Overheated

For the first time ever, I overheated my iPhone. It kind of surprised me that I did it. But hey, first time for everything. At least it’s back up and working so that I can write today’s blog.

Which has now turned into writing about overheating. Originally I was going to write about waiting around. That’s because our daughter is in surgery having her wisdom teeth removed. I was asked to wait in my car and be on standby just in case.

The reason my phone overheated is because I decided to eat my lunch and left the phone on the car seat next to me connected to my charger. Maybe ten minutes in the sun. When I picked it up, that was the warning that came through. A couple of minutes in the shade and everything was fine. My phone was lucky enough to find the one patch of sun- since I parked in the shade.

I remember stories from yore where people forgot videotapes in hot cars and melted them. Back in the day, a friend who worked at a video store showed me some creatively damaged tapes. I suppose I should be more careful with my electronics. Note to self- don’t be a dumbass.

Have you ever left something in a hot car, only to realize too late?

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.

Lights, Now Cameras!

Since we moved in, we have been slowing making this house our home. I threw in a couple of ceiling fans for the kids. We added lights to the outdoors- along the railing and what we call our “Tokyo DisneySea Light” as well as a few others. Plus a tv and some outdoor furnishings.

It’s time to make us feel secure in all of those purchases. The weather cooled off enough today for my son and I to hit the attic and run some wires. It was CCTV camera install day. There are plenty of YouTube videos and how-to sites that I’m not going into those details.

My wife and I had bought six Lorex cameras and a hard drive a few months ago from Costco. I always wanted to have security cameras in our last house, but the undertaking would have been tremendous with all the brick work. So my wife indulged me and I got a set for this house.

First off, the install started off long and arduous. Having to find the best spots and figure out how to run the cables. After that- it was a bit of tinkering and we now have four of the six cameras up and recording. My wife was having fun with me while I set them up.

We opted to put the monitor in our laundry room. My wife didn’t want the screen to be front and center in our lives. I agree with her on that. The neat part is the hard drive connects to our internet and we can access the cameras remotely from our phones.

The hard drive allows us to have up to 8 cameras and we can also get the kind that you can move, zoom, pan and tilt with. That might happen in the future. Anyways, before next summer, I will finish adding the last two cameras to completely view our property.

I know the cameras may only be a bit of a deterrent for crime. Most criminals don’t care about cameras or security systems. If they want in your home, they will get in. I just like the sense of security the camera system offers my family.

Plus now I can decide if I want to open the front door or ignore people.

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!

12

Twelve. One dozen.

The amount of days remaining until we move. So I decided that for the final countdown (BA DA BOO-BOO…BA DA BOO-BOO-BOO) I would share something about each number for the days remaining that makes me happy.

With twelve being such a great number- My daughter suggested talking about the movie “12 Monkeys” since I enjoyed it so much. And it’s eerily poignant with today’s world. But I thought why not talk about how Sesame Street made me love pinball? That’s a bit more fun.

It’s all because of “One two three four five… six seven eight nine ten… eleven twel-el-el-el-el-elve.“ Such a ridiculous cartoon teaching kids to count. But it worked. And the song is forever ingrained inside the brains of any child of the 80’s.

I have a love of pinball because of this. It is my go-to gaming in arcades. I have always wanted a pinball machine. Perhaps one day I will get one. I have also bought pinball video games because I enjoy those as well.

Alien Crush was on the Turbografx16 and I won a contest playing it. Kirby’s Pinball Land on Gameboy filled hours of boredom (my daughter has since destroyed my high scores on that one). As well, I would spend hours upon hours of playing 3D Pinball Space Cadet on Windows (pre-Internet days). But my wife treated me to something truly amazing.

Star Wars VR Pinball on the Oculus. Not only do you play pinball, but you also get to set up a really cool Star Wars Den. The pinball game has a variety of views making it truly immersive. I’ve only played a couple of times, but I am looking forward to playing some more in the near future.

My love of pinball coincides with the number twelve. And with 12 days to go, I look forward to relaxing with some vr pinball in our new place.

1001 Days Straight

WordPress recently congratulated me on 1001 days straight of blog posts. That’s a lot of stories about me and my life experiences. However, I’ve actually written more than that. 1001 days puts me only to the end of August 2018.

I’ve written in this blog every day since January 27,2016. That’s 1950 days. I hit a few technical issues in the years of blogging which explains why it didn’t count every single day posted. Computers, am I right? Wait, I use my iPhone 98% of the time to write.

I have enjoyed journaling here in hopes that my experiences are uplifting and relatable to those who do read my blog. I enjoy writing about parenting, traveling, music, movies, memories, growing old, and kindness. Sometimes I stray from that and share a bittersweet or sad story. But it’s generally about me and my thoughts for the day.

As always, thank you to my devoted followers for reading my tales. They may never become a bestseller novel, but the stories are mine to share.

Towel Day 2021

Remember your towel today! It’s International Towel Day. Here’s a brief description:

A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

That time I met Howie Mandel

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of my favorite science fiction series ever. We named our first born daughter Random because of it. I have even dressed as Arthur Dent at conventions in the past.

I will be bringing my towel with me all day. Just like I do Every Towel Day. It’s a sign of being a nerd. A true nerd.

On Track Photos

I love taking pictures of the artwork on rail cars. I enjoy how an image can tell a quick story.

I also like taking my pictures with a bit of an artistic flare. It’s amazing how lighting and backgrounds can change the feel of the image so easily. Not to mention the filters that smartphones and apps have available. An original image can change completely given the appropriate filter.

Taking pictures of inanimate objects is easy enough. Especially if the art is worthy of a photograph. Catching the right light and angle is also important. Rule of thirds, leading lines, framing- any of the photographer’s special gambit of artistic flair is made easy using railroads and rail cars. I have been doing it for years in order to perfect those skills I learned in high school photography almost thirty years ago.

I appreciate Instagram for being able to showcase and see some fantastic images. There are a lot of talented photographers out there who make a subject jump out at you and make you feel emotion.

I’m feeling contented and courageous by sharing my pictures regularly. I hope you all enjoy seeing the art from my point of view that others have painted. Feel free to follow me on Instagram and see more pictures of rail cars and my life.

Drone On

Our oldest child is about to finish her first year of post secondary education. Because she is attending British Columbia Institute of Technology, there has been a good variety of in-class and remote learning happening. Her area of study is in film.

She has been enjoying all the different aspects of being behind the camera. She has had an introduction to filming, editing, sound, directing, and everything else involved. I love hearing about it all and how excited she is when she successfully accomplishes one of the tasks or projects. She has been putting in long hours and determination.

Yesterday she was learning how to use drones to create professional images and movies. Using drones may not be exciting to some, but these aren’t the little ones you buy at Walmart. Her class had a good day to test them out and these are a few photos she took.

Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions, our daughter will be unable to take on any apprenticeships this summer. She is hoping that after next year things open up and she can utilize her skills in a more hands-on approach. BCIT has been good to her and her skill sets. I’m proud of what she has been doing so far and love to see her sense of accomplishment as her projects get completed.

Wasting Time

Sometimes an event or day drags on. Some of us have work meetings that last forever. It feels like there is no escaping it.

Some meetings feel like lectures. Where one person speaks and everyone else just sits there listening. Like a classroom setting with a teacher. Everyone having to listen and pay attention in hopes that you don’t get called on to answer a question that you weren’t even paying attention to.

Now with online meetings, it’s worse. There are video conferences that have people just blankly following along. We can all see it. And we can all feel it. To break up the doldrums of the topic, subtle side messaging begins. Jokes and insults and off topic subjects start to come out. Anything at all to keep your sanity as watching the paint dry and dreaming of a place that doesn’t quite resemble hell enters your mind.

Then a sigh of relief when it ends. A renewed energy comes back into you as you realize the last five hours are time you cannot get back. Time that, even though you are paid to be there, feels wasted.

Dad’s Desk

Back in the early 80’s my father began working for a computer company. WANG Computers. By the mid 90’s- the company he was working for wasn’t doing so hot and downsizing was rampant. As the offices shutdown, and the spaces were condensed- my father stayed. He had the luxury of having to terminate people he had worked with for years. It did not bode well for his health.

My father got Wanged.

As the downsizing continued, the company started selling off their office equipment. Eventually my father picked up some things prior to his departure. We got a few art pieces, a couple computer chairs, and a desk. A large, heavy, durable, virtually indestructible desk. My family moved this monster into at least four different homes. I inherited the beast. I will not be taking it to my new house.

So I brought it to my work.

We needed a new desk at my work. I have been asking for some new furniture for ages, but it doesn’t look like it’s on the horizon. At least for the foreseeable future, This desk will be utilized. Everyone who saw the desk literally said, “Hey- Nice Desk.”

What’s funny is that this wasn’t even the desk my father used at his work. This was some random cubicle desk he brought home. I had to help him dismantle it on a Saturday and bring it home back when I was a teenager.

Now every time I go to work and sit at the desk- I’ll think of my father. I will think of him and my plans to Retire from this job. It’s the perfect desk for my work.

Pink Super Moon

It seems the clouds stayed away last night in order for those of us awake to enjoy the Pink Super Moon. It was moments like that which made me want a better camera than just my iPhone.

So for today’s blog, I went online and found some pictures in order to share. Now to be honest, it was definitely a large looking full moon. But the pink was not nearly as prominent as I originally thought it would be. It was still really neat looking with more of a Himalayan Pink Salt hue to it.

From where I worked, the moon appeared vibrant and shiny. I am looking forward to setting up my telescope once more to check out the night sky. Currently having trees tends to obscure those types of views.

Perhaps I will become a more avid sky gazer in our next house.

Did you see the pink super moon last night? Or perhaps you even took some spectacular photos. Please share them with me, I’d love to see them

Pink Super Moon

It seems the clouds stayed away last night in order for those of us awake to enjoy the Pink Super Moon. It was moments like that which made me want a better camera than just my iPhone.

So for today’s blog, I went online and found some pictures in order to share. Now to be honest, it was definitely a large looking full moon. But the pink was not nearly as prominent as I originally thought it would be. It was still really neat looking with more of a Himalayan Pink Salt hue to it.

From where I worked, the moon appeared vibrant and shiny. I am looking forward to setting up my telescope once more to check out the night sky. Currently having trees tends to obscure those types of views.

Perhaps I will become a more avid sky gazer in our next house.

Did you see the pink super moon last night? Or perhaps you even took some spectacular photos. Please share them with me, I’d love to see them

The Code

Thirty five years ago today, a code emerged that changed the livelihoods of millions of children. No living room remained untouched by this magic. How it got originally got shared is unknown to this day. How it remained was a simple oversight when publishing the game.

You know the code. Even if you weren’t alive in 1986, you know of the code. Konami’s Contra Code was shared so quickly by word of mouth you’d think the code was in the instruction manual. Or that the Internet was already around…

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, START

All the weapons, thirty lives- helping to make beating an almost impossible game attainable. Every boy I knew talked about the code. It was the secret that the world knew. It has been ingrained in our minds since then. It has appeared in numerous video games and other pop culture references according to the Konami Code Wikipedia . I bet even Tesla has added it in their cars somehow.

Happy 35th Birthday to the greatest cheat code ever! May the memory of getting Nintendo Thumb be the reason I cannot forgot you.

My Original Profile Picture

Recently Facebook reminded me of my first “Tagged” photo. It also happened to be the photo I used as my profile picture for the first year or so on Facebook.

As you can see, it is of my father’s gravestone marker. Anyone who I befriended at the start of my Facebook days would have seen this image. Obviously I took this picture and tagged myself in it.

Fourteen years ago, I didn’t take selfies or share many pictures. In fact, my first smartphone was the iPhone 4 in 2010. Any photos I did share were from a one megapixel digital camera. I had to upload The images onto our computer, then filter through them (because the display screen on the camera was tiny- there was now way to tell in a picture was good or great). Most of my photos were of my kids as well.

So there wasn’t a profile picture of me that I was content with. Not with the age of “Showing off Instant Perfection” starting…

Yes folks, it’s still going on. We all want to share the best part of our lives. Most of the time I think it’s great seeing the individual successes. But I also know that it can be mentally taxing on each and every one of us. Myself included- for both.

So instead of trying to create the perfect profile picture with a low end digital camera- I used a picture with my name. It also served as a reminder of my father and the difference in our parenting styles.

Plus it is a bit morbid seeing your own name on a tombstone. I find that stuff amusing.

Express 999

I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to the 999 followers of my blog on WordPress. I know that there are others out there on Facebook, Twitter and via email who receive my daily musings as well.

But the 999 on WordPress? I can count on one hand the people who I have met in person who follow me on this site (and yes, I follow myself as well). The rest are strangers who happened to find me and decided that what I say is important enough to follow me. That’s pretty cool.

I have also interacted with those that seek to write a comment to me. Some of whom I would consider to be an “Online Friend” now. Having only met through WordPress and a few lines back and forth. Yet a kinship is formed, even for the briefest of moments.

I appreciate all the followers. Heck, even the Bots. Someone out there took the time to write an algorithm to search out keywords, and they stumbled upon me.

Seriously though- a hearty “Thank you” to everyone who follows my blog. I appreciate you.

My Top 5 Colecovision Games

I love retro 80’s video games. However, Atari was never my thing. I have always favored the Intellivision, but a close second is the Colecovision. Both of which were superior to the Atari in all aspects.

Aside from my opinion about which home console was best in an era “Pre-Nintendo” I also had 5 top games that I loved playing on my Colecovision.

Antarctic Adventure

A forward scrolling game where you jumped over holes, caught fish and avoided seals. The idea was a timed trial race around Antarctica. I completed this game numerous times, but still recall the “boing” sound as you bumped into seals.

Cabbage Patch Kids

This is a side scrolling “Pitfall” style game that gets harder as you go. I remember playing for hours on end, mastering each sprite location for the perfect jump. With only three lives to give- I don’t remember if there was an ending to the game.

Zaxxon

This was a space side scrolling game. The difference was that it was more of a 45° angle side scrolling- which proved tough to judge obstacles. The sound of the thrusters buzzing was classic.

Frenzy

This was a top view maze game, where you ran from room to room killing monsters and robots. Simple and a good way to burn off frustration.

Pepper II

Kind of Pac-Man esque. You avoid this creatures as you zippered up sections of a maze.

All of them were a great way to spend hours playing. Trying to beat high scores, how far you got, or times. Simple and cartoony. Pretty sure these games would be easy to beat nowadays.

Timex T80

Back in the early 80’s my father had a wrist watch. I don’t remember what brand it was- either a Casio or Timex. I do remember the watch being digital with faux gold. He was really happy when he got it, showing it off to my mother and I. I was maybe five years old at the time, but I remember the feel of the metal strap and how it flexed.

Forty Years Later…

My wife bought me a Timex T80 for my birthday. But not just any Timex T80- the Fortieth Anniversary Pac-Man wrist watch T-80.

Timex came out with this watch last year to celebrate Pac-Man’s 40th Anniversary. This Timex T80 is a great combination of style and class. When I unboxed the gold watch and placed it on my wrist- I felt like my father did forty years ago.

I’m not a watch person. But the watch looks great and feels fantastic. I always wanted a Timex like this one. It was the perfect gift for me. My wife also remembered that I loved Pac-Man.

Besides a great retro look… my favorite bit of this watch is that it plays the Pac-Man theme when you press the top button!

Living Like The Jetsons

Looking for a new house has me realizing that technology has come a long way. Especially when walking through brand new builds.

Many of us just accept the fact that TV’s have moved from a large cabinet piece on the floor to a picture frame on the wall. And that the image has grown exponentially in size and the sound is immersive. This is in every house.

But now we can buy a fridge with a touchscreen and camera built in. That way one can connect to see what groceries they may need while out shopping. Or there’s a stove you can turn on remotely as well. Plus a number of other small appliances with similar features.

We are one step closer to living like The Jetson’s. Essentially we are on the cusp- minus the flying cars and buildings in the sky. Everything else is becoming commonplace in a similar fashion.

Is it making life easier or making us lazier? I think it’s a bit of both. But it allows for us to find the free time to explore more about the world. We can enjoy the arts more, create more, and just live in the moment more often.

Technology has come a long way for how we live. At least we aren’t on the Oregon Trail dying from dysentery.

Seven Minutes of Terror

Today NASA is sharing a live feed of the Perseverance Rover landing on Mars. It has taken a decade of planning to get to this point. And there is no guarantee that it will go smoothly.

Approximately 60% of the trips to Mars have failed. That’s huge considering this next trip has cost $2.7 Billion. It is set to touch down at 12:55pm Pacific Time (15:55 Eastern). NASA is providing a live feed on their YouTube Channel starting at 11:15 Pacific Time (14:15 Eastern).

The information I read online about the final few minutes, dubbed “Seven Minutes of Terror” is:

“The Perseverance will plow into the Martian atmosphere at speeds reaching 12,100 mph (19,500 km/h) at 3:48 p.m. EST (12:48 p.m. PST). The ensuing Seven Minutes of Terror will involve extreme heat, the deployment of a supersonic parachute, and the rover’s separation from the heat shield and back shell. By the time it hits the dirt—with the assistance of retrorockets and tethers—Perseverance will have slowed down to a walking pace.”

So we could be witnessing a historical landing or absolute destruction involving billions of dollars of research. Either way- I’m excited to watch it. If the rover is successful in its landing- it will share images with us within moments of landing.

NASA has a live feed on YouTube leading up to these events: NASA if you wish to watch.

Deathstar 1138

As many folks who know me may have guessed- I enjoy Star Wars. I have shared numerous memories here in my blog. But one of the things I am happiest about is that my love of Star Wars has been passed on to my children.

The one thing that got passed on rather surprised me. I had created a username on the PlayStation 3 when my son was about two or three years of age. It was a name that I continued using when we purchased the PlayStation 4. The user name is DEATHSTAR1138. A nod to George Lucas. Both with Star Wars and another of his films: THX 1138.

Over the past few years, my son has been playing video games under my user name. But what is even better, is that he continued with that user name into his Instagram account. It appears that this username is now being passed down from one generation to another. Long live Deathstar1138.

I’m not a big video gamer, so my son is more than welcome to keep using the name. I always thought the name to be quite clever. But I’m a nerd like that.

Have you given up your username to your kids? Do you think you might at some point?

Media Fridge

So you are probably reading my blog on your phone. Perhaps you were endlessly swiping up on your Facebook or Twitter feed and discovered the first line and an image of today’s post. Or maybe you subscribe via email and the little icon showed the inbox has a new message.

But are you going to read just a line or two before just scanning to the next thing? Probably. I do that it too. And I’ll scan through my feeds endlessly until I hit something that I recognized from the last visit to the social media app.

The I close my app. Just to open a different one. Until that gets boring also. The phone then goes away. Not for hours or days. But rather minutes. Until my brain thirsts for more “Social” sensations. And the cycle continues throughout my day. An endless consumption of stuff I don’t think I need to eat.

Thus the day ends. Unproductive except for all the useless fodder that fills a void that I somehow created. My social media fridge is filled with junk food that I gobble up. Leaving me feeling mentally bloated and lazy.

But that’s the way my life works. Holding my phone, keeping a keen eye on the battery level, all while using my pinky to balance my phone. With sound turned off and subtitles on- so as not to appear rude with my family in the same room as me.

Because they are doing the exact same thing. Consuming media content. Time to clean out the fridge.

Sleep Tracking

Alrighty then. Since starting the other day with a Fitbit once more- (check out Avoiding 2021) I have been watching how active I am. My daily steps are still a couple thousand shy of the 10,000 that the app recommends. I even get a buzz on my wrist every hour telling me to walk.

That makes me feel a tad bit guilty.

Is that what Fitbit is meant to do? Bring out guilty feelings?

But the app also shows my sleeping habits. Which is Totally Something I Can Get Behind! Honestly- just search up the keywords “Sleep” or “Nap” in my blog and you will find tons of musings about the subject. Now that I have a reason to look at the app, it makes me happy.

I don’t like have a piece of tech telling me I’m not doing something. It pushes my emotions into a downward trend, which I don’t appreciate. It doesn’t motivate me to do more. Quite the opposite. It reminds me why I stopped wearing a Fitbit the first time around.

How do you feel wearing a Fitbit or smart watch that tracks your movement? Perhaps your experience is a positive one. Please share how that works for you.

Let me know in the comments.

Avoiding 2021…

My year is starting off great. I have been avoiding the first day of the year and almost completely missed it.

A late night of watching movies meant that I was going to sleep in. And did we ever. We were out of bed at 1:30pm. And had no ideas for what to do on our first day of the New Year. But losing half of it to sleeping was a great way to avoid it.

I figure if I sleep more, less bad stuff could possibly happen. That’s sound logic right? Perhaps tomorrow I can really get motivated. My wife has given me her old FitBit (again). She tried this almost five years ago and I shared in How exercise is going to kill me. But five years later, I’m really feeling old.

In all honesty I am proud of my hardest accomplishment- no drinking. I made it through one of the toughest seasons by remaining sober. That is not like the old me- previously I would’ve shared a bazillion photos of booze and fake smiles. Maybe this new me will get better use from his FitBit. Considering I put it on at 3pm, I did get 6665 steps in. A bit shy of the daily 10k but it’s a start.

R2-Tree2

As I mentioned previously in Shattered Memories, we have numerous trees. One of which has the ornaments the kids have made over the years. We never really had a topper for it. Putting a Santa hat or a top hat on it to try and finish it.

This year, I 3D printed a new topper. It was a fun one based on my favorite fandom- Star Wars. I decided to paint it in traditional Christmas colours- red and green with a hint of dark gold.

Our middle daughter had been waiting for over a week to put the tree topper up. Each one of our kids gets to put the topper on a tree. We rotate which tree every year. The kids’ tree was hers this year.

Now it is completed. And looking good thanks to the 3D files from Mr Baddeley’s Printed Droid.

Happy Life Day everyone!