Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things


I’m a collector. I collect anything that I feel has value. As an example, I collect headphones. Don’t ask me why. I just do. I own a pair of Sony noise canceling headphones, a pair of Sennheiser earbuds and headphones, and I’ve lost count of how many Apple earbuds I have in my possession. Last time I checked, I only have one pair of ears I carry around with me every day. What can I say? I like listening to my music my way.

Sennheiser HD 202
Sennheiser HD 202

For a time, I used to collect movies. I know it sounds strange, but it’s what I used to do. I couldn’t walk out of a video store without purchasing something. I own the entire Lord of the Rings collection. I also bought multiple versions of the Godfather collection, including the restored version, which I think is great. But if you’ve seen the Godfather a billion times like I have, the gold tones in the film are rather distracting. I can’t tell you how many different versions of the Alien collection I own either. Somewhere along the line I went crazy purchasing every set I could find. Yeah, I’m a fan. Now, don’t think I’m heavy on the drama, fantasy and sci-fi genres. My vice is owning all of the movies to the Bring It On collection. What can I say? They’re hilarious.

As silly as it sounds, I’ve gone insane with my music collection, too. How do I describe buying anything associated with Led Zeppelin without seeming like a lunatic? I own their earlier works, their box sets, their remasters, their remasters of remasters, their solo works, their tribute albums. I would go as far as stating I’m a Led Zep die-hard fan, but I won’t. I think my cloud collection speaks for itself. Additionally, I collect oldies albums from the 50’s and 60’s. What can I say? I like listening to those old tunes.

Greek Style Fries
Greek Style Fries

Topping off my list is my silly collection of food photos I’ve been snapping whenever I take the family out to eat. I have a lot of those. Call me OCD. I find food photos to be not only great images to salivate over, but also an awesome springboard to jump start meal ideas. I know. I’m strange. But I can attest they make great conversation pieces.

Okay, one more. I collect photos of a particular tree shedding its leaves in the fall. Once a year, I visit a specific spot in the woods to take the photo. I have many. I’m not sure when my fixation started, but it has kept me busy.

I think that’s it. I collect other stuff, too, but nothing as extravagant as Jerry Seinfeld’s collection of Porsche. Wouldn’t that be something? Where would I put them all? Don’t ask me.

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Do you collect anything?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

All Things Celtic

I’m a big fan of Celtic music. When the film Titanic came out in 1997, I was in my element. My wife’s background is Nova Scotian. So imagine if you will what it must have been like for me when the Irish influence hit North America back in the mid to late 90’s. I realized I couldn’t turn a channel without a Celtic-themed program playing on one station or another. The media knew how to take a good thing and make it better.

Lord of the Rings
Lord of the Rings

Today, I’d like to dedicate my Freedom Friday post to all that is Celtic.

As I was saying, since my wife is from Nova Scotia, whenever we visit there, we’d always have an invitation extended to us to attend a cèilidh–a social gathering featuring song and dance. Sometimes we’d host it as well. Our typical cèilidh consists of lots of snacks and music performed by family members. Back in the day, my wife’s parents were a famous singing duo, touring and appearing on the CBC. They eventually ended up inducted into Nova Scotia’s Country Music Hall of Fame. That would account for the musical talent running through her side of the family. From my side, I had a relative in South America who was a classical conductor and maestro. And I studied baroque composition for a while at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music.

Music runs through our blood.

There was a time my wife and I were also performing for the crowds. I played the guitar and my wife sang. We’d perform such tunes as Song for the Mira and other Celtic favorites. Members of the audience who knew my in-laws would come up to us after the show and tell us how we reminded them of the Hall of Famers. I took it as one of the biggest compliments anyone could have received.

Anyway, how did we get on to that? Right, I was talking about our family cèilidh. Yes, we still have them whenever we visit Nova Scotia.


Going back to the mid to late 90’s, that era was a highpoint for all that was Celtic. Riverdance was one of our favorite shows to go see. Although we didn’t get the opportunity to watch Jean Butler or Michael Flatley perform, their understudies’ interpretation was more than what we had hoped for in a show. I’m a wild fanatic of the spectacle, having purchased all the soundtracks and videos. It really was the thing to watch live in those days.

Then there was Titanic. Gosh, when that hit the screen, no one could get enough of the film. It was the first movie I can classify as an event. It came out December 19, 1997, and except for a few of my friends, everyone had gone to see it. We talked about Jack and Rose as if the characters were part of the family. At one point, I knew everything there was to know about the making of the film. I had become obsessed with the era, and I wanted to understand how such a tragedy could have happened to the unsinkable ship.

Finally, no talk about all things Celtic would be complete without a special mention regarding The Lord of the Rings.

I’ll have to admit this—when the trilogy came out, I wasn’t a fan. I thought the films were overly long, drawn-out vehicles for stoking the egos of the filmmakers.

I was terribly wrong.

It wasn’t until years later, when my kids got into the series, that I’d become fascinated with the features. I recognized how incredibly detailed the filming process must have been for director Peter Jackson. Not only that, but more importantly, the emotion behind the performances of Elijah Wood as Frodo and Sean Astin as Sam rattles me to this day. The films also represent a brilliant setting for life in simpler times.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could live in a time when we didn’t have to check our phones every two minutes to see who liked or commented on our content?

To me, The Lord or the Rings world, with all its Celtic flavor, is that time.

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What do you think of Celtic music? Have you seen Riverdance? What do you like about The Lord of the Rings trilogy?