VR Sharing

Sunday Morning, our son decided that he was going to enjoy some VR gaming. For whatever reason, he also decided that he needed to cast it to our television.

It was odd that he did this, since no one else was around at the time. I walked downstairs and he was just talking away to thin air. When I asked who he was talking to, he said “the people in the game.” It turns out that when casting, he decided to turn the volume off because there was a bit of a lag/ delay and it was throwing him off.

I also asked why he was casting, and he said “So that we could watch him play.” I don’t think he realizes that we don’t all enjoy watching him play video games. especially on a Sunday morning when most of us wish to sleep in or have a quiet start to the day. At least he kept the sound muted, so I was entertained by his wild movements as he played a game called Gorilla Tag.

If we were taking turns playing a game, cool let’s cast. But he had already taken over the living room space, I guess he hoped we would enjoy watching his game that makes no sense? Wanna play tag? Go outside with friends and play tag. Why are you doing it in VR???

Monster Express

After my daughter and I had an Early Morning at the Pumpkin Patch, we rushed home for a costume change. Our next adventure was about to happen. A ride aboard the Monster Express put on by the Fraser Valley Heritage Rail.

My wife and I first noticed the trolley heading off in the distance behind our home at the end of summer. We also wandered down to a corn stand and the trolley came right passed it. So we took an interest in seeing this thing in person. A Halloween theme seemed like a fun activity to go on with our two youngest teenagers.

We made the most of the one hour trip. My 17 year old daughter and I dressed up as characters from the anime Soul Eater. Most of the attendees were small children and their parents. We were by far the oldest group there. But we weren’t about to let that spoil our fun!

The museum and trolley are run by volunteers. Many of them retired bus drivers and railroaders. For this adventure, they dressed in costumes and had a great time wandering the car and dancing at the stations. By the end of the ride, they were trying to recruit me to join. Perhaps one day since it is so close to our new home.

In the spring, my wife would like to check out the rest of the museum and take a ride on the trolley when it’s not festively decorated. This is definitely one of those moments where it brings all ages together for a fun and silly outing. Thank you to the volunteers who were having a blast for the guests!

Early Morning At The Pumpkin Patch

This morning my daughter and I headed out early to visit Eagle Acres dairy farm and pumpkin patch. We were invited for an event put on by Thrive Mortgage, similar to the Little Touches they did for us a few months ago.

We had a great time petting and feeding the farm animals to start. We wandered around as my daughter made a few videos for herself. We also took a bunch of pictures for fun.

Before we left, my daughter and I went on a hay ride on the back of a trailer pulled by a large tractor. They took us out to the pumpkin patch where we chose a couple pumpkins to take home.

I’d never been to a pumpkin patch before. I enjoyed having a chance to pick out my own pumpkin from a field. I can’t wait to carve them up for Halloween.

I enjoyed the early morning with my daughter. She chose to dress like Coraline which was perfect for the rainy weather. A raincoat and boots to tromp through the fields. Dressing up is always fun.

Covered

Today was the final opportunity for us to see the blue of our pool. The final objective we needed to deal with in our backyard to prepare for the winter, was to throw a cover on the pool. All of our furniture is stored away, and the other day we Wrapped The Palm Trees for winter.

It was a sad moment having to say goodbye to the pool for the season. But we haven’t gone swimming in it for about a month now. What’s great about the cover is that it attaches right to the concrete all around. There are sunken pegs that come up and hold the straps in place keeping the cover taught.

Each spring will be filled with a glorious moment as we view the pool once more. The joy will extend through the summer. For now, we will protect the pool from the winter elements with the cover. Until next spring…

Shatner In Space

Today was another one of those incredible days for humanity. The second customer based space flight took place on Blue Origin. This time the oldest person to travel to space was on board. William Shatner aged 90 was Jeff Bezos’ guest. Which is fitting considering that Star Trek paved the way over 55 years ago. In 1970’s NASA named their space shuttle “Enterprise” as a nod to the 60’s sci-fi as well.

This morning I took thirty minutes out of my day to watch the launch and re-entry into Texas. The take off and landing is always the most exciting parts to witness. As technology has progressed over the years, I am in awe of the accuracy in which these feats are achieved.

I’ve always been fascinated by space travel. I know that I am unable to ever accomplish that goal at this time. Even if money was no object and I forked out that money to get on an Amazon rocket- the tallest a person can be is 6’4”. I’m about four inches too tall. Darn you genetics!!! But hey, if a 90 year old can go to space and safely return home- I’ve got 45 years to figure out how to get there myself.

For now, I live vicariously through the events that NASA and these Private Companies showcase. It’s a brief entertainment value that allows for the imagination to run wild. Congratulations to William Shatner for being the first living Star Trek star to make it into space. As well as being the oldest person to do so as well. I can’t wait to hear his tale of travel once he gathers himself together after such an emotional journey.

This Isn’t Going To End Well

Today I was at home starting my vacation. This morning I was on a Zoom meeting while sitting on our front porch. As I was there, a lady with about four preschool aged children walked by. They noticed the banners I put out for Halloween. And one of the boys yelled up to me, “Is that Freddy VS Jason?” I was rather surprised that a kid under age five would know that.

Later on a couple of ladies walked by and stopped in front of our home. They were trying to figure out who the characters were from. Clearly our home is drawing attention.

Afterwards, I was in the garage making some Halloween decorations. A father and his young song passed by. They too saw the banners out front. I heard the father say to his son, “we will definitely come back to this house on Halloween.”

I’m sure that we will get more kids this year in this part of the neighborhood than they have in the past. Our last neighborhood we only gave out about a dozen treats. Three to each kid… It’ll be neat being in a suburb again, but it’s not going to end well. We better get a bunch of candy and be ready to hand it out.

Oktoberfest In Small Doses

When I was a kid, National Lampoon’s European Vacation came out on video. I found the film to be absolutely hilarious. It also made me put Germany and other parts of Europe on my bucket list of places to visit. Specifically during Oktoberfest. (Much like our visit to Tokyo during the Cherry Blossoms). Since I have a wife with German roots, this idea excites me more.

Experiencing the world and other cultures like that is high on my list of why life is awesome. So as my wife and I plan our next big trip (which is on pause because of Covid), she is wanting to introduce me to some things that I never tried. The other day was sauerkraut on a bratwurst. All I can say is that it was surprisingly delicious. I’m not a fan of anything pickled, but as an addition to the food, it worked perfectly.

Of course you can’t have Oktoberfest without beer. A couple of years back, my wife and I attended Oktoberfest in September at The Trading Post. This was during one of my “Sober Septembers” so I was the designated driver. I still had a great time watching people cheer and sing while they drank and ate.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying some OOMPA Music played through the Spotify account. There’s something about German Polka that is kind of fun. My family is not as keen as I am it seems. But that’s okay.

Do you enjoy Oktoberfest? Besides German beers of course!

Good Spooky Music

My daughter and I were having a conversation about what makes good spooky Halloween inspired music. I enjoy the spirit and ambiance that music like that can bring. Halloween Music definitely fills my next month’s playlists.

First you need a drum beat or a bass beat. However, it needs to resemble a heart beat and have a rhythmic timing. Music like this is also good for workouts.

Secondly, there needs to be a unique sound added. Such as the harpsichord or synthesizer. Once that instrument is involved, next is to add a trill or repetitive partial scale.

Lastly, you need one higher pitched sound to be made by a piano or piccolo periodically.

Put those three things together and you can get the perfect spooky soundtrack going. Everyone would get the feels that you are attempting to create.

I’m going back to listening to my Creepy Carnival playlist on Spotify and see what else makes a good spooky song.

Weather Report Is Close

I think that the weather reporting is getting better than it once was. Take my local report for example. Today calls for “Mostly Cloudy” but no rain; with images of sun peaking over the clouds to end the afternoon. Let’s ignore the next few days, because I swear it is subject to change.

As you can see, the weather app is pretty close. I’d say it’s not as cloudy as expected. So a vague report of clouds and sun is about as accurate as it will get.

Reporting the weather is still a guessing game it seems. Having a precise weather report is a thing for movies like Back to the Future 2. Maybe one day scientists will get it down to the second. But they cannot even get it right for two days from now. Predicting next week’s weather? Not even close.

But I’ll take a day of clouds with sunny breaks anytime.

21st Night of September

Today is one of my favorite days. It’s all because of the song “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire. This song is one of those songs that you just know. It is catchy and fun to sing. Do you remember?

It all started back in my days as a manager at Chuck E Cheese’s. The video screen would play Chuck E and his cohorts singing the song. All the while the animatronic Chuck E would sing alongside them. These videos were on loop for a month at a time playing again every few hours. The songs would get droned into your head and the staff would sing along unknowingly. Here’s a link to the C.E.C. Video: CEC September

The other reason I love this song is that my wife’s current coworkers love to “Rickroll” her with it. Every so often they will play the song for her. My wife lights up with joy when she hears it. (Hashtag sarcasm) For her, it is one of those ear worms that she cannot get rid of for ages.

Here is a link to the original video just in case you haven’t seen it before: September. Enjoy your 21st night of September! Ah ee ah!

Oldest, Best Friend

Yesterday afternoon my wife and I attended the wedding of my oldest best friend. I have known him since kindergarten- which is four decades now. My wife has known him half as long, which is still a very long time these days. He is like a brother to me in many aspects.

Sharing in his special day made me feel, well, special. It was a tiny venue of around forty people. It was also quick and to the point. The ceremony happened shortly after 1pm and the reception was immediately after. Everything was completed by 5pm and people began to head home.

I’m genuinely happy for my friend. It seems as though he has finally found the love he was searching for. His new wife also seems to have found in my friend a love that she was yearning for as well. Together they are one of the most perfect couples I have ever seen.

I wish them many more years of happiness and love.

Congratulations William and Vanessa! With love always, Josef.

Foggy Feels

As autumn slowly approaches, the weather starts to turn. The sun disappears for longer. Rain falls more frequently. And the fog rolls in.

Looking out the back window, we get to enjoy being above the fog. Early mornings brings in a breathtaking view. The sun attempts to bring color to the sky as a gentle mist hovers low. Morning fog reminds me that fall is just around the corner.

Soon it will be Halloween. People will have fog machines going in an attempt to recreate a spooky sensation. When I was younger, these machines were mainly used in nightclubs and amusement parks. Now they are readily available and people love them.

Maybe one day I will own one. But it’s not on my agenda at this time. Even though they are inexpensive, I prefer the natural beauty of early morning fog.

Are you excited for autumn? How do you feel about foggy mornings? Are they spooky and pretty?

Let me know in the comments.

Noticing Coincidences

Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a version of the Matrix. I’ve been experiencing moments in life that share coincides in unusual ways. Or I should say, I’m noticing the coincidences more.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about Tim Burton’s Batman movies; today a rail car rolled into our yard with a Penguin graffiti mural. I love rail art and enjoy the pictures that are A little different.

The other week when I got my new iPhone, I changed my background to a Matrix theme. A few days later a new trailer for the fourth Matrix film dropped. There hadn’t been any media surrounding the movie, so my brain was a step ahead.

I’ve also been hearing the term “Making It Up As I Go” a lot lately from song lyrics to tv shows. I know I’m not the first to use the phrase, but it has been the title of my Blog for years now. It’s like when you hear or see your name in places you don’t expect it.

Do you ever notice coincidences and wonder, “Hmmm…”

Star Trek Day 2021

Today is Star Trek Day. Which means 55 years ago- the iconic space opera debuted on tv. That’s pretty amazing if you ask me.

I’ve watched all of the movies and majority of the shows. I’m still more of a Star Wars fan, but I do have a soft spot for Star Trek. At age 13, The Next Generation debuted and I fanboyed over it. I’m fact, my first nerd convention was a Star Trek Convention in Vancouver back in 1987. This was a whole new experience that I had no idea I was going to dive into later on in life.

I rejuvenated my love of Star Trek in 2012 when we attended our first big Comic-Con in Calgary. It was here that I saw the entire main cast of ST:TNG on stage sharing stories of yore. It brought me back to my teenage years and the nerdy boy who loved science fiction.

A few years later in Calgary I took the opportunity to meet Wil Wheaton and thanked him for being such a huge part of my youth. I’m sure he has heard that a million times before. On that date, I didn’t have any cosplay on, nor did I stand out much more than a tall adult. His response was a simple, “yeah, cool.” and brushed me off. Like they say- you should never meet your heroes.

But I still hold Start Trek in high esteem. It helped pave the way for science and technology advancements. I seriously feel as if we are halfway between science fiction and science fact when you look at the world around us. Plus Star Trek inspired numerous people to Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before. Pushing the limitations of man and human rights in this day and age.

On today of all days I say, “Live long and prosper.”

First Attempt At Foam Pumpkin Carving

I love to carve pumpkins for Halloween. I often spend hours searching for designs and creating my pumpkins. I have been doing it for years now. Check out the links below to view some:

Pumpkins 2020

Stranger Things

Pumpkins 2018

Pumpkins 2017

Pumpkins pre-2016

I recently carved my first craft foam pumpkin. I always wanted to do a more permanent pumpkin that I can display yearly. Since I can spend anywhere from 3 to 8 hours carving a live pumpkin, why not have it last longer than a single season?

My wife requested that I do not do a “Fan Art” pumpkin. She wanted me to try and do something more classic and still a bit detailed. So I chose to make an owl- my favorite one as well. The Burrowing Owl. Owls are Halloween, right?

I used a black and white image online as the basis for my owl. I’m about 85% satisfied with the results. I can see what I can do differently next time. But since I have not worked with this style of pumpkin before, I’d say not bad for a first attempt. Next will be to see how it looks with a small LED light inside.

Have you worked with foam pumpkins before? Or do you prefer the real thing? Let me know in the comments or feel free to share pictures of your detailed pumpkins. I love to see what others create.

New Movie Theater Experience

Last night, I went to the movies for the first time since the pandemic started. We have been to the drive-in, but that was a different experience since we socially distanced in our vehicles. Attending a movie in the theater was a the experience I had been missing.

What was really awesome was my son. Instead of just asking to be dropped off at the theater to watch a film with his friend, he invited me along. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Saying I Love You… he made me feel wonderful inside.

We watched Marvel’s Shang-Chi. The movie itself was a fantastic martial arts movie. Loads of action, humor and along with some fantasy elements. I would wholeheartedly recommend the film. Seeing it with my son and his buddy (avid Marvel fans) made for some great discussions afterwards.

Getting back to sitting in an auditorium was a great sensation. It was enjoyable to see a film on the big screen.

When To Decorate For Halloween?

It’s September now, and I know summer isn’t officially over until nightfall on September 21. The next day is the first day of Autumn. So my question is, when is it okay to decorate for Halloween?

I enjoy decorating for Autumn and Winter. I also love Halloween and Christmas. To me, each of them is a separate entity. So a few changes occur as we transition from one to the next. I’m pretty sure that next weekend I will be jumping the gun and start putting out our Fall decorations.

I’m not quite ready to tackle Halloween yet. I was at Home Depot the other day and saw these 12 foot skeletons that light up. Spending 400-500 dollars on one seems very extravagant. Even though these are cool and make for a wow factor in a home- whatever happened to some styrofoam tombstones and cobwebs?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween. I just prefer to make my own costumes and props. I have been known to put in a bit more effort some years. I especially love pumpkin carving. But I do feel that I should wait until October 1st before really hitting the haunted factor.

A few fake pumpkins, and some brown and red leaves will be the extent of my decorations for now. Perhaps I shall wait and see what our new neighborhood does for the season. Nah. I’ll still do what I want. Perhaps we will go big this year!

How’s It Going To End?

There are times that I get so focused on my goals that I don’t always see how it will end. From yard work to career goals- there is always a journey to be taken. Sometimes the journey feels like it just goes on forever.

I haven’t written the ending to my story yet. I’m still working on character development. Some follies and adventures are still to be had. One day I will stop writing my blog. That day will probably arrive suddenly and without warning. But I hope to grow from it.

Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Sometimes you see the conclusion in the sidelines- it’s not always directly in front of you.

Saying “I Love You” In Different Ways

Yesterday evening my 15 year old son sent me a text. It was the nicest and most surprising text I have had in quite some time. I was genuinely taken aback by the text.

My son and I talk a lot about Marvel and Star Wars. We try and watch the movies and shows together. It has turned into a great father/son bonding time. But to have him start by asking if I wanted to attend a movie with him and his friend was by far the most loving moment he has shared with me- without knowing it.

I am now seeing a movie on Friday night with a couple of teenage boys. They could’ve easily asked to be dropped off, but I’m glad he chose to ask me along. Things may change over the years, but this Friday I will feel like a superstar. And all it took was my son asking a simple question. My heart swelled up last night when I read the text.

I’m not crying. You’re crying.

Poolside Siesta

Today is the first time that I have decided to take an outside nap before working the night shift. So far this summer I’ve enjoyed my bed for a few hours prior to working. Today I already slept for around four hours, but woke up because I was hungry. Lunch was made and eaten on the deck. That was when I decided to relax.

Instead of crawling back into bed post snack, I chose to lounge in the hammock beside the pool. I put on my swim trunks and grabbed an oversized towel to use as a blanket. Chilling like this is a far better plan. That way I could enjoy the tranquility of our yard and be ready to wake up for a quick dip in the pool before work.

Our dog, Maki, has also decided that taking a nap outside with me by the pool was a good idea. Now we are off to slumber ville for a midday siesta. May you also be enjoying the end of summer. Remember to siesta at some point- you deserve a break as well.

2021 Camping Trip Canceled

Last Summer’s “Feet in the Lake” picture.

For the past five years we have made it to 20 Mile Bay to end our summer vacation. This year we did not. There were three main factors in why we didn’t go camping this summer.

First, Theory was supposed to attend a Long Track Speed Skating Camp in Fort St. John. However it got canceled at the last minute due to an issue with their ice. As disappointing as that was, it was kind of a blessing because of the difficulty my wife would’ve had driving there. Which brings me to the number two reason for not camping.

Too many forest fires. The campsite we attend has not been closed down, but many routes and other locations have been. Which means it would be busier than we normally like. There is also a full campfire ban in effect. Which makes camping feel different. The air is still very smokey in many parts of our province, having a compromised respiratory system makes for difficult breathing as it is.

Finally, the main reason we aren’t going camping is our new house. I had to change a week of vacation in order to move. We had talked about taking a shorter three day camping trip; but decided that our home is new and exciting to us that it was time better spent enjoying this newness. I still get to put my feet in the water, almost daily this summer. That’s been a lot of fun, so I really cannot complain. Like living in an Airbnb every day.

Perhaps next summer we can get out to camping once more. Or perhaps it is behind us now. Only time will tell.

Super Soft Stag

Last night I attended a stag party for a friend of mine named Jay. It was pretty tame but a whole lot of fun.

We started off at a place called The Barley Merchant. Here we were able to sample a variety of beers since there were fifty different ones on tap. Many from local breweries. We also had some appetizers and joked around quite a bit.

After a couple of hours tasting beers, we headed out for one of Jay’s favorite pastimes- karaoke. I will admit, this group of friends love singing and are quite talented. I enjoy cheering them on, since I don’t tend to get behind the microphone myself.

In a couple of weeks time Jay and Leona will be getting married. I’m really happy for them and look forward to seeing them tie the knot. They are a good match for each other.

Phone Upgrade Day

Every two to four years we upgrade our cellphones and plans. Today was that day. My wife and I and our two youngest kids each got our own iPhone 12.

My old phone taking a picture of it’s replacement.

We upgraded from the iPhone 8 so it’s kind of a big deal for us. Yes we are a family of iPhone users and have been since the iPhone 4. I like the simplicity and user friendliness of Apple products. The transfer of data is easy as well. Even with new features on the phone, I like that it has all my old apps laid out exactly where they were from my previous phone.

Of course we did our upgrade at Costco. Which was a fantastic deal. We got the phones for $0 down, free car chargers and ear buds for each of us. And $250 in Costco gift cards for each phone. Basically handing us $1000 which we promptly spent 3/4 of it.

Back to school sale and Costco is a great deal. Being at Costco for two hours to set up the phones is the only caveat. But new phone!

Clam Chowder In A Bread Bowl

My wife thinks that she must be missing Disneyland. Mostly the memories that the food brings back. She made churro cookies the other day- which are delicious! Last night for dinner we had clam chowder in bread bowls. Just like the ones we ate from Harbour Galley at New Orleans Square in Disneyland.

My wife has been playing with bread recipes for a few weeks now. These bread bowls were perfect. We have a “Proofing” option in our new oven, so the bread is rising nicely each and every time. The clam chowder was also made from scratch. My wife is superb when it comes to chowders and goulashes.

I just wonder what our next Disneyland themed treat will be. Perhaps beignets like the ones we at in Downtown Disneyland from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen. She could find us some smoked Turkey legs. Or maybe a Dole Whip or even a Margarita like we had at Rita’s Baja Blenders. Who knows what my wife’s tastes will bring for for the rest of us.

But my tastebuds have been pleasantly surprised thus far.

Churro Cookies

The one thing my wife has really wanted to experiment with since buying our new house is baking. We both bake somewhat frequently- usually around Christmas. But with a big kitchen island, my wife wanted to expand her baking skills into more gourmet style of cookies. I’m all for it! But that’s mostly because I don’t have a sweet tooth and will be able to resist eating too many.

Her first attempt at making rich tasting cookies was last night with Churro Cookies. Last summer, I made Disneyland Churros a couple of times. But those are traditional churros- getting deep fried. The cookies my wife made last night had the perfect taste and softness to them. I could have sworn they were actual churros.

She made a creamy churro icing to go on top and sprinkled that with sugar and cinnamon as well. We each had a cookie and really wanted a second one. I took a second churro cookie… I had to. A glass of milk was the perfect accompaniment for this late evening treat.

We are still learning the intricacies of our new kitchen and oven. But if the cookies come out as perfect as they did last night, I suspect we will definitely be baking more often!