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.

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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.



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.

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.

Beard Brush

So I began growing a beard. I started on my father’s birthday September 19th.  I am planning on shaving it off on the anniversary of his death on November 25. Growing a beard was done for a few reasons.  

  1. My wife and kids said I couldn’t do it.
  2. I’ve never grown a full beard ever.
  3. My father always had a beard and I wanted to see if I’d look like him if I grew one.


I’m only a few weeks in and I must say that the beard no longer itches. I almost shaved on the fifth day because of this.  But I overcame that urge in order to persevere. I have some points to prove!

A few days ago, I dug out my father’s old beard brush.  I figured it’d be a good idea to keep my facial hair tamed.  As I ran the brush through my beard, something odd happened.  I could smell my father on it.


My dad never wore cologne or aftershave. The memories I do have of his beard were the smells of beer and stale cigarettes.  But on his beard brush was something that took me completely by surprise.  I could smell the brand of hair spray he used- 17 years later.  A sweet smell, not at all what I expected to remember about my father.

Happy memories poured into my mind.  Such as my father’s smile behind his beard.  The way he combed his hair. The suit he wore to work. The jogging pants he changed into every night. All of the simple things that defined who he was.  Back on His Birthday I was scared that I’d forget who he was, but it came back with one scent.

Now I’m unsure if I want to shave my beard off. But I don’t want the smell of my father to be removed from the brush. As time goes on, I’ll have to make that choice. 

But today, I brushed my beard once more.

Ear Worm

There’s a tune stuck in my head from a song I heard the other day.  I don’t know the name of the song or the artist or even the words to the song.  The only thing I do know is that it’s an 80’s song.


Not much else to go on.  I can’t even hum the tune because it was of a higher octave than I can manage. But there it is, in the back of my mind pushing forward. I need to get some other song to take over until this one diminishes into oblivion.

I haven’t had this happen in quite some time.  Usually I can sing the song or find it online to get my fix.  But this one is different.  This one is killing me softly with its song.  

Even Khan’s ear bugs would be a nice change.


Nope.  Even trying to add lyrics from some other song isn’t working.  Time to turn the radio up for that sweet sound. Maybe I can drown it out.

Repetitive Nature 

Being a goofball is something that comes easy for me. Acting silly or crazy has been my m.o. for years now. Since leaving high school, most of my behavior doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. That was a huge shift for me. High school felt like a challenge just to make it through those five years. I’m pretty sure most people reflecting back would agree that those years are the most challenging.


I can’t let go of my silliness though.  It also feels like sometimes I am tad bit AD/HD. (I also see it in my son from time to time.) For me I get focused on one thing and can’t stop repeating it until it’s run its course. Sometimes it’s a song lyric, a joke, or a catchphrase. 


Earlier this week I couldn’t stop quoting Johnny 5 from “Short Circuit”.  It got to a point that I was starting to annoy myself with it. But it was a good change from yelling out “I’m Pickle Rick!” Even though that went on for ages…

But if it makes me smile and I’m not hurting anyone by it, then I don’t see a need to stop. Especially if there are a few “Dad Jokes” that I can throw in as well on a regular basis.

Did you hear about the new corduroy pillows?

They’re making head lines.


The Death of Social Media

Is social media dying? One word:

Advertisements.


I am among most people who have been groomed into social media sites over the past few years.  In its infancy it started as using a computer having an identity on ICQ or later on, Messenger.  Advertising began as little ad bars along the top or sides of your message windows.  Easy enough to ignore. Typing took a lot of focus!


Then Facebook boomed. There were no ads, a bit of freedom to share statuses and tidbits of your life.  All you had to do was log in.  Facebook started to allow links to websites, photos, and simple word based games that forced you to log on repeatedly to get further on.  All of it exploded into a worldwide phenomenon. People staring at screens for hours on end, logging in hourly, hoping to connect.


Even as Twitter and Instagram grew as alternative options to Facebook, the freedom to just spend time with online friends soared. Someone out there realized that there was an untapped advertising market.  So now as you scroll through your smartphone, trying to see what’s new with your friends, every third of fourth thing is an ad. 

Much like the way movie theaters know that they can put 20 mins of commercials at the start of a film because they already have “bums in seats”. There was no where to look but directly in front of you. Now, we do it to ourselves.  The amazing computer in your palm spewing advertisements when all you want to know is if your friend had a good birthday the day before.

Social media we once knew is dying. It is no longer “Social”.  At some point, there will be something new and everyone will jump on board because of the lack of initial advertising.  But it too will become a stream of commercials. We need to start calling it like it is:

Sommercial Media

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