First One Out

I thought I was doing so well this year. Last night at dinner my family and I were talking about Whamageddon and how many covers there are out there. How each time a cover came o the radio, we were sure that we lost the game.

I lost the game early this morning. I got into my car and drove to work. I turned on the radio and listened to the news station. For about twenty minutes I received updates on the world and my traffic commute. Since I was driving my daughter’s car I switched over to the FM stations in hopes to listen to some loud classic rock music.

As soon as I hit the FM button, I heard “Last Christmas” just begin. It was as if the universe knew that I was to lose the game today. A large sigh and acceptance that I now had nothing left to fear from Christmas music, I let the song play out it’s familiar theme.

I even sang along.

Are you playing along with Whamageddon? Have you lasted this far into the month without hearing the original Wham! Song? Let me know in the comments.

More Painted Wood

About a month ago I Painted Wood with some winterscape images. I was happy with my first go around that I had to make some more.

What I liked with this one is the rainbow of colours in the sky. I enjoyed blending the colours to create the illusion of an early morning with a slight reflection below.

The other piece I did was of a pathway curving off with a couple of mountains in the faded background. The single tree stood silently with a hint of snow speckled throughout. I liked that I remembered the rule of lightning and the moon’s glow cast a faint shadow from the tree.

The thing about my paintings is that when painting snow, I wanted to portray a semblance of realism- that snow isn’t brilliant white. Snow has a tendency to reflect the light and colours of it’s surroundings. Hints of blue or grey, yellows and pinks make snow a tad more magical.

Using carvings from trees has added a natural wood frame around my paintings. These frames limit what I can paint, but also help the finalized landscapes come to life. I have a few more to finish up and share.

Now the question remains- do I keep them, sell them or give them away? A labour of love and a new found hobby has brought forth something from inside of me. I don’t want it to become commercial, so selling these isn’t likely.

Bad Christmas Jokes

We have a small winter chalkboard hung up in our kitchen. Every year we would write a countdown to Christmas Morning on it. After that would be salutations like “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” Or “HAPPY NEW YEARS“. This year I started it off with a joke instead.

A classic style of dad joke. “The Christmas alphabet has Noel.” Not funny but worthy of a groan. It was up for about a week or so until someone changed it. Still no countdown though. Seems like I may have started a new tradition. Out came another joke.

Why does Santa have a big sack? He only comes once a year.

Oh my. This was written by our 17 year old daughter. I laughed pretty hard at it because it was unexpected. She doesn’t normally tell jokes of this caliber. However, the playing field has been set and the bar is raised. Time to share more Lewdmas humor. I wonder how far these jokes will get.

Mandalorian

Ok Disney. I have bought into your Disney+ and so far am really happy with it. At first I wasn’t thrilled that the new series, “The Mandalorian”, didn’t have all the episodes readily available to marathon through. But then I realized that what you’ve done is sparked “water cooler talk” amongst everyone.

It took until last weekend for me to really notice. I hadn’t seen the third episode yet, but numerous coworkers, friends, and the Internet in general were discussing it. Not too shabby for a new streaming service. The buzz generated for this series is quite strong.

After finally watching the third episode, I can see why. “The Mandalorian” is far exceeding my expectations. It is not like any other Star Wars film or show. It is written, directed, and filmed in its own way that the pace of each episode is rhythmic and flows precisely. With Disney+ only releasing one episode per week- my anticipation level of each one grows. It has caused me to discuss the show far more than simply mentioning it in conversation.

In a time of instant gratification and marathon watching, going back to waiting for weekly episodes has made me appreciate the show more. As I wait and scroll through the available movies and shows, my kids have got me enjoying another series with guilty pleasure:

Don’t tell anyone…

I Want To Create More Art

I was in my woodshed the other day finding some more pieces to paint like I did two weeks ago (Check them out: Painted Wood).

I don’t have any more pieces with knot holes in them, but I did find some that I could see potential in. So I filled a box and brought them into my home.

A bit of cleaning and making sure they are smoothed out is the next step. After that it’s time to get inspired. Perhaps hours of Christmas music? Or watching favorite Christmas Movies (Gremlins anyone?).

Or maybe just a day off from work and get the time to do that. I’ve been at work too much lately. Hopefully that’ll change soon. Its not the worst thing to happen to me. It’s better than bad, it’s good. LOG!

What was I talking about again?

Wish List Time

Christmas is on the horizon- so that means gift giving and holiday cheer. The holiday cheer part is getting into full swing at our home. Minus the music… that starts at the beginning of December. Oh and Christmas Trees- we have numerous trees that go up starting December 7th. I’m getting off topic… let’s talk “Wish Lists”.

As a child, I remember filling a page of dreams, or rather filling it with stuff that my young mind thought I needed. Video games, Transformers, remote control cars, or whatever toy was popular. Up until we had three kids, I still made a list. It turned into an adult list involving housewares, tools, and small appliances. Now I make those purchases myself and get exactly what I need or want.

Wish lists always have been filled with hopes. An idealistic vision of what would make your life complete. But if you don’t get everything on the list, there can be a sense of disappointment. As parents, the lists can be beneficial. You want to give your kids so much in life, but you also have to make sure they get what they need. Going into debt over material stuff isn’t a good idea though.

Our kids have lists. It’s smattered with things they think would make their lives fulfilled. Things like books, pens, art supplies and music are topping the list. Knowing that they want to create more than consume makes me happy. I’m not quite sure where or when it changed, but I’ll gladly support their artistic side.

I’m sure Santa will support it as well- if you know what I mean.

What’s on your wish list? Do you set limits on what your kids ask for? How much stuff is too much stuff?

Let me know in the comments.

Disney Plus Equals Life

Yesterday Disney+ was released. And if you watch any form of entertainment on a screen of some sort, you must’ve heard about it. So I’m not going to go into great detail about what it all includes, because that information is everywhere on the interwebs! Instead I’m just going to share what my family and I watched as our first few shows.

I paid for a full year up front for $89.99. It was an obvious choice because there is so much content that The Mouse owns that we won’t be able to watch it all in 365 days. After installing the app on our PS4, the first thing we did was set up individual profiles. Then we went searching.

We settled on a couple of Pixar Shorts called “Bao” followed by “La Luna” -which we hadn’t all seen before. So far so good, but we didn’t want to begin marathoning through any new series of shows. We did stop next on “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” and were pleasantly surprised and dumbfounded by it. Consider it a sort of documentary on stuff. In this case- sneakers.

Naturally we watched the cartoon that started the journey of the Disney Franchise back in 1928- “Steamboat Willie“. It’s a neat reminder to see how far that little black and white mouse has come. Not only that, but it also shows how far animation has come and how it was pioneered almost a century ago.

We have our sets of future shows already searched out. The Sneaker Who Wore Tennis Shoes from 1969 is top on my wife’s list. While High School Musical is our daughter’s choice. My son and I are stoked to begin The Mandalorian in a few days. But there is so much content, we don’t really know where to start.

What are you planning on watching on Disney+?

Painted Wood

This afternoon I decided to get back into painting again. I wasn’t overly happy with how my Black Canvas turned out this past summer. It wasn’t nearly as good as my Cherry Blossom Painting from last September. But today, instead of a canvas, I painted some winter scenes on wood.

The first one I completed rather quickly and was happy with the results. So I lacquered up the edges of the natural wood frame and began on another.

I’m really happy with how both pieces turned out. They are rather generic winter themes so they will work no matter where I put them. It has made me love the idea of painting again. Time to scour the wood shed and hope to find some more pieces like this.

The pieces even look good hung up on our walls as well. It’s going to be tough to take them down once spring arrives.

Zoom Fest 2019

Last year our oldest daughter participated in Zoom Fest– a student film competition that lasts only 48 hours. This year her group is doing the filming and editing at our home. Originally it was just our oldest daughter and her classmate. But since arriving at our home, our other daughter has begun to help them.

The film needs to be between 30 seconds and 7 minutes in length. The are given a theme and told to incorporate a prop in some form. This year the prop is “Gloves” and the theme is “Haste makes Waste”.

The Langley Fine Arts school has loaned out cameras, equipment and Apple Computers to each team. The competition began at 5pm yesterday and ends tomorrow at 5pm. Last night, our daughter’s group gathered up their props, figured out their shots and story line. They opted to get a good night’s sleep and woke up at 5am to begin filming. We are already two pots of coffee in…

As they were outside filming during a windstorm- a large branch fell. They shakily caught it on camera and their excitement levels have increased. With all of their caffeine and adrenaline levels spiked- these girls are talking a mile a minute trying to get their film together.

These two/three girls are working well together so far. With a little under twenty hours behind them and twenty eight hours left to go- they think they have plenty of time to finish. I wish them the best of luck and I cannot wait to see the finished film.

Making of My 2019 Costume: A Skesis

During my life I have always loved costumes, Halloween and cosplay. The biggest attraction for me is making the costumes myself. For about a decade we were attending a variety of Comic Cons where we were able to have fun and showcase some costumes. I have written about costuming a few times including a couple of weeks ago where I shared photos of previous outfits: Get Those Costumes Ready

I also hinted at how I was going to push myself and this year’s outfit. Here is my work for this year. I spent about twenty hours building it. After this Halloween, I’ll probably use it as a prop for decorations in the future.

I present to you, my Skesis build. MmmMMMmmm

It started years ago when I wanted to build a Skesis outfit for Calgary Expo. The only downside was we didn’t have room in our vehicle to transport such a large piece from provincial to province. With five of us in the SUV and a metric ton of hats to sell at the show (My wife is still making hats, but we aren’t traveling any more for it. You can still buy online at Ningen Headwear FYI) we didn’t have room for extravagant outfits. My love of The Dark Crystal returned this year when Netflix did a prequel series. It was time to make this costume.

Research became a quick obsession. Viewing others who had made this costume, searching images, watching behind the scenes footage- you name it and I looked for it. I had to settle on what was going to be feasible in my spare time and what I could afford- my budget ended up being $30. Seriously. I had a lot of the materials readily available from previous Cosplay, thank goodness.

It started with some designs and foam. Foam insulation boards glued together and a roll of foam floor mat. My artistic ability is mediocre at best. My hope was that doing some of it and taking a break periodically would inspire me. Advice from my family was also key.

Making the inner framework was a challenge. I needed it to be sturdy and light weight and fit me inside. PVC tubing and a couple of straps are the basic inner workings. I used a heat gun to mold and form the “outer shell”. I also suffered numerous hot glue gun burns to my fingers throughout the entire process.

Once the foam for the head was dry, it was time to cut out the shape of the head. I mostly used an exacto blade and craved off laters if foam. I used a Dremel to smooth out the edges and add some facial features. The head still seemed blocky at this point. Adding teeth and ping pong ball eyes helped a bit.

To get the features more realistic, I formed a thin layer of sculpting clay around the head. Once it was dry, I used acrylic paints to get a good base coat of colour onto it. The features were beginning to POP but it was looking far too cartoon like.

Getting advice from my daughter, I added some dull fading to it and was throughly pleases with the results.

After spray painting the back shell with black and red, I hot glued it to my fingers the frame and began to add fabrics. Old bedsheets, curtains and sheer material have given this guy some life. I’m happy with the results so far. All that’s left is to try walking around in it. I should be able to see through the black sheer, but this thing might weigh more than I’m expecting.

I enjoyed the process along the way. I know some things I’d do differently if I were to make this again. I also know that it can look pretty good as a stationary piece later on.

Hopefully this Halloween, I can get some candy for all my hard work!