It was Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. As usual, my wife and I made a turkey dinner. We had a couple of friends over to enjoy the feast. I didn’t take many photos as it was more important to live in the moment.
We had a great time enjoying drinks and dinner. We started the afternoon by sitting on our back deck with our gas fire pit on. We enjoyed the views and had some great laughs as the turkey cooked.
We had dinner at around six o’clock, just as the sun was starting to set and the cool air was closing in. After dinner, we enjoyed the ABC’s of desserts. Apple pie, Brownies, and Cheesecake. Our friend made an amazing cheesecake! Each and every dessert was decadent. We also had a sampling of Apple Pie Bailey’s as a little treat.
I’m always happy to open up our home for friends. Sharing food and drinks is an integral part of kindness and humanity. I am also looking forward to the leftovers and turkey meals we will be having over the next week or so.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends! May you be blessed with good food and good company this weekend.
Yesterday afternoon, some of my friends tied the knot. They did it in a way that was special and meaningful to them. It wasn’t extravagant or lavish. The service was humble and friendly. It was exactly the kind of service you would expect from them.
First of all, it was a fairly short announcement to the wedding day. Even though Jay and Leona have been a couple for quite some time, it was just the right time to get married. The venue was at a friend’s place where they (or we if you wish) have spent many a weekend enjoying each other’s company over food and drinks.
Jay and Leona kept it low key and simple. Their friends came together to setup tents, tables, decor and made food. Even though it was raining periodically, that didn’t stop the festivities. It was essentially a large BBQ with a wedding thrown in. In fact, right after the “I Do’s” were said, the two of them got changed back into their street clothes to relax. It was wonderful that they shared their love with us and we all got to hang out.
Sometimes I think back to when I first met them. Each was in a different aspect in my life within a couple years of each other. As well, their lives intersected periodically until the universe finally linked them together.
It was a good time yesterday with loads of smiles and laughs. I wish many more years of happiness to Jay and Leona! Congratulations once more.
Yesterday we spent the afternoon and evening with a couple of friends. All of our kids were off doing their own thing, so my wife and I had a night to ourselves. First was hanging out at our place for a drink and appetizers.
Costco is great for finding quick and easy foods to share. I made some mini wontons and potato skins for us to share. Hanging out in the kitchen is always a great way to converse. Having a large kitchen island made it even better.
Afterwards we headed to a local establishment called “The Vault Restaurant”. It’s been around for ages and was built in an old bank. Kind of a steampunk/industrial feel inside. The food was great and the company was entertaining. It was ridiculously fun.
It’s been a while since my wife and I headed out for a night with friends. I’m glad we did as it turned into a fantastic evening. Date nights are becoming somewhat more frequent now that our kids are teenagers. It means my wife and I can get to know one another again. For that, I am grateful.
After last Wednesday’s funeral, I had mentioned how I was going to get back into Facebook and search out friends once more. Some people have found me and added me. But generally speaking- it has been me reaching out again. It was as my choice over two years ago to leave Facebook Friends behind after all.
In the short time since starting my friend gathering, I have accumulated 124 Facebook Friends. When I left back in March 2019 I was at almost 400. It feels like I hit reset on a game and my saved progress is gone.
Time to go in like Ash Ketchum on his adventures to get Pokémon! I’m 14% of the way there. Considering there are 898 total currently out there. I can hit that number of Pokémon friends quick enough.
So as I try and gather up my friend numbers, I’m going to use my power-up: kindness. It’s super effective. Gotta catch’em all!
An old friend of mine from the late 90’s passed away recently. Today was his funeral service. His name was Andrew Porter.
“Porter” by definition comes from the Latin portatorem: one who carries. Andrew Porter carried many of us through a strange and unusual time in our lives.
After the service, a dozen of us went for lunch and shared stories of our youth. There were catch phrases- little inside jokes only we understood. Here were the craziest ones:
She bit my dick!
Break out the saki! Andy got laid!
Andy’s smoking “American” cigarettes.
I’m a lover, not a fighter!
Scabbies (there are a ton of songs on this subject)
Our lives back then made me realize how lucky I am to have endured those days. We were stupid teenagers doing stupid shit thinking we would live forever. Andy was my next door neighbor for a few years at the end of high school- that’s how we became friends.
We were the delinquent houses where groups of us would get drunk and high. From those insane catchphrases and memories, I’m glad I lived the life I did with Andy close by sharing in the journey.
As the years went on, eventually I lost touch with him. Seeing him fourteen years ago was the last time. I could view his life on Facebook, but in March of 2019 I chose to erase my Facebook friends. Today I realized that I still need Facebook friends. I need to follow them so that I know that they are okay.
Because one day they will be gone. Just like Andy.
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida Andy. You will be missed, but the memories lasted a lifetime.
Yesterday we had some close friends over for an evening of hanging poolside. I love to entertain, and our anniversary was a great reason to have friends over.
We supplied our guests with food and drinks. There were bottles of wine chilling on ice for everyone’s pleasure. I had also printed off some custom labels for the water bottles. I made sure to keep everyone hydrated as we hung out in the sunshine.
Most of the evening I spent wandering around and socializing with everyone. At one point in the evening my buddies and I took a “Bro Pic”. We had done the same thing years ago at a brewery. It was the only picture i know of that was taken all day.
That’s a good thing. It means everyone was having fun and distracted from their phones. My wife and I are lucky to have such great friends that we have known for years. Even better is the fact that they mesh well with one another.
A hearty thank you to everyone for coming over and having fun yesterday. We look forward to having our friends over more often now that we are settled into our new home.
Today I suddenly felt old. Which is a strange sensation when it hits you. It was one of those Throwback Thursday moments. I found out that something I once enjoyed turned 32 today.
When I was twelve or thirteen, I began watching Saturday Night Live. I didn’t always stay up late to watch it, instead I used my parent’s VCR and would record the show and watch it early Sunday morning. I discovered a great cast of stars like Mike Meyers, Dana Carvey, Victoria Jackson, Phil Hartman, even Jon Lovitz and others.
I kept a collection of footage on numerous tapes, each about six hours in length. When I went to visit my best friend at spring break and over summer, I would bring these tapes and we would watch them over and over. At one point, my parents got a second VCR, so I would edit my favorite clips together.
One of the most ridiculous sketches was still one of my favorites. It actually involves Steve Martin. And no, it wasn’t one of the classic ones from the 70’s and early 80’s. It was about a cat.
Toonces! The cat who could drive a car. He drives around, all over the town- he’s Toonces the driving cat.
The jingle was silly and to the point. The sketch was stupid. So dumb that at age 13- I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Toonces turned 32 today. I feel really old, but still giggled when I looked up the sketch on YouTube.
I shared the fact that Toonces is 32 with my best friend who would watch those Saturday Night Live recordings with me. We have been friends since kindergarten in 1981. That’s a long time. Nearly 40 years now.
Do you have any random memories that make you feel old?
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.
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 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.
This morning I met with a friend that I haven’t seen in about a year and a half. I suggested we do what the older people in my neighborhood do. So we went for a breakfast up the road at the Co-Op and shared stories over a cheap meal and cheap coffee. Like a couple of old guys just being old guys meeting up.
The reason for our lengthy absence wasn’t evident nor important. Life just, uh, finds a way. And life gets busy. We were both still in contact through social media and the occasional text message. But meeting face to face is always different.
What could’ve been a quick meet up, turned into a three hour talk. Discussions about family, work, and even politics were on the table. A healthy back and forth, sharing the ups and downs as of late, and offering sage advice to one another. We both have similar outlooks on all of the above. Both of us aiming to stay positive and working towards just being better people.
After three hours together, it felt as if we hadn’t lost anything in our friendship. Those hours today only felt like a brief moment. A moment that I was surprised had lasted so long. I sense that our friendship won’t ever falter. Perhaps we can meet up more often as the world gets settled into a new lifestyle.
It was good to talk to that old friend as we acted like old guys. My advice- don’t be afraid to just drop a line to someone who mattered in your life. You never know when you both need to reconnect.
Today was spent relaxing at home, aka: Castle Havelka. I made some pretzel bites and a couple of the kids helped clean the homestead. It felt good.
In the afternoon a friend of mine stopped by. He brought over a case of beer and we were shooting the breeze while our sons played some video games. My buddy and I had a great evening just hanging out.
It was nice to be a couple of guys hanging out. No talk of work. A bit about family. But mostly just being us. A few good cracks at one another, and a lot of memories over a case of Dragon’s Lair Beer.
We took on the Dragon and killed it. And it was tasty. I will definitely Storm the dragon’s lair again.
I am an adult. I do adult things. I work hard to be the best husband and father that I can be. I also have friends and coworkers who rely on me and whom I rely on equally. I think I’m doing a pretty good job out there.
Over the years, I have chosen to lose contact with certain friends. Sometimes we just drift apart. Other times it was a misunderstanding or disagreement. That’s totally fine. Recently I was contacted by an old friend out of the blue. We shared stories and thoughts as if we hadn’t skipped a beat in our friendship. When I’m usually the one reaching out, it was heartwarming to know that he reached out to me instead.
As an adult with a life I in which I am trying to have filled with joy and happiness, I’ve chosen to lose contact with my mother and sister. My mother and sister have their own lives. I was often putting forth the effort to stay in contact and don’t have the energy to do it any further. It’s been a few months now, and I’m okay with that. After a few decades, it’s time to move on. I have other people who mean more to me in my life.
On the other hand, it’s also hard to want to miss somebody who could’ve been a bigger part of my life. How do I miss someone I’ve never met, like my Unknown Half Sister? It’s weird to think that there could’ve been someone I could look up to and ask advice. But that never came to fruition. That was more my parents’ choice to hide her existence for most of my childhood. As an adult, I just don’t care to discover an estranged stranger on the other side of the planet.
I sometimes dwell on the past. But I also move forward from these thoughts rather quickly. As I write this I know that it is helping me move forward with my life. I’m excited about the possibilities that my future has in store with friends and immediate family. Perhaps one day I’ll miss someone I haven’t met yet.
I’m a fan of living life for the sheer enjoyment of it. I have never taken myself that seriously. I don’t think anyone else takes me too seriously either. How could you?
Some days I dress based on how I feel. Be it a superhero or a goofball. I don’t think I have one set look. Jeans and a t-shirt is my comfort zone I guess. But I can still dress elegantly when I want.
When I take selfies with friends and family- I bring out some fun in their hearts as well. I love seeing people smile and express a bit more of their crazy side.
Even the few celebrities that I’ve taken pictures with have enjoyed that I don’t need to be uncomfortable or serious. The biggest constant in who I am is that I’m ever changing. Monty Python sang it best:
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true You’ll see it’s all a show Keep ’em laughing as you go Just remember that the last laugh is on you
Our last day at Twenty Mile Bay started like every other day. It was warm and sunny out.
First thing after breakfast, my buddy and I hit the lake on the kayaks. It was calm and glass like on the water.
Later in the afternoon, I went out kayaking with my wife. We were out for about an hour or so on the water. As we returned the water began to get choppy. It was still warm out, so I grabbed a camping chair and sat with my feet in the water.
Then the wind picked up. My wife brought out our kite- nicknamed “Mighty Kitey“. We bought this kite on our honeymoon back in 2001. My wife gets great joy proving that she can keep it flying longer than I can. The wind continued on into the night sending a warm breeze through our campsite all night long.
Right before dinner, our daughter suffered a terrible accident. She took a sip of her soda that was poured into a glass with a straw. Immediately she spat it out. A wasp had climbed into her drinking straw and drowned. She had a mouthful of pop and a dead wasp in her mouth. As she spit it out, the dead wasp happened to sting her inner lip.
An old trick I learned came into action. We cut a fresh onion and she placed it behind her lip where she got stung. The juices from the onion helped to nullify the venom in her mouth. Within a few minutes the swelling was down and she was only left with some bad breath.
Crazy end to our lovely camping trip, that’s for sure.
I enjoyed last night more than I’ve enjoyed previous gatherings at my home. It was because people came out for the sake of visiting and enjoying dinner. Not like the old days of Friday night pre-party drinks leading to a late night of drinks.
Most of my friends have matured. Myself included. Those feelings of suffering a hangover are long behind us. Casual drinks and good food are much more enjoyable. And that’s what we experienced.
Last night our BBQ started at 7pm. By 9:00pm the first of my friends started to depart. Then the next wave of people were leaving just before 10:00pm. By 11:00pm everyone had gone home. I couldn’t have been happier. Everybody left with full stomachs and a smile. No weird drama, no drunk shenanigans, no mess to clean up. I was in bed by midnight.
I’d call that a successful dinner party. Those are the kinds I’d like to host more often. Good friends and good food makes for a good time.
My day yesterday was filled with meeting up with friends while in Calgary. It was fun and magical in many ways.
First was a lunch with a friend of ours we originally met at the Calgary Expo eight years ago. He and I shared stories of our kids, work and caught up on life. It was different this time around because we weren’t at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo having a weekend of laughs in between sales. It was a condensed, pleasurable, laugh riot meal.
Before dinner, we went to the Skyline Luge again. This time we brought my wife and met up with some other Speed Skaters from Langley. It was a laugh riot, again! My wife really enjoyed it and in the end was upset that I had already done this earlier in the week without her.
Afterwards, we went to visit our other friends again (these were the ones we met up with earlier in the week at Gorilla Whale). This time we met up at the their home. We were introduced to a large stuffed shark that tried the devour two of my kids. Later we fooled around with the Occulus Quest. The first quality VR to not need a big computer or extra wiring. It has a life span of 2hrs, which we fully used up.
It was also great to see my wife immerse herself into the game system. My wife hadn’t tried any VR like the rest of us did three years ago when we went to Silcon Valley (read about it here: Button Mashing). Unfortunately, now she wants one. We’ll see what happens in the future- maybe the excitement will wear off.
Or maybe she’ll be escaping into a whole new environment.
Our oldest daughter turned 17 yesterday. With it came another turning point into adulthood and a fantastic dinner with some friends of ours.
Starting off the day, she wanted a piercing through the cartilage on the upper part of both ears. So we stopped at a place in Calgary called Tribal Expression. The store was clean; the staff were professional and courteous. They also offered a reference to a piercing location near our home- one province over- which eased my mind a bit more.
During the process I still got to be “Daddy” as she wanted to hold my hand while getting the piercings done. That made me feel good inside. Plus, our daughter is happy with her new hoops she got installed for her birthday. Oh, and I was $148 lighter in my bank account.
Afterwards, we stopped at the nearby Starbucks in order to get the very “Instagram Worthy” Tie Dyed Frappuccino. This gave my girls a chance to share pics online and have a good bonding moment while I recovered from the cost and noticeable perforations that are now in my daughter’s ear lobes.
Later in the evening we meet up with some old friends in Calgary at a restaurant called Gorilla Whale. There were hugs and stories to be shared as we all tried our best to contain our excitement of meeting up again. We love these two and they have been long standing friends of ours since we first started going to conventions.
Not only was the company great, but the food at the restaurant was a fantastic mix of Japanese and Western creativity. I opted for the Godzilla burger- which contained wagyu beef, foie gras and unagi. (Cow, duck liver, and eel). The food was awesome and reasonably priced-ish. (I think I’ve spent more money on a regular excursion for sushi at our regular joint.)
All-in-all it was a good day of our daughter experiencing the joys of adulthood. Treating yo’self, sending time with old friends, and enjoying a night out at a fancier restaurant than usual. I hope she continues to enjoy and experience life to its fullest.
Today is July 4th and with it is the American Celebration of Independence Day! Up here in Canada, my family and I celebrate by watching ID 4 every year since I can remember. It has been a favorite Tradition of ours.
I love it because the film is so cheesy and fun and I’ve watched it every year since it came out back in 1996 when I was 20. That’s 22 years so far of watching this film for me. We even made a trip on the Extraterrestrial Highway a few years ago so I could see a time capsule for the film.
But today we may not get to enjoy it as a family- thus possibly breaking a tradition and that makes me kinda sad. It seems like plans and schedules could be interrupting our family movie watching.
My wife and our oldest daughter are working during the day and won’t be done until 6pm. I made a commitment to an old friend and a coworker to go and see their first live musical performance gig this evening. I even bought a couple of tickets in advance. I’d really like to see how good they’ve gotten.
So do I cancel on the family? With our teenage kids growing up and having their own lives- these moments we share are rather important and starting to dwindle. Can I just stop a tradition that is decades old and one that I enjoy?
Or do I cancel my plans to support my friends and their first ever show? I’ve seen my old friend perform over twenty years ago on many occasions, it’s just that this is his new band. But it’s also in Vancouver which is a 45 minute drive there and 45 minute drive home late tonight. I bought tickets for my wife and I, but I hadn’t confirmed if she wanted to go when I did.
So what do I do? Cancel on family or cancel on friends? Who is more understanding? I think I know the answer now that I’ve written out my dilemma. It seems kind of obvious now.
For the second time in two days, old friends have popped out of the woodwork and sent me texts. It’s pretty cool to know that you are randomly thought of. Anyhow, on with today’s blog.
Back in September of 2015, our son took part in a short video about a local toy store. It was made by a former coworker friend of mine from back in my Movie Theater days. Late Friday night my friend shot me a text linking to the YouTube video. I had completely forgotten that they made this.
2015 at age nine
It was a great experience for my son. He was literally a kid in a toy store. All he did was talk about the toys while a camera followed him around. They did this for hours and my son enjoyed every minute of it. My friend had a ton of footage to go through.
My friend Dan loves films. He was a collector of many movies and watches almost everything. This was his foray into making his own. I like the premise of what he made. It was in a style similar to Comic Book Men. Which by the way is made by Kevin Smith who also loves visiting Toy Traders as seen here: Kevin Smith Live at Toy Traders.
I hope Dan keeps creating films and shows. He is extremely passionate about the medium.
This weekend was a tough one for me. It’s the first year that we aren’t doing the Convention Circuit. And our favorite con- Calgary Expo- just ended.
I missed seeing our friends. The jokes, the smiles, the love. But we couldn’t go. New commitments, the kids growing older, and the realization that there is no money in the Banana Stand this year.
Our Con Family made the pilgrimage to the yearly reunion. We did not. I sent messages of encouragement and watched on social media how their weekend was. A little bit of me died inside this weekend. It was already hard last year when we had to Say Goodbye one last time.
Now the weekend is over. No new con memories made- at least not for us. I’m sure our friends had some entertaining moments. At least that’s what I could see from time to time on social media while hiding out one province over. Maybe one day my family and I will make the trek out to where it all began for us. But I doubt it.
I think that part of my life must remain in my past. Just a distant memory of the way things once were. Time to move on and let others create their own memories.
My family, friends and coworkers generally find farts amusing as well. The first time I let out some gas in front of my wife- when we were first dating- I was incredibly embarrassed. Now, she out shines me and puts my farts to shame. Both in sound and odor.
Farting around coworkers or friends is kind of the same. It takes a bit to open up around each other. There is a comfort level that you need to get to with one another prior to the first fart. Once that Pandora’s box is open, there’s no putting it back. It can turn into an all-out gas war. Each trying to out do the other. Or not warning one another and letting the smell do the rest.
When I let one rip in the car with my family, I lock the windows. Trap them inside with an obnoxious gas cloud. But if anyone in my family let’s one rip- all the windows go down even in the winter– to air out the car. Hey, I like to breathe. Plus it’s my car and I can do what I like, right?
Besides getting over the initial embarrassment of breaking wind, farts are the funniest thing ever. We all do it. So why hide it?
Last night as I lay in bed watching Netflix I was also browsing for nothing in particular on my smartphone (or should we just call it a phone now since most of us have one?). I don’t know what I was looking for. But it started and ended with Facebook.
First was a rabbit hole of videos. Everything from Fail Compilations to Wood Carving. Many of which I have seen before on these late night journeys of nothingness. Then I decided to try looking up former coworkers and schoolmates that I am not “Friends” with currently. Why? I have no idea.
Do I need to pad my online self worth with people I once knew? Was it a deeper connection I desired with these strangers? I stopped myself before I began sending “Friend Requests”. I’ve come to realize that I have some great friends on Facebook. Ones who do share with me quite often even though we don’t see each other outside of social media.
I have also turned into the type of person that rarely comments on posts because I don’t want to offend. So my opinion remains curtailed and I lay dormant and quiet. Which is probably why I watch those videos. There is no interaction required. Just mind numbing useless videos that make me feel inadequate (I cannot turn wood into beautiful works of art) or I feel righteous (because of watching people fail at life doing stupid stunts).
The Fear of missing out prevents me from just abandoning social media all together. Maybe it’s time to reassess my reasons for staying on board. I’ve stopped using Twitter and Pinterest. I was never into Reddit. I enjoy Instagram because I love seeing the beauty in the world. But Facebook? No idea why I’m still going back. Sometimes I see a success story from a friend’s feed that makes me smile. Is it those moments that I crave?
I have a buddy that I have been friends with since kindergarten in the early 80’s. He has zero social media presence. He never did either. He and I are still in contact through text messages and calls on a regular basis. We meet up every few months and it feels like we never separated. I have a couple other friends like this. But I need more of those types of friends.
As I flip flop through deciding to abandon the social networking all together, I have to look at what’s important to me. Seeing success stories makes me happy. Using social media to keep up with technology and entertainment is also useful. Seeing hatred and misinformation spread is not.
This evening I’m going out with a couple of friends. No kids or wives will be joining us. I rarely have a Saturday night like this. I have to plan these “play dates” well in advance. Mostly to prepare my family for the fact that I won’t be home.
I’m looking forward to tonight. But it won’t be like the days of yore. I won’t be getting crazy drunk or having a late night. Just a couple of hours spent in North Vancouver. Some tacos and a couple of beers are the extravagant plans. It’s the company that I will be with that shall make the evening enjoyable and memorable.
I may share a photo or two on social media, but I am hoping to not to pull out my phone at all. That is until I leave to come home. At which point, I’ll call my wife to let her know I’m on my way. Which is a courtesy that my wife and I have for one another when not together.
A call to say, “Hey! I’m on my way. Love ya.” Even a few hours away from her means I’ll still miss her company. She has become an extension of my personality. So have my kids. And as I make memories and experiences, I love them to be with me as often as possible.
But tonight is a “Guy’s Night” where we will talk about our families and work. This gents are similar to me in many ways- where they put their family’s needs first. These are the kind of guys I prefer to associate with.