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.

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.

Success In Music

I have always been a huge supporter of the arts. My personal favorites are visual arts, performing arts and music. Over the years I have watched and supported numerous friends as they venture forth exploring their talents.

Years ago, I supported a few friends from high school on their endeavors into music. Garage bands were popular and the talent was endless. Many a nightclub and studio jam session was had. I was a roadie to many bands.

A couple of my friends are still actively making music. They performed together under numerous names. Seal Bomber, Porn on Beta, Identity Crisis, and now as Nakatomi Freefall. Even as they encroach on their late 40’s- I’m glad they are still being creative.

The biggest success was a fellow named Dallas Smith. He turned towards country music and has garnered a larger following than he had when he and friends were in the band Default. I do recall enjoying their performances at the local nightclubs and was happy to hear that they got signed.

As I speak about former friends and pop culture success, it is exciting for me to have my children now support their friends as high school draws to an end.

Most recently a success story is Brooklyn Wood. She is one of my daughter’s closest friends. A recent article talks about Brooklyn: 2021 Music. This Saturday her piece will be performed at the Vancouver Playhouse. Brooklyn is extremely devoted to violin and practices religiously. Her talents aren’t just natural, but awe inspiring when you see her play. As a fan of classical and composition styles, I’m excited to watch this young lady as her career will take off.

I will always support the arts. Talent and hard work can pay off for those who seek success. Get out there and make good art! I’ll be cheering you on!

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.

Billionaire Space Race

It may seem odd that space travel is finally reaching a level beyond scientific research. It’s beginning to blur the line between science fiction and reality these days. And the billionaires on earth are racing to get there.

Over the past few days, billionaires are exiting the earth’s atmosphere and spending time in space. Granted it’s not a lot of time in orbit, but they are reaching far beyond my limitations at this moment. And I’m excited for them.

They are paving the way for all of us to enjoy a potential freedom in future travel. I’m hoping within the next two decades that it becomes affordable for some of us- I’d excitedly jump on board.

Maybe you don’t feel the same way I do. But hear me out. It all has to start with someone investing money and resources into paving the way. Even if they make the money from the rest of us- I hope to create my own memories and enjoy the trip.

Think about where we are now and what we have that is all commonplace. Flying, Cars, televisions, computers, smartphones- the first ones went to the wealthy and eventually made their way to the general public.

One day- space travel will be within everyone’s grasp. “Straight to the moon Alice!” won’t be a phrase from 1955’s humor on domestic violence anymore. But rather something you can say to a loved one- and actually being going to the moon.

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!

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!

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.

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.”

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.

8

Eight days remaining. My countdown is now at my favorite single digit number. Let me tell you why.

My sister. She was born on the luckiest day ever. August 8th, 1980. 8/8/80. When she turned 8 it was in 1988. Growing up, we were pretty good friends. Playing silly games as youngsters to partying as teenagers. She was always know as “Joe’s Sister” which she hated. One year she made a t-shirt for me that said “Nikki’s Brother” and I wore that shirt all the time.

The Magic 8 Ball. This thing is fantastic. Back in my teenage years I enjoyed Billiards on a regular basis. I got obsessed with everything 8-Ball. My Magic 8 Ball was used all the time for decision making. This was extremely useful since teenagers are pretty useless when it came to deciding what to do when bored.

Finally, the number 8 reminds me of the lemniscate- otherwise known as the Infinity Symbol ♾. The idea that there time, life, ideas, power, numbers, or anything imaginable really could go on forever astounds me. Philosophically- infinity is just a thought. But it is real in so many ways.

Now with 8 days remaining, we have infinite dreams and hopes for our new home.

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.