Distopian Life

Our eldest daughter just discovered the novel 1984. I had recommended it to her ages ago, but of course she only wanted to read it when she discovered it at school. Why would Dad know something about anything. But I digress.

I am happy she is enjoying it. I’m trying to recommend other novels as well. I loved reading about dystopian ideas as a teen. Sometimes the ideas, like the ones in the novel 1984, hit close to home eventually. You could easily compare “Fake News” to “Doublespeak” with today’s information sharing. Even terminology was derived from the novel- “Big Brother is watching.” Sadly, we’ve all just become accustomed to it.

I have even recommended a couple of movies to my daughter. Brazil is a personal favorite. I love Terry Gilliam films, always have. Somehow he envisions people working around “the system” with possible consequences. Not everything is a happy ending. Perhaps my children need to learn that not everything has Disney feel good moments. Sometimes the world just exists and the people are merely pawns.

And as we move forward through life, staring at smartphones, sharing our lives willingly on social media- I can’t help but think that we are somehow living in Orwellian Times. As said in 1984:

Ignorance is strength.

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I Wish I Was a Sellout 

The idea that people work hard to become successful isn’t something new. What I find frustrating is people who call them “sellouts” when they do become successful. 


I have zero chance of becoming a “sellout”. I work hard at my job, but that’s so I can pay my bills. I enjoy my blog posts, but I don’t think I could make money off of them.  Mostly because I’m not trying to sell anything through my writing. My posts are mostly for me- like a diary of sorts.


Occasionally I add in a link or a reference to a company or show that I like. I’m not expecting kickbacks or money. But I wouldn’t say no… you gotta start somewhere. Maybe I can get promoted by Swiffer? I may have to change the title of my blog post though. 

Swiffer presents: Cleaning It Up As I Go.

It’s doable.

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.

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.