Daddy/Darwin Day Looking For a Costume

Today I spent with our middle child. We went out everywhere shopping. We were on the hunt for a perfect Halloween costume for her. Problem was- she didn’t know what she wanted to be.

Clearly we don’t have the time to spend making something as intricate or extravagant as some of the previous cosplay. I enjoy the Casual Cosplay with easy costumes of just outfits not needing too much work. So Value Village was one of our stops.

The VV Boutique has a big selection of packaged costumes. Very generic or simply cheap items. Meant for only a few hours then tossed aside. We tend to keep our costumes for future use or passing onto other people. So cheap crap isn’t our thing. After checking out the store bought costume section, we went on the hunt through the clothing donation area instead. We got lucky and found exactly what we would need.

Our daughter loves anime. Particularly Hello Kitty. She also loves Aggretsuko. So we went in search of a blue business outfit, a white dress shirt and an orange-ish wig. After a bit of hemming and hawing we found the perfect combination.

My daughter is super happy with the results. I think this is one of her better costumes that she has put together. Just a touch of makeup and a tail to complete the look. She hasn’t decided if she wants to do calm Aggretsuko or the Karaoke death metal version.

I guess we’ll see how she feels closer to Halloween.

Puzzled

Today I pulled out an old box of comics from our barn. Don’t get angry! The comics were tucked away in an old cupboard and stayed dry. But they weren’t in great shape to begin with. I never really took care when handling them.

Anyhow, this story isn’t about my old Transformers and Akira comics. My son found a few other gems from my youth that he questioned and made me happy.

An old bowling plaque. Looking back at that score- awful. We bowled every Wednesday after school. Nope, we weren’t cool- that’s for sure. But I always remember just having fun with my friends on our team. Maybe if I focused I’d have gotten better. But really, what would that do for me growing into an adult? Having fun was a much better option.

My son also discovered a couple of my old wooden yo-yos and a collection of puzzles. Plastic twisting puzzles. These were my version of a fidget spinner back in the early 90’s in high school. I mastered each of them and began to get faster solving them. The only one I struggled to get faster at was the original Rubik’s cube. I can generally solve it in under five minutes. Only because I learned a routine and frequently just go through the motions. I know there are ways of solving two parts at once- I never got that good.

Trying to teach my son the patterns on these puzzles has proven difficult. He wants to solve them, but is still trying to grasp the ideas. Hopefully solving puzzles can be a new passion of his.

Like father like son? Who knows.

Late Night/Early Morning

Having a late Friday night isn’t what it once was for me. Especially when I am required to have an early Saturday morning. Drinking and partying isn’t in play that’s for sure. This sacrifice is for our kids.

Friday evenings we spend a couple hours at an ice rink in our town while the kids practice Speed Skating. We get home by 9pm and have dinner. We hope to go to bed by 11pm. Saturday mornings we are up early to head out to a different ice rink that’s at least 45 minutes away from our home just so the kids can get one more hour of “ice time”.

Next weekend is the first competition. A good chance for the kids to see who they are up against this season. We kept our kids active all summer with dry land training, so hopefully their muscles can be better prepared.

If our kids didn’t like doing skating, we would’ve given this up years ago. But they love it. They have a drive and determination I don’t think I ever possessed. Plus, all of their friendships and competitions aren’t “ugly”. In fact at every meet, there is great sportsmanship shown.

They’re pretty good at this Skating thing. Volunteering my time is the least I can do for them. Calling out words of encouragement from the sidelines is my way of showing I care as well.

More Than Just Rides

Disneyland is great fun. Over the course of three days, we hit probably 90% of the rides. Which is a big portion of our trip usually. We utilize the FastPass option frequently. Disneyland has a MaxPass option for an additional $10/day per person. We didn’t feel that was of any value to our trip. A few extra steps to go get a pass won’t hurt me.

Besides the rides, we love meeting the characters. Our first trip, the girls met all the princesses as they dressed as princesses. We’ve also met numerous Disney characters over the years as well.

This year is no different. We took the time to meet a few characters (not including the cockroach from Wall-E). Each and every moment so far has been filled with jokes and laughs.

Another great aspect of Disneyland and California Adventure is the shows. We stop pretty often for the short side shows on the streets.

We also like taking in some stage shows. Disneyland goes all out and is a leader in how to create these entertainment experiences. This year we enjoyed “Frozen.”

Of course fireworks, parades and other nighttime shows are wonderful to watch.

We find some great moments by trying to experience everything. We have become a true “Disney Family” and love each and every moment in the parks.

Motivational Writing

Over the summer I took my daughters to the Chapters Book Store. We didn’t end up buying anything, but we did do a lot of cover reading. It seems that a trend has arisen in the form of Motivational Writing.

The titles are reflective of our society today. With a curse word thrown in the title to add some humor. Like an internet meme complaining about work or people. A couple of decades ago, the titles of such ideas were kinder and gentler.

“Chicken Soup for the Soul” came out in 1993. Since the first book, the company now has offshoots that cater to nearly everyone. They produce a dozen new ones every year. They seem to be the leaders in the market. Even the original title makes you feel warm inside.

My daughters told me I should take a few of my stories I’ve written in this blog and piece together my own book. I think that’s really sweet, and it got me thinking that maybe I should. First things first- I need a catchy title and book cover.

I love the title of my blog. But would it translate into a read worthy motivational book?

I love this piece of art from downtown Vancouver. However, it holds a bit of negativity and doesn’t sound motivating enough.

This is another favorite photo of mine. A bit presumptuous in a way, but goals are important. Even if it means floating on a lake in an inflatable boat.

Naw. This one isn’t great. Even though I find it amusing.

How about something completely obscure that mentions robots? As if my book would somehow change your life from being robotic and systematic.

Or way off and use something my son thinks is humorous? Not sure this title is along the lines of “You are a Badass” or “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”.

In the end, I’ll keep on writing every day and hope that I can piece together a series of stories that matter most to me.

Let me know which stories I’ve written that you think I should share in book form. I’d love to hear these. Getting feedback from my blog readers and friends helps a lot in figuring out what stories I should share.

Pass It On

We were going through some old trinket holders that we had on our bookshelf. My wife and I have always loved dragons and gargoyles, so when were first got together we would search out these fantasy items and gift them to each other. We ended up with a few of these trinket tins within our first few years together. Inside were some memories that we had locked away only to be discovered this past weekend.

Inside one of our Dragon tins were a couple of necklaces and a photo of our first born from 16 years ago. One of the necklaces was filled with “Fairy Dust” and the other was of a tiny gargoyle holding a crystal ball. Super neat and I kind of wonder if our kids will ever like them…

Inside our next box was some old rolling papers, some tags and my brass zippo lighter. You can probably guess my old lifestyle from a couple of lifetimes ago. Even the rolling papers were from before I met my wife in 2000. This was before the “3 M’s” took over my life:

Marriage

Mortgage

Monsters

The biggest surprise to me was that my Zippo lighter was still in my possession.

I have had this Zippo since I was about fifteen years old. I would walk the halls of my high school opening and closing the lighter.

Click-click

Click-click

This was my “Fidget” item of the mid-1900’s. My friends and I each had one. Mine was a brass one, my best friend at the time had a stainless steel one, another buddy had a flat black one, and we had that one friend who had a pot leaf emblem on his. Hmmm….

My friends and I each kept our Zippos on our person at all times. You know that little pocket in your Levi’s Jeans? The perfect fit for a Zippo. It can also used for pocket watches- of which I have a few.

When my son discovered my Zippo Lighter, he was immediately drawn to it. I showed him how to do a “top pop” squeeze to open the lighter. It took me a few tries, but just like riding a bike- it became easier after each time. For the rest of the afternoon all we could hear from my son was the familiar:

Click-click

Click-click

As he opened and shut the lighter. After dinner I rummaged through my tool cabinet and found my old half full Zippo fluid container and a flint. I showed my son how to fill the lighter and explained each part to him. He was super eager to learn and was even more excited when he lit the flame for the first time.

He wants to polish the lighter and make it shiny again. I guess it’s considered a vintage lighter now being that it’s a little over 25 years old. Crazy. But he likes it.

And in true Dad Joke style, I am ending this post By passing him the torch.

Olympic Oval Package Unboxing

On Thursday our middle child received a box from the Olympic Oval in Calgary. Well, mom and dad forked over a few hundred dollars and bought the stuff inside- but it was still exciting for her to open it up!

The top of the box was super taped shut with their logo tape on it. So our daughter grabbed a knife and sliced open the box.

Inside was a “Thank You” card from the University Of Calgary and a bunch of air packs protecting their inventory. Our daughter has been planning to go to this university for a while now, I think this makes her a bit more excited about the idea.

Inside the box was a brand new Speed Skating helmet and some skating boots. Now she doesn’t need to borrow our club’s used equipment anymore. This weekend, we will heat up the boots and form them around her ankles to create a better fit.

For my wife and I, these items are an investment into our children. Speed Skating promotes health, activeness and sportsmanship. Promoting these values in our children is important as the grow up. Since our children have been Speed Skating since 2010, I have no issues buying better equipment for them to use. Even when our daughters have taken time off in the past- they always want to come back to skating.

I’m excited for our daughter and her new equipment. I think she will get some good use out of it. Who knows, maybe she will attend the University of Calgary and skate for them while she does studies.

The Wizard Of Speed and Time

The Fine Arts School that our children attend is in full session now. The children are getting excited about the upcoming year. They have a lot on their plates: various music classes, theater tech, film, photography, yearbook, carving- as well as the academic classes. This school isn’t just 9-3 either. Some days the kids arrive at 07:30am. Some days they leave at 5:30pm.

It’s a full time commitment.

My wife and I have always encouraged the children to explore and discover new talents. Our 14 year old daughter is taking Stop Motion Animation this year and I am jittery with excitement. I’ve always loved that style of animation and films- It was big for me growing up in the 1980’s.

Most of it was Claymation (like the California Raisins). With some shows on a regular rotation such as reruns of these gems:

Gumby (1956-)

Jeremy the Bear (1968-1974)


Then there were animation movies that really came out and showed off a more demonic style of “Children’s Movies”. Here is one of my favorites:

The Adventure Of Mark Twain (1985)


But the 80’s also used stop motion to capture a new style of special effect. It brought monsters to life in films such as:

Clash of the Titans (1981)


Sometimes, a stop motion film was able to tell a story about itself… This afternoon I shared with my daughter (the one taking stop motion animation) an obscure film that I enjoyed from years gone by.

The Wizard Of Speed And Time (1988)

This film is based on the short stop motion film of the same title from 1977.

The original 3 minute film was shown during a segment of The Wonderful World of Disney which is where I first saw it.

However, this version showcases the artist struggling to make his film and all the roadblocks encountered along the way. It took five years to make and was completed in 1988. I love how this film is simple in its delivery and carries numerous subliminal messages. It has a charm that won’t win it any awards, but the heart this film shares is immense.

After showing the film to my daughter, she is now more inspired to film stop motion than ever before. I hope she can bring forth some effects and styles from this film.

Perhaps one day she will be the next Wizard Of Speed and Time.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

September is rough month for me. I kinda hate this month. By the nineteenth of September- I’m usually a Grade A Asshole. Let me explain…

Memories of school and how much it didn’t do the right thing for my life are prevalent this time of year. The bullies, the terrible teachers (not all, but the ones who sucked- sucked bad), the routine of doing it each and every day.

But my time at school is nearly 25 years behind me. It should be a distant memory. Except I have kids. Kids who go to school. So I get to try and be a counselor as well as a parent when it comes to school. Taking from my own experiences to try and help them through theirs. Granted, it seems that things are going much better for my children than it did for me. Lucky bums.

September 19th is a critical point for me. That’s my father’s former birthday. It’s just one more reason for me to be a better man. He didn’t ever know what was going on in my life. Or if he did- he didn’t care. So I stopped caring.

My entire life, I always just wanted September to end. Just go away all together if possible. Maybe I should do a month long coma each year. Like some stasis pod thingy. Or maybe I just need to make the best of it nowadays. Enjoy the fall colors as they slowly set in.

I’m just going to go to back to bed and see what happens later. Wake me up when September ends.

Photos, Fire, and a Friend

Thursday at Twenty Mile Bay was filled with a couple of long hikes and a few big meals. After breakfast, we ventured around the campsite along the water’s edge and capture some amazing pictures, and a little snake.

We did a ton of artsy pictures throughout the day. My daughters and I discussed photography (as I took it in High School, and they are as well). So we tried to out do one another.

The end of the day, we sat around the campfire and tossed in some Mystical Fire to add some colours to the flames.

It was a great way to end our last night of camping.