3DS Mario Kart!

For the first time in about three years of conventions, we enjoyed some gaming time as a family.  Sort of.  Well, the three of us who came on this trip got to play together.

We always bring our Nintendo 3DS’s on road trips.  All of us own our own 3DS.  Each of my children saved up to buy their own.  (It was a good lesson for them to learn how to save money and budget for big ticket items.) At the conventions, we will sit behind our table for a bit of quiet time and do “Streetpasses”.  Or play a solo game of some sort.  We all love playing some videogames. This weekend my wife, son and I did something a bit different. We never took our devices to the show.

Instead, at the end of each day, we spent time playing Mario Kart 7 against each other.  It was a blast.  I hadn’t really played this version, although some of the races are similar to other Nintendo versions.  The best part was that we were pretty evenly matched.  And the smack talk is always fun.

Being entertained is what life is all about. Taking a break for a bit of fun on our trips is great.

Home Away From Home

While we are attending Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo this weekend we are staying in an Airbnb. It’s my first time using the service (my wife’s second). I’m impressed with the crazy amount of savings compared to a hotel.

We are staying in a two bedroom apartment that is fully furnished.  Cable tv, comforts of home include two full bathrooms and a kitchen at our disposal.  My only complaint, if I can really complain, is that the place we are in is in various stages of renovation. None of which are affecting our stay in any way.  But that makes it feel more like home.  Especially for me.

Our home is in a constant state of renovation or changes.  Being in someone else’s place that is the same, means to me that they are regular type folk.  I appreciate the fact that the owner of this place is allowing us to take over for a long weekend.  It’s in a great location and really close to the convention.  We have made a few meals as well which has saved us tremendously instead of dining out all weekend.  

For my first experience using Airbnb is worthy of wanting to use it again.  The savings and comforts are unbeatable.  I have a feeling we will use this service more often as our travels continue.

My Fellow Convention Carnies aka Fandom Family

When you do the Comic Con circuit you make lots of friends. When you’ve done it for seven or eight years- they become extended family.

This is our sixth year at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. I laugh and enjoy the time we spend here. We look forward to seeing everyone again in person. Of course we follow one another on the various social media platforms, but there’s something to be said about the face to face interactions.

Where’s Waldo- spot the artist edition.

First is Terry.  We met him as our booth neighbor on our third time to Emerald City in Seattle three years ago. We met up again at Stan Lee’s Comikaze later that year. We told him about journeying into Calgary, so he came out last year and loved it. He’s back for more this year.

Brass and goggles!

Attic Raiders/In the Attic are the first people who introduced us to trying to get out into Comic Cons.  Bless them for pushing my wife to branch out. We have had many adventures with them. If you need Steampunk- they are the people to go to.

Cute Glass.

Bling Squared is run by a couple named Stanley and Neacol from Salt Spring Island, BC. They make the most adorable glass figures. My wife met them through Etsy teams and we share many a Con tale with them.

East Van represent!

Awesome Sauce is another artist from Vancouver.  We met them at Vancouver Fan Expo when they sat across from us about three years ago. Now they are right next to us in Calgary for the second year. They make fun stained glass and also have classes available in Vancouver on how to make them.

Mike and Lisa are two very different artists and have tables next to each other. They are married and have been doing these shows for years.  The friendliest people ever. Always worth a stop to pick up fandom art, magnets and generally cute stuff.

Two Gargoyles sit directly behind us in Calgary. These are the two funniest guys around. We sing songs, talk about old 80’s movies and generally cause a raucous.  Oh, and they sell art and comics too!  Mike is also a very amusing West Jet flight attendant with a few YouTube videos worthy of enjoying. I guess you could say viral.

Crafty Geeks are a couple of tables up from us. They sew some pretty awesome quilts and quilted pillows. They even sell the patterns for those of you willing to make your own.  Numerous fandoms are represented in their designs.

These are a small collection of our Comicon family members. We share laughs, stories, network, and talk business. It’s always great to be surrounded by like minded people.

Evil Footwear

I’m an idiot.  I thought wearing some rugged shoes would have been a good idea in Alberta. I was wrong.

Standing on my feet for the last six hours has pained me.  The concrete floor of the convention center sucks.  Luckily My wife almost always remembers to bring some foam mats to cushion below us.  This year, she brought her gel mat from her studio with us. 

I am eternally grateful that she did this. Tomorrow I am going to wear my runners instead.  Forget looking good- I need to last three more days on my feet.  I don’t want to be grumpy at my favorite convention of the year.

Perhaps when we get back to our AirBnB I will take some Advil and soak my feet.  A little me time… Maybe some scented candles? Aroma therapy? Foot rub? That last one won’t happen- who am I kidding.


‘Cause Alberta doesn’t suck, but Calgary does…

Every time I think of Calgary, this song lyric pops into my mind.  It’s the final line in a song from a brief tv show in the early 90’s on CBC titled “Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie”.  

I’m not a fan of our neighbourly province.  However, we are here in town for the Calgary Expo. The best reason to head into Alberta.  It’s the sixth year we have driven to this convention. I really don’t know any other reason to cross the Rocky Mountains.  The views through the mountains are beautiful though.

I love Calgary. It is one of my favorite cities in Canada. I love driving around it. I love the people here.  It’s a big city with a small town feel. Even the high rises aren’t that tall. We are staying at my first Airbnb. It’s a lovely corner apartment on the outskirts of Calgary. The view of the city is worth the cost. What we are paying here for five nights is what we would have paid for two nights in a hotel. So far, so good!

I don’t think that the Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie were right. Perhaps the song was sarcasm. Because Calgary is the only place in Alberta that doesn’t suck.

Break? What Break?

Last week we drove from the Vancouver, BC area to San Jose for Silicon Valley Comic Con. We left on Wednesday stayed one night in Ashland, Oregon before a weekend of nerdiness.  We returned home by leaving at 05:30 on Monday to make it home by 8:30pm the same night.  We only have a couple of nights at home…

And we are leaving again tomorrow morning at 08:00 to drive through the Rocky Mountains and into Calgary, Alberta. We are going to drive straight through and should be there by 8:00pm the same day.  Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo is a four day event beginning Thursday. It’s a hard go, but a lot of fun.  

It’s even harder go to have a day and a half in between traveling.  I’m on vacation from my regular job and when we return from Calgary, I’ll have six days of recovery.  My wife isn’t as lucky.  Her business is always on.  She is constantly working.  Even while selling at these shows, she is often sneaking off to email correspond with online questions.  Her business is her pride and joy and she takes it very seriously.

My wife also has ups and downs but can’t just leave it in the office.  Her studio is only steps away from the side door of our home. She doesn’t get to go on vacation as easily as myself.  But when I’m on vacation and traveling with her- I like to think that I’m alleviating some of her work load.  

And I get to hit conventions!  Have I mentioned how much I enjoy those?

The Little Adventurers

This past weekend my wife and I attended Silicon Valley Comic Con. We did not bring our children, which is a rarity most of the time. We did however bring along a Pop Vinyl toy from each of our kids. We posed them and took photos of their adventures. 

My wife and I got some strange looks. Nothing like a couple of forty-somethings playing with toys and laughing as they took pictures. It made sense at the convention, but on the road and in restaurants- just a couple of looney tunes.

Here’s a quick peak at the mischief they got into:

Excitement as we hit the road.

A little bump on the road.

Dinner break.

The fair was closed due to rain!

We made it to our first hotel.

Why is he swimming in the rain?

Day 2- Checking out the Vista views.

Check out those views!

Thumbs up! We made it to California!

Photo bombing my selfie.

Group shot in the sun.

Check out the sun!

Learning about the landscape.

Let’s do it! Let’s move to Mars!

We want to work for NASA!

The whole reason for our trip!

We had fun with our “kids” this trip. A big thank you to our son Theory for his Domo Stay Puft who always looked excited; Darwin’s Hello Kitty who kept her cool the entire time; and Random’s Cyberman (whom we kidnapped without her knowledge).

You Should Never Meet Your Heroes.

Comic Cons are great. A group of like minded people gathering together to share in favorite pastimes and fandoms.  We’ve been attending numerous cons for a few years now.  And I always find something new to be excited about.  This weekend was all things NASA.  I even bought a jacket- because I’m a dork. But something else happened today that surprised me. I don’t have any celebrity heroes any more.

I’ve mentioned before how I have met celebrities and spent time just talking to them. Most are people whom I think are neat and look bored. I’ve only ever paid for one photo and autograph a couple years ago.  I’d never do that again. But it was Bruce Campbell.  And he is pretty awesome. He was my hero at one point and he was a lot of fun to meet.  Even my brief meetings with him as we were ushered through were jovial and entertaining.

During our first trip to Emerald City- I won the opportunity to play Munchkin against Felicia Day. (She is currently starring in the re-boot of MST3K for those who know what that is…) She was a blast to play a game with and the time I spent was far more than just a quick 30 second smile and laugh.

This weekend it surprised me to see some of my childhood heroes at Silicon Valley Comic Con.  I didn’t have the courage or heart to go up and meet the cast of Sesame Street. They’re old and frail- not the young adults that I once looked up to as a child learning to count and read.  I couldn’t help but stare at them as they sat at their tables with one or two people lined up to meet them.  The only thing that made it more awkward was when David Newell (Mr. McFeely) yelled  “Speedy Delivery” out to me and raised his finger in the air- as I stared in wonderment. He was directing it straight to me because I was the only one around at the time. I smiled uncomfortably and nodded my acknowledgment back to him.

They say you should never meet your heroes. It takes away the magic that you’ve built up in your head of who they are. So I met someone else’s hero.  I met a cosplayer dressed as Wonder Woman. She was one of the nicest ladies I’ve ever met.  We talked about being a hero and we posed multiple times together for some fun pictures.  She wasn’t exactly in character, but she was one of the most friendly Super Hero cosplayers I have ever met.  

Perhaps it was her lasso of truth that is making me write this. So it must be true.

SVCC 2.0 17 Panels

This is one of the few conventions that I really get out there and sit in on panels. At most cons, it’s usually actors telling a quip or story and laughing with the panel host. It often seems rehearsed, repetitive and fake.

But this convention was different. The people speaking at the panels were passionate and knowledgeable. Especially in their areas of expertise. It all began last night.

The first panel I went to was hosted by Seth Shostak of SETI. He was memorable and amusing in how he explained his vision for how we look for extraterrestrial life.  I learned a lot about where mankind has gone wrong (lack of funding much?) and where we should be looking to the skies in the future.

The second panel I went to was earlier today. It was about emerging technology. What was neat about this panel was the fact that it seemed like four friends were on stage. There was a venture capitalist, a board memeber at Spacex/Tesla, a member of NASA, and Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry (son of some guy who created that sci-fi series that wasn’t Star Wars…) The discussions were about the technology advancements and speculation on where mankind will go in our search into the stars.

The last panel I attended was titled “Droids and Death Stars: The Science of Star Wars”. It involved a panel of a founding member of the 501st Legion from California, a lady who is a psychologist that deals with PTSD victims, and another female panelist from NASA who also loves Star Wars. The two ladies in the panel surprised me in many ways.  First- the comparison of PTSD of the Star Wars universe that is often overlooked.  (Chewie needs a hug after his loss in the last film…) And the other lady was being a realist about how the spacecrafts really wouldn’t work well.  Even though she is a fan, she also has a better scientific grasp on how things should work.

There was far too much knowledge shared in the past 24 hours for me to write about.  But now I have some topics that I can discuss with my other nerd friends when we return home.

Convention Carny

My favorite part about the conventions we attend? Being a Convention Carny.  And we hit quite a few conventions.

We get to be there before the show opens.  Often setting up a day in advance or sometimes only hours before the public comes in. My wife and I learn the layout of the show floor by wandering around talking with other vendors and artists.

We see all the cool stuff and have extra time to talk to everyone prior to the tens of thousands attendees flooding in.  I try and keep my cool, but sometimes my inner nerd goes all Fan-Girl.  I’ve gotten giddy over the Batmobile, Delorean, and a slew of astromech robots (R2-D2 for those who didn’t know). This show? NASA gives me a bit of a chubby.

I’m 41. Dreams of being an astronaut have long since gone by the wayside. But it’s still fun to see where mankind is going. This weekend I’m planning on attending some of the panels about space and exploration.

The coolest thing for me though was seeing the WordPress booth.  I spoke with some of the staff there.  Most were hired for the show only, not really knowing anything about the app or the website.  I’m no genius when it comes to using this app- but I spoke with them about writing a daily blog.  They accepted my knowledge and in the end- looked me up.

For a moment I was a mini celebrity to about… three people. It felt good. I never expect to have thousands of followers. I write for the joy of it. 

Tomorrow is the busy day.  Saturday.  I’ll be my wife’s “Table Tart” and try to sell her handmade hats and cosplay ears. Mostly in between the guest panels. Come out and visit us at Ningen Headwear table B24 and say hello.  Or buy something.  We like that as well!

Why Not Fly?

Why don’t you just fly?

The Rogue is our new road tripper.

Because we’d miss out on hours of quality time and conversation. Flying is faster, but the cost is more and sometimes the headaches are too. Besides I just bought a new car only a few months ago and I love the luxury inside. Heated leather seats for the cold mountains. Full sunroof open in California letting in the breeze. XM radio playing whatever music we want. And scenery that is amazingly pretty.

I can’t get away from trains.

Plus with driving we discover parts of the world that we would miss. Today my wife and I stopped in at The Railroad Park Resort for a moment.  The rooms are all made of old train cabooses.  They even have an old dining car modified into a restaurant.  Next trip down- we will likely stay here.

Not only do we discover new attractions, we also stop at in at our favorite places. We hit In-N-Out Burger at least three times every trip.  Best burgers ever.  I think I mention this place far too often.  I can’t help it.  So tasty.

That’s me!

The drive into California is fun.  This may be a business trip for my wife, but it’s a vacation for me.  The art of the road trip isn’t as great as it once was.  That makes me sad.  We have done them for seven or eight years now with and without our children. Even the description of my blog mentions road trips… as well as trains, conventions, being a father and a geek…  That pretty much sums up my life over the past few years.  

I love every minute I spend in the car with my family.  It’s a quality time that usually has us all being nicer to one another for long periods. I miss my kids in a way this time.  But their toys are having a ton of fun!

Ashland- Remember Me?

I love driving down the West of Coast of North America. Today we began our drive from Vancouver down through Washington State and Oregon. Since we weren’t bringing our children, we took a Pop Vinyl belonging to each of them and we are photographing them along the way.  It’s a fun way to keep the kids on our minds.  

Go away rain!

 There is something beautiful about the I-5 as the scenery changes. Farm land, cities, forest, desert, mountains, more cities… All of it within 24 hours of driving. Driving through Washington State- it was a downpour. At least the traffic was light. As soon as we crossed into Portland Oregon, the rain stopped. As if an invisible barrier along the river prevented the clouds from moving from State to State. It was too good to last. The rain storm found us in the mountains as we drove towards Ashland, Oregon.

We made it to our first hotel with only 2 stops for gas and 1 stop for In-N-Out Burger. This time we tried “Animal Style” cheeseburgers.  Pretty gosh darn tasty, but I still prefer the double cheeseburger.

Looking down on me.

We checked into our hotel and we were told the hot tub is open and so was the pool, but the pool wasn’t heated.  I still chose to enjoy both in the rain. 

The strangest thing though. The hotel we are staying at was the same hotel from 1993 that my school stayed at for the Shakespeare Festival. The same trip that a classmate had a fake id and we bought 2 dozen beers and snuck them into the hotel room.  That same trip that I smoked my first cigarettes- plural. Because smoking Marlboros and Kools was the way to get started smoking.  I was a nerd with a group of cool kids that trip.  My new friends were all throwing up and ended up with nasty hangovers.  I felt alive. 

That trip, the bus driver let me practice driving in the parking lot.  Back and forth.  Pretty cool for the nerdy dork.  In fact my new friends were impressed that the driver let me. Before the bus ride home I had bought a Disney video- The Fox and The Hound.  The bus had a vcr, and suddenly every girl on the bus loved me.  I had suddenly become a cool kid, not the outcast loser.

Look out.

Yes!  I shattered the idea of who people thought I was. The exhilaration of getting away with being sixteen and being drunk on a school trip. I was a goody two shoes at the time. No one would suspect me. 
I worry my kids may turn out like me at some point.  All the mistakes and craziness. But that’s how you learn.  That’s how you grow.

Don’t Panic.

It’s the night before my wife and drive to Silicon Valley Comic Con.  Panic has finally subsided and acceptance has come over us. (Well me anyways.) We will have the merchandise that we have- no time to muster any more.  Hopefully enough.  Hopefully lots of sales. Hopefully a ton of fun.

Not only do we have a con this weekend, but we come back home for one day then off to Calgary for another.  15 hours driving to our first location, then back another 15 hours.  Next week is only 10 hours from our home through the Rocky Mountains to the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.

I love both of these conventions.  The SVCC has so much tech that my nerd brain can hardly contain its excitement.  Astronauts, robotics, vr, videogames, actors, gamers, artists… and the cast of Sesame Street?!?  But wait there’s more! Gary Fisher photo ops! (Carrie Fisher’s dog).  That last one is a bit much.  But after the success of “Grumpy Cat” at Stan Lee’s Comikaze it doesn’t surprise me.

This is the first year that my wife and I have decided not to bring our children to a few of the shows that we attend.  It feels strange.  It feels wrong. It also feels right. It’s going to save us money.  Plus my wife and I are really enjoying our time together lately.  We need those few days without teenagers in order to relax.

My mother has been kind enough to stay with our children while we are gone. Hopefully my mother survives. (My wife and I would like to do these trips more often.) Back to packing now. It’s an early start tomorrow for us to travel most of the way south to our destination.  Off to find my geeky t-shirts and download the SVCC app for this weekend.  

Can’t forget that my 3DS needs to be charged as well!

I’m A Pig

Since taking on a new role at my work, I eat A LOT.  Both at home and at work.  I can’t help it.  I like food.

Last night was a major indulgence at home.  My wife made a delicious beef brisket.  I decided that to make it even better was to make it into Poutine.  Home made deep fat fried french fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy.  All covered in brisket.  Best way to wash it down was with a beer.  I felt so full afterwards.

At work- I often get treated to some great meals by my coworkers.  Especially when we have to go away from the office and out into the field to work.  Not just fast food either.  Today was a monster burrito that I could hardly finish.  Filled with steak, beans, rice, guacamole, sour cream, salsa… it was amazing.

But I need to get back to healthy choices.  Granola and yogurt.  Veggie sticks and water.  Ok, maybe just more vegetables in my diet- but I need to stop using my deep fat fryer so frequently.  I’m turning into a glutton.

But dang- food is better deep fried.  Or free. Free and deep fried?  I’m done.

Easter Sunday 

Easter.  Meh.  Just another day.

Easter Bunny DGAF.

I don’t eat much in the way of chocolates or sweets as it is.  Candy just doesn’t appeal to me.

Growing up Catholic- I understood and despised the story of Easter.  A strange celebration marking the suffering and resurrection of someone dying for my sins made about as much sense as a bunny delivering chocolate eggs.


But when I became a father, my kids needed some magic in their lives.  Thus, I was ok with the Easter bunny bringing treats.  Same idea as Santa or the Tooth Fairy.  Magical lies told to my children in order to get them to behave and cooperate. And it was about as much fun setting up an Easter egg hunt as it was to watch the kids search them out.

My wife and I would use Easter as a time to give toys to the kids as well.  The Easter Bunny would bring items for the summer as a way to celebrate spring blossoming.  Somehow it turned into videogames and board games as they grew up.  Now, even as we have two teenage girls and a boy turning 11- they all still want to search for treats.  They also wanted me to be home to watch.

Yes I think our kids are too old for this.  But I also think my wife is afraid to let go of their childhoods.  Which is completely understandable.  The kids play along because they get candy, chocolates and goodies.  My wife plays along for nostalgia.  I play along because I love all of them.  

And my vote doesn’t count… 

Lucky 13.

Our daughter turned 13 today.  Last year I wrote about how wonderful she is.  Read about her Here in case you forgot.

Six teens playing in an otherwise empty bowling alley.

This year she celebrated her birthday by taking a few of her friends bowling yesterday.  (Probably because we went last month for my birthday and I wrote a blog about it.)  After bowling we went back to our place for pizza and the girls had a sleepover in our theater room.  Noisy, giggly pre-teen/teenage girls up all night goofing off made for a quiet morning after.  When they woke up- I made them all birthday cake waffles- using cake mix instead of waffle batter BEST IDEA EVER. The afternoon became quiet as our daughter’s friends all left the house and we cleaned up.

For dinner we went out as a family to our favorite sushi restaurant: Nikko Sushi.  We go there for everyone’s birthday.  The owners are quite surprised at how much sushi my kids will eat.  But the owners have watched all three out our children grow up.  The restaurant opened a few months before our first daughter was born.  We have been going ever since they opened.  In fact, April 14th, 2004- the night before Darwin was born, we went there for dinner.  We have always been loyal customers and the food is exactly what we expect every time.  Delicious.

We came home after dinner and realized it was just after 6:00pm.  The birthday girl wanted to play a board game.  So she chose Monopoly.  Today was probably the only day she would ever have been able to convince my wife to play.  My wife despises Monopoly so much so that this was also the first time I’ve ever played with her as well.  Sad part?  My wife slaughtered us all.  And wasn’t even kind about it.  She destroyed her son by taking his Boardwalk as payment one turn.  The only property that our ten year old was proud to have.

After our rousing game of Monopoly, we enjoyed the cake that our oldest made for her sister as a gift for her birthday.  Earlier today as the cake was being iced- more icing was being sampled than used it seemed.  Because at the table, the sides of the cake were lacking some icing… But the artwork was exactly what our daughter wanted.

A big Happy Thirteenth Birthday to our little Darwin Petra!  She is a wonderful little lady with a beautiful personality that has earned her some really close friends. 

We love you Dee-Dee. We are lucky to have you as our little girl.

20 Years Have Got Behind Me

Pink Floyd mentions ten years behind you in the song “Time”.  Double that for me today.  

Today I discovered by complete accident the most unlikely of time capsules in my home.  Behind my computer was an old agenda of mine started twenty years ago.  I took it everywhere with me for about five or six years.  Inside I found remnants of my life from long ago.

I discovered old business cards from friends as they took on adulthood with pride.  I also kept one from my father’s old business.  I found a half dozen old concert ticket stubs- mostly faded and crumpled.  There was even two defunct video store cards still in my possession although the stores are long since gone.  There were a couple of credit cards and points cards that I forgot about.  I wonder how many points I have left in my Sears Club Card?

This agenda was my life blood.  It was filled with names, and phone numbers -even a couple pager numbers- of old friends.  Remember having to write names out or memorizing the digits?  I have a tough time doing that now.  But reading through the names and business cards made me realize that my friends have all gone on to be successful in many facets of their lives.  And most of the names I wrote in here- I still follow on Facebook.
The biggest surprise in my agenda wasn’t the names, the video cards or the ticket stubs.  What caught me off guard was a receipt.  A receipt from Spring of 2001.  Just shy of $300. At that time it was half a pay check for me. The payment squeezed onto a Visa card that was getting maxed out to every last penny available. The purchase?

Our wedding rings.  The single greatest purchase that changed my life forever.
My unknowing time capsule showed me who I was and reflected on where I’ve gone.  This agenda was my life.  Stickers and all.  It was me.  It still is me.  

Even as I close up the agenda, I can’t help but smile at my life. Every person I met, every moment I cherished- somehow the bits and pieces made me who I am.  

And I know who I am.

Dumb Dad

My daughter told me tonight that I have a pose.  The “Dumb Dad Pose” to be precise.  It’s a position that I hold myself in when explaining things.  I had no idea that I had this mannerism.  But when I struggle to find the words to explain what I want to express- out comes my signature pose.

I’m not the smartest person in the world by any means.  But I don’t see myself as being dumb.  I would hope that my children, of all people- would look up to me.  But it seems that I may be imperfect in their eyes as they get older.

I recall the times that I saw flaws in my parents.  It was very humbling to see it.  The knowledge that the people you look up to aren’t perfect and also have no idea how to “adult”.  My kids will see this in me as time goes on.  I’m also pretty sure there will be a time that I will have to ask for help from them.

In the mean time “Dumb Dad Pose” is now a thing that I am conscious of.  I don’t think I look dumb, but I definitely have a look.  But my kids think I look dumb.

I’m Exhausted 

Tonight I am done.  Just tired and done.  This week has felt really long and trying.  My eyes feel dry and droopy as I attempt to get a few lines written for tonight.

This isn’t my best work.  Even at work, it wasn’t my best work.  At home, it was tense as well.  I felt a downward tug all week long.  Home life isn’t bad- it’s just stressful getting ready for back to back weekend Conventions with my wife.  She has inventory to build up and forms to make sure are filled out.  This time around we aren’t taking the kids so we need to make sure they are taken care of.

Now my body is saying that it’s time to enjoy your days off- but first- get some sleep.  Bonus- not waking up at 04:00am for three days.

I just need a couple of days to make it better.  Get the recharge that my brain and body need.  I need to feel like me again.  At least I can chill out with my friends tomorrow.  It’s my weekly Cask night outing.  No idea who will be there.  Don’t really care much this week either.  I just need some unwinding.

Tea Time

I should drink more tea.

We have a lovely tea set that we picked up many years ago on a trip to Edmonton.  When I first saw it- I had to own it.  Yet, we don’t ever use it.

But it’s really lovely as a display piece.  At what age did I become an old person?  I think it’s when I finally decided to put my plates on display instead of eating off of them.

I need to drink more tea so that my dishes aren’t on display any more.  I don’t want to admit that I’m getting older.

Daily Affirmation…

I started my day this morning by posting a favorite quote of mine prior to leaving for work:

It received 22 likes/hearts for a Monday morning random quote.  I was hoping for it to be true as I headed off to work.  I posted it because Stuart Smalley was a favorite of mine.  He says this daily affirmation to himself and really wants to be liked by everyone. There’s nothing clever about the skit. It’s just delivered really well.  Saturday Night Live has had its wacky characters over the years.  Some better than others.

Not today. Not today…

But as my day went on I didn’t feel good enough or smart enough.  I hit a few stumbling blocks at work for a day that should have been a good day.  I thought that I was getting a real knack for the job.  People were usually glad to see me, work was getting done, a sense of accomplishment would round out my day.  My day just didn’t go as planned.  

I made through the day.  A bit worn mentally, but I felt better leaving work behind.  I called my wife on my drive home (hands free- safety first!) and we spoke about my day.  She’s always a great listener and advisor for me.  I then called another friend and his enthusiasm just made the last of my drive home that much better.  Hearing happiness and adrenaline in his voice made me feel that life really is good, even on a bad day.  It could always get worse.

Thinking about how I started my day and how it ended reminded me of the “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey” skit from SNL. Sometimes I miss Phil Hartman’s voice over. He was a great actor who could deliver some funny bits.  But I digress.  My day is over and only two more to go until my weekend.  

I can do this.  Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it- people like me.

It Smells Like Spring

Ah. Spring is in the air.

The smell of fresh cut grass.  The scent of burning vegetation.  The powerful odor of manure.

Living in the countryside isn’t always the beauty of daisies and daffodils.  Sometimes it’s the hardcore whiff of soil being turned.  Perhaps the perfumed aroma of fertilizer being spread emanates the land.  Whatever it is- spring has sprung.

The countryside has a full bouquet assortment the tickles the nose.  Unlike the city that always has a stale air about it.  Which is strange for me to finally notice. 

Over the past four months I have been commuting into Vancouver and driving home feeling at peace. Vancouver is a city I have never really visited even though I’ve lived 50 kms away for thirty years.   I don’t think I could ever be a city boy.  But I don’t dislike cities.  I love when we travel to Los Angeles, Seattle and Calgary for example.  Vancouver is pretty darn amazing as well.  

But a quick visit for a weekend to any one of these and I appreciate my home in the country.

Homemade Leftovers

Dinner time is wonderful.  At my home we make really good food that oftentimes there isn’t any leftovers.  We also have three kids- two of which are teenagers- who would eat us out of house and home if we let them.  Especially when dinner is good.  My wife and I rarely make more than what is to be served so as to not have much in the way of leftovers.

My kids take leftovers to school whenever possible. I’m happy about that. So I usually don’t get any to take to work. But, I also don’t tend to like leftovers. However, I do get to bring a sandwich.  Win-win for me and the kids.

Tonight we are down one child.  She is out at a sleepover party. We had plenty of extra food because we still made enough for five of us.  Looks like I will be taking some shepard’s pie leftovers to work tomorrow.  I’m happy because it was really tasty!  

So leftovers.  Thanks for being there when I didn’t want to make a meal for myself but knew I was still going to be hungry.

Laugh and Sing

Yesterday and today my life has been filled with laughter.  Ya I know, the world is awful at the moment, but in my little universe all we can do is laugh to cope.  And laugh we did.

“Mmm beer.” -Homer Simpson

Last night my wife and I met some of my coworkers at the Trading Post Brewery for the Thursday “Cask Night”.  It has become a regular weekly habit of mine.  Last night we were really loud and raucous.  No, we weren’t drunk.  We were laughing and joking and just happy to be alive.  Sharing crazy stories, poking fun at each other, and just hitting a volume that announced to the brewery that we were there.

This morning, after I dropped the kids off at school, I repaired the dent in my car.  Remember a few days ago that I was complaining about it? (Read it here: It’ll Buff Out).  My wife took my car in to get a quote on getting the dent fixed yesterday. $300.  So I finally took a closer look at the dent this morning and “Fonzie Punched” beside it on the door.  It popped back out.  Winning!

I then enjoyed a few videos on the Internet that made me laugh.  After school pick up- my kids made me laugh.  During dinner we sang and danced to Queen.  Ever since I wrote about Queen– I was wanting to buy the Greatest Hits album.  So I did earlier today.  The kids loved it.  Parenting win!

So my life has little joys and laughs.  I’m glad to be able to share them with friends and family.  It brightens everyone’s life.  On to a quiet evening watching some Netflix.  Fridays are made to relax.


I love playing chess.  I think of myself as pretty good at it.  During grade 8 and 9 I was in the Chess Club at school.  Because that’s where all the cool kids hung out.  Or rather the ones who had no other friends.  Even in my yearbook for grade nine- they misspelled my name in the photo.  Hashtag loser.

Back in 1991 grade nine- sweaters weren’t cool. Now, my daughter thinks it looks great.

My love for chess has gotten me further in life than most people would have guessed.  It helped me understand how to run a railroad.  Putting the trains and crews in the best positions to successfully move traffic.  I’ve often explained my job as a large chess game.  In fact, I also look at my life as a game of chess.  Especially my career thus far.

I started as a pawn.  Moving forward one or two steps at a time.  Occasionally doing a side step to take on a new challenger.  I finally made it to the other side of the board and was able to swap my pawn for another piece.  While most would choose a queen as their dominant piece, I chose otherwise. 

A simple game of chess.

My career hasn’t been a straight line- like the path of the rook or bishop.  I find that I move more like a knight.  Either going two steps forward and one step to the side or going one step sideways and two steps forward.  Sometimes jumping over an obstacle or enemy.  It’s a crooked way of working towards my goal, but achievable nonetheless.

In grade nine, my math teacher said that some of the greatest leaders in history played chess.  It’s a game of wits and looking ahead a few moves.  

Life is like a game of chess.  Take your time and think out your future moves because it may affect your next five moves.  My goals are attainable and I don’t need to show my hand.  I’m not going to wipe out everyone in my way, but I may have to take on a few opponents as I go.

Perhaps one day it will be checkmate.  Or maybe I’ll give up and take on a new opponent.  Who knows.  Until then, don’t hate the player- hate the game.