Mural

Today was an unveiling of a project that the grade 11/12 photography students created.  It was a rather large scale piece, and really suits the school and our community.  Being that my children attend the Langley Fine Arts School, it only makes sense that a project of this magnitude be unveiled with pomp and circumstance. 


The whole school was out to witness the unveiling.  The staff and parents were also awaiting the big reveal.  The mayor took the mic and shared some words of the history behind the idea of the mural.  The senior concert band then performed a piece written by one of the students as the cloth was lifted.


Seeing the mural in person is just amazing. It is pieced together with photos of all off the students and staff of the school. Read about the project here: LFAS Photo Mosaic. It is a large piece that really shows off the talents of the young people. Especially given such a great opportunity to express themselves in an Arts dedicated school environment.


This is the full mural.  Outstanding work.

My Wife and Our Children

As my children grow older, I tend to leave them to figure things out on their own.  Sometimes giving them guidance with nothing but a few words. Like the other day for example. I simply asked what they are planning for Mother’s Day.

The three of them are too old to be doing crafts at school.  And I’m at a point where it’s not my place to decide what they should do for their mother either.  I checked with them again yesterday to see how things were going and they had their plans in motion. So this morning, my wife was treated to breakfast in bed and handmade cards.

The breakfast was a cheese and tomato omelette created by our oldest daughter.  As a dessert, the two youngest made a milkshake and brought it to their mom. But the cards were the best.  One of the kids found an old picture of their mother from when she was in grade six and put it in the card.  Another practiced her calligraphy skills and wrote a simple, but elegant card. The third pasted pictures of all three kids and some old pompoms from our wedding day on her card.  

All of it was sentimental and very lovely.  Our children don’t need as much coaxing as they once did.  They all showed how much they care in their own ways. My wife started her day off wonderfully thanks to her three kids.

My Enjoyment of Star Wars


Star Wars has been a big part of my life growing up and growing older. Here is a brief timeline of my memories of such an iconic film series:

1981: We got our first VCR for Christmas and watched Empire Strikes Back as our first ever video. It was also the first Star Wars film that I remember seeing at age 5.

1984: I saw Return of the Jedi in the theater & was C-3PO for Halloween. We lived in Edmonton at the time and I wore the cheap plastic costume because it had to go over my winter clothes.  I remember vividly that the mask had a very distinct odor when my hot breath went on it.

1989: Rode Star Tours at Disneyland 7 times in a row. Still my favorite ride in Disneyland!

From my childhood and up until 1997, every time one of the movies was on tv, I had to watch it. (I have since bought the films on VHS, DVD and then blu-ray.)

1997: I watched the special editions in the theaters.  I know that Han shot first!

1998: I re-enacted the trash compactor scene at Zellers where I worked briefly.


1999: I started work at Famous Players Colossus movie theater in May about a week before episode 1 was released. (May 19th: Colossus officially opened on the same day as Star Wars Ep.1)


2006: My son’s first Christmas, both he and I received Lightsabers from Santa. His was Anakin’s, mine was Vader’s.


2008: I built an AT-ST in my backyard. This winter it collapsed. We will rebuild!


As the years went on, so has our collection. We have Star Wars cookbooks and my car has been subtly shown its Darkside. We have a BB-8 Sphero and a few Airhog remote control ships.  I have most of the original Star Wars Lego sets from almost 20 years ago.  Every time we are Conventions I am drawn to the Star Wars fan art and t-shirts.  I have a large collection of both now.  The last thing I want in my collection is a full size costume of a Storm Trooper or Darth Vader to go on display.  Or perhaps a few movie replica helmets.

I guess it’s a little obsession of mine. Even my family loves Star Wars.  

My Fellow Convention Carnies aka Fandom Family

When you do the Comic Con circuit you make lots of friends. When you’ve done it for seven or eight years- they become extended family.

This is our sixth year at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. I laugh and enjoy the time we spend here. We look forward to seeing everyone again in person. Of course we follow one another on the various social media platforms, but there’s something to be said about the face to face interactions.

Where’s Waldo- spot the artist edition.

First is Terry.  We met him as our booth neighbor on our third time to Emerald City in Seattle three years ago. We met up again at Stan Lee’s Comikaze later that year. We told him about journeying into Calgary, so he came out last year and loved it. He’s back for more this year.

Brass and goggles!

Attic Raiders/In the Attic are the first people who introduced us to trying to get out into Comic Cons.  Bless them for pushing my wife to branch out. We have had many adventures with them. If you need Steampunk- they are the people to go to.

Cute Glass.

Bling Squared is run by a couple named Stanley and Neacol from Salt Spring Island, BC. They make the most adorable glass figures. My wife met them through Etsy teams and we share many a Con tale with them.

East Van represent!

Awesome Sauce is another artist from Vancouver.  We met them at Vancouver Fan Expo when they sat across from us about three years ago. Now they are right next to us in Calgary for the second year. They make fun stained glass and also have classes available in Vancouver on how to make them.

Mike and Lisa are two very different artists and have tables next to each other. They are married and have been doing these shows for years.  The friendliest people ever. Always worth a stop to pick up fandom art, magnets and generally cute stuff.

Two Gargoyles sit directly behind us in Calgary. These are the two funniest guys around. We sing songs, talk about old 80’s movies and generally cause a raucous.  Oh, and they sell art and comics too!  Mike is also a very amusing West Jet flight attendant with a few YouTube videos worthy of enjoying. I guess you could say viral.

Crafty Geeks are a couple of tables up from us. They sew some pretty awesome quilts and quilted pillows. They even sell the patterns for those of you willing to make your own.  Numerous fandoms are represented in their designs.

These are a small collection of our Comicon family members. We share laughs, stories, network, and talk business. It’s always great to be surrounded by like minded people.

Graffiti IS Art

I have a certain love of good graffiti artwork.  I always have.  Working for a railroad has allowed me to view up close some very talented works of art as well as just plain old vandalism.  There is even graffiti that I must photograph whenever possible.  That is because it features my son’s name: Theory.


Most of the art I have seen in the past few years is on rail cars.  Those cars cycle around the country and sometimes into the USA.  There are times that I will see the same car on more than one occasion.  It is like a traveling art show.  Some artists who paint on railcars have also been known to hop on and off trains to travel to other destinations, à la hobo style never staying in one place.


Over the past month and a bit I have been working in downtown Vancouver.  The railroad runs through dark areas and past back alleys.  The graffiti I see in those areas differs from what I see on the rail cars.  Probably due to the fact that there are numerous other artists spreading their visions.  Many are just sharing a word or a quick image in great detail.   I have become quite prolific in being able to decipher the words written out.  


I have watched documentaries about the art form and even begun incorporating and emulating their techniques.  My fascination with graffiti has spilled over into my cosplay making abilities.  I love using spray paint to add depth and character into what I make.  Seeing shading techniques used with just colour draws my attention.  

Even though graffiti is considered vandalism, I hope those urban guerrilla artists never stop spreading their message.

Glass

Today I went in to get the windshield replaced on our Honda Element. As I was driving there I passed the police station. I began having an imaginary conversation in my head about being pulled over.

Police officer: “You have a broken windshield.”

Me:”I’m on my way to get it repaired. Here’s my email confirmation.” And I would show him my phone.

Say No to Crack.

Anyhow, that wasn’t my topic today. Having an imaginary conversation that most likely won’t happen is something we all do.  Usually right before falling asleep.  

Today’s topic is about glass.  

1970’s martini glasses and a glass fish.

I think glass is fascinating.  I love glass sculptures. I love stained glass. Or even fancy drinking glasses. Something about the way it is created astounds me.  Seriously.  It’s sand melted down.  How crazy is that?

I bought some Brandy because of the horse shaped bottle.

I could watch glass blowing and sculpting videos for hours.  It’s just mesmerizing.  The heat, the spinning, the hitting with hammers, the final project smoothed out and carefully cut off.  There’s an air of magic about it.  We have a couple of friends from the convention circuit who make adorable glass sculptures.  They look like marbles with eyes, mustaches and bow ties!  Check out Cute Glass by Bling Squared to see what I’m talking about.


When I first met my wife, I bought her a beautiful handmade kaleidoscope made of brass and glass pieces.  I’ll sit on the couch and stare through it, enchanted by the spiraling colours.  Maybe I bought it for me…

Even when glass shatters it’s intriguing.  The sounds, the shapes, the danger that surrounds it.  When I was about five years old, I did what any normal kid would.  I took my bike up the stairs on our back porch and let it freewheel back down to the ground.  It rolled down the flight of stairs and crashed right into the basement window.  Shattering the glass.  I got in a bit of trouble… however, my father replaced the pane himself.  I watched as he cut the new piece of glass and he warmed up some putty to put around to seal it.  I still remember the smell of the putty.


And glass is everywhere in our lives.  On cars, homes, offices, buildings, tvs, the list goes on…  We are surrounded by it.  We forget that it’s there.

I love the beauty that glass brings forth.  Perhaps one day I can learn to do glass blowing or making stained glass windows.

One Year

I can’t believe that I have successfully challenged myself to write a daily blog post for an entire year.  There has been no rhyme or reason for what I write about.  General rule of thumb about my posts- whatever pops into my head.

I have tried to write positive blogs as often as I could.  Some are even amusing. On occasion I have shared a personal story of heartbreak or pain.  Those stories have defined who I am.  But I noticed that for a few days after sharing a sad tale, I would feel miserable.  It was hard to get back into a positive frame of mind.

I am tall in general.

The one thing that I noticed about sharing stories is that I have led a pretty good life.  I have shared many moments with some great friends and family.  I’ve had a chance to relive my journey thus far.  I can honestly say that throughout the struggles and challenges, my life is exactly where I want it to be.

Writing a positive daily post about my life and opinions has made me a happier person.  Being a happier person has also improved everything about how I see the world.  There is a silver lining to every cloud.  There is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.  Unicorns have sparkly poop.

One Year…

One year.  I may be the only one celebrating this goal.  But that was the point of my journey.  Writing daily was for me.  I shared it with the world so that people could use my life lessons as advice.  I’ve had a ton of fun writing every day.  I’ll admit that I struggled from time to time to come up with a topic.  As well I squeaked a few blog posts in just before midnight.  I never had a set time of day that I would post.  In hindsight, if I want more readership I should look at those stats.  

I reached my one year goal and I’m not ready to stop the momentum.  I have a few stories still on the burner.  A huge thank you to everyone for the feedback and support.  If you’ve Come Here To See All My Mistakes– I’m sorry to disappoint.

I leave you with some Sinatra to end my one year:

And now, the end is near; 

And so I face the final curtain.

My friend, I’ll say it clear, 

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.
I’ve lived a life that’s full.

I’ve traveled each and every highway; 

And more, much more than this, 

I did it my way.
Regrets, I’ve had a few; 

But then again, too few to mention.

I did what I had to do

And saw it through without exemption.
I planned each charted course; 

Each careful step along the byway, 

And more, much more than this, 

I did it my way.
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew

When I bit off more than I could chew.

But through it all, when there was doubt, 

I ate it up and spit it out.

I faced it all and I stood tall; 

And did it my way.
I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried.

I’ve had my fill; my share of losing.

And now, as tears subside, 

I find it all so amusing.
To think I did all that; 

And may I say – not in a shy way, 

“Oh no, oh no not me, 

I did it my way”.
For what is a man, what has he got?

If not himself, then he has naught.

To say the things he truly feels; 

And not the words of one who kneels.

The record shows I took the blows –

And did it my way! 
Yes, it was my way.

Nerves of Steel


The Lower Mainland’s first big snowfall of the season and we had to head out to a Choir night.  We left our home early and it seems everyone else did as well.  We arrived early at the Theater and made our way past the entry.  We may have budged in line a bit, but standing by the doors that remained open wasn’t my idea of fun.  The children went up to the balcony entrance as the parents waited for the orchestra doors to open.


Thirty minutes before the performance, the crowd murmurs into the auditorium.  My wife and I sat about ten rows back in hopes to view the entire stage.  Backstage the children do a last minute rehearse and practice to get the jitters out.  Last chance to keep it together before the performance.  Back to the audience- the remnants of the stragglers are taking their seats while voices and laughter echo throughout.  A mic gives feedback and the crowd goes silent for a moment.  The lights dim.  The show was about to begin.


Introductions of the choirs is over and the singing commences.  The Fine Arts school that my children attend goes from Grade One all the way through to Grade Twelve.  And there is talent.  Amazing talent by both the children and the teachers.


I’m proud of the accomplishments my children have made over the years.  They have pushed themselves beyond their comfort zones and have begun to shine.

I also enjoyed the diversity of the Choir Night.  From Traditional Spirtual songs to Appalachian Folk Songs.  A Zulu Struggle song and an Orchestra accompaniment with the choir.

It was a lovely night.  I am looking forward to it every year now.

Cold November Rain

It’s the beginning of a new month.  November.  An opportunity to start a new challenge in one’s life before the year draws to an end.  November is that last push before Christmas is upon us.  Another chance to make good on all of those promises we made to ourselves throughout the year.


This year I am going to do something I’ve thought about for years.  I’m going to try and write a novel in a month.  The NaNoWriMo challenge is for the entire month.  Write a few (thousand) words/day and “poof” a magical novel is created.  I am 100% sure that the majority of work is not worthy of anyone’s reading, but it gets those juices flowing.  Besides signing up for the challenge, where does one start?  “Once upon a time…”

I also use this month as a time to “Purge”.   It will be a great way for me to avoid writing.  Honestly.  I’m not going to lie about that, if the writing gets tough, I will distract myself by going through our old clothes- sweaters and hoodies come out of hibernation.  Some may not fit, maybe the style isn’t how we want to portray ourselves, or maybe we’ve outgrown its usefulness.  Or old toys and games.  Time to donate things we never use.

As well there is the yard.  Leaves have been falling, and a garden needs major pruning.  Today, we had a pretty significant rain fall.  It made me realize that the downspouts and roof need a good cleaning.  Yay!  More distractions from completing my writing challenge!

Ah, November.  A time to get lost in thought.  Everybody needs some time on their own.

And when your fears subside

And shadows still remain

I know that you can love me

When there’s no one left to blame

So never mind the darkness

We still can find a way

‘Cause nothin’ lasts forever

Even cold November rain


Dammit G’N’R.  You always sneak up and get stuck in my head at the worst moments.

Mr. Short Term Memory

I often forget what I have written about in previous blog posts.  Not because my musings are boring- far from it.  I think what I write is pretty dang awesome and totally worth reading- you should think so too.  (Shameless self promotion.)  So keep supporting me.  I almost forgot, now back to what I was saying…

Future posts

For days on end, ideas float around in my head.  A title or the first few lines get quickly jotted down as they pop into my mind.  When I am ready, or the time is right, the post comes to life.  I subsequently take the time to perfect my musings, often re-writing sentences & editing paragraphs.  My brain focuses intensely on getting the words just right.


Periodically I start on a blog post only to realize part way through that I’ve already written about it.  The beginning may be different, but the content is abruptly repetitious.  Ugh.  TABLE FLIP FRUSTRATION kicks in and I delete entire passages.  The feeling of all those minutes and hours wasted typing overwhelms me.

SNL funny/not funny…

Only, they’re not wasted and I shouldn’t think like that.  The synaptic activity causing a relapse is beneficial to my health.  It means my brain is functioning normally.  It means I am getting more and more comfortable writing & sharing.  

More SNL? I should just quit writing now.

This week, I drew from the depths of my memory what made me laugh as a young teen.  That brought me back to Saturday Night Live skits.  Some of the humor is dated.  Some of it isn’t as easily accepted as it once was back in the 70’s and 80’s.  Some of the skits just don’t hold up upon reflection.  The majority of my blog posts won’t hold up over time.  But even the greatest writers had some bombs.  Just because you can find a “Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe” doesn’t mean it’s the “Greatest Works of Edgar Allan Poe”.

Forgive me if it seems as if you’ve read this before.  You’re probably going to read it again.  Unless you stop following me.  Then you won’t.