I saw a person today at a bus stop when my son and I were on our way to the beach with a shirt that said “Wander” with the picture of a rhinoceros in the background. The rhinoceros could probably have been substituted for a dinosaur in my opinion and would have come across with the same message: spend time enjoying life and the various places that it might take you.
It was the perfect message for our day, my son has been with his mom for the better part of July and I’ve developed a routine to try to keep up the happy levels as I can get a little depressed without enough son in my life. In an effort to reconnect I was taking him through my regular “Saturday Happy Routine” and talking about the importance of building joy into your day. I spend a lot of time talking about these things lately simply because happy is something I used to take for granted and didn’t always take enough time to understand.
So our morning had started with an amazing guitar lesson downtown. We have a weekly session scheduled but I go alone if he can’t make it. July was a busy month of visiting for him and his mother so it was our first lesson together this summer and my son had a request: let’s learn “Iraq Lobster (Peter Griffin)”.
For you that don’t know it’s a parody of the original song “Rock Lobster (B-52’s)”. It pushes the comedy envelope in terms of lyrics (you have been warned), however musically it is a great song. It is catchy and pretty simple on the surface. The discussion the day before had gone something like this:
“So, you are watching Family Guy now?!”, I like Family Guy but don’t watch much TV anymore so I think I had a ‘that didn’t happen here’ tone in my voice, lol.
“No dad, I saw it on YouTube.”, son
“But that is still watching Family Guy dude.”, dad
“It’s a neat song dad.”, my son interjects.
To be perfectly clear it’s not always like this. Before that talk, though I had come out from a nap and found him with a guitar in his lap and his iPad opened to YouTube. He was looking at instructional videos on how to play the song on guitar and had already filtered through a few that he found just didn’t sound correct. He’s got a great ear for music and it’s something I try to encourage. It was a super proud moment so net positive interaction and reinforces guidance and moderation on YouTube rather than banning outright.
We brought that to our lesson and after some time in a lesson exploring the song, Kris identified two parts so we could each have our piece to play and jotted down some tab and notes:
It is going to be a bit of a challenge to play that together but something for us to work on. Maybe we won’t get this song perfect and maybe this isn’t the one we’ll master together. We are working on a few now though and the important thing is the intent and seeing what works on our journey.
MEC and Brunch
After making it halfway to the place we were going to have brunch we realized we forgot that we were going to buy shovels. We don’t buy buckets and shovels every trip to the beach but my son is 10 so we are transitioning from plastic buckets and shovels to “real” buckets and shovels. Honestly, if you are still pre-blastic bucket days you might be better off to take a trip to MEC and make the non-plastic purchase right from the start. It will last longer and is a serious commitment that you are going to be building sand-structures with your child.
So, we realized we had forgotten this and did a U-Turn and went back to MEC. We parked and I took my phone out and turned data on to pay. Luckily as I was going to pay for parking my son gave me the wrong number for the meter. I looked up briefly and wasn’t as mindful about the whole situation as I could have been, but I asked the right question, “Why did you give me that number? It’s for the other meter.”
His response was priceless, “Because that one is already taken.”, and he was correct, the spot we had parked in had 45 minutes left. I explained the good news and thanked him for saving us some money. It also prompted a conversation at the time and again when he was reading this over about the legalities of “using someone else’s time” on the meter. I explained that this was a normal thing for me growing up and was legal however technology has changed how we think about this.
After the purchase of some suitable tools, we headed to a restaurant I’ve been really enjoying lately on my beach happy days that I really wanted to share. It’s in the neighbourhood that I first met his mother and I wanted to share that fact as well. We didn’t go to this particular place often back then unfortunately but they did have a fantastic sound system and an eclectic musical selection. I was happy to discover at the beginning of the summer that this has remained true and on the days I had visited alone it was a great place to just sit and write. With my son, I found that the aquarium they had was also interesting to look at and they make a pretty mean french toast.
We set up in the “dog area” of the beach just so we could watch the puppies play and be part of that. My son wandered for a bit, he’s at the stage where he is wanting more independence and I try to honour that as much as possible. When he wandered I played a bit of guitar and amused myself.
In a bit, he wandered back and we fumbled around with a few activities, played a bit of guitar, moved spots a couple of times and then settled back in our original place to build a sand structure. It was part of just feeling around the gaps in the summer and reconnecting. Eventually, we decided on building a sand fortification and I started hauling water for the endeavour.
Bobie joined us a bit later with her kids and some more independence was had by the kids as we played a bit of guitar together. We managed to get a few songs coordinated being mindful of the beachgoers around us. After a bit we took a break and worked on the sand fortification with the kids, then more independence was had and eventually, we went to have dinner at the concession on the beach. Such a great, recharging day and much to be celebrated.
After the whole experience, I guess I was feeling a little creative and inspired by both a new tuning I am playing with and the “Iraq Lobster” video I decided to sit down and play with life, and song-writing, for a bit. I’ve made a few attempts at this but it’s new and I am still figuring things out.
The entire endeavour was a bit of an effort figuring out how to capture the notes, lyrics and put it all together. I had originally intended to post about that but got sidetracked so I’ll have to create a post for that another day. Some initial thoughts on the process though: it’s a bit difficult to use technology and write music, flowing back and forth from paper to technology to instrument seems to be the norm. The entire creative process was a bit of a flurry and at the end, I had pieces of my creation on paper, electronic notes and some still stuck in my head.
The end product is a small little blurb/ soundbite I am calling, “Baby Birds are Grateful (Clayton Harbour)”:
The melody is nice and the plucking is interesting and helped me figure out how to walk around the guitar neck a bit with DADGAB tuning. The words to the song so far are a bit silly but they were what came to mind when I was playing it:
“[That’s why] baby birds are grateful,
For all that they have,
[That’s why] baby birds are grateful,
If not they’d be dead”
I’ve posted a few recordings here as well as a bit of a background on what I was thinking if you are interested in trying to play it – https://photos.app.goo.gl/6E5nhpupQtFkogsA9.