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.

Halloween Decorations

Now that we are back home from our latest vacation, it is time to decorate for Halloween. The kids seem to enjoy this. Our son gets right into it and wants to put out everything we have. He even tries to add things that aren’t quite Halloween, but that he thinks would look good.

We have a bunch of things from when the kids were younger. So lots of plastic decor and more not-so-scary items. We don’t put those out as much. We also have a lot of Nightmare Before Christmas knickknacks that stay out all year. For me, decorating each year is about making it different from the last. I try not to have too much store bought items, but rather use what we have around that is old and battered.

Our garden piano for example has begun to crumble and really take the shape of what I wanted. Place a pink rope light behind the keys, a couple fake skulls, and a blue flood light and it creates a near perfect scene.

A few more finishing touches and our home will be perfectly spooky. Today I am putting up our large banners that cover our windows and create quite the visual outside. In a week or two, we will carve the pumpkins!

What are some of your favorite decorations to put up? When do you start?

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.

Magical Day…?

Finding joy in some of the silliest things is what I love about life. Even in Disneyland when things aren’t always as magical as you think.

We had a few “Not-So-Magical” moments Saturday. But we had fun nonetheless.

My son’s car in Autotopia died before he could even get in. When I got to the end of the ride, they stopped us all in a row to insert a new car. No big deal, but it made the ride last longer.

On our walk to the train station, I met a celebrity from Wall-E.

The cockroach.

Ya, it’s just a bug. But I had to have some fun with the idea of it.

Later in the evening while we were in line for Pirates of the Caribbean, it broke down.

Twice.

People cheered both times as the ride started up again. The Disneyland App was pretty fast at posting rides going down.

None of this made our trip any less enjoyable. In fact it made it just as memorable as previous visits to Disneyland. We are still having a great time despite these flaws behind the magic.

Portofino Aneheim

Back at the end of January/ beginning of February 2009, I was getting laid off. So we took that opportunity to go to Disneyland for the first time. I was told on the Wednesday that on the Friday I’d be laid off. So we went onto the Disneyland website and booked tickets and a hotel starting the Sunday.

That Saturday morning, Mickey and his friends called our house and the kids answered the call. Their ages were 2,4 and 6. They lit up! Immediately after the call, we packed our minivan and hit the road. We drove straight through for 26 hours taking turns driving.

We arrived at the Portifino Inn and Suites. It was perfect. Separate bedroom for the kids and only a short walk to the park. This our third time returning to stay at the hotel.

The rooms are spacious and moderately priced. Like most hotels near Disneyland, this one boasts a parking lot pool. It’s the perfect size for a quick dip to relax.

There’s only two things that would make this place one of my favorite hotels.

First, breakfast.

Unfortunately there is no breakfast offered. Nothing more than the in-room coffee is available. I’d worry that if there was breakfast offered- it’d be subpar. So maybe no breakfast is a good thing, especially for the price we pay.

Secondly, better WiFi.

Just like German WiFi- it’s the wurst. It drops constantly and has trouble connecting. Walking up to the hotel or at the pool- it works great. In the rooms, it sketches out. Having teens- (and myself) this is life ending! But we are trudging through.

We like staying at this hotel. Even with a couple of flaws. For a place to rest my head and enjoy some downtime- this place is perfect.

The Void

We always do something unique for every trip we take to Disneyland. This year we hit a place called “The Void” in Downtown Disney. We played though “The Secrets of the Empire” which was Star Wars based.

I wish I could’ve taken photos inside. The VR was more than just wearing goggles. You go in and harness up with a helmet and vest. It was pretty intense. Not only do you see a 360° view of everything, there is so much more. As you turn your head, the sound is full 360° as well. Your other senses also get assaulted. You feel the heat and cold as you actually move through the levels.

Yes- you walk around!

There are smells and scents as well depending on where you go. And you grab at stuff, interact with buttons, and shoot blasters! The storyline reacts to what you do.

My wife and I teamed up while our kids went off on their own. The interactivity in the VR world was incredible. It was a ton of fun. While we were doing it, we were fully immersed. By the end, it was all too real. Afterwards, my wife felt her fear of heights was almost real even though we were planted firmly on the ground. It was sensory overload, but worth every penny.

What we experienced was amazing. Worth the cost and such a wicked memory was created. If I could share what I saw- you’d be amazed. Even though it was about thirty minutes of play, it felt like a full movie. An interactive movie.

Absolutely crazy.

Check out The Void for other adventures.

A Tale of Two Flights

Yesterday we flew with Westjet out of Vancouver to Los Angeles. The check in was easy and my wife got the extra screening bonus going through customs. (Which has nothing to do with the flight…) The staff were really friendly and helpful.

But then our flight was delayed two and a half hours because… an employee had damaged the plane… or that’s what we were told by another employee. We had to wait for another flight to come in from Winnipeg in order to get a new plane to ride. So I took a nap before we boarded. Shit happens. I’d rather get on an undamaged plane.

I guess because the flight was late, we got to enjoy taxiing around the runway in Vancouver before departing another 30 minutes later. The flight itself was smooth. Included in the price- we were given a sip of soda and a tiny snack pack of pretzels. To watch any movies- we had to download the Westjet App. Rather frustrating.

When we touched down, the plane drove around every part of LAX terminal for 45 minutes before stopping and having everyone disembark and then board a bus for a ten minute drive back to the terminal. After all was said and done, we were over 4 hours later than we originally planned. Even the employees were getting edgy by the end. But they kept their cool.

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Contacts

I have never needed prescription glasses. The last time I had my eyes checked- I had better than 20/20 vision. Hooray!

A few years ago I bought a pair of red contacts for some steampunk cosplay I was doing. The first few times of putting them in were absolute hell. My eyes were so irritated and my allergies flared up. Eventually, I became accustomed to it. So a few years later I bought some spiderweb ones for Halloween. I really enjoyed wearing both, but could only do a short time before they felt like someone was using a scouring pad on my corneas. I’d want to gouge my eyes out with a frozen ice cream scoop just to ease the burning.

Last year I threw out the lenses since I hadn’t worn them in ages. I had forgotten them in the back of a drawer and they had dried out. I kind of like having eyesight, so tossing out cheap contacts seemed like a logical thing to do.

Not having to stick my fingers into my eyes on a regular basis made me appreciate my eyesight. My wife had Laser eye surgery over a year ago to correct her vision. She’s still not perfect, but does not require contacts anymore. She’s happier now.

Maybe I’ll buy some new cosmetic contacts again one day, but only when my memory of the pain is diminished.

Poetry

I need to read more poetry in my life.

Well written, upbeat poetry. Not the dark and gloomy style that seems to be prevalent everywhere. I don’t need to have the sense of a storm cloud hovering over me as I read. That being said, I am fond Edgar Allan Poe.

I’m looking for some good poets to be recommended. If you know of any, let me know- I’d love to read some.

But I don’t like picking up books entitled “The Complete Works Of…” That means everything: good and bad. And bad can be bad; or bad poetry can be humorous in its own way.

That can be fun, especially when the author isn’t intending it to be.