Vehicle Milestone

It’s always fun to see your vehicle hit certain milestones. I was on my way to work this morning when a numerical one hit my odometer.

Yes, I’m a dork and stopped to get a photo of it. Good thing it was 5am on a Sunday and no one was on the roads.

I get pleasure from the simple things. Like seeing my odometer hit 123,456km. Yup, I also reset my Trip counter to add in the 7.8! I’d been planning this moment for a few days. Now to figure out what the next fun milestone will be. I can’t believe I’ve owned this car for three and a half years already.

Do you get little pleasures from numbers and sequences like I do?

Mr. Canoehead

My buddy at work and I were talking about weekend plans. I said I usually go into the weekend without much in the way of plans. He pointed out that I build something almost every weekend. Looking back at the past few weeks, he isn’t wrong.

This weekend I Upcycled A Greenhouse

Two weeks ago I Built a Front Porch and Porch Swing

I’ve done numerous things around the house as well, finishing off floors, painting rooms, building an Axe Throwing Pitch, and trying out various baking. I’m always busy even without planning it. I hadn’t really noticed. I just like to make stuff.

My buddy was laughing and we talked about how if a tree fell in my yard, I’d end up carving out a canoe. What would be more Canadian than carving out a canoe? It got me thinking about an old Canadian TV show- The Frantics and their character, Mr. Canoehead.

The Frantics starred four Canadian comedians, one of which was Rick Green, who many know as the duct tape guy from the Red Green show. But I also remember he did a talk show in the early nineties called, Prisoners of Gravity. This show was like the early days of video podcasts. His character was stuck in a space station, as an escapee of Earth exploring the issues examined in science fiction/fantasy literature and comics.

One of my favorite episodes was when he talked to the creators of The Watchmen comics. That really got me into the idea that comics are an art form that can be enjoyed by adults. This show was before ComicCons and superhero movies really took over our lives.

But I digress. I don’t have the talent to carve out a canoe. No matter what you might think. I’ll just continue to tinker and build stuff for fun and share my stories. And be a nerd along the way.

Fortnite: Father/Son Gaming

My son and I were busy building a front porch the past couple of days. It gave me a great opportunity to share some knowledge about building and power tools. By the end of the build, our son had a blister from using the drill too much. That’s the sign of a hard worker!

While we were building, we talked. Me explaining the build, him telling me all about Fortnite and how to play. I promised him that I’d play some video games once this deck was completed. Originally I was hoping for some MarioKart or something simple that I can press a couple of buttons for. Not a PS4 controller with over a dozen possibilities.

We played Fortnite for a little over an hour. Time really flies when you play video games. I can see why he gets sucked in for hours on end. But he taught me to play and was very patient with my Noob skills. He has been playing this game for A Couple of Years Now. He walked me through the basics and “Protected” my lack of skills from the enemies. We did alright in one match, coming in second place.

If I want to continue with our bonding, I’ll definitely need to get more practice in for games like this. It just sucks that in a house of five, we all play video games and the PS4/Nintendo Switch are on the big screen. We have the old PS3/Wii hooked up in my bedroom. Unfortunately neither of those are capable of playing Fortnite.

I like that he can teach me stuff and I can teach him. In the end I have created a fantastic father/son bond that I shall hold onto for the rest of my life.

Pac-Man Turns 40!

Ghost munching madness! Pacman is effing 40! I remember seeing the arcade game for the first time in a convenience store when I was like 5.

Since then I have bought numerous reiterations of the game on numerous video game consoles. From Atari to PlayStation 4, Gameboy to 1st Gen Video IPod: Pac-Man is my “Go-To” game. I will play it for hours on end.

Scott Pilgrim

Ten years ago I was excited that the Google Doodle was a playable version of Pac-Man for the 30th anniversary. And just think, In ten years it’ll be the 50th Anniversary of the game! Crazy.

But those 8bit sounds and simplistic graphics paved the way for generations of games and players.

Yes, Pac-Man is a great game. I’d love to own an original upright cabinet or cocktail table version of the game. Until that day comes, I’ll just play it on our big screen. I really enjoy playing Pac-Man Championship.

Did I tell you that I like Pac-Man?

Houston Trail

On Friday, the family and I went off to hike another local trail. This one was much busier than Aldergrove Regional Park. But everyone on the trails were respecting the idea of Physical Distancing. Way to go people! The 3.3 km hike around Houston Trail took us around 45 minutes.

We stopped a few time to really admire nature and it’s wonders. The natural way the cohesive balance of life intertwines still amazes me. My family and I somehow got on the topic of “The Matrix” and how the corona virus is almost like a reset of humanity . Giving us pause to reflect on the simple things in life that we take for granted. Such as these walks that we can saunter through without feeling rushed to get to the next big event.

I’m glad the BC has kept the parks open for people to wander. The fresh air and natural beauty helps to clear the mind. Even if we were plugged into the Matrix, the computers are doing a decent job at randomizing life.

Calendar of Events

Our kids are doing the “at home school” stuff these days. These days they’re doing well keeping up with the assignments as well as joining their online classes.

Our kids are great at putting up their unique school schedule up on our calendar. The planning started off slow as the teachers and students tried to navigate this new world they are learning in. But now there is plenty of action going on. As well as emails and online learning at their own leisure.

This new process is working for our kids. Mostly. There’s a few snags, like making sure they are putting in 100% effort in the homework. Or lack of socializing with peers to discuss ideas. But this is uncharted territory for learning. It could become the new normal. And as a human race, we adapt and overcome.

Even though the days are passing by, and the kids have been stuck inside, our calendar is getting filled.

WordPress Issues

Recently WordPress wasn’t posting to my Facebook. I contacted them for help and they offered a solution. Removing and re-adding the Facebook page. Seems pretty simple.

So this is my test blog to repair the fix. Considering it took me a week to discover the flaw on Facebook shows how often I go on it.

Hopefully the solution WordPress offered up works. Facebook followers, let me know if you read this. Or don’t let me know and let me worry about the linkage not working some more.

Live Stream…

Tonight we enjoyed watching Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2. We started it at 6pm exactly. That was because the director James Gunn was going to do “Live Tweeting” as the movie played. He got some of the actors from the film to join along.

It was kind of neat to sit in the comfort of our home and read along online with some facts and tidbits offered up. Plus watching a Marvel film is always fun. I hope that more of these happen. It was easy to do as well. Just started the film at 6pm and sit on our devices (which we do anyway).

Did you watch along as well? Would you in the future?

Back to…. School?

Okay. Self isolation is still happening in British Columbia. Easter Weekend has ended and the teachers at our school will be working on remote learning with the students. In our home, we have the “scheduled online class meetings” written on our calendar for each of our kids.

There are many different programs and apps that the teachers are planning to use in order to assist the kids get some form of education. It’s a crazy learning curve for everyone involved. Not just the teachers and students, but the parents who need to try and be a big part of this new adventure.

I for one don’t want to have a generation of stupid roaming the earth once the self isolation and quarantines are lifted. I want the students to still get an education. My wife and I are going to do our best to alleviate the strain on the teachers and our kids by being active in their learning. I’m not saying we haven’t been a part of their education, far from it. I’m saying that we are still having to evolve and learn with our kids.

Hopefully when all is said and done the kids will have learned something. Or perhaps they will have taught us something in the process. But for now, School’s Back In Session.

A Galaga Havelka

I enjoy painting. I think I’m okay at it. I found that over the past couple of days I dove into my art for hours on end. I only noticed how much time was spent because I would suddenly be hungry.

The other day, my inspiration was an old painting I remembered from my childhood. Read about it here: Shelley. When I posted the image on Instagram my sister thought it was the original painting. (Just a side note: I am in no way trying to plagiarize the original art style for any type of profit. I just really wanted to recreate a memory.)

Yesterday, I finished a completely different piece. It was inspired by my poem I shared the other day, Machine and the original marquee for Galaga/Galaxian artwork. I have always been fascinated with the late 70’s/early 80’s arcade artwork. Something about the artistic styling being more lively and vivid then the pixelated games themselves. As if your imagination was needed to make those dots come to life.

I’d like to start on another piece. But I don’t really know what to do. I will just have to wait for inspiration to hit me. Like when one of the space invaders from Galaxian destroys my ship in an endless battle.

Google Nest Wifi

My wife had Google Nest Wifi delivered to our home today. I thought for sure it would take a long time to set up. I was wrong. It took under 15 minutes including unboxing.

As usual, I was excited to have new tech in the house. My kids are stoked as well to have Google Assistant at their fingertips from almost anywhere in the house. We can also play music through the speakers in the WiFi Points.

We don’t have a Spotify, Youtube Music or Google Music account. So there wasn’t any option to really “skip” or choose songs. But I was able to choose a genre or style. I started by requesting Queen. Then moved on to Ska. And wow, I really enjoy Ska, who knew?

I’d be more excited about the idea that instead of saying “Ok Google” I could say “COMPUTER” like I am living in the Star Trek universe. But at least there’s some music to enjoy, and I love tech, maybe one day we will be closer to the Star Trek life.

Machine.

In the dew soaked dawn

Grass stretched on for miles and miles

The life of the world was starting a new day.

The rebirth had begun… again.

From the dirt, the insects crawled out.

From the trees, the birds came to feast.

From the building came a machine:

Pushed by men

A box of wires and buttons invaded the earth.

Cabinetry of exquisite art and form;

Brought forth a new sense to the field,

Nature was no longer alone.

The men left the machine to stand tall in the grass.

It stood high on the plains.

Tall and proud as it once was,

A former God clearly visible on all sides…

Men had devoted endless hours to it.

These fields had become forgotten in the years past.

But the earth knew that the men would return.

The brief fling with the machine had taken its toll.

Man was becoming poor as his focus changed.

Until one day it all ended.

The machine, like so many others, had been cast aside.

Some men found homes for similar machines.

The machines were stored away in basements,

Hidden from their families; but still shown to close friends.

The hums and tones emanating into the dungeons that were now home,

As the lights shone forth from the device to mesmerize…

Forgotten, was it all.

The memories, the mistakes, the pastimes…

The last of the heroes to man,

Had been dragged to its final resting place.

There alone in the blazing sun,

Its circuits, wires and lights to die off.

No protection from the sun, the rain, the snow.

Never to be played again.

Through the songs of the insects and birds,

The field breathed a sigh of relief.

Never again would man enjoy

Galaga.

Catered Ads

Doing internet searches can have an unwanted side effect. The bots track what you search and cater “Ad Preferences” online. These bots are supposed to be clever and track your ip. I’ve run into something unique though on our home internet.

My wife works from home for an online company called Shopify. She is what they call a “Customer Success Guru”. She is often looking at people’s sites in order to assist them. This has created an adverse effect to our home internet. We are getting ads “catered” to us that have nothing to do with what we are really interested in. It also happens on our phones/ iPads when we connect to our house WiFi.

Now instead of just scrolling and ignoring regular ads, we have ads popping up in Facebook or Instagram that are completely whacky. I never knew there was so many plush toy, jewelry and led lights that people could buy. But the sex toys and lawn furniture had me worried that I was spending too much time looking at porn.

In the end, it’s kind of interesting that the online computer world doesn’t know what my interests are. Just some strange logarithm trying to cater sales to customers but failing miserably.

BCIT

Yesterday our oldest daughter received the news that she made it into BCIT School of Business for Television and Video Production . She has been striving to get into this course for ages. Last month she also worked on hitting the prerequisite ahead of time by taking an online course offered at BCIT. This was her first Post Secondary course (she’s still in Grade 12) and her first opportunity to learn how the workload would be. Our daughter was bouncing with joy when she learned that she’d be one of the limited students for September’s intake.

Needless to say, we are really happy for her. Over the past couple of years she has been focusing a lot of her attention to working behind the camera. My wife and I are really happy that she attends the Fine Arts School where she gets an opportunity to use high end video equipment and software. Mind you, our daughter hasn’t strayed from her original major- music, so it’s nice to see her artistic abilities come alive.

Our daughter is a lot like me and can dissect a show or movie to its bare bones. We often share thoughts and dialogue about cinematography and filming in general. This is my connection with her, and I love it. I wish nothing but continued success in her endeavors as she grows into a young adult.

The course at BCIT is a full time two year program with a diploma. Once she completes the course, she will be able to work throughout “Hollywood North” as Vancouver is always a booming industry. If she wants to continue or expand her studies, she has talked about going to Capilano University for relevant courses. My hope is that she gets work doing what she loves and continues to love the work she does.

The Window Seat

My wife was kind enough to allow me to take the window seat for BOTH flights in and out of Fort. St. John. To me it’s kind of a big deal. I’m 6’8” with long legs. Usually I sit in the aisle and stretch out a bit. I also take the aisle seat so I can walk around during a flight.

This last set of flights were short enough that I could cram myself into the edge of the seat against the wall. I took a bunch of photos. Many of which turned out blurry. But I managed to capture some beauty of our province.

I love night time photos. The city lights on the ground showing the hustle and bustle of life below. We also sat at the tail end of the wings both times, so some of my photos were obscured by parts of the plane. We all know what it’s like to look out those tiny port windows.

But I think that adds to the reality of the journeys. I still find the magic in the reality of flying. Here we are thousands of feet in the air in a floating metal box while life goes on below us. Most of us forget that planes zoom above us everyday, carrying thousands of people to their destinations.

Within a few days, I’ll be there as well. Completely forgetting that I was up in the air, enjoying the window seat for the first time since childhood.

Linked

The other day it was suggested to me to join LinkedIn. I have been aware of the site and what it offers, but never saw the need for joining it. I’m not actively looking for new work, but it’s neat to see so many current and previous coworkers and their profiles stating skill sets and abilities. I had no idea that many of them are supremely talented and successful in many aspects. Go team!

The platform is similar to Facebook (obviously). As much as I was wanting to limit my Social Media usage, I’ve been enjoying setting up my new LinkedIn profile. I guess you can find me here: Josef Havelka LinkedIn. I’ve currently being adding my careers and jobs, and searching similar jobs and even dream jobs. But I have been hemming and hawing about mentioning my blog in my profile.

This blog is a great place for me to share, even though it’s not devoted to one topic. Besides being about ME. So do I add my blog or not? It’s kind of like a diary of being a father, husband, and geek who enjoys food and travel as well as nostalgia.

Help me interweb friends! What do I do?

Mio Amico

On Monday I excitedly made a purchase online for something that I won’t be receiving until 10/10/2020. I’m one of the lucky 2600 “Founders” of the future gaming system- The Intellivision Amico.

Back in 1981 my father received an Intellivision for his birthday. That Christmas the family received a bunch of games. It was my first introduction into video games at the age of 5. I played the shit out of that system. Then my parents sent it out to goodwill along with our Colecovision when I was 13. I was okay with that, because it was Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo that entered my life.

At age 19, I picked up a used Intellivision with a bunch of games for $60 from a newspaper ad. My friends and I played for hours on end. I played the shit out of the system. We had so much fun hanging out playing games like SNAFU and Triple Action. I still have this system and play on it from time to time.

Anyway, this past Monday I laid down my $100 to secure my ability to be one of the lucky owners of the retro inspired system. This gaming system boasts the idea of playing games as a group again. Couch cooperative! Showing my teenagers about this system has them excited as well. Yes, girls and boy aged 13, 15, & 17 are excited to play games with dad!

That’s the sort of fun I love about video games. The Amico has potential to be a great system with many original and revamped classic titles that Intellivision fans will love and remember. I’m hoping for a good version of Astrosmash to be available.

So check out the video in which Tommy Tallarico shares his new vision of the Intellivision brand: Amico Trailer.

Computer Animation

I’ve always loved computer animation. Back in 1982 “Tron” came out and changed the film industry. Shortly after was “The Last Starfighter” in 1984.

Then in the 1990’s, one of my favorite artsy styles of the animation came out with a mix of music and creativity- “Beyond The Mind’s Eye” showcased the future of computer animation. Shortly after- some of the scenes were used in “The Lawnmower Man”. This was a couple of years before “Toy Story”.

The late 90’s had “The Matrix” making people question reality. Side note: In 2003 I picked up a metallic holographic style poster for the sequel and had it framed.

Back in 2010, we enjoyed Flynn’s Arcade in Disneyland. A throwback of the arcade from the 80’s film “Tron” and a segue into the sequel.

The art style of computer animation has come a long way in four decades. Seeing some of the older shows proves how far film has gotten.

What are your favorite computer rendered films?

Winter Hats

Who makes the best winter hats? Clearly I’m going to tell you it’s my wife! She has been making fleece hats for almost fifteen years. So she knows a thing or two about what she’s doing. She’s the definition of a “Mompreneur”.

What does the Fox say?

As a family, we’ve had so much fun because of her small business. From sporting these great hats to attending a Multitude of Comic Conventions. Nowadays, my wife and I are far too busy to attend those shows, but she still makes hats from her online store- Ningen Headwear.

So while your stuck at home and despising the weather- surf the Internet and check out Ningen Headwear . My wife would be happy to make custom colored hats to keep you warm this winter!

Brain Power

Yesterday was rather windy. Living in a neighborhood filled with trees and power lines- it was only a matter of time until our power went out. I’m glad it happened after dinner at least.

Our fireplace kept us warm during the outage.

I had started a fire shortly before dinner to begin warming the house. As soon as the power went out, the kids sprang into action and gathered up candles and flashlights. I headed outside and turned on our portable generator. We connected a small space heater and a couple of table lamps.

The kids have decided that during power outages we need to play a board game to pass the time. Last night’s game was Trivial Pursuit: Family Edition. To my surprise our oldest daughter ended up winning the game and my wife came in last. Going through the questions I realized that I don’t know much about sports or recent historical events.

It was a fairly good evening as we hung out as a family without a screen being on. But almost immediately after our game ended- the power returned. Then we went to the living room and streamed some Disney+ before retreating off to bed.

How do you handle power failures? When was the last time you played Trivial Pursuit? Let me know in the comments.

108,000 Kilometers

I’ve owned my 2016 Nissan Rogue for exactly three years. I bought it the day I took a promotion and became a supervisor at my work: Changing It Up. The car received its regular oil change today. I also had the brake fluid flushed. My vehicle hasn’t required anything major considering I have put on 108,000 Kilometers on it since new. The service department was surprised by two things.

First, that I haven’t had to change my brakes. They told me that most people get new brakes between 50-60,000 Kilometers. Mine are on the verge of needing replacement, but can wait until the new year. The service department said I must be really gentle on my brakes. Um… not really, but I guess the vehicle tells a different story.

Secondly is my tires. They still have quite a bit of life to them. The tires came with the vehicle and are stock as well. Nowhere near high performance or high mileage quality. I’ll probably get some all-season tires in the Springtime. No need to fork over money for winter tires at this time either.

All in all I will say that my Nissan Rogue has been a great vehicle. “Five out of five stars- Would Buy Again.”

I did however forget to put insurance on it again this year. I noticed as I left the dealership that it expired yesterday. Oops. Time to get that rectified immediately. Wouldn’t want to have my car not taken care of since it’s been taking care of me for three years without complaint.

Cybertruck

Since it’s “Cyber Monday” I’ve decided to weigh in on Tesla’s newest vehicle reveal: Cybertruck. It seemed like a logical thing to write about today.

Even though there are numerous memes and pissy articles written complaining about the design and concept- over 250,000 pre-orders have been made since the unveil ten days ago. That number alone is astounding.

I have been wanting to own a Tesla for some time now. I also would love to own a DeLorean- because nostalgia baby. This futuristic truck hits both of those marks for me. Do I like the Cybertruck? You bet I do.

My wife and I bought the Honda Element when it first came out in 2003. Back then people called it ugly and boxy. But we love the car. It’s still on the road and we have no plans to ever get rid of it. It’s also a vehicle we knew that would be unique with few of them on the roads. We also owned a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder that was also like a large box on wheels. Time to go from square to polygon, right?

My 2016 Nissan Rogue however looks like every other mid sized SUV. Nothing about it stands out. But it’s reliable, safe and came fully loaded. Luxury style features at an affordable price. But gas is still expensive. It’s time to really look at the savings an electric vehicle would have on my life.

Will I put down $150 to get my name on the preorder list for the Cybertruck? If I can convince my wife to let me.

Disney Plus Equals Life

Yesterday Disney+ was released. And if you watch any form of entertainment on a screen of some sort, you must’ve heard about it. So I’m not going to go into great detail about what it all includes, because that information is everywhere on the interwebs! Instead I’m just going to share what my family and I watched as our first few shows.

I paid for a full year up front for $89.99. It was an obvious choice because there is so much content that The Mouse owns that we won’t be able to watch it all in 365 days. After installing the app on our PS4, the first thing we did was set up individual profiles. Then we went searching.

We settled on a couple of Pixar Shorts called “Bao” followed by “La Luna” -which we hadn’t all seen before. So far so good, but we didn’t want to begin marathoning through any new series of shows. We did stop next on “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” and were pleasantly surprised and dumbfounded by it. Consider it a sort of documentary on stuff. In this case- sneakers.

Naturally we watched the cartoon that started the journey of the Disney Franchise back in 1928- “Steamboat Willie“. It’s a neat reminder to see how far that little black and white mouse has come. Not only that, but it also shows how far animation has come and how it was pioneered almost a century ago.

We have our sets of future shows already searched out. The Sneaker Who Wore Tennis Shoes from 1969 is top on my wife’s list. While High School Musical is our daughter’s choice. My son and I are stoked to begin The Mandalorian in a few days. But there is so much content, we don’t really know where to start.

What are you planning on watching on Disney+?

My Favorite App

Besides using the WordPress App every day to work on my writing- I have a favorite app that I have been using since my iPhone 4. I have used this app on an almost daily basis since 2010 and my wife makes fun of me for it because I have completed every level numerous times over.

It’s a simple game called “Whirly Word“. The premise is simple- you create words from the six letters. There is no time limit for each level so you can take as long as you like to solve the puzzles. At the end of each round, you can click on the words and a definition comes up, just in case you didn’t realize that what you spelled was in fact a real word.

I enjoy this app because it reminds me of the Yahoo Games my wife and I used to play together on the computer long before smartphones were a thing. The two of us would crowd near the monitor and one of us would type as quickly as possible the answers. It was a fun way to bond. We used to do the same with crosswords while enjoying coffee at our breakfast table. It’s amazing how quickly you begin to write when you want to be the one with all the answers.

I’m now back to trying my luck at more difficult Sudoku puzzles. I like the challenge that these games give my brain. From working on a puzzle for five minutes to forty five minutes- depending on the difficulty. These types of games appeal to me more than Angry Birds or Untitled Goose Game. Even though I’ll play those from time to time as well.

In the end it doesn’t bother me that my wife pokes fun at me for playing Whirly Word still. I think it’s just because she can’t loom over my shoulder calling out answers like she once did when we played Yahoo Games.

Emotional for Electronics

At work I was having a discussion about old electronics and if you can have an emotional attachment to them. My coworker’s wife says she is emotionally attached to her old tv. Now this isn’t some retro 60’s or even 80’s tv. It’s a run of the mill plasma tv from a decade ago. The type of tv that can be upgraded to a larger screen and higher hd quality for a couple hundred dollars. But she wants to keep the tv and my coworker doesn’t understand the emotional attachment she has for it. But I can *almost* relate.

I asked my coworker what about an old Nintendo or an N64? He said those are okay to have sentimental attachments to because they bring back nostalgic memories. But an iPhone 5 that you played Angry Birds on for hours- that’s a throw away electronic device like a tv.

So at what point does something generate a value or desire to be kept if it’s no longer used or obsolete?

I feel it is more what the owner associates with the item. I went through numerous cassette players and CD players in my life- yet I have grown a fondness to my daughter’s record player. I sometimes think about an old telephone alarm clock my parents had back in the 80’s and the sound of it ringing- but I would never want it now. But I still have memories of it. I have an upright arcade machine that only goes on four or five days a year, but I’m not ready to part with it.

In the end I figure if you like your device and can’t part with it- keep it and don’t let someone tell you that you’re wrong. Sometimes an emotional bond is created and is tough to severe.