Celebrating Two Lives In One Day, In Two Very Different Ways

Today was the funeral service for my old friend Jeremy.  I wrote about him two weeks ago. Feel free to go back and read it in case you wondered who he was to me: Jeremy.  It was a lovely service filled with more friends than I could have imagined one person to have.  But here we all were, gathered together to say a final goodbye.  The stories and speeches were touching.  The photos shared showed a man full of life.  The hardest part for me was hearing his 11 year old daughter speak of her father.  The courage she possessed to speak about her loss and share a couple of stories was impressive as well as heart wrenching.

Seeing some old familiar faces was nice, but awkward.  I suppose that’s normal for a funeral.  You want to share good stories of your own life and what has happened over the years, but you slow it down and find there is no easy way to talk with those who you once knew.  Bringing people together over a loss is difficult.  But our friend, Jeremy, was a fun loving and out going person.  Smiling today seemed ok to do.  

May you be at peace my friend.

The other celebration of life today was the celebration of a new born child.  

This little guy is adorable. I almost didn’t return him.


Another friend of mine gave birth to one of the most beautiful baby boys I have ever seen. Not including my own son.  (I still have parental biased going on.)  Gage was welcomed into this world early this morning by his mother Jen, father Greg, and big sister Emma.  Mom was doing so well, they discharged her from the maternity ward late this afternoon.  Ok, maybe it was more like Jen said, “We’d like to go home now, thanks for helping with my baby.”
Originally I was going to head to the hospital immediately following the memorial service.  But because they headed home so quickly, my wife and I decided to stop by their home and take a peek before dinner.

Seeing two factions of what life is in one day is humbling.  It made me realize that life starts and ends rather quickly.  From an old friend of twenty years, to a baby not even twelve hours old- both will mean something special to me.  

You can go through life sometimes not realizing who you’ve touched along the way.  

Interrupted

I am physically and mentally exhausted today.  It’s from a lack of sleep.  Not that I haven’t tried- I came home from my nightshift and promptly went to bed.  It’s my friends forgetting that I am working nightshifts that seem to be the issue.  


The real world seems to be 9-5 Monday to Friday with Everybody Working For The Weekend.  But there are those of us who can’t or don’t.  That’s where the hardship comes in.  Most people sleep all night and forget that there are some of us who need to sleep during the day.  Even my friends and my family forget or have a tough time adjusting to the thought that I’m not as alert as they are during the day.


Working nights is tough but it also has its advantages.  It means I am free to make doctor or dentist appointments for anytime of day.  It means I can volunteer more for my children’s school activities.  It also means I can do shopping during the calmer times and not be stuck in lines and crowds during the after school/ dinner hours.  I’m looking at you Costco– I swear those are the worst times to shop there.

But in arranging appointments and time with the family, my schedule gets altered.  Following most nightshifts, I get home and try to fall asleep by 9am, waking up for dinner.  I’ll spend the evening with the family.  But other times, it’s a few hours nap, wake up & do stuff, nap, wake up to eat, maybe nap again.  My body is generally accustomed to this.  


But, I also have days like today.  A day where emails, phone calls and texts have interrupted me far too much to get even a decent nap.  “Turn off your phone Josef.”  I can’t really do that.  It’s the main communication I have to my wife, work and emergencies.  Most texts or calls I can ignore and respond to when I wake up. No offense to my friends, but sleep is kind of important.


Don’t talk to me anymore today.  I’m going to try and get a four hour block of sleep now.  Thanks.

Foggy Thoughts

These past few weeks have had me in a mental haze.  My mind is going off in a hundred different directions.  I lay awake going through numerous scenarios about “what if” and following each path through my mind.


It feels like I have been going to Blips & Chitz to play “Roy: A Life Well Lived” over and over again.  Trying new paths but always reaching the same result.  Born, grow up, date, get married, have kids, do job, receive “Greatest Dad Trophy”, retire, get cancer, die.  Is that really my lot in life?  How can I change it?  What am I needing to do to keep my lifestyle fresh and exciting?

Perhaps more vacations?

Maybe a new car?

Exercise?  (Hahaha sorry…)

What about a career change?

Or volunteer my time to some community cause?

Recycle more?

Read more books?

What lies ahead?


The answer is: I don’t know.  And I’m ok not knowing at this point.  I’ve been trying new things this year to find my own inner peace:

Connecting with old friends.

Making new friends.

Writing this blog.

Trying new restaurants.

Cooking new foods.

Learning new arts.

Changing my hair colors.

Repairing family relationships.

My journey is still ongoing.  I just need to let it take me where it needs to.  There is no right path or wrong path for me at this moment.  I need to stop worrying because everything will work out.

Bohemian Rhapsody 

I’ve been a pretty big Queen fan for many years, since before “Wayne’s World” made Freddie Mercury popular again in 1992… (I watched that movie a dozen times in the theater- I could recite it almost verbatim back in the day).  It was back in 1984, at the end of “Revenge of the Nerds” when We are The Champions played.  The song and feel good moment struck a chord in me at the young age of 9.  I was never going to be a jock.  I was a nerd.  That song set my life on a path that made me proud to like what I like.  

Ah, cassettes. Good times… good times.


As an adult, I used to play Queen all the time in my home.  That is, until my first daughter was born.  Before even reaching age two, she cried whenever I put Queen on so I stopped listening for many years in my home.  Even on cd, there were complaints in my car.  This was probably more due to the volume and dad’s *amazing* singing voice than the Queen songs themselves. 

Bohemian Rhapsody is a song that I have heard many times throughout my life.  I’ve rewatched live performances of Queen and wished that Freddie was still alive.  But since that’s not the case, his music lives on in recorded sound and imagery.  The Muppets even made a music video a couple years back as a tribute.  Everyone I know can sing this song… And sing the opera part, and sing the guitar & drums… Lots of singing and head banging.  But Freddie did it best.  Some say he could sing in four different octaves and was able to manipulate his voice in order to create the sound.  Quick link here.

Google. It’s like you’re in my head!


Earlier this month Google released a VR version titled The Bohemian Rhapsody Experience.  So, I downloaded the app.  I have watched and rewatched it numerous times already.  It is visually appealing and is so well done, that I wouldn’t be surprised if living artists try it as well.  Viewing it was reminiscent of watching a Pink Floyd Laser Show at the planetarium… Oooo flashbacks

What’s in the box?


I’m a big proponent of VR and have experienced many forms firsthand.  Now I am tempted to purchase a VR headset for my iPhone in order to truly immerse myself into that world.  Besides a $15 cardboard box from Google, real VR is actually kind of pricey.  VR still remains in its infancy as it jumps from being science fiction to reality.  Seriously though, try out the VR App of Bohemian Rhapsody, you’ll thank me.

Just try not to head bang too wildly, the VR headset may come flying off and you would come back to reality too quick.

Extra! Extra!

I am about to step out of my regular routine and add some changes to my life. It all began while I got drunk while remembering my friend who I lost recently (I shared my feelings here: Jeremy).  The night I found out about the loss, I went to karaoke with some other friends.   It was the second time this summer that I went to karaoke.  The last time I ever went was nearly fifteen years ago.  I just wanted to be surrounded by friends having fun.

Look at all that magic!


While at the pub, there was this stranger there that looked very familiar.  It just so happened that he was the boss of a friend who was with me that evening. I began asking my friend about this stranger trying to piece together something about this guy.  Eventually, I decided to wander over to this fellow to talk with him.  I was doing my best not to make a drunk fool of myself, because I wouldn’t want my actions to affect my friend’s work.  

Motivational image inserted to add visual content.


After an I introduced myself, I mentioned that I knew him from someplace.  He and I both agreed that we’ve seen each other somewhere over the years.  Neither of us could pinpoint it.  A few mutual friends,  both of us have lived in the same general area for a couple decades, but nothing that gave me the “Ah-Ha” moment.  We continued talking, still having no clue where we may have met, but we were having some good laughs.  In the end he asked me to join his company.  Good “first” impression I guess.

Yesterday I applied to work for his company.  I don’t know what kind of work it will entail, or whether I’ll get any work at all.  You see, he runs a talent agency: Aces Talent.  I applied to become an extra in film and movies.  The thought of doing something like this has never been on my radar.  Living in the outskirts of Vancouver, you just become accustomed to filming going on everywhere.  

I can do this…


I’m not an actor, nor am I pursuing that goal.  But for a few years now I have wanted to try doing voice over work.  This may just be the opportunity to explore that avenue.  Or maybe I won’t ever hear from them because they don’t need a pink haired skinny forty year old for any films.  Who knows.  

The only thing I can say is that I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone once again to see what life has to offer.

Decorating rules

In our home- my wife has set some rules in place regarding seasonal decorations.  Specifically Halloween and Christmas.  I have a tough time following them…

Nightmare Before Christmas allows decorations to stay out longer.


We are not allowed to decorate for Halloween until October 1st.  September is a busy month of getting the kids back to school and back into routines.  A distraction like decorating makes the kids, to put it mildly, stupid with joy.  They have a great time decorating, but completely forget about their homework and commitments.  The kids get upset if I start to decorate the house without them while they are at school.  It’s also probably because I leave the job of putting up spiderwebs to them…  That part sucks.

A photo of all my favorite people.


Rarely have we been home for Halloween in the past few years.  Usually we do a road trip to California and enjoy the beaches/ Disneyland in late October early November.  But because we will be home this year, I REALLY want to go big with my decorations.  I’m going to use the skills I learned from cosplay making and try to make our home extra spooky.  I’ve always been fascinated with set decorations and behind the scenes of movies from the 70’s and 80’s.  I have ambitious ideas, so I’ll need to tone it down a tad to get it done.  

In the meantime, my wife didn’t say I couldn’t decorate for “Fall”.  Time for me to channel my inner Martha Stewart and use those Pinterest ideas I’ve been saving.  


The other rule for decorating is that we aren’t permitted to decorate for Christmas until December 7th.  That is the day after my wife’s birthday.  Needless to say, I sneak a few “Winter” themed decorations out.  Our home is a beautiful brick house that brings forth a sense of warmth at Christmas.  Don’t tell anyone, but I actually prefer my Christmas Decorations to my Halloween ones.  This is because most Halloween decorations are too “cutesy” and I would prefer a bit more “Gothic” or horror style.

Our home can be undecorated quickly.  Going from Spirited to empty in only a couple of hours.  I often leave out our Nightmare Before Christmas decorations from October to January because they cover both seasons.  

Me in a Pee-Wee costume infront of our Playhouse.


Today we are cleaning our home so that next weekend we can begin it’s transformation.  I find it odd that every time we decorate for Halloween, I remove all the real cobwebs just to put out the fake ones.

I’m perfect.  Or so it seems.

I love writing my daily blog posts. I have a few devoted followers who read and comment nearly every time on my Facebook Page.  That’s pretty awesome because it’s encouraging to know that there are people actually reading it.  I’m also pretty sure that there are “bots” that search out tags and instantly “Like” my posts.  That’s ok as well because that info helps me in deciding what tags to use in future posts.  

The tie says it all.


The only thing I’m not getting from any of this is advice or constructive criticism to help my writing become better.  This may be from the fact that people may think I will be easily offended or that I will disregard their opinions.  At this point, as far as I know, everything I write is perfect.


I’m a Spell Check fanatic and Grammar Nazi.  Only recently have I stopped really being “that guy” on social media.  I found people just don’t care.  That saddens me. If I am making a mistake in how I structure my sentences or use the wrong form of a word, such as strait or straight, please point it out to me.  My wife does it to me without any worries of repercussions- and we’re still married.

I’d also like more critiques on my work.  Some examples of what is good criticism:

Does the story flow?

Do the images used help in what I am portraying?

Are my facts correct?


Criticism that isn’t needed:

You suck.

I disagree because you suck.

Your story sucks and therefore you suck.

I am also on the other side.  I have friends /family who also create art and writing.  At times I REALLY WANT TO SAY SOMETHING, but I am unsure how they would react to my criticism.  I don’t want to hurt feelings, but I also don’t want to read or see garbage all the time.  (Just kidding about the garbage comment.)  If any of my friends who create works of art have a tough skin, or want my opinion on what they have created, let me know.  Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.  I try to not be an asshole when offering my opinion- but only if asked.  


Biting my tongue or deleting my comments before hitting “enter” has probably saved more friendships than I could imagine.


I would like feedback please.  If you aren’t comfortable with others reading it, by all means private message me or call me.  If you would like feedback (my opinion) let me know.  I’d love to help.  Whether you take my advice or not is up to you.  I have a certain style and it may not meet your standards.  That’s ok, because doggone it, people like me.

Viewpoint

There is something beautiful about our planet.  From the plants and animals to the people and buildings.  There is so much life here.  Sometimes I forget to enjoy the simpler things as I seek out the extraordinary.  It’s human nature to miss the forest for the trees.  

Seeing the world from a different view.


But there it is.  Life.  The Universe.  And Everything.  All in front of me.  All around me.  All a part of me.  It’s startlingly impressive to be a part of this existence.  Of course I want to see more, experience more, and be more in this life.  

Finding out what it means to be here on this planet seems to be a lifelong journey with no destination.  To me, that is what life is about.  Experiencing the journey.

I’m thankful for all of the adventures I’ve been on so far.  I’m looking forward to the years I still have ahead of me and the musings I will share along the way.

Autumn Madness 

It’s here!  One of my four favorite seasons!

Yay Autumn!

Pumpkims from a few years ago done by my children and I.


I like autumn because it means Halloween is just around the corner.  I love decorating our home for Halloween.  I love carving pumpkins as well.  I have done some pretty intricatly carved pumpkins.  I have spent 4 hours doing just one.  I love it, it brings on a zen-like sensation as I zone out.

Our first Disneyland Trick Or Treat!


I love costumes as well.  That’s one of the main reasons I love conventions as well.  I get to cosplay.  Or I get to make cosplay for my kids.  I love it!


We have spent a few Halloweens down in Disneyland Trick or Treating.  I recommend it to anyone with children.  It is so much fun!  This year, we are not heading to California (sad Joe) but we will decorate and have fun at home for the first time in about five years.

The dilema is real.


What I don’t like about autumn is that it means the year is in it’s last three months.  Crazy scramble to finish projects, do those things you thought you had plenty of time to do nine months ago.  And I can’t tell what to wear.  This time of year is screwy.  So, zippered hoodies and jeans it is.

I also don’t like pumpkin pie.  There, I said it.  It looks like poop in a pie crust.  Same texture as a soft curly turd as well.


Nope.  Still not going to eat that.  Thanks.


But I will enjoy having beverages and a fire in the family room as I relax.  Especially Weaping Reaper by Dead Frog. Love that beer.

Cheers to cuddles on the couches and colors on the trees!  Enjoy the season everyone!

Sunrise After The Rain.

I just want to say “Thank You” to the sun this morning.  I had a few rough days recently, but there was the sun this morning- doing it’s daily thing.  It was a beautiful sunrise I experienced on my drive home from the nightshift.  


Yes, I understand science tells me that the sun doesn’t actually rise, but the term is one that has been used for eons.  It still doesn’t stop it from happening.  

The sun’s rays had shone brightly, showcasing so much of nature’s beauty this morning.  I had to pull over to capture the moment on my cellphone before it passed me by.


The light and colours were magnificent.  This was a sunrise- post rainfall, late summer sunrise- that I needed to see this morning.  There was the sun, shining it’s way through the trees, making life glisten once more.

Thank you sun.  You brightened my day. 

(Wow.  Awful “Dad Joke” to end today’s post.  Sorry.)