Forgotten Songs of My Teenage Years

This morning I spent a considerable amount of time putting together an eclectic playlist on Spotify. Find it Here. Creating this playlist sent me down a rabbit hole of nostalgia.

Many of the songs remind me of old friendships and fun times. Driving around town, sitting in my bedroom, even hanging out in class, buying albums through Columbia House, and overplayed songs on repeat. Using one headphone as you shared with a friend of the opposite sex and not hearing the stereo sound. But willing to sacrifice that for a chance to sit closer.

I still have many of my cds. But they are stored away in a steamer trunk as I don’t have a way to play them except in my car. And even then- using Bluetooth to play different playlists is the new normal. So much more convenient than the large booklets of cds we once carried around.

Enjoy the musical trip down my memory lane. A couple songs are NSFW but fun nonetheless.

Edit: An old friend asked to make this “Collaborative”. Anyone who knew me from my teenage years and can think of a song that reminds them of me- add away!

Victoria: Day 3- Walking

We started our final day in Victoria by walking around Canada’s oldest Chinatown. There were the typical shops filled with cheap knickknacks. It was most fun to just squeeze down the narrow alleyways and admire the brickwork of the buildings.

We tooled around the tourist part of downtown Victoria and stopped in at a bookstore followed by a macaron shoppe. Both places were greeted by our kids with enthusiasm.

On our drive back to the ferry terminal- we stopped at The Butchart Gardens. I always wanted to visit this place, but never made the time to do so. Unfortunately, because it is autumn- the garden was rather lackluster. I’m sure it is far more vibrant and lovely in the spring and summer when the rose garden is in full bloom.

I did enjoy walking through the Japanese Garden and the Italian Garden. The time of year was good for the fact that it wasn’t crowded. Perhaps one day I shall see it in the spring time. But it has taken me until ages 44 to go my first time, so there may not be a second time. Especially since there is so much more of the world to explore.

At the end of the day we got lucky and made it on a ferry an hour earlier than planned. All of our walking had made us very tired, so that hour made all the difference in our trip. I do look forward to visiting Victoria once again some day. I have always enjoyed traveling there.

Early Morning Travel to Victoria

The family was woken up by 4:30am and we were on the road 45 minutes later. We had packed up the night before in order to get those few minutes more of sleep. It was an early morning in order to maximize our weekend away.

It was a rainy drive to the ferry terminal. Knowing it was a going to be a busy weekend, we decided to book a reservation on the ferry so as not to wait. We had about 30 minutes to sit and wait prior to boarding. The rain eased off as we departed for the waters.

My wife and youngest children brought the Nintendo Switch to keep themselves occupied during our hour and a half sailing. I chose to take a nap and our oldest read a book.

As you can see from the picture of the family- the ferry was fairly empty. Departing at 45% capacity due to COVID precautions. It’s one of the only times I’ve enjoyed the ferry ride. I’m not a big fan of crowds or people being near me. I was far more comfortable taking my brief nap.

The sun attempted to break through the clouds on our journey across the water. We passed a few other ferries along the way with a few toots from the horn of the vessels.

Our day was truly about to begin once we docked. A list of activities were planned for our brief time away this weekend. I’m looking to the time spent with the family.

Toy Action

My son decided that today he would take some action shots of his Star Wars toys and Lego Star Wars toys.

He set up numerous shots. He also worked in a bunch of techniques that made the toys look like they were truly telling a story. Here is a collection of a few of his favorite pictures:

He was having a great time while doing this. These images he took are fun. He plans on editing these, plus some of the others with a variety of filters. I can’t wait to see what else he comes up with.

Spooky Season

Every year I get excited for Halloween. We’ve already begun decorating the front of our home. We have a few more items to set up inside our home at the start of October- in order to really get into the festive mood.

Last year’s Skesis costume is this year’s decoration.

However, this year I don’t have a costume idea. It’ll probably be some last minute idea or I’ll just wear a previous year’s outfit. Even though I now have a 3D printer and can step up my Cosplay game- I don’t feel like I have the time to get something built. Last year took me a couple of months to make. Besides, my printer is working non-stop lately and I’m already beginning to run out of filament!

Pumpkin from 2018. Took three hours to complete.

While I wait for more plastic to arrive, I will be trying to find a pumpkin carving idea. The kids are excited about carving pumpkins again this year. That’ll be another arduous task for me. I have a passion when it comes to carving pumpkins. Having spent up to 8 hours to get one done only to have it rot a few weeks later- it sees crazy to do them. But I’m getting faster, so I can also help out my teens with their carvings. I’m passing the crazy on to them.

When do you start getting ready for Halloween? What is your costume this year?

Let me know in the comments.

Audrey 3

I love musicals. I have shared my love of them with my family. In turn, they have grown to love them as well.

One of my favorite musical films is “Little Shop Of Horrors”. A great comedic cast that pulls it together in such a way that I couldn’t imagine anyone else performing the songs.

Over the summer, our middle child and I would play the soundtrack on Spotify repeatedly. I think we have memorized each and every song. Much to the chagrin of my wife… but it’s still fun.

Back in the spring, I planted a red cabbage in our back garden. Our oldest named it “Audrey 3”. It thrived nicely with the other vegetables. I harvested it this afternoon for dinner. I was pleasantly surprised by how big it had actually grown.

About half of Audrey 3 will be enjoyed tonight with our apple and Brie pork loin. Otherwise, that’d be too much cabbage! And the results would be far scarier than a lean green mother from outta space.

More Trains?

It was only a couple of days ago that I wrote about being a Foamer. It just so happens that we ended up having another unique Diesel engine arrive in our yard.

The paint scheme may not have been as exciting as the one from Central Maine & Quebec. But just for fun, I had one of our crews add the two of them together. Within a couple of days we will be sending the engines on their way. We would interchange them off to CP Rail for their crews to use.

When I first started at CN Rail, I had no idea how often the railroads interchanged engines with one another. Besides the two I most recently wrote about, I’ve been on engines from CN, CP, BNSF and SRY.. as well as a few others that only railroaders would be able to identify as from a foreign railroad.

It’s kind of fun to play with trains. Like being a kid again and just toying around on a much grander scale.

A Day Devoted To My Teens

I spent the morning going for a drive with my oldest to her new school. It was a chance for her to practice driving on the freeway without much traffic. It also gave her an opportunity to figure out a course/the time and the distance for her commute. We had some good bonding time together.

Then we hit up IKEA to pick up a new desk for my son. He built his IKEA desk with my help. We laid out his room in a more functional manner. He wanted to change up his room to be more “teenage boy” instead of Star Wars themed. I told home we can paint the furniture black, but I had worked hard on the walls and refuse to paint over them. So he is stuck with just removing a few decals and living in a grey bedroom.

That meant giving the bunk beds to his 16 year old sister so she could put her stuffies on display. My wife discovered some bins in our son’s closet that had old costumes and toys from the much younger years. Our middle decided to wear one of them. She is becoming one with the toys…

It was a long day of growing up and pursuing the inevitable changes. But also a good chance to reflect and have some fun.

3D Printer Part 3: Wanting More

My list of possible 3D builds keeps growing. My family and a few friends have some requests that I plan on making. I also plan to do some 3D prints for donating to people’s betterment.

For me- I mostly want to do movie prop replicas. There’s something profound about building and owning a piece from a film. To me it feels as if I am a part of something bigger.

It also hits the nostalgia feels. I mean, honestly- who wouldn’t want a Proton Pack to fight ghosts back in the 80’s? Or open a can of shaving cream to find dinosaur embryos? Or find out who really shot first when you hold a Han Solo blaster?

I worry that it’ll be a rabbit hole of unfinished projects and a desire to own bigger and better printers. From the forums I am on, it seems that is the way of the 3D modeler. I have already been obsessing about getting another print going. I just need to wait for my spools of plastic to arrive.

I always love creating and making things to display and show off for fun. I shall accept my fate for my new found hobby. I only hope my wife and family also accept this burden I have bestowed upon myself.

You have been warned! When I obsess about something, I beat it into the ground. Just like a new song that I like. It falls into repeat for weeks on end. Or perhaps this will be similar to my love of disco. A variety of fun dance moves and love songs.

Most Liked

Facebook loves to share “Memories” when I log in. I’m sure many of you see yours as well (if you still use Facebook). Sometimes I love seeing the old photos or bizarre status updates I once did. I can’t even remember the last status update I did… I also removed all friends a year and a half ago, so no point to update into thin air…

Today Facebook shared with me- my most “Liked” photo of the year 2009. It’s a cute picture of the time my children made a train out of cardboard boxes for me. Having deleted 400+ friends, how many “LIKES” would you say this picture received? 200? 100? 50?

FIVE.

My most “LIKED” photo of 2009 had FIVE likes. For the entire year of 2009. One of which was my wife. I’m not saying this is the greatest photo ever of 2009. But for a person who had a few hundred “Facebook Friends” you’d think that I could get a higher number on any of my photos.

In the end though, looking for satisfaction through other people’s opinions doesn’t equate for the sheer happiness that this photo brought to me personally. My joy isn’t measured in numbers from other people clicking a thumbs up for me.

Its part of the reason I don’t try and sell myself or this blog. Sharing personal stories is for my mental well being. And in the end- that matters most.

Feel free to like and share today’s blog.

Fire And Bubbles At Sunset

Our last evening at the campground was relaxing and filled with silliness. We watched the sunset over the mountains and the sky turning pink. I started a fire in the fire pit with the help of my son and we sat at the beach listening to some Queen.

My wife and daughter began playing with bubbles between our fire and the water. The sheer amount of joy they were having astounded me. They kept it up until it got dark and had run out of bubbles. We all enjoyed our final evening together.

Of course we also had our last bite of campfire S’mores for the summer. Another nice way to end the trip.

Playing Around

Camping is filled with loads of keeping ourselves active. We have been spending most of our time at the beach and in the water. Flying a drone, tubing, kayaking, fishing, playing cards, and cooking over a campfire. These are what makes the experiences more and more enjoyable.

Plus we have limited cellular service. So we are using our phones to take pictures and listen to music. I sneak off to a little island by kayak in order to get 2 bars of service in order to blog each day.

Priorities, am I right?

Half A Day of Rain?

We arrived at our campsite mid afternoon and set up our home away from home. Then we enjoyed the evening by the water and fire.

The next morning at 4:30 it decided to rain. That lasted until about 10am. The weatherman was wrong about a week of sunshine. But the day became comfortable and we hit the water for some kayaking to the nearby island.

Good first day considering the unexpected rain.

Twenty Mile Bay 2020

This is our fifth year of going to Twenty Mile Bay to enjoy some camping at the end of August.

First off, the weather looks like it will be in our favor. Should be a comfortable week ahead with loads of sunshine. Honestly, we have been lucky every year we go. Not once has it rained. We did have one year of gusty winds- where our tent was trying to eat us. But it made for good kite flying.

The part I do not like is driving the logging road to the site. We drive about 45 minutes on nicely paved roads doing the speed limit. Then we have to drive about another 45 minutes navigating a rough path going up and down the mountain. With many parts only able to get one vehicle by at a time.

At least the check out time for the campsite is a few hours before the check in time. This means you rarely have oncoming traffic to negotiate around. Plus I like getting there at check in time to set up and start enjoying the trip.

Stay posted for lots of pictures coming soon!

Temporary…?

Yesterday I posted on Instagram about a sleeve tattoo. It got many responses and I received a few text messages from friends about it.

Many did not read my tags underneath about the tattoo being fake. Not my intent, but humorous nonetheless.

I was given the temporary tattoo by a coworker a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was a neat opportunity to see if I like the idea of a sleeve tattoo. For the next few days I’ll see what I think, and see what my family thinks as well.

The only tattoo I do have is from 2008 for my 32 birthday. A double helix with a dragon head and my children’s names in the ribbon. It’s a perfect mix of my atheist beliefs and fantasy. I always loved dragons. And with children named Random, Darwin and Theory- the DNA strand was a perfect tattoo choice for me.

Twelve years later, and I’ve been thinking about getting more art on my body. Even though the sleeve tattoo looks authentic, it is sadly temporary. It’s hard to justify spending that kind of money for art though. Especially if it’s just for me.

But the temporary tattoo is growing on me. I like the idea of putting more artwork on my body. It’s a good expression of oneself, and I love seeing talented tattoo artists spreading the joy. Maybe on my 50th birthday I will have another tattoo planned out.

Vacation Feels

It’s nearing the end of summer. It’s the final push to enjoy ourselves. I am also starting eleven days of vacation. That means time away from work, which is great to recharge the mental batteries. Even though we may not be traveling to a favorite destination.

We are still planning on having a good time as a family. Tonight we made smoked turkey legs and watched some “Disney Park Blogs” YouTube videos during dinner.

Of course we all wore our Mouse Ears! Because who knows when the next time we will be attending a Disney Park again… But the feels needed to come out. The ears brought forth joy, laughter and memories.

I’m ready to have a great time with my family during staycation. British Columbia is the next best place to be next to Disneyland! Especially if you get to share moments with loved ones.

Saturday Games

This morning our laundry line snapped after a dozen years of use. So I went to Home Depot and grabbed a new line and put it up. I also picked up a few 2×4 boards and some odds and ends for some other projects. Until shortly after lunch, we were all busy.

This afternoon was a warm one with lots of sunshine. We chose to hang out in the backyard on our tree deck. We needed a break after a full morning of working around the house. Did I say it was warm? I lied. It was hot.

We played a couple of different versions of the card game Timeline. A great trivia style game that involves figuring out when events took place. I recommend this game to everyone. We always have fun playing it. Bonus- it’s educational!

We followed it with a few aggressive games of Uno. That is sure to tear families apart the way Monopoly does. Lots of yelling and accusations of cheating.

All in all a great afternoon with the family.

Bread

Bread is a big part of my daily diet. Toast, burgers or sandwiches- it’s a regular occurrence in my life. We go through bread products so much in our home that we rarely bother to make it fresh. It’s so much easier to just buy a few loaves each week and leave them in the cupboard.

Or on the counter apparently.

But the biggest issue I have is how to wrap or seal the bread bag once it’s opened. Our family has not come up with one style. Nor have I been able to find the culprit behind leaving the bag OPEN!

Unfortunately I taught my children how to flick snapped bread tags. So usually the tags are removed and found on the floor throughout the kitchen. Bad parenting decision from years ago. Do not teach your children this trick. Trust me. Your bread will stay fresher longer if those tags go back on.

How do you close your bread? Have you ever flicked bread tags? Let me know in the comment section.

4,3,2,1 Amico!

A few months ago I mentioned how I put a deposit down on a “Founder’s Edition” of the upcoming Intellivision Amico: Mio Amico. I was excited for the chance to play some original“Couch Co-Op” games once more with my family. The system had a launch date of 10/10/2020…

Right in the middle of a console war between XBox and PlayStation for their newest systems. Probably not the best plan for a relatively unknown competitor in the video game market. The Intellivision Amico is not designed to be their competition though.

“At Intellivision, our mission is to use technology to bring family and friends back together by delivering simple, affordable, family-focused entertainment to everyone.”

Tommy Tallarico, CEO

The Amico is designed for simplicity. I like the idea of the system and the affordability of the games. To me this is like buying a cellphone and some apps that can be shared amongst family and friends on the tv. The graphics and gameplay demos for the games look great. Playing games in a group was always a favorite of mine.

As of late, with the pandemic and lock downs, we have been playing more games of this style on the Nintendo Switch. If you have kids or like the idea of games you can play and stop at your leisure- I do recommend the Switch.

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Back in the 80’s, Saturday morning cartoons were the best part of childhood. I’d read thru our TV guide and set my morning ritual watching about 2-3 hours of shows. Once 10 am arrived, it was time to get outside and play. Until then, rotting my brain in front of a tv was the thing to do.

This morning, I went on YouTube and found some episodes of “Kidd Video” to watch. I watched the first episode while eating my grilled cheese sandwich. For the second episode, I curled up on a beanbag chair with my ALF blanket.

There was some great commercials as well that someone uploaded with the first episode. Targeting kids with a variety of toys and Spaghetti-o’s. The show made no sense, and the ads made little sense as well. All the while trying humor to fill the gap of confusion.

Some things need to be left behind in the memory banks. Shows like this do not hold up. Even though it was more entertaining to make fun of the show with my son.

What did you do on a Saturday morning during your childhood? What do your kids do on a Saturday morning?

Let me know in the comments.

Tackling The Dragon’s Lair

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.

Bad Movies

This afternoon, I decided to watch a cheesy horror movie in the comfort of our home. My kids watched with me, but our oldest was not paying much attention as she enjoyed playing in the Nintendo Switch.

I’ve always had a soft spot for cheesy horror films. In fact, I love films in general. Back in the 80’s and 90’s when video stores had a rent one get one free- I would choose the most ridiculous sounding movies as the free one. Now with Amazon Prime and Netflix sharing some of these “Classics” I get to relive the craptastic films that made me laugh.

Cheesy horror and slapstick comedy does not, I repeat- DOES NOT always hold up in rewatchability. “Killer Klowns” is no exception. The movie is bad. And bad in a bad way. Not bad in a fun way. Really bad. A few weeks ago we watched “House” and that was also bad. We enjoy making fun of these movies while we watch them. Screaming at the characters on screen or predicting the next zany kill.

Next film on my list of torture viewing is from 1987- “The Masters Of The Universe”. The He-Man live action that ruins the plot idea as bad as the live action “Super Mario Bros”. Dang, I should add that to my list of films as well! Probably right after we view some TROMA classics. Or “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”.

Do you enjoy schlock horror? Tell me about your favorite.

Grad Dinner..?

Our oldest Graduated three weeks ago from Grade 12. Besides the ceremonies being cancelled, so was the Grad Dinner. My wife and I have been trying to get our daughter out for a special dinner since then, with no luck. Our oldest originally wanted a special meal like the one my wife and I did Last Year at the Bacchus French Restaurant. But it hasn’t opened yet because of restrictions.

Today, we finally went out for a meal. Our oldest also wanted her siblings along, so we ended up at Ramen Bella in Langley. Where we each got a large bowl of ramen, and our daughter got herself a Poké Bowl.

It was a good treat for everyone and also very filling. I’m glad our oldest picked a place that the family could enjoy, even though my wife and I were trying to offer her something special just for her. It seems as though our daughter is still very family oriented and loves sharing experiences with her brother and sister.

To me, that shows she is growing up into a wonderful young lady. Each day I am becoming more and more proud of her.

My Mythosaur

I really enjoyed Disney’s Mandalorian and felt that it had some fantastic story telling. So I made my own Mythosaur prop.

I’m not the most talented in the world when it comes to art. But I do enjoy making things. Last halloween, I made my Skesis costume and had some left over pink foam and clay that I decided to use for my Mythosaur.

I cut it out a few months ago, and then set it aside. Now that I’m on vacation, I figured I would finish putting the clay on and paint it.

It turned out not bad. All that’s left is finding a place to mount it. However, I can see all the flaws and know what to do better on my next project.

Time For A Tech Break

Getting the family ready for a camping trip is challenging. Even if you’re only gone for a couple of days, it takes hours to get packed up. No matter how much you tell everybody when you want to leave, you always fall behind.

It may seem odd to pack up the necessities of life in order to live outside temporarily. But I like camping. Most of my technology stays behind. Obviously I keep my phone for pictures and music. But the connection to the outside world via the interwebs is severed.

I like taking mental breaks always from the world. It keeps me sane. Plus I love the outdoors. I almost don’t need to leave our home as we have a lush and beautiful yard that seems to go on forever. We own an acre of solitude, just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the cities and suburbs.

Taking a break from technology is important. I appreciate the world a little more when we do go away. A chance to see the natural wonders out there.