caught sight of these Golden-toned flowers..
on one of our outings to Granville Island.
I wanted Black Jack to work off a little bit of her Get-up-and-Go, so Bill manoeuvred the two bikes in what I thought was a most adept way through the narrow streets and alleyways.   
I took this shadow shot by Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park.  It's a bit Gravity-challenged but tilting the camera was the only way to fit all of the Groundwork into the frame :)
We saw these lovely snowdrop blooms (Galanthus) on the same outing. 
It was the second time we met Dan under the Cambie Bridge.  You can read about our initial introduction here.  He's a Genuine soul, loving the opportunity to test himself,
and willing to deliver the Goods to improve his skills.
Go for it, Dan! 
These daffodils were spotted after riding our bikes to English Bay.  They were a welcome sight, because, to be honest, we arrived feeling a little bit Grouchy after.. 
navigating traffic-jams of cyclists and walkers, some traveling at high speeds in the wrong direction, something that is not only Goofy but dangerous.
I know they were Giddy with happiness at the appearance of the sun, but some awareness of one's surroundings is vital for safe cycling (and even for walking).
We also found Garbage washed up along the shore.  This coconut and..
a papaya looked attractive at first, but were rotting and rather Grody on closer inspection
No question though, on days when sun Glistens and Greenery beckons, 
Gymnastics however we can manage them, are called for, and I..
Got-a-Great-kick-out-of this young lady!  I think the crow Granted approval as well :) 
There's one more Gig to tell you about before concluding this post.
Last Sunday, the Jazz Vespers concert at St. Andrew's Wesley was a tribute to Nina Simone, featuring Candus Churchill with The Henry Young Quartet.  I Guess you could say the Genre of jazz brings Black History Month to the fore like no other.  I was Guiltily ignorant of most of the details of Nina Simone's life and am so very Grateful for the fine musicians who brought her to life for me on Sunday.  Paul Blaney (acoustic bass) and Chris Nordquist (drums) chatted just before the performance began.
We were privileged to be in the presence of Guitarist, Henry Young.  He played with Nina Simone's band.  He knew her talent and her voice and he understood her struggle for equality. 
Candus Churchill's supreme voice brought a Gilt-edged quality to the performance as well.

I loved her blue Glitz and Glamour, but most of all, I loved her down-to-earth..  
emotion and honesty.
This quote (with the letter "G" bolded) is from a review by Scott Foundas of a January 2015 documentary, "What Happened, Miss Simone?"
“Sometimes I sound like Gravel and sometimes I sound like coffee and cream,” Nina Simone remarks of her signature husky tenor at one point in Liz Garbus’ documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” And it is that voice, spoken and sung, which Guides us through Garbus’ meticulously researched, tough-love portrait of the brilliant but troubled folk/jazz/soul diva, drawing on a vast archive of audio interviews, diary pages and performance footage that allows Simone (who died of cancer in 2003) to answer the title question in her own unmistakable words."
 Henry Young could most likely respond with some very personal thoughts in answer to that question.  He was there! 
Reverend Dan Chambers, the liturgist for many of the Jazz Vespers concerts, did an outstanding job of researching Nina Simone's life and of bringing home to all of us in the audience something of the pain she must have endured.  Bill and I enjoy this Gentleman (and I do not use the word lightly) immensely.  That very morning, he had been to the Chinese New Year's parade, marching through the streets with an organization called Coldest Night of the Year, helping to raise thousands of dollars for Vancouver's homeless.  
As you can perhaps tell, there was rapt attention to every solo, to every moment.
Doug Louie, the pianist, also left a deep impression.  He played with a natural energy and driving rhythm that seemed to Grow from the tip of his toes, Gravitating effortlessly..
through his mind and body to to everyone within Grasp of his musical energy.
My photos ran the Gamut from attempts to capture the intense focus,
Golden atmosphere..
and feeling of Gladness in the air.  Below, Henry Young responds to a Guest performance by saxophonist, David Say.
I don't know..  does anyone see a "g" in this image?  
One thing for sure, his solo Galvanized..
the musicians..
and audience to even stronger..  I think I could say Gargantuan response.. 
to the moment.  A spark had been Generated that..
well, my Goodness, has nearly (but not quite) left me speechless :)
And the Gratitude of this lady as she leaned over to embrace Black Jack at the very end was the pièce de résistance.
I know I've Gushed far too much (again!), but hope something in this post has touched your Generous hearts.  Many, many thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Double the Fun while Critter Watching

Sharing two weeks of critter and bird photos, today, with Saturday's Critters and Wild Bird Wednesday.  Thank you, Eileen, and thank you, Stewart! If you enjoy critters and birds of every imaginable variety, these are two excellent memes to visit.

This Wood Duck..

and these Ring-Necked Ducks were in Lost Lagoon, Stanley Park, a couple of weeks ago.

On another outing, we smiled to see this bulldog by False Creek's parkway, with back legs demurely crossed.  She was making efficient use of her time while her human chatted with a friend. 

As soon as she heard the click of the camera, she rose as though she wanted to be sure..
I captured her best side.
Another day, we rode our bikes to Vanier Park and saw the resident Bald Eagle pair. They have raised quite a number of healthy chicks over the past 10 years, and appear to be planning for the coming year as well. 

I couldn't fit both eagles into the frame, but here is one of the pair (possibly the female) perched on the left side of the tree.  The nest is almost dead centre of the tree. 
Less zoomed-in here, to give perspective of the one in the first shot (assuming the male but grateful for other opinions), sitting on the right.  He was flying back and forth, bringing..
branches to the nest (sorry for the poor photo but he is carrying a branch here)..
and then working diligently to do some spring-cleaning-and-upkeep chores.
Unlike the Jericho nest that we have observed for years as well, this nest has survived over the longterm.  The pair clearly has excellent construction and maintenance skills :) 
I was hoping to catch a better shot of the male returning with a branch, but as I stared..
into the direction of his expected return, the female flew off to join him.  I just barely caught a shot of her.  Our fairly lengthy wait hadn't resulted in great photos but happily confirmed that the Vanier eagles are well and keen to do their Spring-thing :)
Below, another photography challenge that remains a work in progress.  

We've seen this hummingbird three times lately, flitting between a few trees close to.. 

our apartment. I've named him Henry as we feel pretty sure he's the same fellow each time. 
Here are some morning wake-up shots of Black Jack.
She has worked diligently on her demure look,
but the effort does take a lot out of her.
Here, she is keen to explore after we rode our bikes to Olympic Village. 
There was a lot of canine action during that outing.  This blur was a dog playing.. 
ring-around-the-bush with a friend..
that I finally managed to catch..
in this shot
They were on their way to the waterfall pond, where this yellow lab tried to join in their play,
but they were too wound up at first to be interested in his toy.
Flying over those rocks looked like a lot of..
fun, but one of them was limping a bit.
I love to see dogs enjoying themselves but it's a balancing act to save them from injuries.
The Lab joined the chase..
and seemed to have been welcomed into the circle, 
but was deserted..
when this cutie arrived.
This called for serious inspection,
that bordered on downright nosiness. 
"I'm not so sure that I'm having fun yet."
"You stick with us, Little Lady.  We'll show you a good time."
"I dunno..
.. I think a little human intervention would be good too."
This little boy was walking home from school and Bill thought he was pining for a dog of his own.  I'm betting the conversations at the supper table are aimed in that general direction :)
Another dog arrived, with markings so similar to one of the first two, 
I did a double-take at first.
See what I mean?
We continued around False Creek to Granville Island and then took the Aquabus to Hornby.
Just a five-minute trip and then an easy ride home (or actually, to our favourite café).  Black Jack watched the next passengers preparing to load as we arrived at our stop.
We appreciate these ferries.  They are reasonably priced, quick, easy, and fun.
Here are a few more shots from that Lost Lagoon outing.  We were met by this Towhee.
Wood Ducks (showed one of these at the beginning of the post)..
shared space..
with Common Mergansers,
American Coots,
Ring-Necked Ducks.
Mute Swans,
and there was even an eagle in the middle of the lagoon.
Bill noted that it is rare to see seagulls making use of the tall evergreens like this.
His presence on all of these outings doubles the fun for me.  Here, he ran up the little hill with Black Jack, and suddenly popped into the view over the little bridge.
Black Jack loves to have a variety of vantage points from which to espy critters.
One resting for a moment while the other remains vigilant :)
The rest was needed because seconds later, 
they were running around.. 
the trees together.
Twice lately, people have spontaneously suggested we pose for a group shot.  This one was taken by Sherri (see her art in the previous post).. 

and this one by a jogger when she spotted us by the lagoon.  She was even game to manage my heavy camera for the shot.  We meet some wonderfully kind spirits on our treks.
These last shots are back in Vanier Park near the eagle tree.  Again, Bill..
makes me laugh.
 The outings just wouldn't be the same without him.  
Until next time!  Many thanks for stopping by!