Carpet and Pets

Our home has very little in the way of carpets. Which is both good and bad.

It’s good because the wood floor is easy to keep clean especially with dog hair running rampant. We just need to sweep or vacuum regularly to remove the hairs and dirt. A light wash every so often and the floors look amazing. This type of flooring is so much better for my allergies.

For carpet- we have our media room and the main hallway upstairs. Over the weekend we finally bought a carpet cleaner… after living here for almost 14 years… I’ve borrowed carpet cleaners from friends and rented a Rug Doctor a few times in the past. But with Covid still around- it was time to just buy one for ourselves. Thank you Amazon and next day delivery!

Our hallway looks so much better and smells a ton better as well. The carpet cleaner really pulled out the pet smell from the floors. I don’t like carpet for the fact that it collects dust and allergens. But I like the softness under my feet. Maybe I can fall in love with carpet once more.

Which do you prefer hardwood, tile or carpet?

Shiver Me Timbers

As we were hanging out last night near our home at the local park, the temperature dropped quickly. The subzero temperatures carried on into the day today. We are finally feeling winter here folks. But that’s okay…

We are getting a look at that sunshine out there. I’m seeing a ton of my friends sharing pictures of walking bundled up outside, enjoying the vitamin D. Because of the sun, we are not experiencing the heavy rainfall which is nice. Next week shows a chance of snow. In all honesty that should not be too bad.

It seems everywhere else in Canada the temperatures are far lower and drop quickly as darkness falls. So I’ll enjoy the Lower Mainland and this beautiful weather.

Do you enjoy the sun even when it’s cold outside? I know I do.

Superb Sunday?

Today marks the 55th Superbowl Sunday. But it won’t look like any other. With Covid-19’s hold on the world, expect to see numerous cutouts in the stands.

But that’s not all. Bars and restaurants around North America are going to get hit hard financially. In the past, this is one of their biggest draws. I’m only hoping that society takes heed and errs on the side of precaution today.

I’m not a big sports guy. So today is little more than a quick talking point and conversation starter. I’m sure a team will win and some fun commercials will be on YouTube soon enough. If you are watching the game today- please don’t gather in large groups. That’s all I ask of the world.

Go Sports Team!

Frugal February

Ever just go online and start searching for stuff to buy? Even though you don’t need it? I caught myself doing that last night. I came to the realization that I like to “window shop” but do eventually purchase something frivolous.

For example…

Last night I went onto Amazon and looked up men’s roller skates. Why? I dunno. Maybe because I had a pair of black boot roller skates as a pre-teen before my first pair of inline skates. I thought that maybe it would be neat to own a pair again.

Gorillaz

But it took me down a rabbit hole of accessories as well. Different wheels, knee pads, wrist guards, and even Bluetooth headphones. The type that looked 80’s retro. Why? No idea. It just seemed to match.

And that got me to look at 1up arcade games. I think it would be neat to have a collection of them. But at $400-600 each it seems a tad bit eccentric to own a few, even though I love the cabinet artwork.

In the end I didn’t buy anything useless. I am choosing to go with a “Frugal February” and not buy stuff. Besides the obvious necessities. I’m also thinking that I won’t spend money eating out. That would be a good addition to the “Frugal February” mentality.

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.

The Day The Music Died

February 3rd, 1959. I was not alive for this event. But a part of me knows that the music died that day, and you can sense it… Sixty-two years later.

As I have mentioned in numerous blogs, I have an appreciation for all types of music. Music from certain decades- just feel the way that era should feel. A plane crash that took the lives of three Rock N Roll stars is exactly how the style of fifties rock music felt like it ended.

When I was younger, I loved listening to the song “American Pie” by Don McLean. I often discussed the meaning of the lyrics with anyone else who wanted to debate them. But not many really knew the song. Kind of tough to be a 13 year old who dove into the meaning of lyrics while others just wanted to be the first to hear the latest top 40.

However, my first high school girlfriend called a radio station and dedicate the song “American Pie” to me one Sunday afternoon. This was back in the days of being on a corded telephone for hours talking about anything and everything with one another just so we could hear the sound of each other’s voices. (No you hang up…) I remember that day because she abruptly got off the phone with me, then a few minutes later had called me back and told me to tune into a radio station. There was the announcement with the dedication followed by the song coming over the airwaves to me.

The simplicity of that act by her made my day. We listened to the song together while on the phone- two youngsters with no money sharing a precious moment together. I realize now how impactful the song was on that day for me; and how impactful the lyrics truly are in regards to the tragedy that occurred decades prior.

Rock N Roll was generally songs about love and romance. Losing three of the most iconic legends at the end of the fifties changed the face of music going forward. In fact, the following year brought in the wave of boy bands spearheaded by “The Beatles”. In my opinion, their style may not have taken such a grip on the world if it hadn’t been for the plane crash in 1959.

Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” helped solidify what Rock N Roll was in the 1950’s and supercharged an entirely new generation of music in the decades to follow. The loss of their lives, as tragic as it was back then, marked an exact point in music history. A point in history where Rock was about to change. A moment that the world will forever remember in one sentence…

The day the music died.

Groundhog Day 2021

After seeing “Groundhog Day” in the theaters when it first came out in 1993- I always wondered what it would be like to relive one day over and over. I saw that movie in the theater??? Ya, I was 16 at the time.

Since the debut of that film, many shows and movies have taken similar spins on the premise. Two of my favorites are:

Run Lola Run (1998)

Every second of every day you’re faced with a decision that can change your life.

Lola is a young lady whose boyfriend is caught up in crime and she needs to save him. It showcases the choices and adverse effects little moments can have. This is a beautiful 120 minute film with three possible outcomes. The soundtrack is also phenomenal with a mix of German and English throughout.

This is a film that my wife exposed me to at the start of our dating life. As I fell in love with my wife, I also fell for this movie. She bought it for me on DVD and I bought her the soundtrack on CD. About a year later, I bought her an original German movie poster of it and had it framed for her. A few years later we bought a new car. The first song we played in our brand new 2003 Honda Element was “Wish” from the soundtrack sung by the lead actress, Franka Potente.

This is my other favorite “Groundhog Day” inspired show:

Supernatural: Season 3 Episode 11. “Mystery Spot”

Sam relives the same day over and over again having to deal with his brother Dean’s death repeatedly.

“Supernatural” tv series has been around forever it seems. This particular episode came out in 2008. It stars one of my favorite characters in the series: The Trickster.

Much like the film “Groundhog Day” that it copies, the day starts off with the radio playing the same song over and over again. This time using Asia’s “Heat of the Moment”. My daughter marathoned through the “Supernatural” series last summer and loved this episode so much, she downloaded the song. She chose it as her alarm for the first day of school (which was on a Tuesday, just like in this episode).

Unfortunately this show has its ups and downs and not every episode is as entertaining as this one was. But The Trickster makes a few appearances in later episodes. Such as the episode titled “Changing Channels” which was clearly a rip off of the film “Stay Tuned” from 1992 starring John Ritter. I saw that in the theaters as well. Gawd I’m old…

Maybe I really don’t want to relive one day over and over. It’s better to reminisce and move on. All of life’s choices can make big impacts even if the decision is relatively small.

Laughing After Work

Every couple of weeks I work opposite a fella who I enjoy talking with. We have gotten into a routine of conversations while we drive to and from work. I really appreciate those phone calls.

We talk about pretty much everything. Work, family, the weather… you name it. But my favorite phone call is the one we have after work. That is when we share all the stuff that has occurred throughout the day. And we laugh. A lot.

It’s a great feeling to unwind after a long shift with a mutual kindred spirit. In all honesty, sometimes all we can do is laugh. Some of the most ridiculous things can occur in a twelve hour period. And it must be laughed about.

Blended Days

January is ending shortly. Probably the fastest feeling month of the entire pandemic. How did this entire month fly by?

For me it was because every single day blended into the next. Half my week was spent at work. The other half was spent decluttering the house. Every week for the past month has been like that. Go to work then come home to cleaning. I’m not even sure why or how the entire month dissipated into nothingness.

I have a feeling February is going to surge past as well. Especially since it’s only 28 days long. Perhaps this pandemic will be behind us by summer. We can only hope that the months go by quickly towards a cure.

After that, I want the days to stretch on forever. Yes, even the days at work. I want to appreciate life in a sense of normalcy once more.

Not blending all my days together.

Tastes Trapped In Time

Fresgo. Forever trapped in Surrey.

Yesterday I took my daughter out for a late lunch date. We went to a place that I haven’t been to in twenty years. Fresgo Inn (Don’t bother with the website as it feels as if someone in the late 90’s attempted html). It has not changed in all the time I can remember. Nor was it very updated two decades ago either. This restaurant is trapped in some weird time vortex. Plus it was really difficult to locate. As if the Matrix had moved it two inches to the left.

My daughter and I walked into the cafeteria style restaurant and the first thing we noticed was the way the tile floor was grooved out by all the decades of foot traffic. Behind the plexiglass cabinets were styrofoam plates (styrofoam? Who uses that?) with oversized dessert portions. The same style of desserts that have been sold for ages.

The meals we chose were simple. Montreal style poutine and a cheeseburger. Massive portions, for the price we paid, created by a chef in one of those tall cylindrical paper hats. We ate our lunch at a table with mismatched chairs from the 70’s.

We ended up bringing plates of desserts home. The chocolate pie was rich and artificial tasting. The cheesecake tasted as if the chef had been smoking prior to starting his shift. Stale smoke filled every bite. It was like stepping into a time machine and taking a bite out of the 1980’s.

Besides the awkward feeling the restaurant has, it’s not my regular fanfare of foods. But it was worth a trip down memory lane. If I avoid it for another couple of decades- it may turn into The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe. Which it was already on the way to become.

Sea Shanties

Somehow I keep up with ridiculous trends. Even when it’s unintentional. Most recently is listening to Sea Shanties on Spotify. I guess I’m hip with the cool kids.

My first Space Lego Set (from 1979- given to me in 1981)

I’ve always enjoyed songs that can tell a story. It’s probably why I obsess about musicals so much. When I was about five years old, my mother gave me an Irish Rovers record for my Birthday. And a Lego Set. I built, played and rebuilt that Lego set over and over again while listening to the Irish Rovers. Odd memory that’s for sure, but it helped make me who I am today.

Canadian/Irish Musicians performing in Australia. (Album from 1976)

My mother would also play Scottish Highland songs on our stereo. Hearing voices that harmonized so eloquently is something I have enjoyed for decades. The newest Tiktok trend of singing Sea Shanties is right up my alley.

I don’t have a favorite Shanty or pub song. But you will catch me singing along to them on occasion. Do you have a favorite genre of music that isn’t mainstream? Let me know in the comments.

Ignoring the Faults in What You Love

We all have something that we love to indulge in. Be it food, a sports team, a book, a park, or even a movie franchise. Whatever the case may be, we each have a thing we love. And most of us ignore the flaws.

And we love to share these interests with others. Myself for example- I really enjoy Star Wars. The movies, the books, the toys, the props, the tv shows- all of it. I just love the sci-fi fantasy realm that has been created.

But it’s not perfect. I can even look past the flaws- Those Ewok movies and the Christmas Special- and still appreciate the shows. Nothing is perfect. And that adds to the charm of the series. The diehard fans can nitpick and dissect the shows all they want. But I’m gonna still love the series no matter what.

Especially Empire Strikes Back. That is the best of the film series hands down. Maybe Rogue One…

Vision Board

Recently I’ve seen a few mentions of something called “A Vision Board”. The idea fascinates me and I think it’s a unique idea. It’s something that I plan on trying this spring. Why am waiting until then? I dunno. It just seems like the right time. Maybe I should make a “Vision Board” about making a “Vision Board”…

What is a “Vision Board”? Basically it’s a poster board made up of images. You can create a collage of dreams and goals you have for yourself. Back in high school I remember collages being the big thing to do. Take some old magazines and cut out pictures that represent something and glue them all together. With a “Vision Board” it’ll give you something to focus on and work towards.

I always have goals. But doing something like a “Vision Board” might help to make them feel less lofty and more achievable. Seeing goals might help with motivation in achieving those goals.

Have you done a “Vision Board” before? Did it work for you? Let me know in the comments.

I also have no idea why I kept putting the words “Vision Board” in quotes.

Five Years Of Blogging

Well folks I made it this far and you have joined me for the ride. I am about to crest my five year mark of writing every single day. I cannot believe that I have been blogging now for 1825 days in a row.

I have diligently written every day for these five years- no matter what. I have written about movies and music (I’m not an entertainment blogger) and enjoying small businesses (I’m not an influencer). I even write about family (Not a parenting blog) or when I was on vacation in other countries (Nope, not a travel blog).

I just write for the sake of writing. Sometimes what I share can be inspirational. Most often it is to remind people that life is good and memories are worth sharing. Many people can relate to my experiences it seems, which can make for pleasant interactions with my audience.

Generally speaking, I don’t have thousands of followers. But of the almost 900 people that do follow and choose to interact with me, I will respond to every comment made. That always makes me happy. Last year in 2020, I had over 14,000 views on my site. That seems like an astronomical amount of strangers visiting my ramblings. Especially when I look at my stats and see that people all over the world read about my life.

I just want to say a hearty “Thank You” to all my friends and followers out there. I’m sure some days you think to yourself, “There’s Josef’s blog, showing up in my newsfeed again.” While other days you may look forward to seeing what I have in store.

I’m still Making It Up As I Go

I plan to keep my momentum going and will continue to share my thoughts each and every day. Please keep reading, sharing and interacting with me.

Love, Josef Making It Up As I Go

Lava

The word “LAVA” is so much fun. When you say it, your brain naturally goes to the idea of Volcanoes and oozing hot magma. Even the word “magma” is fun to say. I’m also enjoying “Lavazza” coffee these days. How fun is that? It’s like I’m pretending to have lava coffee!

When I was in grade 1 (…damn this story is starting waaaaaaayy back when…) I would take out a book about volcanoes from the library every week. Most kids were obsessed with dinosaurs or the Old Testament, that whole Catholic school thing; but I liked volcanoes. Plus every tv trope involving kids and science fairs naturally had a model volcano that made a mess. I remember trying to paper mache my own volcano and made a mess in the basement before completing it.

As well, when I was growing up, I also always wanted a Lava Lamp. In the late 80’s it wasn’t an easy item to find for a decent price. Many lamps cost around 100 bucks in 1987 dollars- so around $230 in today’s money. Not something reasonable for an 11 year old to afford back then.

Fast forward to around 2004… I was in the middle of my five year career at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Where I was in charge of the prize wall- and was permitted to take a prize or twenty home for myself. I took full advantage of this for my kids. They got a lot of toys. But the one that I loved most for me was a Lava Lamp telephone.

We have not had a “landline” in years in this house. In fact, my lava lamp phone was put in storage and forgotten about long before we removed our home phone. This “editing/ purging” kick meant my kids discovered the phone once more. Our son had never seen it, or at least doesn’t remember it. I don’t think I’m quite ready to part with it. So it gets another shot at being plugged in for fun.

Do you like lava lamps? Or do you have memories about volcanoes you wish to share?

Let me know in the comments so I can share them from my secret volcanic lair!

Milk Life Hack

Just like the rest of you, I see videos of “Life Hacks” in my newsfeed all the time. Some are kind of neat, others are down right ridiculous. I found one that I had seen numerous people do and claimed to work, so I put it to the test.

Our daughter received a mug for Christmas. She loved it. But upon the second or third time using it, she noticed it had a hairline crack.

Liquid would essentially “bleed” out the side of her mug. What I found strange is that there was no visible crack on the inside. Off to the Internet I went in search of how to fix this. Turns out people say to use milk.

So I did what the Internet recommended. Boiled the mug in some milk. Then let it cool before cleaning it off. You know what?

It didn’t work.

The mug still leaks. Perhaps I did something wrong. Or perhaps it simply doesn’t work. Either way, my daughter still has a lovely pen holder mug.

Clean Sleep

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it really bears repeating. There’s something wonderful about sleeping on clean bed sheets.

Washing bed sheets is something that kind of gets overlooked on a weekly basis at our home. Every week, my wife does laundry. In fact it’s almost daily it seems. But the beds? Each bed is practically a load on its own. So they get forgotten or ignored for a bit longer. But it’s awesome when those sheets are fresh and it’s time for bed.

I think that’s why I love hotels. They will change the sheets DAILY if you want them to. When traveling, if we are extremely active for the day, I’ll get the sheets changed. Honestly, that’s the beauty of vacations and traveling. Nightly sleeping in clean bed sheets.

Aw man, now I miss traveling. Maybe I should ask my wife to wash the bedding every day… That would go over well.

Pay It Forward

I’m always of the belief that we should help others out in the best way possible. It goes beyond just giving donations to charitable organizations. We need to help one another achieve more every day.

I have found over the years that the majority of people out there need help. But many of us have difficulty asking for it. One of the best things that ever happened to me was a friend referring me to the company I now work for. Since that time, I have done my part and recommended others to apply here as well. Not everyone has garnered employment, but I have done my part to try and lead them to greener pastures.

Lending a hand is also a personal activity of mine. I’ll make myself available to assist friends and family whenever possible. Helping my kids and wife is always a priority when it comes to this. I’m not saying I put their needs ahead of mine, but rather I accept that their needs are of equal importance and will help out when able.

Over the years I have learned skills and growth from many coworkers, friends and family. My family and I have gotten to where we are with the help of those who care. I have also assisted others in personal development. We are all in this together- why not build one another up and “Pay it Forward”.

21st

Today is one of those special numeric days in the Gregorian Calendar. I always love it when days like this pop up. It’s kind of a nerdy numbers thing.

It’s the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century. How cool is that? The down side? All day I will be singing an annoying song from a creepy children’s show.

There was an old Canadian tv show ftom the 80’s called Circle Square. I remember it being a Sesame Street style education and Christian feelings type of show. Nothing that really stood out about the show except for the end song where they asked viewers to right letters. It was the address of the tv station being sung.

2121 Station F Toronto Ontario, M4Y 2N9. An address that I knew as well as my own when I was a child. I was trying to find a video clip of it, but had no luck. But if you were a Canadian kid in the 80’s- I guarantee you will remember the way the song sounded from those little choir sounding kids.

For the rest of the world- enjoy the 21st!

Junk It.

Over the past couple of weeks we have been actively donating and Giving away items that we no longer use. However it feels as though we’ve hardly made any headway in decluttering. Now that most of the “gently used” and “well loved” items are gone, it’s time for the big play.

Time to get ready and Junk It all.

That means gathering all the big items that are just too damn large to toss out or get recycled and have someone haul them off for us. It’s going to be a pretty arduous task to collect everything in order to get the best bang for my buck when collected.

We have an old pool table, a fridge, scrap wood, scrap metal, old electronics, broken power tools, and just stuff that we need to ditch. Some items are still in our possession because of the mindset “Maybe this will be useful one day.” Only that day never arrives.

Catchy radio jingle. That means I should call them.

So as I take advantage of the weather over the next day or two, the trash heap will grow. Until I finally have had enough and call a junk removal company to haul it all away.

Why do we keep so much crap? Is it laziness in throwing it all away? Or perhaps the frustration that you once owned something that is now rendered useless? Whatever it may be, I have a collection of junk to get rid off now.

It Does Not Make Sense

I have no idea why today was so difficult. Work was challenging, but nothing crazy. Driving home had a bad pocket of volume, but no reason behind it once we passed the area. And then at home, everyone was on edge and short with each other.

Why?

No idea. Just a bad day of feeling poopy.

Now I’m laying in bed getting ready to go to sleep, when something completely obscure occurred to me…

You poo poo.

As in “poo” the action.

And “poo” the product.

Or am I calling you a name?

“Poo poo.” It doesn’t make any sense. Kind of like today’s blog. But it brought me a giggle to irritate my wife by annunciating the word “poo” with different inflections.

Finally, she said “You poo poo” to me. Pretty sure it was meant an insult. However she did giggle after.

I can now go to sleep happy after a conversation with my oldest where she asked, “Does Pooh poo poo-poo?” That sentence alone makes sense. Because you can also ask, “ Does poo-poo poo Pooh?”

Aw man am I tired. Sorry about the poo.

Da Ba Dee

Last year I wrote about Blue Monday. Well, here we are again- it’s that time of year once more. Blue Monday.

This year I don’t feel so negatively as I have in the past. So I figured why not be a bit more upbeat? Eiffel 65 was the artist behind the video I’m Blue from the 90’s. Most everyone I know will hate me for getting that song stuck in their head.

Besides getting my family and friends to hate me for that song, there’s going to be a tasty treat for later. My family picked up a can of soda from an Asian market today. It’s in a blue can and it’s called “Candy Flavor”. How fun! And I’m guessing sugar coma inducing.

What better way to beat the blues than with music and sugar! Like a party created for six year olds! Let’s beat those blues away.

Blanket Coverage

Ever since moving into this house, we have always had blankets in our living room. We find it makes life a little bit more cozy while enjoying movies. Having a blanket brings forth a sense of comfort.

A few years ago, my wife made some “Theater Blankets” for each of our kids. The material is made of a fun fleece print with images of popcorn and such. She gave each blanket a separate trim colour so the kids could tell them apart.

The blanket I use, and often fight with my family because they want it as well, is my ALF blanket. I was given this blanket about 20 years ago at a company baseball game. A coworker had brought it to lay in the field with and I asked if I could have it at the end of the day. He didn’t mind, so now I have a comforter that I wrap myself into to stay snug.

We have a box that we are now keeping these blankets in when not in use. Even though we use these blankets almost daily! But it will help to keep the room clean and tidy. For now at least…

Or do you sit on your couch in a blanket while watching movies or tv?Do you have a favorite blanket? Let me know in the comments.

Nikko Sushi

My wife and I were welcomed to our favorite sushi restaurant for lunch today. It was quiet in the restaurant, but we were still seated in one of the closed off booths for added privacy. We have been coming here since they opened their doors- 20 Years Ago. Our Loyalty for great sushi is with them.

Every time we arrive, the staff (its a family run business) talk to us as if we were part of their family. At first we only went for birthdays and special occasions. Now we end up going there once a month it seems. The quality and value is unsurpassed.

When Nikko first opened, and for a couple of years following, they would take our picture. If you look closely in a few of the booths you will find our family up on the wall. For twenty years, the staff at Nikko Sushi has watched out family grow. Even today, when it was just my wife and I, they asked about our kids.

Because of our commitment to them, we are treated like royalty when we walk in those doors. Almost every meal we end up getting a sample of some sort of treat they have. And every year for their anniversary, we have been given a gift. Previously we have received bottles of wine, this year was a lovely hand towel (that our oldest daughter has claimed.) We also leave a generous tip as I have always proudly supported small business.

If you haven’t eaten at Nikko Sushi, you absolutely have to try it. Trust me, it is quality food. I plan on still going there over the next twenty years!