Music is Life


I love music.  I enjoy hearing it echo throughout my home.  I installed speakers everywhere and I am always searching new styles of music to enjoy.  When I was a teenager, I listened to it as loud as possible while driving my car that my trunk would rattle.  Many a concert that I attended- I don’t remember much about them. But I have ticket stubs to say I was there. I’m surprised that I have only lost just under a quarter of my hearing in my right ear for certain decibels. 

We have kept music alive in our home for years. Once our children were born, we bought into the whole “Baby Einstein” thing.  I loved the music playing from the tv.  I think it helped to raise an appreciation for music and the arts in our children. When our children where in preschool, every month they learned about a different classical musician or artist.  It sure was better than hearing theme songs from Dora or Disney JR sung over and over.

Our children have been taking piano lessons since they were each in grade 1. We bought a grand piano nearly a decade ago.  It cost us the price of a car.  But it has brought much joy (and some anger) as they have played and practiced over the years. Today, our middle child had her Royal Conservatory Exam for Grade 3 piano.  Tomorrow night all three will be performing at a piano recital put on by their piano teacher.

Next year at school, our youngest will have an opportunity to start playing an instrument for band. My wife and I feel he should do trumpet.  He wants to try for a string instrument like the cello as well. Our kids love trying more unique instruments. This year, our middle child took on learning the Bassoon. She already had two years of clarinet, but wanted to stand out a bit more in music.  Our oldest joined choir this year.  I never knew she could sing at the caliber that she can. It also helped her with getting herself out there and perform for an audience.


I hope that our children have a lifelong appreciation for music.  I’d love to see them pursue more long term in the arts after leaving school.  I don’t want them to have regrets about not continuing on like many of my adult friends have had.

Don’t Talk To Me

Today I had a “Don’t F*cking Talk To Me” kind of day.  I wasn’t having a bad day.  I just had no desire to interact with humans.  The little interactions I have had were short and one word answers.  That was most of my day.  Plus I got two naps.

So why did I want to be left alone?


There’s a lot on my mind lately.  There is some maintenance to be done in our home. The kids are reaching their year end at school. Property taxes and summer vacation are on the horizon. And pretty much everything in between.  All jumbled and swirling in my head that I don’t know where to start. So I needed a “Don’t F*cking Talk To Me” day.

I am going to move past this. Llike the old adage says, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” That’s my life at the moment.  I had my time of inner reflection.

Tomorrow is baby steps.

One bite at a time.

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!”

Batman

Adam West passed away yesterday evening. He was the first Batman I saw when I was a child.  The show was already in reruns in the mid-eighties. Batman was my summer time weekday programming. I’ve seen every episode a few times over.  Even the movie is in my collection of DVDs.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. West at Fan Expo Vancouver.  He was at his autograph table right next to his former co-star Burt Ward.  There was no line up to meet them on the Sunday, so my son and I decided to go say hello.  My son was only six at the time and a couple of days before we had watched the old Batman movie.


Adam West was the nicest man to my son.  They talked for a while about the movie.  My son told him that his favorite part was the scene where he was running around with the big bomb.  It was great to just hear them interact.  Adam West was like an uncle sharing a good laugh with his nephew. After about ten minutes of laughs and conversation, my son said thank you and they shook hands.

Immediately after our meeting, we wandered over to meet the actor who played Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch).  My son was so excited- he told Boba Fett that he had just met Batman.

Adam West made an impression on me as a child.  He also made an impression on my son but in a more direct manner.  My son and I have bonded over your version of Batman. Thank you for the years of laughs.  

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.  

Good Rest

Getting a good sleep is something I never thought I needed. Today is proving difficult to function.  I rarely have days like this.  Usually I can get a full sleep or a couple naps when needed.  But even after 7 hours in bed, I feel like I could have slept double that.  

Unfortunately I have commitments today.  Ones that I really couldn’t give up on.  Perhaps the word “unfortunately” isn’t the best one to use. Tonight my son and his class are performing a year end show in the school auditorium.  There will be singing, dancing, and acting.


Most people cringe at the idea of watching young children perform.  Our children aren’t always front and center.  They aren’t the lead role or solo singers.  But they enjoy being a part of the groups.  They love knowing that there are no small parts. 

We are lucky to have our children in a Fine Arts School.  It pushes their imagination and abilities.  They explore their talents and discover some hidden talents.  The year end performance showcases these skills.  Our children love being here.


I really enjoy watching them perform as well.  I always made sure to see each and every performance that our children have done.  It can be draining and stressful to make sure I am present.  Days like today, where a part of me would rather be in bed, I won’t pass up the chance to see the show. I will push through the exhaustion and show my love and support.  Because that’s what a parent should do. 

Am I Doing This Right?

I’m not sure if or when it may have happened.  Apparently I am an adult. 


Yup.  This guy.  The one with a wife and three kids.  


I own a home with a mortgage. I also have car payments and bills.


This same guy who filled his garage with Lego some 12 years ago instead of parking his car is an adult. Yes, my shirt says “MUST BE THIS TALL TO RIDE”.


My version of becoming an adult is filled with “Dad Jokes” and silliness.  I can have all the responsibilities but continue to have the fun that I never wanted to give up. Being an adult isn’t easy.  But at the end of the day if I have food, shelter and a smile on my face- that’s a big win. 

This adulting thing is interesting to say the least.  Am I doing it right? I wonder what Mr. Smileyballoonface thinks?

Train Garden


Back in the summer of 2008, a year after we had moved into our home, we decided (mostly with my influence) to build a trainset in our garden instead of a pond. We cut down some trees and built up the ground to lay the tracks. It was a lot of time and a lot of fun.  The kids were happy to help out in building it and watching it run.  Plus at ages 2,4 & 6 playing in dirt is always the best.


Over the years, many changes have occurred to the train garden.  Some of it was just trial and error as I figured out how to make it look good and continue to run. Some were just for fun.  I’ve reconfigured the loops twice, built new bridges, placed bricks under the tracks to keep it level and even added in a small tunnel.  We have had issues with moles, birds and even a snake trying to make a home out of the garden. 


But the biggest hurdle is that I haven’t figured out how to keep the engines running smoothly. The tracks are outside all year and the electrical connection drops in various parts.  This has caused excessive wear on the motors on both of my engines.  I’ve had to replace the motors a few times now.  My next option is to buy a battery pack- like the type used for RC cars. And of course a remote control to help run them. A remote that can eventually be used to control every aspect of the railroad.  From lights to sounds to even lining switches. That way I can use the power source that I currently have to add some lighting to buildings or other structures. I love scale models of scenery shots. They’re so much fun to set up.

Our next biggest hurdle is money for my project.  It would seem that whenever a bit of extra fun is wanted, something more serious rears its ugly head.  Unfortunately this time it appears that our washing machine has decided to leak from who-knows-where.  I’ve tried to take it apart to find the source of the leak, but to no avail.  Looks like a new washer is about to be purchased in a couple of days.  


Or we can just enjoy stinky, dirty clothes and have a cool trainset for the summer.  I’ll let my wife decide.  I know my choice. 

Woo-woo!

Grade 7 Camp


It seems to be a rite of passage for those in Grade 7 to go on a class camping trip.  I did it when I was younger.  Our oldest daughter did it two years ago. And today our middle child is off to camp for the week.

Taking the children away for a week is like a breath of fresh air for us parents.  So far a minimum of 8 years has been spent taking the kids to school.  Add two more to that for us since we did two years of part time preschool! We have been helping them with homework or friend problems along the way.  This camping adventure is also a way for the teachers to unwind a bit and let the kids prove that they are becoming young adults before entering into middle/high school. There’s probably some teachable moments thrown in…


Of course there will be swimming, hiking, campfires, archery, canoeing, and all the other good times.  Some skills that the kids will enjoy, while other skills will be more life lessons. Mess hall meals and scheduled sleep times will help to keep them in line. All-in-all lots of fun and games with friends and not too many parents.

I’m going to miss our daughter this week.  So it’s a good thing I’ll be sleeping all day long and working through the nights.  I hope she enjoys the trip with her classmates. I remember enjoying mine.  That reminds me- I should probably look at booking our campsite for later this summer before they’re all gone…