Olympic Dreams

We spent thIs past week in Fort St. John in order for our kids to get some Long Track Speed Skating training. It wasn’t until Thursday that I realized this is an Olympic Goal for many. Even those not just in British Columbia, or let alone Canada, but around the world.

When we were in Calgary we saw the Chinese Olympic Speed Skating Team doing their training. Now they are training in Fort St. John alongside my kids. This seems crazy to me because of course I want our son to succeed in his goal. I thought our 12 and 14 hour road trips were extreme. But flying in from China- that’s dedication.

This week our kids had an opportunity to learn and skate with Denny Morrison. A Long Track Olympic Speed Skater for Canada who got his start here in Fort St. John. Our daughter was even excited to have her Speed Skating helmet signed by Denny Morrison. I think our kids forget that they get coached by Eden Donatelli and her husband Julian Green. Both of these coaches have competed in the Olympics (having met at the 1988 Olympics).

After asking our son if he remembers a time before Julian, and he does not. The drive and ambition to achieve an Olympic Dream is strong in our son. He’s been coached for many years and has a strong backing supporting him. If he wants to get to the world stage, then we shall help him any way we can. Including these trips to Fort St. John or Calgary and any other provinces or counties this may take us to.

Don Quixote

You think you can hide from me? We shall have such great adventures together.

On Wednesday April 10th, there was a limited screening of “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” by Terry Gilliam. I have been waiting years for this film. About a month ago, I found out this screening was happening- As I mentioned in My blog last month, I love Monty Python and Terry Gilliam. So I found someone else who equally appreciates these things and I bought two tickets to a film.

As I watched this film in an uncrowded cinema, I realized that his movies speak to a select audience. These aren’t Marvel or Star Wars. But it’s not exactly artsy either. It’s like having a dream come to life and everyone around is sharing it with you.

For my friend and I, this film did not disappoint. Terry Gilliam successfully shared a marvelous adventure through the art of celluloid. If you watch previous films of Mr. Gilliam, you can stitch together sensations from each of his pieces. As if this film is the culmination or even the pinnacle of his film making career.

Time Bandits

Brazil

The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen

The Fisher King

12 Monkeys

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

The Brothers Grimm

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus

All of these play a part in the cinematic experience that created Don Quixote. From dream sequences to the angle of the artistic shots. From humor to homelessness and helplessness. The way insanity spreads and takes over but somehow makes everything better.

So there you have it. No spoilers. No criticisms. Perhaps one day I shall read the book. A peasant like you cannot read. I will sound the words and you can look at the pictures.

To tell you that I enjoyed the film would be meaningless.

But I enjoyed the film.

The Big Speed Skating Competition.

Today is day one of BC Short Track Championships. Our 11 year old son is competing. This is the set of races that he has been working towards all year. This is also his first year representing Langley Blades. His name was even in print. That means a lot to a young man.

This is the big event for kids and teens across our Province. Our son will compete against many of his friends from other clubs. Healthy competition and fun rivalries are abundant this weekend.

With the National Anthem finished being sung, it will soon be time to start the races. Two long days ahead of us. For our son, the other skaters and all of the audience members cheering on family and friends- it’s time to focus, stretch, and get mentally ready. Maybe one day, some of these skaters will represent our country in the Olympics. Encouraging them at a young age is paramount to their development. Time to cheer them on.

Go Skaters!

Go Langley!

Go Theory!

How I Deal With Frustration- By Looking For a Place to Move To.

When I get frustrated or grumpy with my life- I look for a new house. I will go online and search what price homes in my neighborhood are going for, then search out other neighborhoods where I can buy a place and be mortgage free. I look for places with large kitchens, new bathrooms and enough bedrooms for the family. As I find new places, I send links to my wife and tell her to pack up because we are gonna move!

Last night, my wife mentioned to our daughters that I wanted to sell the home and move. I received two very different text messages from our daughters about this at almost the exact same time.

From my younger daughter I was sent this:

Her lengthy response was sweet and genuine. Her older sister on the other hand was a bit more curt:

That’s pretty blunt. Both responses are very typical of their personalities mind you.

I have no real intention of moving. Our home is fairly awesome. It has a ton of character for its age. Our location is just far enough from the city that the commute isn’t that bad. We are also on an acre that gives us the perfect amount of privacy from our neighbors that I like.

But looking at new houses is something I grew up doing. My childhood had me moving every 2-4 years to someplace new. I enjoyed it. I wrote about some of the places I’ve lived In My Hometown and will always call Langley my home. Sometimes searching real estate listings is like dreaming. Dreaming of a different life. One without stress.

Living Like Walt

Recently a friend shared a video about Disneyland and Walt’s fascination with trains. Check it out here: Lost Disneyland. Beside the fact that I work at a railroad, my life is a reflection of Walt’s on a not-so-grand scale.


I love films and their abilty to take us away on a visual journey from our seats. Disney always made remarkable movies.  My childhood contained many memories of “The Wonderful World of Disney”, VHS rentals, and movie theater matinees. This continued until my mid-twenties.  It was a time that I began working at Colossus and had a friend working in a video store.  Movies were an integral part for the start of my adulthood or at least my early twenties. Movies are a way that I continue to bond with my children.  With Disney taking on Marvel and Star Wars- I imagine many more years of family time to come.


It all started with a mouse.” My real career also began with a mouse.  While working at the movie theater, I fell into a position as a manager at Chuck E. Cheese’s.  Where I remained for almost five years. During that time, my coworker got a job as a switchman at CN Rail.  I followed him shortly thereafter. My family has benefited from all of the paths I have chosen.  


In a sense our home is like Disneyland.  There are ongoing changes and future visions to improve how we live. There is also a bit of fantasy spread throughout. From our own theater room to a forest with woodland critters-including a small railroad in our garden.  Our home is also always open for friends to come by and just relax. 


Walt was an inspiration.  He had dreams. Dreams that continue on years after his passing. I hope for my dreams to be passed on to my family and friends. 

Dream Police

I have been having some messed up dreams as of late.  Pretty much since our weekend away.  Some of the dreams are eerily realistic while others are down right bizarre.  A part of me feels like it’s another reality.  The dream world where anything is possible.  A place where money doesn’t buy happiness.  A land of insanity that spills from one moment to the next.

Or none of that.  Maybe it’s my brain rebooting for the next waking moment.  Clearing out an old cache of half memories and useless information.  My brain doing a vitals check and moving through my body one organ and limb at a time.  A verification that I’m still here.  All of this coming through as dreams.

Perhaps I need someone to control my thoughts and subconscious as I try and rest.  Time for me to call The Dream Police.  Or at least relive some bad song lyrics that remind me of Guitar Hero 3. 

I try to sleep

They’re wide awake

They won’t let me alone

They don’t get paid to take vacations

Or let me alone

They spy on me

I try to hide

They won’t let me alone

They persecute me

They’re the judge and jury all in one

‘Cause they’re waiting for me

Looking for me

Every single night

(They’re) driving me insane

Those men inside my brain

The dream police

They live inside of my head

The dream police they come

To me in my bed

The dream police

They’re coming to arrest me.

Ah Guitar Hero 3.  A time years ago when I realized my wife is far superior than I am at videogames.  My lack of music ability would shine through.  My hand eye coordination failing miserably as I twanged every missed note on a plastic guitar shaped controller.


I worry that now she will want to relive her glory days.  Assert her power over me.  Prove her dominance in the area of videogames.

For the moment, I wish for that to be a dream: a distant memory that I could scrub from my mind.  But I know my wife won’t allow that to happen.  She enjoys keeping the Guitar controllers on display.  A trophy of how great she once was.

Toys

As I grow older I find that I have less free time to play around.  Also, the toys that I find myself longing for are getting more expensive.  Having toys occupies your free time.  Having free time is a hot commodity in this day and age.  Most people, myself included, feel that there is never enough “me time” left in a day to enjoy.

Having a family, ie: kids & wife/girlfriend (I don’t have both,that’d be crazy!) takes up most of the time left after working or sleeping.  Even those people have work/school/homework/etc that takes up their precious time.  Over the years, I have found that any leftover time is spent thinking about what to do next.  Not very often do people, myself included, take a breath and just enjoy the moment for longer than a few seconds.  I digress, let’s get back to toys!

I am often taking time to search Craigslist for stuff.  Stuff I think would be neat.  Stuff that would make me feel young.  Stuff that would make me feel like I deserved it.  Mostly, stuff I can’t afford.  


I always wanted a pinball game.  There are about four styles that I’d like to own.  However, after working at Chuck E. Cheese’s, I know they are expensive and a bitch to maintain.  But lights and sounds!


A NEW CAR!  Teslas are nice.  I’d love to own one, not because of the luxury, but because in the long run it would be cheaper than gas.  I just don’t have the initial lump sum payment to justify one.  At this time…


I love this Mercedes Gazelle Replica.  It is much cheaper than a Tesla.  I could find a decent one for about $9000.  However, I don’t have a garage to store it over winter.  That’d cost me a bit to build one first.  Plus, this would only be a “Sunday driver” and I can’t justify that.


Since we do so many road trips, I’ve been trying to convince my wife that we should buy an RV or travel trailer.  My wife made a good point though- our trips usually have us in major cities, RVs don’t belong there.  The kids and I want to do camping more, but my wife doesn’t like tents.  She’s only half sold on “Glamping” so this battle is still in the works.


Finally, the last true expensive luxury item I’d like is a boat.  Maintenance, fuel, more maintenance, more fuel, food, maintenance again- it costs money. But again, it’d be unused most of the time.  My wife and I also don’t agree on what style of boat would suit us.  She would like a bow rider for the lake, I’d like an island hopper with moorage for a weekend getaway.  Another stalemate.

Toys are fun.  So I’ll just stick with the ones I have.  Like our theater room and my train garden.  I get more use and joy from those than I probably would a boat or an RV.  It won’t stop me from searching Craigslist or eBay though.

Oh look!  A DeLorean for sale…

My son- The Future Olympian

As parents, most of us strive to make our children’s lives better than our own.  We get them into good preschools and hope they make lots of friends (but only the good ones with parents that are as like-minded as ourselves).  Then we push to get them into the right classroom with the right teacher, and sometimes even a better school.  We enter our children into after school programs, music lessons, sporting activities, and buy them electronics so they aren’t left behind by society.  We do all of this because we think it’s the right thing to do.

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You have to start somewhere.  Learning how to balance on his speed skates.

 

And it is- for the most part.  As they get older, they start to push back.  Their schedules dominate your own social life.  Suddenly, years go by and you wonder to yourself if you are doing the right thing.  Giving up is so much easier than arguing or forcing yourself to drive out of town.  Suddenly, a moment hits you like a ton of bricks.

 

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First place all the way.

There is your child superseding your expectations.  All those arguments, all those hours, all coming to fruition as they lead the pack.  You jump up and realize their potential is still there as you cheer them on.  Now, more than ever you want to boost your child up and help them reach for their goals.  All those future hours and arguments don’t matter, because at this exact moment, they are number one in your eyes.  Nothing will take that away from them, or you for that matter.

My son, the future Olympian.  I still have dreams for him and I hope he strives for the same goal.  The choice in the end is his.  I am proud of how far he’s gotten in just five years.  I don’t know where he will be in five years, but I’m willing to put forth the effort and support him in his decisions.

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How he’s grown over 5 years.