Retro Gaming Feel

Over the weekend, I set up a little area near our front door in order to play video games.

Over Christmas we received the NES and the SNES Minis. We had an old 20″ RCA tv that we were using for a computer monitor. I decided to mount it on the wall and connect the game systems.

The tiny alcove reminds me of the look on a basement from the 1970’s/early 1980’s. The perfect little spot to enjoy some retro gaming. It may sound odd, but it works. It’s also a good little spot to hideout, but still be central in the home.

Now when one of our kids are ready to go out before anyone else, they can occupy their time playing a game. It’ll help keep them out of the way and out of trouble.

Hopefully.

Streaming Music

I have finally come to the conclusion that I need to adapt and stream music. Or rather, pay for streaming music. Even though we have radio waves freely out there to use. Plus those radio stations have apps that are free to use. (CBC Music is a personal favorite). But which paid service do I want to try?

At home, I have used Kodi to play music throughout the house. This finds free streaming radio stations and has a ton of options. I have loved this so far. But I want some music on the go.

In our cars, we have used SiriusXM. Mostly for the free trial or the cheap 6 month package. But I have found the songs seem to be repetitive over an 11 hour loop. So this service is no longer a choice that I wish to spend money on.

Our oldest daughter uses the “Free” version of Spotify. Which is okay. But it has limitations and advertisements. I’m not sure if I want to pay for this service even though it is one of the largest out there.

Having been an avid iPhone user, there is always Apple Music. I *had* our music library on iTunes and shared it on our devices. Our hard drive bit the dust and whatever songs I have on my iPhone is about it. Plus the occasional album or song my kids have wanted. I’m sad that our 500 cds that I painstakingly transferred to digital are gone.

Since we succumbed to Amazon Prime just before Christmas, this seems the most likely choice at the moment to use. We are enjoying the Prime Video streaming that is included with subscription, so that’s been worth it alone. My wife also received a Kindle for Christmas and is looking forward to reading books that are also included in the Prime membership. Why not just give in and try their streaming music option? So today, I downloaded the app for our iPhones and will be spending some time browsing it.

What service do you use? Are you happy with it? Should we just stick to fm radio and old cds? Maybe we should keep the record player warmed up… I know our fourteen year old is loving that option at the moment.

Fun Romancing

Yesterday was Valentines Day. Some people expressed their love for one another on social media. Others shared bitterness and sarcasm. Many people shared pictures of lovely dinners and flowers. Whatever your day was like, I hope it was great. Mine was super romantic.

First my wife and I dropped the kids off at school. Then we went for breakfast at a random bistro that we had never been to before. One of the best breakfasts I have ever had. Also the most expensive breakfast I have ever had. This was our romantic meal of the day.

Then my wife and I went home to play some video games in bed. Followed by a mid morning nap. Which led to me sleeping until 4pm because I worked the night shift the day prior. I woke up because I had missed four phone calls from my wife. She left the same message each time in her silliest voice possible. “Call me. Call me. Why won’t you call me? Caaaaaaaaallllllll me.”

When she came home, we played some Smash Bros and Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch. My wife is really good at gaming and beat me repeatedly at these games. After a couple of hours of video games, I made dinner for the family.

After dinner we watched one of my wife’s favorite films- “Stardust“. It’s also one of my favorites. A fairytale involving love. Something about Neil Gaiman’s works translate from novel to film beautifully.

Yesterday was a day pretty much designed to make my wife happy. From a lovely breakfast date to lots of video games to enjoying a romantic film. I think we should do more days like this.

Snow Day 2019!

Today our children, as well as many of my friends’ children, are getting to experience a “Snow Day“. The snowfall finally hit us in the Lower Mainland yesterday. So many schools are shut down for today.

I can see why just looking at my yard. Our side street isn’t plowed at all and even though the driveway was shoveled, it’s already half a foot deep again.

  • Some areas are worse hit than others. I left work at North Vancouver this morning and the roads were pretty decent. But by the time I had crossed the river and drove into Langley, it was getting treacherous. I’m glad my kids are having a “Snow Day“.

    Having a “Snow Day” means four things will happen to my kids.

    1. They will play in the snow.
    2. They will warm up by the fireplace.
    3. They will enjoy a warm beverage.
    4. They will play video games.
  • It should be a fairly enjoyable day that will make the kids exhausted by dinner. Just in time for them to start complaining about shoveling the driveway again.
  • Hope everyone out there stays safe and enjoys the snow!

    Three Years of Beers

    As much as I thought I was going to do a whole lot of nothing yesterday, I was wrong. I ended up going out to my favorite watering hole to celebrate their third anniversary.

    They were offering up a limited edition etched glass to the first 100 customers. Much like last year, I scored two glasses. Because it was so cold outside, they opened up early to let everyone in. I was the fifth person in line of about 40 people. I was only inside for about forty five minutes before having to leave for another appointment.

    I also ended up seeing some people I had met over the years. So my interaction level had to go up. Good thing the beer was 8.7% and tasty. Seriously though, I had such a great time at the opening that I returned a few hours later to get a couple of growlers filled.

    Something about the Trading Post Brewing that makes it feel warm and welcoming. No matter which location I attend. I love supporting local businesses as well. Thanks again to the brewmaster and servers for a great beer and celebration.

    Cheers.

    Not Socializing on Social Media

    Last night as I lay in bed watching Netflix I was also browsing for nothing in particular on my smartphone (or should we just call it a phone now since most of us have one?). I don’t know what I was looking for. But it started and ended with Facebook.

    First was a rabbit hole of videos. Everything from Fail Compilations to Wood Carving. Many of which I have seen before on these late night journeys of nothingness. Then I decided to try looking up former coworkers and schoolmates that I am not “Friends” with currently. Why? I have no idea.

    Credit:Bizarro Comics

    Do I need to pad my online self worth with people I once knew? Was it a deeper connection I desired with these strangers? I stopped myself before I began sending “Friend Requests”. I’ve come to realize that I have some great friends on Facebook. Ones who do share with me quite often even though we don’t see each other outside of social media.

    I have also turned into the type of person that rarely comments on posts because I don’t want to offend. So my opinion remains curtailed and I lay dormant and quiet. Which is probably why I watch those videos. There is no interaction required. Just mind numbing useless videos that make me feel inadequate (I cannot turn wood into beautiful works of art) or I feel righteous (because of watching people fail at life doing stupid stunts).

    The Fear of missing out prevents me from just abandoning social media all together. Maybe it’s time to reassess my reasons for staying on board. I’ve stopped using Twitter and Pinterest. I was never into Reddit. I enjoy Instagram because I love seeing the beauty in the world. But Facebook? No idea why I’m still going back. Sometimes I see a success story from a friend’s feed that makes me smile. Is it those moments that I crave?

    I have a buddy that I have been friends with since kindergarten in the early 80’s. He has zero social media presence. He never did either. He and I are still in contact through text messages and calls on a regular basis. We meet up every few months and it feels like we never separated. I have a couple other friends like this. But I need more of those types of friends.

    As I flip flop through deciding to abandon the social networking all together, I have to look at what’s important to me. Seeing success stories makes me happy. Using social media to keep up with technology and entertainment is also useful. Seeing hatred and misinformation spread is not.

    Maybe it’s time for me to take my Month Long Break again.

    Kill Bill

    Last Saturday I revisited an old film series- Kill Bill Vol 1&2. We often show our children films from our past that we found to be entertaining. Sometimes films don’t hold up- sorry Encino Man but wow you are a terrible film. While other times the films remain incredible.

    Kill Bill is the type of film that really holds up. From the musical score, to the cinematography, to the story arcs, to the monologues- this film nails it. There is really nothing negative to say about the film.

    • Strong female lead? Check
    • Action packed? Check
    • Plot twists? Check
  • During the film, we discussed every aspect. Our oldest is interested in film making and is trying to find her vision. Our middle wants to be a writer and loves to dissect film and tv shows to understand how they piece together. And our youngest tries to read into foreshadows to guess where the story will lead to. I love that each of them can take something unique and different away from our viewings.
  • As much as I love the fact that this film holds up, I also understand that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The scenes are a bit gratuitous in the violent aspect but are necessary for the story. I mean with a title like Kill Bill someone has to die.
  • For those who love a good Tarantino film- go back and re-watch Kill Bill. There’s no need for me to give a review of this film because of how long it’s been since it was released. Now to figure out our next family movie. I wonder if Howard The Duck is any good…

    Static Electricity

    Winter months always bring static electricity. Those little shocks from your fingertips to doorknobs. Your hair sticking up after removing a toque. You can feel it hanging in the air.

    As a kid, I remember when people would rub a balloon on my head and stick it to a wall. Making your hairs all stand up on end and that rubber squeak noise as the balloon moved.

    In high school there was a girl, whom I was infatuated with, explained to me that she used cans of aerosol hairspray to combat static electricity. Whether or not this is true, I believed her. I mean, I really wanted to date this girl but I doubted my abilities to prove my worth. So my memory of how amazing she was/is remains locked away in my mind. I do believe there is some merit to her tale of how to prevent static electricity.

    When I worked as a projectionist, static electricity wreaked havoc in the booth. It caused film to “stick” and jam up the projectors if not addressed quickly. We went through cases of “Static Guard” and we even hung dryer sheets from the ceiling to prevent static. The scent of “Static Guard” is still prominent in my mind and it’ll probably always be there. Just like my memory of a former crush.

    And much like static electricity, a smell or an image can spark these memories in an instant.

    Pixie Poo

    We’ve all heard stories and fables from our childhood involving Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. We even buy into these tales as adults and pass the legacy onto our children. We also speak of Leprechauns, Hobbits, witches and wizards. But there is one story that isn’t shared as much as it should be.

    I’m taking about Pixies.

    More specifically, Pixie Poo.

    What is “Pixie Poo“?

    The answer is quite obvious. Let me explain. The fables were close when they told of Tinker Bell from Peter Pan. As many fairy tales evolved, so did this one. You may think of Pixie Dust as a magical dust the fairies pull out of a vial and spread around to make the world shine.

    Nay nay. This be wrong information.

    Whenever you go to bed at night, that is when the pixies come out to play. They fly into our homes to check in on us. Gently landing on the bridge of your nose so as not to wake you. Then they roll back your eyelid, ever so slowly, to make sure you are asleep. This is when the magic happens…

    A tiny flying fairy standing on your face turns around to uses your eye as a toilet. A sparkly gold and green pixie poop landing on the inside corner right next to your nose. Pixie’s love using a person’s eyeball as a toilet because of the natural moisture produced.

    This is the truth about Pixies and their bodily functions. The more poop you find in your eye in the morning means the Pixie chose to give you an extra special night of dreaming.

    So may the eye boogers you have be a reminder of the magic that is still out there. And please share my story of the Pixie Poo.

    No Bowl

    Not having cable tv means not seeing shows as they are aired. I’m okay with that. I didn’t like being forced to watch shows as they were being broadcast. Even worse was setting the VCR (back in the 80’s) or a PVR to record your shows only to have set it incorrectly or have others spoil the results.

    It’s been years since we had cable tv. We do enjoy watching shows as a family, don’t get me wrong. Netflix and Amazon Prime have become a staple for our viewing enjoyment. We even stream shows directly from the websites as well. It’s a bit more of a freedom and cost savings in our minds.

    But days like today, where a major sports event is happening, is a bit more of a challenge. I’m not a big watcher of sports as it is. So it doesn’t matter much. We used to have people over to enjoy the events because I like to make food and host a good party.

    Cutting the cable was a move we wanted to make. It has been great. We enjoy our freedoms from the boob tube. It’s not for everyone that’s for sure. But it worked for us. Now off to see what team everyone on social media is rooting for!

    Go Sports Team!