Being first doesn’t matter much to me anymore.  I used to love seeing a film before the general public.  Or picking up the newest videogame the day it got released.  Being first in line at a Black Friday sale (or in Canada: Boxing Day Sale) stopped being fun when I realized that I didn’t need to buy junk just because it’s cheap.  I’m not saying I like to be last either.  I also don’t think I’ve fallen into the trap of the “Fear Of Missing Out”.

My goals in life have drastically changed. Material possessions are fine and all- but I’m focused more on experiences.  I love meeting new people at Comicons.  People from different walks of life.  People of different ages.  Some who are more Star Trek than Star Wars.  A convention brings us together no matter what we do any other day of the year.  

For us the conventions are also a way of enjoying some family time.  We spend a couple of days driving to and from the cons.  We try and add a side trip to some new and different part of the journey.  My favorite so far was the extended trip through Death Valley and the Extraterrestrial Highway.

I would like to take a trip or two with just my wife over the next few years.  We don’t often get time together.  I think a weekend getaway is in order SANS CHILDREN.

Happy Canada Day!

As much as I like most of my American neighbors: I am a proud Canadian.  Canada is celebrating 149 years of being a country this year.

A few years ago Molson Canadian would made some fantastic commercials celebrating the greatness of being Canadian.

I know this place is where I am,

No other place is better than.

No matter where I go I am,

Proud to be Canadian!
I am, you know I am, I am Canadian!

I am, you know I am, I am Canadian!

Come on!

I love this country where I am,

This land is where I make my stand.

No other heart is truer then,

The one we call Canadian!

Here are my favorite videos from back then:  CLICK ON THE LINKS TO VIEW THEM

Proud to Be Canadian
My name is Joe & I am Canadian

And of course, William Shatner is Canadian and proud of it: William Shatner is Canadian

I’m going to celebrate with my family locally by visiting Fort Langley, BC.  Be good to each other and have a great Canada Day!


Fort Langley

Sad Songs…

Listening to my music on shuffle as I drove home this morning I realized that I have a large collection of sad songs.  This also includes Elton John’s Sad Songs (Say So Much) in the mix.  Not all of the songs are slow and subdued.  Actually, most are fairly upbeat and catchy.  Many of them focus on break-ups, apologies, or heartbreak.

Simple Plan’s “Addicted to You” entertains me at how they enunciate the words.

Puddle of Mud’s “She Hates Me” really gets going by the end.  So much bitterness is expressed.

“Don’t Speak” by No Doubt is lively in it’s portrayal of what breaking up in the 90’s was like.  I heard this song played by many a young lady over the years.  Gwen Stefani really did know how to reach her audience with her music.

“Sylvia’s Mother” by Dr. Hook has the listener sympathizing with the heartbreak of not getting the last chance to talk to Sylvia.

Cee-Lo Green’s “F**k You” is by far one of my favorite break-up songs.  It’s catchy and makes it a blast to swear along with.

Apology songs are a bit different in the fact that many times the artist really is apologizing.  Billy Joel’s a cappella “For the Longest Time” is an excellent example.  Or even U2’s “Sweetest Thing” is a beautiful song that Bono wrote to his wife.

Music can express many emotions.  Often we are drawn to a song because of the feelings it can illicit inside of us.  Artists express their most vulnerable side when they choose to write songs of this style.  I enjoy a good break-up song because it reminds me of the heartache and pain that people go through.  There are many more songs in my collection that are full of sadness.  Personally, I hope to never feel that again in my lifetime.  

Until then, sad songs say so much, so turn them on.


Teach and learn

This past weekend it dawned on me that I have achieved my goal as a parent.

We were playing Settlers of Catan as a family and our middle child won.  It wasn’t one of those “Let her win” moments either.  She legitimately kicked everyone’s butt.  My favorite part of the experience was that she was a gracious winner.  No yelling “IN YO’ FACE!” And prancing around gloating.  She won, we congratulated her, we cleaned up.  

After our dinner, my daughters and I were practice shooting with the bow and arrow set we picked up last year.  This time, my oldest daughter proved to be better than the rest of us.  We had set up a bale of hay and some lawn flamingos as targets.  Our oldest daughter was hitting her target almost every time.  One flamingo was obliterated into nothing more than some plastic shards.

In both instances, I had taught them the basic skills to achieve their goals.  With the tabletop game I had explained the rules previously and offer some tactics to help them out.  With the archery I explained the dynamics of how to hold the bow, how an arrow flies, and how to aim.  

Now I know I said at the beginning that I’ve achieved my goal as a parent.  Mostly this is true.  I always want to see my children succeed.  I pass on my knowledge or help them in gaining the knowledge required.  For example, all three of my kids are amazing at piano.  They have gone on to do RCM exams and pass with honors.  My oldest has even written a few compositions this past year for Grade 8.  I can play the beginning of “Jingle Bells” with my right hand.

I have much more to offer my children.  At some point, they will start to teach me.

“Sports” Day

Elementary schools all around end their year with Sports Day.  A day of running around outside, wearing team colors, and earning points.  This year at the elementary school my children attend, the students made up the games.  To quote Drew Carey: 

“The rules are made up and the points don’t matter.”

The term “Sports Day” is loosely used.  Except for the amount of running, most of the games are straight out of a frat house (or maybe frat houses use these games).  The kids love it.  There is so much energy and screaming.  The favorite station this year was “Freezies at the Oasis”.  No activity needed- just line up and cool off.

Freezies with friends.

In the previous school that my children attended- I volunteered my time to help out.  At this school, the middle school children ran the stations.  This gave me a chance to follow my son around and cheer him on.  I have no idea what the rules are most of the time.  Most areas involve water somehow.

Hanging out at this year’s Sports Day reminded me of a short film from Expo ’86 (yes, 30 years ago in Vancouver).  I was in grade five when I saw the film Rainbow War at the Canadian Pavilion.  At the end of the film, people were asked to vote for their favorite color by pressing a button on the sides of their seats.  Red, Yellow & Blue were the choices. Before we left the theater, the results were shown.  I have no idea what the poll was used for.  Kind of like I have no idea what the rules at Sports Day are.

Rainbow War

A Rainbow Sea of children.

All the events ended at lunch.  So it was more a “Sports Half Day”.  We ate burgers and hotdogs while the children calmed down.  The afternoon was followed up with a movie shown in the theater for the kids to cool off and relax.  It’s a great way to end a school year from the doldrums of sitting in a classroom.

Take a break

I was having a fairly productive afternoon.  The sun was out so I decided to paint the trim of our home.  Up and down the ladder.  Painting, sweating, cursing, getting sore.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the results.  I also put it off for over a year so it was about time to tackle the job.

I may be tall, but i still need a ladder.

My wife left with our daughters to go do some summer clothes shopping at the VV Boutique while I slaved away.  My son stayed to keep me company/annoy me.  He was getting bored.  Really bored.  I was getting bored going up the ladder and down the ladder.  So I made him a deal.  At 3pm we would have a freezie and hang out for a bit.

3pm came and I was still up the ladder.  He was bored.  I looked down and realized that even though he was in my general vicinity, we weren’t having a great day together.  I told him to go get the Nerf Guns and that after my break, I’d have a battle with him.  Bad decision.

Ready for a Nerf Battle!

After about five minutes of running around the yard, I realized that I am far too out of shape.  Every time I paused for a moment, an onslaught of foam bullets hit me.  He was having a great time.  His laughter and joy made me glad that I took a moment to allow him to kick my ass.  We only battled for about 30 minutes, but it was by far the best part of my day.

Taking a break to be with him means a lot to me.  He’s growin up quickly and I don’t want to miss out on the fun.

Let’s Make Some Noise!

We need the word of the day to come back.

My wife hates it when I scream.  Sometimes I’ll blurt out my comments really loudly at inopportune moments.  I’ve been known to just screech out profanities when absolutely nothing is going wrong.  I enjoy making loud noises.


At work, right before I answer the phone, I either sing “Who could it be now?”  Or I scream profanities, then calmly pick up the phone and speak to the caller.  This is my little stress reliever since we don’t have call display (21st century people, come on now) and I have no idea who could be on the other end.  

No, there’s nothing wrong with me that I know of.

Sometimes I add sound effects to my daily activities.  Pouring a coffee needs jet sounds.  Pressing the buttons on the microwave needs explosion noises added.  Walking down the hall requires extra creak noises from my mouth.  Running in the mall totally needs me to make gear shift and engine noises.  Life is too short to stay quiet.

My wife disagrees with me.

One day all will be silent- I won’t make a sound.  But until then… You know what to do every time somebody says the secret word.


DOS Grampa.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I would be doing “Short Story Saturday” on my blog.  This is my first short story.  Please enjoy.

Looking over his shoulder I said, “Next type in the command line RT 90 FD 20 RT 90 FD 20 RT 90 FD 20 RT 90 FD 20.”  A moment after he typed in the keystrokes, a small green square appeared on the monitor.  He glanced up at me with bemusement.

“When did you learn this?”

“Back in 1982- I was about six years old when I was taught the basics of DOS and how to use the turtle to draw images and shapes.  Most of the computer monitors were either black and green or black and orange in color.”

Leaning in, I typed a few more commands and more images took shape on the old monitor.  I straightened up and went on to tell more of my youth, “Even the early computer games were all text based and had limited commands that they could understand.  The Internet was but the dreams of science fiction.”

Looking down at him, I could see in his eyes that he had more questions than I would have answers.  Feeling a tap on my shoulder, my wife spoke that dinner was ready.  “Time to put it away.” I said, “dinner time.”

“Thanks Grandpa.  Same time tomorrow?”  I smiled and nodded, rustling his hair.

I removed my VR headset, put down my gloves and wandered over to the dining room where dinner waited on the table.  My wife turned to me asking, “Did you have a nice visit with your grandson?”

Six months earlier, our ten year old grandson had visited.  He and his father had set up the VR gear in our living room in order to keep in touch while they went traveling.  “It was great. He’s growing up so quickly.  It’s nice to know that I can still teach him a thing or two.”

My wife smiled.  It was a smile that I programmed in from both old pictures and my memory of her.  She was a never-aging replica of the woman I once loved.  As real as this one seemed, I could never forget who she was when she was alive.

What’s Best.

Yesterday was the last day of Grade 8 for my oldest daughter.  This morning, her and I sat down and talked over a cup of coffee about the past year.

At the end of grade seven last year, a big decision was made about our oldest daughter’s future.  We needed to send her to a high school.  She was on a wait list since kindergarten to enter a choice Fine Arts school.  We got the call for her to audition and come in for an interview.  Mom and dad were super excited and happy.  Eldest daughter- not so much.  But she auditioned (under some protest) for drama and music and was invited back to major in both departments.  She left both auditions happily and was excited for most of the drive home each time.  However, by the time we got home, she had put up the “wall” and was adamant that she would not be attending this school.  A few months of emotional battles ensued.  Mom and dad “forced” her to go to this awful, horrific school.  Mom and dad weren’t listening to her wishes.  Mom and dad were about to ruin her life.  Mom and dad made a promise to her. At the end of the year, we would discuss sending her elsewhere if she was still unhappy.

The year has ended.  As promised, I sat and spoke with my daughter this morning about her first year of high school.  I wanted to hear what her thoughts were on the past year and what she would like to do the following year.

Being right isn’t always a feel good moment.

She said those words that every parent knows to be true.  “Dad, you and mom were right.”


For those of us that have children or teach children- the end of the school year is upon us.


I imagine it’s not any easy job being a teacher.  Heck, being a parent of three children isn’t easy sometimes.  I couldn’t imagine a classroom of twenty to thirty kids being a cakewalk.  I am grateful for the hardworking teachers out there.  They deserve our praise more often.  Our children’s intellect and opinions are molded by these adults.  The future of our children is driven by the teachers, not the politicians.  I’ve seen teachers with budget cuts go and spend their own money in order to teach properly.  That is a devotion that I am proud of.


Finding ways to educate children can’t be easy.  Strict and rigid styling a of the 1950’s doesn’t work.  Teaching children to take tests doesn’t work.  I don’t envy you when a bored child loses focus and you have to reel them back in.


After all is said and done, be happy that you made it through another year of educating small minds.  I know most of you will be busy cleaning up from the year or getting ready for the next year.  Some teachers will go on to teach courses over the summer.  The job doesn’t end.  Thank you for all the hard work you put in.  Enjoy whatever freedom you squeeze out this summer.

Quitting Is Easy

I put myself in a bit of a slump this weekend with my Father’s Day post.  The effects of writing about not-so-pleasant memories drained my ambition.  I started to feel down on myself.  Anything people said, wrote, or messaged me- felt like a personal attack.  

The difficulty I faced was wanting to quit. Quit writing.  Quit working.  Quit cleaning.  Just quit everything and stay curled up in bed.  That was Monday.  Today is getting better.  I had a really good nightshift with some great coworkers who had no idea I felt like crap.  All it took was hearing great stories, listening to the laughter, and seeing the smiles on the guys who just love life.  Getting up and going to work lifted my spirits.  I can see why some guys never want to retire.

On an unrelated note- there are a few people that tolerate me or I tolerate them for the sake of the job.  I’m cool with that.  Just check your baggage at the door and we can make it through the day safely.  No need for you or I to be a-holes to one another.  We are adults and need to adult all adult-like.

In conclusion: work makes me happier-ish.

Building Table Number 2

I built a table a couple of years ago because I couldn’t find one large enough that I wanted to purchase.  I needed a table that would fill our sunroom and seat eight to twelve comfortably.  I built the table from 2×10’s and 2×4’s that I torched to give it a rustic look.  Cost me about $100 and a few hours of labor.  Our dining room table turned out pretty good and we are still using it.  (Being a perfectionist, I see the flaws and know what I would do differently if I were to make another table in this style.)

Perfect table for our castle.

Today I am finishing up table number two.  Nowhere near the size or style.  This one is more industrial looking.  It started from a marble slab that was donated to me.  I’ve spent about $70 in piping material and less than thirty minutes to build it.  It will sit outside this summer beside the BBQ as some extra counter space.  Check out the progress:

Heavy marble slab.

Black,oily pipe parts.


It took a bit of fiddling around to get everything squared off.  The weight of the marble helped in making the table sturdy.  The finished side table/counter is the perfect height for me.  It will add that little bit of extra space that I always feel I am missing when cooking outside.  I am happy with the final result.

Marble and metal.

Now to finish the yard and start entertaining guests more often.

Father’s Day 

I’m always writing about my kids.  They’re pretty fantastic little humans.  If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to celebrate today as a father.  (Go figure.)  Instead of blathering on about my children (again) I’d like to share a single story about my father today.

My father and I.

My father was a hard worker.  He put in long hours at the office, and in his free time he went golfing.  He was transferred from city to city- so he uprooted his family every few years.  Providing an income and a home for his wife and kids was about the extent of his fatherly duties.  In his mind, that was his only responsibilities when it came to raising my sister and I.


Years ago, we lived in Edmonton near a couple of large dirt hills.  In the winter, the neighborhood kids would drag their sleds over and we spent hours speeding down the hills.  In the summer, we spent hours riding our BMX bikes down.  

I was five years old the first summer we lived there.  A group of us walked our bikes to the top of the hill.  The other kids took turns riding down.  That side of the dirt hill had a smooth, gradual slope.  Each of them went a couple of times before realizing I was still at the top with my bike.  I stood with my bike between my legs and was terrified to try riding down the hill.  Then the peer pressure and taunting began.  

I started to walk backwards with my bike wishing to crawl into a corner.  I wasn’t ready to be a daredevil and race down that hill.  I was so scared, I just wanted to go home.  I was still walking backwards and turned away from the other boys quickly.  Soon I was heading straight down the backside of the dirt hill.  My feet dragged behind me trying to slow myself down.  I gripped the handlebars with all my might and tried to steer.  About halfway down- I lost control.

The bottom of the hill hit me fast.  Bloody and bruised, I picked up my bike and hobbled towards my backyard.  From the top of the hill the other kids were screaming out my name, but I didn’t turn around.  My goal was to get home.  I needed my mommy. I was nearly at our gate when my father burst out of the kitchen and down the porch stairs.  I saw him and that’s when I began to cry.  I dropped my bike and ran to him with my arms spread out.

I’d love to tell you that he lifted me up and hugged me.  That he held me tight and whispered that everything was ok.  It would be a fantastic end to a horrible experience for a battered and bruised child.  I’m crying as I write this- because that never happened.

He grabbed my little arm with great force and spun me around throwing me back at my bike.  He made me pick up the bike. He grabbed my arm again and dragged me and the bike back to our home.  As I sobbed he hurled insults at me.  I struggled to break free from his hand, but his grip was firm.  We got to our home and he finally let me go. I ran and hid in the bathroom, terrified of what would happen next.  An eternity must have passed.  I finally gained control over my breathing and looked at myself in the mirror.  Fat lip and bruises on my cheek.  All covered in a mix of blood, dirt and the tears of a scared little boy.  Thanks dad for being there.

To this day, I refer to my dad as an asshole, because that’s how I remember him.  Everyone else thought he was the funniest, nicest guy around.  He was dark and regretted having children.  Trust me- he told me enough times.  

My father gave me a name.

He died before I married and had children of my own.  From his parenting, I take from him many things.  Like how to cook, do home repairs, and drink beer.  From his lack of parenting skills I vowed to be there 100% for my children.  I made promises to never miss a birthday or a special event.  Work would never come between me and watching my children succeed.  Anger would never keep me from pausing for a moment to listen to my children and hug them when they need it.  

In my eyes- I’m the better father than he ever could have been.  He’s been dead for over fifteen years.  But the memories of a frightened child, thirty five years ago, will never forget him.

Couch surfing

Like most days, I’m down for a nap again.  I love napping.  Best thing ever.  Getting small blocks of sleep at any time of day has become kind of a specialty of mine.  It’s probably the reason I always feel so alert and well rested.  In fact, I started writing today’s blog as I curled up on the couch with a blanket at 7:30am on a Saturday.  No one is awake in my home, so it’s the perfect time to grab some 💤💤💤…

As I pulled the blanket over me, I thought back to the many times that I slept on many other couches.  My teens and early adulthood had me floating around on weekends staying at different homes.  After an evening of partying my head would lay to rest on various couches.  I found myself sleeping on worn out cushions covered in floral prints.  Or torn pleather seats that were indented from years of asses watching tv.  There was something comforting about laying down and feeling the waviness of the seats.

There’s still life left in it!

The couches expressed the lifestyle that once was.  Sometimes they were in the basement with a bit of life left in them.  Other times the couches were hand me downs given to my friends from their families as a starter to their new apartments.  Once in awhile the sofas were curb rescues doused in Febreeze and reinforced with a piece of plywood where the springs had busted.  Rarely did my drunken or drugged up self pass out on a couch that was brand new.

Breakfast with a view.

I was usually the last person to pass out and one of the first to wake up.  The end of a movie or tv show would ease me into slumber.  During an all nighter, I’d lay there watching the sunrise before falling asleep.  Late night naps became commonplace for me.  Early morning runs for recovery breakfast followed by another afternoon nap had me ready for more fun later that night.

It was the one thing that I truly appreciated of all the things my friends (and occasionally strangers) would offer me- a safe place to recover.

Adults think I’m cool.

Going to toot my own horn a bit today…


It has been brought to my attention numerous times that my wife and I are pretty cool parents.  I’m sure our children don’t always agree…  But at the last Comicon we were at, I think it may be true.  

This is what cool looks like.

Since before the birth of our first child, we knew that we would try and be unique parents without being drastically over the top.  So our first born was named Random.  She has grown into her name quite nicely with everyone asking where we came up with it.  It’s the name of the girl from book five of the trilogy “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.  The last two remaining humans in the universe have a child, and she is named Random.  Kind of an Adam & Eve story. (Side note: My wife and I dressed as Adam & Eve for a Halloween party we had before we had children.)

Two years later, our second daughter was born.  Much discussion of her name to try and compliment her sister was had.  We came upon the name Darwin as a way to express our belief in evolution vs creationism.  People can use names from the bible, why couldn’t we name our children after famous scientists?  To this day- everyone who meets her, loves her.

Our son was born a couple of years after her… So we named him Theory.  It finished our naming combination for our children.  He is also a very talkative and curious young man, oftentimes surprising people with his knowledge.  That’s the rundown of our children’s names.  

Back to Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo- our two youngest were in a cosplay contest.  My wife sewed their costumes and I helped make a shield and accessories.  (Making props and costumes is something that I enjoy doing and I’m getting better as time goes on.)  Our kids went on stage and were immediately cheered by the audience.  The kids loved it.  The host approached to interview them and asked their names.  My daughter answered saying her name is Darwin and her brother is Theory.  The crowd cheered again.  The host said that they have the coolest parents ever for both making their costumes and naming them.  My kids were filled with joy.

Strangers think my wife and I are cool and have cool kids.  I couldn’t agree more.

Running on MT

Usually I’m doing ok at the end of a nightshift.  This morning I got home, made eggs and hashbrowns for my family and I, had a cup of coffee, & proceeded to have my brain start to shut down.  It hit me almost instantly after my last bite of food.  I was mid conversation with wife person and trailed off into silence.  Words are getting hard to form into sentences.  In fact words are getting hard to just get out for this blog.

We use a ton of shorthand notes at work when relaying information.  As I decided to write this blog before I get some sleep, it is proving difficult.  I have gone back and erased numerous sentences and words.  I was writing in shorthand and had to correct it.  I’m throwing in the towel early today and may write a second piece when I awake.  

My mind is finally getting upset with me and I have nodded off with my phone in hand.

Painful reality this morning.

Ya.  The phone hit me in the face as I tried to write this morning. FML

Noises in my head

Sometimes I wonder if I have superhuman hearing.  I can hear the quietest of sounds from a far off distance.  The buzzing of fluorescent lights or the humming of a computer can drive me nuts.  However, when I go to sleep, I like having music or white noise (such as a fan) in the background.  Sometimes the silence makes my ears ring.  I believe that I suffer from tinnitus.  Suffer isn’t the right word for this affliction, it’s more a nuisance.  

Every fear has a name.

When I was two I really did suffer from a pretty bad ear infection.  I had nightmares that a train was running through my room trying to kill me.  This caused a fear of trains that I still have to this day.  Yes, I work for a railroad now, but my fear of trains has made me more cautious than most railroaders.  I’m not as scared as I once was, but I’m also not getting on and off moving equipment any more.  

When I was four and a half, I was visiting Scotland and suffered another bad ear infection.  My fever was so bad, I remember hallucinating that the shadows on the walls were dancing and singing to me.  Shortly after we returned home from the trip I had a bilateral myringotomy.  Basically I had a tympanostomy tube inserted into my eardrums to help drain the fluids that had built up.  Shortly after the surgery, my hearing drastically improved and my ear infections disappeared.

As I grew up, my allergies grew stronger as well.  Even though I wasn’t suffering from ear infections, my ears were still getting plugged on occasion.  My doctor taught me how to pop my ears.  Most people don’t like it when their ears pop, but I get so much joy and relief as I still need to do it.

When I was a teenager, I was walking down the street with a buddy of mine when a firecracker was thrown towards me.  It exploded near my ear and caused a horrific ringing that lasted for a couple of hours.  That sucked.  

When I finally got my drivers license & a car- I installed a couple of subwoofers and an amplifier.  To this day, I love playing my music loudly while driving.

My hearing has quite the dynamic range.  I get tested constantly and still have pretty damn good hearing.  If I don’t respond when being yelled at from far away, it’s most likely that I’m ignoring you, not hearing loss.

“The Talk”

It’s inevitable.  My kids are growing up and I can’t stop that from happening.  They’re constantly changing and learning about the world around them.  Questions have changed from the innocently asked “why is the sky blue?” to the realistic “what does rape mean?”  

As much as I want to shelter my children, I know that they are growing up and will have questions that make me uncomfortable.  I try my best to explain right from wrong.  But approaching how to talk to my daughters and my son about sex and everything that is connected to that subject is daunting.  

Cyanide & Happiness

Our oldest wished for mom and dad to go away and never speak of these things again.  Where as our middle daughter has been asking some of these tough questions for years now and has no trouble having an open dialogue with us.  Our son, who is only ten, is still at the age where the word “penis” is funny and couldn’t really comprehend much more about reproduction unless I were to compare it in some way to Minecraft.

I know that they will each go through their own hardships as they enter adulthood.  As well, I hope that I’m a good role model for my son to take after when it comes to being respectful towards women.  I also hope that how I treat my wife, my girls, and all the other women on this planet creates in my daughters’ opinions on how a woman should be treated.  Having an open and honest approach has proven valuable in raising our children.  The talks aren’t always easy & the level of difficulty is increasing.  

How I wish I could go back to the day they learned the truth about Santa.  That talk was so much easier in hindsight.


We were at a birthday party last night for a buddy of ours.  It was a lovely evening spent outdoors- there was a BBQ, drinking and karaoke.  Everyone was having a great time, which was really nice to see.  I knew most of the people there, albeit only from other parties held at this home.  They all know each other from the pub and the weekly karaoke nights that are held there.  The reason there was karaoke at this party is because the host whose house we were at is also the regular DJ at the pub.

My little Jem!

I have to admit that there was some really great talent last night.  There was also some bad singing.  At one point early on in the evening, some of the kids got into it.  I haven’t done karaoke in about fifteen or sixteen years.  The extent of my singing is usually in the car belting out along with the radio.  (If you have SiriusXM satellite radio- check out Road Trip Radio on channel 18).  If I sing in the car, my kids hate it.  I’m not very good and I know it.  But I have fun regardless.

This morning my wife mentioned to me that it looked like I really wanted to sing last night. She asked why I didn’t.   I responded that I simply didn’t want to.  That’s partially true.  They say that drinking gives you courage you don’t normally have.  When it comes to karaoke, most people after a few drinks think they can sing.  Not me.  I become more closed off and silent.  Everyone else is out there having fun.  I would feel embarrassed performing a song.  I don’t embarrass easily either- except when it comes to singing.

Last night was a group of friends who regularly sing together.  They have a symbiotic relationship with each other & it shows.  There were some amazing duets performed.  As well, when one person was singing, the rest sang along and showed encouragement.  There was no ridiculing or harassment, except when there was intentionally bad singing, then it was fair game.  

I don’t think anyone will ever hear me sing into a microphone.  That’s where I draw the line on public humiliation.  To those that are courageous and talented enough to sing- keep it up.  The ones, such as myself, really admire you for it.

Go Clean Your Room

Telling my children to go make their beds and clean their rooms isn’t the issue.  The issue is that they get into their rooms and get distracted.  

Distracted by books, toys, papers, music, etc…  Sometimes I use “go clean your room” as a form of peace and quiet from them.  I know they will play with their toys.  I know they will start by picking up a shirt off the ground and then spend the next hour reading my old Calvin and Hobbes books.  I also know that I will be left alone.  Win-win except that their rooms remain messy.

“Micro-manager, commence micro-management!”

In the off chance that I really do want them to have clean rooms, I have to specify that I want it to be “Dad Clean”.  This sometimes involves an idle threat of taking away all toys that I see on the ground.  This doesn’t help.  The only way that they will get their rooms to my level of cleanliness is if I am there to micro-manage them.  This brings on a whole new level of fear.  Stuff gets grabbed from my hands and is quickly put where it belongs.  As much as this wastes my time, it gets done to the level of clean that I like.  “Dad Clean”.  Today is not the day for me to micro-manage them. I wanted a bit of peace to write my blog, so I let them think I was going to throw everything out. 

Kid level of clean.

My son has mastered the art of shoving stuff under his bed.  His books get jammed into the bookshelf without any care or attention.  He also spread his blanket to hide the extra stuffed animals and Lightsabers he has in his room.  At least I was able to walk in and take a picture to show it off.

My daughter cleans as well as my son.

My daughters are pretty good at using their closets as a dumping ground.  I never check there, but if my wife does, the girls better be prepared to not have laundry folded for them for at least a week or two.  That being said, our 12 year old daughter is really good at cleaning one area and showcasing it off.  Today her bed is nice and neat with her stuffed animals all laid out on display.  The rest of her room still looks like a bomb went off, but hey- at least she can sleep tonight.

Maybe one day they will actually clean their rooms by themselves to the level of my standard, but today is not that day.  Perhaps I need to lead by example…

Is this what you call “Dad Clean”?

Happy wife, happy life?  Or “How exercise is going to kill me.”

My wife is forcing me to become more active.  Ugh.  She absconded my cellphone and proceeded to set up a new Fitbit for me- while I was napping.  Her excitement about this new device for me is uncontrollable.  She woke me from my nap and told me to go weigh myself.  I haven’t stepped on a scale in months.  I don’t think of myself as unhealthy, all I have is just a little beer gut.  It’s called a “Dad Bod” all the celebrities are rocking it.

Exercise? You mean punishment.

I have never devoted time to exercise.  My wife wants to challenge me to walking goals and stair climbing.  This may not end well for me…  I walk where I need to get to and go up or down stairs as required.  I am afraid that I will be aimlessly wandering my home because my wife will think my step count needs to be in the tens of thousands!  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Pie chart truths of Mario Kart.

My wife is very competitive as well. These step count goal are sure to lead to some cruel taunting-as if going on forced marches up and down the stairs won’t be bad enough.  I may have to get sneaky and turn on Mario Kart to get her to sit her butt down.  She knows she can beat me at that game, so if I get a few rounds started then get up to leave, I should be able to nap again.  Our kids will gladly play that game and keep the exercise drill sergeant occupied for me.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid.  Maybe I’ll find some value in seeing how active I really am in my daily routine.  Plus, if someone actually calls me (who makes phone calls anymore?) my wrist will display their name.  So that’s kinda cool.  We’ll see how this turns out.  A bit more of a focus on being active won’t kill me.  I can forgo a nap or two each day.  But, I’m worried my deep fryer is next to go…

Making it up as I go…

The title of my Blog.  More often than not I am sharing stories from my past.  When I first began my blog, I wasn’t quite sure how or what I wanted to write.  I’ve written for 136 days straight now.  I’ve had a few thousand views and a few thousand different visitors.  (These numbers don’t count the regulars readers- thank you to all of you by the way!)

Munchkin Net Troll.

Writing is tough.  Nothing I write is the greatest thing ever written.  I was expecting one day to get trolled and then experience the desire to want to give up.  That day hasn’t come yet.  Whew.  But, I know it’s on the horizon…  I’m not going to focus on that possibility at this time.


I am a fan of autobiographies and science fiction/fantasy.  Writing about myself so far has been fun.  I am thinking about sharing some short stories once a week. Little bits of fiction that come to my mind.  I wasn’t sure where to start, so I looked to my personal hero- Wil Wheaton (read about it Here).  He has written short works of sci-fi based on an image that he sees.  I think this is an excellent approach into generating inspiration.  

I’m not the only one who needs a bottle of this.

I am going to take a bit more time in creating my short works of fiction.  I hope to post weekly starting Saturday June 18th.  Please enjoy my Short Story Saturdays.  But as always, please continue to enjoy the daily musings that I share.  Thanks again for the fantastic feedback and allowing my momentum to build.

Better late than never

For nearly sixteen hours I worked today.  Then I grabbed a nap, now I’m off to see my son’s year end drama/choir performance.  The day had become so full, I was getting worried I wouldn’t be able to get my daily blog post done in time.

Here I am, waiting in line to get into my son’s show, iPhone in hand, being completely antisocial.  It’s a habit I dislike in myself and others, but one that I have succumbed to more often than not lately.  The dilemma I am feeling is whether I should write a quick post and put away my device to socialize, or continue to expand, edit, and ignore the people around me.  This includes ignoring my wife, who has now pulled out her iPhone and is scrolling through her Twitter newsfeed also being antisocial.

It seems to be an epidemic.  I briefly looked up from my iPhone and can now count on two hands (if I put down my device) how many others in my immediate vicinity are also on their smartphones.  The world around us is inconsequential compared to the world we are missing out on!  

I’m going to end my blog here and put down my device and open my mouth to talk.  Better late than never to begin a conversation with new people.

The ones that got away

I’m always speaking of how wonderful my wife is and how lucky I am to have her.  We have succeeded in creating a happy home with great children and amazing friends.  I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Obviously I had dated before I met my wife.  Many of those women I am still friends with- even my wife has become friends with most of them.  I am happy that this has been possible, since each of my exes have gone on to have pretty great lives.  They have successful careers, marriages, children of their own, traveled the world- you name it, they’ve achieved it.  I guess dating me made them have great lives.

Actually I think the women I dated prior to meeting my wife were all grooming me to become the best partner around.  I think they did a damn fine good job making me the man I have become for my wife.  However, I also missed many chances in the dating ecosphere that could have altered my life and where I am today.  A few times I knew there was a spark between myself and the women. On occasion I also knew that I was someone else’s back-up plan.  I’d like to share the woes of the ones who got away:

Through grades 8 & 9, there was a girl I really liked, but never had the courage to talk to her.  I moved schools for grade 10 and that chance was now gone.  The new school meant I could be a new me.  It also meant new crushes.  I was friends with lots of girls for the next few years until I graduated, but one other girl in high school stood out as the one I never had the courage to date.  

Early on in meeting her, we were partnered up for a school project.  This helped in giving me courage to talk with her.  We hit it off almost immediately, but in my mind she was out of my league.  I should have seen the signs that she also liked me.  I used to wear dress shirts over top of t-shirts (still do that actually).  One time she took the dress shirt from me and wore it for the day.  As we stood by her locker, she taught me the importance of hairspray and how it keeps static down.  We often walked to the local store on our lunch break.  I would lay awake at night running conversations through my head but the next day I could never manage to become her beau.  After graduation, she would come into the gas station I worked at and flirt- but at that time I had a girlfriend whom I was fond of, thus proving it just wasn’t ever meant to be.

Once I met a girl at a park bench while waiting for class at college. We connected immediately, it was instant chemistry. For those few minutes I was sure things were going to happen. She left with her friend, I headed to class and never saw her again. I never got her name or anything- I had lost her before I even had her.

100% chance of not dating.

After high school, there was this one girl who I would do anything for.  I would drop my plans just to hang out with her.  I thought she was amazing.  We had a lot of fun together, but it was never dating.  I finally asked her to be more than just friends… she said no, but vowed to be my second wife if at age 80 we were both alone.  She said this in a way that I knew she did care for me.  I wouldn’t say I was crushed, but we slowly drifted apart as friends.  I will hold her to her promise if required though.

I was always looking for a long term relationship.  My wife and I are a perfect match.  I’m really happy that she isn’t one of the ones who got away, but it was close to happening on our first encounter.  

That’s a story for a different time.

Explore.  Dream.  Discover.

The one thing about life is that it has endless possibilities.  There is so much out there to experience, but precious few moments to achieve it.  As of late, my goals in life don’t involve owning everything my credit cards will allow me to purchase.  Instead I am trying to figure out how to do more traveling.

Only in the past few years, since doing road trips to Disneyland and various Comicons, have I gotten the travel bug.  We would add tiny adventures to our road trips in order to break up the monotony of just driving from Point A to Point B.  I often spoke with my wife about seeing more of the world, but we never really set any goals.  I’m hoping for that to change over the next few years.

I’m not ready to create a “Bucket List” quite yet.  But there are places I want to visit in the near future.  There’s no reason behind my choices, they’re just the places that seem interesting.

Is Totoro waiting for the catbus?

Japan: A friend of ours just returned from a trip to Japan and spoke fondly of it.  I would like to follow in her & her husband’s footsteps- see the countryside and experience Tokyo.  It is a place I’ve wanted to go for years.

The Amazon:  I have recently been doing some research and it’s a toss up between Brazil and Peru for this experience.  Maybe both?

This clock has always fascinated me.

Prague: My father defected from Czechoslovakia long ago… He never wanted us to see where he grew up, but from what I’ve seen it photos, it looks fantastic.

Germany: If we get out to Prague, Germany will be added to this trip.  My wife has been there numerous times and really wants me to experience the country.

Isn’t it Grand?

I’d love to check out more of Canada and the USA as well.  Here in North America there is so much more to explore than I could list… For example: seeing the sunrise at the Grand Canyon, checking out a show on Broadway in New York, partying it up at Mardis Gras in New Orleans, or attending The Burning Man festival in Nevada, perhaps one day staying at Hôtel de Glace in Quebec, or touring Peggy’s Cove lighthouse followed by a fresh lobster dinner in Nova Scotia… 

These are but a few of the ideas that popped into my head- mostly based on what my friends have seen and shared on their adventures.  If you’ve ever travelled to the many places I’ve listed, I would love some advice on what else to do or see.  Perhaps there is more of the world that I should see, but just don’t know about.  Hong Kong, Australia, Caribbean, Greenland, or any number of other countries have so much to offer.

There is so much of the world left for me to explore that I can hardly wait to begin.

Good advice.