Poetry

I need to read more poetry in my life.

Well written, upbeat poetry. Not the dark and gloomy style that seems to be prevalent everywhere. I don’t need to have the sense of a storm cloud hovering over me as I read. That being said, I am fond Edgar Allan Poe.

I’m looking for some good poets to be recommended. If you know of any, let me know- I’d love to read some.

But I don’t like picking up books entitled “The Complete Works Of…” That means everything: good and bad. And bad can be bad; or bad poetry can be humorous in its own way.

That can be fun, especially when the author isn’t intending it to be.

Mark Twain Volume 3

These past few years have done a great deal in changing our society’s mindset. But it’s not the first time. Looking back over one hundred years ago, Mark Twain dictated in his autobiography a similar occurrence that happened fifty years prior:

Isabella Beecher Hooker threw herself into the woman’s rights movement among the earliest, some sixty years ago, and she labored with all her splendid energies in that great cause all the rest of her life; as an able and efficient worker she ranks immediately after those great chiefs, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Mrs. Livermore.

When these powerful sisters entered the field in 1848 woman was what she had always been in all countries and under all religions, all savageries, all civilizations — a slave, and under contempt. The laws affecting women were a disgrace to our statute book.

Those brave women besieged the legislatures of the land, year after year, suffering and enduring all manner of reproach, rebuke, scorn and obloquy, yet never surrendering, never sounding a retreat; their wonderful campaign lasted a great many years, and is the most wonderful in history, for it achieved a revolution — the only one achieved in human history for the emancipation of half a nation that cost not a drop of blood.

They broke the chains of their sex and set it free.

– Autobiographical dictation, 1 March 1907. Published in Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 3

I, for one, want everyone to be offered the freedom to have equal rights and respect. If it means fighting for it- then so be it. But there is no need to shed blood or promote violence. We can use our voices to stand tall and form the world to be a better place. This is not the time to sit idly by.

We need to break the chains once more.

Havelka Hearse?

For a few decades now I’ve wanted to own a hearse.

What?

Ya, one of those vehicles that drive dead people around. I have a few specific models that I’m interested in. But I’m not really a “car guy” so I’d probably have to spend a good deal of money on a used one in great condition.

There’s something about the look that I just admire. From the curtains on the windows to the fake top and landau bars. There’s always a new design coming out that showcases both the elegance and the celebration of life that once was.

From a modern Tesla Hearse- Check out the windows. Simply stunning.

To traditional looking Funeral Coaches that more resemble a temple on wheels.

Hearses tell a story as much as those that ride inside.

I hope to not have my last ride in a hearse be my first. Of course with Halloween around the corner- it gets me thinking about owning one more often. It’d be a great Halloween decoration! Maybe my wife will buy me one for my 45th birthday? Hint-hint

Trust and Kindness

Trust is something that you can’t come by easily. But to have a complete stranger trust you is even more scarce. Especially when it comes to money. My story here is a simple one, but made my heart smile nonetheless.

Yesterday as I was driving home from the school with my kids, I stopped at a person selling flowers on the side of the road. She has set up in the same location for a couple of years now selling flowers out the back of her van. We often drive past without thinking twice. Yesterday I finally decided to stop and surprise my wife with a bouquet of flowers.

As I was talking to the lady, I realized I had no cash on me. So I asked if she takes debit or credit cards. Since I’ve worked conventions- many people set up a Square account to be able to make such transactions, which seems to be the trend nowadays. Unfortunately, this lady did not have a card reader. I was ready to thank her for her time…

Immediately she asked me which bouquet I wanted and told me to pay her back another time. Even with my repeated objections, she insisted. I chose a lovely full arrangement of flowers. The flowers looked great when put them on our table at home.

But it gets better.

My daughter this morning texted me that she put $20 in my wallet to cover the cost of the flowers. I was not expecting that from her. It seems that kindness can rub off on people. Seems like our parenting skills are paying off.

But wait there’s more!

I returned today to pay the flower lady the $20 for the bouquet (which is a good deal for the amount of flowers btw). She was smiling and thanked me for the payment. Before we walked away, she handed my son a large yellow daisy.

Just because.

Kindness is contagious. This stranger trusted me. I could have chosen to not pay her back. But the guilt would have eaten at me every time I drove past her. Because I’m not that type of person- I could never have done that.

Instead, I will have a smile in my heart when I see the back of her van propped open and buckets of flowers placed around her feet.

Oktoberfest in September

Yesterday, our favorite Craft Brewery- Trading Post– was having a limited ticket engagement of Oktoberfest. My wife bought us some tickets back in August for the afternoon portion of the event. When we arrived, I saw some of my other friends there. Hugs and handshakes and well wishing for a fun day were passed out.

Upon arrival, we were each given a couple of drink tickets and a large 1 Liter glass to fill with beer. Since I was the Designated Driver I gave my drink tickets to my wife and picked up a sugar cane cola for myself.

There was a good selection of German Food and beers from a few craft breweries: the Trading Post, Field House and Steel & Oak. My wife sampled a variety of beers over the course of a few hours. We also picked up some food to help absorb the beers.

We shared a Bratwurst with Sauerkraut and deli mustard. As well as the Lagenbretzel, which was a large dough pretzel served with beer sausage cheese dip. The Trading Post also gave out snack Pretzel necklaces on a string which I thought was a genius idea and may just do that in the future for other events.

Since this was a busy event, we shared a table with some fantastic people. Next to us sat a wonderful couple that was a few years older than us who we related to quite well. We shared stories of other breweries and distilleries that we have visited, or now need to visit. Across from us sat a quartet of university students ready to get their Oktoberfest drink on!

By the end of the afternoon we had made some great friends and I had some fun memories. My wife enjoyed 72 ounces of beers- essentially she drank a six pack to herself in under four hours. This is not her usual Modus Operandi which made it that much more entertaining for me. I was glad to see her let loose!

In the end it was a great experience and made me yearn for a chance to visit Germany for a true Oktoberfest venue. I’m glad The Trading Post put on such a successful event. There was laughter and smiles all around.

Designated Driver

Today we went out to an Oktoberfest party at The Trading Post in Fort Langley. I volunteered to be the designated driver to my wife and our friend since I am partaking in a personal Sober September. It made me realize that I have never really been a DD before. I did it once earlier in August for our Dinner Train. But usually, I am the one getting a safe ride home.

Today as everyone around was getting tipsy and drinking, I realized that when I was younger- I made many mistakes getting behind the wheel of a car after a few drinks. I’m embarrassed by my actions from my past. I got lucky in my life that I never injured or killed anyone. But those lapses in judgment could have come with terrible consequences. Even though nothing had ever happened in my past- I know that time would only catch up if I kept it up. Having a safe ride home has become part of the plans as I head out.

Being sober at a drinking function isn’t all that bad. In fact it’s sometimes more entertaining to see (and remember) the shenanigans that occur around you. At the end of the day/night getting your friends back home safely is probably the best feeling. Oftentimes you get thanked in a drunken love kinda way. Slurred speech and kindness comes out.

Obviously my advice is simple: Make sure you have a designated driver or a safe ride home planned out in advance. It’s much better to get home safely than not at all.

Work Is Busy

Work has been pretty busy lately. It also doesn’t look like it will slow down either. Which is a good thing in the long run because it keeps the paychecks coming in. Yay money!

The problem is that it’s too busy at work to think. That’s the challenging part. The shift can be so overwhelming, that by the end of the day I just want to get home and sleep. There’s almost no time or energy left to want to even eat. That’s what days off are for.

If only there was a way to recharge in the middle of the day. Socially it’s frowned upon to take a nap at work. So the polar opposite is called upon. Caffeine is my best friend. As long as it’s just enough to keep my mind going and not my body vibrating.

Anyways, days off are approaching and this will give me a good chance to clear my mind and catch up on my naps.

How I love my naps…

Olympic Oval Package Unboxing

On Thursday our middle child received a box from the Olympic Oval in Calgary. Well, mom and dad forked over a few hundred dollars and bought the stuff inside- but it was still exciting for her to open it up!

The top of the box was super taped shut with their logo tape on it. So our daughter grabbed a knife and sliced open the box.

Inside was a “Thank You” card from the University Of Calgary and a bunch of air packs protecting their inventory. Our daughter has been planning to go to this university for a while now, I think this makes her a bit more excited about the idea.

Inside the box was a brand new Speed Skating helmet and some skating boots. Now she doesn’t need to borrow our club’s used equipment anymore. This weekend, we will heat up the boots and form them around her ankles to create a better fit.

For my wife and I, these items are an investment into our children. Speed Skating promotes health, activeness and sportsmanship. Promoting these values in our children is important as the grow up. Since our children have been Speed Skating since 2010, I have no issues buying better equipment for them to use. Even when our daughters have taken time off in the past- they always want to come back to skating.

I’m excited for our daughter and her new equipment. I think she will get some good use out of it. Who knows, maybe she will attend the University of Calgary and skate for them while she does studies.

Early Morning Post

Usually I try and schedule my posts for the mornings. I like to have them out for the day- I find I get more traffic that way. But sometimes I just don’t get my thoughts out ahead of time and need to post later in the evening.

I wake up the next day and rush to stare at my phone to see if anyone has read or responded to my blog. Usually to be disappointed.

So I’m going to try and write my blogs and have them out during the early morning on the West Coast. This is where I need to discipline myself and hunker down during my free time.

Not going to fail myself this time. I can do it!

The Wizard Of Speed and Time

The Fine Arts School that our children attend is in full session now. The children are getting excited about the upcoming year. They have a lot on their plates: various music classes, theater tech, film, photography, yearbook, carving- as well as the academic classes. This school isn’t just 9-3 either. Some days the kids arrive at 07:30am. Some days they leave at 5:30pm.

It’s a full time commitment.

My wife and I have always encouraged the children to explore and discover new talents. Our 14 year old daughter is taking Stop Motion Animation this year and I am jittery with excitement. I’ve always loved that style of animation and films- It was big for me growing up in the 1980’s.

Most of it was Claymation (like the California Raisins). With some shows on a regular rotation such as reruns of these gems:

Gumby (1956-)

Jeremy the Bear (1968-1974)


Then there were animation movies that really came out and showed off a more demonic style of “Children’s Movies”. Here is one of my favorites:

The Adventure Of Mark Twain (1985)


But the 80’s also used stop motion to capture a new style of special effect. It brought monsters to life in films such as:

Clash of the Titans (1981)


Sometimes, a stop motion film was able to tell a story about itself… This afternoon I shared with my daughter (the one taking stop motion animation) an obscure film that I enjoyed from years gone by.

The Wizard Of Speed And Time (1988)

This film is based on the short stop motion film of the same title from 1977.

The original 3 minute film was shown during a segment of The Wonderful World of Disney which is where I first saw it.

However, this version showcases the artist struggling to make his film and all the roadblocks encountered along the way. It took five years to make and was completed in 1988. I love how this film is simple in its delivery and carries numerous subliminal messages. It has a charm that won’t win it any awards, but the heart this film shares is immense.

After showing the film to my daughter, she is now more inspired to film stop motion than ever before. I hope she can bring forth some effects and styles from this film.

Perhaps one day she will be the next Wizard Of Speed and Time.