Mr. Fantastic 

I like to think of myself as a pretty sensational guy. Ya, I’m tooting my own horn a bit, but I don’t see anyone disagreeing with it.  In fact, I received an email today stating the obvious about me:

I even received a Thank You and a big gold star!

Being awesome has its perks. 

Which is true. I get some outstanding perks for being awesome that really make me feel wonderful. Many of which really don’t have a monetary value. I receive smiles, laughs, hugs, and kindness to name a few.


Much of my life is filled with great people. All of whom boost me up and make me feel like royalty. Sometimes it’s a simple as a birthday wish on Facebook or them sharing something with me related to Disneyland or Star Wars. It proves to me that even if I don’t associate with them on a regular basis in person- somewhere or somehow along the way in life, I touched their hearts enough that they still think of me.

In the end what makes me feel like Mr. Fantastic is you people. Everyone who has entered my life either briefly or long term- you have impacted me and brought me up to a higher standard of life.

I think I am awesome, therefore I am.

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Driving in the Rain

I am an aggressive driver most days. No need to sugarcoat it. But when it rains, I slow down and give myself extra time to get to my destinations.  Not because I can’t drive in the rain, but because others can’t.


Almost daily on my commute to and from work there is an accident or volume on the roads. Anyone who lives in the Fraser Valley experiences this. It’s truly annoying. Add that we are entering rainy season and people are stupid- means more accidents waiting to happen.

So on days like today, I slow down. I take the slow lane (travel lane) and allow others to be stupid and weave in and out. I give a bit more room in front of me just in case. I’m glad I do, because I’ve had close calls of people not checking blind spots or trying to maneuver around some slow driver taking up the fast lane. 

I’ll get where I’m going in due time. No need to rush. And hey, when it rains- it’s like a free car wash!

Friends Forever

I have an abundance of friends. I’d even go as far as say I have about twenty amazingly close friends as well. I even have a couple people in my life that have been my friend for almost three decades. But I have one friend I’ve known almost all my life since kindergarten. (If you’d like to read about it, check out Grilled.)


Somehow along the way, we have remained friends. We met and I lived across the street from him.  My family moved, and his came to visit us. His family moved and we went to visit them. I really need to thank my mother and his mothe for this. If it wasn’t for these two ladies, I’m pretty sure life would’ve gone on without our friendship continuing. But every time I meet up with my friend, it’s like we’ve never been apart.

So it got me to thinking, has he gone from being a friend and become family now? We are closer than many people are with their cousins. In fact, his mother and my mother still visit each other regularly. They see each other more than my friend and I do. But I know that I could call or show up at his place and would be welcomed in. I’m never judging him and he never judges me. We share ideals and thoughts with open minds.

I like having a close friend like that. My wife has even told me that she is a bit jealous because she doesn’t have someone like that (yours truly excluded). Not everyone can have long term friends and still feel a bond whenever they meet up. 

I’m a lucky man for having all of these types of friends.

Jedi Joe

It’s finally going to happen.  I’ve decided to become a Jedi. No, I’m not announcing a “sad devotion to that ancient religion” or anything like that. I’m talking about a Costume/Cosplay for Halloween and an upcoming convention.


With my recent facial hair growth and the fact that I won’t shave it until the end of November (read about it here:Proving A Point) I needed to find a suitable costume idea that supported facial hair.  My wife suggested I go as a Wookiee because of my height, but it got me thinking about becoming a Jedi. Obi-Wan Kenobi to be exact.

Back in 1999-2000, I made an email address of joeywankenobi@hotmail.com: which is now defunct because it’s Hotmail and filled with spam. But the one thing that I enjoyed from Episodes 1-3 was Ewan McGregor’s take on Obi-Wan which garnered the email name.


Since I’ve always had an Enjoyment of Star Wars it makes sense to finally dress up for it. My height would make me a good Darth Vader (or a Wookiee as my wife said) but I don’t overly have the time or money for that. I just need to figure out if I’m going to go with a store bought Costume or try and sew my own at this time. Pretty sure I will sew a costume that is screen accurate one day.  Time to do internet research!

Help me Joey-Wan. You’re my only hope.



Rats.

Today I ripped apart my kitchen. I’m lucky it has floating ceiling panels and I could take them off.  I was in search of a rat.  I hate rats in my home. I discussed in great detail, the battle I have had over the years: Screw Ratatouille. The war on rodents continues…

Opening up the ceiling- I found rat shit everywhere so I had my vacuum on the entire time to clean up as I went. I had placed a couple small mouse traps up there a few days ago. Both had gone off, one baby rat was in the trash, but one trap was missing. In its place was a pool of blood.

You do not want to see the mess. Trust me.


I’m not going to share an image of it. But as I took off each panel, the smell of dead rodent became stronger. I traced it to my fridge. So I pulled out the fridge and discovered…

Nothing.

Much cuter than rats.

A couple small turds and lots of dust bunnies. But the smell was staggering. Then a thought hit me.- “Shit.  I bet I just ran over the dead rat with the fridge.” I got on my hands and knees to have a closer look. With flashlight in hand, peered under the fridge that I had just rolled across the kitchen floor.  Much to my relief, it wasn’t there.
As I crouched there, the smell of death was immense. I removed the back panel of the fridge and there it was.  Hunched over the drain pan of the fridge not moving- a dead baby rat. With gloves on, I grabbed the baby rat and instantly its fur became dislodged from its body.

Harf 

I nearly lost my breakfast. So I readjusted my hold and carefully lifted the creature up and placed it gingerly into a plastic bag.  I disinfected the motor and shoved the fridge back into the fridge spot.


I hope that this war will be over soon- with me as the victor.  I’m tired of freeloading rodents running amok in my kitchen. 

Tonight- we dine out.

10 Years of Railroading

I can’t believe I’ve been at the same job for ten years now. Somehow it morphed into a career. I kind of always knew it would, but it still hits me hard.

Ten years of service and my work gave me a nice watch with a ten year pin to commemorate my hard work. I’ll be here for at least another 15 years most likely.  The company has been really good to me and my family.  Offering stability and steady work over the years.


Before I started at CN, I made a railroad in our garden.  Unfortunately it has gone into disarray over the years. At the start of every summer, my son cleans the models and sets them up. I have a feeling one or more of my children will end up working here at some point in their lives. 

Nearly every year we attend CN Family Days. My children have enjoyed all the train rides and prize draws. They also enjoy seeing where I work. CN has been great in helping with my children’s Speed Skating as well.  Offering a grant for the volunteer time that my wife, daughter and I have put in.  This greatly helps out our Skating club.

It always strikes me as odd that I work at a railroad.  When I was a child, I was terrified of trains.  It continued on into my teen years. Getting a job working on trains took a lot of courage for me.  Within a year I had moved into the office to get away from working in the yard (much to my wife’s happiness). I hope to continue my growth and enjoy the challenges that each day brings me. 


Thank you CN for the decade of friendships and job satisfaction.

’98 Revival 

Back in the summer of 1998 a friend of mine dubbed it “Revival ’98”. Mostly because we were reliving each year over and over.  Nothing was changing. We all drank and smoked. Stayed up late at night watching Quentin Tarantino films and playing video games. 

No cared about future plans except who’s place we’d hang out at. Even then, we sometimes stayed out all night under street lights playing hackysack. We discussed philosophy and world events. Thinking we had all the answers.


That was ‘98. Relived over and over since ‘95. But it all ended.  No real reason.  We just slowly drifted apart. Life has a way of doing this, and that’s okay.

Over the past few years, I have met up with most of my friends individually from back then for an evening of reminiscing. Then we go our separate ways, each of us happy to have had a moment to talk of old times and old friends. Recently on Facebook, one of these old friends is trying to get a camping trip going for the end of next summer.  Of course everyone is showing interest now, but will we meet up again? Who knows? We all have lives to live. But it would be nice to let loose for a night and joke around like we did all those years ago.

I still have my hackysack ready at a moments notice.

Pain in the Brain

I finished my night shift at work with a massive headache.  Not from the work itself- that rarely bothers me. My head was pounding.  Throbbing behind my eye. My jaw was sore. All because I didn’t have any coffee for the past two days.


I can’t believe it’s all because of a lack of drinking coffee.  But it is.  They say drinking coffee stunts your growth.  Maybe not physically in my case, but perhaps mentally.  The lack of coffee had left me unfocused because of the pain.

But I made it through the shift. Groggy and sore.  Now it’s time to grab a coffee and off to bed.  At least I have the ability to sleep after drinking coffee.  

Pepto and Gravy circa 2000.

In the year 2000, I spent my last Thanksgiving with my father.  I could say to you that I didn’t know it’d be his last one, but that’d be a lie.  My father had already been battling cancer for three years by this point.  Even the Christmas before, it didn’t look like he would make it through the winter.  But here it was, ten months after that and we were gathered around the table to eat as a family.

We ate as a family for the last time that weekend.  My mother, my father, my sister, my girlfriend (who ended up being my future wife) and me.  The entire experience was awful; and not just because of my father’s cancer.


First of all, the dining room at my parents place now had a hospital bed in it.  A bed that my father refused to sleep in.  He preferred to sleep in his recliner. So, because this large bed was in the dining room, the dining room table moved into the spare room.  A Pepto-bismal pink painted bedroom. It was enough to make you not want to eat.

But the worst part of the dinner was the hangover.  My sister, my future wife and I had gone out drinking the night prior.  Heavily drinking.  We were destroyed the next day.  So much so that my sister had to call me in the late afternoon to wake me up and see if I was still going to show up.  We got to the house and at dinner, my sister drowned her plate of food in gravy.  I couldn’t handle it, so I had to excuse myself for a moment.

At the dinner, my father knew what was up.  Even in his morphine induced state, he knew we were recovering. He made fun of us. But he did so with a smile.  Perhaps he saw youthfulness in us.  Perhaps he enjoyed watching others suffer their own stupidity.  I’ll never know. 

So today, as you spend Canadian Thanksgiving with your friends and family, just remember that they may not be there next time.  

My father wasn’t able to make one more turkey dinner…

Blade Runner (This is Not a Film Review)

I have owned the limited edition DVD of Blade Runner since 2007. Up until today I had only watched this version once. It’s not that the film wasn’t good, far from it, it’s just that I never made the time to watch it again.


The box set was covered in dust from sitting on our shelf for ten years.  I completely forgot what was inside of it.  My children were amazed and began asking questions of it.  Why is there a toy car? What is the silver unicorn about? Why did the film come in a briefcase? Which version are we going to watch?

That was the trick question.  Which version do you watch when there are four different ones included? Why bother including any others but the one the director calls the “FINAL VERSION”? So that was the one we watched today.

After the film, my kids asked even more questions.  Like why did it end that way? What happens next? 

I never knew the answers to these questions when I saw it as a child myself.  Now that there is a sequel out, perhaps there will be some closure.


The first Blade Runner is visually stunning.  The music and sound effects are integral to the flow of the movie.  Over the past week or so, I have been doing my best to avoid reviews of the new film.  I will be going in to see it with an unbiased opinion. My children would like to see it as well. They have those unanswered questions lingering about.  Lucky for them, they only have to wait a few days before we go to see it. Unlike the rest of us who waited a few decades.