Retro Gaming Feel

Over the weekend, I set up a little area near our front door in order to play video games.

Over Christmas we received the NES and the SNES Minis. We had an old 20″ RCA tv that we were using for a computer monitor. I decided to mount it on the wall and connect the game systems.

The tiny alcove reminds me of the look on a basement from the 1970’s/early 1980’s. The perfect little spot to enjoy some retro gaming. It may sound odd, but it works. It’s also a good little spot to hideout, but still be central in the home.

Now when one of our kids are ready to go out before anyone else, they can occupy their time playing a game. It’ll help keep them out of the way and out of trouble.

Hopefully.

Mighty Neighborly

Yesterday we received a good dumping of snow that School was cancelled. Our side street is always neglected by the snow plows which sucks. Driving in or out of our home is tough. But our neighbor across the street is always Determined to plow the snow every year in order to get out of his driveway for breakfast. He saw my kids shoveling our driveway and decided to come over and use his tractor to clean up our driveway a bit faster. This made my kids happy.

Later in the day, our daughter took it upon herself to make him a thank you card. She also included a couple of packets of hot chocolate for him. She wasn’t asked to do this. Which means that my wife and I have instilled a great set of values on our children.

Kindness and compassion are paramount when it comes to being a good person. Doing it without cause or applause is a much greater feeling as well. (Chances are my kids won’t read today’s blog). I think we’ve done a pretty bang up job as parents that’s for sure. I’m also really happy that our neighbors are such kind people as well.

I love my community.

Snow Day 2019!

Today our children, as well as many of my friends’ children, are getting to experience a “Snow Day“. The snowfall finally hit us in the Lower Mainland yesterday. So many schools are shut down for today.

I can see why just looking at my yard. Our side street isn’t plowed at all and even though the driveway was shoveled, it’s already half a foot deep again.

  • Some areas are worse hit than others. I left work at North Vancouver this morning and the roads were pretty decent. But by the time I had crossed the river and drove into Langley, it was getting treacherous. I’m glad my kids are having a “Snow Day“.

    Having a “Snow Day” means four things will happen to my kids.

    1. They will play in the snow.
    2. They will warm up by the fireplace.
    3. They will enjoy a warm beverage.
    4. They will play video games.
  • It should be a fairly enjoyable day that will make the kids exhausted by dinner. Just in time for them to start complaining about shoveling the driveway again.
  • Hope everyone out there stays safe and enjoys the snow!

    Pixie Poo

    We’ve all heard stories and fables from our childhood involving Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. We even buy into these tales as adults and pass the legacy onto our children. We also speak of Leprechauns, Hobbits, witches and wizards. But there is one story that isn’t shared as much as it should be.

    I’m taking about Pixies.

    More specifically, Pixie Poo.

    What is “Pixie Poo“?

    The answer is quite obvious. Let me explain. The fables were close when they told of Tinker Bell from Peter Pan. As many fairy tales evolved, so did this one. You may think of Pixie Dust as a magical dust the fairies pull out of a vial and spread around to make the world shine.

    Nay nay. This be wrong information.

    Whenever you go to bed at night, that is when the pixies come out to play. They fly into our homes to check in on us. Gently landing on the bridge of your nose so as not to wake you. Then they roll back your eyelid, ever so slowly, to make sure you are asleep. This is when the magic happens…

    A tiny flying fairy standing on your face turns around to uses your eye as a toilet. A sparkly gold and green pixie poop landing on the inside corner right next to your nose. Pixie’s love using a person’s eyeball as a toilet because of the natural moisture produced.

    This is the truth about Pixies and their bodily functions. The more poop you find in your eye in the morning means the Pixie chose to give you an extra special night of dreaming.

    So may the eye boogers you have be a reminder of the magic that is still out there. And please share my story of the Pixie Poo.

    Taiko No Tatsujin

    We picked up the Nintendo Switch this past Christmas for the family. Originally we weren’t planning on buying it. There was just a handful of games that we thought to be worthwhile. That is until we heard in the fall that a favorite game was coming available.

    Taiko no Tatsujin

    Drum ‘n’ Fun!

    This game is so fast and has some great songs. Mind you most of the songs are from anime or video games. But ones that we recognize at the same time. We love the game because it reminds us of our trip to Japan.

    One of our Days in Japan was spent wandering around the various arcades. This is where we discovered the “Table Flip” game, the “Drum ‘N’ Fun” game and many crane games. The joy our children experienced playing these games made us desperately want to recreate it. We even tried to pick up a Nintendo 3DS version of the game while in Tokyo, but it wouldn’t work on our North American systems.

    Now that we have it in our home, we love to play it. My arms are getting a great workout as I try and keep up with the beats to the drum. On the easy level.

    I was online the other day and stumbled across this video of one of the songs being played on a real drum kit. Just look at the joy about halfway through.

    Check out the video: Drum!

    I almost want to get the “Drum” controller for our system to add to the realism. Hey honey! My birthday is coming up soon…

    Late Night Blackhole

    Last night I fell into a vortex of mind numbing uselessness. I finally recovered at around 2:30am, but the damage was done. I had slipped into a hellscape I was worried I would not be able to escape.

    I blame ALF.

    You see, the other night I downloaded TUBI on our PS4. Free movies and tv shows? Why not? Unfortunately most of the shows are B movie style. The type of show that is more filler than anything. But I did find some cartoons that I am going to watch with my kids. The original “GIJoe” and “Sailor Moon”. So that’s cool.

    I also found “ALF”. So I began watching it. The show is awful. Like train wreck that the network had invested too much money into to stop. Watching the show, I went onto IMDB and fell into a rabbit hole. Searching out tidbits about the show, the actors, and anything else.

    It got me to searching for “Garbage Pail Kids”. One of the actors collected the . I remember these stickers from my childhood. Sharing these on the playground when I was in grade 2. It was a way of expressing potty humor and not getting caught. It also created new insults and name calling if your name happened to be close to one of the characters.

    Not only were “Garbage Pail Kids” highly sought after. So were “Wacky Packages”. Taking all the name brands and putting a gross or silly spin on them. By grade 6, I had the entire collection. I wonder where they are now…?…

    But I digress. ALF is not a good show. Please Hollywood- do not Reboot it.

    School Camping Trip

    In June, my son will be attending his grade seven camping trip. My daughters each did it for their grade seven year. It’s a tradition that is upheld in our local community schools. It’s something the teachers look forward to as well as the students. It’s kind of like a farewell to the kids before they enter high school.

    The big difference this year is that I’ll be attending as one of the parent volunteers. My son requested I come at the start of the school year. Of course I wanted to be a part of it. I found out on Friday night that I have been accepted to be a chaperone. My son couldn’t be happier. I’m looking forward to it.

    I did a grade seven camp as a kid and had a pretty good time. I also attended a cub scout camp for one summer a few years prior. Both were great experiences. Looking back though, some of the councilors were a bit sketchy. Hopefully I won’t come across as sketchy.

    I’ve met most of the kids in my son’s grade. He also has a collection of what I consider to be “top notch” friends. All of them have a wonderful sense of humor and are really delightful kids. Since they’ve all met me, they know I can be a bit, uh, zany?

    In the end, I am excited about making memories for my son and his friends. The trip should be a ton of fun!

    More Astro Boy

    The place- Edmonton.

    The year- 1983.

    The time- 6am.

    Everyday before elementary school, I would watch a cartoon called Astro Boy. I had to wake up super early in order to catch the show because it started at 6am every morning. Except on weekends, when I would catch reruns of The Mighty Hercules on Sunday mornings. Two very different styles of animation and story lines.

    My daily viewing of Astro Boy started my day off on the right foot. At the end of every episode, Astro would do a recap with mistakes. The Astro voiceover would then ask if you caught his mistakes. It meant the show required undivided attention. Everyday at school, I blathered on about this cartoon constantly. This evolved into other kids also watching it. Eventually the show became the talk of the playground. We would argue over the “mistakes” and talk about that day’s villain or battle.

    As I grew up, I took the lessons that Astro- aka Atom– taught and instilled them into my life. Pure kindness and compassion shown from a robot. Who’d of thunk that an anime machine would forge my pathway through life?

    As I got older, I received the collection of 1983 Astro Boy on DVD many years ago. I also received the 2003 series. On a few road trips, my children have marathoned through both series.

    Because of my children knowing that it was a childhood favorite of mine, they bought me a couple of characters they found. These were discovered in a gas station toy aisle during one of our road trips. The toys may not hold any real value to anyone else but me. I love my family for always thinking of me.

    When I was about 18, I really wanted a t-shirt that I had discovered that depicted Astro Boy in a hologram image that would change depending on the view of him. You could see the inside workings or his outer body depending on the angle. The down side was twofold. First, this was the early 1990’s and the shirt cost $80 (approx. $150 in today’s market). Secondly it was one size too small for me.

    During our trip to Tokyo last year, I found the shirt again. My wife told me not to buy it because there is no easy way to care for the decal. Turns out she had also found the shirt and knew it would be perfect for me. This past Christmas, I received the shirt. My inner child bounced with joy.

    The original Astro Boy that came out January 1,1963 was the first cartoon to introduce Anime to the world. I have loved anime ever since I first saw Astro on tv in my living room when I was 7. I also wrote about Astro Boy last year. I’ve even expressed sadness over the end of an era for a t-shirt that I loved based on another favorite anime- Akira.

    What was you first anime show?

    Do you have fond memories of cartoons from you childhood?

    Thrift Store Shopping

    I love doing thrift store shopping. Always have. Yesterday I took my daughter and her friend to a couple thrift stops. I’m always amazed at the variety of items you can find. We were mostly looking at clothes. My daughter and her friend found a couple dresses and jackets. They even convinced my son to buy a really tacky 90’s vest.

    I found a nice Lacoste shirt and a velvet smoking jacket that I needed in my possession.

    I did find some items that were amazing in their own way. I found an oil bottle that plays music when you lift it up.

    But the best had to be the item I picked up for $2.50. We gave it to our oldest daughter and she loves it.

    This is one we will keep for years to come, much to my wife’s dismay. But almost everyone who has seen it wants it. It’s still one of my favorite thrift store finds.

    Re-String

    I learned something new this week from a coworker of mine. How to re-string a guitar. At first I was intimidated by the notion- since I’ve never really had any experience with it. But I knew I could do it with a bit of guidance.

    First, we removed the old strings and gave the guitar a wipe down. I learned about using an oil as well on the fretboard to protect the wood. I also learned about how to adjust the neck if required to straighten it out.

    I had taken the advice of getting a set of thinner gauge wire for my daughter to use. They will be easier for her hands to help create the sound she will be happier with. I’m looking forward to hearing her play once again.

    After learning what needed to be done and the care we should put into the maintenance of the guitar, I’m feeling much more comfortable about doing it myself. It’s not rocket appliances. In fact, next time I will teach my daughter what needs to be done so that she can take it on herself.

    Any further advice on care of guitars would be appreciated in your comments!