Luxury Automobile?

Often when I am sharing stories about my father, they aren’t always in the best light.  But I have learned a few things from him that stick with me to this day.  The one that sprung up in my mind today was of how to properly wash a car.

1977 Mercedes Benz 450SL similar to my father’s car.

In the mid 1980’s my father bought his “Dream Car”- or rather, bought a car from an automaker that he felt portrayed luxury.  He bought himself a 1977 Mercedes Benz 450SL convertible in white with both a soft top and hard top.  He babied this car for the first couple of years that he owned it.  He taught me how to wash the car with care and diligence.  I was about 9 years old at the time and had washed cars before, just not very well.  

He explained the need to clean the car panel by panel, door by door, top to bottom.  He showed me how to use a shammy with a bit of water on it to dry the car in perfect swipes.  He explained how to care for the black soft top and how to properly clean the glass.  I learned the right way to “ArmorAll” the leather and vinyl interior by spraying on a rag first to avoid overspray.  This car was my father’s pride and joy.  The first summer he owned it, he drove it everywhere.  Every chance he had to take the top down, it was down. I associate automobile luxury with that white car.  A car that was about nine years old when my father bought it.  I believe he spent $20,000 on it and within five years had added another $12,000 in maintenance and engine repairs.  He finally traded in the car for $7,000 towards a minivan. The minivan was purchased because my sister was hit by a truck on my 17th birthday & suffered two broken legs.  This was the easiest way to transport her around. (Future blog post idea…)


I associate luxury cars with the color white now.  That’s probably the reason I bought my Nissan Rogue SLawd in Pearl White.  It was top of the line and luxurious to me.  I have babied this car since buying it a few months ago.  It is my Mercedes Benz.  

At least I don’t think of Yugos as a luxury car.  My father owned a white one back in 1981 that got in a bad accident.  

Customer Support


About a week ago I wrote about having a Spam issue with my blog: iOS Spam? I received numerous messages from friends and readers taking screen shots of the issue.  This was great for two reasons:

1. It showed me this was a problem with not just one or two people.

2. It showed me that I have diligent readers of my blog.

Immediately after posting that day’s blog, I contacted WordPress and told them the issue.  They responded quickly. At first they suggested my friends try rebooting their phones and using a different browser to read the blog.  Obviously, this tactic didn’t work and my blog continued to have pop up ads preventing readers.  So I contacted WordPress again.


This time they worked on resolving the issue on their end.  To much greater success. I don’t always commend companies or websites because oftentimes I’m just a little voice hardly worth hearing.  But I was rather impressed with how WordPress took the time to help me out and I had a direct responder who must’ve been assigned my case.  

Chrissie- You were very professional and prompt with the responses.  It may not seem like much, but I appreciated the time and courtesy you gave to me.

And to all of those who read my blog on a regular basis- thank you again!  I love writing every day.  I know that it’s usually nothing life changing or world altering, but it’s something I have grown to enjoy doing.  Having readership and excellent customer service just proves to me that I should still keep on writing.

Am I a Writer or a Plumber?

I procrastinated for about two days before finally starting on a home repair project.  More Plumbing issues.  Old house- new problems.  It seems to always be plumbing issues in this home.  It’s the one thing that drives me to want to throw in the towel and sell.  Today, I didn’t want to even start this project, just in case.


Today was a repair needed for the pipe connection that goes directly into the hot water tank.  It seems the water from our well is rather rough on the pipes.  The hot water tank was new in March 2012, so I can time the corrosion to about 5 years.  Which seems about right for each repair I’ve had to do.  

So this morning, I took a shower, then washed dishes, filled the kettle, and filled a couple of jugs & pots with water.  (You know, just in case I really eff this one up.) Then began the water shut off followed by a draining of pipes and hot water tank.  After some internal debate with myself “You can do this Josef! Nope.  Better call a plumber!” I finally pulled out the hacksaw and cut the pipe. 

Some elbow grease and the part was removed.  It was off to the Home Depot and search out the replacement part(s). I found what I needed to make the repair work.  There are these fantastic parts called Shark Bite that are amazingly easy to use and haven’t caused me any grief in the past.  Within a few minutes of getting home, the repair was completed. Then the moment of truth. Turn the water back on to the house.


Success.  No more leak. I was so happy that I decided to write about it.  I’m not a plumber, but can make do.  I’m not quite a writer yet either.  I enjoy writing way more than plumbing that’s for sure. Having a basic knowledge of both skills has gotten me this far in life.  Heck, I even understand electrical work and other home improvements.  I have also studied books on writing and taken courses on the subject.  Yet somehow, I can’t get myself to write the novel I want people to read. It’ll come to me eventually.  When it does, the creative waters will flow!

iOS Spam?

Today’s blog post isn’t about anything.  It’s more a test to see if my posts are receiving iOS spam.  I’ve had two people tell me that when they try and read my blog posts that it connects to spam and is unreadable. One was from clicking the link on Twitter, the other was from my Facebook page- only when trying to read on an iPhone. But if you exit and go back, the spam is gone.

That sucks.  But in a era of cyber hackers and a-holes it doesn’t surprise me that even my little blog would get affected. Hopefully I can get WordPress to resolve this issue.  Or perhaps they already are.  

I wonder if this would fix it?


I don’t have much else to add today.  So if there’s ever an issue trying to read my posts, please let me know.  Because maybe the two other people who read them are having the same issues.

From Catchprases to Catastrophic Films.

Recently at work I realized that there are a few “catchphrases” that I use.  These have become a way of my speaking that I don’t notice saying them anymore.  At least not until someone points it out. So I am writing about a couple of them.

One phrase I’ve been using over the past few weeks is one that I used to use years ago. “Pitter-patter.  Let’s get at ‘er.” This phrase strikes me as an odd one.  It reminds me of talking to children about getting things done quickly.  I do tend to say it more in a joking manner when using it.  Sure, I want the work to get done.  But I also want the employees to be a bit relaxed and calm at the start of the shift.  If saying something ridiculous like “Pitter-patter” gives them some motivation, and it works, then why should I stop saying it?

The other phrase I use is one that I began using about eight or nine years ago.  It’s stayed with me ever since.  I still remember the first time I decided to say it.  I was working a nightshift servicing a couple of industries. It made the engineer laugh pretty hard the first time I said it, so it stuck.  I use this phrase whenever a train starts to pull and the tail end finally moves. I used to say it as a Yardmaster as well when I would tail a crew in a track using a camera. I get on the radio and say, “All shakin’ Kevin Bacon.”


It’s a great reference to the films “Footloose and Tremors” starring Mr. Kevin Bacon.  Just a bit of fun as we work moving rail cars. Plus I loved the movie “Tremors” a shit ton when it came out.  I was 14 and must’ve watched it a few dozen times that year.  Big sand snakes called “Graboids” that chase people from underground in the desert?  What’s not to love? 


Mind you- this was at a time in my life that I really enjoyed “B” horror movies.  The kinds that you would find on the 2-4-1 video rental shelves.  Sometimes they had excessive blood and guts, othertimes naked women for no reason. Hey- I was just becoming a teenage boy with a vcr and tv in his room, can you blame me for renting these?  Schlock horror was (and still is) a guilty pleasure of mine.  Give me some “Evil Dead” or “Toxic Avenger” anytime.  Throw in the “Child’s Play” or the “House” series and you’d live through my movie repertoire. 


I’m glad that Netflix has brought back a few classics over the past couple of years as well. I completely forgot about “Killer Klowns From Outer Space”. I can’t imagine some of these films getting made today- especially at a time when remakes and superhero movies are all the rage. 

Wait a second, “Sharknado 5: Global Swarming” is coming out this August! I hope they plan another sequel after it. If not, “Pitter-patter.  Let’s get at ‘er!”

501st

This is now my 501st blog post.  I’ve written diligently everyday now since I started this hobby.  I often write about my children, my past, comic conventions, and movies.  My favorite movie franchise is Star Wars.  It has had a profound impact on my life.  But instead of writing again about my love of Star Wars, I wanted to thank those who use their passion for the Force and do good deeds.


Of course I’m talking about The 501st Legion.  It started with a small group of Star Wars fans back in 1997.   Then in 2007, George Lucas granted the Legion a limited use of the copyrighted Star Wars characters provided the members of the 501st promised never to use their costumes for personal profit and that they represent the franchise in a positive and respectful manner. 

Originally just having screen accurate Storm Trooper costumes, they now sport a variety of costumes from many of the Star Wars films, comics, and cartoons. Branching out from the original group in California- the group has since grown in numbers and factions. There are groups worldwide in various countries.

Our first Vancouver Fan Expo.

At the numerous Comic Cons I have gone to up and down the West Coast- there is always a 501st Legion in attendance.  Taking photos for donations, sometimes for the “Make A Wish” foundation, oher times for “The Children’s Hospital”.  Nearly every time we see them, I make a donation for my children to have a photo taken.  


The 501st is the only organization that I have been wanting to join.  Giving more than just money, I’d love to give some of my time.  Especially when it comes to children. I have always been a huge supporter of making children happy and keeping the magic alive as long as possible.  From the parades I would volunteer at with the movie theater to my years of working at Chuck E. Cheese’s, to the support of my own children- joining the 501 is something I feel I should do.

To the many volunteers and fans from the 501st- thank you for all you do and have done. Bad guys doing good. I know that many children, and other fans, have loved everything you have done for the communities you live in.  

Bad Blood

Sometimes hostility remains even after you have “Buried The Hatchet”. I don’t tend to keep in contact with people who piss me off.  And it takes a lot to get me to that point.


But I also know that I have lost many so called friends, or missed out on job opportunities, even dating when I was younger because of someone’s influence on the lady person I liked.  Opinions matter to nearly everyone in the known universe.  Opinions about oneself, each other, current events- you name it, people have an opinion.  And it sucks.

It sucks being a quality Grade “A” asshole.  It sucks being treated like you’re second class.  It sucks that not everyone shares the same opinion. It sucks that we feel things. It sucks that we can’t be emotionless drones. It sucks…

But it doesn’t suck.  It means we are weeding out those around us that aren’t of benefit.  There are people we need to lose contact with because they are jerks. Or perhaps because of the lack of their intellect makes them appear as jerks.  Maybe we lose a friend or two because they are taking something of value away from us.  Maybe it’s emotional, maybe it’s tangible- maybe it’s the air we breathe.  But losing people from our lives means they have run their course.  


Being courteous doesn’t mean I have to be nice.  People need to breathe and eat- you won’t see me choking the shit out of a dumbass, no matter how badly I want to.  I’m also 100% sure that I’ve been on the receiving end of that hate.  Come on, I have a younger sister- she’ll tell you how great of a big brother I was in the past. 

Stop caring what people think of you.  Start caring about what you think of o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶s̶ yourself. Just be the best you that you can be. Dammit I ranted.  

Here’s a picture of a rhododendron from my front yard.  It don’t give a shit what you think.  It’s pretty because it’s designed to be pretty. Not because someone told it to change.

Dress For the Job You Want?


For the past decade at my work- I was pretty much a jeans and nerdy t-shirt kinda guy. Always sporting a new shirt after the many conventions we would attend. My hair even changed color on a regular basis. It didn’t take away from who I was known to be- an intelligent guy who looked creative and fun to be around.

In December, I took on the role of Assistant Trainmaster, so my look had to change.  Not since my days of being a manager at Chuck E Cheese’s did I have to wear dress pants and golf shirts/dress shirts (albeit the shirts had a Rat logo on them). But I now found myself ten years into a job of dressing pretty relaxed into having to go for a semi-professional grown up look.  Some plain golf shirts and some new dress pants were purchased.  My hair has become a normal colour and style.  No more red contact lens for fun. I’m all grown up for a new grown up position.

I don’t own a suit. But today I wore my black pin striped dress pants and a short sleeved grey dress shirt to work.  The only suit jacket I have came out from my closet. It just so happens to be black pin striped and have a large sequined cross on the back of it.  


I showed up at work and everyone was surprised at how well dressed I was. As if they’d never seen me before. I stopped by the door to my boss’s office and said good morning to him.  He asked me why I was so dressed up. I told him that I am the “Rock Star of the Railroad” and turned around. He laughed when he saw the back of the jacket.

Even though I am doing my best to be professional, I am still who I am.  I’m here to enjoy my job, enjoy my life, and enjoy the company of others.  I look good in whatever I choose to wear. I don’t dress for the job I want. Rather, I have made my job accept how I dress. I’m proud of my many looks. Every day is a new day.

My Daughter’s Adventure

Last night my 13 year old daughter had an adventure. Not a physical adventure.  But more of a mind blowing adventure.  We spoke of parallel universes and timelines.  I’ve always been good at open discussion on this subject.  Not my first time running around this course…


My daughter is far beyond herself in the philosophical department.  Oftentimes keeping herself awake at night as her brain focuses on the obscure.  She has asked that her and I sit down and talk.  I’ve had to ask for a delay in this, since I have to work and have a few prior arrangements.  Pretty sure this won’t be the end of our discussions even if I didn’t have to postpone.


But it leaves me with a dilemma.  Do I sugarcoat and dumb down my talks with her?  Or should I explain that no one knows the truth?  Maybe I can point her towards some of the more realistic ideals in life. Or am I going to hinder her mental progress? 

You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

I think that in the end I can only guide her towards what she seeks. I can explain what other people have thought about life, the universe and everything.  I can lend her books and ask her questions- but I can’t tell her what’s real.

I don’t know what’s real.

Deodorant or Antiperspirant

I usually put on antiperspirant fairly soon after my shower.  I shower every day. Or at least on every day that I plan on leaving my home. If I don’t plan on leaving my home or take a shower, I will put on deodorant…


But I don’t like it.  It’s a Speed Stick that I have owned for years.  I don’t like it for two reasons: One, I don’t overly like the scent. And reason B: it smells the way my father used to. 

That bothers me.  

Pretty sure this particular deodorant was a shitty Christmas stocking gift from my youth.  It somehow lived through many location moves and numerous ex girlfriends.


When I put it on, I think of my father. My father would smell of Rothman’s Cigarettes, stale beer and this deodorant. After a day of yardwork, this deodorant kicks in.  And the old man smell shows up. Sometimes bringing with it, my old man’s attitude.  A day of work makes me get angry at the littlest things.  The Speed Stick is like a pheromone that turns on my “Pissed off gene” and angry dad shows up.  I hate it. Yesterday was hard to contain those emotions, but I did.

Perhaps it’s time to turf the pit stick.