S.N.A.F.U.

Snafu. It’s a word that many have used. Until recently, my wife just used it as a word not knowing it was an acronym. That’s pretty funny to me.

When I was younger, I played a game on Intellivision called “SNAFU”. It was basically two player snake with two other computer opponents. Or as I imagined- it was like playing the light cycles from TRON. I also played the game frequently in my early 20’s with friends- we were addicted to it.

When I was 19, I went to Scotland and there was a bar called “Snafu”. I can only imagine what sort of shenanigans would happen there. I’ve had some drunken Snafu moments, that’s for sure. None at that bar though.

The term SNAFU is used pretty regularly in my life. Be it at home, with friends or at work. It’s a great way to describe how regularly things are messed up. Especially on a Monday.

But as long as it doesn’t escalate to FUBAR, everything will be ok.

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Life Needs a Dog

I love having a dog. I really can’t think of a time in my life that a dog wasn’t in it. There’s a certain comfort having a dog in your life. Even with my environmental allergies, I need a dog in my life.

When I was born, my parents already had a wire-haired fox terrier named Whiskey. He lived until I was about five. I cried when we had to put him down. Poor old dog was deaf and blind by the end.

Then we had another fox terrier. This time a bitch named Brandy. And she was a true bitch in the most derogatory term imaginable. She bit everyone and clawed at kids. Less than two years old and she was given away. Having a puppy around small children isn’t the best idea I guess. No one was able to train her and we treated her like a living stuffed animal.

Then we had a cocker spaniel named Charlie. Unfortunately we only had him for about four years. He grew a cancerous tumor above his eye and we had to put him down. But he was cuddly and adorable.

Then we had a little white multi-poo named Alvin. He had skin issues and was rather over-weight as he grew up. He began a strict diet to try and help his heart. But he lived for a pretty long time all things considering.

When my wife and I met, she a dog named Chuppy. When we moved in together, I inherited Alvin in what my mother thought was his final year. He became active and healthy again as we looked after him. He lived on for a few more years. Then my mother took Alvin back for his final days.

My wife’s dog Chuppy was a Rhodesian ridgeback she rescued in Turkey. He was super loved by everyone who met him. I wrote about him back in September: Good Dog if you want to read more.

Lex is our most current family member. He has been great in so many ways. He was one of my first topics when I started blogging back in the start of 2016: Lex. He is still one of the greatest dogs I have ever met.

But once he is gone, we may not adopt a pet again for a long time. Our children will be older and possibly moved on in life. My wife and I are planning more traveling. And that leaves no time to take care of another family member. So while I’ve enjoyed having dogs around (I am a dog person not a cat person), it will be time to move on.

Thank you to all of the four legged family members I have had in my life. I hope that the enjoyment I received from them being around was reciprocated. It’s difficult to say.

Awww, Poor Me.

I wrote a Pity Party Sob Story yesterday. I don’t overly share that sort of thing. Mostly I don’t want that kind of attention. I prefer to share tales of joy, friends, entertainment, good parenting and such. Tonight I’m going to share more of how I try and be positive.

Daily, I usually work on Positive Mental Attitude. Simple things like being friendly to a stranger or just not letting things bother you. A big part of being positive is removing negativity, especially in these categories:

  • Vocabulary
  • Emotions
  • People

Removing the negative vocabulary is a challenge. Using positive words when talking about others or writing emails is a great way to start. Even just talking to people.

Being emotionally positive is hard. Sometimes you feel run down and hateful. But focusing on the bad things makes it worse. Smiling helps. 🙂

Removing negative people from your life is the hardest. Sometimes they’re coworkers, other times, it’s family. But the hardest people to remove can be friends. Friends define who we choose to be around. They are the ones that are extensions of our personalities.

My life is full of great moments and fantastic people. I want to keep it that way. I want to enjoy life and stay positive. I think it’s working thus far.

The Inner Me Hurts

Eating for me has been the worst. I have had digestive issues for about a year now.  It finally became too annoying that I decided to see my doctor. I explained to him how when I eat, food stops above my stomach and makes it feel like I am choking. So, our family doctor then sent me to a specialist. A specialist that I had to wait two months to see. After a 15 minute appointment, the specialist recommended a CT Scan and a scope. All of which occurred this week.

First was Wednesday where I had to get a blood test done. The worst thing about that wasn’t the needle. It was having to show up as the clinic opened and there already being a lineup. They drew blood and I was gone within minutes.

Thursday was a CT Scan. I showed up early for my appointment. Completely different from Wednesday- no one was there in the waiting area. I dressed in my blue gown and waited. It was kind of uncomfortable being mostly undressed in a hospital. After taking my selfie, I realized that I look like my father did towards the end of his life- in and out of the hospital/chemo. It was a humbling moment.

I’ve never had a CT Scan before. The machine looked ominous. When I lay down, there was a lovely scenery picture on the ceiling. Before I was slid into the machine, the tech inserted a tube into my arm to allow a “dye” to go through my body for some pictures. The sensation as the dye ran though me was unique. It started by making my throat warm and itchy, and flowed straight into my anus where it made it warm and itchy as well. Warmth from hole to hole… The lab techs were humorous and professional which made for a pleasant experience.

Today was day three in my row of tests. I was at the Langley Memorial Hospital again, only this time for a gastroscope. The scope was a lovely tube shoved down my throat with a camera. I had to be sedated for this one. I wasn’t quite under when the exam began, so I could sense the tube going down my throat. I felt like I needed to gag. I was in and out of consciousness for the procedure. My wife was kind enough to be my ride (and take photos of me sleeping after).

It went well I guess. Turns out the initial check shows I’m inflamed and I have acid reflux damage. The doctor inflated my stomach while the scope was down there. In the end, the doctor also took two biopsies. I need to have a follow up meeting with my specialist to discuss everything.

I hope that I can finally eat properly. But today I have a sore throat and a massive headache. Time to sleep it off. I do enjoy Naps. I’m hoping for a bunch of nothing from the results. But we shall see.

The Wind Blows. Bring On Winter!

The recent wind storms affected my life in many ways. It made my yard and roof a colossal mess and the rain was preventing us from cleaning it up. Today I got a break, and quickly cleaned the roof and driveway. Bonus: I also got the outdoor Christmas lights up while on the roof.

The strong wind made my commute rather different from previous years. My new vehicle is lower to the ground than my old one. I used to drive a Honda Element and I would feel every gust. That car was a box on wheels. I would grip the steering wheel for dear life! Now my Nissan Rogue is aerodynamic and one of the smoothest rides I’ve driven in years. I hardly notice the wind now. One handed driving all the way home.

Courtesy CBC News

But the wind affected my work most of all. The strong winds near the coastline shut down one of our customers for safety reasons. This in turn caused delays for outbound and inbound trains. Our crews were pretty much on “stand-by” waiting to get back to work. This lasted for nearly 24 hours. Now we’re back on track. (Railroad humor).

Now that the wind has diminished, I am looking forward to the winter season taking over. I like a brisk chill in the air. Maybe some snow will fall for Christmas around Vancouver instead of rain.

My wife on the other hand is happy to not have snow around:

Grilled Cheese

When I was about 11, I had my first grilled cheese sandwich. It was in a restaurant with my family during a road trip to go skiing at Big White in Kelowna BC. My father had arranged this trip with his Czech buddies and it was only one of two ski vacations we went on as an entire family.

We drove to a mountain chalet for a week long ski trip. All I can remember about the building was the indoor pool, playing arcade bowling, and a sign that read, “Das Hofbräuhaus“. These two trips were the only time my father willingly spent quality time with me.

In the morning, I had ski lessons. By afternoon, my father and I would go down the hill for a few runs. By dinner, I would be back at our room for a quick dinner, then off to swim and play in the small arcade. No adult supervision by the pool or in the arcade. These were simpler times where a boy could spend his quarters happily without restrictions.

After this wind down, my parents would head to the pub inside the chalet to hang out with my father’s friends. They’d stay out late, so before my parents returned, I would watch some HBO in hopes to catch a glimpse of a boob or two. But my strongest memory of this trip was still at the very beginning of it.

To get to our vacation destination, we left our home in my dad’s packed Hyundai Stellar. (I don’t think I have a picture of the car because my father hated it, but I found one online.) Within the first hour or so of our journey we stopped in Hope, BC at a truck stop to meet up with his friends in order to make a sort of convoy to the ski resort. This is where I had my first ever grilled cheese sandwich. There was even ham inside of it. I was in heaven.

When we returned home from our trip, I vowed to learn how to make a perfect grilled cheese. I had never cooked before, so this was exciting for me. Years and years of frying up bread and cheese followed. I have now mastered the art of the grilled cheese. I have made numerous variations of them, all with near perfect results. It has gotten to a point that my family would ask for a sandwich if I was making one. But soon it shall be no longer.

Over the past few weeks, our 11 year old son has been doing his best to make grilled cheese sandwiches. He has asked for advice and tips as he slowly creates his near-perfect meal. Even though he has tried to argue some of my points, he would use them and realize that dad was right.

If my father was still around today, he’d probably never have guessed that the time he spent with me would come down to a simple sandwich. A sandwich that his grandson now excitedly creates almost daily. I don’t think my son knows where my obsession came from, but he is following suit.

All of this stems from one trip, one stop, and one happy memory. Thanks dad for that.

Thermostat

A couple of days ago, the heat in our home began to act up. It would either be extremely hot upstairs or freezing cold downstairs. No idea why.

As the temperatures outside drop, so is the main living space of our home. We hit 15° the other day… not the best while winter is approaching. So I have taken it upon myself to figure out how to fix our heating issue.

The last time we had an issue was back in 2013. I had to change out the part that spins to allow water to flow through our radiant hot water baseboards. It was obviously a success at the time. I tried shutting off the breaker and it just resets this and I hear it work. So it must be something else entirely. I figure it’s the thermostat.

This morning I installed a “smart thermostat” called ecobee3. Hopefully I did it correctly. There were so many wire terminals, but I only had 3 wires. It at least turned on… soon we shall see if my family will live comfortably or have to wear numerous sweaters and blankets.

If anyone has used this system or knows about heating and thermostats, I’d love some tips. I love learning new things and becoming more self sufficient in the DIY area.

Always Updating

Anyone who has a cellphone, tablet or computer knows all about “updates”. So we think about it, and postpone it.

Then there is the frustrating moment that your device needs to configure and change settings. You can only ignore them for so long before it feels threatening.

So you update. And wait. And wait. And wait. Then everything pops back on. Shiny and new and nothing like the old software. It forces us to relearn everything all over again.

But we all do it. Partly because we want to, but mostly because we have to. We have to update our software to keep up with the rest of the world. Unless you’re These people still using a Commodore 64. Then you’re totally going to rock, 25 years later. For a brief internet article. But hey, they didn’t update their software.

All In Good Fun

Yesterday I had a pretty great time wandering the show floor at Fan Expo Vancouver. I even got to do it with my wife- which is rare. But now that our children are older and more responsible, they were able to look after our table from time to time.

My wife and I laughed and goofed off. I was in my Obi Wan Kenobi Cosplay and decided to have some fun with it. I used my Jedi Mind tricks on a vendor and got my purchase with no tax added. Never mind that he had a sign out saying “no tax”- he played along.

Later in the afternoon, I wandered around with my daughter to find a quiet place to place some Nintendo 3DS. So I got her to take a picture of my impression of Obi Wan from the end of Episode IV. It got some really good laughs. We made the most of our Convention time while we were there.

I do find it odd that filming is everywhere in the Lower Mainland… Even though you’d think Vancouver would have a tremendous Convention, it kind of lacks a lot of celebrities. It is also rather small compared to some of the other Conventions we attend. Because it was a local con, we had to go. At the end of today, we’ll see how the sales did.

This year felt like an oversized craft fair, but still fairly fun. The price of tickets for attendees are somewhat reasonable compared to other shows. But there really needs to be a bigger draw to the show. Hopefully everyone got to enjoy their convention experience. I know those who I spoke with had fun.

Vancouver needs to set the bar higher and make it not just fun, but mind blowing.

Saturday’s Subculture Of Cosplay

Saturdays at a convention are the busiest of the days. Every. Single. Time. Today will be no different.

My Hudsucker Proxy Cosplay from a few years back.


My favorite part is all of the costumes. Saturday brings out the most creative and original cosplays.  People share their fandoms in hopes of photos and compliments.  Which they wholeheartedly deserve. The hours of work put into some of the costumes just to be worn once is astounding. 

I even love the cheap cardboard, tape and paint costumes. Budget cosplay makes me smile. It shows that fans can come in any shape, size, or artistic comfort level. Comic conventions are a place where we can all feel comfortable. Even just wandering around in a Marvel t-shirt shows off fandoms.


Time for me to go wandering and save the universe from villainous scum. We’re all fans here. Have a great Saturday Con!