Four Years Of Daily Musings

January 27th, 2016. I began the first of my daily blog posts with this: Come Here To See All My Mistakes. Sure, you’ve read about those, but you’ve also read about my successes. Not to mention family and friends. Sometimes travel or home popped up. Occasionally I wrote about work.

Generally I wrote whatever came to mind when I pulled out my iPhone to write my daily diary. I appreciate you all for coming along and reading these. I know you don’t always want to comment. Nor do you always remember to read them. And that’s totally okay with me.

I sill want to thank everyone for watching my blog grow and change each and every day for FOUR YEARS. Crazy to think that I have diligently written 1460 days in a row.

1461 if you count today.

The 2010’s

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~ Mark Twain

Here’s some highlights of my life, with photos from those crazy 2010’s. Lots of family, travel and experiences. Mind you, I’m only sharing all the greatest hits. We’ve had plenty of mundane days and a few bad ones along the way. But I’d much rather look back on our fun!

2019

Axe throwing, weekend away, Calgary, kayaks, Queen


2018

Tokyo, Tubing, a new driver, Disneyland Again!


2017

Road trips, camping, Becoming a Jedi


2016

Silicon Valley and our first taste of VR, Disneyland again for the 60th anniversary, 15 years of marriage, Career change, Rainbow hair


2015

Ningen Headwear studio, More Cosplay and hanging artwork from conventions, New roof, Our oldest entered high school, Driving in the desert


2014

Hawaii, Jem cosplay, Disneyland again


2013

Felicia Day Emerald City, Lex joining our family, Voodoo donuts


2012

Disneyland Halloween


2011

Center of the Universe with my son, Tenth anniversary


2010

Conductor on a Steam Train, Disneyland Halloween, an interest in Speedskating began.


I’m happy that I’ve had such wonderful experiences with my family. Seeing the kids grow up over the years is heartwarming. I hope you had a great run during the 2010’s. And here’s to the Roaring 20’s starting once more!

It’s Christmas Time

Last night our son wanted to help with dinner, so I had him make pretty much all of it. And it turned out delicious. We made schnitzel together. It was the first time he has helped to make it.

It’s the dinner I had every Christmas Eve growing up. I’m not sure why, but schnitzel at Christmas always tastes better than schnitzel any other time. Last night was even tastier because of it being made by our thirteen year old.

Carrying on traditions and engaging our children in them makes me happy. We have many other traditions that we keep up with. But this dinner is my favorite.

What do you have for dinner at Christmas? Have you shared with your children how to prepare and cook meals? Let me know in the comments.

And Merry Christmas to one and all!

Home From The Night Rat Race

  • The only place home exists is in your head.
  • I’m a zombie right now. Somehow I made it home. I’ve run that maze hundreds of times. I can practically do it in my sleep. Which I think is what I did this morning. I best go to sleep for reals just so I can do it all again when I wake up.
  • My Son is A Ghostbuster In The Making

    I finished making my Halloween costume last week: Building My 2019 Costume. I’m really happy with how that one turned out. I guess it inspired my son to do his own build (With my help). After numerous costume ideas thrown around, he decided he wanted to be a Ghostbuster. Retro at it’s finest. Time to get going on it!

    Of course we hit up Spirit Halloween to see what was out there. I love my son and I love Halloween… but forking over the kind of money this store is asking just for one night is kind of crazy. I did buy one piece to add to his costume. But the rest we decided to make together.

    The Wand

    This isn’t screen accurate at all. But it looks pretty awesome. It’s also the design my son wanted. A few years ago I had picked up two garden lights that had blue lightning effects. But because they used 8 “AA” batteries, I never used them in the yard. One of them I made into a “Steampunk Lightning Catcher that my daughter has used as part of her steampunk outfit for conventions. The other is now for my son to use as his Proton Pack Wand. I modified this one with a new rocker switch to turn it on, a metal grate and some “exposed” wires.

    Proton Pack

    The Proton Pack has been the most fun to assemble. Much like my Skesis head, I used pink foam insulation as the base. I cut the bottom of an ice cream tub for the “Cyclotron”. The top is from an old pressure washer handle and the rest is odds and ends from an old VCR and arcade parts I had laying around. A coat of black paint and some fairy lights hide most of the obviousness of what the items once were.

    Ghost Trap

    This is the piece we bought. As awesome as the Ghost Trap from Spirit Halloween is- I ended up using paints in order to weathering it. The result makes it seem more believable. So I used some techniques I’ve learned over the years. I think it looks good. But now I have to “age” the Proton Pack and the Wand in order to keep the aesthetics similar.

    All that remains is the flightsuit and adding straps to the Proton Pack so our son can walk around. Not too bad for using stuff we already owned that was just gathering dust. Plus I enjoyed working with my son to build his props. I hope to do more like this with him in the future.

    How are your costumes coming along? Do you love Halloween as much as I do?

    Let me know in the comments!

    Making of My 2019 Costume: A Skesis

    During my life I have always loved costumes, Halloween and cosplay. The biggest attraction for me is making the costumes myself. For about a decade we were attending a variety of Comic Cons where we were able to have fun and showcase some costumes. I have written about costuming a few times including a couple of weeks ago where I shared photos of previous outfits: Get Those Costumes Ready

    I also hinted at how I was going to push myself and this year’s outfit. Here is my work for this year. I spent about twenty hours building it. After this Halloween, I’ll probably use it as a prop for decorations in the future.

    I present to you, my Skesis build. MmmMMMmmm

    It started years ago when I wanted to build a Skesis outfit for Calgary Expo. The only downside was we didn’t have room in our vehicle to transport such a large piece from provincial to province. With five of us in the SUV and a metric ton of hats to sell at the show (My wife is still making hats, but we aren’t traveling any more for it. You can still buy online at Ningen Headwear FYI) we didn’t have room for extravagant outfits. My love of The Dark Crystal returned this year when Netflix did a prequel series. It was time to make this costume.

    Research became a quick obsession. Viewing others who had made this costume, searching images, watching behind the scenes footage- you name it and I looked for it. I had to settle on what was going to be feasible in my spare time and what I could afford- my budget ended up being $30. Seriously. I had a lot of the materials readily available from previous Cosplay, thank goodness.

    It started with some designs and foam. Foam insulation boards glued together and a roll of foam floor mat. My artistic ability is mediocre at best. My hope was that doing some of it and taking a break periodically would inspire me. Advice from my family was also key.

    Making the inner framework was a challenge. I needed it to be sturdy and light weight and fit me inside. PVC tubing and a couple of straps are the basic inner workings. I used a heat gun to mold and form the “outer shell”. I also suffered numerous hot glue gun burns to my fingers throughout the entire process.

    Once the foam for the head was dry, it was time to cut out the shape of the head. I mostly used an exacto blade and craved off laters if foam. I used a Dremel to smooth out the edges and add some facial features. The head still seemed blocky at this point. Adding teeth and ping pong ball eyes helped a bit.

    To get the features more realistic, I formed a thin layer of sculpting clay around the head. Once it was dry, I used acrylic paints to get a good base coat of colour onto it. The features were beginning to POP but it was looking far too cartoon like.

    Getting advice from my daughter, I added some dull fading to it and was throughly pleases with the results.

    After spray painting the back shell with black and red, I hot glued it to my fingers the frame and began to add fabrics. Old bedsheets, curtains and sheer material have given this guy some life. I’m happy with the results so far. All that’s left is to try walking around in it. I should be able to see through the black sheer, but this thing might weigh more than I’m expecting.

    I enjoyed the process along the way. I know some things I’d do differently if I were to make this again. I also know that it can look pretty good as a stationary piece later on.

    Hopefully this Halloween, I can get some candy for all my hard work!

    Too Busy Being Busy

    I’m busy trying to fit everything into my day that I can, that I have been neglecting my blog. I keep putting off writing until I can find a solid half an hour to an hour to write. I’ve been falling behind on writing some genuinely good blog content.

    Having quality content draws in more readership, right? Or do I need keywords and tags? At night when I’m in bed, I’m browsing my phone and reading some of my older blog posts to see what was successful in regards to traffic. Reading my blogs by going through the Facebook link, or having my wife read them, I think I’ve skewed some of the numbers. Especially for my older content. I feel I’ve read some of my more popular ones numerous times. Or did I make them popular by rereading them?

    I should put more thought into my daily musings. But lately I haven’t had the time to proofread and do rewrites. A quick “once over” and then I hit publish. Just like today’s post. I’m going to work on taking the time to write something tangible.

    Tomorrow.

    Going To Work Is The Break From Life

    I know it sounds crazy, but I’m happy to be back at work for the next few days. I need a break from being in my house. No, it’s not because of my family and there’s nothing negative going on. It’s just my costume for Halloween is taking over my life!

    I’ve actually been losing sleep over the logistics of my costume. I have some high aspirations for this year. I’m not really wanting to share any pictures until I have it completed. Just in case I don’t complete it. Being ambitious is one thing. Not finishing is another.

    Next week I am on a staycation. But I have some home improvements and maintenance that needs to be addressed first and foremost. That means what I’ve gotten done on my costume is all that I’ll be doing for the next while. I’m glad I started working on it at least.

    But we are also six days into October and I haven’t decorated for Halloween yet! That’s unlike me. Usually October 1st and it’s spooky time. Maybe after work I can rustle up some decorations and have the kids help set them up.

    Are you ready for Halloween?

    Do you make your own costume?

    Let me know if you are like me and am starting to freak out over nothing.

    Fridays For Future

    The most recent climate change movement spearheaded by Greta Thunberg has gained momentum as of late. I feel this is probably one of the first times that the world is finally listening to its future- the children.

    I am in full support of those who wish to strike for climate change. If children choose to walk out of class in support of this movement- then all the more power to them. Many of our local school boards have decided that there will not be repercussions for any students who choose to be a part of the strike. I commend the boards for their actions as well.

    Clearly the world has needed some true action in regards to reducing the damage being done by humans. I’ve always heard about what I can do to help since the early 80’s. Reduce, reuse, recycle. A mantra that I am actively doing at every possible chance. But is it enough? Obviously more people, corporations, and countries need to be a part of the change.

    Are you joining in #fridaysforfuture ?

    Do you support children striking from school?

    What do you do to help the environment?

    Let me know in the comments.

    Sauna

    We bought our home with a sauna already built in. About a decade ago we stopped using it and it became another closet for storage. After my trips to Winnipeg and Fort St. John, where I used saunas to relax, I realized I want our sauna back.

    Yesterday, I cleared it out and set up the benches again. I vacuumed up the cobwebs and dust from the walls and heater. I turned on the elements and the heat was returning. The smell of the remaining dust burning off was strong. However, shortly after the heat stopped working. So much for relaxing on a Saturday night.

    How do you troubleshoot a sauna built in the 1970’s? I seriously have no idea where to begin. It obviously was getting power. My guess is that it could be one of three things-

    1. The thermostat is toast.
    2. The elements are toast.
    3. Perhaps there’s a fuse or relay switch that’s toast.

    It’ll have to wait until my next set of days off. But how do I go about checking these things? I need to see if there’s and obvious fuse somewhere either in the controls or under the burners. That’s where I’ll first start. I really hope it’ll be something simple. I’m not sure what the cost would be to replace the entire heating mechanism. As well, the thermostat is built into the wood walls and I don’t really want to start tearing apart the sauna.

    I’ll post an update if I eventually figure out the issue. I’ll need to relax once this is all sorted out. Wish me luck. I’ll also take any advice you have to offer.