Trick or Treat! 2017 Halloween.

When I was younger, the costumes at Halloween were either store bought plastic sheets and masks or “mom-made”. Now our children go hardcore and have gone off the beaten path of traditional costumes. They have created their own designs and poses- giving their character’s life. They also received numerous questions and compliments about their designs. It seems that years of attending Comic-Cons has paid off.

For during the day at school, my daughters did “Steampunk Alice & Mad Hatter”. They worked together to create a look that worked for both of them. For trick or treating- they changed outfits to be a bit more scary.

Our youngest daughter did her take on Freddy Krueger. And our eldest did Professor Stein.  Creating costumes are becoming second nature for us. We’ve always loved Halloween and have made it special every year.

In the past we’ve hit Disneyland three times to Trick or Treat. We also attended Stan Lee’s Comikaze for a couple Halloweens. Always plenty of costumes and tons of candy!

Any time we didn’t travel, we would hit a residential neighborhood with crowded homes lining the streets. It was great for when the kids were younger. This year to trick or treat, my wife drove around our neighborhood (since the homes are spread out between 1-10 acre lots). Less houses but still a good haul. With quite a few full size chocolate bars and cans of soda.

I joined up with them at the end of their evening because I was at work all day. But in the spirit of Halloween- I still got dressed up! My coworkers were rather impressed by my outfit.(Tomorrow I’ll be sharing about making my costume.) I’ll always love Halloween and dressing up. I’m just a big kid at heart. I’ll leave you tonight with a phrase I love to say- that I even put on a t-shirt for my kids:

Many years ago with my son.

“When I grow up I wanna be like me.”

Last Minute…

Finally I’m off to bed.  I nearly forgot to blog today because we’ve been so busy trying to get ready for Halloween. It’s been one of those weekends where we wanted to do so much, that the final touches are getting done the night before. But we love our costumes and try to get the big details perfect.

We’ve been doing this for years- I have glue gun burns to prove it. My family loves  Costumes and Cosplay. We show our fandoms and others get to enjoy it as well. Not only are the costumes important, but acting the part makes the characters come to life. 

Biggest secret of last minute finishing touches? Knowing “where to trim the fat.” If a button or accessory is missing, most folks won’t notice. Especially if you can act the way your character does. This tends to distract folks from the little things. 

Plus after years of Cosplay, we have garnered quite the collection of outfits.  My daughters have shared costumes, and even “Cross-played” some of my old Cosplay outfits. I’m really excited to show off my latest costume tomorrow that my wife worked extremely hard on. I also can’t wait to see my children’s costumes. Our son has designed his own Steampunk outfit. And our daughters are wearing one costume for school (Steampunk Alice and Steampunk Mad Hatter) and a scarier one for the evening. 

Hope everyone has a good Halloween!

Home Ownership in Vancouver

Vancouver and the nearby neighborhoods have two major issues plaguing them:

  1. The price of buying a home is astronomical.
  2. Homeless people are rampant.

It’s not looking to get any better either. I’ve been working in downtown Vancouver for almost a year now and I have only seen it get worse. Until today. Someone decided to build a new home on the corner of a lovely green parkland setting.

A clever idealist took the time to gather up scrap wood and a tarp from the nearby Rona lumber yard and built a home in a tree.  It’s an airy custom “Tiny Home”.

It’s located in a prime location at the corner of Slocan and N. Grandview with plenty of nearby amenities and lots of room for activities! 

I’m rather impressed that it’s still there. Especially since it was most likely built without permits. 

It sure beats the look of “tent city” at least.

Pumpkin Carving 2017

This year my oldest and I were carving the pumpkins. I usually do the more intricate styles and take my time. I shared last year in Pumpkin Carving some of my older styles.

This year my daughter and I went for a Harry Potter theme. I worked on the Sorting Hat and she did the Slytherin emblem. We had a good daddy/daughter afternoon as we watched “Zombieland” and carved the gourds.

I got some decent shading effects and lighting on my pumpkin. I see where I could improve the image. There’s a bit more left to cut out. But we had to break for dinner. Dinner that I was supposed to make… so it ended up being ordered in sushi.

My daughter on the other hand is pretty much done. I’m very impressed by her artistry. Each year she gets better. As a life skill- this isn’t much more than a fun activity that she shares with me. I hope that these are the moments she reflects fondly upon as she grows up.

It’s been a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see next year’s pumpkins and spend more time together being nerds.

I Wish I Was a Sellout 

The idea that people work hard to become successful isn’t something new. What I find frustrating is people who call them “sellouts” when they do become successful. 

I have zero chance of becoming a “sellout”. I work hard at my job, but that’s so I can pay my bills. I enjoy my blog posts, but I don’t think I could make money off of them.  Mostly because I’m not trying to sell anything through my writing. My posts are mostly for me- like a diary of sorts.

Occasionally I add in a link or a reference to a company or show that I like. I’m not expecting kickbacks or money. But I wouldn’t say no… you gotta start somewhere. Maybe I can get promoted by Swiffer? I may have to change the title of my blog post though. 

Swiffer presents: Cleaning It Up As I Go.

It’s doable.

Big Mouth

Recently I binge watched “Big Mouth” on Netflix. A cartoon about puberty and the struggles associated with it. I enjoy cartoons that push the limits of humor. The show makes fun of “The Office”, “Seinfeld” and even themselves throughout the episodes.

Some jokes were funny as well as the interaction amongst the characters. The songs are catchy and seem to be where the strongest writing is. The rest of the show is written like a “no reason boner”. Awkward, hard to avoid and oftentimes just irritating. At a time when “Rick and Morty” and “Archer” are on hiatus, I was hoping the show would fill in the void. But it lacked something underneath the writing as the jokes were either obvious or over the top vulgar for the sake of being vulgar.

There have been numerous adult humor cartoons over the past couple of decades that push the limits. Most people think of “Family Guy” or “Robot Chicken” as they push a quick dirty joke. Older shows like “The Quads” tried for the offensive as quick as possible with just the characters alone.

The short lived “Undergrads” built up a story arc in only 13 episodes, but had me wanting more. Unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be. As Netflix decides if it wants to renew “Big Mouth” my suggestion is to hit the audience with better laughs, not just a few giggles. Keep up with the songs and follow through with the story arcs that are going on. 

Maybe season two will be better. You can’t always hit a home run, but getting to third base is pretty satisfying.

Parenting Out The Bad Behavior

Having children is wonderful.

I need to remind myself of this fact from time to time. Because as of late, our children are trying our patience.

They love to play a little game of “Mom vs Dad” and it drives us crazy. It’s not always the asking of something either. Like asking if they can go watch tv or eat some potato chips. Sometimes it’s just their behavior and the difference in how they treat us.

Lately our kids have been relatively rude to their mother but nice to me. As much as I kind of like the kindness generated towards me, I’m a teammate with my wife and she deserves the same respect. My wife and I don’t usually do good cop/bad cop. We are normally on the same page with respect to what we expect from our children.

My wife has thrown in the towel for the day, so I am going to play both roles for the next little bit. She will help from the sidelines still, but the kids need to come to me first.  It also means that they will get pretty tired of dad “being in charge” and will soon want happy mom back.

My style of parenting can be pretty demanding without much opportunity for them to talk back. I will keep them on the go so that they don’t have much time to think about excuses or a chance to hide.

I love my children very much. Usually they’re well behaved- particularly when outside of the home. We would like their good behavior to come home with them more frequently. It’s hard to live in the same household for years. Tempers flare and feelings get hurt. Trying to prevent this is what being a parent is all about.

Having children is wonderful.

Pink vs Blue

There is often discussion, or rather Internet rage, about the fact that toy companies and clothing companies make “gender specific” items. Slapping pink on something, saying it’s for girls, and charging twice as much- is far too common. I have two girls and a son at home and it irks me to see this happen.
Why should Nerf or Lego make toys geared towards specific genders? The Lego in my house gets all mixed up anyways. Yellow Nerf guns shoot the same as pink ones. What jack up the price?

There shouldn’t be a huge price difference in clothing either. One of my son’s favorite hoodies is a hand me down girl’s hoodie. My eldest daughter loves her men’s hiking boots and my old pants. I have seen the quality difference in t-shirts with the exact same image printed. Men’s shirts are more durable by far. It’s crazy.

I encourage my children to like what ever they want. In the 15+ years of parenting, this seems to make them happy. But I also try and persuade them to think of quality and cost associated. Our children are now extremely savvy shoppers and are not taken in by the trendy market advertising. 

Trying to change big companies is an almost futile endeavor. Which is why we support small businesses or thrift shops whenever possible. My kids love it as well. But that’s just how my wife and I like to parent. Seems to be working for us and the kids.

Keeping Motivated At Work

Like most work places, there is a need for humor to break up the monotony of the daily grind. Sometimes it’s a joke or two. But more often than not, it’s a sign posted on a wall.

See this guy? I call him Clint. He likes trains. Some of his best friends are trains. He can hardly contain his excitement of being in the rail yard office. I hope he continues to like trains for many years to come. Clint is an inspiration to us all.

Then there’s Bane.  He needs to keep us grounded in our place within the company. His inspirational quote really gets you in the feels. Especially with the term “SHOT CALLER” written below. We have to make decisions and stick to a plan. Obviously.

Those are only a few of the pics that are inside of our building. One coworker is tremendous at drawing, and brings those characters to life with more humor regarding our work. We all have a good sense of humor, and can make light of difficult situations that we come across. 

Motivational quotes don’t always have to be of kittens in trees telling us to “HANG iN THERE!

The Thing

Last night I shared with my family the classic horror film, John Carpenter’s The Thingfrom 1982. Besides a few good jumps that scared my wife, I’m unsure of my children’s opinions on this masterpiece. It had been a few years since I last saw it and wanted to watch it- so Yay! Family Movie Night!

I originally saw the film in 1983 on Super Channel when I lived in Edmonton as a child. Again, my parents didn’t overly know what I was watching on TV as I grew up, so this one slipped by. I was seven years old and the film terrified me. Having seen “e.t.” a year prior- my ideas of aliens were limited to family friendly ideals. This was not family friendly. I believe I also watched “Alien” that year on Super Channel. 

It really was a Super Channel for watching totes inappropes films and TV.  I saw a lot of boobies as well- unscrambled (men my age know what I’m talking about). But there was a lot of shock and horror I witnessed as well. I believe this is what set me on my path of enjoying some gruesome special effects. 

The Thing” holds up quite well after all of these years. The use of practical effects really made it feel like these guys were in a frozen hell. Some of the stop motion was a bit cheesy, but for an early 80’s film- that’s part of the charm. As Halloween draws nearer, I am sharing with my children some darker films besides “Beetlejuice” and “A Nightmare Before Christmas” to set the mood. They all seem to be enjoying them, so we’ll soon find out where the line is. 

I’m thinking “Saw” just might cross that line.