Day Trip to Victoria BC


I volunteered to chaperone at my son’s school field trip to Victoria today.  It started really early in the morning at the school (and 14 hours later-still not home). We got on the school bus, and I promptly made my way to the back. So did the boys I was with. We laughed about poop jokes and cartoons.


The ferry ride was uneventful. My son and his buddy wanted to sit and play cards while we had a snack. We wandered the decks a couple of times and waved at a passing ferry. We got to Vancouver Island and boarded another bus. We took off to Victoria for the afternoon. Easy breezy and the weather fully cooperated.


Next came a whirlwind self guided tour of the Royal BC Museum.  We hardly stopped to check anything out.  Partly because museums are becoming a thing of the past when needing to get information out to the public.  Also partly because the schedule was so packed in.  I’ve seen this museum about a half dozen times in the past thirty years.  It hasn’t changed much.  We rushed from the museum across the street and into the Parliament Buildings. 



This was a guided tour that was extremely informative and the kids did a fantastic job being courteous to our guide. The children were also asking great questions and having answers that were asked of them.


Then we did a mad dash back to the Museum for the kids to watch an IMAX film.  This was only for the kids and the chaperones had some free time.  We took off almost instantly.


So a group of eight of us parents found a patio for the next forty five minutes and chilled out. I’m not saying I had a Bellini or that the others had sangria or ice cold beers, but we did… have some adult time.  We had good conversations about the school and kids.  It was a nice break before the hecticness began. After a cold bevie- we met up with the school and headed out for dinner.


58 kids, 29 parents and 2 teachers took over the Old Spaghetti Factory for one of the noisiest meals I have been at since my days at Chuck E. Cheese’s.  Absolute chaos was taking over.  As a smart parent- I suggested to the other parents that we let all of the kids get seated and we take a few tables at the other side. Best plan!

After dessert we ran to our bus because time was running out.  This time it wasn’t a school bus, but rather a charter bus.  With plush seats. The kids doubled up in the seats and the adults each took a double seat to stretch out.  The bus ride remained quiet.  All was good.


Our ferry ride back was calm at first.  Then the children began acting like caged animals.  The real issue today was a lack of recess.  Everything was planned to the minute and well organized.  But kids will be kids.  They had to burn off steam somehow- running around the decks was the only way to do this.  Us parents just didn’t have it in us to stop them.  The chaperones ended up in strategic locations in an effort to slow down the insanity.  The Chief Stewart ended up making an announcement over the PA system: “No running on the ferry please.” It wasn’t just our school.  Apparently another 200 kids were also on the ferry.  The poor passengers hoping for a calm ride to the Lower Mainland were now doing their best to ignore the children.


Our final bus ride calmed the children once more.  The bobble heads that the driver had on her dash mesmerized us all.  All around a good day.  I’m signing off now as we finish our ride back to the school.  Pretty sure a few cold beers will end my night at home.

Sci-Fi

Today is doubly dorky.  First it’s the 40th Anniversary of the release of Star Wars.  Forty years of a fandom that has brought us Wookiee calls and internet memes.  I have discussed my love of this space fantasy on numerous occasions.  I don’t think I need to add any more on the subject at this time.  Except that either you love Star Wars or you’re wrong.

Today is also known as “Towel Day”. Which is a bit more obscure compared to Star Wars.  However the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is known by most people in my circle of friends.  I wrote about it last year and explained it’s significance in my life. Douglas Adams was a brilliantly funny man in his musings.  Perhaps he will inspire me to write more than a mere blog post.

So today I am unsure which to celebrate more.  My love of Star Wars or the series of novels that inspired my oldest daughter’s name?  I think I shall combine the two and wear a Star Wars shirt and carry around my towel.


Don’t Panic.

Dress For the Job You Want?


For the past decade at my work- I was pretty much a jeans and nerdy t-shirt kinda guy. Always sporting a new shirt after the many conventions we would attend. My hair even changed color on a regular basis. It didn’t take away from who I was known to be- an intelligent guy who looked creative and fun to be around.

In December, I took on the role of Assistant Trainmaster, so my look had to change.  Not since my days of being a manager at Chuck E Cheese’s did I have to wear dress pants and golf shirts/dress shirts (albeit the shirts had a Rat logo on them). But I now found myself ten years into a job of dressing pretty relaxed into having to go for a semi-professional grown up look.  Some plain golf shirts and some new dress pants were purchased.  My hair has become a normal colour and style.  No more red contact lens for fun. I’m all grown up for a new grown up position.

I don’t own a suit. But today I wore my black pin striped dress pants and a short sleeved grey dress shirt to work.  The only suit jacket I have came out from my closet. It just so happens to be black pin striped and have a large sequined cross on the back of it.  


I showed up at work and everyone was surprised at how well dressed I was. As if they’d never seen me before. I stopped by the door to my boss’s office and said good morning to him.  He asked me why I was so dressed up. I told him that I am the “Rock Star of the Railroad” and turned around. He laughed when he saw the back of the jacket.

Even though I am doing my best to be professional, I am still who I am.  I’m here to enjoy my job, enjoy my life, and enjoy the company of others.  I look good in whatever I choose to wear. I don’t dress for the job I want. Rather, I have made my job accept how I dress. I’m proud of my many looks. Every day is a new day.

There’s A Storm A Brewin’

We just had the most beautiful weather this past weekend. Even though the sun is still out, there’s something in the air tonight.  A wind storm.  Full-on fast scary winds. 

I love it.


It’s some of the most fun being out in the wind.  The smell of fresh flowers and trees in my neighborhood flow through the air.  As we ate dinner on our deck, you could hear the tree deck creaking as it swayed back and forth.

We’ve only ever lost a few large branches and an occasional birch tree in these storms.  Maybe a power failure or two, but never enough that I need to own a generator.  One day we may own one- I like my gadgets and toys working!

Tonight’s high winds are another reminder of how amazing nature is.  The fact that it can still be stunningly beautiful but fiercely dangerous.  At my work we had to warn the switchmen of the possibility of empty rail cars being blown down the tracks.  They can roll silently and you wouldn’t hear them behind you.  A rare occurrence, but entirely possible.

Side note: Storm is my favorite character from X-Men.  That’s how I’m ending today’s blog. I think teenage me would agree. She’s pretty sexy in black with stark white hair. Not to mention the lightning and ability to control the weather and fly!  She could save me any day.

But I digress.  Old man Joe isn’t in need of saving.  The only thing I save is my blog posts.  

Shit.  I ended with a “Dad Joke“.

My Daughter’s Adventure

Last night my 13 year old daughter had an adventure. Not a physical adventure.  But more of a mind blowing adventure.  We spoke of parallel universes and timelines.  I’ve always been good at open discussion on this subject.  Not my first time running around this course…


My daughter is far beyond herself in the philosophical department.  Oftentimes keeping herself awake at night as her brain focuses on the obscure.  She has asked that her and I sit down and talk.  I’ve had to ask for a delay in this, since I have to work and have a few prior arrangements.  Pretty sure this won’t be the end of our discussions even if I didn’t have to postpone.


But it leaves me with a dilemma.  Do I sugarcoat and dumb down my talks with her?  Or should I explain that no one knows the truth?  Maybe I can point her towards some of the more realistic ideals in life. Or am I going to hinder her mental progress? 

You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

I think that in the end I can only guide her towards what she seeks. I can explain what other people have thought about life, the universe and everything.  I can lend her books and ask her questions- but I can’t tell her what’s real.

I don’t know what’s real.

Cloverdale Rodeo

This past weekend was The Cloverdale Rodeo. I don’t like the Rodeo. There are many reasons for this. None of them are because of animal cruelty.  That’s a different debate, one I don’t wish to engage.


First, I don’t like crowds. But Josef- you always talk about Disneyland. Isn’t that crowded? Sure it is.  But I also plan my days based on the slower periods in the parks.  I know when to avoid the crowds. Ever notice how I’m enjoying a beer afterwards in the hotel? And don’t even try and get my to venture into Vancouver to see fireworks!


Second, I don’t like the heat. And this weekend was hot. Too damn hot for my liking to be stuck out in the sun without any shade. Plus I had the “pleasure” of working outdoors as it is.  My arms are sunburnt. Stupid pasty white boy.

Third, Country music isn’t my style. I can appreciate a well written song from time to time, but overall- it’s not my bag baby. I almost posted an Austin Powers meme… but wait! There’s More…


Fourth is Carnies. The Rodeo brings in West Coast Amusements for the event. I don’t like sketchy carnival rides, scary ass food or carnival barkers trying to get me to play “skill games” for prizes. Years ago, when I was 18 or 19, I went to the Cloverdale Rodeo.  We made friends with some of the carnival workers and we got lots of free rides and heard many stories of the sketchiest things that go on. (Did you know that the “Zipper” ride has a puker almost every other time? That’s why there’s a hose nearby. Then the ride spins to dry it off). They only hung out with us for the free weed and hopes to get with the ladies. But that never happened. Haha.

I also hate trying to drive around the streets near the Rodeo as well. People are bad drivers as it is.  When I’m behind the wheel- I think it’s my road, so get outta way! Ugh.  Anyways- going to work is far more pleasurable than wasting my time and money at the Rodeo.  

Plus horse poop stinks. Especially in the heat.

Deodorant or Antiperspirant

I usually put on antiperspirant fairly soon after my shower.  I shower every day. Or at least on every day that I plan on leaving my home. If I don’t plan on leaving my home or take a shower, I will put on deodorant…


But I don’t like it.  It’s a Speed Stick that I have owned for years.  I don’t like it for two reasons: One, I don’t overly like the scent. And reason B: it smells the way my father used to. 

That bothers me.  

Pretty sure this particular deodorant was a shitty Christmas stocking gift from my youth.  It somehow lived through many location moves and numerous ex girlfriends.


When I put it on, I think of my father. My father would smell of Rothman’s Cigarettes, stale beer and this deodorant. After a day of yardwork, this deodorant kicks in.  And the old man smell shows up. Sometimes bringing with it, my old man’s attitude.  A day of work makes me get angry at the littlest things.  The Speed Stick is like a pheromone that turns on my “Pissed off gene” and angry dad shows up.  I hate it. Yesterday was hard to contain those emotions, but I did.

Perhaps it’s time to turf the pit stick.

May Long Weekend 2017

This long weekend we are working on the yard.  By we, I mean the entire family. With no arguments or “disappearing” children. You know the ones, they sense that work is needed to be done and suddenly they need to rush to their bedrooms or the bathroom… but not today in our home. They all got nabbed without a fight. 

I fear something may be wrong with the universe.

Our oldest announced that she enjoys doing yard work. She proudly got out the push lawnmower and tackled about half an acre. The very back half of our yard has an influx of dandelions, so we need to remove those first. The best way to do that without spreading the seeds? FIRE!

The yard is coming together nicely for the summer months.  We have a beautiful and peaceful location that we enjoy sharing with friends and entertaining.  There’s only a few more things to finish up, like our vegetable garden & my train garden, that will complete our home.


After a hard day’s work we are all really proud of the results.  It’s time to enjoy the birds chirping and the scents of fresh cut grass as we end our day with a BBQ meal.


The sun has finally come out. Time to relax before the heat turns on for the summer. Feel free to drop by this season. Only stipulation is BYOB+1(for me!)

Mural

Today was an unveiling of a project that the grade 11/12 photography students created.  It was a rather large scale piece, and really suits the school and our community.  Being that my children attend the Langley Fine Arts School, it only makes sense that a project of this magnitude be unveiled with pomp and circumstance. 


The whole school was out to witness the unveiling.  The staff and parents were also awaiting the big reveal.  The mayor took the mic and shared some words of the history behind the idea of the mural.  The senior concert band then performed a piece written by one of the students as the cloth was lifted.


Seeing the mural in person is just amazing. It is pieced together with photos of all off the students and staff of the school. Read about the project here: LFAS Photo Mosaic. It is a large piece that really shows off the talents of the young people. Especially given such a great opportunity to express themselves in an Arts dedicated school environment.


This is the full mural.  Outstanding work.

Unfinished Works… Is That A Failure?

Well it finally happened.  I thought I had finished writing a blog post, when in actuality it ended abruptly.  And I shared it.


I could go back and finish it. (I swear it was done!)  Then re-share it.  But in its failure, I find truth.  I’m not always going to hit the mark.  Perhaps yesterday’s blog post, Totes Inappropes, really wasn’t meant to be finished.  I can learn from my experience of knowing that I screwed up. Now it’s out in the world.  Chances are you didn’t read it.  Chances are no one will read it. That’s what I keep telling myself in order to get past my little oopsie.


People who follow me, know that I’m back again day after day trying to write something of value.  Sharing tidbits about what goes on in my life and mind.  Nothing’s important, everything matters. Sure it does.  It matters to me.  I’m the one trying to get thoughts out.  That’s important to me. I have created a daily writing goal that I hope will manifest into something much more grandiose.  


I didn’t fail yesterday.  At least not in the fact that my blog post wasn’t done.  Perhaps I failed in the content and subconsciously I sabotaged myself. In the end, I probably won’t even go back to re-read it.  Every few months I journey back to my previous posts.  Some I enjoy how they flow or tell a story. Sometimes I enjoy the comedic undertones I somehow successfully snuck in.  Some blog posts I skim over and think about how I could improve it.  Maybe make a “Special Edition” of one of the more successful ones like what Lucas tried with Star Wars.

But in the end, I’m taking a shot at writing.  I haven’t discovered the best technique or idea to focus on. Should I focus on family? Maybe conventions? Perhaps my work? I don’t know where my best writing lies. But I will find that niche and exploit the shit out of it if it makes me money!… 

I meant- makes me happy.