Leafers

I couldn’t believe what they were stealing from my property today.  I was at my kitchen window in plain view of them. These two older, retired women entered my yard and began snipping leaves off of our vine maple.


Mind you, it didn’t bother me.  But curiosity came over me, so I went outside to speak with them.  They were super friendly and told me what they were up to.  Of course, my thought was that they wanted the fall coloured leaves for some Pinterest inspired art project or flower pressing.  But I was wrong. Turns out they wanted the green leaves only because the red and orange ones wouldn’t work.


They were collecting the leaves in order to create a dye for silk scarves.  Scarves that they were going to give away to friends and family at Christmas. It was a lovely idea. I told the ladies they were welcome to come back any time to collect leaves because it saves my children from raking them up when they dry up.

In the end, it looks like I have made some new friends in my neighborhood. Even though they were leaf thieves.

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Wine and Painting

My wife is heading out this evening for her first “Paint and Sip” at the Glass House Estate Winery with a friend of ours. It seems to be a popular style of event. Drink wine while you paint a picture. It’s a way for adults, mostly women, to express themselves through art while getting a bit tipsy.

I love the idea.  I think painting is an expression of oneself. Having a glass or two of wine also loosens up the fear and doubt one may have of their artistic abilities. 


The painting tonight that they will mimic is called “Autumn Bounty”.  It looks challenging for a first piece. I’ve never painted still life or flowers before. The colors portrayed in the imagery connect the winery nicely with the country community they are located in. It also feels like a piece that would be hung in our home if we didn’t love our Comicon fan art.


Unfortunately, all I can see when I look at the photo of “Autumn Bounty” is the alien from “Mars Attacks”.  What’s funny about it is that my wife first pointed out the resemblance.  Of course, being the supportive husband I am, I have dared her to paint this tonight.


I can’t unsee the image. I am waiting to see if my wife decides to embrace her silly side or go with the flow. Pretty sure if she painted the alien, it will get hung up in our foyer of fan art. If she paints the original, it will probably end up in the back of a closet because it doesn’t really fit our home decor.

For the rest of they day I am just going to respond to all questions from my wife with “Ack! Ack! Ack!” to try and influence her decision.

Death Note? More like Death No.

Sadly, not everything Netflix touches turns into gold. The other day, my family and I watched the Netflix version of Death Note. The only thing about the movie was that it was DNINO. Yup. It fell under the trap of using a name of a popular show and had nothing to do with it. It was “Death Note In Name Only”.


Death Note was originally written as a fantastic anime. Years ago, my wife and I fell in love with it. So much so that we bought props and merchandise that reminded us of it. My wife has a necklace with an “L” on it and sometimes I call her “L”. I have a copy of a “Death Note” for myself. We also have a couple anime t-shirts from the series. Our eldest daughter has the series in manga form as well.


“Death Note” is a personal favorite anime of mine. It’s up there with “Akira”, “Astroboy” and “Cowboy Bepop” for shows that make the anime genre what it is. The Netflix version of “Death Note” is terrible. Even as just a regular movie it’s not good. This new movie only had the names of most of the characters and Ryuk. Not much more than that was accurate to the original story.


If I could write in my Death Note the names of those responsible for this terrible film, I would almost be tempted to do so. This new film was sacrilegious to the original. After watching the film, I am heartbroken by the knowledge that it wasn’t true to the storyline.

My advice to those thinking they should watch this new version of the show, watch the original anime instead. Trust me- you will love the character interactions and the climax of the storyline much more.

Netflix, I am saddened by what you have done to a beloved anime. Furthermore, if any director takes on “Akira” you better make it as accurate to the original as possible. You wouldn’t want fans going Neo Tokyo on you.

A Nothing Something

This is about nothing. A bunch of nothing filling a screen about nothing. Essentially it is the epitome of nothingness. Just a bunch of words creating sentences. No stories about things or activities. Just nothing.

But it's my nothing. A nothing that has turned into something. A little something I needed to write. Something I wanted to write. A something about writing nothing.

Nothing about something. Something about nothing.

Goodbye.

Admiring Art

Near my place of work in Vancouver there is some art painted on the side of a building. It's nice. Each piece shows an iconic aspect of the city.


Here are some close ups of the better pieces:


I love seeing artist's interpretations of the world. Sometimes it's gritty, other times it's overwhelming with beauty. Seeing art around the town brightens my day at work. I am particularly biased to the spray paint/ graffiti style. A quick art option that pops with color. Especially in a concrete jungle.

Bringing life to the dull.

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.