Usual Suspects

It’s been over two decades since “The Usual Suspects” came out.  So if you haven’t seen it, don’t read today’s blog.  That’s my spoiler warning.


This afternoon we had some friends over to watch “The Usual Suspects”.  For a film that is over 20 years old, it still holds up.  Especially since I was the only one who had seen the film previously.  I am still not convinced of who Keyser Söze really is.  All we have is a tale woven by a man named Verbal Kint explaining the events that lead up to the final crime.  We as an audience are following along by a guy who claims he is not a rat.  Two quotes from the film make me doubt who is the real Söze.

Who is Keyser Söze? He is supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Söze. You never knew. That was his power.

The description of the man behind the plan tells a tale of his origins.  Further on in the film, Verbal Kint talks about what made Keyser Söze so hard skinned and borderline evil.

You think you can catch Keyser Söze? You think a guy like that comes this close to getting caught and sticks his head out? If he comes up for anything, it will be to get rid of me. After that… my guess is you’ll never hear from him again.

This line from Verbal towards the end of the film isn’t to mock the police about how close they’ve come.  It is to tell them that no matter what, Verbal will be found and killed.  

As the film draws to an end, Verbal is walking down the street and his crippled movements vanish.  He gets into a car and is taken away.  Wow, Verbal is Keyser Söze.  I disagree.


Kobayashi is the real Keyser Söze.  He plays on the fears of all the criminals.  He is emotionless as he is held at gun point but continues to prove the power of Söze.  The female lawyer is shown meeting with him and later in the film Verbal is told that she is found dead in a hotel room.  

He is the man who picks up Verbal in the car at the end as well.  Verbal was his right hand man, assisting in the orchestration of the crime.  Even the police sketch appears to be a mix of the two men.


Verbal is picked up by Kobayashi.  Perhaps to be killed, as he described to the officer earlier.  Verbal knows he can’t escape, so he just accepts his fate and gets in the car.

That’s my take on a film that came out around the time of other great plot twist movies.  Many of those films heavy in dialogue, really having to tell the story instead of show it.  It’s always fun to see the reactions of friends who have never seen them.  

Rewrites and edits

Holy smokes.  Writing is tough.  Even when I write a grocery list, I can get worked up.  I want it perfect.  My list is based on what store we are hitting, and which aisles in the order we go through them.  Alphabetizing the list is just crazy talk though.  And to-do lists are equally as important.  I’m constantly adding and re-writing my lists.

Speaking of edits… Angry social media posts, texts or emails should always be curbed for a bit before you hit share/send.  Those things are very difficult to undo if you happen to write something you will eventually regret.


Writing my blogs, that’s something else entirely for me.  I am trying to share with the world some insight into who I am.  I’m trying to peel back the layers, and expose my inner self.  I’m essentially trying to look good naked- figuratively speaking.  


Through edits, re-writes, erasing and reviews I finally polish off something that I’m proud to share each day.  A little bit of my life gets the limelight so to speak.  Giving a little bit of myself to the world.  

But not before my wife proofreads it.

I’m Late!

This week has been a very varied work week for me.  None of it my being a part of my regular sessions.  It also threw off my regular blog postings.


So now, for probably the first time since I began this journey, I am rushing to finish before the day ends.  Of course tonight would be the night that all the road construction is happening.  As well as my car trying to give me a good scare making strange noises and not wanting to accelerate.  But I made it home safely. 

Now with under ten minutes to go until the end of the night- I still have no thoughts on what to blog.  No memories that have sprung to mind that I need to share.  No good vibes to pass along.  Nothing about my family that I can squeeze in quickly.  Just a solemn and peaceful evening.

To all who may have been waiting for today’s post- have a good night and sleep well.  Tomorrow I will figure out what to post and try and get it in earlier.

Good night everybody.

Daily Drive Dammit

Yesterday my Honda Element gave me a scare.  It decided to lose power while I was on the freeway.  I pulled over.  Shut off the car, then started it up and drove off.  But it happened again.  I pulled over, shut the car down, cursed and swore, started it up then began driving, keeping my RPMs low.  That seemed to do the trick until I got to work to diagnose the issue.

The internet is my friend & foe.

I had some time before work and searched everything possible on the internet about what could cause this.  Holy worst case scenarios Batman!  I was looking at possible hundreds of dollars in repairs…  Without a diagnostic computer, I thought I’d  have to take my car in to get serviced ASAP.  Lucky for me a fellow coworker was able to assist me.  We plugged in a reader to my ECU and with his handy app on his phone, we read the codes.

What does it all mean?


Turns out to be the O2 sensor.  Lucky for me, I already had an appointment to get that replaced on Monday.  So I called the mechanic and was able to bring it in today.  

After dropping off the car, they found more issues.  Big surprise. Hashtag sarcasm.  If I want to get the repairs done, I might as well say goodbye to my hopes of buying a PS4 for Christmas.  Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do since I need this vehicle to get around.

But really, for a vehicle we’ve owned new since 2003, it’s been pretty dang good.  With 277,280kms of driving it has been one of the best daily drivers ever.  Major repairs in the past have been a new clutch and muffler.  That’s it really.  We’ve done the brakes twice and installed new tires as needed.  Fluid changes on a regular basis has kept the Lego Mobile running.

After forking over money for today’s repair and knowing there’s still more to do- it makes it difficult to want to trade it in or sell it.  Especially if I drop another $500.  I’m known for my car.  People have waved and yelled at me over the years (both good and bad mind you).  I do love the Element in the way that one could love a car.  I would like to have my children learn to drive in it, so we shall see if it stays in our possession for a few more years.

Heck, if I lived closer to work, I’d ride my bike.  Just kidding.  That’s crazy talk.

SMRT

I often see in my children their potential to do something great with their lives.  I then begin beaming with pride at all of those “what-if” scenarios.  Architect?  Musician?  Olympian?  The future is wide open.  My wife and I push them to do their best at whatever it is they are working on.  The results thus far have been rewarding.  Both to us as parents, and the look of satisfaction on our children’s faces.


My two oldest came home with excellent report cards this week.  All “A’s” and one “B” this semester.  After telling them how proud we were with their grades, we did the inevitable- we asked how they thought they could improve that one grade from a “B” to an “A”.  Not that they needed to improve it.  They are already getting really good grades on a regular basis.  

It takes hard work to get those grades.  My wife and I are constantly reminding them about homework and practice.  Sometimes I worry that if we weren’t doing that, how good would the grades be?  We try not to hound the kids and make it miserable to get the work done.  Just friendly reminders, daily, every day, like a broken record.


Even though our kids are school smart, they astound me with moments of stupidity they portray in everyday life.  As if the part of the brain that makes them function is on the fritz.  Today for example, my middle daughter couldn’t figure out how to plug a Zip drive into the USB and then how to open the files on the computer.  It’s something she’s done before in the past, but today- she needed guidance.  She is also the only member of the household who seems to get paper jammed in the printer…  

Tonight our oldest daughter was asked to wash dishes and make dinner.  She couldn’t figure out how to scrub a pot using something besides the wash cloth.  She then asked how to drain the water from a pot so that we could enjoy perogies.  Our children spend a lot of time in the kitchen with us.  I’ve even tried explaining how and why we prepare foods the way we do.  But it just doesn’t stay with them.  

How will they survive in the real world when they move out??  Don’t you dare tell me they are living with me forever.


But in all of their wisdom and stupidity, they are great kids with lots of potential.  Opening up their eyes and minds to gather knowledge is the challenge.  Like throwing cooked pasta at a wall- sometimes it sticks and sometimes it falls to the floor.

Philosophy of Me

If you’ve been following my daily blogs, you’ll notice that I try my best to portray something positive about my life.  A part of me feels that there is too much negativity in this world.   If I can share just a small ray of sunshine or a glimmer of joy on any given day- then I feel I have accomplished my daily goal.

Taking the red pill.

Let me be honest with you for a moment.

Every day isn’t always sunshine and moonbeams.  Sometimes there’s a darkness.  A really crappy, pull you down from your happy place, bury you so deep that you have to dig out of the muck, darkness.  Those days I just want to curl up in the fetal position and sleep until forever passes me by.  Lucky for me, I sidestep the darkness and peer around the corner and try to tell a story or two of something uplifting.  

Tilting at windmills like Don Quixote.


I mention this because at one point in my life I was on antidepressants.  Which is really better than the self medicating/ intoxication I was doing to myself.  But I wasn’t thrilled to be taking a different set of drugs to alter my mental state.  It changed me and I could sense the change.    I became emotionless and I hated that more than being depressed.  It made me realize that I didn’t need the pills- I just needed to be more positive.

Oh cat, it soon shall pass.


That may sound like hooey, but it’s true.  After six months of being on the drug and not drinking, I stopped taking it.  Once I started making goals for myself by becoming more kind and supportive to those around me.  Then my life got better.  By sharing the good, I received the good back.

As well, not gossiping or falling prey to rumors: either told to me or about me, meant my life has less conflict.  I was able to start a long and happy life.  I want the same for my friends and the few followers I have.

If my writing brings a smile to your face, please share it.  If it makes you think a bit differently about how you interact with others, please let me know.  

Comfort vs Style

This past weekend, my wife finally agreed to changing out our theater room seating.  We used to have a large L shaped leather couch that we have since moved into our family room.  In its place, we put our white love seat and couch as a temporary sitting arrangement.  Those couches we have had for nearly twelve years and they don’t suit our home any more.  So it’s time to change it up.


Our theater room used to be a formal living room.  But we hardly used the space when we first moved in.  My wife and I decided (mostly with my convincing of her) to make it into a theater room.  We have enjoyed many years of family movie nights, video games, and sporting event finals.


However, since changing the style of seats the comfort level has been lacking.  The kids fight over where to sit and how to sit.  Even I am uncomfortable as I try and curl up beside my wife on our love seat.

At Vancouver Fan Expo of all places, my wife “discovered” some new seating possibilities.  To say that I am irked is putting it mildly because for years I have suggested it.  However it took her trying it out without me around for her to suggest it for our home.  Now, she is seriously looking into the idea.

FINALLY, we may be buying bean bag chairs for the room.  Check these bad boys out at Yogibo.


Okay, it may not seem very grown up or whatever.  But hear me out.  These aren’t just your run-of-the-mill Walmart bean bag chairs.  These are of a higher quality and come in more sizes and colours.  The layout and configuration of our theater room can be in constant change.  My wife and I are now discussing how many to buy, which styles and what colours.  We may end up with a rainbow assortment at the end of all this.


All it took was a salesman to flirt with my wife to make this happen.  😉  Just kidding. It took my wife finally trying out a bean bag chair that wasn’t cheaply made.  As much as I’m all for couches and regular furniture, I’m kind of excited about the change and basic silliness of it all.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress…

I’m Batman

Today we enjoyed the last day of Vancouver Fan Expo.  My son and I took advantage of trying out the PlayStation VR.  We played a brief demo of Batman:Arham VR.


After my son finished playing, I took a go at it.  

The graphics were phenomenal.  I was surprised at the seamless way it played.  My movements were mimicked perfectly. At one point during the demo, I felt like I was in the Bat Cave.  The sights and sounds were 360° all around me.  With the Bat Suit on, a mirror showed up in front of my vision.  

I was Batman.


I am wowed beyond belief at the way technology has advanced.  Even in the short time from our first VR testing back in the spring- read about it here: Button Mashing (March 2016).  Especially with the constantly changing gaming industry, stepping out of bounds is a high risk for any of the companies.  Sony nailed it.

The experience was surreal.

I walked away after knowing that for about ten minutes, I was truly transported somewhere else and I was someone else.  I was the hero that Gotham deserved.

Now back to my life.  I’m just a regular Joe.

Lego!

This weekend at Fan Expo Vancouver, there is a Lego area.  They always come to this convention.  And every year, my ten year old son spends pretty much the entire weekend there.  I’m totally cool with that.

Setting up the display he was asked to make today.

He is enjoyed by the staff & volunteers who work the floor in the Lego area.  My son has become quite the talk of that section of the convention.  Over the years we have been told that he is courteous and helpful all weekend with the other kids who stop by.  This year is no different.  

Yesterday a family showed up at my wife’s table to ask if Theory was our kid.  They wanted to express their thanks for what our son had done that day.  It would seem that Theory was very patient with their six year old autistic child and taught him how to build and just have fun.  They were unable to get their son to focus long enough for almost anything and tried to get him into Lego.  They told my wife that our son opened up new horizons for their son and they were extremely grateful.

As well yesterday, the staff at the Lego booth were super excited to tell my son that one of the seven  “Lego Master Builders” was going to be there on the Saturday.  My son for a moment was also super stoked, but soon realized that he and the Master Builder – Robin Sather- have been hanging out every year already.
Robin and Theory get along really well.  They think the same and love just building.  They have spent hours together at previous shows just talking and building.  The creativity just flows.

His 2015 design (that was also stolen after going on display) 2015 Fan Expo.

Who knows, maybe one day my son will be a Master Builder too.