Getting the Sonos x IKEA Symfonisk Speakers – S14E12

This is not a sponsored post. There was a lot of talk with the unique partnership with IKEA and Sonos as they released two WiFi speakers called SYMFONISK. One is a bookshelf speaker and the other is a table lamp with speaker. The lamp can be used with smart lightbulbs from IKEA’s own and Philips Hue lightbulbs.

I decided to pick up the SMYFONISK bookshelf speaker as it got released on August 1st. The price is $149 Canadian while the table lamp with speaker is at $249. I chose the black speaker. It is affordable than getting the Sonos WiFi speakers.

Setup was pretty simple as you need to install the Sonos app on either the smartphone or tablet. Then you need to connect to the WiFi router and slightly had issues due to forgetting the password.

The sound quality is pretty good as I tested on TuneIn, Spotify (need to be on Premium account) and through AirPlay 2 via Apple laptop/desktop and iOS apps. You can use Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to connect to their devices. 

I tried playing this clip from Infernal Affairs through Netflix as it’s become a favourite scene because of a song used in it. The scene can seen at this link.

The design of SYMFONISK is pretty simple with the look and buttons. You put it anywhere in the house and play music to your own liking. It’s convenient to connect or pair with other WiFi compatible speakers for surround sound.

Overall, I’m pleased with my first purchase of Sonos branded speakers in partnership with IKEA. I should create the 2019 Polaris Music Prize Short List playlist on Spotify and give it a listen to the new speakers.

You can view the photos from below.
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The CASETiFY & Pokémon iPad Pro Folio Case – S14E10

I decided to purchase an iPad Pro case from CASETiFY. They kept showing ads when I was going through Instagram Stories and what caught my attention was their collaboration with Pokémon.

They released the now sold out Drop 2 collection and their theme was Day & Night. I took the chance and got the iPad Pro folio.

The case came in on Monday and I’m impressed with the look and feel of it. The insides have slots for cards and bigger slots for passports or tickets when traveling. There is a holder for the Apple Pencil added in it.

The minor issue is the enclosure, I would need a rubber band to keep it closed if putting it a backpack while traveling.

Overall, a great case for the iPad Pro and for anyone who loves Pokémon while looking stylish. The 3rd drop will be in August, be sure to catch them while it lasts.

Check the photos below.

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The 2019 Polaris Music Prize Short List – S14E09

The Polaris Music Prize has released their 2019 short list. The list below are the nominated albums running for the best in artistic merit in Canadian music and the $50,000 grand prize.

The Polaris Music Prize Gala will be held on September 16th at The Carlu and will be attending the event with fingers crossed.

Presented by CBC Music, here are the short listed albums and the long listed albums:

The 2019 Short List
Marie Davidson – Working Class Woman (Released: October 8, 2018)
Elisapie – The Ballad of the Runaway Girl (Released: September 18, 2018)
FET.NAT – Le Mal (Released: February 25, 2019)
Dominique Fils-Aimé – Stay Tuned! (Released: February 22, 2019)
Les Louanges – La nuit est une panthère (Released: September 21, 2018)
Haviah Mighty – 13th Floor (Released: May 10, 2019)
Pup – Morbid Stuff (Released: April 5, 2019)
Jessie Reyez – Being Human in Public (Released: October 19, 2018)
Shad – A Short Story About a War (Released: October 26, 2018)
Snotty Nose Rez Kids – Trapline (Released: May 10, 2019

The 2019 Long List
Tim Baker – Forever Overhead
Tanika Charles – The Gumption
Clairmont the Second – Do You Drive?
Charlotte Cornfield – The Shape of Your Name
Dilly Dally – Heaven
The Dirty Nil – Master Volume
Dizzy – Baby Teeth
F–ked Up – Dose Your Dreams
Yves Jarvis – The Same but by Different Means
Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
Kaia Kater – Grenades
Kimmortal – X Marks the Swirl
La Force – La Force
LAL – Dark Beings
Laurence-Anne – Première apparition
Salomé Leclerc – Les choses extérieures
Lee Harvey Osmond – Mohawk
Jean Leloup – L’étrange pays
Shay Lia – Dangerous
Loud – Tout ça pour ça
Shawn Mendes – Shawn Mendes
Operators – Radiant Dawn
Orville Peck – Pony
Sandro Perri – In Another Life
Lee Reed – The Steal City EP
Alexandra Stréliski – Inscape
Sydanie – 999
Tobi – Still
Voivod – The Wake
Wintersleep – In the Land Of

How Cantopop Influenced Me From The Hong Kong Handover 20 Years On.

It’s very rare I usually do an essay/commentary on my blog. For those who know me, I’m a total Cantopop fan/lover when I combined that genre with Canadian indie music when I had a weekly radio show.

Being as a Chinese-Canadian, my mom used to rent videotapes from Hong Kong’s TVB. Ranging from dramas to music shows, it’s been ingrained since I was young.

How did I become hooked on Cantopop? I would say that the Hong Kong Handover in 1997 affected me because I had relatives living there and my parents were from there. I didn’t want to lose that part of my cultural heritage. It wasn’t until towards the end of high school where I was listening to Hong Kong radio on the Internet and my love of radio came back in a different approach. 

In my University phase, I still kept listening to the classic Cantopop songs and some newer music. 2003 struck when Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui died and the Cantopop industry was never the same since. In the mid-2000s, I was not able to listen to one of the popular Hong Kong radio stations because of the audio streaming and switching to the Mac computers. 

An article published on July 22, 2017 from SCMP explained the decline of Cantopop and who can be the next star to regain the footing. The link can be read here.

In 2019, a New York article writes about Denise Ho being face of Cantopop’s fight against mainland China. The link can be read here. CBC Q also has the interview with the New Yorker’s Jiayang Fan on Denise Ho, you can go here.

Getting into Beyond
Aside from the tragedies, one impact that still hits the mark among Cantopop fans has been the death of Beyond’s frontman, Wong Ka Kui. I’ve been entrenched with their music because their range can soft, slow, fast and heavy. They were mainly a rock band unlike the conventional singers in Cantopop.

Their popular tracks were often love songs towards the end of 1980s and into 1990s, it was getting into the political message.  Continue reading

The 24 Days of Candies and Tea – S12E04

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It’s that yearly time on the final month of the year. It’s the popular advent calendars in the form of DAVIDsTEA and Squish Candy. Squish Candy has opened a location in Rideau Centre for several months and it’s been a great convenience in getting the 24 Days of Candy. DAVIDsTEA offered their hot selling 24 Days of Tea in late October. It used to be released on November.

Here’s the list of the advents calendars. They will be updated for the 24 days.
The openings will be shown on Instagram. Continue reading

Siberian Cat Café in Chelsea, Quebec – S12E03

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On Thanksgiving Monday (Canadian holiday), I had the opportunity to check out the Café Chat Siberien, the French name or the English name, Siberian Cat Café over in Chelsea, Quebec. Cat cafes have become pretty popular throughout the world. I’ve been wanting to check it out as I enjoy seeing adorable cats.

The Siberian Cat Café has opened for over a year and it’s become a fun destination when heading down to Gatineau Park. Being a holiday, there was traffic for people going to Gatineau Park. Luckily for Google Maps, it gave us another route to avoiding the car pileup.

Getting inside to the café and to see the cats, you need to order either a drink (tea, coffee and cola) and grill cheese sandwich or some small sweet bites. They also had the Montreal cola, 1642 Cola. I heard good things about it. It’s a cola with maple syrup in it.

Heading inside the cat room, there were some cats hanging around and some sleeping. The cats were friendly and they didn’t bite or scratch patrons and myself. There were also art installations throughout the building.

Overall, it was a quaint and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday going to the cat cafe. You can check out the photos below.

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving holiday!

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Beau’s Oktoberfest 2016 – S12E02

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It was a fine Saturday afternoon as I went to Vankleek Hill (an hour’s ride from Ottawa) for the 8th annual Beau’s Oktoberfest. I had to go along with my dad and I’m not total beer drinker. He had extra tickets and why not go to the event for the third year.

The 2016 edition of Beau’s Oktoberfest had a lot of craft beer from Ottawa, Quebec, and Toronto (including the GTA and Golden Horseshoe area). Beau’s brought their 16 beers and tap. Aside from the beer, there were restaurants from Ontario and Quebec serving their kind of Bavarian styled food.

This year’s main concert lineup had 54•40 and Born Ruffians for Friday. k-os and Hannah Georgas for Saturday. Even though, I didn’t stay past 6pm at Oktoberfest, I was able to check out part of Montreal’s Motel Raphaël. I haven’t seen the band live for quite awhile and they recently released a new album, System.
Oh yes, Alan Neal of CBC’s All In A Day was MC for Saturday’s concert lineup.

All in all, it was great to be at Beau’s Oktoberfest and it was quite a big turnout as people will have fun and drink beer.

 

The 2016 Polaris Music Prize Gala – S12E01

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It’s become a tradition to start the new season in Toronto for the Polaris Music Prize Gala at The Carlu. Congratulations goes out to Kaytranada for winning the 2016 edition of the music prize for the album, 99.9%. It beat out the likes of 9 artists and bands from Black Mountain, Basia Bulat, Grimes, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jessy Lanza, Pup, Andy Shauf, U.S. Girls and White Lung.

At the gala, there were live performances from Black Mountain, Jessy Lanza, Basia Bulat, Andy Shauf, White Lung, Carly Rae Jepsen and U.S. Girls. All of the performances were. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra assisted in Bulat’s and Jepsen’s performances. The gala were hosted by Amanda Parris of The Exhibitionist on CBC and Tom Power, new host of CBC Radio q.

To my own delight, there were food served at the Gala. There were perogies, sliders and five spices pork.

Got to hand to Steve Jordan and the Polaris Music Prize staff for the great work as usual.

Don’t forget to check out the photos here.
Enjoy!
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Summer Happenings

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It’s a summer entry as I won’t be posting regularly and it’s considered the off-season.

The biggest craze to hit parts of the world is Pokémon Go. Canadians have been waiting for the release, which came out on July 17th and made the game’s server crash. I haven’t played like crazy with the worry of the phone’s battery life. I’ve noticed seeing people play around my neighbourhood as there’s several Pokéstops located and a competitive gym to clash with.

On Tuesday afternoon, there was a Pokémon Go event in Ottawa called the Confederation Park Lure Party. There were lots of people convening at the park and catch whatever Pokémon are available.

Even the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson came out and joined in the fun to trying out Pokémon Go.
You can check the photos from below.

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