Dino Mountain

There are plenty of paths in our neighborhood. Some lead around the houses, other paths lead through trees and parks. One of the paths has been filled with toys and art. It is titled “Dino Mountain” and was created in 2017.

There are little plastic dinosaurs near a large rock. My daughter will often straighten the ones that have toppled over and sometimes set up little scenes. I think it’s a fantastic way to encourage children to go on walks. It’s neat that the City of Surrey has also left it for the neighborhood to enjoy.

Today, we added our own touch to the Mountain.

Back in 1994 I was given some promotional material from a video store for the release of Jurassic Park. I have put them on display in all of our houses. Because I love the film so much, it was time to give back to the world and share some fun. I took the cardboard signage and taped it up in hopes that it survives the elements. Off to the trail we went and put them up for others to enjoy.

So if you’re in my neighborhood and go for a walk passing Dino Mountain- make sure you keep an eye out for Dinosaurs Crossings the path.

Celebrity Fun

Over the years I have met numerous celebrities. That is mainly due to me being a Convention Carny. I’ve even had quite a few interactions with celebrities online as well. Most recently was my all time favorite- Elvira.

I had the luxury of meeting Cassandra Peterson in person in Vancouver followed by a few weeks later in Los Angeles. She was so nice to my daughter and I. I learned that her sense of humor is raunchy and fun, so a random comment on Instagram made me happy that she responded. Oh yeah, 13 year old me still has the hots for her.

The fact that Pee-Wee Herman and Elvira are close friends makes me happy as well. A few years ago, Mr. Herman liked a comment of mine on Facebook. I’ve dressed as PW for Halloween and acted the part as well.

But my favorite set of celebrity friends is Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton. I’ve had the opportunity to met them both a couple times at various conventions and even played a board game with Felicia Day.

Celebrities are like regular people running a business. The interactions they have with the public is akin to promoting a product. That product being their status in the media world. It’s fun and neat when they communicate indirectly with you. A moment of connection occurs.

Have you had any good interactions with celebrities? Or even any bad ones? Let me know in the comments. I’m off to continue being an influencer now… to my family.

As Far As Friends Go…

After last Wednesday’s funeral, I had mentioned how I was going to get back into Facebook and search out friends once more. Some people have found me and added me. But generally speaking- it has been me reaching out again. It was as my choice over two years ago to leave Facebook Friends behind after all.

In the short time since starting my friend gathering, I have accumulated 124 Facebook Friends. When I left back in March 2019 I was at almost 400. It feels like I hit reset on a game and my saved progress is gone.

Time to go in like Ash Ketchum on his adventures to get Pokémon! I’m 14% of the way there. Considering there are 898 total currently out there. I can hit that number of Pokémon friends quick enough.

So as I try and gather up my friend numbers, I’m going to use my power-up: kindness. It’s super effective. Gotta catch’em all!

I want to be the very best!

Littles

Today was a good day. I had the opportunity to have a few coworkers over with their families. Each of them have young children to take care of.

It’s been a long while since my wife and I have had to deal with small kids. It was nice change to hang out with everyone. And see how they handle their kids.

I’ve always been good with children. They seem to gravitate towards me. Today made for another one of those moments. My favorite part was being able to hand back the kids at the end of the days. The kids were well behaved. I’m most impressed with my friends’ parenting skills.

Ha! 19 Now…

Our oldest child turned 19 today. That means she is legal drinking age and can have alcohol without trying to sneak it. On my 19th birthday I went to the club and got completely loaded with a coworker who was five years older than me. I was a disaster. Our daughter on the other hand? Well she chose something different.

She doesn’t want alcohol. It’s never interested her. Instead she wanted to have a day at work followed by an at home family dinner and some ice cream cake. Totally doable and within our means!

I’m really impressed by how much more mature she is than I ever was when it comes to partying. But we still had a lot of fun at dinner. We were listening to a playlist that her sister cream Spotify, took some silly photos and cut the ice cream cake in the worst possible ways. Laughter filled the atmosphere.

It was exactly what she wanted. Why not give a person what they ask for on their birthday? No unwanted surprises. Just a casual night at home with family. In the end it was more a gift for the rest of us than for her. She even arrived home in great spirits!

Happy 19th Birthday Random! May you always be the responsible adult you have proven to be on your first day of adulthood!

Vintage Love

I am a huge fan of all things retro and vintage. Sure, I still like my modern amenities and won’t give those up any time soon. But there are some things that just bring me joy and are unique in many aspects.

I do like when old mixes with new. I picked up a couple of Panasonic noise canceling headphones with Bluetooth capabilities. I love the look of these headphones and how they remind me of elementary school libraries. That “station” where you could listen to an audio book or watch those short little filmstrip projectors. Those headphones were indestructible. I’m hoping these new ones are equally as awesome.

But the greatest thing we got as a housewarming gift came from my in-laws. They gave us six new towels for our use in our pool. The towels are fluffy and the color scheme screams 1970’s. What’s even better? The towels are from SEARS. So either my in-laws had these in storage, or somewhere out there is a Sears that is still in business. No matter what the case, I love these towels.

Do you like vintage and retro style? What makes you think it is vintage? Let me know in the comments.

Twenty Year Celebration

Yesterday we had some close friends over for an evening of hanging poolside. I love to entertain, and our anniversary was a great reason to have friends over.

We supplied our guests with food and drinks. There were bottles of wine chilling on ice for everyone’s pleasure. I had also printed off some custom labels for the water bottles. I made sure to keep everyone hydrated as we hung out in the sunshine.

Most of the evening I spent wandering around and socializing with everyone. At one point in the evening my buddies and I took a “Bro Pic”. We had done the same thing years ago at a brewery. It was the only picture i know of that was taken all day.

That’s a good thing. It means everyone was having fun and distracted from their phones. My wife and I are lucky to have such great friends that we have known for years. Even better is the fact that they mesh well with one another.

A hearty thank you to everyone for coming over and having fun yesterday. We look forward to having our friends over more often now that we are settled into our new home.

Life’s Good

We moved into our new place three weeks ago. For the last four months, I’ve been trying to figure out how to install our projector and motorized screen into our living room. But unless I want to dig into the ceiling and walls, I had to go with the alternative- a large TV.

The chaos of when we first moved in.

As you can see, our 55” tv looked sad in its new home. With a large frame around where the tv would be mounted, we had no choice but to go bigger. At least that was the argument I had with my wife. So for the past few weeks, I’ve been searching for a new tv.

Today I removed our old tv and measured to see what we could fit. Then it was off to Costco to see what they had in store. Today happened to be a good day for tv buying it seemed.

We bought an 75” LG tv. It dropped by $900 today. I joked with the cashier that we had only come in to buy paper plates and we were walking out with a new tv. But we used the money our real estate agent had given us back as a gift for “incidentals”. Incidentally, our tv was too small.

It’s a much better fit than the last one. I’m looking forward to enjoying some family movie nights on this big screen. We shall see how well an LG product is. I’m usually a Samsung guy since they’ve never caused me grief. Brand loyalty is something I’m proud of. But it’s worth a shot to try something new.

Especially for a wicked deal mid-summer!

Office Supply Boredom

Work is a bit slow these days. It reminds me of a time a few years ago when I was working nights and it was equally slow. My boss and I decided to make some toys from office supplies.

Office Wars

The pencil crossbow was my favorite. I ended up making two of these and my boss and I did target practice at empty boxes. These things were quite powerful and a ton of fun.

Found on Reddit

We also made various animals from the large binder clips. The Scorpion one was the coolest by far. In fact my wife calls the clips “Scorpion Clips” now because of this.

Pretty sure these activities stem from a childhood of school boredom. At least the art has gotten better than just a few pencil holes stabbed in an eraser. Or using the protractor set to create a catapult.

Do you create using office or school supplies when bored? Let me know in the comments.

25 Years of ID4

Every year on the Fourth of July we watch the movie “Independence Day”. It’s a tradition that I have kept up since I can remember. I first shared our story five years ago: ID4. My wife and kids all look forward to it each year. I can’t believe the film is a quarter century old now.

This is a great sci-fi film which borders on impossible at times. The characters and interactions more than make up for the fluff that this movie has to offer. Heck, after 25 years a lot has changed. Even the US Military has sort of, partially, kind of told the world that there is such things as ufos.

As American as A.L.F.

I have always wanted to believe that there is life out there. Hopefully it isn’t as mean as the aliens are in this film. Perhaps as a race we can come together and accept diversity as a way of life. Only then do I think we will meet alien life forms. Hopefully they are also not like A.L.F.

Happy July 4th to our American Cousins!

Floaties

Having a pool means having friends over. It also means having FLOATIES to enjoy.

We bought some lounging inflatables before we moved in. You know, just because… I love the fact that everyone enjoys them all. Some are tubes with an animal head attached (the duck and flamingo). Others are just silly fun, like the llama and narwhal. I love the crazy fun we have with each one.

The narwhal is ridiculously difficult to ride. So it has become a game amongst everyone to see how long they last. Kind of like a mechanical bull. I’m the winner so far, but I’ve also had a lot of practice.

I think next summer we will try and get a bunch more floaties in order to fill the pool. It’s been so much fun this year, why not double it next year?

Lego Bonsai

Today we went shopping for some summer clothes. We also went to a couple of stores just because we were at the mall. One of those stores happened to be The Lego Store. I totally did a spontaneous purchase of a Lego set.

The Lego Bonsai Tree.

We got it home and decided to put it together as a family. This is the first set we have built in the new house. It’s also been years since we last tried to build a set together. The Lego Spaceship from The Lego Movie was an ordeal and a half one Christmas! We were lucky to not repeat that fiasco.

But we were able to work together and got it completed rather quickly. We even had a spot all picked out at the bottom of our stairs for it to hang out. I think it looks really neat.

As well, when spring comes around, we can change the bonsai tree into a Sakura tree.

Raised Spirits

After a week in our new home, it was time to enjoy quality time together. Boy was it fun!

This evening before dinner, we all hung out at the pool. Loads of laughter and splashing. It was an excellent way to cool off after a smoldering hot day.

To finalize our family time together we did something we always do. We watched a movie as a family. The movie of choice? Spirited Away. A favorite amongst us all. We love Studio Ghibli movies and enjoyed visiting Studio Ghibli when we travelled to Tokyo a few years back.

We also chose this film because it starts with a family on their way to their new home, yet adventure takes hold. It’s the perfect film to boost our spirits amongst the chaos of unpacking. I’m so happy to feel like a family once more. Stress is behind us.

Time to live our best lives.

Hello

Our first full day in the new house has begun. The foray of chaos yesterday ended, yet the unpacking will remain for days, nay– weeks on end.

It was a bittersweet move. Emotions ran high yesterday. Everyone was happy to experience our new home and we took our first family photo in the backyard. I even broke my dry spell of almost 300 days and sipped on sparkling wine and then had a beer poolside.

Before that- I started the evening off for everyone by taking the first jump into our pool. The weather was perfect and the water was fine.

Once everyone was gone, we enjoyed seeing a sunset for the first time in years from our backyard. As much as I loved the tress in our last place, I have really been enjoying the million dollar view we have now.

As we greet our new neighbors we are also looking for some names for our home. The last place we titled, “Castle Havelka”. Our Internet still says Castle, but I’m thinking since we moved up we should call it “Kingdom Havelka”.

Let me know in the comments some suggestions for a new name should be. For now, it’s time to tackle more boxes.

2

Woo-hoo!

With about 48 hours remaining until we are in our new home, I am hitting on the number 2 in my countdown.

In elementary school our classrooms were separated into Divisions. When I was in Grade 7- there were two classes. I was in Division 2. Our teacher had a sign that read “Second to none.” It was one of the things that always made me feel good about myself. That phrase of not being second best, but exuding confidence when you need it. Mr. Fallman was one of my favorite teachers ever.

As I have mentioned before, sometimes at work we use odd phrases. When counting out loud and giving directions over the radio, we are required to say it twice in order to confirm the instructions. I have a tendency to sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger when it come to the number two. Coupla. Tumor.

These past few days of last minute packing have been a Blur.

Woo-hoo!

“Song 2” by Blur was part of my soundtrack to the summer of 1997. Add in “Wannabe” by Spice Girls and “Mo’ money mo’ problems” by B.I.G. & Puff Daddy and you have the eclectic understanding of the start of my 20’s. A throwback to the loud music coming out of a couple of subwoofers in the back of my car. Loud music as I drove to and from my home. It’s something I still do to this day when driving alone.

All of the time, but I’m never sure why I need you.

With only two days to go, I’m working on the soundtrack to say goodbye to our home and hello to our next place. My playlist is growing with a hope to bring forth memories and energize our lives a bit more.

3

Triple trouble- time to talk about number 3.

Rule of thirds. When I’m feeling especially artsy, I’ll take photos and do my best to follow the rule of thirds. If I’m being sassy or humorous- I also follow the comedic troupe of doing a joke three times. Surprisingly, it works well.

As you may be aware, we have 3 kids. They are teenagers now- almost into adulthood. Each has grown into their individual personalities. My wife and I love them to pieces and have become so proud of them. If you have been following my blog, you will notice that I tout their accomplishments on a regular basis.

Finally, this move will be the third house my wife and I will be purchasing together. Eighteen years ago we bought our first place for $210,000. That was one of the most difficult expenses we ever faced. I worked three jobs at almost 80 hours per week to make ends meet. Within two weeks of buying that house we found out we were expecting our second child.

We sold that home in just under four years of owning it at $410,000. Our mortgage that remained was $167,000. That was when we bought the house we are in now for $570,000 in the year 2007. After fourteen years, we were able to get $1,900,000 for the home. Earning us $95k a year.

We are now moving into another beautiful house that meets our changing needs. As excited as I am about the change, it is difficult to fathom that we have come this far in under two decades. Even though this is the third house for us to buy, it kind of feels like this is our first house. It was the one that we absolutely fell in love with and it won’t need any upgrades for a long time.

5

FIVE… 5 days to go people! Here comes number five for my numerical blog posts as you countdown with me to our new home. Let’s go retro fun to start on today’s blog.

When I first moved to British Columbia, my mother bought me some books. Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series was some of my favorite childhood novels. I spent hours in my room reading about the adventures of these kids. Especially as a child who had no friends moving province to province. This was my version of the Harry Potter series, only without magic. I never did pass these novels onto my kids, but they did read a lot of their own books growing up.

Number 5 is alive! Short Circuit was a fun movie from the 80’s. Not a great plot, more relying on slapstick and humor to get the film through. Yet, anyone around my age can quote this film in some way. “No disassemble!” In fact, I’m hoping that one day I can a Johnny 5 with my 3D printer.

I can’t talk about the number 5 without mentioning I have a family of five. We have all been working so hard to get ready for this move. It is an emotional time for all five of us. Leaving one home to get into another. This countdown is getting us closer to that day. A chance to create a new home.

To quote Johnny 5- “Home… Number 5, home.”

6

Six days to go. This countdown thing is getting tough. Not just because I’m tying to think of topics related to the number of the day, but also because there is an end date approaching. With the end drawing nearer, let’s dive into 6.

Six Feet Under. A tv series from a few years back that followed the stories of a family working at a funeral parlor. It is probably one of my favorite dramas of all time. However, I only watched the series through once. Some shows are so good they don’t need a second viewing.

I’m mentioning this show for two reasons. One- I have always wanted to own a Hearse. That would be a fun car to drive. And two, this house we are moving into will be the last house that I think we will ever buy. Maybe one day we will buy a condo or townhouse; but I’d be okay with the idea that I die in this house.

Let’s go a bit more joyous to end today’s blog. The number 6 is in the address of our Future Home twice on the house and once on the street we are moving to. 666 The sign of the beast! Or whatever.

Our future house is a beast in size compared to what we have lived in so far. I’m looking forward to taming it and calming into my zen.

7

Seven days to go. That’s a whole week! As I continue with my countdown, we are at lucky number 7. A lot of folks find it to be a lucky number. I don’t gamble, so slot machines and casinos don’t matter much to me.

However, when the Internet first began, I did use 777 at the end of my first ever email address. I thought I was super clever being an atheist and all. My email address was god iv followed by 777. The joke being, “What’s god for?” I have since abandoned that email and tend to use something more professional these days.

Of course I’m going to talk about movies that involve the number 7. Specifically the movie SEVEN. Ever since seeing the film, my family always says, “What’s in the box?” And I’m pretty sure that during the unpacking of our home- this phrase will get beaten to death. But quotes like that are great.

I love romantic fantasy film. One of my favorite movies is Stardust. There is a character named Septimus, who is one of the lead villains of the film. His jacket, in fact most of his wardrobe, involves the number seven somewhere. This is one of those cosplay characters that I would love to do one day. But the vest and jacket with custom buttons is fantastic.

As we near the end of our packing for the move, I am getting excited about the new house. I cannot say at this time that I love this new house. To quote Stardust: “The little I know about love is that it’s unconditional. It’s not something you can buy.” But my feelings for our future home are definitely strong.

9

This countdown is harder than I thought it would be. Besides having a final goal, trying to figure out what to write for each number is also a challenge. I am enjoying the distraction of doing this since this move is stressful at the best of times. Today’s “9” topic is movie based because I love movies.

Plan 9 From Outer Space” from 1957 is THE B MOVIE to watch if you love that genre. It is a difficult film to describe (and watch) as it is bad. So bad in fact that it circles back around to being good. Tim Burton did a sort of documentary on that original film maker back in 1994 titled “Ed Wood”. Which is probably a bit easier to watch especially if you enjoy Johnny Depp.

Of course this leads me into more Tim Burton-esque films. “9” was created by Tim Burton’s production company and was originally going to be a stop motion film- very similar to “Nightmare Before Christmas” but ended up being CGI. It’s a good movie, but does lack a bit of heart because of the choice to change film styles. I love Stop Motion movies because of the hours, days, weeks, and months of dedication to create simple movements that come to life. If people are willing to put that kind of effort into a film on a daily basis, I must watch it.

Which brings me to my final film. “9 To 5” from 1980.

Working 9 to 5 has never been my lifestyle of choice. Ever since I was young I have had an unusual work life of shift work. I do not live by a Circadian rhythm. Never have. Hitting my mid forties, this is natural for me now. As for the movie, it is highly enjoyable as it is far catches and silly. Seeing Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda remain friends for decades is great to see. The show “Grace and Frankie” is this generations “Golden Girls”. Dolly Parton’s theme song from the film is one of my favorite Country Songs. That song list is so short that I don’t even think I have a top 5. (Not a country music fan, sorry).

I have missed our media room over the past three months as we pack up for this move. With 9 days remaining until we move, I can’t wait to set up our home theater system and start to watch movies once more.

10

As my daily countdown continues, today is 10 days remaining until we move. Here’s what the number ten means to me.

I enjoy top ten lists. I probably began enjoying Top Ten Lists from my late night tv viewings. David Letterman was always clever with his humorous take on these lists. SNL had a few good skits from Wayne’s World as well. I continue to be sucked in to Click Bait top ten lists.

Doctor Who was a family favorite show a few years back. Each of us enjoy our Doctors, but my favorite is the Tenth Doctor. His personality is fun and smart. His heart (or is it hearts?) was always big and generous. David Tennant is a fantastic actor and made the show great to watch. Cheesy sci-fi at its finest.

Of course you can’t count down until you learn to count up. Everyone I know has learnt how to count to ten. Meeting a child and sharing in their joy as they excitedly count that high is a wonderful feeling. We all use ten as the base for counting- it just makes sense. Our world is at our fingertips and we use those fingers to count at such a young age. Many of us still use our fingers as a visual tool to count.

I’m giving our new home a 10/10 for how amazing it will be once we are settled in.

11

Continuing with my daily countdown, I am at the number 11.

As I have mentioned numerous times in the past, I enjoy listening to music. I often “turn it up to 11” to quote Spinal Tap. Which is a great mockumentory movie if you haven’t seen it. It’s also a fantastic quote when you are talking about going above and beyond with your skill sets.

Seeing a digital clock when it shows 11:11 is also a thing that I notice more often than any other time of day. I’m not sure why it feels magical, but it does. Maybe it’s the simple straight lines of the number one strung parallel to one another. I love numerical sequences like that as well.

Of course there is also my enjoyment of science fiction and nostalgia. Stranger Things series was the perfect combo of this and filled me with joy. This image brings me to my other favorite 11…

I also loved visiting 7-11 stores in Japan. That entire trip to Tokyo was by far my most memorable. Those convenience stores were the reliable and well stocked for all of our basic needs for the day. It was great.

11 days remaining until we are in our new house. With that move we are definitely Turning it up to 11!

12

Twelve. One dozen.

The amount of days remaining until we move. So I decided that for the final countdown (BA DA BOO-BOO…BA DA BOO-BOO-BOO) I would share something about each number for the days remaining that makes me happy.

With twelve being such a great number- My daughter suggested talking about the movie “12 Monkeys” since I enjoyed it so much. And it’s eerily poignant with today’s world. But I thought why not talk about how Sesame Street made me love pinball? That’s a bit more fun.

It’s all because of “One two three four five… six seven eight nine ten… eleven twel-el-el-el-el-elve.“ Such a ridiculous cartoon teaching kids to count. But it worked. And the song is forever ingrained inside the brains of any child of the 80’s.

I have a love of pinball because of this. It is my go-to gaming in arcades. I have always wanted a pinball machine. Perhaps one day I will get one. I have also bought pinball video games because I enjoy those as well.

Alien Crush was on the Turbografx16 and I won a contest playing it. Kirby’s Pinball Land on Gameboy filled hours of boredom (my daughter has since destroyed my high scores on that one). As well, I would spend hours upon hours of playing 3D Pinball Space Cadet on Windows (pre-Internet days). But my wife treated me to something truly amazing.

Star Wars VR Pinball on the Oculus. Not only do you play pinball, but you also get to set up a really cool Star Wars Den. The pinball game has a variety of views making it truly immersive. I’ve only played a couple of times, but I am looking forward to playing some more in the near future.

My love of pinball coincides with the number twelve. And with 12 days to go, I look forward to relaxing with some vr pinball in our new place.

1001 Days Straight

WordPress recently congratulated me on 1001 days straight of blog posts. That’s a lot of stories about me and my life experiences. However, I’ve actually written more than that. 1001 days puts me only to the end of August 2018.

I’ve written in this blog every day since January 27,2016. That’s 1950 days. I hit a few technical issues in the years of blogging which explains why it didn’t count every single day posted. Computers, am I right? Wait, I use my iPhone 98% of the time to write.

I have enjoyed journaling here in hopes that my experiences are uplifting and relatable to those who do read my blog. I enjoy writing about parenting, traveling, music, movies, memories, growing old, and kindness. Sometimes I stray from that and share a bittersweet or sad story. But it’s generally about me and my thoughts for the day.

As always, thank you to my devoted followers for reading my tales. They may never become a bestseller novel, but the stories are mine to share.

Towel Day 2021

Remember your towel today! It’s International Towel Day. Here’s a brief description:

A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

That time I met Howie Mandel

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of my favorite science fiction series ever. We named our first born daughter Random because of it. I have even dressed as Arthur Dent at conventions in the past.

I will be bringing my towel with me all day. Just like I do Every Towel Day. It’s a sign of being a nerd. A true nerd.