Heavy Metal?

Only recently have I really grown to appreciate the glam rockers from the 80’s and 90’s.  Something about the rock ballads they sang that seem so out of place from what the band’s image was portraying.

Poison had some deep lyrics in Cry Tough:

“Life ain’t no easy ride at least that’s what I am told

Sometimes the rainbow baby is better than the pot of gold”

Or when you hear Every Rose Has it’s Thorn you just have to sing along.


Ugly Kid Joe sang about hating Everything About You but could switch gears and do a great cover of The Cat’s In The Cradle.  

Nowadays everyone knows Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing.

Getting more women by looking like women.


Guns ‘n Roses November Rain was a love song about break-ups that was beautifully composed.

I never really listened to this style of music when it first came out.  Yet, somehow it was always there ready for my enjoyment throughout the years.  

Thank you Hair Bands for making the drive to and from work more fun.

We all have bad days

Bad days suck.  They hit you hard sometimes out of the blue and make you grumpy.  Then you get grumpy at someone else, and they get grumpy at someone else, and so on.

Anything can happen that makes you have a bad day.  Maybe the guy driving beside you has a lime green car and you hate limes because of a bad tequila experience in Mexico.  Perhaps the sun is out and you threw on a pair of jeans this morning, and the chafing is making you uncomfortable as you walk down the street.  Or your best friend is touting about how great their life is and you are swimming in a mountain of debt.  Any or all of these combined can put you over the edge and cause a bad day.


There’s been times where I’ve come home from work and the cloud of leave-me-the-hell-alone is hanging over me.  Work is work.  Most days are ok, and you go through the motions and come home leaving everything behind.  Sometimes there’s one person at work that just rubs you the wrong way and you can’t shake it off no matter what.  I’m 100% sure I’ve been that person to a few coworkers.  Not intentionally mind you, but the vibe after an interaction is definitely there.  


I don’t need to be liked.  I’m not looking for validation from people to make my existence mean something.  Be it at work or out there in the rest of the world, I’m not seeking hundreds of friends.  Calling me names or trying to lower my self worth doesn’t affect me like it did when I was younger.  I can accept that people need to vent, so go ahead and say what you want to me, I’m a grown up.  

Oftentimes I don’t go out of my way to be a dick… Yes, I can be as childish as the next person and do something stupid or say something mean just to piss them off.  It’s in our nature.  But being smart enough to stop myself before I do it, or strong enough to admit when I was wrong is what I strive for in those situations.  I’m a better person for having control over my feelings and being able to sense when someone else is just spouting words that they feel need to be said.

We all have bad days.  We just need to learn to deal with them as grown ups.

Sometimes… When I Look in Your Eyes I Can See Your Soul

My wife and I met 16 years ago today.  We have been together for 5844 days.  We’ve had a great run together & it doesn’t look like it will end any time soon.  I can’t pinpoint the exact reasons we click, we just do.  I’ve written plenty of sappy blog posts already & I plan on writing a few more in the future.  Today I’m going to post a video & the lyrics from the song that we fell in love to.  It’s not a love song, but the imagery in the lyrics is beautiful and the video is simple.

Click to enjoy “Sometimes” by James

Sometimes I can see your soul.


There’s a storm outside, and the gap between crack and thunder

Crack and thunder, is closing in, is closing in

The rain floods gutters and makes a great sound on concrete

On a flat roof, there’s a boy leaning against the wall of rain

Aerial held high, calling, “Come on thunder, come on thunder”


Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul
It’s a monsoon and the rain lifts lids off cars

Spinning buses like toys, stripping them to chrome

Across the bay, the waves are turning into something else

Picking up fishing boats and spewing them on the shore

The boy is hit, lit up against the sky, like a sign, like a neon sign

And he crumples, drops into the gutter, cuts strange, legs twitching

The flood swells his clothes and delivers him on, delivers him on
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul


There’s four new colors in the rainbow an old man’s taking Polaroids

But all he captures is endless rain, endless rain, endless rain

He says listen, takes my head and puts my ear to his

And I swear I can hear the sea


Sometimes, when I look in your eyes

I can see your soul, I can reach your soul

Sometimes, when I look in your eyes

I can see your soul, I can touch your soul

Sometimes, when I look in your eyes

I can see your soul, I can hear your soul
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

This is the woman I fell in love with. circa 2000

Sleepovers…

Last night our ten year old son had a sleepover party at our home with three of his friends from school.  I’m just going to number the children since I don’t remember any of their names.  Laid out before you is the list of last night’s events….

Kid 1 arrives fifteen minutes early with his mom.  My son sees them pulling in the driveway and hurtles the couch from a stand still position and races to the door.  I made my way to the door and already these two are talking a mile a minute with an enthusiasm of long lost buddies.  I should point out that they saw each other only two hours prior as school ended.  Kid 1 is so excited to be at our home that he almost runs through me to get to the next room.  He stops dead in his tracks, then turns and gives his mom a hug and says goodbye.  

Before the mayhem begins.

No sooner had I shut the door than Kid 2 arrives with his mother.  My son and Kid 1 run into the damp driveway in socks and jump around the car like puppy dogs waiting for the door to open.  You’d think Kid 2 must be a celebrity or something the way they were acting around the car- peering into the window trying to open the door.  His mother gets out of the car with him and she stares me down and promptly tells me this is his first sleepover ever and if he needs to- he can call her any time.  Mind you- I’ve never met this kid or his mother, and earlier that day I dyed my hair purple.  Kid 2 gave his mother a big hug before she left.  She was probably regretting bringing him to our home as a tall skinny freak wearing an “Ewoking Dead” T shirt and donning purple hair was about to lead him away.
My son was now in full “show off all my stuff” stage and spoke in a quickness that surpassed even the best auctioneers.  Only five minutes in our home and Kid 1 is asking for food.  I told him I’d be bringing out a veggie platter and popcorn once the last kid arrives.  Two minutes later, he’s asking about pizza.  Less than two minutes after that he’s asking about potato chips and cola.  You’d think this kid doesn’t get fed regularly.  At least he had manners and said thank you after every answer I gave.


A few moments of my son bragging ended and the three of them ran to check out the backyard, only pausing briefly to grab a bottle of water.  Water which they’d only sip and ten minutes later be asking for another bottle.  I remember times like that, but I was usually drinking beers at a house party and I was in my early twenties.  

Kid 3 shows up.  Late.  His father drops him off with a suitcase.  The father was about to leave, turned and asked his son for a hug.  This interaction appeared robotic and almost like the father forgot how to “dad” for a moment.  I am now afraid that his son may be moving in as I glance down at the suitcase in my hall.

Kid 3 runs through my home to the back yard leaving the door wide open.  Kid 1 re-enters the house asking again when pizza was being served.  I tell him it will be here when my wife gets home.  He then runs back outside in his socks.  All I could think was that their parents are going to kill me over laundry.

Turned up to 11.


All is quiet in the house as the volume outside has been turned up to eleven.  I brought out the veggie platter and look over to see Kid 3 has decided to scale the outside of the tree fort.  Kid 1, Kid 2 & my son were practicing wrestling moves oblivious to Kid 3 doing his Spiderman impression fifteen feet off the ground.  Staying calm I call over to the group that there’s food.  Like vultures they hurried over and ate only the cucumbers.  Kid 1 asks about pizza.  Again.  I’m cursing my wife’s name since she set this party up knowing she wouldn’t be here until later.  It’s only been five minutes since the last kid showed up.  Kill me.

The next hour or so involved wet dirty feet running in and out of the house, some piano being “played” and arguing over what to do next.  Kid 3 was disagreeing with every suggestion, even I was beginning to hate this kid.  Pizza arrived with my wife.  She is now a goddess as the boys see her pull into the driveway with the food.  Screaming boys ran inside, “washed” hands (but don’t know what a towel is to dry said washed hands) and rushed to the table for food.  Kid 1 grabbed two pieces of pizza and immediately dismantled all of the toppings, discarding them in a pile never to be eaten.  Kid 2 began telling one line  stories.  “I’m an adopted velociraptor.  My brother is pregnant.  I like to comb my hair.  Wanna hear about my play?”  Dude- your monologue is more than enough for a one-man show.  I do not need to hear about something else.

Kid 3 is eating a piece of pizza and trying to run back out the door into the rain.  My son is laughing at everything going on.  My wife, two daughters and myself sit silently as we eat pizza at the far end of the table.  The boys run back to the theater room and begin watching Star Wars.  Two hours of silence had begun.  My wife knows that I hate her at this exact moment, so she goes to hide.  I crack a beer and play some cards with my daughters for the next while, relieved that everything is slowing down.

Seriously. Go to sleep.


The movie is over and the boys are noisy again.  Arguing over playing video games or watching another show.  Referee dad enters and tells them they can watch two short cartoons on Netflix, then bed.  The shows are over, so I go back in and tell them it’s bed time.  Kid 3 says to me, “can we play musical chairs?” (I’m not joking here, he actually asked this.)  the other three boys look at me with concern in their eyes.  My response was, “Why would I want you playing musical chairs right before bed?  The answer is no, don’t be ridiculous.”  Kid 1 & Kid 2 sigh relief.  Into their sleeping bags they get.  Kid 2 is combing his hair.  I looked away for a moment turning off the screen and stereo, when Kid 2 somehow jammed the comb into his gums and began screaming and crying.  He finally calmed down and they went to sleep.  Miracles do happen!

5:47am:

Screaming and laughter is coming from the theater room.  My wife investigates (because I am pretending to still be sleeping) and tells them to keep it down.

6:45am:

I can’t deal with the noise anymore.  I go downstairs and give them a final warning about being quiet.  This works about as well as telling people at a Trump rally to calm down.  Kid 1 is asking about breakfast.  I look down and shaking my head and start a pot of coffee.  Then crawl back into bed.  I proceed to ignore all noises coming from downstairs.

9:02am:

My wife had snuck out of our room way earlier (probably around 7am) and prepared the waffle batter.  She called me down to make waffles because apparently she doesn’t know how to turn on a waffle iron.  We make chocolate cake waffles and vanilla ice cream.  Kid 2 says he wants regular waffles and hates chocolate.  So I serve him a chocolate waffle with ice cream and tell him that’s all he’s getting.  Suddenly he loves it.  Kid 1 ends up eating four waffles.  Seriously, does he not get fed?  They are off to play videogames to end out the party.

11:00am on the button:

Kids are getting picked up and relief is coming over me.  The house is quiet again, but needs a major cleaning.  My wife kindly reminds me that tonight our 12 year old daughter is having twice as many people over for her slumber party.

I’m glad to be going to work this evening.

S’up

“Greetings.”

“Hello.”

“Hey there.”

“Hi.”

“Word.”

“S’up.”


Greeting people in different ways keeps interactions fresh and appealing.  Meeting new people is usually followed by some other pleasantries and then it’s down to business.  Seeing friends at random sometimes involves a handshake or a hug.  Passing neighbors on the sidewalk in a rural community can involve a simple hello or a head nod.  Walking past strangers in the city however, look down and away from them at all costs!  Avoidance of people contact also happens if you’re having a bad day or are in a rush to get someplace.  I have been guilty of this in the past.   I have since decided that interactions with people often brings forward knowledge that I didn’t have prior to the meet.

We live in a farmland area where all the neighbors know each other and have for decades.  Greeting them at the local store is a common occurrence.  Our community is fairly tight knit and we discuss the real issues that affect where we live- not the drama unfolding in someone else’s life.  We talk about the school system changes, the housing developments that may or may not be happening, and what sort of projects we are doing around the home.  

It’s a far cry from my work where I know every detail about someone’s messy divorce, work discipline, or accident.  Gossip spreads through my work faster than I remember that happening in highschool.  Of course outside of work my friends and I talk about who we knew, and try and keep up with those lives.  Oftentimes the drama is left out and we share the good aspects of “where are they now?”

Are you a Heather?


Greetings are a way to break the ice.  It’s not always what we want to do, but it’s a common courtesy that we should all do.  Even if it kills us inside.

Rearranged

Every season we spend time rearranging our home.  Halloween gets spooky, Christmas gets cheery, Spring time gets plants & a good cleaning, while summer gets-well… rearranged.


It seems every summer we move furniture around from room to room.  Sometimes we even put up a coat of paint on the walls.  We reorganize the rooms for a few reasons:

  1. Our family is growing up and the needs change.  We don’t need a crib, then we don’t need bunk beds, then we need a room for doing homework…  Or as our children get bigger, the couches need to get moved around so that everyone has a good place to sit to play video games or have a family movie night.
  2. We don’t like/are bored of the configuration of how the home is laid out.  Maybe the brown couch would look better in the family room instead of the theater room.  Perhaps the piano would be nicer by the fireplace instead of in the sunroom.  Or the display cabinets should get moved and show off movie memorabilia instead of Lego sets.
  3. It’s a way of purging stuff we don’t use or have a fondness for anymore.  As we move furniture around we discover that a glass vase or a gumball machine aren’t what we want as a knickknack just taking up space.


We don’t usually sell anything that we don’t need/want.  Often times we give it away to friends or family if they want it.  Or we get a load together and drop it off at a local thrift store.  My biggest criteria for donating items is that they are still useful.  No one wants a broken table lamp or an old tube tv.  So we take those to a recycling depot.

Another great etsy find.


Summer is often a time to relax.  We get a jump on the clean/purge/rearranging now so that when the kids are out of school, we can enjoy the time together.  One day my wife and I will be rearranging our home and discover that it’s just us in here.  Our stuff will have been moved out or donated and all that will remain is our memories of the changes that occurred over the years. 

I’m okay with that because it will mean that we achieved the goal we set out to do- raise a family.

H2G2

“Anything that happens, happens.”

“Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.”

“Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.”

“It doesn’t necessarily do it in chronological order though.”

Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Today is Towel Day.

To many, this is just another day.  To others, it’s just another day to celebrate made up by geeks like May 4th: Star Wars Day.  To me- it is what makes my life, my universe, my everything.

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a Trilogy written in five parts.  The first two books were made into a fantastically bad special effects BBC Miniseries in 1981 that only the BBC could do.  Later, Hollywood released their version with all high gloss and green screen effects (shout out to the late Alan Rickman who voiced Marvin).  Both tell the same story, both are entertaining, both could have been done better.

I first read the series of books back in 2000 around the time I met my wife.  For Christmas 2001, I gave her a copy of all five books conveniently made into one, and asked her if we could name our daughter after a character from the novels.  Which we did.  Our first born was named Random and she arrived on this planet in July of 2002.

Life, the universe, and everything.

 

Our daughter has grown into her name.  It also paved the way of how we would name our other two children that would be born after her.  Random, Darwin, Theory.  Often we are asked if we are scientists because of this.  I like to answer that it’s because we are Atheists.  Believing in a god, gods, spaghetti monsters, or evolution shouldn’t matter as long as people follow the “Golden Rule”.  If it weren’t for H2G2, I don’t know what we would have named our children, or what journey my life would have been on if I never read the books.  I am grateful that such a book was written and that it influenced my life.  In a way, I could guess that this is what people think when they read the bible and it’s impact on their lives.

The page in which our daughter gets introduced.

 

Douglas Adams’ writing was witty.  Unknowingly to him at the time,he helped to create everyone’s life on this planet.  Look at your smartphone or iPad in your possession.  It is exactly what The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was described as.  A wealth of knowledge at your fingertips that was gathered from across the universe.  Do a search of “what is the answer to life the universe and everything?” and the result is 42.  But that answer is really to the question, “what do you get when you multiple six by nine?”  Thus proving that life is one big joke in this cosmic universe.

So grab your towel people, the universe is taking us for a ride, and DON’T PANIC.

 

Loot Crate

There’s a cool subscription box service that we were getting for years now.  Loot Crate started small, and has grown exponentially.  We started our subscription about three months after it’s launch.  That means since 2012, a monthly box of cool junk has shown up at our home.

  
We have kept all of our boxes.  There are YouTube videos of people unboxing every month.

We have received exclusive Pop Vinyls, comics, and movie prop replicas.  The past few months a geeky t-shirt has also been included.  People often ask me where I get the shirts, so I explain Lootcrate to them.  I have gotten many others to become “Looters”.  For nearly four years we have enjoyed the knick-knacks that have appeared at our door step.  Last night, we cancelled our subscription.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with the service- far from it- there’s just so many other reasons for us to leave.  We enjoyed the exclusive merch, but have found that it’s not so exclusive if tens of thousands of people are getting it.  At conventions, I see many people wearing the shirts that Lootcrate gave out and I don’t feel like a special snowflake anymore.  We are also running out of shelf space for the items that we were getting.  Even my kids were beginning to get tired of the “hand-me-down” loot.  The biggest reason we cancelled is actually because of the exchange rate.  


We tried to wait it out and hoped that the Canadian dollar would rise again, but no such luck.  Because we have lived so close to the US border, we often shopped on a weekly basis in America.  But for quite some time now, the value just isn’t there anymore.

So, it was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to Lootcrate.  Perhaps one day we will cross paths again.

Caffeinate

Coffee, tea, soda, or energy drinks.  Everyone has a way of getting that burst of energy.  Personally I go for coffee.  My wife and I share a pot every morning.  Even if I’m coming home from a nightshift.  This makes us about 2-3 cups each.  On a rare occasion we make a second pot.  It all depends on how our day before went…

When I first started working shift work or nights, I would pick up a large energy drink or two.  I did this for a few years until I realized that I was getting severe heartburn regularly.  It only took my body a few days to return to normalcy.  Now, I only have an energy drink once or twice a year-usually on the fourth day of a ComiCon.  This is because hotel breakfast coffee is the worst and trying to justify spending $5 at Starbucks on a black coffee is difficult.  

Chemistry


My tastes in coffee are simple.  Inexpensive (but not bottom of the barrel cheap), hot, and two sugar- no matter what size- two sugar adds the exact sweetness I need for my coffee.  Like the chemical compounds for the caffeine to sugar ratio has nothing to do with the liquid itself.  

Coffee doesn’t keep me awake either.  I could drink a pot of coffee to myself and then go straight to sleep.  I drink coffee more for the fact that I always drank it.  I have never had caffeine withdrawals because I never let that happen.

Something is seriously wrong with this math.


In my home we rarely have cans of cola around.  We usually purchase 2L bottles of Ginger Ale or a lemon lime soda when it’s on sale- then we stock up!  My personal taste is Dr. Pepper and my wife enjoys Coke Zero, so we pick up one or two of those as well.  Our children drink mostly water, tea or milk.  Treats on the weekend include juice or a glass of pop.  If it’s a family birthday or special occasion, then our kids get a cup of coffee, but it’s half filled with milk or cream.

Now that it’s getting warmer, I’m going to try and enjoy some iced coffees.  However, coffee at our home rarely lasts in the pot long enough to get cold, so I will be resorting to buy my iced coffees elsewhere.  Thank goodness McDonald’s has them for $1.00 all summer!  Time to get caffeinated & cool off.

Blatant advertizing. Only a dollar all summer!

Wrastlin’

How shiny and 80’s.

As a child in the 80’s, I sort of watched WWF.  I knew the names of most of the main wrestlers- Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, André the Giant… but the show never really took hold into my little brain.  By the late 90’s I sort of took an interest in it again.  Pay-per-views and Monday Night Raw was a regular occurrence with friends.  It was a fun bond with my friends as we watched D-Generation X, Stone Cold, Mankind, The Rock & others beat each other regularly.

As we watched the shows, we drank beers and goofed off after the credits rolled and the last man was pinned.  It was a social event every month to get together and watch the main events.  Shortly after I started at the movie theater they began showing the PPVs as well.  My buddies and I would go and watch them for free and sneak beers in and get rowdy with the crowds.  It was a blast.  The storylines, the drama, the action- it was like watching a soap opera for men.

Some truth behind this.

I stopped watching WWE around when my first child was born.  This was also the time that WWF had changed to WWE and had bought out WCW.  There were far too many storylines and the “talent” was fading.  Wrestling also faded away from my life as my new responsibilities came forward.  Only in the past few months have I slowly begun getting sucked back into it.  I am only watching the PPVs, but it feels like a warm blanket, engulfing me with a Dutch Oven comfort of years long since past.

My buddy from when we worked at the movie theater  has been an avid fan and watches every show, every Pay-Per-View, and listens to every podcast & interview out there.  Lucky for me, he educates me on what’s been going on as I lounge at his place to watch the monthly spectacle.  Sometimes I bring my ten year old son to watch the matches.  He has a small interest, but I’m sure he too will find solace in watching the shows.

In a way we’re getting the next generation set to enjoy a lifetime of storytelling from the square ring.  Wrastlin’ is fun and I check my brain at the door.