Don’t Worry – Be Happy

Back in 1988, I got a tape cassette for the “Cocktail” movie soundtrack. I had never seen the film- I was only thirteen at the time (I still haven’t seen it). Going to movies at that age were generally comedic or of a family style. But this film had a soundtrack that perfectly summed up that year.

I listened to it on my ghetto blaster over and over. A favorite song being, “Don’t Worry- Be Happy“. I played this soundtrack so much that a couple of years later- when my parents bought their first CD player- I was given the soundtrack again on CD.

To this day, I still like this soundtrack and that particular song. The advice is prevalent even more so in this day and age. So get out there and live life. The best way to do this-

Don’t Worry – Be Happy

Darwin. April 15th, 2019

Another trip around the sun has completed for our daughter Darwin. She turned 15 today. As much as I still want her to remain our little girl, I also know that she will be growing into an adult over the next few years.

Looking back at some of my previous blogs this year, I’ve noticed that we have shared some fantastic memories together.

In October, we were out hunting for a Halloween Costume.

We enjoyed last summer’s Bike ride around Barnston Island.

I’ve also noticed that she loves to have fun just like I do. Take last month’s Extreme Blanket Fort or our attempt at an Escape Room.

Watching her navigate her way into adulthood is interesting to say the least. She has goals and aspirations for her career and is constantly getting straight “A”s in order to accomplish this. She’s also inspired by my wife’s former fashion and has taken a liking to her old clothes. My wife is happy to see these clothes get a new lease on life.

Socially, our daughter has a ton of friends. She is kind to everyone she meets and is always ready to give the benefit of the doubt when it comes to awkward interactions. Which is a positive notion but realistically speaking will likely change as she grows. I just don’t want her kindheartedness to diminish.

I hope Darwin continues to enjoy life with a positive helping attitude and a warm hug when needed.

Happy Birthday Darwin!

You’re pretty amazing!

Don Quixote

You think you can hide from me? We shall have such great adventures together.

On Wednesday April 10th, there was a limited screening of “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” by Terry Gilliam. I have been waiting years for this film. About a month ago, I found out this screening was happening- As I mentioned in My blog last month, I love Monty Python and Terry Gilliam. So I found someone else who equally appreciates these things and I bought two tickets to a film.

As I watched this film in an uncrowded cinema, I realized that his movies speak to a select audience. These aren’t Marvel or Star Wars. But it’s not exactly artsy either. It’s like having a dream come to life and everyone around is sharing it with you.

For my friend and I, this film did not disappoint. Terry Gilliam successfully shared a marvelous adventure through the art of celluloid. If you watch previous films of Mr. Gilliam, you can stitch together sensations from each of his pieces. As if this film is the culmination or even the pinnacle of his film making career.

Time Bandits

Brazil

The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen

The Fisher King

12 Monkeys

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

The Brothers Grimm

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus

All of these play a part in the cinematic experience that created Don Quixote. From dream sequences to the angle of the artistic shots. From humor to homelessness and helplessness. The way insanity spreads and takes over but somehow makes everything better.

So there you have it. No spoilers. No criticisms. Perhaps one day I shall read the book. A peasant like you cannot read. I will sound the words and you can look at the pictures.

To tell you that I enjoyed the film would be meaningless.

But I enjoyed the film.

Lost

Recently we have been enjoying the tv series “Lost” on Amazon Prime. The first time I saw the series was on Netflix a few years back. Now I can’t stop watching it.

We are about halfway through the show again. Only this time, our kids are watching with us. And they have so many questions.

So should I spoil the show for them and offer answers when they ask? That wouldn’t be very nice. In fact a few times the show has caught me second guessing what I thought I knew about it. There are so many twists and turns that I forgot about some of the aspects.

In the end, the show is re-watchable for exactly that. I know what is coming up. But I don’t remember the details. I still get a moment of surprise when something happens.

It’s like watching the show all over again for the first time. Only this time I know how it will end. I just don’t remember how we get there.

Hi Knoll Hike

It was a beautiful day on Saturday. My wife and I decided to take the kids for a leisurely walk. So we went to one of the parks in Langley.

Hi-Knoll is an easy hike that I would recommend. We went through a field and over a small bridge that crossed a stream. We ended up walking along the far edge of the park before cutting back into the wooded area. There were a few other people meandering along the pathways. We each nodded or said a “Hello” out of respect- the way many people do when out on nature walks.

It was a peaceful walk that ended up being extremely pleasant. Our kids enjoyed the mild hike as well. We talked about me growing up near the area and the adventures I once had with former friends. It was all so surreal as my mind picked out snippets of a life that once was.

I’m looking forward to future walks with my family. Perhaps there will be more stories to share. Only time will tell.

Do you know of any other good parks to check out? Where do you go to clear your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

Good Kind of Sore

I woke up this morning with aches and pains. My arm muscles feel tight from hours of axe throwing and archery yesterday afternoon. My lower back is throbbing from bending over to rip out weeds and building our target. My legs have periodic cramps from the excessive walking I’ve put them through suddenly.

All of it feels good. I feel alive and ready to do some more. The sun is shining and the heat is rising. Later this afternoon I am planning on going for a hike with the family and take full advantage of the Spring Weather. I’m going to work through the aches and get my body back to where it should be.

It’s amazing how when I was a child none of these pains existed. I’d ride my bike, climb trees, walk to the store, or swim in our pool. As a teen the pains still didn’t happen. There was lots of walking, hiking, biking and running to be done.

Even a few years ago I used to walk constantly. Many of my jobs/ careers have had me on my feet and walking around. Including when I first started at the railroad. But over the past few years I’ve gotten lazy-ish. More office work and sitting at a desk now. And probably will be for another fifteen years or so. I best do something to keep me active.

When the weather is good, I enjoy being outside. I love walking when I have a destination in mind. Especially when on vacationing to places like Disneyland. We walk constantly. Same with last year in Tokyo. My body and mind cleared up during these trips.

During my days off, I need to be less sedentary and push myself. Get over the aches and pains and let my body remember how to be active. Like a photograph reminding me of my youth- my muscles will remember how to be used.

Birthday Weekend Flashbacks

Usually for my birthday I just celebrate on the day of my birthday. But since I went out to Throw Axes on Friday, my kids wanted to spend time with me on Saturday. So I did- it was fun and also bizarro with lots of familiarity surrounding it.

First thing in the morning- I shared a box of specialty KitKats that I had saved from last year’s trip to Tokyo. Keeping it hidden from the family for almost a year was challenging. I also ate the special March birthstone one I kept. Needless to say- these were just as unique as any other KitKats we sampled in Tokyo. The Butter flavor was amazing!

Later, we went out for Poké Bowls at a place in Langley called Dal’s Poké. This is probably one of the freshest meals I have ever eaten in a restaurant! If you’ve never tried a Poké Bowl, do it. It’s sort of like deconstructed sushi. Lunch inspired us to go pick up some Asian foods at the H Mart Korean grocery store.

Immediately after lunch we wandered a bit around Downtown Langley. As we hit some thrift shops, it was suggested that when we go to H Mart that we stop at an old video store called Willow Video. Walking into that place was like walking into the past. The store hasn’t changed in almost 30 years. I swear that the used games in the cabinets were the same ones that were there when I was a kid. Used Sega Master Systems, old Game Boys, and assorted Games with price tags from thirty years ago. The place still offers Video rentals and sales. Not to mention that the store was busy as well! Good for them.

After our shopping at the Korean store, and the kick in the nostalgia memory banks of Willow Video, we went to see if an old Billiard hall was open. Three weeks ago I had mentioned wanting to play Billiards again. But since so many of the places from my youth were gone, I could only find one of them- The Ballroom.

Walking upstairs into the hall hit me again in the memory banks of years gone by. Much like Willow Video- this place had also remained unchanged. It had been almost twenty years since I had been there and it looked like I could have been there just yesterday. The hall of a dozen or so tables was empty except for the cashier.

With an uncanny familiarity, I took the family to a corner table that I remember always favoring. My wife and I taught the basics of pool to the kids. They started to pick it up and enjoyed themselves. After an hour or so, we decided it was time to go. By this time a few more people entered the hall. A couple on a date and two older gentlemen with their personal cues.

March 16th, 2019 was like traveling back in time. Starting with some chocolates and ending at a pool hall that my wife and I last went to when dating twenty years ago. It was a great way to celebrate my birthday weekend with my family.

From Monty to Movies

Monty Python is legendary. I have always found their humor to be some of the best in the world. In fact, my kids have also grown to love them. Netflix adding their show and films has made it easy to share once more.

But beyond Monty Python, the actors have done a great deal of other shows and films. One of my favorite films has to be “Brazil” by Terry Gilliam. I saw it when I was younger and fell in love with the crazy dystopian style. I began to digest his other crazy films such as The Fisher King12 MonkeysFear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Gilliam has a way about him that just speaks to me.

I have been waiting for Gilliam’s version of Don Quixote to come out. It has taken 19 years and lots of mishaps for it to finally get a chance to hit the big screen. And even then, there is a one day only screening of it this year in April. So I bought tickets. I suspect only die hard fans of his work will be there. Most likely a dozen other people in a 300 seat auditorium…

But I will be biased and tell you that I am going to love the film whether it is good or not.

International Women’s Day 2019

In case you were unaware- today is International Women’s Day. I am going to do a quick rundown of the women in my life that have impacted me the most.

First off is my mother. I don’t generally write about her in my blogs. That’s mostly out of respect for her privacy. She generally doesn’t want her personal life exposed into the WWW. But the few things I will say about her is this: She did her best to raise me. Starting right from my childbirth- I was a baby that cried nonstop. Turned out I needed a lung operation by age 2. (Maybe one day I’ll write about that). My mother was there through all of it. Throughout her life she worked hard in the nursing field and was always the caregiver and caretaker of our family. She put up with a lot from my sister and I as we grew up. But my mother also did her best to protect us from my father and his verbal abuses. She took the brunt of it. Kudos to you mom for remaining so strong all these years.

Next is my wife. Yes, I speak of her with fondness many times, so I will keep it short today. She is my equal, my partner, and my best friend. I sincerely have no idea where I’d be in my life if it wasn’t for her. She has been an absolute goddess throughout my life aver the past two decades. I love her with every part of my being and will always make sure she is cared for and looked after.

My wife brought into this world two more great women. Our daughters are intelligent, strong, and creative women. They lead with a sense of purpose in life oftentimes bringing forth admiration from their peers. Having these two females in my life shows me a world that I never would have experienced otherwise. The two of them hold a special heartstring inside of me and I love them deeply.

Then there is my sister. Through our ups and downs as adults, she is still there when I need to talk to her. We were great friends growing up. I learned a lot about playing with dolls and dress up which helped when having girls of my own and my various cosplay. My sister has become a wonderful mother of two as well and is as strong a female as I can imagine. Having been through so much on her own.

Besides my family, there are a few celebrities that I have always admired. Elvira (aka Cassandra Peterson) is one of the funniest and sexiest women I have ever seen. I was lucky enough to meet her a few years back and I was star struck to say the least. The other is Felicia Day– who is intelligent and charismatic. She was one of the kindest people I have ever met. She also inspired my daughters to enjoy gaming in a way that I never could.

There are plenty of amazing women out there. My list is but a short one of a handful of women who have made my life a better place.

Who do you find that makes International Women’s Day important for you? How do you show your appreciation? Or how have you been shown appreciation? Let me know in the comments.

Music Of The Night

Every so often I throw on one of the soundtracks to a musical that we own. I have always loved show tunes and movies that incorporate music to tell a story. My first memory of enjoying a musical was “Annie” back in 1982. I recall sitting in the back of the station wagon facing the window humming one of the tunes.

The first stage performance I saw was “The Phantom of the Opera” at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. Sometime around 1989. It was grand. I saw it again a couple years later. It was still just as good. In between I saw performances of “Cats” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”. I was on an Andrew Lloyd Webber kick.

My other favorite was “Les Miserables”. This one was darker and not as magical. But the story moved me as a teenager. Years later, I would go to see a live performance again. This time, when my wife was pregnant with our first child. I took her on a date to see this show, again performing at the QE, it was our one and only fancy date that we have been on.

Our kids grew up enjoying Disney movies. Many of which have great musical numbers. One our trips to Disneyland, we almost always went to see “Aladdin” performed live. In October we saw “Frozen”. Our kids love these shows.

I’d like to take them to a show sometime soon that is more Broadway than Disney. I know that they would appreciate it. Especially since our kids attend the Fine Arts School and have an immense appreciation of music and acting and the work that goes into it all. As well as the fact that they know many of the songs already after hearing the soundtracks played.

Just like the main title song suggests from that one musical, “GO GO GO JOSEPH!”