Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween.  Always have.  We don’t have any Halloween traditions, so every year is something different.  Since having kids, locations for trick or treating has changed yearly.  We’ve been through local neighborhoods, Disneyland a few times, and even a couple of Comic Conventions in Los Angeles.  Each and every one of these times has been so much fun.

Stranger Things pumpkin. My last minute decision to carve yesterday.

The only thing that stays the same is dressing up.  Since my childhood I think there has only been once that I didn’t dress up for Halloween.  I was really sick and more cowbell couldn’t cure my fever. Every year I put on a different costume.

This year is no different.  My kids love dressing up as well.  We dress up in our cosplay because we take the time and effort to really play the part as well.  This year, my kids enjoyed dressing up and going to school with their friends.  It’s the first time in about five years that they have been able to do that.

I’ve loved seeing all the fun costumes at their school today.  I’ve also enjoyed all the great costumes that my friends and their children have shared on social media this past weekend.

As the night draws towards an end, I hope everyone out there had a safe and fun Halloween!


I love my home.  It’s an original custom built brick house from the early 1970’s.  It has a lot of character and I couldn’t imagine living anyplace else.  But with its uniqueness comes its flaws.  Most notably- the plumbing.

I hate plumbing.  Always have.  I hated doing it in my last house.  We had issues with the water to the home there as well as drainage issues.  But I hate doing plumbing here.  Hate.  Hate.  Hate.

Every couple of months, we spring a leak.  After the first couple times of having to rush out and pick up repair pieces- I now have a collection of clamps, pipes, and adhesives for the next leak.  Most of the leaks occur at the joints because of the corrosion caused from our well water.

About three years into owning this home, our pump stopped working.  So we installed a new one only to find the pipe from the well to the house had collapsed. Almost a week without running water… we resorted to heading over to the in laws and I was showering at work.  Pipe fixed.  Pump works.  But our driveway got ripped up to do this.

Broke because of plumbing repairs.

A year after that- our holding tank in the house couldn’t keep the pressure.  So we had a new one installed.  Yay!  Flowing water once more.  Two years later- our hot water tank died.  My favorite part about that?  We had to buy a smaller hot water tank because a standard sized one would not fit in the place where the old one stood.  Plus something about “building codes”…

As I said- since then there are constant leaks popping up every few months.  We also have a toilet that needs plunging every couple of weeks.  The little quirks of the plumbing make me want to pack up and move.

Adding insult to injury-  we also have radiant hot water being used to heat our home.  Besides the occasional relay/switch stopping from working, we haven’t run into any major issues… yet.

Leaks and plumbing are my nemesis.  I could never be a plumber by trade.  If I could live without water I would.  Except to shower.  I like showering.

New High Score

I remember being excited when I would break a high score on a video game.  Getting a personal best was always an achievement.  However, in the early stages of home video game entertainment systems, the score was lost when the system was shut off.  Proving your worth to your peers was difficult.

I loved playing on my ColecoVision and Intellivision. Because games of yesteryear just kept repeating and getting faster making them more difficult. There was never really an end, just repetition. 

Just repetition.

Just repetition.

And I played for hours. Usually giving up to have dinner or go to bed.

Of course, in the 80’s the technology was so advanced at all it took was connecting the RF switch to a VCR and you could record your high score to share with your friends!  Now I could have proof of how cool I was and would share with my one or two friends… who showed little to no interest in my accomplishments… but I was excited.

Mortal Kombat 4. My personal arcade machine.

Then there were arcade games.  Every kid I knew in the 80’s wanted their own arcade game.  We all had personal favorites.  But not always having an arcade to go to, we were limited to what the local convenience store/mall had readily available.  I played “Burger Time” when living in Edmonton at a pizza place whenever I could.

The early 80’s had bred arcade playing rockstars.  All shooting for a high score or a “kill screen”.  Two of my favorite documentaries on the subject are:

King of Kong: A Fistfull of Quarters

Man vs Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler

Moving on from the 80’s arcades and as home video game console got better, so did the sharing of high scores.  By the early 90’s, magazines were now devoted to the gaming industry and went hand in hand to a young teen like myself. My personal favorite magazine for gaming info was “Gamepro”.

I had a two year subscription to it.  Every month I’d flip to the back to see alphabetically, the high scores of many games.  My vested interest was in Tetris and Columns.  I played those as much as possible.  I never hit the scores that were posted, but it gave me a goal. (As sad as that goal might have been back then…)

But there were also arcades with more selections now.  From Altered Beast to Street Fighter 2- games took up my free time when away from home.  There were a place to go to and hang out with friends.  As new games came in, I was still drawn to the classics- Centipede, Pac Man, Frogger.  Those were my “go-to” games.  Heck, I’d love to get those in my home one day…  I was close to buying a Frogger machine at an auction once, but the price jumped too high for me.  Pun intended.

Aw look, matching Astrosmash shirts.

Playing videogames that have no ending are my way of unwinding sometimes.  I’ll play Pac Man or Astrosmash until I’ve had my fill, then shut it off.  Re-playing games with a goal, such as Super Mario World or Zelda, doesn’t appeal to me.  If I finished it once, why do it again?  The goal was achieved.

The games I enjoy are much like life.  Life just goes by faster and faster getting harder and harder with no real end goal in site.  All I’m doing is trying to reach a high score before “Game Over” happens.

Late Nights and Long Days

The regular routine of life often leaves me exhausted.  Nightshift spills over into daytime appointments and attempts at sleep.  Our children lead busy lives with regular school, as well as activities before school & after school (held at the school), and piano lessons.  One of our kids is doing the yearbook,  one is in cheerleading and the youngest in speed skating.  On Monday, our eldest in grade nine is at her school for nearly twelve hours.

As parents, we want the best for our children.  So we encourage them to search out their interests.  But we don’t want them to give up on their talents.  It’s a fine line between being persuasive vs being bossy when it comes to parenting.  It’s exhausting.  Period.

So here we are on a Friday night.  I’m about to head to work and the kids are getting much needed time to relax.  Pizza, sodas and vegging out.

My middle child is out at a costume party.  While my youngest will be playing videogames to his heart’s content.  And our eldest has decided she wants to teach herself guitar.

She is a music major at school, so I’m pretty sure she will do just fine learning to shred.  The only issue is, she wants to use her sister’s guitar.  Without permission.  This has caused a few fights between them.  Ah sibling rivalry.  So tonight while her sister is out, she is sneaking some play time.

So my Friday nights have changed over the years.  I’m passing on the fun times to my children.  Perhaps one day they will appreciate it.

#TBT Work

Yesterday marked the ninth anniversary of my last shift as a manager at Chuck E. Cheese’s.  I left behind many people whom I had grown fond of that showed great potential.  I’m talking about the teenage employees that worked for me.  Since that time I have remained Facebook friends with many of them.  I was correct- all of them have succeeded in their journey into adulthood.  

Writing a new beginning.

Each of them took different paths.  Some finished university, some got married and started families, some moved far away, and some started their own businesses.  I’m really proud of them, as if they were my own family.  In a way- maybe they were.  I spent up to five years with some of them while working there.

I left that job to pursue a drastically different change of career- working as a switchman for a railroad.  Most of the employees were excited for me.  But there were the naysayers who didn’t want to see me succeed.  This was my district manager, my general manager and a fellow manager.  For some reason, none of them wanted to see me try something new to better my life.  They assumed I’d fail.  Nine years later…  They were still wrong.

I made the choice to leave the restaurant/entertainment business to better my life and the lives of my family.  Nearly every decision I have made since meeting my wife and starting a family has been to better our lives.  Quitting jobs and exploring new paths is just one way I’ve put my family first.  I was comfortable at the movie theater, Home Depot and the Chuck.  But comfortable wasn’t moving my life forward or the lives of my family.

Working for a railroad has allowed my family to enjoy real vacations.  It has affored my children the luxury of entering a choice fine arts school.  It has paid for a roof over our heads (literally a new roof).  Plus many more experiences and lifestyle improvements.  None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t taken a chance on doing something completely out of my comfort zone.

In our lives there will always be naysayers.  There will always be the ones who don’t want to see you succeed.  There will always be the people who think that it’s only luck that has gotten you to where you are.  Or that it’s not fair that you are enjoying life.  Those are the voices you need to ignore.  These are the people who would be happier in smirking at your misery than offer you support to reach your goals.  Whenever someone has tried to push me down with negativity, I look at their life.  Guaranteed it’s almost exactly not the life I want.

Years after leaving CEC, I’m still supporting many of my younger friends I made there.  I have given references for their career paths, I have gone out to watch their performances, I have even made an effort to go to their places of work to offer congratulations in person.  I have cheered them on through social media & offered my support during each of their journeys in life.

I am but one voice.  But I have done my best to be that voice that offers encouragement.  

This is the same voice that many of my former employees offered me when I left Chuck E. Cheese’s.  Many of them may not have realized how encouraging it was to hear their opinions as I spent my final few days with them.  It didn’t matter that most of them were a decade or more younger than I was.  I had grown fond of them and valued each of them as a human being.  As I left, it hurt.  But it was for the betterment of my family.

A big thanks to my young supporters from nine years ago.  My last bit of advice today- Don’t let other people prevent you from pursuing your dreams and goals.  Keep up the good work!


Just spit it out already 

At my age (yes, I’m actually going to use that phrase-leave me alone) I don’t have time to play mind games.  Those manipulative types of games that people think they should use to get what they want.  I’m pretty perceptive when it comes to noticing that game.  Like I said, I don’t have time for it.  

Unless I do have time for it…

Meaning- I’ll string people along for a while until they either outright ask for what they want or give up.  I’ll play dumb for ages to get a rise out of someone.  Pleasantries and greetings are fine and all- those are totally acceptable to start a conversation. But the next few moments can really irk me.  Don’t try and make small talk about what my plans are or some bs about needing to get together.

Need a ride somewhere?  Ask.

Need help moving stuff?  Ask.

Need us to look after your kids for a night?  Ask.

Need to borrow money?  Don’t ask.

That’s right.  I don’t “lend money” to friends.  It’s the quickest way to find out how much your “friendship” is worth.  I’ve lost friends over a loan of $15.  It’s amazing how quickly people forget to pay back even the smallest of loans.  If I see someone close to me in dire need of financial assistance, I will give them money without expecting remuneration.

Don’t even get me started on rumors about people.  Rumors about movies?  Ok.  People?  Not ok.

“Did you hear about so-and-so?” Nope.  Don’t care.

“I can’t believe so-and-so did this…” Good for them.  How did it affect you?  It didn’t?  Then who cares.

“So-and-so said this about you…” Why are you telling me?  Does it make you feel bigger than me to put me down?

Old Gregg wants you to just spit it out.

At the end of it all, just like me for who I am.  Not what I can offer you or what you feel you can take from me.

I dislike posting rants. But sometimes you just need to get stuff off your chest. I promise to be more uplifting next time.


Fall is rolling in slowly around the West Coast.  Filled with chilly, rainy days but still well above the zero Celsius mark.  Autumn brings forth my favorite look for this time the year.


I never liked wearing sweaters as a kid/teen.  It was seriously uncool.  But over the past decade and a bit, I’ve been growing fond of the look.  I once had a sweater vest I was really proud of that was donated to me by my father in-law.  That’s when I realized, I enjoy rocking the “old man” look in the winter.  It’s cozy and in a sense- regal.  It’s the look of a man who strives for comfort, and in many cases, not fashion.

The most influential sweaters of my life ranked in order of ascending greatness:

What good feeling.

5. Mr Rogers:  Why?  Because he was the father figure/tv teacher of my childhood generation.  The first thing he did every episode was put on a sweater while he sang.  He was a happy, sweater wearing badass.

The stuff of nightmares.

4. Freddy Krueger:  Why?  His iconic look was completed with a rather ordinary sweater.  It symbolizes my love of schlock gore films.

Lew plays through.

3. Lew Hayward:  Why? Scrooged is one of my favorite Christmas films.  It is filled with some fantastic lines.  Lew is what I picture my father to be like nowadays- dead and still playing golf.

But what would I wear?

2. The Grinch:  Why?  It’s the most iconic of ugly Christmas sweaters.  Christmas time screams sweaters to me & this sweater screams the loudest.

1. Lebowski:  Why?  Because he’s the Dude, man.  No other explanation other than it really tied the room together.

Now to dust off my old sweaters and break out the cocoa.  Old Man Winter is on his way.

Shopping.  Not shopping.

This evening my wife and I had about an hour to kill while we were out.  So we decided to “go shopping”.  We didn’t need to buy anything in particular.  Food was fairly stocked up in our home, so groceries were off the list.  Thank goodness.  That’s when we usually run into people we know… 

Hitting Costco is like dropping a mortgage payment inadvertently while wandering around browsing- so we avoided that place as well.  We decided to look around at a Home/Bath/Bedroom place since we don’t normally go to those places.

We weren’t really looking to spend money.  It was more a way for us to discuss what changes to our home we’d like to do.  Maybe some new dishes?  Perhaps some hand towels?  Serving sets or small appliances?  We walked and talked for a nearly an hour in an empty large box retail store.  We noticed one sales associate kept following us, but never made contact.  It was eerie after a while.  Then it dawned on me, we didn’t have a shopping cart, we were constantly picking up items and putting them down.  At one point, my wife and I were “testing pillows” by laying down our heads on them while they were in the bin.  This lady following us must think we are trying to shoplift.  

My wife in her leggings, purse, and comfortable hoodie & me all clean cut in nice pants and a sweater were clearly there for a “five finger discount” at 8pm on a Monday night.  It was strange being stalked by an employee.  Needless to say we weren’t stealing, nor did we want to buy anything after that.  So we left.  We then headed over to the worst place for shopping ever- Walmart.

It was a wonderful sensation going in there.  We didn’t fit in.  I’m not saying we’re better off than other people, but, we’re better off than most Walmart shoppers.  Heck, the website People of Walmart is pretty dang accurate.  Especially in that odd time of day before closing…  Again, we just wandered around and as usual, just didn’t feel the need to spend money.

Walking away from a store without spending money really isn’t that tough.  But it made me realize that I don’t like “window shopping” anymore.  Everything I want, I can search out online.  Even the prices can be drastically lower.  Unfortunately, we spend way more now online…

So for me, the general shopping experience isn’t fun.  I don’t get a euphoric feeling spending money.  I don’t like to clutter my home with stuff (even though my home is cluttered with stuff).  In desperate times, my wife and I are usually “Pro Shoppers”.  Get in, get the goods, get out.  Wandering aimlessly isn’t our thing.  I’m cool with that.  More money in the bank for the important things in life.  

Like vacations!  Boy do I want to travel more.  That gives me a euphoric sensation, but that’s for a different post.

Pumpkin Carving 2016

Today was pumpkin carving day in our home.  

My children each chose a pumpkin and a stencil.  They scooped out the innards and marked up the images.  I ended up carving two of them for my youngest children.  My oldest was still working on hers three hours later…

I love pumpkin carving.  I have spent numerous hours creating art in the past.  Here are a collection of my previous pumpkins:

Jack 2004. 4 hours of carving to create the dim outline.

Coraline. 2011. Took about 3 hours to carve.

Simple Jack 2007.

Minnie 2010. Just before we left to Disneyland.

2009 collection. My oldest carved the smiley face one.

This year’s collection is almost complete. I enjoyed having my children help.  They chose some easier designs that allowed them to help in the carving.  Plus it showed their fandoms off.

Totoro face, leaf shape cut out for the top.

Mudkip. My son’s favorite Pokémon.


Besides my daughter who just finished up her Tardis pumpkin, I have one for myself still to carve.  

My oldest daughter’s carving skills have improved drastically.  She takes after her father and is quite the perfectionist.  She took her time and calmly cut away the image she wanted to come to life.

Mr. Short Term Memory

I often forget what I have written about in previous blog posts.  Not because my musings are boring- far from it.  I think what I write is pretty dang awesome and totally worth reading- you should think so too.  (Shameless self promotion.)  So keep supporting me.  I almost forgot, now back to what I was saying…

Future posts

For days on end, ideas float around in my head.  A title or the first few lines get quickly jotted down as they pop into my mind.  When I am ready, or the time is right, the post comes to life.  I subsequently take the time to perfect my musings, often re-writing sentences & editing paragraphs.  My brain focuses intensely on getting the words just right.

Periodically I start on a blog post only to realize part way through that I’ve already written about it.  The beginning may be different, but the content is abruptly repetitious.  Ugh.  TABLE FLIP FRUSTRATION kicks in and I delete entire passages.  The feeling of all those minutes and hours wasted typing overwhelms me.

SNL funny/not funny…

Only, they’re not wasted and I shouldn’t think like that.  The synaptic activity causing a relapse is beneficial to my health.  It means my brain is functioning normally.  It means I am getting more and more comfortable writing & sharing.  

More SNL? I should just quit writing now.

This week, I drew from the depths of my memory what made me laugh as a young teen.  That brought me back to Saturday Night Live skits.  Some of the humor is dated.  Some of it isn’t as easily accepted as it once was back in the 70’s and 80’s.  Some of the skits just don’t hold up upon reflection.  The majority of my blog posts won’t hold up over time.  But even the greatest writers had some bombs.  Just because you can find a “Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe” doesn’t mean it’s the “Greatest Works of Edgar Allan Poe”.

Forgive me if it seems as if you’ve read this before.  You’re probably going to read it again.  Unless you stop following me.  Then you won’t.

No Internet? No Problem. Nap time.

Today half the Internet went down.  At least that’s what I heard.  You see, I was sleeping all day, so I really have no idea.

When I did wake up, I saw numerous posts about it on Facebook.  So I read a few links about how it happened and what websites were affected.  As I’m reading the comment sections, I realized that for a few hours of not having access to certain sites, people became really agitated.  Like next level angry.  And for no good reason but that the comforts of browsing or watching videos was disrupted.

Here goes more “Old man” talk:  I grew up without the Internet.  My life was planned around 30 minute intervals of television shows.  If I wasn’t watching tv, I was hanging out doing nothing of importance except spending quality time with friends.  

The internet arrived with a whimper not a bang.  No one cared.

Dial up was slow and if you had call waiting and the phone rang- you lost connection.  My “online” time was limited to late nights.  And no, online porn wasn’t readily available back then.  My late nights were on BBS networks playing text based games.  Gradually the internet evolved.  Speeds had gotten better.  Phone lines became fiber optic.  

Instant gratification has now become the norm.  Even as I write this blog on my iPhone, I know when I hit publish it will be instantly accessible to everyone.

Not having internet access shouldn’t be the end of the world.  Sure, we all take it for granted nowadays that internet is there with the click of a button or a tap of the screen.  But not having access for an hour or two should be taken as a moment to reflect on life.  

Go out for a walk.  

Call an old friend.  

Take a nap.

The internet will return with, “IT’S BACK!”  And everyone will go back to watching viral cat videos.

There’s This Woman…

Jane Curtain once said, “…there’s an old saying: Behind every successful man there’s a woman.  A loving, giving, caring woman…”

Jane Curtain

Of course there’s more to that quote, but I highlighted the part I needed for today’s blog.  The rest is a humorous banter between her and Dan Aykroyd on an old Saturday Night Live skit.  In the style of which they seemed like a stereotypical old married couple.

Our first photo together in 2000.

My wife supports me 100% with whatever I choose to do in my life.  She is my partner and we work together to make a pretty good go of things.  The only time she “stands behind me” is when she is pushing me to do better or remain focused.  

Take my blogging for example.  She encourages my daily writings and often asks if I have finished my post (especially if it’s getting late in the day).  She also proofreads 99% of them.  For that, I am truly blessed.  You’d be surprised how many mistakes I can make.

Really nice hair.

So many thanks are owed to the greatest woman in my life. She has made me a stronger person.  She has helped me through many struggles. She has helped me accomplish many goals.  Without her, I probably wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am in life.  Both successfully and emotionally.

Thank you Lee-Anne.

That’s the news. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow. 


I like being clean shaven.  Mostly because it would take me months to grow any kind of facial hair.  No joke.  After graduating high school, I grew a goatee to try and show off my manhood.  Ya.  I looked like Shaggy- that was also the Halloween costume of the year.  I did kind of like having well manicured hair, but it was short lived for only a of couple years.

One month’s growth. Circa December 1st,2011.

Back in 2011, I grew a mustache for Movember.  It was for a good cause and helped raise money and awareness for men’s health.  Go Joe!  I shaved the day after it was all over.

I have a regular shaving routine.  Every Monday, Wednesday & Friday.  The days in between- you could barely tell that I have any stubble.  It just doesn’t want to show up.  Five o’clock shadow? Maybe in a week’s time it would be there.  It takes me less than a minute to shave.  I like the look, it keeps me young.  My children prefer it as well.  They like hugs and giving me a kiss on the cheek after a shave.

My father had a beard and only ever trimmed it about once a month.  He smoked and drank beer, so the smell remained around his face trapped in his beard.  It kept me at bay.  So when I became a teenager starting to grow hair, he never took the time to teach me how to shave.  I bought a cheap electric razor and used that for years.  Then this magazine for men – Maxim became my source for all things important to me.  In one of the articles, I learned the right way to shave with a razor and shaving cream.  I’ve never looked back.

I have many friends with facial hair of all types.  Some guys have glorious beards, others are scruffy.  Some guys are so well kept they have an air of being metrosexual.  Others really should take lessons in shaving.  Facial hair or lack of hair is who we are.

I’m going to end this with a quote my friend (with great facial hair) often says when excited:

By Odin’s Beard!

School Drop… F-Off!

Today I experienced what my wife has been complaining about for years.  The idiocy of school drop off.  I’ve experienced it before, but sometimes I just need to vent after.

Each year the school newsletter puts out relevant information on where and how to drop off the students.  Our school has two “Drop Off/Pick Up” zones available.  Fairly simple- pull through next to curb, open door, kick student out, move on.  Should take less than 30 seconds- safely driving away after.  It would appear that besides myself, my wife, & only a handful of parents abide by these rules.  The rules aren’t enforced by anyone, so most parents don’t adhere to them.  

This is frustrating and dangerous to the children.  Cars are seen stopping in the middle of the street and doors whipping open, having kids jump out.  Or worse, they pull into the drop off zone and park for ten minutes.  Sometimes with all doors wide open and hanging out having long conversations with their kids.  Did they not just have five to twenty minutes of driving time with said child/children that could have explained the meaning of the universe ten times over???  This idiocy blocks other parents from coming through and dropping their kids off.  Now I see why parents stop in the middle of the street.

Even worse is the parents who can’t understand the simplicity of the Enter/Exit.  I have witnessed cars coming in the wrong way, even though the parking lot is clearly marked with signs and painted arrows on the ground.  The looks of disgust I send out are often met with a shrug or complete ignorance.

Don’t even get me started on the excessive speeds that parents feel they can drive through the school zone.  Many parents seem only concerned about getting their kids to school.  After that, there is no concern for anyone’s well being.  One time I was doing the speed limit in a different school zone and some a-hole decided to illegally speed past on a double solid line at a crosswalk.

All of these moments make me want to exact demolition derby revenge with my car into theirs.  But it won’t stop bad behavior.  I guess I’ll stick with stink eye, middle fingers and horns to get my feelings across.

I’m Not Crazy. Really.

I work the nightshift regularly at the moment.  I sit at a desk typing things into a computer, answer the phone and the radio, and generally work alone.  There have been hours at a time that I’m the only one in the building.  I like to have the lights dimmed and the blinds closed as I work.  Like a late night radio dj, smooth and calm is how I like to run my shift.

But, I get a bit stir crazy sometimes.  The other night, I randomly began singing about eating my curry chicken and rice.  Most nights I am swearing and cursing before I would answer the phone in a calm manner.  I often sing my responses to the crews as they ask questions on the radio.  Sometimes I’ll quote movies as my responses.

The job is tedious at times.  It’s also extremely stressful.  My job is best described as being an air traffic controller for trains.  It’s a dangerous and unforgiving environment for those who work on the ground.  They are expecting me to give them the best information I can in order for them to do their job safely.  I take great pride in my work every night.  Many of my coworkers have come to understand my style of working.  As well, I’ve grown to understand their capabilities.  

Together, we make through each night until daylight breaks.

Raising Atheist Children

I’m astonished by my 10 year old son. He told me the other day that he is uncomfortable singing a Christmas song at school and doesn’t want to sing some of the lyrics. I asked him what song and why.  

The song is “Away In A Manger.”

He said he doesn’t think he should have to sing it since he is an Atheist and doesn’t believe in god or Jesus and he feels uncomfortable singing about them. We fully respect him for his decision. I also told him that if the teacher asks why he isn’t singing, that he should express those feelings to her.  His comfort level around me vs a teacher may be very different.  I understand that at his age he may not be able to express his concerns to an authority style person.  If he needs us to explain to the teacher why he isn’t singing, we will.

This isn’t the first time my son has expressed that he is an Atheist.  The other memorable moment that I have witnessed was when he was seven and said to another child that he doesn’t believe in god.  This other child was dumbfounded and started asking my son how someone could not believe in god.  This other little boy just couldn’t grasp the concept.  Perhaps in the same way that my son can’t grasp the concept of believing in god.

The warmth of my home is all I need.

Now, back to the Christmas Season, as an Atheist I still enjoy the holidays.  I wish people a Merry Christmas.  I sometimes say Happy Holidays.  I gladly and respectfully return a greeting to friends or strangers based on their beliefs.  When I was a child, I had to sing religious based carols because I was going to a Catholic school.  A part of me still enjoys hearing them from time to time since they remind me of my childhood.

The idea of a mythical person bringing gifts through a chimney to place under a tree inside our home has always been a part of my family’s Christmas.  Sometimes we open gifts on the 24th, 25th or 26th.  The date doesn’t matter.  Baby Jesus isn’t a part of our custom.  If anything, we are sharing in the Winter Solstice with family and friends.  

The church near my home.

The other church near my home.

As an Atheist parent, I normally don’t discuss religions with my family.  My children have asked in the past why we don’t go to church and I’ve explained why this is.  I have also explained to them that they are more than welcome to explore different ideologies throughout their lives.  Currently, all of our children feel that they are Atheists.  I’m not going to close off their own free will to explore and question life.  If they so choose to find religion or god, that is their choice.

A humorous read about being Atheist.

Reading books is the best way to find answers in this world.  We encourage our children to read and expand their knowledge through books.  As well, if they have questions about anything, they are encouraged to ask.  Sometimes our dinner topics can be uncomfortable, but my wife and I don’t feel the need to sugar coat or ignore their queries.  Being an Atheist doesn’t mean we can’t be open minded.  Far from it actually.  

If a time comes that our children do become religious- we will respect their choice.  First and foremost, being a parent is about love and understanding.

It was a dark and stormy night…

Such a classic start to almost all stories written by children.  I didn’t want to title today’s post that way, but it really did fit.  Tonight is a crazy evening with high winds and tons of rain.  We’ve already lost power a few times over the past couple of days.  We are expecting to lose it again some time this evening.  But that won’t stop us from having a nice quiet Saturday night as a family.

We already have a fire burning- warming up our family room.  Dinner was made, enjoyed, and the dishes cleared away.  We’ve gotten into our pajamas, house coats, & slippers early this evening in order to lounge and relax.  

We are deciding upon a few family games to play.  NO MONOPOLY.  That game always ends in a fight.  But we do have many other games that will allow a variety of shorter gameplay so everyone is happy.

On the table tonight is Tsuro, Yardmaster, Timeline:Inventions, Timeline:Diversity, Timeline:Science&Discoveries, Nightmare Before Christmas Yahtzee, Nightmare Before Christmas Trival Pursuit, & Poop.

Timeline seems like a good educational style game as you try and play all your cards based on history in a timeline.

Tsuro is a path game where you place tiles and try to remain the last stone on the board.  Quick and strategic.

Poop is a card game all about flushing a toilet without overflowing.  Humorous and silly.

Yardmaster is about moving trains (I should be great at that one, since it is my regular job).

We love gaming as a family, and even though we still have electricity, not every moment we spend together as a family should be infront of a screen.  That being said, I’m going to publish tonight’s blog and check out until tomorrow.

Why am I so Lazy This Week?

I haven’t been the most helpful husband this week.  Most mornings after a nightshift, I’ll drive the kids to school.  But not this week.  I came home every morning and went to bed.  I also woke up to eat dinner and then went for another nap before going to my nightshift.  I didn’t even make the dinners this week.

Everything fell on my wife.  I appreciate what she has done this week (and every week for that matter).  I’m not sure why I became so lazy.  But my wife stepped up and did everything for the family.  She did so without any real complaining or animosity towards me.  

She’s a pretty darn good lady who deserves daily praise.  To say that I will make it up to her is an understatement.  This weekend we are probably just going to lounge around the home.  She enjoys beating me at videogames, which is why I don’t like playing them with her.  I think a weekend away is in order soon.  

But tonight I will make dinner to thank her.  Sushi Take Out…

Today’s Appealing Designation to Entice Analysis

It’s not going to go over appreciatively once you’ve realized that I don’t have anything poignant to communicate today.  Alternatively, I am going to employ a vast multitude of synonymic wording to express my diurnal contemplation.  

Commencing upon arrival at my place of residence, I concocted breakfast for my consumption.  I perched at our dining table to masticate my meal as I perused the online communal publishment sites.  Upon completion of my meal, I proceeded forthwith to my bed for horizontal slumber.  Recurring periods of overnight laboring occupation have proven to be arduous.

I nuturingly finalized today’s exasperating announcement, post slumber awakening.  I am grateful to have completed such a daunting task utilizing synonyms throughout.  It was feasibly epigrammatic.

There’s a Storm a Brewin’

Here on the west coast, our summer weather had been extended a bit longer.  Over the past week or so, there has been an occasional rain.  But starting tonight and going into the weekend, we are expected to be bombarded with heavy rain and gusty winds.

Being prepared for such weather isn’t a big deal for most people.  Large suburbs and cities often get their power back quickly.  We live on the outskirts in a more rural area where the population is more widespread.  Getting our power back on isn’t as big of a priority to the utilities company.  

This sucks for many reasons.  First, we are on well water and our pump is electric.  No showers or general cleaning for us.  Also no flushing the toilet more than once, that’s a single tank full.  So we follow the old adage-

If we need an extra flush while the power is still out, we grab a bucket and scoop water from a rain barrel.  As well, we have a few of those 18.9L cooler water jugs for fresh drinking water on hand.  Today, I filled a couple more just in case.

No electricity sucks.  It means our home is dark and cold.  Really cold.  We have a brick house, and at one point a couple years ago part of our home dropped to about 15°c (59°F) inside.  We were also without power for four days.  We are lucky to have a wood burning fireplace in the center of our home.  Once it heats up, it can be pretty toasty.

2014 brought many trees and large branches down in our yard.

Our home and neighborhood is surrounded by old growth trees.  With the high winds expected, there will also be many trees blown down.  Our roads have been blocked for many hours at a time before road crews cleared them up.  As well, our yard gets bombarded by large branches.  The sounds of the tree limbs cracking and falling can be terrifying.  They are that much more amplified while the power is out.

Today we prepared for the storm.  I cleared the downspouts and drains, bought more fresh water, brought out flashlights, lanterns, and batteries.  We gathered up our outdoor furniture and brought everything under cover.  The last thing we need to do is bring some firewood inside and gather up candles.  Every year I talk about buying a generator. (Usually during a storm or while the power is out).  And every year I don’t.

Even though the power goes out for a few hours to a few days, we survive.  We even play some board games under candlelight as a family.  As much as it is an inconvenience to not have power, it’s not a big deal in short bursts.  

Stay safe this autumn.

I Just Can’t Do It Alone

Having a family means I put their needs ahead of my own.  Usually.  I work to pay the bills, provide food, shelter, etc…  My free time is involved in extra curricular activities.  Either driving, watching, encouraging or celebrating with my family.  I love watching my children succeed.  I love that my wife has a fun business that takes us on trips to other cities.  I love my family.


Besides sleeping, my free time is rather diminished.  So I blog.  I make the time to allow myself to write out my thoughts.  Sometimes I can get my writing done while the kids are at school.  Sometimes I get it done while the kids are asleep.  But on days like today, I needed to sit back and write.  Hopefully uninterrupted.  But no such luck.  I found a quiet spot on the couch, only to be hunted out fairly quickly by my wife.  She came into the room and just began talking to me.  

Part way through, she paused to ask who I was texting. “No one.” 

What’s new on Facebook? “No idea.”

Have you been on Instagram? “Not yet.”

What are you doing then? “Working on my blog.”

Why didn’t you say so?

So there’s my dilemma.  I should have announced that I needed a bit of time alone.  I shouldn’t have snuck off to a quiet comfortable spot in the middle of the house.  Taking some “me time” is sometimes seen as escaping the family.  I guess it is.  I just wanted a few minutes to get my thoughts out.  After starting one blog post, I saved that draft and began this one instead.  

As quickly as I was interrupted, I was left alone again.  I have finished my blog post/mini rant, but now I need my wife to proofread.  My alone time is over.

Adapt or be left behind

I mentioned a few months ago that I love Technology.  Sometimes I absolutely loathe it.  Today is a prime example.  I was ready to kill my printer much like in the scene from Office Space.  But, it wasn’t the printer’s fault.  It was my lack of understanding of what was miscommunicating inside my home computer.

Simply put: I had used an older program to create labels for my wife a couple of years back.  I tried to run it on the original program.  I couldn’t open said program because my Windows operating system had updated and I was on my wife’s user not knowing where she kept anything.  Finally finding the “Label File”  I loaded it into the old program.  Seemed ok so far minus a hiccup or two opening the file.  Time to click print.  And…

Our printer was now showing an error on its tiny little screen telling me that it needed an alignment.  What?  Since when did it suddenly need an alignment?  I asked my wife if this was why she needed me to print the labels.  She said she printed something earlier with no issues.  Great.  Now it’s my inability to print.  

Off goes the printer.  On goes the printer.  

Still needs an alignment, but a computer prompt showed up allowing me to bypass it.  Ok.  Time to print.  Buzz, whir, click, printing has commenced.

For f***s sake!

The image isn’t anywhere near being aligned to the sticker labels.  ARGH!  Ok.  Wait a sec… I see the problem.  No it wasn’t that the printer needed an alignment.  I just needed to open the image in yet another program.  A few moments of the computer calculating and bringing up the right program.  Ah.  This looks better.  Print attempt number 3.

Holy crap.  The image is now too dark.

Better walk away Josef.  Walk away.


Ok.  Took a poop, now back to the computer.  Ah, here we go.  Edit background image to 75% transparency.  Print attempt number 4.


People in IT: thank you for doing a wonderful job.  However, when I am at home and ready to kill anyone within ten feet of me, computers can truly irk me.

The good old days of computing.

Don’t even get me started on iOS 10 for my iPhone.  It’s one of those things that always seems to happen.  You get used to an operating system, set it all up nicely the way you like it, and…. UPDATE.  I’m all for moving forward.  I used to live for the newest versions of Windows ever since ’95.  

What happened you ask?  Well, I have grown up and don’t have as much downtime to relearn each and every new software upgrade.  I am now picking and choosing when and what I need to learn.  I am afraid that one day, I’ll be left behind in the technological department.  

But hey, that’s probably when I’ll be taking regular naps and recounting the old days and talk about how wonderful they were in my blog.  

Crap.  That day is now upon me.

Dinner is served.

Today my family and I are celebrating Thanksgiving.  I’m not sure celebrating is the right word.  We are having a turkey dinner with all the fixings followed by apple pie for dessert.  

Home made apple pie.

Eating dinners as a family is one of the most important things that I have found we need to do.  On long days, we will still eat dinner together at 9pm.  It gives us time to communicate and share about our day or plans for the next few days.  We encourage our children to help prepare meals or set & clear the table.  We have done this their entire lives in order to make it a habit.

Getting some videogames ready on the Wii-U.

Tonight’s dinner is no different.  From preparing the apple pie yesterday to stuffing the bird today, we all work together.  Most of our afternoon involved relaxing reading books, playing videogames, practicing piano, or in my case-taking a nap.  All of this whilst we enjoyed the aromas of the garlic and stuffing as it emanated from our oven as the bird cooked to perfection.

Best invention EVER!

We peeled potatoes, set the table, and poured the wine into our good crystal (Sprite for the kids).  Everyone hustled around to get the dinner perfect.  It was only for us, but the kids wanted it to be special.  

Today I raise a glass and give Thanks to my family and friends.  May you all have full stomachs and hearts as we journey though the holidays over the next few months.

High quality cranberry sauce. Still in can shape.


One of my favorite parts about being a parent is the way my children exaggerate their feelings.  Ok, that’s an exaggeration.  But I oftentimes hear these phrases:

“My life is totally over.”

“You’re the worst parent ever.”

“I’ve been waiting forever.”

“I didn’t do anything.”

“I always do the cleaning!”

“I only wore this once this week.”

“I took a shower.”

Mind you, this isn’t daily.  It seems to be when they’re having a bad day.  Le Sigh.  At this point with my parenting skill set, I have learned to ignore most of these comments.  However, if I’m feeling sassy, I’ll fire back with sarcasm.  It’s my gods given right as a parent to fire back with wit in times of frustration.

Sometimes the banter continues until the children crack a smile.  Other times silence from both parties will end with a hug and an apology.  My kids are great people.  They’re trying to learn their place on this planet and where they fit in.  I can’t always get angry at them.  Sometimes there is a deeper hidden reason for the frustration.  You just have to get past what they’re saying and listen to how they’re speaking.

It’s harder now as they get older to decipher the exaggerations from the lies.  Teens have a good way of telling you something over and over until they believe it.  I really don’t believe this statement: “I don’t have any homework.”  

Parenting is a crazy game with no rules.  You just hope that your kids survive until adulthood and leave the house with all of their digits and brain cells.  You also hope that by that time you still have your brain cells and sanity.


Writing everyday has made me get repetitive with my thoughts making my everyday writing get repetitive.

255 blog posts this year.  Today’s post is number 256.  That’s one written blog post everyday since I started 256 days ago.  Besides myself, I think my wife is the only other person who has read every single one.  Some of them really suck.

Today I stared at my iPhone trying to come up with a post.  What do you do when you can’t think of a post?  Why you surf the internet of course.  You open the Facebook app.  You browse Instagram.  You put the phone down and stare blankly at nothing.  You pick up your phone and open WordPress and stare at a blank screen.

That fresh white screen stares back at you.  It judges you.  The horrors of high school projects come rushing back.  You start writing, then realize, “Dang.  I wrote about that already.”  Great.  Delete.  A new paranoia is kicking in.  “I have nothing new to write about.”

That last statement isn’t true.  I know it isn’t.  I know deep down I have more stories to share.  I just need to get those juices flowing.  I need to make my words have meaning.  I need to add a touch of humanity to my writing.  I can do it.  I can accomplish another blog post.  I could even search images online to make it look more fun.

And like that.  *POOF*  I just wrote today’s daily musing.  Thank the gods.  It’s not a great post.  But it’s mine.  I wrote it.  I created it.  I am sharing it knowing full well I’ve written better ones.

Ah man.  I still need to write one tomorrow as well.