Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 - A Bag Of Mixed Emotions

WOW! Where has the year gone? It seems like, even though the year went quite fast, I felt a mixed bag of emotions throughout the year. I've had a few down moments and crazy moments, but there were happy times too, probably not as many as I would have liked. However, life goes on and hopefully 2016 will be a much better year! I thought I'd share with you some of those moments as I do consider them to be worthy to talk about:

First of all, my dear Granddad passed away back in April. Mum did a very beautiful tribute to Granddad over on her blog back in April. I have many fond memories of Granddad over the years and I'll treasure those memories forever. Even when we used to visit him in the Aged Care Home, we had some good times that I'll never forget, and we visited him quite often. Even though we knew his time was coming, nothing would prepare us for the grief we all felt that day. I still think of Granddad and miss him everyday.

In November 2014, I'd gotten back in touch on Facebook with a friend whom I haven't seen since I graduated from high school back in 2002. Alyssa told me that she was running a couple of choirs and invited me to join one of them if I wanted to. In June, I really wanted to join a local choir, so I asked Alyssa if I could still join one of her choirs.  She told me that her choirs were preparing to sing in a major event as part of the Queensland Music Festival in August, so there wasn't much time left. When I joined, we went straight into rehearsing mode for the Queensland Music Festival songs. The event was called "Under This Sky - Logan's Musical Celebration", written and performed by the Logan community. I was told it was going to be filmed and broadcast nationwide across Australia, I was quite excited to take part in such a huge event.

Our choir would perform with the 300-voice Massed Choir (made up of several choirs around Logan, community choirs, school choirs, etc). The rehearsals took a lot of commitment and dedication, and I was mighty happy to be part of it all! "Under This Sky" took place at the Logan Brothers Rugby League Field on August 1 and 2, with a preview night on July 31 for the sponsors of the event! Mum and Grandma both came to the Preview and the first night opened to the public, my brothers came along with Mum on the Sunday night, August 2! Being the middle of Winter, we were all rugged up warmly as it was very cold. The show's theme was based around a day in the life of the people of Logan City. The show was a huge success! The Massed Choir was in the Finale, performing 3 songs; "Pachelbel's Chanson", "I Have A Dream" (no, not the ABBA song, this was totally original) and "Get There From Here". On both nights, I left the stage on a high. It was an awesome experience that will remain with me forever and I'm very grateful to Alyssa for giving me the opportunity to be a part of it all.

After "Under This Sky", the next big thing was my sister Michelle gave birth to another baby girl named Mackenzie Eve Hallmond! That makes me a proud uncle of her 3 girls! I always have fun with Mikayla & Maddy and look forward to many more happy times with all 3 girls as they grow up!

And to round off the year, Mum and I performed in the Mater Hospital 'Sing For Health' Choir. We come together twice a year and practice for 5 weeks performing on the 6th week, usually in the Mater Mothers Hospital foyer. Our Christmas performance entailed 7 carols; "Star Of Bethlehem", "Angel Carol", "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear", "Jingle Bells", "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", "Night Of Silence" and "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer". We performed at 5 different venues around the Mater Hospital in the last week and they were all a great success! It's always a pleasure to sing with a great group of people! I look forward to hopefully doing more performances with the Sing For Health choir next year.

Photo courtesy of Mater Queensland

A couple of weeks ago, my brother Beau gave me his classical guitar that he's had for a while. Though I've dabbled in guitar playing in the past, I was a little scared of strings snapping, but I'm trying again and hopefully will get better as I keep going. So far, I've been enjoying playing it and have already tried playing a couple of songs! Thanks for the guitar, Beau!

I still love playing my Bongos though, so they will still get a regular workout.

As 2015 draws to a close, I have big plans for 2016, but I'll tell you about them in future posts. Until next time, please stay safe and I hope you all have a Happy New Year!
May 2016 be a great year!

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Merry Christmas - More Frequent Blogging In Future!

Hi everybody!

Look who has decided to make another all-too-rare appearance in the blogosphere. Yep, it's me and I'm hoping to change that rarity to more frequent in 2016. The thing is, I'm always trying to think of what to write for my blog. However, I seem to do long status updates on Facebook about how my weeks have been. Obviously, Social websites like Facebook and Twitter really shouldn't be used for such long posts. After all, people just want to glance at their News Feed on Facebook to see what is going on with their friends and family, and the majority of the time, I'm sure a lot of them won't have time to read long updates.

I think I understand the reason of Twitter's character limit at last. If people like me did lengthy posts on Twitter, it probably wouldn't be as popular, after all, that is what blogging is for. Yes, people will probably still want to skim through your blog to read the essentials, but if you want to pour your heart out into it, you can!

Anyway, earlier this year, Mum came up with this great idea that, rather than posting long posts on Facebook,  I should do it on my blog, which has been around for some time now, but feeling very neglected. As I told people on Facebook what I did throughout the week, she suggested that I just do it on here and put links on Facebook/Twitter when I do post. At first, I just wanted my family/friends to see it, but I realised that I pretty much share my frustrations and weekly thoughts on Facebook like I do on here, so why not merge them. Let's see if I can give my blog the love I give people on my Facebook posts.

In future, I'm going to try and post once a week or fortnightly. It is time to try and put a stop to this posting once or twice a year. This blog post was originally going to be about how this year has been for me, but I figured that I'll write that one throughout the week and will finalise and post it before the New Year. I will post each weekend, if I can. I really want to get this to work as I feel bad that my blog has been sitting online and getting stale with old information.

I want to keep my readers happy, both those who come to my blog and those who come from Facebook and Twitter links. If you're anyone I follow on Twitter and you've read this and would like to talk about my topic when I'm on Twitter, feel free! I'm always happy to converse. If you follow me on Facebook, feel free to comment on there also. Also, just letting people know, I don't use the Facebook chat feature, but if you want to leave me messages, feel free!

By the way, I hope you enjoy the new look of my blog. I thought the new look would make the text easier to read and it pays more attention to the photos in the post, not the big background. Please feel free to let me know what you think. We'll see if I stick with it, but I'm sure I will.


I had a great Christmas Day with my family! Mum, my brothers Beau and Aaron, and I went over to my sister Michelle's place and spent the morning there, having a very nice Christmas Brunch. We had a little rain which kept things reasonably cool and we all had a really nice time! I had fun dancing with my nieces, Mikayla (5) and Maddy (3), to the music of Taylor Swift!  When we got back home in the afternoon, Mum and I watched an episode of the Smallville TV series I have on DVD, then we watched, Love Actually, a Christmas-themed movie.

For Christmas Dinner, Mum made a very delicious Vegan Roast with roast veggies, drizzled in Mint Sauce, along with a Vegan stuffing Mum made (picture above). I enjoyed every bit, it's definitely one of my favourite meals.

Also, Mum prepared a very delicious Christmas Dessert of Mango & Nutmeg Cheesecake sprinkled with crumbled Ginger Biscuits (picture above). It was very delicious and dairy-free! See, Vegans don't miss out at all and the bonus is that it is all cruelty-free! We ate dessert while watching another Christmas movie, Jingle All The Way.

A cheerful Christmas song for you all  - "Step Into Christmas" by Elton John

Until next time, take care, stay safe,
and I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, 23 February 2015

New Updated And Expanded ABBA Book In The Works By Carl Magnus Palm: ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (Revised & Expanded)

Hi everyone!

As this is my first post for 2015, I just want to wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope the year goes well for you all!  I just want to try and keep this brief this time around because there's something I want to share with you all, especially if you're a big fan of ABBA, or even interested in music details.

Do you want to know the story behind ABBA's recordings, and how they came about, including recording secrets, unreleased songs and other things? Carl Magnus Palm, a notable ABBA historian, is planning to re-write his book "ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions"! Those fans and anyone else who know about the original book will know it was released back in 1994 and has sadly been out of print for several years. The new book will be called "ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (Revised & Expanded)". As the  title says, the book is going to contain so much more information than what was featured in the original book. I've read a lot of high praises for the 1994 edition of the book by ABBA fans who have it and enjoy it!

If you would like to see this book come to fruition, please click here to go to the Kickstarter page and find out more about the book.  Anyone who has any of ABBA's CD/DVD releases over the past 20 years will know that Carl Magnus Palm has been quite active at providing very informative liner notes, even getting interviews with the ABBA members and providing interesting facts about each ABBA album. I'm pretty sure this book will be totally worth the money he is asking for, especially for quite detailed info that I'm sure any ABBA fan/music historian will want to read about! This will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own this book, as far as I know, it's limited edition and is only available through the Kickstarter page above. If the funds aren't raised, the book will not be written.  Carl Magnus Palm is doing this because he is passionate and wants to do it for us fans alike!

If you want to know about Carl Magnus Palm and everything he has done over the years, mainly ABBA-related, you can go to his official website. Trust me, I go there regularly and always find it a joy to go through all ABBA related stuff he has!

I'm sorry I've left this so late, I only just discovered it myself.

I'll be back soon with another post.  Until then, I wish you all the best for the upcoming week, and take care, whatever you do and wherever you live. Stay safe and well!
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