More thought = less code
less code = fewer bugs
I speak as the developer of a large, revenue-critical software system which was in use for over a decade, bug free.
- 2019-10-25: Over the past year or so, my business toll-free number has been receiving spam phone calls. A few times a week, someone calls and leaves no message, just odd "soundtracks". Some examples are factory sounds, people in a cafe, fishing on a river, running water, mall crowds, and birds. This would be mildy amusing, except for the fact that I have to pay for these spam calls. Here are some of the numbers making the calls this month: 215-353-5056 (Lansdale, PA), 256-273-9866 (Fort Payne, AL), 706-672-6704 (Greenville, GA), 707-203-3682 (Elk, CA), 628-209-2040 (Novato, CA), and 541-241-9052 (Bend, OR).
It turns out that the letter G is an excellent example of the features that arise through the evolution of a letter shape.
Of course, it tickles me that it is the letter "G"!
"Roman letter development began with a skeleton alphabet and then occurs on the one hand, a formal characterisation of this alphabet influenced and largely produced by the broad-nibbed pen, and, on the other hand, a less formal characterisation resulting from the scribbling of the educated public: this development, at first controlled by the tool and material – the stylus and wax tablets of the public – was mastered by them, the scribblers, and became an economic development, simplified strokes and linkings or loopings, saving both time and space. The craftsmen in their turn, borrowing the more economic skeleton forms characterised them afresh by means of the broad nib. Johnston, 1913." from here
- 2019-06-01: I have always been interested in communication, and as typography as a part of achieving that. Our letterforms have evolved over millenia, and Edward Catich's study of the Trajan letterforms led him to fully develop the theory that the serifs of Roman capital letters were entirely due to the use of a paintbrush to lay out the incriptions on stone, rather than to the tools and processes of actually chipping them out. This idea is shown on the cover of his book "The Origin of the Serif: Brush Writing and Roman Letters". Of course, having done some carving, I can appreciate that the serifs could also help to keep the ends of the stone channels clean. Either way - the result of something practical!
How to prune a weeping mulberry!
Healthy Balance #2 : Let's Get Personal
One size fits all, right? No, it doesn't!
Maybe you tried the latest trendy workout, or followed an easy meal plan that you found online, or took standard treatments that your doctor prescribed, but you didn't get the promised results.
High-carb diets, low-carb diets, high-fat, ketogenic, Atkins, Paleo, and on and on... they all work - for somebody - but not for you.
Our medical system is set up to provide standard responses to health issues. That's no fault of the doctors and nurses, it's just the way our society does medicine. But what works best for one person may not work well for you.
Why is this?
It's because you are a unique combination of where you come from, what you've done, and even where you're going.
Personal training is all about that: you work one-on-one with a trainer to accomplish your goals, with a customized exercise plan, according to your current condition. And the plan changes as you change.
We'll soon have "personal nutrition" and "personal medicine", tailored to your uniqueness just like personal training. Technology will be able to scan your cells and optimize nutrition and health care just for you.
For example, in some people a slice of bread causes blood sugar spikes, but in others it doesn't. It turns out that such spikes are determined by your gut bugs - and you certainly have your own personal combination of those! We'll dive further into this in an upcoming column.
So, all the generic advice we've been given over the years is "right" in general, but "wrong" for you specifically. Your responses are highly individual, and depend on ... you.
Hey, my body didn't come with a User's Manual. Did yours? Despite that little omission, you can achieve amazing things! And your path is determined by the very stuff of which you are made. This column is about exploring that stuff - exploring the science of you.
We'll talk about many interesting things here, but feel free to send me your questions. I hope to inspire you to take some guided steps to find your healthy balance!
Healthy Balance #1 : Starting With The Man In The Mirror
You balance a broom on the tip of your finger. It sways a bit side-to-side, but you correct with instinctive little movements of your hand and the broom hovers mostly in the middle. You even manage the larger swings - with corrections that are just the right size to bring the broom back to center.
But if the broom leans to one side and you don't get it back into balance, then it falls, right? Or if your corrections are too large, then the broom falls the other way. Thud!
When I was young, I didn't eat that well. Mostly hot dogs and deserts, it seems. Typical kid! I should have listened to my parents. They presented me with good choices and possibilities, but I seldom chose wisely.
As a kid I was small and was bullied, and as a teen I smoked a bit. I was thin into my late twenties. People would say "Get that boy a sandwich!" - to my face.
So I wanted to be "bigger", which I achieved by adding on pounds over the next decade. I became overweight. Actually, I took it to the next level and was clinically obese: I had gained 60lbs or 27kg. No half measures for me!
Do I need to tell you that this extra weight was bad? I was pre-diabetic, had high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat, suffered from depression, developed vision problems, was refused life insurance due to kidney issues, and had skin cancer that required grafting.
Like the unbalanced broom, I had tipped one way, then too far the other way.
I did not recognize the man in the mirror, so I started making changes to bring me to my center.
My Mom had planted the seed of good food (thanks Mom!), and I inherited a sense of curiosity from my Dad (thanks Dad!), so now, a decade later, I'm a fitness instructor and pursuing a Masters in Nutrition.
I'm looking forward to talking with you about exercise, bones, aging, stress, digestion, vitamins, and many other things.
Join me in finding your healthy balance!
- 2017-11-03: After my upgrade to Windows 10, my CanoScan N67U flatbed scanner stopped working. This is because Canon has not made drivers for 64bit Windows 10. If you search the Web, you'll see a lot of complaints about this - and they are justified. There are some technical workarounds involving modifying and installing older drivers, which I have done with other devices, but for this flatbed scanner I have taken another route. I use the free Oracle VirtualBox software running Ubuntu 14 32bit (a free Linux). Windows 10 does not recognize the N670U scanner, but Ubuntu does. Starting VirtualBox Ubuntu takes only moment and does the job!
- 2017-10-30: The word respect is so overloaded: with respect to (concerning or about), in some respects (some aspects), having respect to (in reference to), paid our respects to (memorializing), or give me respect. My focus here is on the latter. Respect is such a tenuous concept. Parents demand it of their children; children demand it of their parents. But it must be earned, not simply bestowed because of some chronological relationship. The word is just too easy to throw around in a heated discussion. So I prefer to avoid the word, and instead look deeper at what we really mean when we use it. How about understanding, compassion, and appreciation? Aren't those things what we really want when we demand respect?
- 2017-09-29: Singing in the shower: Great acoustics, good humidity for the vocal chords, and you think no one can hear you... (but they can)
- 2017-03-30: After a recent photo session with a fitness client, I had a bit of extra time - and the gear was already set up - so I decided to try a few fitness shots of myself. This was taken in black and white in the camera, with contrast enhancement done in the computer. I had forgotten about the freckles on my back!
Rich Froning Jr. (born July 21, 1987) is the first person to win the title of "Fittest Man on Earth" four times, with his first-place finish in the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 CrossFit Games.
He has said "It's not necessarily that I like to win, but I hate losing more." While the sentiment is understandable, it's actually very silly.
By the very act of doing what he is doing, he is a winner. How many people in the world are competing like him? Even if he places last in an event, he's ahead of 99.99999998% of the other six billion people sharing this planet — who didn't even enter the race. To truly "lose", he would have to do worse than all of them. And how do you even define that?
So, remember this when you are being hard on yourself for your less-than-perfect performance:
It doesn't matter whether you finish first or last. At least you are in the race.
- 2016-04-04: I use a Shuttle Pro V2 control surface with the Lightworks video editing software, and was having trouble finding the right settings to make the Shuttle work well with Lightworks as shown in a demo video on the Lightworks site. I solved this by finding the file "Lightworks spv2.pref", which came with the version 2.13.3 of the Shuttle Pro driver, and imported it using the Contour Shuttle Device Configuration control panel, "Options" button, then "Import settings".
- 2016-03-04: This image for Fonthill Fitness is apparently monochrome, but actually has a slight sepia tone applied to the image (but not the text). Seemingly simpler than previous images, but this one has quite a few layers. The source image of Arnold was cropped in tight around him, so I had to extend above his head and below his fingers to give me the room to place it one the canvas where I wanted it. The left side of the image, starting near his right elbow, is from an image of a different gym. I scaled, rotated, cross-faded, and blurred the add-on to match the background behind Arnold. I also sharpened Arnold to make him stand out. The left side of the image has a gradient overlay to give the text a darker background for clarity. I chose to make the logo white to match the text.
- 2016-03-01: Another image for Fonthill Fitness. This one started with a small image of the inspirational quote that was forwarded to me. I deconstructed the image and used only the outline of the text, cleaning it up considerably in the process of enlarging it. Most of these images are about 6000 pixels across when I am working on them. I used two types of metal sheet for the virtual canvas, brushed metal and non-slip, and layered the portrait on them to make it looked etched into the metal. The portrait has a mild sepia effect and the text is very slightly "rusty". These faint tones stop the image from being a cold monochrome. The subtle 3D shadow behind the text varies in length across the image to help locate the virtual light source.
Gig at Café on Main, Fonthill
This gig was a little different. An evening of food and music at with myself and Dan Kozar - performing together for the first time. Dan played his Godin guitar and I used the awesome BassLab L-BOW-V bass. Video coming soon!
- 2016-02-18: Here's the first in a series of images I am creating for Fonthill Fitness, as part of my role as Social Networking Coordinator. In Gimp, I layered the "Fit Happens" text onto the brick wall image, using a layer mode that allowed the two to interact. A bit of erasing was used to distress the white paint at the grout lines. I applied a mild perpective to the wall, and some lighting and lens effect layers, along with a faint blurred shadow of the person. Actually, that person is me.
- 2015-12-17: "We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry. There will come with the greater love of science greater love to one another. Living more nearly to Nature is living farther from the world and from its follies, but nearer to the world's people; it is to be of them, with them, and for them, and especially for their improvement. We cannot see how impartially Nature gives of her riches to all, without loving all, and helping all; and if we cannot learn through Nature's laws the certainty of spiritual truths, we can at least learn to promote spiritual growth while we are together, and live in a trusting hope of a greater growth in the future." — Maria Mitchell: Life, Letters and Journals, 1896
St. Alexander Fashion Show
I was recently the official photographer at a fashion fund-raiser event at St. Alexander Church in Fonthill. There were seven models and I took photos of most of the outfits. To the right is a shot of all the models after the show. Among the models were actress and model Nihanni Johnstone, her daughter Chloe, and Micaela Browne.
For this shoot, I used the mobile studio, with backdrop, soft boxes, and six remote-controlled flashes, plus one extra in hand for spot fill and roaming shots.
Workout Tip: Do Plyometrics Before Heavy Weights
Increasing nervous signal impulses by doing plyometric actions before heavy weight bearing leads to additional muscle-building stimulus.
The larger the muscle fibres, the larger the motor neuron attached. Large, fast-twitch muscle fibres are designed to produce a high level of force, and require a large electrical signal from your nervous system.
Doing plyometrics like squat jumps before training legs is a great way to force your muscles into recruiting more fibres.
Similarly, implementing plyometric push-ups before training chest can set the stage for your body to deliver large electrical signals via the nervous system to recruit more and larger muscle fibres during your working sets.
In addition to those bodyweight-only plyo moves, the Smith machine offers some safe resistance-based alternatives such as bench-press throws for chest, squat jumps for legs, and explosive curls for biceps.
When performing these moves, focus on being as explosive as possible — your feet should leave the floor when jump-squatting, and your hands should leave the floor when doing push-ups. Do 3 sets of 5 reps or less (not to failure) before your working sets.
Workout Tip: Don't Train Intensely For More Than An Hour
Your body’s hormonal hero, testosterone, has a nemesis — a hormone known as cortisol. While testosterone helps your body recover from training and use it as a springboard to growth, cortisol tries to break muscle down. It’s a constant battle between progression and regression.
The push-and-pull is both inevitable and necessary for balanced health. Cortisol levels tend to rise and testosterone levels dip starting somewhere around the 60-minute mark of an intense training session.
Just like in the movies, you want testosterone to win out in the end. The longer you train intensely, the more you stack the odds against your hero. So keep your intense training sessions under an hour.
Soy Protein Found to Decrease Strength Gains Compared to Dairy Protein
A study of 179 people age 60+ undergoing resistance training has found dairy protein to be superior to soy protein for strength(1).
There were three protein options in the study: dairy, soy, and the usual protein intake of the subjects (e.g. meat). All subjects trained the same: 3 times a week for 12 weeks.
The difference may be explained by previous research which shows that soy protein doesn't deliver the same muscle protein synthesis results as dairy protein(2), which could be due to differences in the fundamental amino acid composition of the protein and its rate of digestion. Furthermore, the newer study suggests that estrogen-like compounds in soy might have been responsible for the lower results of the soy group.
Other findings were that lean mass, physical function, mental health scores, as well as the decrease in fat mass were the same for all training groups.
- 2015-01-24: Here's something that boggles the mind: US Government Health Care Website Quietly Sharing Personal Data. This official government site actually shares data with the likes of Twitter, Google, and Facebook! Is this by design, or is it the result of lazy programming? The answer is not clear from the article, but I'm sure that we'll hear more about this. I've worked on government projects, and my opinion is that they are no place for corporate interests or sponsorship. Even something as simple as "Verizon: Official communications provider of the US Gov't" (a hypothetical example). You know, I can't help noticing that the quality of programming has been diminishing over that last decade.
A friend just called me for some technical help. He was seeing a message like this on his iPad screen:
"ios crash report due to a third party application".
And there was a number to call (1-800-523-2251 or 1-800-480-4170).
This pop-up screen would not go away.
It was clear to me that this was a scam. If you call them, they'll say that they'll fix it for $80 by reinstalling the operating system.
So don't call them.
To clear the problem:
- Place the device in Airplane mode (which turns off WiFi)
- Go to Settings > Safari > And Clear History and website Data
- Turn off Airplane mode.
- Reopen Safari and it will be fresh and clean
Internet Explorer 11 has a bug in its handling of
transformthat may be requested at the same time. Here's an example:
object.style.transitionDuration = '1s'; // this causes the problem object.style.borderColor = '#fff'; // works, but appears instantly object.style.transform = 'scale(2)'; // does not workEven setting the values using the shorthand does not work:
object.style.transition = 'all 1s ease'; // this causes the problem object.style.borderColor = '#fff'; // works, but appears instantly object.style.transform = 'scale(2)'; // does not workThe values of
alert(...), but they don't appear to make it through to the DOM.
Note that they do work from CSS, so this is fine:
While working on a website, I noticed that Internet Explorer was not matching a certain CSS rule.
The rule was like this:
document.styleSheets[n]), but this was not working in IE. The problem was that IE automatically converts double quotes
"in CSS rules into single quotes
So IE stored the rule as
element[attribute='value']. This meant that my JS code could not find the rule in the stylesheet, since it was searching for a rule with double quotes.
To add to the fun, FireFox converts single quotes into double quotes in CSS rules. So if I define the rule as
...='value'], then FireFox stores it as
Further, if there are no quotes,
...=value], then IE leaves it as is, but FireFox rejects it.
If I define 2 rules (one with " and one with '), then I get duplicate rules that look the same in the inspector, but are separate.
Chrome and Opera behave like FireFox. Here's a summary of my tests:
type of quote -> noquote single double FireFox undef double double Chrome undef double double Opera undef double double IE noquote single singleMy workaround was to do the search by ignoring quotes in the stylesheet.
- 2014-06-13: "In a marriage of low and high technology, a robot is using a mop to clean up Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant." And it's about time. More here. Personally, I thought that the management team should have volunteered to go in years ago with a shovel and a mop and rubber boots. Sure, there have been other robots sent in to tinker a bit, but the problem never would have occurred in the first place if they had been using CANDU reactors, instead of fundamentally flawed American-style ones.
- 2014-05-25: For Americans, this is a serious issue. Here in Canada, we are likely to follow their lead. How Tom Wheeler's FCC plan will wreck your Internet.
- 2014-04-10: Technoethics has long been an interest of mine, particularly aspects of machine intelligence. My perspective is briefly summarized like this: Computer-based artificial intelligence can be paused, backed up, duplicated, even rebooted. Therefore, it should not have the value of organic intelligence, and should not be allowed to make life-or-death decisions. An illustration: a machine could continuously transmit its memory to a backup location, so a duplicate machine could be created if the original machine is destroyed. The "mind" of the duplicate would be an up-to-the-minute replica. No matter how complicated the neural network, it is ultimately just a linear sequence of ones and zeros. Clearly, this is not possible for organic intelligence. If it becomes possible for organics, then you and I will have a different conversation...
- 2014-03-16: Do you remember record players? Have you heard one? In this day and age, analog audio is almost a thing of the past. Digital audio is the norm. But there are still many bits of wrong information out there about digital audio. A particularly bad myth is that digital is "stair-stepped". Here's a great video that explains digital audio and destroys a few myths: Digital Show & Tell (you might prefer the YouTube version for better delivery).
- 2013-11-25: I am really not a fan of things like cars, TVs, fridges, toasters, and thermometers that need to "boot up".
Smart TVs from LG are sending your personal data back to their servers.
blog post, a UK-based developer shows that LG Smart TVs are sending file names from external USB drives to LG, even if an option in the settings is turned off.
This is a huge privacy issue.
Another post shows that the TVs are also sending file names from network shares.
LG is aware of the problem, but have been evasive about a fix,
claiming that the info is only used to improve customer experience (i.e. advertising).
But I wonder what impact this data has on your monthly network usage.
For now, if you have one of these TVs, maybe you should block certain domains in your router.
The first link above lists the domains, including ones such as lgappstv.com and lgtvsdp.com.
You might also want to consider what happens when you view any media file in your collection, since a query is sent to gracenote.com to retrieve media info and cover pictures.
The full domain is commonly
ipg.content.glb.gracenote.com. TVs from other manufacturers are likely to have such privacy problems as well. By the way, the Sony PS3 PlayStation also transmits file names from your storage devices and home network.
Here's an update to the desktop gadget DPI scaling bug that happens when IE11 is installed.
I decided to edit the gadget.xml files of the affected gadgets.
I did this by copying the files from the original location
C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets\) to the folder for 3rd-party gadgets (
C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets) and making changes there.
- 2013-11-19: TechTip: Internet Explorer 11 (IE 11) just auto-installed and now some of my desktop gadgets are not displaying correctly. Apparently (see here), this is due to a bug in IE11 which interacts with a higher DPI setting on the screen. The bug reveals itself when the DPI value is set to 125% for example, which I was using. A custom DPI value between 100%-110% may not cause a problem. Installing IE11 causes a display problem in some Microsoft gadgets like Clock, CPU, Currency, etc. Last year, Microsoft discontinued gadgets because the framework had security issues, so it's not clear if this problem will be addressed in an update to IE11. One fix is to lower the screen DPI scaling. Another is to change the various text sizes in the theme (right-click Desktop, Personalize, Window Color, Advanced appearance settings). Or to edit the gadget.xml files of the affected gadgets (see here). Or, perhaps uninstall IE11. Hmm.
- 2013-11-16: I attended a Master Class with Kurt Elling today. Kurt was in town yesterday for a great concert at Brock's Sean O'Sullivan Theatre. At the Master Class, five students received hands-on guidance from Kurt.
- 2013-09-03: The town asked me to lead their weekly Zumba Fitness class every Tuesday at 7:30pm at Pelham Arena.
- 2013-08-21: I have started writing for the local newspaper, The Voice of Pelham, Pelham's independent news source from the Heart of Niagara!
- 2013-08-16: Another great gig at the Café on Main in Fonthill!
For Pelham SummerFest, I composed and performed live this intro to the Fonthill Fitness Zumba show:
- 2013-06-21: Had a great gig at the Café on Main in Fonthill, with my mix of voice, guitar, bass, and keyboards.
- 2013-01-17: Now I'm leading my own Zumba Fitness class every Thursday at 7:30pm at Fonthill Fitness! Drop-ins $7. Isn't it cool how I went from observer to participant to teacher? :-)
- 2012-11-05: The Thursday night Jazz scene at the Café on Main is heating up! The regular groups are getting into the swing of it, and I occasionally sit in for a tune or two.
- 2012-09-21: I filled in for another band at the Café on Main tonight. It was very short notice, but I delivered!
- 2012-09-19: And now... drum roll... I'm a Restorative Yoga practitioner! Restorative Yoga is a very gentle and relaxing pratice, which involves selected Yoga poses which are performed primarily on a mat, while lying down. Instead of powering into a pose, like more active practices, Restorative Yoga encourages you to relax into the pose. The benefits are that your body and mind find their centre, which makes your "chill out" ability stronger! I am working at Darla-Prana Healing and Wellness Centre.
- 2012-09-09: I'm now a Zumba Fitness instructor! An interesting journey this has been... I started taking classes about a year ago, and it seemed to be a fun way to be active and get a good cardio workout. Then it really started to grow on me, so I decided - with some encouragement from my instructors and friends - to take the instructor training. So, here I am: now a Zumba instructor! I will be occasionally filling in for other instructors at Fonthill Fitness, while I develop my own personal style. Hmmm... I wonder if I can sneak in some Jazz..?
- 2012-08-10: I am so grateful that the Café on Main supports the local music scene. My gig there this evening was well received, and the Café has started a Thursday evening series "Just Jazz" with several groups rotating weekly.
Greg Holmes winning Jazz Artist of the Year
Here is my winning submission:
- 2012-07-01: I am now a Thai Yoga Massage practitioner! Thai Massage is style of massage that has been practiced for centuries, and involves moving the client into Yoga-like poses while massaging. Recent Western studies have shown it to be slightly more effective than standard massage, which I think is because of the movement and the increased involvement of the client. I am working at Darla-Prana Healing and Wellness Centre.
- 2012-06-30: For the past ten weeks or so, I've been doing a Saturday afternoon Jazz series at the Café on Main. This has helped to build interest in Jazz at this venue. Things are in the works... stay tuned.
- 2012-06-28: I have been nominated for Jazz Artist of The Year at the Niagara Music Awards! This is my third nomination in as many years, and I won in 2010. Awesome!
- 2012-06-01: Another great gig at the Café on Main in Fonthill!
- 2012-03-30: At the Café on Main in Fonthill at 8pm. No cover. A special event - I filled in for Lindsey Mills at her Open Mic. Short notice - but it was fun! Sign up was at 7pm as usual.
- 2012-03-09: The show at the Café on Main in Fonthill was a big success - a full house, and a very attentive audience. A "pin drop" event! Special thanks to new fan Anthony!
- 2011-12-09: At the Café on Main in Fonthill - this show started at 7:30pm, and it marked my "triumphant return" to the venue after a hiatus of several months. It went extremely well, and the appreciative audience enjoyed the music and the special "spoken word" segments that I included, particularly the bed-time story in the middle of Fly Me To The Moon. Several times, I even had a trio of dancing girls share the stage with me!
- 2011-11-09: I issued a challenge during the Jazz.fm fundraising drive to other Chapman Stick players to donate at the $150 level or higher, then I expanded it to include all artists who play Jazz on an unconventional instrument. At any time of the year you can go to Jazz.fm to donate and support the best radio station in the world.
- 2011-08-21: I was at Montebello Park in St.Catharines on Sunday August 21 from 7pm, as part of the Solid Brass Swing Orchestra, in the guitar chair. This was the second year I was in this show.
- 2011-07-08: 7pm show at Café on Main in Fonthill - an interesting evening, for sure! Although my lower vocal range was fine, it wasn't delivering in the higher range, and I found myself having to adjust which songs I could do. There were definitely a few sour notes. I suspect that I may have some vocal chord trauma, so I'll try to find someone local to take a look at it. For now, I'm abstaining from music and taking a "vow of silence". Update: The throat problem was an infection that lasted for several months and has now cleared up.
- 2011-05-28: I performed once again at the Pelham Mayor's Gala at Lookout Point Golf Course. The Gala was a fund-raiser for five youth-related projects. Proceeds will help the Mayor's Youth Advisory Committee host an open air movie night, sponsor a new E.L. Crossley gymnasium score clock, send an army cadet to Vimy Ridge in 2012, provide 1st North Pelham Scouts with new tents, and help fund a new boat for the E.L. Crossley Rowing Club. My set was during the meet'n'greet cocktail hour from 6pm to 7pm, and I was also invited to dine afterwards, where I met some very interesting people and had some good conversation.
- 2011-04-23: After playing the NS/Stick for several years now, I started to get some nerve trouble in my right forearm after only a few minutes. So I had to change the way I play the instrument. I'm still getting used to the new way since it requires more precision and control, but it had some unexpected benefits like easier transitions between rhythm and melody, and additional tonal options. We'll see where else it goes!
I've been doing some updates to two Facebook pages - for myself and BassLab (I'm the rep for the Western Hemisphere).
Please check them out and "like" them!
- 2010-12-01: I was nominated in the Downbeat Magazine 75th Annual Readers Poll. Thanks to all of you who voted - see how it went in the December 2010 issue!
- 2010-09-14: TechTip: Windows 7 allows you to use Type 1 (PostScript) outline fonts. All you need are two files for each Type 1 font: the fontname.pfm and the fontname.pfb. Double-click on the .pfm file (Windows will identify it as a "Type 1 font file") and the preview will come up with an "Install" button (it will probably have a shield on it, meaning that it requires Administrator permission) which you click to install the font into your \Windows\Fonts folder. But if you have many Type 1 fonts, then that method is very tedious. The solution is to select all the .pfm files (by holding down CTRL and clicking each one), then right-click on one of them. Then choose the "Install" menu option (also with a shield next to it). Windows will install each of the fonts in turn, with a progress indicator so you know how it's going.
- 2010-09-01: If you're wondering what these "TechTip" entries are, they are just the result of my own explorations. Usually, the solutions are found just by me trying things out, but they'll also include some ideas from Web research. Hopefully, you'll find them useful!
- 2010-08-11: TechTip: GIMP is a free "image manipulation program", or paint program, which works on a number of different operating systems. Because of this OS neutrality, there are a few oddities in the way it behaves on specific systems. On my Windows system, when I minimize the GIMP app, the toolboxes stay open on the screen - they don't minimize with the app. A partial solution is to go to Edit/Preferences, then select Window Management, and then change the Window Manager Hints to "Normal window" for both the toolbox and other docks. This will add minimize buttons to those smaller windows. But I've found a better work-around to hide or minimize the toolbox in GIMP: use the TAB key. When the main GIMP window is active, TAB will hide those little windows! If you use TAB again to show the toolboxes, a side-effect is that the toolbox window will become active and subsequent TAB hits will move you around within the toolbox. Obviously, this can be handy for fast keyboard use of the program, but to get back to the main GIMP window (where your image is), use ALT-TAB (to bring up the standard Windows window switcher), then immediately hit ESC. This should drop you right back to the main GIMP window.
- 2010-07-31: TechTip: I'm using Windows 7 64bit, and lately my Pictures Library was really slow to display the thumbnails. It turned out that the Library was sorting by Date (the date/time that the photo was taken). The problem is that Date is "metadata", or information that is encoded within the picture files by the camera, and Windows had to open and read each file in turn to determine the value and then sort the images accordingly. Once I switched to something else, like Name or Date Modified (both of which are external attributes of every file), everything went way faster. Problem solved!
I hosted a free
New Orleans-style Jazz and Blues Jam at Fonthill's
Café on Main.
This event went very well and it was a full house.
By an odd stroke of fate, the other musicians I invited were unable to make it, so it was a solo show.
But, to the audience, my solo show sounded like voice, guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion at the same time.
I'm playing NS/Stick and keyboards simultaneously in the picture below.
The Café is fully licensed and is located on the east side of Pelham St, next to the CIBC and across from
There is plenty of free parking behind the Café.
Here's the Facebook event page,
and a page about it on MyPelham.com.
This was another JazzUp! presentation.
At Montebello Park, St.Catharines, 7pm-9pm
I was in the guitar seat with the Solid Brass Swing Orchestra.
It was a wonderful event, and everyone in the band had a great time, as did the very appreciative audience.
By some reports, my tribute to
- 2010-06-15: I was named "Jazz Artist of the Year" at the 2010 Niagara Music Awards. The Niagara Music Awards celebrate the music scene in the Niagara Region, and I would like to encourage everyone to go out and support live music.
- 2010-05-08: Pelham Mayor's Gala. Mark Lalama, Jim Casson, and myself provided music during the Mayor's Gala, Saturday, May 8 at Peninsula Lakes Golf Club. The Gala was a fund-raiser for "Konnecting Kids", which allows families with limited financial resources to participate in recreational, cultural, and educational programs. My set was during the initial meet'n'greet cocktail hour, then Mark Lalama (from Canadian Idol) did a solo set of original material during dinner. Later, Jim Casson provided the "The Gala All Stars" dance band with Jay Speziale (The Meteors), Jamie Oakes (Amy Sky, Tom Cochrane), and Sil Simone (Rik Emmet).
- 2010-02-06: We had a great time at the free Red Ribbon Art Exhibition 2010, at the Fort Erie Crossroads Centre (across from Fort Erie Race Track and Slots), 350 Bertie St., Fort Erie, Ontario, from 6pm-11pm, February 6. The musical guests were saxophonist Hugh Logan and myself on vocals, NS/Stick, and keyboards. This marked the 5th year I've been involved with the Fort Erie Arts Council.
We had a great time at the Niagara Gallery
Jazz/Blues open mic today -
dropped in and played a few tunes.
Saxophonist Hugh Logan was also there to help us out on alto sax.
- 2009-12-05: This Saturday I helped out at "Elna's Ride to Conquer Cancer BBQ and Bake Sale", which was a fund-raiser for the Ride. The gang and I made music from 2pm to 5pm. It was at the Niagara Gallery at 4323 Queen St., Niagara Falls (across from City Hall), Ontario, L2E2K7 from 11am to 5pm. Niagara This Week wrote a short article about it, which you can find here. If you didn't make it to the event, please donate online at www.conquercancer.ca/goto/elnamayberry.2010 and also visit the Facebook page.
- 2009-09-28: Lately, I've been using the free SRWare Iron web browser as my main browser. It's the same as Google Chrome (being based on the same source code), but Iron is optimized for privacy and security because it eliminates the usage tracking and other privacy violating functionality that Chrome includes. See the Wikipedia page for more about this. Iron also includes the latest version of the WebKit rendering engine and includes built-in ad blocking (both not present in Chrome). Iron is very cool, because I can drag windows (actually "tabs" showing different web pages) around to group them in a way that makes sense to me. You've got to try it to see what I mean. So, if you're looking for a clean, simple, and safe browser, take a look at Iron
- 2009-09-19: INDIE GIVES RISE MUSIC SERIES, a showcase of new music hosted by A.I.C.R.A. (the Alliance of Independent Canadian Recording Artists), presented show #5 featuring: the acoustic music of Krystal, the percussive orchestration of Kevin Richard, and the melodic alt rock sound of Silence In Stereo (who were kind enough to tell me that it was the best live sound they'd ever had), Tickets are $5. At the new Niagara Gallery at 4323 Queen St., Niagara Falls (across from City Hall), Ontario from 2pm to 5pm.
- 2009-09-15: Once again, I've been added to the Midnight Special Blues Radio playlist, which broadcasts via Live365.com. Here is the station's direct link. This time, it's for four songs, so there'll be plenty of chance to catch my music!
- 2009-08-28: I performed at artist Paul Augustino's opening at "Gallery Works Niagara" on Friday Aug 28, 7-10pm at 4507 Queen St, Niagara Falls. Cellist Helen Kopec was also there. Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery provided refreshments. You'll find more about this event in the August 20th issue of Niagara This Week, Niagara Falls edition.
- 2009-08-22: INDIE GIVES RISE MUSIC SERIES, a showcase of new music, presented show #4 with Greg Holmes, Bobbie Kearns, and Coal Mine Canaries. At the new Niagara Gallery at 4323 Queen St., Niagara Falls (across from City Hall), Ontario from 2pm to 5pm.
- 2009-07-25: INDIE GIVES RISE MUSIC SERIES, a showcase of new music, presented show #3 with Arcadia, Kevin Richard, The Entertainment, plus special guests. At the new Niagara Gallery at 4323 Queen St., Niagara Falls (across from City Hall), Ontario from 2pm to 5pm.
- 2009-06-20: INDIE GIVES RISE MUSIC SERIES, a showcase of new music, presented show #2 with Troy Western, Ben G & Addiction, and Ophelia Syndrome. At the new Niagara Gallery at 4323 Queen St., Niagara Falls (across from City Hall), Ontario from 2pm to 5pm.
- 2009-06-13: I've been added to the Midnight Special Blues Radio playlist, which broadcasts via Live365.com. Here is the station's direct link.
- 2009-06-06: The second annual Springlicious Food Fair in downtown Niagara Falls, celebrating the revitalization of Queen Street. Kevin Richard and I performed in the Niagara Gallery, then we were featured outside on the stage to a very appreciative audience.
- 2009-05-30: INDIE GIVES RISE MUSIC SERIES, a showcase of new music, kicked off show #1 with Lorne Hind 360 from Toronto, Kill Effect from London, and Steve Cochrane from Hamilton. At the new Niagara Gallery at 4323 Queen St., Niagara Falls (across from City Hall), Ontario from 2pm to 5pm.
- 2009-05-23: I am featured on the front cover of Niagara This Week, and their website (click on the pictures to pop them up with captions), where the caption reads: "All That Jazz: Musician Greg Holmes performs in front of a crowd of people at Niagara Gallery on Queen Street Saturday. Holmes' performance previewed Indie Gives Rise, a series of monthly performances throughout the summer at the Gallery." The article used to be here.
- 2009-02-14: We once again performed in Fort Erie at the Red Ribbon Art Exhibit, at the Crossroads Centre (across from Fort Erie Race Track and Slots), 350 Bertie St., Fort Erie, Ontario, from 6pm-10pm. The event was presented by the Fort Erie Arts Council. Performers were: myself on vocals and NS/Stick, Bill Melymuka on trumpets, Kevin Richard on percussion, and other guests. This event marked the 4th time I have been involved with the Fort Erie Arts Council.
"Jazz on the Side" Music Festival
At four Queen Street venues with: John Neudorf, Reg Schwager, Pat Collins, Geoff Young, Andrew Downing, Roger Niznik, Mike Francis, Alistair Robertson, and Warren Stirtzinger. My band, with Kevin Richard on drums and Bill Melymuka on trumpet was at the Niagara Gallery at 4323 Queen St., Niagara Falls (across from City Hall) all day, with the main performance from 8pm onwards.
Soft Watches: Seeking Directions from Salvador Dali
At 6:30 in the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre at Brock University we presented "Soft Watches: Seeking Directions for Librarians, Philosophers, Philosopher-Practitioners, Poets, and Others from Salvador Dali in Eight Images". Stan Skrzeszewski, Gregory Betts, Todd Melville, Teresa Vanderbent, Karen McMichael, Dean Tedesco, & Greg Holmes were all involved in this philosophy performance piece.
- 2008-08-22: Had a great time playing at a private party in Port Colborne. Thanks to Carmen and Cyril!
- 2008-07-25: I played at the Grand Opening of the 4394 Gallery at 4394 Queen St, Niagara Falls, and met some very interesting people!
- 2008-06-29: Helen Kopec presented her "Notes From The Pit: A Monologue with Music" at the new Niagara Gallery to a capacity crowd. She recounted stories from her experiences in the perilous world of classical music in the Deep South. This performance was a preview of her upcoming shows at the Toronto Fringe Festival.
- 2008-06-22: I performed at the Crystal Beach Art Festival, June 22nd, from 1pm to 3pm at the Waterfront Park in Crystal Beach. It was a beautiful day, with sunshine and a nice breeze. I played from around noon to 5, then Wendell Blue's R&B band took over.
- 2008-05-30 to 2008-06-01: The city of Niagara Falls held it's first annual Springlicious Food Fair in the old downtown core. This Festival celebrates the revitalization of Queen Street that is now underway. I performed at 4555 Queen St. on all three days and met many wonderful people, so I'd like to say hi and thank-you to: Big John Little for the encouragement, Samantha Collison for the duets, Joyce and Carol, Brandon and CD and Lorenzo, Jay Reed, Katie Webb, Anna Reipmeister, Rose, Stacey for the chocolate and tea, Jessica for the ride and support, Phil, Indy, Dave, Violet, Dean, Patricia, and Melanie for the invite.
- 2008-05-31: At a private performance in Port Colburne for an art unveiling, but the weather was troublesome, to say the least! Afterwards, I went back to 4555 Queen St. for the Springlicious Food Fair.
- 2008-05-16: I played at Chris Witvoet's Take Five Studio-Gallery at 4430 Queen St, Niagara Falls, from 6pm to 9pm. This was his "Quiet Opening", after the Official Opening.
- 2008-05-11: Performed at Elm Street United Church, 11 Elm Street, St.Catharines from 7pm-9pm, with guitarist Richard Chamberlain. We provided music for a social gathering.
- 2008-04-26: Bill King was the special guest of Bluesafire this Saturday afternoon from 3pm to 7pm at Fat Tony's, 131 King Street, St. Catharines, Ontario, (905) 988-3663. Bluesafire is: Mojo Willie on vocals and harp, Canada Dave Torosian on keys, Gary Kendall on bass, Jim Casson on drums, and Dave "Limpy" Curry on guitar. Mojo Willie was out of town and Canada Dave took the afternoon off because Bill King covered the keys - quite nicely, I must say! I played a set or two and also provided transport for Bill King. Thanks for putting up with my incredible sense of direction!
- 2008-04-20: We had a great time at the new Niagara Gallery (I call it "Gallery 2.0") at 4323 Queen St., Niagara Falls (across from City Hall), Ontario from 3pm to 7pm, for the Niagara College ADF/GDP End Of Year Show, entitled "A Decent Proposal". It's a big space, and I enjoyed the way the sound moved around in it. Thank you to Samantha Collison for joining me for a couple of tunes. Very nice! And thanks also to Kyleen for getting the courage to step up to the mic! These moments make life.
- 2008-04-19: I played a set tonight at The Anchorage, 186 Ricardo St. Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905-468-2141, in between sets by the Niagara Rhythm Section and their special guest Danny Marks. Mr. Marks was a blast - his energy was infectious, even though he'd already played a whole gig just before this one. He was always ready with one-liners, and even some two-liners. He should be at a comedy club! Thank you to host Steve Goldberger for letting me do my thing. Special thanks to my new number one fan, Doctor Brenda!
- 2008-04-08: Once again this year, I went to the National Jazz Awards at Palais Royale, 1601 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Toronto at 8pm. Boy, there's a lot of Jazz in Canada! The show went 'til past midnight, and it was clear who the real hardcore jazz fans were. But, then again, it was a school night... I had an extra ticket - so I gave it to the ticket takers and asked them to give it to someone who didn't have a ticket.
- 2008-03-23: We had fun at the Niagara Gallery today. Roddy Heading and his pals came by, and Roddy made a sketch of me while I was playing. You can see it in the comment box above. Thanks Roddy!
- 2008-03-06: Downtown Niagara Falls Ontario will soon be getting a boost with a re-vitalization project. Today I attended a meeting with two dozen artists, directors, and creative individuals at 4555 in Niagara Falls. The goal is to create a vibrant and active arts community and service resource. It's a very exciting opportunity for everyone.
Jeff Healey lost his battle with cancer today. Here's what his publicist, Richard Flohil, wrote to me:
Jeff really was a unique artist, a generous man, and someone with a great sense of humour who was made happy and content by his gift. He was one of the finest musicians I've ever had the privilege of hearing and knowing and working with. I have a feeling that he's already joined a new band; Louis is on first trumpet, Duke at the piano, and Stevie Ray and Jimi on guitars...
- 2008-02-23: I enjoyed seeing Maria Aurigema perform at The Anchorage in Niagara-on-the-Lake, backed up by Steve Goldberger and the (temporarily smaller) Niagara Rhythm Section.
- 2008-02-16: On this Saturday in February, a group of us performed in Fort Erie at the Red Ribbon Art Exhibit, at the Crossroads Centre (across from Fort Erie Race Track and Slots), 350 Bertie St., Fort Erie, Ontario, from 6pm-10pm. The event was presented by the Fort Erie Arts Council. Performers were: myself on vocals and NS/Stick, Vanessa Moreau on harp, Lauren Gallaccio on vocals and keyboards, and Richard Chamberlain on guitar with Carol on keyboards. Cellist Helen Kopec had to bow out due to an injury, but was there to support the rest of us. This event marks the third time I have been involved with the Fort Erie Arts Council, and I look forward to many more!
- 2008-01-11: Began my illustrious film career today! I performed as an extra in an upcoming production, where I had a couple of scenes as "The Man in Brown", with movement but no dialog. Later the director told me that my sense of continuity and timing was excellent, and as an actor I was good - but perhaps too good, since I stole every scene I was in...
- 2008-01-10: Jammed with vocalist Katherine Dubois at the Niagara Gallery. She performs with James Doolin & the Mob and other bands, and also is a founding member of the Stray Theatre Company, who just had their grand opening at their new home in The Space on Bond.
- 2008-01-06: My ears were still ringing with the sound of Chuck and the guys in NOTL but I felt the need for more, so I went down to the Cats Caboose for the Sunday blues matinee to see Chuck Jackson again. I met Lynn, John, Joan, and Jack, and we had a great time once again!
- 2008-01-05: For the second year in a row, I saw Chuck Jackson perform at The Anchorage in Niagara-on-the-Lake, backed up by Steve Goldberger and the Niagara Rhythm Section. It was a great show (of course)! I bumped into cellist Helen Kopec, who will be one of the featured performers at the Red Ribbon Art Exhibit in February.
Passing through a doorway into the next space.
- 2007-12-15: Tonight, I played at the Crossroads Centre in Fort Erie, Ontario for the Heritage Arts presentation of "Earth and Sky", a collections of photographs by Jim Thibert, head of the economic development and tourism of Fort Erie.
- 2007-12-07: This was my last night at the Grill for this season. The travelling was getting tough at about 3 hours round-trip - and winter would be worse! I had a great time there, thanks to Sylvia and Warren who made me feel welcome. A shout-out to the rest of the gang: Rob, Danya, the very cool Lorena, and Cathy (with a C).
- 2007-11-16: My solo gigs at Mosquito Grill in Port Credit usually last for 4 or 5 hours with no breaks. I reckon if people are enjoying the music, why stop? While I'm playing, my mind is on a few aspects at once: I'm thinking of the vocal presentation and the lyrics, of course, but also the bass line, the guitar part, the interaction between the two, the percussive elements, and dynamics, tempo, and amplification, as well as working around the clang of dishes, smelling the aromas of the food, being aware of the changing lighting and heating, listening to various conversations, acknowledging who's coming and going, and so on. If my concentration breaks for any reason, I'll sometimes make a mistake in the lyrics, where I borrow lyrics from the next verse, so I'll make a mental note to reverse the error when I get there later. Imagine an octopus travelling down the sheet music, with some arms questing forward into the upcoming music and other arms reaching back. But there are times when all of this just goes away, and I am in the music - in the moment. It is for those rare and magical times that I live.
- 2007-10-03: Tonight I was on the jury for selection of art for a calendar. It was fascinating being part of the process, which involved flipping a coin to pick a winner and then drinking away the rest of the evening. Just kidding! In fact, we judges started with our own individual methods for selection, then we compared notes and discussed the finer points. For me, colour was a strong factor, but I was quite happy to see the number one position (the front cover of the calendar) going to a bold monochrome piece. Thanks to my fellow judges: Mikl for his guidance, Dean for his levity, and Jessica for her inspiration.
- 2007-09-19: I went to Carol McCartney's CD release party for her CD "A Night in Tunisia" at Live@Courthouse on Adelaide in Toronto! It was a great event, and the band was just about the same group of players as on the CD: John Sherwood on piano, Dave Young on bass, Terry Clarke on drums, Reg Schwager on guitar, Bob Brough on sax, Chase Sanborn on horns, with special guest Peter Appleyard on vibes. Carol has a wide vocal range - her upper and lower ranges are a joy to hear, and she has a wonderful stage presence. The tunes were arranged by John, and they were some interesting arrangements for sure, particulary the title track. Reg played great, with some solos that really ramped the energy level up. The rest of the band was good, too! On the soundboard was Dennis Patterson, who did a super job - I particularly liked the cymbals and vibes. Another highlight of the evening for me was to meet Peter Appleyard and thank him for inspiring me. His enthusiasm for playing is something that I was impressed with from an early age, and that must also be why I have a fondness for the vibes.
- 2007-09-08: The second day of the Southside Shuffle, I did a solo show from 6pm to 10pm at Thyme Ristorante, 347 Lakeshore Rd E., 905-271-8871. I was out in the parking lot, playing back into the open front of the restaurant to a very appreciative crowd. Thanks to Robert for the conversation and the inspiration to do "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" - you know what I mean!
- 2007-09-07: This was the first day of the Southside Shuffle, and drummer Jim Casson joined me at the Mosquito Grill, 7pm to 11pm. It was an interesting night. At first, we setup outside, in spite of the looming rain clouds. Well - you guessed it - it rained. So we moved inside. At a about 10pm the rain stopped and the streets were humming, so we moved back outside for a kicking set. Jim even had a chance to do an amazing solo on the cajon, which is a percussive box that also served as his seat for the night. Because of the move, I didn't record that last set, but the first two sets inside did make it into the laptop.
- 2007-08-25: I was in Crystal Beach making music for the "Lines of Colors" art show at the Buffalo Canoe Club, from 5pm to 9pm. I had a great time, and even made the ladies teary-eyed with a medley of sentimental songs...
- 2007-08-24: Thanks to everyone who came out to the Mosquito Grill in Port Credit. We all enjoyed the weather right up until it rained and I was in danger of electrocution - but I finished the song!
- 2007-08-03: The Mosquito Grill in Port Credit had their official Grand Opening tonight. Thanks to everyone who came out - and thanks for liking the noise! I played along with drummer Paul Greco and Bill Melymuka on trumpet and flute. The guys were really good! Paul kept the rhythm going and spiced up the beats with some great accents in between the downbeats. And Bill used a variety of mutes to add different tonalities to fabulous melodies. I recorded the evening, and I plan to post some mixes here - but I gotta do my CD first...
- 2007-07-27: Spent the entire evening out on the patio tonight at the Mosquito Grill in Port Credit. It was a great crowd - see you next Friday!
Friday at the
Tonight, I did the first set outside on the patio, then moved inside 'til after dark.
It's a great patio, stretching all the way out to the street.
Hope to see you there next time!
- 2007-07-15: I dropped in at On 81 in St. Catharines to see the guys of LMT Connection, and they let me play a set. As usual, they burned the placed down! Thanks go out to Leroy, John, and Damien (sitting in for Mark).
- 2007-07-13: Another Friday in Port Credit at Mosquito Grill.
- 2007-07-06: Again in Port Credit at Mosquito Grill.
- 2007-06-29: I played from 7pm to 10pm at Mosquito Grill in Port Credit.
- 2007-06-24: Myself and Dean Tedesco of the Niagara Gallery busked at the Crystal Beach Art Festival. June 24th, from 11am to 5pm at the Waterfront Park in Crystal Beach. We provided entertainment for the many artists manning their booths and for the visitors passing through.
- 2007-06-21: I played from 7pm to 10pm at a new place in Port Credit: Mosquito Grill, 66 Lakeshore Rd E., 905-274-0444. One block West of Roc"n"Doc's, on the North side.
- 2007-05-27: The Niagara Gallery Jazz and Blues Ensemble kicked off the Crystal Beach Waterfront Park Concert Series at Waterfront Park Crystal Beach, Sunday May 27, 7-8:30 p.m. This is the 4th year of the Crystal Beach Waterfront Park Concert Series. More info at www.focb.net on the Concert Series webpage. Mother Nature twisted things up a bit and sent some blustery weather (well, actually, it was rain), so we relocated from the beach pavilion to the nearby Crystal Chandelier. We all had a great time, with Wendell Blue, Frank Ivy, Rob Wilson, and Rej DuGuay filling out the quintet and giving some great performances. Lauren Gallaccio soothed everyone with her beautiful singing in between our sets.
- 2007-05-13: I was asked by Jim Casson to provide music for the Pelham Art Festival, at Pelham Arena, 12 to 4pm. The day went very well, with many positive comments. And I'd like to send out a special thanks to Lauren Gallaccio, who performed a couple of very beautiful sets singing and playing the piano.
and the band cooked again at
105 Lakeshore Rd E., Port Credit, Ontario, 905-891-1754, from 4:30pm to 9pm.
The band was a bit different tonight, with Garth Vogan on bass and Terry Martell on drums,
plus Steve Grisbrook guesting on guitar.
There was a special appearance by Elyssa Mahoney and her guitarist Lucas Haneman, who sent out some strong positive energy!
And we were treated to additional songs featuring
Alishan on harmonica,
Joe Reynolds on vocals,
and Dan Thomas on guitar,
plus a duet with Chuck Jackson and Chris Kenny.
It was certainly a variety show tonight.
You never know what's going to happen - except that it will be good!
- 2007-05-03: I was at Toronto's Convocation Hall, to catch the Jazz Lives show, put on by Jazz FM 91.1. It was an amazing collection of artists, and it was great fun to see and hear all of the Jazz FM radio hosts. I particularly enjoyed Kenny Rankin's solo set, and of course Kurt Elling's songs at the end of the night were a standout. Later, I bumped into Brad Barker of Jazz FM, and chatted briefly. After the show, I went to ...well ... the "aftershow" at The Courthouse on Adelaide, where the music continued, and I saw Reg Schwager, Richard Underhill, Heather Bambrick and others.
- 2007-04-28: Chuck Jackson asked me to help out at Bowling for Blues in Oakville. Held at Classic Bowl, 3055 Dundas St. West, just west of Winston Churchill Blvd. I performed in the "Party Room" (yeah!) at around 8pm, after a fun bowling competition. Ricky Paquette was also there, and he got the room really moving! The last time I saw him was in January, but this time we got a chance to jam together. Once again, Domenic Romanelli was on bass, but this time Jim Casson provided drumming and percussion.
- 2007-04-24: Myself and Dean of the Niagara Gallery, provided percussive and rhythmic accents at The Wild Flower Restaurant in Fonthill, 6:30 to 9:30, during Living Smart, an evening filled with information for anyone who is interested in a naturally organic lifestyle. Thanks to Wolfgang, Emily, Brenda, Heather, and many others who brought life to the evening!
I attended the
National Jazz Awards at Palais Royale, 1601 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Toronto 416-533-3553.
It was a real who's who of the Canadian jazz scene, with well-established names and up-and-comers.
Upon walking in front door, I bumped into
June Garber, Heather Bambrick, and Norm Villeneuve.
June, her husband Bob, and myself sat at the same table, but they were later whisked away to sit at a stage-side table by Bill King, the man behind the show.
I met up with June after the show, and I must say that she is a wonderful and gracious person.
There was some musical chairs (actually musical tables) going on, but my table-mates ultimately included
Don Thompson (bass/piano/vibes and Humber College professor) who won an award,
George Cohen (bass) who also won an award,
who will win an award soon, I'm sure!
Peter Appleyard opened the night, with John Sherwood on piano ("tuners-are-us", John!), Terry Clarke on drums, and fellow "Humberoid" Reg Schwager on guitar.
Pianist Oliver Jones performed with Norm Villenueve on drums, and it was good to hear Norm play again.
When Guido Basso received his award, he came out playing his horn along with the band - it was a real Hollywood moment.
He later told me that he had his trumpet in his hand backstage, so it just seemed like the right thing to do!
I chatted with Jazz FM radio host Larry Green, who had much to say about the state of hockey!
It was quite an evening!
and the band cooked tonight at
105 Lakeshore Rd E., Port Credit, Ontario, 905-891-1754, from 4:30pm to 9pm.
The full band was there, with Pat Carey, Garth Vogan, Terry Martell, and Michael Fonfara.
As usual, it was a great night with a great band!
Larry Gould was guest guitarist, and he added a fantastic touch.
Shrimp Daddy stepped up and did a couple of tunes with his rich and expressive voice,
and Doug Bernie blazed on a guitar-driven tune.
Bluesaganza at 8pm at CAW Local 199 Hall, 124 Bunting Rd, St.Catharines, 905-682-2611.
It was a big success!
Chuck Jackson, Michael Fonfara, Gary Kendall, Jim Casson, Pat Carey, Johnny Mays, Al Lerman, Darran Poole, Jerome Godboo, Dave Curry, Shrimp Daddy and his band, and Mojo Willie.
Proceeds went to The Autism Society of Ontario, Niagara Chapter.
Chuck was in great form, only days after gall bladder surgery. Jerome's energy was infectious, and his harmonica playing was "fretless"!
I dropped in at
Dominion On Queen,
500 Queen St. East, Toronto, 416-368-6893, 3pm - 6pm.
Norm Marshall Villeneuve and the band were hosting their Jazz Revue and Jam.
Norm was on drums, and his playing so lyrical - a "whole kit" approach.
Bassist Paul Novotny had excellent tone, with wonderfully engrossing solos.
Keyboardist Mark Kieswetter is new in town, and it looks like he's going to be a force to reckon with!
Guest drummers included Aaron Knight, Tom Rasky, and Paul Greco, and they all gave great performances.
on alto sax, sat in during sets two and three, with some very fluid playing. Nardis was a standout for me.
I got a chance to jam with Rob and Aaron. Great playing guys!
Afterwards, I stopped in at Roc"n"Doc's in Port Credit to see Chuck Jackson and the band. The place was packed, as of course it should be!
- 2007-03-18: After all the down time, I was glad to have a great time with Chuck Jackson and the band at Roc"n"Doc's, 105 Lakeshore Rd E., Port Credit, Ontario, 905-891-1754, from 4:30pm to 9pm. There was Pat Carey on sax, Garth Vogan on blue-string bass, Michael Fonfara on keys, and Mike Fitzpatrick sitting in on drums. There were quite a few guests, including Mojo Willie on harmonicas and vocals, and a horn section consisting of Howard Moore on trumpet and Sharon Bieck on alto sax. Greg Anzelc sat in on drums for a few tunes during his break from the Harp down the street. Ginny Lynn sang a few songs for us, including "At Last" and "Sweet Georgia Brown". Peter McGraw spun a few tunes as well - nothing can keep him down! I did four songs, but the standout for me was Tarey Stone, who only sang one song, but I could have listened to her all night!
- 2007-03-04: A bit of a rough few days: I was struck down with the flu for four days, with a temperature of 103 and I lost 10 pounds. I guess I should have had my shields up!
- 2007-02-24: The Gallery gang played in Fort Erie at the Red Ribbon Art Exhibit, at the Crossroads Centre (across from Fort Erie Race Track and Slots), 350 Bertie St., Fort Erie, Ontario, from 6pm-10pm. The event was presented by the Fort Erie Arts Council. It was a real variety show, with Wendell Blue on guitar and vocals, Frank Ivy on sax, James Deurloo on guitar and vocals, Edwin on guitar, Karen Blaszynski on vocals, Rej Duguay on drums, Steve Boucher on woodwinds and vocals, and Al Mangus on guitars.
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy...
An absolutely burning night with
and the band at
105 Lakeshore Rd E., Port Credit, Ontario, 905-891-1754.
from 4pm to 8pm.
This time, I had my notepad with me!
The band was
Garth Vogan on bass,
Terry Martell on drums,
and Michael Fonfara on keys, who had only a couple hours of sleep the night before - and he was on fire!
Terry did some amazing polyrhythmic accents, and Garth played some very tasteful solos.
Sitting in on tenor and alto sax was Vern Dorge, who quietly showcased his amazing ability to play the perfect notes.
Guests were Brian Dinsdale on trumpet and vocals, along with Jack King on banjo. These guys took us down to Dixie!
an all-female a capella group, graced us with a few numbers. That was Melanie, Hannah, Debby, and Sharon.
Ending the night, Chuck did a duet with Lynn McCarthy, "Return to Sender".
And finally, thanks to Lee King - the man at the door, for your hospitality!
OK, let's see how my memory is holding up with the names of people at today's
Saturday Jazz Matinee at
I'd better take a notepad next time...
The house band was
Randy Stirtzinger on upright bass,
John Sherwood on piano and levity,
and Mark Haggerty on drums.
Guest musicians included
Charlie on guitar,
Roman on bari sax,
Glen Smith on tenor sax.
Mike on vocals,
and Jeff Luciani on drums.
Joanne Allen treated us to some beautiful singing. while her husband Steve looked on.
Randy graciously asked me to play for two sets in between the main sets.
The audience was quite appreciative, and I appreciate that!
Thanks to Jerry and Diane from Niagara Falls for the kind words. He's learning the bagpipes, and she's a saint!
To Armand: thanks for the support and encouragement.
And a shout out to Alistair, whom I call "the rugby player", for remembering me from last year.
I remembered you, too, and the way you burned up the stage. Zowie! That's the way to do it!
From a media relase:
Jeff Healey recovers from latest round of cancer surgery
Toronto guitarist, singer, bandleader, musicologist, and radio host Jeff Healey is recovering well from major surgery to remove cancerous tissue from both lungs, which he underwent last week at a Toronto hospital. Healey is no stranger to the disease, having gone under the knife no less than four times for cancer - first in his eyes as a child, in his left leg twice in the past 18 months, and now in his lungs. His doctors, however, report a successful operation, catching the disease early as a result of diligent and regular testing. Healey is expected to make a full recovery and will be back hosting his Monday night radio show on 91.1 Jazz FM in February. He also plans on getting back on stage at his brand new live music club, Jeff Healey's Roadhouse, which relocated in mid-December to larger, more accessible premises at 56 Blue Jays Way, in the heart of Toronto's downtown entertainment area.
- 2007-01-14: Chuck Jackson invited me to sit in with him during his regular gig at Roc"n"Doc's, 105 Lakeshore Rd E., Port Credit, Ontario, 905-891-1754. from 4pm to 8pm. It was a smokin' show! In the house band with Chuck were Garth Vogan on bass, Terry Martell on drums, and Michael Fonfara on keys. What a tight team! A whole bunch of guests were there, including Michael "Shrimp Daddy" Reid on harps and vocals, and young Ricky Paquette on guitar and vocals with Domenic Romanelli on some intense bass playing. Ricky was in town to attend the Maple Blues awards, where he was nominated as "New Artist/Group of the Year" - at the age of 15! He's got a brilliant future ahead of him. Then we were all treated to a special rendition by Ginny Lynn of "Crazy" - and thanks for the dance! Also guesting were Doug on some absolutely burning guitar and vocals, and Christine on vocals. We could have turned off the lights and the room would still be glowing from the energy and the talent! And the audience was very appreciative of all the music. Thank you again to everyone, what a treat it was to be there! Go Ricky! Go Ricky!
- 2007-01-13: I sat in at the Odyssey Blues Band Saturday Blues Matinee and open jam at The Lion Tavern, 15 Lock St., Port Dalhousie, Ontario, 905-935-4406, 3:30 to 6:30. Frontperson Suzanne Hyatt was absent, but the special guest was Michael Keys, along with Mark, Ed, Dave, and Grant. I had a great chat with Norm Longworth of the Niagara Blues & Jazz Society. Tamica sang a few hot numbers as well! Woo!
- 2007-01-06: I saw Chuck Jackson perform at The Anchorage in Niagara-on-the-Lake, backed up by Steve Goldberger and the Niagara Rhythm Section. Whew! What a show! Everybody was up and moving, and Chuck said it was the best gig he's been to this year. :-)
- 2006-12-31 / 2007-01-01: Happy New Year! Tonight we jammed from year to year at the Niagara Gallery, and toasted the year ahead.
- 2006-12-10: A fun Sunday Jam at the Niagara Gallery. With special performances by Dominic on harps, Grant Marchand of Odyssey Blues Band on percussion, along with regulars Steve, Edwin, and James.
- 2006-12-08: Another great jam at the Niagara Blues & Jazz Society jam at Club Belvedere. Thanks to Fern, Pete, Tommy, Kim, and everyone else!
- 2006-11-16: Jammed at the Niagara Blues & Jazz Society jam at The End Concert Lounge in Welland. Special thanks to Dominic and Mike for jammin' along on harmonica and guitar!
- 2006-10-20 / 2006-10-21: As part of the Canal Bank Shuffle, I played at Club Belvedere on Friday (featuring Johnny Lovesin and Larry Kurtz) and Saturday (featuring Julian Fauth) starting at 9pm. I opened each gig and also did several sets each night. All courtesy of Mojo Willie - Thanks Mojo!
- 2006-10-19: The 2006 Canal Bank Shuffle Kick-off Party (Thorold Holy Rosary Hall) was a great show! Performers included: Chuck Jackson, Johnny Mays, Chicago Jack Civilleto, Pat Carey, Michael Fonfara, Gary Kendall, Al Lehrman, Darran Poole, and Jim Casson. It was a heck of a line-up! It was scheduled to start at 7pm for the VIPs, but the stage and PA was not ready until 8pm. So Mojo Willie asked me to fill in for an hour and keep the audience happy - which I did! I also did a half-time set. Chuck Jackson invited me to the next Southside Shuffle!
- 2006-10-14: I was invited by Mojo Willie to play a few sets at his season opener at Club Belvedere in Thorold. In the band were Dave Curry on guitar, Gary Kendall on bass, and Al Webster on drums. These guys know their stuff! This afternoon show included dinner, and was a preview for the Canal Bank Shuffle. A great crowd - thanks for the support!
- 2006-09-16: I played a solo set at The Anchorage in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was great fun, and everybody enjoyed the performance. Thanks to all for coming out! We're planning on doing this again in a month or so. Bruce Longman & Rob Page were awesome, and of course so was the Niagara Rhythm Section with Steve Golberger, Dave Norris, and Penner Mackay. Thanks again to Steve for fitting me in!
- 2006-08-21: Thomas on upright bass and Richard "Montreal Jazz" Chamberlain on guitar joined in at the Niagara Gallery Sunday Jam. "Hi" to guitarist Moe, who could only stay for a few songs. See you next time!
- 2006-08-13: The "big band" at the Niagara Gallery: Wendell (guitar/percussion), Frank (sax), Bruce (guitar), Edwin (guitar), John (fiddle), Steve (wind), James (guitar/percussion), with Dean and Joyce on percussion. New band name: Tight Squeeze!
- 2006-07-16: A great Sunday Jam at the Niagara Gallery, with Dan Durish on mouth harp and David Sandison on bass guitar, along with Frank Ivy on sax, and Steve Boucher on wind instruments.
- 2006-07-02: We celebrated "Canada Day-after" at the Niagara Gallery, with the gang, the fireworks, and even the obligatory thunderstorm!
- 2006-06-25: Saxophonist Frank Ivy (who plays regularly with Wendell Blue) joined wind player Steve Boucher and myself for a few hours of very cool jazz and blues at the Niagara Gallery.
- 2006-06-18: Swing guitarist Richard Chamberlain sat in today during Sunday Jam at the Niagara Gallery. He and I had done a series of gigs a while back at Laurie's Orchard Cafe in Vineland. Richard likes to play "upbeat", but I kept the pace "relaxed". (OK - I admit - it's tough to keep up!)
- 2006-06-10: Fonthill's 150th Anniversary! The town asked me to perform, so I invited some friends along, and we played from 10am to 4pm. Around noon, there was the Peter Shea Duo playing some fabulous jazz and blues, with Peter Shea on keyboard and vocals, and Serge Dionne on upright bass. Then rapper Manuel Orellana freestyled some best wishes for Fonthill, while Steve Boucher joined on wind instruments, Paradise played percussion, and I played NS/Stick. Shawnee Lynne Talbot brought along her young cousin Sydney to sing a solo for us all. And brothers Benjamin and Jeremy Bouchard showed us their fiddling skills. James Deurloo on acoustic guitar and vocals took us to the close, with Al Mangus on guitar, Steve Boucher on wind, and myself on vocals and NS/Stick. The local paper had an article about me just before the event. The opening words are "Greg Holmes plays a mean stick."
- 2006-05-07: Sat in with Celtic group Anam Cara during the "Spring Fling Thing and Picnic", Sunday afternoon in the park at the Niagara Gallery.
- 2006-04-29: Later that same night ... I dropped in on Steve Goldberger and the band over at The Anchorage in Niagara-On-The-Lake. Besides Steve on (kicking) bass, there was Dennis Keldie on (steaming) keys, Steve Grisbrook on (burning) guitar, Mark Inneo on (smoking) drums, and Penner McKay on (smoldering) percussion. Why are these guys so @#$% good?
- 2006-04-29: Once again, I sat in with Mojo Willie and Bluesafire at Thorold's Club Belvedere. Again in the band were Mike, Dave, and Maureen. I played a set on NS/Stick and vocals: Sentimental Journey / Georgia (medley), I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues (with "air trumpet" solo), Born To Be Blue, A Minor Blues Ad Lib, Sweet Painted Lady, Up jumped Spring / Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (medley). Then I "played it like a bass" with the band. Woo hoo! Also sitting in for a set were David Tufford on guitar and Marty Allen (of Melody Ranch) on acoustic guitar and vocals. Very cool set!
- 2006-04-15: Sat in for two sets with Mojo Willie and Bluesafire at Club Belvedere in Thorold. In the band was Willie on mouth harps, Michael Keys on keys, Dave Curry on guitar, and Maureen Brown on drums, with vocals all around. These guys rocked! I opened a set with a solo vocal rendition of Born To Be Blue and an instrumental version of Angel Eyes, with Sweet Georgia Brown as encore.
- 2006-04-09: Played with guitarist Bryan Perry at the Niagara Gallery. We played Celtic and folk tunes, and also some of my jazz tunes.
- 2006-03-26: A really great time at the Niagara Gallery today with vocalist Shawnee Lynne Talbot. She's got such soul in her voice.
I was invited to sit in with Randy Stirtzinger and the guys at
for the Saturday jazz show.
Thanks to everyone for their hospitality and great playing!
Afterwards, I was the musical guest of Kyle Reynold's opening at the Niagara Gallery.
- 2006-01-08: First Sunday Jam of the new year at the Niagara Gallery. The dulcet tones of my instrument and voice soothed the attendees once again... ;-)
- In 2005: New Years Eve at the Wolfgang Puck Grand Café, the Thorold BIA Committee's Christmas party, duo with jazz guitarist Warren Stirtzinger, an opening for visual artist Mikl at the Niagara Gallery, twice at the Cedar Bay Inn, an evening at Hana's Place for the Canal Bank Shuffle, on the main stage of the Toronto ArtsWeek Kickoff, some private parties, and the Riverbend Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake with Melissa McIntyre.