Day Trip to Victoria BC


I volunteered to chaperone at my son’s school field trip to Victoria today.  It started really early in the morning at the school (and 14 hours later-still not home). We got on the school bus, and I promptly made my way to the back. So did the boys I was with. We laughed about poop jokes and cartoons.


The ferry ride was uneventful. My son and his buddy wanted to sit and play cards while we had a snack. We wandered the decks a couple of times and waved at a passing ferry. We got to Vancouver Island and boarded another bus. We took off to Victoria for the afternoon. Easy breezy and the weather fully cooperated.


Next came a whirlwind self guided tour of the Royal BC Museum.  We hardly stopped to check anything out.  Partly because museums are becoming a thing of the past when needing to get information out to the public.  Also partly because the schedule was so packed in.  I’ve seen this museum about a half dozen times in the past thirty years.  It hasn’t changed much.  We rushed from the museum across the street and into the Parliament Buildings. 



This was a guided tour that was extremely informative and the kids did a fantastic job being courteous to our guide. The children were also asking great questions and having answers that were asked of them.


Then we did a mad dash back to the Museum for the kids to watch an IMAX film.  This was only for the kids and the chaperones had some free time.  We took off almost instantly.


So a group of eight of us parents found a patio for the next forty five minutes and chilled out. I’m not saying I had a Bellini or that the others had sangria or ice cold beers, but we did… have some adult time.  We had good conversations about the school and kids.  It was a nice break before the hecticness began. After a cold bevie- we met up with the school and headed out for dinner.


58 kids, 29 parents and 2 teachers took over the Old Spaghetti Factory for one of the noisiest meals I have been at since my days at Chuck E. Cheese’s.  Absolute chaos was taking over.  As a smart parent- I suggested to the other parents that we let all of the kids get seated and we take a few tables at the other side. Best plan!

After dessert we ran to our bus because time was running out.  This time it wasn’t a school bus, but rather a charter bus.  With plush seats. The kids doubled up in the seats and the adults each took a double seat to stretch out.  The bus ride remained quiet.  All was good.


Our ferry ride back was calm at first.  Then the children began acting like caged animals.  The real issue today was a lack of recess.  Everything was planned to the minute and well organized.  But kids will be kids.  They had to burn off steam somehow- running around the decks was the only way to do this.  Us parents just didn’t have it in us to stop them.  The chaperones ended up in strategic locations in an effort to slow down the insanity.  The Chief Stewart ended up making an announcement over the PA system: “No running on the ferry please.” It wasn’t just our school.  Apparently another 200 kids were also on the ferry.  The poor passengers hoping for a calm ride to the Lower Mainland were now doing their best to ignore the children.


Our final bus ride calmed the children once more.  The bobble heads that the driver had on her dash mesmerized us all.  All around a good day.  I’m signing off now as we finish our ride back to the school.  Pretty sure a few cold beers will end my night at home.

It’s Over…

Quit being such a baby.

I’ve enjoyed the past few weekends of conventions, driving through the mountains and along the west coast. This week also had a bunch of quality family time and a lot of fun with my wife. But alas, all good things must come to an end…

The “old me”.

Back to the old grind for a couple of weeks of nightshifts beginning tonight.  At least I’m not on straight nights anymore like I was for years. Instead I do two weeks of nights, two weeks of days. As much as it sucks to have my vacation time end, I still kind of enjoy going to my job.  I mean come on, I move trains for a living!  That’s pretty cool no matter what age you are. I also have some fantastic coworkers whom I get along with. 

Even though my vacation is over, it’s nice to know that I have a decent job that supports my lifestyle and family.  Without this job, I probably wouldn’t be able to do the things we do or live where we live.  I could complain about going back to work or that I don’t want my vacation to end, but I won’t.  Instead, I’m going to make the most of my my time at work and look forward to my next set of vacation time later this summer.

I appreciate my job and my time off. All of that is a part of the work/life balance that people speak of. You need both to appreciate life. I’m working to try and make a better life for those around me. I also need the time off to enjoy being with those around me. Now I’m heading back to bed for my other favorite bedroom activity: Naps.

Mexico?

Being that today is Cinco de Mayo I figured I could talk about Mexico.

I’ve never been there. Nor do I want to go. It’s not on my “must see before I die” list.

That’s about it.  I don’t have much else to say about Mexico.

In regards to North America’s take on Mexico- I don’t overly drink tequila (never liked the after effects) and I rarely eat Taco Bell (never liked those after effects either).  However, authentic Mexican food intrigues me.  I’m pretty sure I can find a decent restaurant for that.

If we were to travel farther south than the USA, I’d like to hit South America and check out Peru or Brazil.  For beaches- I enjoyed Hawaii the one time we went, but could easily trade that for the Caribbean or Greece.  

I’m sure Mexico is nice and all.  From what I’ve seen from friends vacation pictures it looks like a great place to relax and be catered to. If I end up in Mexico one day, I’ll make the most of it. 


Tonight, I’m going make the most of it as well.  I’m hoping to enjoy a shot (or two) of Patron Gold Tequila with a Corona chaser. The best and worst Mexico has to offer.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Tell Me Why I Should Buy From You…


Back to back weekends of Comic Cons are finally done.  Days of being on the road are over.  Driving south, north, east and back west have taken its toll.  It’s like being a traveling salesman hitting up each convention.  New products showcased, people to network with, and complete strangers that you work hard at making them open their wallet and buy a piece of your livelihood.

Comic Cons aren’t all fun and games.  They’re mostly fun and games. But there is an air of work about them as well.  Subtly and not so subtly.  Sometimes it’s just striking up a conversation. Other times it’s working the floor trying to entice people to come check out your stuff.  When I’m at a convention, I’m always selling- only you wouldn’t know it.  

I walk around talking to other artists and vendors about what they make/sell.  I get right into what they believe is their end goal.  Not the product on their table, but their future.  I try and understand what makes their lives worth coming to these shows.  I find out about their “other life” away from the convention floor.  By the end, I haven’t said a thing about my wife’s business.  I wait until they ask what we do.

And that closes the sale. Not me forcing a product, but me being genuine as I listen to their stories. Guess what? The next time I see my fellow artists and vendors- I remember what they said to me. I ask about their families and how things are going from one convention to the next.  I’m not selling a hat.  I’m making a friend. If they choose to buy a product, that’s nice. If they choose to just hang out and talk shop, that’s great as well.  

What I sell is a sense of well being.  All it costs is a few minutes of your time.

Home Away From Home

While we are attending Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo this weekend we are staying in an Airbnb. It’s my first time using the service (my wife’s second). I’m impressed with the crazy amount of savings compared to a hotel.

We are staying in a two bedroom apartment that is fully furnished.  Cable tv, comforts of home include two full bathrooms and a kitchen at our disposal.  My only complaint, if I can really complain, is that the place we are in is in various stages of renovation. None of which are affecting our stay in any way.  But that makes it feel more like home.  Especially for me.

Our home is in a constant state of renovation or changes.  Being in someone else’s place that is the same, means to me that they are regular type folk.  I appreciate the fact that the owner of this place is allowing us to take over for a long weekend.  It’s in a great location and really close to the convention.  We have made a few meals as well which has saved us tremendously instead of dining out all weekend.  


For my first experience using Airbnb is worthy of wanting to use it again.  The savings and comforts are unbeatable.  I have a feeling we will use this service more often as our travels continue.

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.

Evil Footwear

I’m an idiot.  I thought wearing some rugged shoes would have been a good idea in Alberta. I was wrong.


Standing on my feet for the last six hours has pained me.  The concrete floor of the convention center sucks.  Luckily My wife almost always remembers to bring some foam mats to cushion below us.  This year, she brought her gel mat from her studio with us. 


I am eternally grateful that she did this. Tomorrow I am going to wear my runners instead.  Forget looking good- I need to last three more days on my feet.  I don’t want to be grumpy at my favorite convention of the year.

Perhaps when we get back to our AirBnB I will take some Advil and soak my feet.  A little me time… Maybe some scented candles? Aroma therapy? Foot rub? That last one won’t happen- who am I kidding.

Calgary

‘Cause Alberta doesn’t suck, but Calgary does…

Every time I think of Calgary, this song lyric pops into my mind.  It’s the final line in a song from a brief tv show in the early 90’s on CBC titled “Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie”.  

I’m not a fan of our neighbourly province.  However, we are here in town for the Calgary Expo. The best reason to head into Alberta.  It’s the sixth year we have driven to this convention. I really don’t know any other reason to cross the Rocky Mountains.  The views through the mountains are beautiful though.


I love Calgary. It is one of my favorite cities in Canada. I love driving around it. I love the people here.  It’s a big city with a small town feel. Even the high rises aren’t that tall. We are staying at my first Airbnb. It’s a lovely corner apartment on the outskirts of Calgary. The view of the city is worth the cost. What we are paying here for five nights is what we would have paid for two nights in a hotel. So far, so good!


I don’t think that the Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie were right. Perhaps the song was sarcasm. Because Calgary is the only place in Alberta that doesn’t suck.

Break? What Break?

Last week we drove from the Vancouver, BC area to San Jose for Silicon Valley Comic Con. We left on Wednesday stayed one night in Ashland, Oregon before a weekend of nerdiness.  We returned home by leaving at 05:30 on Monday to make it home by 8:30pm the same night.  We only have a couple of nights at home…


And we are leaving again tomorrow morning at 08:00 to drive through the Rocky Mountains and into Calgary, Alberta. We are going to drive straight through and should be there by 8:00pm the same day.  Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo is a four day event beginning Thursday. It’s a hard go, but a lot of fun.  

It’s even harder go to have a day and a half in between traveling.  I’m on vacation from my regular job and when we return from Calgary, I’ll have six days of recovery.  My wife isn’t as lucky.  Her business is always on.  She is constantly working.  Even while selling at these shows, she is often sneaking off to email correspond with online questions.  Her business is her pride and joy and she takes it very seriously.


My wife also has ups and downs but can’t just leave it in the office.  Her studio is only steps away from the side door of our home. She doesn’t get to go on vacation as easily as myself.  But when I’m on vacation and traveling with her- I like to think that I’m alleviating some of her work load.  

And I get to hit conventions!  Have I mentioned how much I enjoy those?

The Little Adventurers

This past weekend my wife and I attended Silicon Valley Comic Con. We did not bring our children, which is a rarity most of the time. We did however bring along a Pop Vinyl toy from each of our kids. We posed them and took photos of their adventures. 

My wife and I got some strange looks. Nothing like a couple of forty-somethings playing with toys and laughing as they took pictures. It made sense at the convention, but on the road and in restaurants- just a couple of looney tunes.

Here’s a quick peak at the mischief they got into:

Excitement as we hit the road.

A little bump on the road.

Dinner break.

The fair was closed due to rain!

We made it to our first hotel.

Why is he swimming in the rain?

Day 2- Checking out the Vista views.

Check out those views!

Thumbs up! We made it to California!

Photo bombing my selfie.

Group shot in the sun.

Check out the sun!

Learning about the landscape.

Let’s do it! Let’s move to Mars!

We want to work for NASA!

The whole reason for our trip!


We had fun with our “kids” this trip. A big thank you to our son Theory for his Domo Stay Puft who always looked excited; Darwin’s Hello Kitty who kept her cool the entire time; and Random’s Cyberman (whom we kidnapped without her knowledge).