Word Crimes (#tbt)

I am a stickler when it comes to proper grammar and spelling.  Every time that I’m about to post something on social media I proofread my thoughts.  Not only have I rewritten posts, I have also simply deleted them and written something else entirely.  If I do make a mistake, my friends are kind enough to point them out immediately.  As rare as this may be, I choose to leave the mistakes to show that I am human and not always perfect.

I have eased up on pointing out when others make grammatical errors.  I came to realize that some people either don’t care about making mistakes or just don’t understand how to use the English language.  I’m talking about people who have spoken and used English all their lives, not those who are trying to learn it in adulthood.  I have a forgiveness for the latter, since I know I’d be in the same boat if I were to go to a foreign land and learn a new language.

  
A couple of years ago, Weird Al released the song Word Crimes.  (It’s still a favorite of mine & I play the song all the time.)  When he released this song, Weird Al did something no artist had ever done before with a new album: Every day, for eight days straight, he released a new video for each new song he had recorded.  Not only did he release a new video each day, he released them on different media outlets.  This strategy worked in his favor.  Here’s the Wikipedia about the album:

“After Yankovic’s 32 years under contract, Mandatory Fun marks his first number one album in the United States. It received positive reviews from contemporary music critics. Yankovic chose not to release a lead single and instead publicized the album by launching eight music videos online during the first week of the album release through different video content portals. Among these, “Word Crimes” became Yankovic’s fourth top 40 song, making him one of few artists to achieve such a feat in four separate decades.

The album won for Best Comedy Album at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, Yankovic’s fourth career Grammy. Due to the completion of his record contract obligations and the success of the video strategy, Yankovic has suggested Mandatory Fun may be his last traditional album, switching to more timely releases of singles and EPs of his songs.”

Four decades of music making the Top 40.  It goes to show that no matter what age you are, success is achievable through determination and strategy.

I am hopping that I haven’t maked any misstakes in this post.  You are welcome to point out my errors. Nuthin’ more embarrassing than using the wrong form of youre.

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One Day…

When we first started attending conventions I was excited and scared to meet celebrities.  I would look from afar and try to sneak in a photo or two, usually the backs of their heads or some shit.  That fear has since subsided and I have come to realize that they are regular folks just doing their job.  Their job just happens to be witnessed and scrutinized by the public.  However, there is still one celebrity that I wish to meet, but I am still intimidated by- Mr. Wil Wheaton.

I may never get an opportunity to meet him.  I missed a couple of chances to meet him in the past, simply because of my nervousness in meeting new people.  At the end of April 2012- the main cast of Star Trek:TNG met for the first time in two decades.  Hearing them all together on stage brought back so many memories of my early teenage years. I still hold some hope in having a chance to at least thank him for influencing my teenage years when Star Trek:TNG was first being aired.  It was also the Convention that I began to use Twitter, and he was one of the first people I began to follow.  Watching “Wesley Crusher” on screen got me through a tough time in highschool where I wished to be anywhere in the universe but where I was. Now, years later, Wil Wheaton has inspired me to get my family playing tabletop games.  Every convention we attend, my children head to the gaming area to play games.  I have been told on numerous occasions how wonderfully behaved they are as well as how surprisingly good they are at teaching new players how to play tabletop games.

It may seem strange to mention gaming, but it was when just my wife and I went to Emerald City ComiCon in 2013 and the website/YouTube channel Geek & Sundry was just starting to take off.  G&S was set up in the gaming section.  I happened to wander over there and sat down to play Zombie Dice.  I played against four other people whom I didn’t know.  They were super awesome and explained the idea of the game to me- I ended up winning the round and was given an opportunity to return the next day to play a game against Felicia Day.  I had no idea that this was going to happen.  I had never met a celebrity in the past, and winning a chance to play a game against someone like that?  Wtf!  Cool!

I knew that both Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton were at the con, but had no idea that I’d be within the vicinity of either of them.  That night I went back to my hotel room and re-watched “Tabletop” episodes on YouTube to get an understanding of what games were possibly going to be played.  The next day I showed up to play my match against Felicia Day.  Nervous as hell, I gave her a gift from my wife and I sat there and lost.  Felicia Day wasn’t holding back and seemed to enjoy the game Munchkin!

JoeLost1

I’m OK with this loss.  It’s not going to happen ever again!

After our game, she kindly posed for a photo with me.  Then Wil Wheaton came out to play a game with another round of lucky winners.  I faded back and was lost in the crowd now.  His confidence and kindness towards his opponents blew me away.  He monologued for a bit (pretty sure that was his way of dealing with large crowds, I don’t blame him) and then played his round of games.  This was the year that Geek & Sundry announced and began International Tabletop Day.  I was all over it!  We made up-cycled some trophies, set up tables, invited friends, & played games.

As the date grew near, I posted a few pictures on Twitter about what we were doing for the event.  Suddenly, it happened, the King of the Geeks re-tweeted me.  There I was, a guy in his late 30’s, going all “Fan-Girl” because Wil Wheaton shared my Tweet.

 

The Tweet that changed my preception.

Since this experience, I have gone out and met numerous Celebrities at these conventions that we attend.  All of them have been amazingly kind.  I don’t always ask for an autograph, often times I just talk to them about their past projects or upcoming shows.  I express my thanks for the work they’ve done and usually they pose for a quick picture with me or a handshake.  It’s a job & they work hard at promoting themselves.  Talking with people has now become a hobby of mine.  I guess I’m just the kind of guy that most people feel comfortable just blabbing with.  My children also love to come up to say hello to celebrities with me.  My son once told Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch) that he had just met Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward).  My middle daughter enjoys cartoons from the 80’s and 90’s and really enjoyed talking with the voice talents of The Powerpuff Girls when we met them at Comikaze.

 

Learning the Twitter thing.

 

 

Anne Wheaton shared my tweet! I’m double special!

 

My daughter wanted to come with me last year to meet Anne Wheaton and Bonnie Burton at Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo, where she (Anne Wheaton) proceeded to vandaleyes my shirt and gave my daughter some googly eyes to play with as well.

I feel that over the years, I have gotten so close to meeting Mr. Wheaton, but never quite made it there.  I’ve met his friends, family, & coworkers.  Meeting him just isn’t in the cards at this time I guess.  Perhaps when I’m 70, I’ll run into him and we will talk about the old days- when beer was beer and board games were played on boards, not drinks from a replicator or games on a holodeck.

Home cooking

We returned home yesterday afternoon from our vacation (more like a rather fun business trip) and my wife & I decided that we’d do one more meal out for dinner.  We unloaded the car and then hit our favorite sushi restaurant- Nikko Sushi with the kids.  It was like a celebration for a job well done at the conventions and another successful family road trip.  

 

Volcano Rolls. sooooooooo good.

 
Driving for two days means we often stop for fast food (In-N-Out Burger FTW) and neglect our fruit & vegetable intake (French fries don’t count according to my wife).  When we returned home, our fridge was only filled with condiments & beers thus requiring a quick run to get groceries.  The major staples such as bread, eggs & cheese will have to wait- we needed fruits and vegetables STAT.  Luckily we live so close to farmlands that we went to a local vegetable market and stocked up.  Time to eat healthy again!

It also appears that we brought back the nice weather from California so we will be grilling within the next few days.  I’m looking forward to making our own meals and I know my family is as well.  We make preparing mealtimes a family affair. The art of cooking is something I love teaching my children.  They ask about how to make stuff, why we do certain things to the food, and they often want to get in and help on the stove or BBQ.  They help set the table and everyone takes part in serving the food.  However, washing & drying dishes is the chore grumbled at by everyone.

I’m looking forward to our first home cooked meal tonight.  Ribs, roasted cauliflower and a spinach salad are on the menu.  We even have the next few nights planned out as well (BBQ pizza and smokies).  My mouth is watering thinking of all the home cooked meals we are going to make.  Summer is almost here, so I’ll be heading out this afternoon to prepare our vegetable garden for the season.

Good eats everyone!

The Twilight Zone

I spoke previously about how much I love road trips.  Yesterday’s journey was odd…  Probably because it’s the same road travelled as we’ve done many times before: Our children watched DVDs of a show we’ve seen previously.  We have the best restaurants that we’ve enjoyed in the past marked out on a map.  We stop in “Small Town USA” for gas and a stretching of the legs.  We even stay in the same hotels because of the comfort and service we like.

However, with this “sameness” has brought something I never thought possible.  A sense of déjà vu has overwhelmed me.  Not because of the locations or the route we used, but rather everything and everyone else.  My interactions with the cashiers at the gas stations seemed repetitive, as if we’d danced this game before.  Talking about spending time with family and not eating in restaurants because of the cost.  At another gas station I spoke with a couple about their vehicle and every moment felt like I was reliving something from the past.  Even the cars we passed and clouds in the sky all resonated a similarity to a journey we once had.

  

The end of our day had us staying in a hotel that we’ve stayed at before.  Getting there shared the same issues as we had before: wrong turns and the same parking spot (or so it seems).  I lay in bed still awake watching tv after everyone else had fallen into slumber.  I turned the volume down so as not to disturb my family, and proceded to watch the same shows I watched the last time we were here.  Right before my turn to pass out for the night- I ended my television viewing on a couple classic episodes of “The Twilight Zone”.  Episodes that I know I’ve seen.  Ones that I may have even seen the last time we were here.

My life is in rerun, but now I am aware of what is going on.  Question is- should I change it or just keep on repeating the same mistakes and consequences…

Geek or nerd.

I’m a bit of a geek & a bit of a nerd.  I’ve grown up knowing that’s who I am.  These past few weekends have been great.  Now we are hitting the road to return to our regular lives (just for a week, then more geeky times).  Here’s some quick highlights of my adventures diving deep into dorklandia:

 

Apple Infinite Loop


 

Googleplex. I found it using Google maps.


 

Silicon Valley’s first ComiCon


 

Disneyland’s Season of the Force.

 

A tall nerd hanging out at the Nerdist.

 

Best highlight of our trip- I met the king of nerds at the end of our visit.  The magic of the Internet finally had some physical locations and real people this trip.

Seeing old friends.

  
The memories of my late teens and early twenties were kind of a mash up of crazy adventures and avoiding trouble.  It’s odd to look back on your life and see how much you’ve changed and far you’ve gotten.  Sometimes all it takes is a flash from the past to bring clarity into your journey.  Last night I met up with an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in about 15 years.  He lives 2000 kilometers away from me now, but our schedules allowed for an evening of some one-on-one time.

There was the usual pleasantries & greetings- talking about life and what we were up to.  Then, the conversation went to discussing our different paths in life since the last time we saw each other.  We tried to figure out why we stopped hanging out, but couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason. Was it school? Was it friends? Perhaps it was moving to another area? Maybe it was a combination of all of these things.  

We spoke about the hardships, the challenges, the choices, the successes and failures we each endured over the past few years.  No judgements being passed, no pissing matches, and above all, no bullshit.

Stalking sounds so harsh…

We also spoke about old friends, trying to figure out what they were doing now.  Almost like gossip, but more just sharing the good things that were happening to those we once knew.  

The strange thing is, as we spoke, it felt like we were close friends who still spoke everyday.  (We are in constant contact through Facebook, but that’s no replacement for a face to face meet up.)  We laughed and joked like we did years ago.  At one point we said the same sentence at the same time- as if our brains reached into the backs of our minds and pulled from our memories our old personalities.  

It was real and it was fun.  I look forward to seeing him again, and hopefully it doesn’t take another fifteen years.

Ouch

  
This growing old thing is painful.  After being on my feet for about seven days straight, walking about 20,000 steps everyday, my feet are angry at me.  I don’t walk that much on a regular basis anymore.  That’s about 18 km per day.  I have two more days of this to go.  I’m at the age that I need to make sure I am wearing good shoes or I really suffer.

 

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

 
It may sound strange, but walking around is my favorite thing to do.  It clears your head, it’s easy exercise and you get places.  I try and walk a few kms almost ever day around our neighborhood.  It’s a time for my wife & I to talk and keep our relationship in order.  

“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.”

  
 Back to my complaining about walking ten times more than usual – I have days where I hurt so bad, my slight limp becomes extremely obvious.  The pain begins in my feet and works its way through my heels to a burn in my calves & thighs and ends with a lower back pain.  Over the past week, at the end of each day, I take off my shoes and deal with my little tootsies throbbing for a few minutes.  My heals calm down and my thighs relax.  But the back pain causes me to bend over and makes me about as sexy as the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Advil has become my new best friend.

I am now looking back on my life and realizing that I should have done more exercises to help my back.  I’m a fairly tall gentleman and should probably look into Yoga to help my posture.  But I’d look pretty badass with a walker…

  

Loyalty

We have been going to the same hotel in Los Angeles over the past few years.  So much so, that the clerk at the front desk recognized us immediately and offered us an upgraded room at no charge.  Loyalty has its perks, but we like using this hotel because of the value and location.  The area it’s in has been changing for the better over the past few years.  The Hotel Solaire is a gem that stands out in the neighborhood as a sign of good things coming.

  
We are loyal to many small businesses back home as well.  We have been frequenting Nikko Sushi since just before our first child was born 14 years ago.  The staff there know us by name, and talk about how much our children have grown.  If we don’t show up as a family, they look concerned and ask about the rest of us.  They appreciate our business that we even get a bottle of wine from them every Christmas.  We appreciate them because they are a small business and have excellent quality food and service.

We also attend the last Drive-In Theater in the Lower Mainland every summer.  The Twilight Drive-In is also family run and is a short distance from our home.  Our kids look forward to the movies every chance they get.  We have also gotten more people going to their location every year.

Loyalty to small businesses goes a long way.  The benefits come back to you as they recognize you and treat you like royalty.

Reality TV

I love traveling because I get to watch bad television.  I usually watch the shows about houses and home makeovers.  House Hunters, Love it or List it, Property Virgins, Flip or Flop, and pretty much anything of that style.  I watch it for the inspiration of what I could make my home one day.  But after viewing all of these shows on a regular basis, I came to realize that the term “Reality TV” is a lie.

 

I got the blackout Bingo!

 
Not only are the houses staged, but the majority of the problems and situations are as well.  Here’s our $8000 kitchen upgrade with all new everything.  What?  You found that our plumbing isn’t to code?  After the $4000 repairs, we better just paint the cabinets instead of replacing them. As well, how many times are these regular people (actors really) coached behind the scenes about how to react or what to say?  I really like the open floor plan, but the vaulted ceilings are about three inches too high. Most of the shows have the same premise every episode and the same dialogue.  I’m not so sure about house number 2.  We are going to be over budget if we still do what you want, here’s plan B.

 

Did not expect squirrels.

 
Unfortunately these shows are labeled as “Reality” because I bet there are a few takes made for the scenes.  It also seems like the conflicts are set up or known about ahead of time.  All of this is so that the people on the shows can have their 15 minutes of fame to share with their families and the rest of the world.  For me, it’s a guilty pleasure to watch while away from home.

  
Heck, maybe one day I’ll do a show and you’ll see me “act surprised” about the added expense of something I had no idea about…

Late night, early morning.

Vacations are rough.  It’s no joke that people need a vacation from their vacation when they get home. The hardest part is cramming in a few full days over and over again to make the most of your experience.  Sore feet and long lines are a small price to pay to have fun in the sun for a few days.  Vacations can be calm and relaxing.  They’re also a great way to experience life.  I’m cutting this blog post short, since I’m up early and we have a full day ahead of us.

Disneyland!  Yay!

60 Years of Magic!