Heavy Metal?

Only recently have I really grown to appreciate the glam rockers from the 80’s and 90’s.  Something about the rock ballads they sang that seem so out of place from what the band’s image was portraying.

Poison had some deep lyrics in Cry Tough:

“Life ain’t no easy ride at least that’s what I am told

Sometimes the rainbow baby is better than the pot of gold”

Or when you hear Every Rose Has it’s Thorn you just have to sing along.

Ugly Kid Joe sang about hating Everything About You but could switch gears and do a great cover of The Cat’s In The Cradle.  

Nowadays everyone knows Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing.

Getting more women by looking like women.

Guns ‘n Roses November Rain was a love song about break-ups that was beautifully composed.

I never really listened to this style of music when it first came out.  Yet, somehow it was always there ready for my enjoyment throughout the years.  

Thank you Hair Bands for making the drive to and from work more fun.

We all have bad days

Bad days suck.  They hit you hard sometimes out of the blue and make you grumpy.  Then you get grumpy at someone else, and they get grumpy at someone else, and so on.

Anything can happen that makes you have a bad day.  Maybe the guy driving beside you has a lime green car and you hate limes because of a bad tequila experience in Mexico.  Perhaps the sun is out and you threw on a pair of jeans this morning, and the chafing is making you uncomfortable as you walk down the street.  Or your best friend is touting about how great their life is and you are swimming in a mountain of debt.  Any or all of these combined can put you over the edge and cause a bad day.

There’s been times where I’ve come home from work and the cloud of leave-me-the-hell-alone is hanging over me.  Work is work.  Most days are ok, and you go through the motions and come home leaving everything behind.  Sometimes there’s one person at work that just rubs you the wrong way and you can’t shake it off no matter what.  I’m 100% sure I’ve been that person to a few coworkers.  Not intentionally mind you, but the vibe after an interaction is definitely there.  

I don’t need to be liked.  I’m not looking for validation from people to make my existence mean something.  Be it at work or out there in the rest of the world, I’m not seeking hundreds of friends.  Calling me names or trying to lower my self worth doesn’t affect me like it did when I was younger.  I can accept that people need to vent, so go ahead and say what you want to me, I’m a grown up.  

Oftentimes I don’t go out of my way to be a dick… Yes, I can be as childish as the next person and do something stupid or say something mean just to piss them off.  It’s in our nature.  But being smart enough to stop myself before I do it, or strong enough to admit when I was wrong is what I strive for in those situations.  I’m a better person for having control over my feelings and being able to sense when someone else is just spouting words that they feel need to be said.

We all have bad days.  We just need to learn to deal with them as grown ups.

Sometimes… When I Look in Your Eyes I Can See Your Soul

My wife and I met 16 years ago today.  We have been together for 5844 days.  We’ve had a great run together & it doesn’t look like it will end any time soon.  I can’t pinpoint the exact reasons we click, we just do.  I’ve written plenty of sappy blog posts already & I plan on writing a few more in the future.  Today I’m going to post a video & the lyrics from the song that we fell in love to.  It’s not a love song, but the imagery in the lyrics is beautiful and the video is simple.

Click to enjoy “Sometimes” by James

Sometimes I can see your soul.

There’s a storm outside, and the gap between crack and thunder

Crack and thunder, is closing in, is closing in

The rain floods gutters and makes a great sound on concrete

On a flat roof, there’s a boy leaning against the wall of rain

Aerial held high, calling, “Come on thunder, come on thunder”

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul
It’s a monsoon and the rain lifts lids off cars

Spinning buses like toys, stripping them to chrome

Across the bay, the waves are turning into something else

Picking up fishing boats and spewing them on the shore

The boy is hit, lit up against the sky, like a sign, like a neon sign

And he crumples, drops into the gutter, cuts strange, legs twitching

The flood swells his clothes and delivers him on, delivers him on
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

There’s four new colors in the rainbow an old man’s taking Polaroids

But all he captures is endless rain, endless rain, endless rain

He says listen, takes my head and puts my ear to his

And I swear I can hear the sea

Sometimes, when I look in your eyes

I can see your soul, I can reach your soul

Sometimes, when I look in your eyes

I can see your soul, I can touch your soul

Sometimes, when I look in your eyes

I can see your soul, I can hear your soul
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul
Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes

I swear I can see your soul

This is the woman I fell in love with. circa 2000


Last night our ten year old son had a sleepover party at our home with three of his friends from school.  I’m just going to number the children since I don’t remember any of their names.  Laid out before you is the list of last night’s events….

Kid 1 arrives fifteen minutes early with his mom.  My son sees them pulling in the driveway and hurtles the couch from a stand still position and races to the door.  I made my way to the door and already these two are talking a mile a minute with an enthusiasm of long lost buddies.  I should point out that they saw each other only two hours prior as school ended.  Kid 1 is so excited to be at our home that he almost runs through me to get to the next room.  He stops dead in his tracks, then turns and gives his mom a hug and says goodbye.  

Before the mayhem begins.

No sooner had I shut the door than Kid 2 arrives with his mother.  My son and Kid 1 run into the damp driveway in socks and jump around the car like puppy dogs waiting for the door to open.  You’d think Kid 2 must be a celebrity or something the way they were acting around the car- peering into the window trying to open the door.  His mother gets out of the car with him and she stares me down and promptly tells me this is his first sleepover ever and if he needs to- he can call her any time.  Mind you- I’ve never met this kid or his mother, and earlier that day I dyed my hair purple.  Kid 2 gave his mother a big hug before she left.  She was probably regretting bringing him to our home as a tall skinny freak wearing an “Ewoking Dead” T shirt and donning purple hair was about to lead him away.
My son was now in full “show off all my stuff” stage and spoke in a quickness that surpassed even the best auctioneers.  Only five minutes in our home and Kid 1 is asking for food.  I told him I’d be bringing out a veggie platter and popcorn once the last kid arrives.  Two minutes later, he’s asking about pizza.  Less than two minutes after that he’s asking about potato chips and cola.  You’d think this kid doesn’t get fed regularly.  At least he had manners and said thank you after every answer I gave.

A few moments of my son bragging ended and the three of them ran to check out the backyard, only pausing briefly to grab a bottle of water.  Water which they’d only sip and ten minutes later be asking for another bottle.  I remember times like that, but I was usually drinking beers at a house party and I was in my early twenties.  

Kid 3 shows up.  Late.  His father drops him off with a suitcase.  The father was about to leave, turned and asked his son for a hug.  This interaction appeared robotic and almost like the father forgot how to “dad” for a moment.  I am now afraid that his son may be moving in as I glance down at the suitcase in my hall.

Kid 3 runs through my home to the back yard leaving the door wide open.  Kid 1 re-enters the house asking again when pizza was being served.  I tell him it will be here when my wife gets home.  He then runs back outside in his socks.  All I could think was that their parents are going to kill me over laundry.

Turned up to 11.

All is quiet in the house as the volume outside has been turned up to eleven.  I brought out the veggie platter and look over to see Kid 3 has decided to scale the outside of the tree fort.  Kid 1, Kid 2 & my son were practicing wrestling moves oblivious to Kid 3 doing his Spiderman impression fifteen feet off the ground.  Staying calm I call over to the group that there’s food.  Like vultures they hurried over and ate only the cucumbers.  Kid 1 asks about pizza.  Again.  I’m cursing my wife’s name since she set this party up knowing she wouldn’t be here until later.  It’s only been five minutes since the last kid showed up.  Kill me.

The next hour or so involved wet dirty feet running in and out of the house, some piano being “played” and arguing over what to do next.  Kid 3 was disagreeing with every suggestion, even I was beginning to hate this kid.  Pizza arrived with my wife.  She is now a goddess as the boys see her pull into the driveway with the food.  Screaming boys ran inside, “washed” hands (but don’t know what a towel is to dry said washed hands) and rushed to the table for food.  Kid 1 grabbed two pieces of pizza and immediately dismantled all of the toppings, discarding them in a pile never to be eaten.  Kid 2 began telling one line  stories.  “I’m an adopted velociraptor.  My brother is pregnant.  I like to comb my hair.  Wanna hear about my play?”  Dude- your monologue is more than enough for a one-man show.  I do not need to hear about something else.

Kid 3 is eating a piece of pizza and trying to run back out the door into the rain.  My son is laughing at everything going on.  My wife, two daughters and myself sit silently as we eat pizza at the far end of the table.  The boys run back to the theater room and begin watching Star Wars.  Two hours of silence had begun.  My wife knows that I hate her at this exact moment, so she goes to hide.  I crack a beer and play some cards with my daughters for the next while, relieved that everything is slowing down.

Seriously. Go to sleep.

The movie is over and the boys are noisy again.  Arguing over playing video games or watching another show.  Referee dad enters and tells them they can watch two short cartoons on Netflix, then bed.  The shows are over, so I go back in and tell them it’s bed time.  Kid 3 says to me, “can we play musical chairs?” (I’m not joking here, he actually asked this.)  the other three boys look at me with concern in their eyes.  My response was, “Why would I want you playing musical chairs right before bed?  The answer is no, don’t be ridiculous.”  Kid 1 & Kid 2 sigh relief.  Into their sleeping bags they get.  Kid 2 is combing his hair.  I looked away for a moment turning off the screen and stereo, when Kid 2 somehow jammed the comb into his gums and began screaming and crying.  He finally calmed down and they went to sleep.  Miracles do happen!


Screaming and laughter is coming from the theater room.  My wife investigates (because I am pretending to still be sleeping) and tells them to keep it down.


I can’t deal with the noise anymore.  I go downstairs and give them a final warning about being quiet.  This works about as well as telling people at a Trump rally to calm down.  Kid 1 is asking about breakfast.  I look down and shaking my head and start a pot of coffee.  Then crawl back into bed.  I proceed to ignore all noises coming from downstairs.


My wife had snuck out of our room way earlier (probably around 7am) and prepared the waffle batter.  She called me down to make waffles because apparently she doesn’t know how to turn on a waffle iron.  We make chocolate cake waffles and vanilla ice cream.  Kid 2 says he wants regular waffles and hates chocolate.  So I serve him a chocolate waffle with ice cream and tell him that’s all he’s getting.  Suddenly he loves it.  Kid 1 ends up eating four waffles.  Seriously, does he not get fed?  They are off to play videogames to end out the party.

11:00am on the button:

Kids are getting picked up and relief is coming over me.  The house is quiet again, but needs a major cleaning.  My wife kindly reminds me that tonight our 12 year old daughter is having twice as many people over for her slumber party.

I’m glad to be going to work this evening.




“Hey there.”




Greeting people in different ways keeps interactions fresh and appealing.  Meeting new people is usually followed by some other pleasantries and then it’s down to business.  Seeing friends at random sometimes involves a handshake or a hug.  Passing neighbors on the sidewalk in a rural community can involve a simple hello or a head nod.  Walking past strangers in the city however, look down and away from them at all costs!  Avoidance of people contact also happens if you’re having a bad day or are in a rush to get someplace.  I have been guilty of this in the past.   I have since decided that interactions with people often brings forward knowledge that I didn’t have prior to the meet.

We live in a farmland area where all the neighbors know each other and have for decades.  Greeting them at the local store is a common occurrence.  Our community is fairly tight knit and we discuss the real issues that affect where we live- not the drama unfolding in someone else’s life.  We talk about the school system changes, the housing developments that may or may not be happening, and what sort of projects we are doing around the home.  

It’s a far cry from my work where I know every detail about someone’s messy divorce, work discipline, or accident.  Gossip spreads through my work faster than I remember that happening in highschool.  Of course outside of work my friends and I talk about who we knew, and try and keep up with those lives.  Oftentimes the drama is left out and we share the good aspects of “where are they now?”

Are you a Heather?

Greetings are a way to break the ice.  It’s not always what we want to do, but it’s a common courtesy that we should all do.  Even if it kills us inside.


Every season we spend time rearranging our home.  Halloween gets spooky, Christmas gets cheery, Spring time gets plants & a good cleaning, while summer gets-well… rearranged.

It seems every summer we move furniture around from room to room.  Sometimes we even put up a coat of paint on the walls.  We reorganize the rooms for a few reasons:

  1. Our family is growing up and the needs change.  We don’t need a crib, then we don’t need bunk beds, then we need a room for doing homework…  Or as our children get bigger, the couches need to get moved around so that everyone has a good place to sit to play video games or have a family movie night.
  2. We don’t like/are bored of the configuration of how the home is laid out.  Maybe the brown couch would look better in the family room instead of the theater room.  Perhaps the piano would be nicer by the fireplace instead of in the sunroom.  Or the display cabinets should get moved and show off movie memorabilia instead of Lego sets.
  3. It’s a way of purging stuff we don’t use or have a fondness for anymore.  As we move furniture around we discover that a glass vase or a gumball machine aren’t what we want as a knickknack just taking up space.

We don’t usually sell anything that we don’t need/want.  Often times we give it away to friends or family if they want it.  Or we get a load together and drop it off at a local thrift store.  My biggest criteria for donating items is that they are still useful.  No one wants a broken table lamp or an old tube tv.  So we take those to a recycling depot.

Another great etsy find.

Summer is often a time to relax.  We get a jump on the clean/purge/rearranging now so that when the kids are out of school, we can enjoy the time together.  One day my wife and I will be rearranging our home and discover that it’s just us in here.  Our stuff will have been moved out or donated and all that will remain is our memories of the changes that occurred over the years. 

I’m okay with that because it will mean that we achieved the goal we set out to do- raise a family.


“Anything that happens, happens.”

“Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.”

“Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.”

“It doesn’t necessarily do it in chronological order though.”

Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Today is Towel Day.

To many, this is just another day.  To others, it’s just another day to celebrate made up by geeks like May 4th: Star Wars Day.  To me- it is what makes my life, my universe, my everything.

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a Trilogy written in five parts.  The first two books were made into a fantastically bad special effects BBC Miniseries in 1981 that only the BBC could do.  Later, Hollywood released their version with all high gloss and green screen effects (shout out to the late Alan Rickman who voiced Marvin).  Both tell the same story, both are entertaining, both could have been done better.

I first read the series of books back in 2000 around the time I met my wife.  For Christmas 2001, I gave her a copy of all five books conveniently made into one, and asked her if we could name our daughter after a character from the novels.  Which we did.  Our first born was named Random and she arrived on this planet in July of 2002.

Life, the universe, and everything.


Our daughter has grown into her name.  It also paved the way of how we would name our other two children that would be born after her.  Random, Darwin, Theory.  Often we are asked if we are scientists because of this.  I like to answer that it’s because we are Atheists.  Believing in a god, gods, spaghetti monsters, or evolution shouldn’t matter as long as people follow the “Golden Rule”.  If it weren’t for H2G2, I don’t know what we would have named our children, or what journey my life would have been on if I never read the books.  I am grateful that such a book was written and that it influenced my life.  In a way, I could guess that this is what people think when they read the bible and it’s impact on their lives.

The page in which our daughter gets introduced.


Douglas Adams’ writing was witty.  Unknowingly to him at the time,he helped to create everyone’s life on this planet.  Look at your smartphone or iPad in your possession.  It is exactly what The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was described as.  A wealth of knowledge at your fingertips that was gathered from across the universe.  Do a search of “what is the answer to life the universe and everything?” and the result is 42.  But that answer is really to the question, “what do you get when you multiple six by nine?”  Thus proving that life is one big joke in this cosmic universe.

So grab your towel people, the universe is taking us for a ride, and DON’T PANIC.


Loot Crate

There’s a cool subscription box service that we were getting for years now.  Loot Crate started small, and has grown exponentially.  We started our subscription about three months after it’s launch.  That means since 2012, a monthly box of cool junk has shown up at our home.

We have kept all of our boxes.  There are YouTube videos of people unboxing every month.

We have received exclusive Pop Vinyls, comics, and movie prop replicas.  The past few months a geeky t-shirt has also been included.  People often ask me where I get the shirts, so I explain Lootcrate to them.  I have gotten many others to become “Looters”.  For nearly four years we have enjoyed the knick-knacks that have appeared at our door step.  Last night, we cancelled our subscription.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with the service- far from it- there’s just so many other reasons for us to leave.  We enjoyed the exclusive merch, but have found that it’s not so exclusive if tens of thousands of people are getting it.  At conventions, I see many people wearing the shirts that Lootcrate gave out and I don’t feel like a special snowflake anymore.  We are also running out of shelf space for the items that we were getting.  Even my kids were beginning to get tired of the “hand-me-down” loot.  The biggest reason we cancelled is actually because of the exchange rate.  

We tried to wait it out and hoped that the Canadian dollar would rise again, but no such luck.  Because we have lived so close to the US border, we often shopped on a weekly basis in America.  But for quite some time now, the value just isn’t there anymore.

So, it was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to Lootcrate.  Perhaps one day we will cross paths again.


Coffee, tea, soda, or energy drinks.  Everyone has a way of getting that burst of energy.  Personally I go for coffee.  My wife and I share a pot every morning.  Even if I’m coming home from a nightshift.  This makes us about 2-3 cups each.  On a rare occasion we make a second pot.  It all depends on how our day before went…

When I first started working shift work or nights, I would pick up a large energy drink or two.  I did this for a few years until I realized that I was getting severe heartburn regularly.  It only took my body a few days to return to normalcy.  Now, I only have an energy drink once or twice a year-usually on the fourth day of a ComiCon.  This is because hotel breakfast coffee is the worst and trying to justify spending $5 at Starbucks on a black coffee is difficult.  


My tastes in coffee are simple.  Inexpensive (but not bottom of the barrel cheap), hot, and two sugar- no matter what size- two sugar adds the exact sweetness I need for my coffee.  Like the chemical compounds for the caffeine to sugar ratio has nothing to do with the liquid itself.  

Coffee doesn’t keep me awake either.  I could drink a pot of coffee to myself and then go straight to sleep.  I drink coffee more for the fact that I always drank it.  I have never had caffeine withdrawals because I never let that happen.

Something is seriously wrong with this math.

In my home we rarely have cans of cola around.  We usually purchase 2L bottles of Ginger Ale or a lemon lime soda when it’s on sale- then we stock up!  My personal taste is Dr. Pepper and my wife enjoys Coke Zero, so we pick up one or two of those as well.  Our children drink mostly water, tea or milk.  Treats on the weekend include juice or a glass of pop.  If it’s a family birthday or special occasion, then our kids get a cup of coffee, but it’s half filled with milk or cream.

Now that it’s getting warmer, I’m going to try and enjoy some iced coffees.  However, coffee at our home rarely lasts in the pot long enough to get cold, so I will be resorting to buy my iced coffees elsewhere.  Thank goodness McDonald’s has them for $1.00 all summer!  Time to get caffeinated & cool off.

Blatant advertizing. Only a dollar all summer!


How shiny and 80’s.

As a child in the 80’s, I sort of watched WWF.  I knew the names of most of the main wrestlers- Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, André the Giant… but the show never really took hold into my little brain.  By the late 90’s I sort of took an interest in it again.  Pay-per-views and Monday Night Raw was a regular occurrence with friends.  It was a fun bond with my friends as we watched D-Generation X, Stone Cold, Mankind, The Rock & others beat each other regularly.

As we watched the shows, we drank beers and goofed off after the credits rolled and the last man was pinned.  It was a social event every month to get together and watch the main events.  Shortly after I started at the movie theater they began showing the PPVs as well.  My buddies and I would go and watch them for free and sneak beers in and get rowdy with the crowds.  It was a blast.  The storylines, the drama, the action- it was like watching a soap opera for men.

Some truth behind this.

I stopped watching WWE around when my first child was born.  This was also the time that WWF had changed to WWE and had bought out WCW.  There were far too many storylines and the “talent” was fading.  Wrestling also faded away from my life as my new responsibilities came forward.  Only in the past few months have I slowly begun getting sucked back into it.  I am only watching the PPVs, but it feels like a warm blanket, engulfing me with a Dutch Oven comfort of years long since past.

My buddy from when we worked at the movie theater  has been an avid fan and watches every show, every Pay-Per-View, and listens to every podcast & interview out there.  Lucky for me, he educates me on what’s been going on as I lounge at his place to watch the monthly spectacle.  Sometimes I bring my ten year old son to watch the matches.  He has a small interest, but I’m sure he too will find solace in watching the shows.

In a way we’re getting the next generation set to enjoy a lifetime of storytelling from the square ring.  Wrastlin’ is fun and I check my brain at the door.

Long Weekends

While everyone packs up and heads out of town, I will be heading into work.  Long weekends (or most weekends for that matter) don’t mean much to me anymore.  I am lucky to be getting paid overtime for working on a statutory holiday while everyone else battles traffic, airports or ferries to get to their destination.

Of course people will enjoy their extra day off away from work- I know I always like that as well.  But as much as the trip or time away will be enjoyed, it will be quickly forgotten and the complaints will start as people wait in lines or the weather may change.  Remember to post about the good times on social media as you experience them.  Don’t let the dulldrums of the return home spoil your weekend!

As well- remember that the people working this weekend at the gas station, restaurant, police, or whatever the case may be, would love to spend time away from work.  Give an extra smile or high five to these people putting in the time as you enjoy the weekend.

Be safe out there and have fun!  I want to hear all about the good times you are having.  They may inspire me to travel elsewhere or do something new on my days off!

Weeds and work

We’ve been at our home for nine years now.  Every year I allot about $500 towards our garden.  Having an acre and budgeting such a small amount has its challenges.  Nine years ago we bought a trampoline.  Six years ago, the money was mostly spent on bark mulch.  Seven years ago, I spent the money on building garden boxes.  Two years ago we bought cement for our covered deck.  Last year was a new BBQ and a new lawnmower.  This year is some more cement to finish off the deck, some plants, and a new patio set.

Old bench seat from a car now for the backyard.

$500 doesn’t go very far these days.  Pinterest has given me plenty of ideas on “up cycling” and dealing with what we have on hand.  We have grown lettuce and green onions from the stalks of the remaining vegetables.  We compost as much as we can and use our rain barrels as well.  Without having to spend a fortune, we do our best to keep the yard maintained.  I have more moss than grass but hey it’s green and soft.

There’s a garden shed back there somewhere.

Most of our gardening time is spent pulling weeds and cutting back on brush. Trimming ferns and bushes takes up half the day.  The end result looks amazing, even if it only lasts a week or two.  The warm weather has been both a blessing and a curse.  We get extra time to make the yard look nice, but we will have twice the amount of work to do in later months.  The weeds are relentless this year.  My fingernails are coated underneath with soil from digging down to pull the roots.  My “yard work clothes” are getting washed more regularly.  My back and knees are taking a beating as I bend over to work.

Only a few weeds to pull. No big deal.

I love my yard.  All the work we put into it makes me beam with pride and joy.  Especially when the kids are out playing or our friends are over for a visit.  We work hard to make it pretty.  Of course I could spend a small fortune to get the outdoor kitchen and seating set I want.  I don’t need to get further into debt just to have a few days of pleasure.  We have plenty of seating as it is, it’s just not new- it’s up cycled.


May 19.1999

The day Star Wars: Episode 1 came out.

The day Famous Players Colossus opened.

This was the day that I can now look back on as the day that started the second stage of my life.

I was 23 years old and unemployed for about half a year.  I just couldn’t find work and nothing was going my way.  Famous Players Cinema was opening new multiplex theaters every year or two, and one was opening soon locally.  They had a mass hiring called a “Casting Call” so I waited in a large line with other people who I didn’t know in hopes of getting a job.  My interview went ok (later I found out I was in the “maybe” pile) and I was hired two weeks before they opened.

Walking into the building a few days before it opened was awe inspiring.  The main foyer was four stories tall.  The inside theme was of a spaceship, with large alien ticket machines guarding the entrance.  Arcade games were on both sides of the lobby, rows of movie posters, banners, cardboard standees, and televisions were everywhere.  There was a light show and lasers the could be seen bouncing around the inside of the hallways that lead you to the 18 auditoriums.  This was one of the first theaters with a central bar upstairs that overlooked the lobby and an IMAX theater.  There was a Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, NY Fries, Starbucks, and a huge concession.  It was like a small community hub of fast food chains all brought together to bring more to the movie going experience The slogan for Famous Players at the time was “Big Screen, Big Sound, Big Difference”.  

Old film cans from my IMAX days.

The general public was finally allowed in on May 19,1999.  The opening of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace coincided with the opening of the new theater complex.  IT WAS ORGANIZED CHAOS.  Crowds of people lined up inside and outside of the mega structure just to see the film.  I was lucky enough to have a shift that had me “standing guard” inside one of the auditoriums for the film.  I got paid to watch the movie opening night.  Pretty cool, even though it was a bad film.

Snap shot of some of my memories.

Over the next few months, I would make numerous friends.  Many of whom I am still in contact with to this day.  We would watch screenings or have late nights working followed by hanging out at the Denny’s until the early mornings the next day.  But by fall of that year, I hit another low point.  My father was getting worse as cancer ravaged his body.  I had lost sight of what I wanted in life, so my doctor put me on anti-depressants.  I made it through the Christmas season and so did my father.  It was the last Christmas I would spend with him.  In the start of 2000, Colossus ran a promotion for the staff, followed by an auction.  At the auction, I won a private film screening of an older film of my choice.  So on my birthday, March 15th, 2000, I ran Ghostbusters for my friends and I, followed by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  My mother and father came out to this show as well.  Afterwards my father told me he was proud of who I was becoming, the next day I stopped taking my anti-depressants.  I don’t believe anyone at the theater knew of my struggle at the time.

The safe-for-work photos from some Halloween parties we had.

A couple of months later I would meet my wife.  I spent the summer having fun with her and my Colossus friends.  We were engaged by Halloween of 2000.  We would then throw a huge party that year for Halloween.  It was so much fun, that for a few years after, we continued to throw pretty amazing parties.

The fun ended fairly fast that year.  My father passed away one month later and wouldn’t make it to another Christmas.  The friends that I had made at Colossus were extremely supportive, in both my joyous times and my lowest times.  In July of 2001 many of them helped me celebrate my bachelor party and wedding.  More parties and more fun continued that summer.  A year would pass as I worked to try and make my life better.

My wife and our first born making the paper.

Our first child was born in July 2002 and everyone at Colossus wanted to meet her.  She was now a regular attendee to screenings and made the newspaper for a program called “Cinebabies” that allowed parents with small children/babies the opportunity to watch films without being hushed.  However, shortly after all of this, I had to leave in order to do more with my life and my growing family.

Colossus was a huge turning point in my life.  I drive past it everyday and pause once in a while to recall the friends and good times that I made.  Many of us have gone on to explore new avenues in our lives, sometimes never to speak again.  Others of us have remained close.  I have even made friends with people now that I only sort of knew back then.

May 19,1999 meant more to me than just a new Star Wars film coming out:

It meant my life was about to change forever.

Public speaking

I may be a bit eccentric and goofy.  I may even be a tad unique and easy to talk to.  I may even dress up and act like a buffoon. But get me in front of a group of my peers and make me speak- I get nervous as hell.  Especially if I have to talk about myself.  I don’t know why this happens, but it does.  

I rehearse and practice what I need to say over and over in my head.  Then when I speak, I rush through to get it over with.  I hate that I do this.  It’s something I’ve always done.  From my school days of project presentations to company meetings.  I speed up and stumble my way through what I need to say.  There is no reason for my anxiety that I can find.  

At one point in my life when I worked at the movie theater, I had to go introduce the movies and give away prizes to a full auditorium of strangers.  No issues whatsoever.  People would heckle me, and I’d throw jabs right back.  I even introduced musicians to crowds of people without a problem.

I’m always drawing attention to myself on a regular basis.  I stand out in the crowd.  Friends just expect me to be witty and crazy.  But I just can’t get past why I get scared and nervous when I have to speak in front of people I know.  

The were two times this didn’t happen.  Once was when I spoke at my father’s funeral fifteen years ago.  The audience was a mix of a few family members, friends and complete strangers.  The only thing that was different was that by the end of my speech, I began to cry.  And it made others cry.  Not because of what I said, but because my emotions were coming through in my voice.

The second time was when I spoke at my wedding a few moths later.  Again, by the end of the speech I was talking about my father and it brought my emotions forward.  Or perhaps it could have been the fact that our bartender kept our wine glasses full the entire night and that gave me the courage to speak publicly to friends & family.

I would like to get over this issue.  Maybe one day I will.  Or maybe I’ll just avoid it like I usually do.  That’s so much easier.

Giving into tastes

Sometimes you throw away your sense of pride and let your taste buds take over your brain.  I’m taking about midnight snacking.

Last night, after everyone went to bed, I had a couple of cheap beers and cracked open a bag of beef jerky.  A few days ago, our deep fat fryer was left on the counter so I had to make mozzarella sticks.  There’s something that goes hand-in-hand with late night feasting and unhealthy choices.

Usually I eat ripple potato chips.  We would go through bags of them every week.  For the past couple of months our chip supply has been almost non-existent.  In a way I’m glad because as a tall thin fellow- my profile has been showing off more belly than it used to.  The lack of easy junk food in our home has kept me from wanting to feast before sleeping.  I could deep fry more food, but that takes effort.  Effort I don’t have at midnight.  So more often than not, I forgo the snacks.  Even a plate of leftovers is too much work.  Since I don’t like to eat much in the way of sweets- candy, cakes, & chocolate don’t appeal to me as an option.

I’m also becoming more active again.  The spring convention season had me walking far more than usual, and my wife has been taking the family out for walks, which has helped in getting more exercise.  With the weather being so nice, we’ve been doing more outside as well.  I mixed about thirty bags of cement in a little over a week to finish off part of our deck area.  For me exercise without results is mere torture. 

If this keeps up, I’ll have my “Summer Bod” ready for the speedo by the pool.

Do it better.

“Everything has already been done.  Every story has been told.  Every scene has been shot.  It’s our job to do it one better.”  Stanley Kubrick

I don’t make movies, but this quote is an excellent mantra for my life.  Going through the motions of just existing is not what I want to do.  I love taking an idea and improving on it.  Cooking is one place where I seek to create the best meals possible.  From recipes that were taught to me by my father to the ones I find online- these are just a foundation for meals.

I’ve mentioned before how I love traveling with my family.  It’s something that I never really did as a child.  My father never came to Disneyland or away to a lake.  It was my mother’s job to do these things for my sister and I.  They weren’t true “Family Vacations” so I have chosen a different route.  I do my best to make sure the entire family goes on trips.  Being a partner with my wife is one way I am improving on what I feel is what being a good father should be. 

My life is a constant show where the rules are changing and being one step ahead of the curve has become my goal.  Offering my knowledge to others of where I have succeeded and where I could have done better is my way of getting other people to do one better.  I’m not the first man to walk on the moon nor will I be the 1,000th.  I know my limits and will push them beyond my comfort level to see what happens.

Like Jack Skellington said, “I bet I could improve it too!  And that’s exactly what I’ll do!”

May 16, 2016

Ten years ago today our third child was born.  He has become an amazing little person over the years. Since it’s his birthday, I’m going to discuss who this little guy is as he is today.


He’s only quiet when he sleeps.

Josef Bruno Theory Havelka V:

  • Goes by his middle name Theory.
  • His nicknames include: Theer Bear, T, & BearBee.


  • He talks.  He talks A LOT.  There is always something on his mind that he needs to share.
  • He is an excellent speed skater (read about it here:My Son, The Future Olympian)
  • He loves playing with all things Lego.  He inherited my collection of Lego and has since amassed a substantial amount more.
  • He loves video games and is quite amazing at them, often beating me quite badly.
  • He loves spending time with me (I wrote about it here:Father/son Time) and is always trying to impress me.

Best Little Brother

  • He is one of the kindest boys I have ever met.  He is always inclusive when it comes to playing with other kids.  He never wants anyone to feel left out.
  • He is smart.  Sometimes too smart.  He has a wicked memory and has put me in my place once or twice correcting what I have said.
theory xmas 2010

Always the center of attention.

I’m glad that he has completed our family dynamic.  Our life just wouldn’t be the same without him here.  I love the little man, and often see some of my childlike qualities in him.  I hope he has the  Happiest of Birthdays today!

Adam Ruins Everything

I discovered a show last fall when traveling in California.  Late night in the hotel, there it was, being marathoned on the tv like a Netflix series.  So, I binge watched it.  I learned so much about things I never knew I needed to know.  The truth behind diamond rings?  How about tipping at a restaurant?  Speaking of tips- there’s an episode about circumcision.  

The humor and education behind the show makes it worth watching.  It’s not like going on Facebook and posting opinions without facts.  This show cites all the facts and legitimate sources.  LEGITIMATE SOURCES.  Yes, the facts are real and sometimes shocking, that’s what makes it great.  Adam has great hair and glasses as well.  The guy is like an encyclopedia (those are books btw) of knowledge.  

There were only 12 episodes for season one.  I’m excited about season two that should be starting up soon.  If you haven’t seen it, click on this fantastic picture of Adam and check out some of the clips and educate your friends!

Adam Ruins Everything

At the Drive In

Summer weather is here in the Lower Mainland.  That means with sunny days and warm nights on the horizon it is time to hit our local Drive In.

When I was in my later teen years/twenties we used to go to the Hillcrest Drive In throughout the summer.  The Hillcrest opened in 1953,  and shutdown in 2003.  After fifty years, the owners were looking for a new location to open, not because of the money but because of the love of the drive in.  It took them a couple years to get settled and open up again.  Under the name “Twilight Drive In” they opened again in 2005.

The Twilight Drive-In’s screen stands 20 feet off the ground and is 40 feet high by 94 feet wide. (Thats the equivalent to a 1224″ T.V.). We project in the true “scope aspect ratio” of 2.35:1 (That means the picture is 2.35 times wider than taller, for films produced in scope aspect ratio).

In 2007 my family moved to our new home.  Lucky for us the Drive In is only five minutes away.  We have spent every

summer going to the movies every couple of weeks.  We get to be outdoors, enjoy a couple films, and have quality family time, and support a local business all for under $50.  We could drop twice that at the multiplex and out money goes to a big corporation.  

Team Captain America

Usually we sneak in around Spring Break, but since we were traveling, we couldn’t.  Last night was our first film of 2016.  We watch Captain America: Civil War.  Besides the film being fun, our family enjoyed the night out.

I hope that the drive in theater sticks around for a long time.  This is something that I hope my kids can take their kids to.

Music of the 90’s

Yesterday a friend on Facebook posted a music video that I hadn’t seen in about 20 years- Pulp’s Common People.  It got me thinking about how many CDs I own that are hidden away in a trunk.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 albums.  All of them were transferred onto my computer a few years ago- that took me a few weeks to do mind you.  Besides thinking of my music collection of the 90’s hidden away to be brought out when I have grandkids or something, I thought back to the many concerts I attended with friends.

Concerts are great.  The musicians put on a damn good performance every time.  My favorite concert that I ever attended was Lollapalooza in 1994 when it was held on the Cloverdale Fair Grounds.  I was 18 that summer and just finished high school.  Lollapalooza was the show that everyone talked about graduating year.  I went with about a couple dozen friends and we loved it.  It was a hot sunny day at the start of summer.  I mostly remember the music, the crowds of people, the ambiance and smoking.  Lots of smoking.  The rest of the show was a haze, but I found someone who remembered the lineup and the show a bit more than I did.  (Read the article here) 

My most vivid memory is Green Day stopping in their first song and yelling at the crowd to pick up the girl who had fallen down in the mosh pit. They warned that they would walk off stage if the crowd didn’t treat people with respect.  From that moment on, the show rocked out until the final act.  The end of the show closed with The Smashing Pumpkins.  It was so bad, that most of my friends and I returned to a buddy’s place a few blocks away.  When we got there, we could hear the music clearly as the show closed down.  As we each had a few drinks at his place, we discovered that what we thought was a tan from being outside, turned out to be dirt.  Dirt that had gotten into belly buttons, noses and ears.

Living in my youth of Green Day and outdoor concerts.

The rest of the summer season was spent enjoying the CDs from all the bands we saw on stage.  Probably my favorite music that year was Green Day and Beastie Boys.  Earlier this week, a friend of mine posted that she was listening to the local classic rock station, only to hear Green Day being played.  I guess that’s my generation now.  Climbing into the classic rock of memories and trying to piece together our past from whatever brain cells we have remaining.

Furthering my Education

Education in a post-secondary aspect was not something that I’ve attained to the extent that I wished.  I did take a few courses over the years, but more just things to try and land a better job, never something that has interested me. Back in the fall of 2015, I signed up for EdX: free online courses and classes from the world’s best universities including MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, etc..  It sounded neat and the course material was spread over a few weeks and only required an hour or two/week to complete.  I promptly forgot that I had signed up, until an email showed up today, and my excitement level grew.

I am going to educate myself in “The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture” starting May 17th.  It is a six week course offered up by the Smithsonian and comic book industry legend Stan Lee.

Here’s the course outline quoted directly from the website:

“The ancient gods of Egyptian, Greek and Roman myths still exist, but today, they have superpowers, human foibles and secret identities. They come from comic books and graphic novels, and have taken over pop culture on the stage, screen, video games, and animation.

From Superman® and Spider-Man®, to The Avengers® and The Hulk® and beyond, who are these heroes? And, how have they evolved from folklore and myth, across all cultures and religions?

Learn from Smithsonian and industry experts including:

  • Stan Lee, who was one of the creators of the modern superhero template. His early comics featuring Spider-Man, Iron Man®, The Hulk, Thor®, and The Avengers led Marvel to success. He continues to reinvent himself to create modern global superheroes and appear in cameos in superhero films and TV, such as Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  • Michael Uslan, executive producer of top grossing, award winning movies, including The Dark Knight series, Lego® Movie, the animated Batman films and Batman® VS Superman.

In this course, we explore the following questions:

  • Why did superheroes first arise in 1938 and experience what we refer to as their “Golden Age” during World War II?
  • Why did the superhero genre ebb and flow in popularity over the decades?
  • How have comic books, published weekly since the mid-1930’s, mirrored a changing American society, reflecting our mores, slang, fads, biases and prejudices?
  • Why was the comic book industry nearly shut down in the McCarthy Era of the 1950’s?
  • How did our superheroes become super-villains in the eyes of the government, clergy, educators, and parents of the mid-20th Century?
  • When and how did comic books become acceptable again, and eventually become valid teaching tools in universities and schools?
  • When and how did comic book artwork become accepted as a true American art form as indigenous to this country as jazz?
  • Finally, when and how did comic books become “cool” and the basis for blockbuster movies, hit TV series, top-selling video games, and acclaimed animation, while also impacting fashion and style- and even the moral and ethical codes of children- around the globe?
  • For the first time ever, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is excited to offer the opportunity to go into the collection and see why superheroes are a dominant cultural force in today’s world.

As you learn about how cultural myths, world events, and personal experiences shaped the first superheroes, you will apply these frameworks to create your own superhero– or you can choose to do a deeper analysis on existing comic book heroes. This original project is required for certification and anything created by you as part of the course is the intellectual property of you and you alone. At the end of the course, you will have the opportunity to take your final project work and participate with other current and alumni students in a two week “team track add-on” to the course.

At last, fans, students and seekers of knowledge have the opportunity to enroll in the ultimate comic book course.
What you’ll learn:

  • The history and origins of the first superheroes and comic books, and how they changed over time.
  • The evolution of American society from the Depression to today, as viewed through the lens of the comic book genre.
  • How the current globalization and diversity of the next generation of superheroes impacts our storytelling across all mediums.
  • How to apply historical examples to create superheroes for the present day.”

Now, it is up to me to complete this free online course and thus become SUPREME LEADER OF THE NERDS, or at least sound like it.  Take a look at the course for yourself, or perhaps discover other online courses that may interest you.  The Rise of Superheroes

An educated world is a better world.

Stan Lee says this!


As I grow older I find that I have less free time to play around.  Also, the toys that I find myself longing for are getting more expensive.  Having toys occupies your free time.  Having free time is a hot commodity in this day and age.  Most people, myself included, feel that there is never enough “me time” left in a day to enjoy.

Having a family, ie: kids & wife/girlfriend (I don’t have both,that’d be crazy!) takes up most of the time left after working or sleeping.  Even those people have work/school/homework/etc that takes up their precious time.  Over the years, I have found that any leftover time is spent thinking about what to do next.  Not very often do people, myself included, take a breath and just enjoy the moment for longer than a few seconds.  I digress, let’s get back to toys!

I am often taking time to search Craigslist for stuff.  Stuff I think would be neat.  Stuff that would make me feel young.  Stuff that would make me feel like I deserved it.  Mostly, stuff I can’t afford.  

I always wanted a pinball game.  There are about four styles that I’d like to own.  However, after working at Chuck E. Cheese’s, I know they are expensive and a bitch to maintain.  But lights and sounds!

A NEW CAR!  Teslas are nice.  I’d love to own one, not because of the luxury, but because in the long run it would be cheaper than gas.  I just don’t have the initial lump sum payment to justify one.  At this time…

I love this Mercedes Gazelle Replica.  It is much cheaper than a Tesla.  I could find a decent one for about $9000.  However, I don’t have a garage to store it over winter.  That’d cost me a bit to build one first.  Plus, this would only be a “Sunday driver” and I can’t justify that.

Since we do so many road trips, I’ve been trying to convince my wife that we should buy an RV or travel trailer.  My wife made a good point though- our trips usually have us in major cities, RVs don’t belong there.  The kids and I want to do camping more, but my wife doesn’t like tents.  She’s only half sold on “Glamping” so this battle is still in the works.

Finally, the last true expensive luxury item I’d like is a boat.  Maintenance, fuel, more maintenance, more fuel, food, maintenance again- it costs money. But again, it’d be unused most of the time.  My wife and I also don’t agree on what style of boat would suit us.  She would like a bow rider for the lake, I’d like an island hopper with moorage for a weekend getaway.  Another stalemate.

Toys are fun.  So I’ll just stick with the ones I have.  Like our theater room and my train garden.  I get more use and joy from those than I probably would a boat or an RV.  It won’t stop me from searching Craigslist or eBay though.

Oh look!  A DeLorean for sale…

What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.” –Shakespeare.

Do you ever hear a person’s name and just cringe?  I’m not talking about a unique name, I’m talking about everyday run of the mill names.  It’s the kind of name that you associate with someone from your past or from a tv show- and you just want to hit them.  Seriously, just beat them senseless with their own shoe until they change their name.

I don’t tend to hate people, but certain names make me just try and avoid those people.  It’s as if there is a stigma associated with their name.  Almost like their parents put a curse on them at birth.  The worst part for me- those are the freaking names I remember best!

For example, I have zero friends named “Stuart” for this reason alone.  This came from my childhood when I was about six or seven.  Our next door neighbor just had their third son.  When he was born and they blessed him with the name “Stuart.”  It doesn’t even roll off your tongue nicely.  Stew-wert.  Sounds horrific.  Of course as he grew up his name got shortened to Stu.  Stoooo.  Really?  That’s not any better.  I had no reason to hate the neighbor’s kid- he was a baby when I met him.  All he did was poop, sleep and cry.  Maybe it was more the fact that the mother provided after school care for me, and I had to silently sit in their basement while her precious son slept.  Even her other two boys weren’t allowed to wake the baby with playing noises.  But it’s not her name that I hate.  It’s his.

Jem is my name, no one else is the same!

I have a few other names that make my skin crawl, but there are also names that I associate with more pleasant feelings, mostly female names mind you.  There’s just something about the majority of the women I’ve met on this planet, that brings a smile to my face.  I was never a “player” nor did I ever really date much.  However, I have had numerous female friends over the years that I really enjoy their company.  I’m sure people when seeing me with a group of women often wondered if I was the token “gay friend”.  Especially in the 90’s- although it didn’t help that I’d throw a dress on to get into a local show or party.  People expected me to be a bit out there and crazy.  I think it’s just in my nature to draw attention to myself.  I have also been known to be loud and obnoxious as well, especially after a few stiff drinks.

Dammit.  Maybe my name is the name that picks people’s asses.  After forty years it finally makes sense why people avoid me.

Joe.  Rhymes with slow.

Mother’s Day 2016

The post today seems like a no-brainer, so here we go:

When my wife and I first met, we knew that we wanted children in our lives.  We both had ideas of how to raise them, what we would do differently from how we were raised, and how many children we wanted running around the homestead.  I think that we have met all of those criteria that we set out to do.  Most of this is because of what a wonderful mother my wife has been to our children.  

My wife worked part time for a hot air balloon company. we enjoyed the perks of a few free flights and sparkling wine. She was given these glasses as a thank you.

After our first daughter was born, my wife returned to work for a short bit after her maternity leave was over.  But that didn’t last long, she missed her daughter.  So, a couple years later, after our second daughter was born, my wife became a stay at home mother.  She did some part time work during the hours that I was home to do the parenting.  This allowed for her to get out and enjoy adult conversations.  Plus she worked for a hot air balloon, that was a cool job and her kids thought so as well.  I would take  our children to watch a few take offs and landings, so my wife still got to be the mother she wanted to be.


After our third child was born, my wife decided she wanted to spend more time at home raising the kids.  Financially this has been difficult, but I am 100% sure that this has been the right decision.  Mothering of our three kids is a full time job.  Over the years, she has taught them life skills and the kids have benefited from her knowledge.  From daily chores to learning how to bake- she has shown them a bit of everything.  Our children went to preschool, and then into the public school system.  My wife then began sewing winter hats to keep busy while they were out during the days (and bring in some extra income).  

Why have one waffle maker, when two makes double the amount!

Today for Mother’s Day, the children and I made fresh waffles and we will be doing our best to pamper their mother.  My wife still wants to do things and work around the house, so we can’t really stop her.  

Recognizing her hard work.

Happy Mother’s Day to the best mother I know.  I’m lucky to have her raising our children, and the children are lucky as well.  They know it, and they will show it today.  Also because dad said so!

Colorful language

I grew up in a household where every other word my father spoke was a cuss word.  For years I avoided swearing because I didn’t want to be like my father.  Of course I swore from time to time.  Then I started working at the railroad.  Now I use foul language in my everyday speech.

But only at work is it very prominent.  Everything is emphasized with the “EFF dash dash dash word” or some shit like that.  I do use the colorful language around my home and friends, but I genuinely try and express myself without it.  That is a challenge.  Especially when I meet new people or hit the convention circuit with my wife.  When I’m out there, I’m part of her business.  There is no need to add a cuss when trying to sell cute furry ears.

Personally, I’d like to make it a goal to lessen the harshness of my vocabulary at work.  But that’s going to be the challenge.  Replacing words with fudge, frak, shucks,shoelace, dangit, golly gee, etc… won’t have the same impact, but I think it will add a lightness to the work environment.  As stressful as my job is, I enjoy it and enjoy the people I work with. I’d like to keep the respect and think maybe my language needs to show that.