Generational Music

Mama said don’t give up, it’s a little complicated.

I like the song “High Hopes” it has a good beat and I love the lyrics. Our oldest daughter doesn’t always like the fact that I enjoy the music she listens to. But then again, she has been known to enjoy the music I once liked. At one point, my wife had a good bond with our daughters over Katy Perry.

Our son had become obsessed with Green Day: Dookie a couple of years ago when he discovered it on an old iPod of mine. He also has a penchant for comedic songs like I do. So we bond over it.

However, it’s our middle daughter who loves every style of music the same way I do. She also listens to it like I do- in a very eclectic manner. Moving from classical to pop, etc. Her taste in music is similar to mine so we often sing along together. The only exception is she has a closer connection with my wife’s taste in music than I do. Our daughter has snagged the old records and cassettes of my wife’s and plays them regularly.

Music is meant to be shared. I wish sometimes that I was talented enough to write music. Maybe one day I’ll monkey around with it- I always had high, high hopes…

November 25th, 2020

Normally on November 25th I go out and see my father’s final resting place, followed by a beer or two. Not today. Today I will not be drinking a beer for my father. Nor will I share any stories about him. Instead, I’d like to tell you that I hit a personal milestone that I’m genuinely proud of.

I’ve been sober for three months today. I may not have seemed like an alcoholic to most people. Looking at my posts on Instagram and the fact that I have a category called “Alcohol” in my blog- I thought I was just having normal fun- with booze.

I was a social drinker. Hanging out until last call, stopping for “a beer” with friends. Joking that “It only takes me one beer to get me drunk, I’m just not sure if it’s the fifth one or the sixth one.” It’s also one thing to have my friends looking to me as the person who is always ready for a drink.

I would often come home from work and drink a few beers. On my days off I’d drink at least twice as much each day and then finishing whatever alcohol I could find once the beers ran out. Its in my genetics to go way overboard when I do drink. However when my heart is racing after a few beers and my kids are calling me out and telling me I drink too much- I needed to reassess my life.

What started as Sober September this year has escalated into a three month win. A huge victory that I am proud of. The pilgrimage I set upon was only spoken of with those who were close to me. Talking about the burden of alcoholism isn’t easy.

If I could pat myself on the back, I am going to do it here publicly. The next month will probably be the most difficult for me to get through. I always took pride in setting up my “First Christmas Tree” of the season- the booze dispenser. My coffee would be spiked, and the eggnog as well. Not this year. This year is the new me attempting to emerge and conquer the world.

I needed to share this three month milestone. As embarrassing as it seems to be at times. Alcoholism is something I’ve lived with all my life. I have been drinking pretty regularly since I was 17. Making a fool of myself on many occasions and not knowing when or where the limit was. Alcoholism was destroying my health and my bank account. I also had a few negative memories that I left for my children. From stupidity to anger to embarrassment- I was easily losing “Father of the Year” chances more and more frequently.

Thank you for reading. I am trying to live the rest of my life the best way I can. If I falter, I hope to get back up and work towards being a better me.

Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering?

Again, I was stuck trying to write my blog tonight. I was thinking to myself, “It’s the same thing I do every day…why can’t I just come up with something to write?” That’s when it hit me- Pinky and the Brain are so funny.

They try and take over the world every night. But it was never the plans that amused me. It was the crazy off putting comments that Pinky would blurt out as an answer to the nightly question: “Are you pondering what I’m pondering?”

I just took a break from writing this so I could watch nearly 7 minutes of responses. I seriously snorted a couple of times. If you loved Pinky and The Brain- check out Are you pondering what I’m pondering? Most are ridiculous (and dated jokes) but some were cuckoo crazy.

Even though I didn’t take over the world tonight, I enjoyed the silly hijinks of two lab mice once more.

Hudsucker Proxy

Sometimes in my blog I like to share films that I enjoy. I don’t do any write ups or dissection of the films. Just that I enjoy them and why. Today I am writing about a favorite of mine that I really enjoy watching in the winter. That’s because most of the film is set around New Year’s and the idea of new beginnings.

The Hudsucker Proxy is set in the early 20th century. It has some of the best cinematography I’ve ever enjoyed. The sets are Art Deco, the timeline is flawless, the jokes are quick and perfectly timed. What’s not to love about the film?

The simplicity of the underlying story and the characters that drive the film make it relatable and a joy to be a part of. I enjoyed the film so much, I made a Cosplay of the lead character a few years back. It was such an obscure costume, that when I wore it to three different comic conventions- maybe ten people understood it.

If you haven’t seen the film, please check it out this season. It is a great movie by the Coen Brothers. Check out one of my favorite scenes on YouTube: Hula Hoop.

Bruno Fenger

Today I was going through old papers- such as bills, taxes, etc… and disposing of the unnecessary ones. I found old paystubs from Chuck E. Cheese, a copy my father’s probate (with an address for My Unknown Half Sister) and information about our current home. The last one is what today’s blog is about.

You see, my father-in-law designed and built this house back in the 1970’s. Bruno Fenger was a brick layer by trade and the workmanship in this house is amazing. He also enjoyed woodworking as a hobby, often selling at various craft shows back in the 80’s/90’s. He is a very talented man who immigrated from Germany many, many decades ago. He decided to build a house and stay in British Columbia to raise his family.

I found rolls of papers from when he designed this house and had purchased the property. The blueprints were all hand drawn. To me these pages showed a commitment to excellence that you probably won’t find in today’s market. It was also great to see how his designs translated into a finished product (such as the fireplace) and some of the changes which occurred during the building process.

As a tribute to his work, I framed the blueprint for the upstairs and hung it on the wall. Bruno’s work lives on in this home through more than just ideas on paper. With his 88th birthday coming up at the end of November, I thought it to be fitting that I show some gratitude to the man who made a home for my family.

Thank you Bruno for creating such an amazing house for your grandchildren to grow up in. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Life Day

If there’s something that you need to know about me, it’s that I enjoy Star Wars tremendously. Let’s be realistic here, you all know I love STAR WARS. I mean honestly, I have numerous blog posts that are related to Star Wars in some way. Today is no different.

A few years ago I showed my children the classic in bad Crossover ideas ever. The Star Wars Holiday Special. The show is severely cringeworthy attempting to watch it. It’s so bad that my kids literally don’t remember watching it with me. But as a fan, I had to view it. I even grew up on those Star Wars made-for-tv-movies: Ewok Caravan of Courage and Ewok Battle for Endor.

Tonight, Disney+ and LEGO have released a Lego Version of the Holiday Special. I am overcome with joy and cannot wait to view it numerous times! I have been excited for months about this show.

Why?

Because LEGO somehow manages to make their stories based on movies or characters campy and fun while still holding true to the original content. So if you have kids- watch some of those LEGO shows with them. They are a ton of fun.

Tonight I shall wish you all an early “Happy Life Day”.

Cleaning for Christmas Season

This past weekend we did a pretty good cleaning up of the downstairs of our home. My wife has been adamant over the years that we are not permitted to put out Winter Decorations until the house is cleaned up. I push every year to start the process in early November.

That’s because I love decorating our home for winter!

This year, my wife was a big part of the decorating process. In fact, the entire family was a huge help and we had fun doing it. Well, maybe not the cleaning aspect… but the decorating for sure! All that’s left is the trees to come out after my wife’s birthday… on December 6th.

Have you already started decorating for the winter solstice or other such celebrations?

Let Them Grow Up

I have a tough time letting my kids grow up. But it’s a natural occurrence in humanity. Parents being parents trying to raise kids to be adults. And then not wanting the kids to become adults.

Today, our oldest aced her practical exam with the top mark in her class. She was beaming with pride. She texted my wife numerous times throughout the morning in regards to her success.

Watching my kids grow up, it makes me sad that I won’t have moments with them anymore. It’s hard to ask them to spend time with me without it seeming forced sometimes.

Letting the kids become their own person with a bit of guidance is all I can do. I have to let them grow up.

Lucky 13 Years Later

I’m always sharing memories here in my blog. Scrolling threw my Facebook to find some “Throwback Thursday” photos for my Instagram. I wanted to share some pictures from our numerous visits to Disneyland for Halloween, as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog: Decade of Disneyland.

I discovered a memory that I knew was around this time of year. It was thirteen years ago today that I finished working at Chuck E. Cheese’s. I had five years of memories there, and it was where my children got spoiled. My kids were there 2-3 times a week playing video games, getting any prize they wanted off the wall, and tons of pizza. I also had the opportunity to manage numerous teenagers, many of whom have become parents of their own children now. Managing them gave me an insight into how to deal with teens of my own one day.

It was sad to leave CEC back then. But joining the railroad was one of the best decisions of my life. Without changing the career path, I never would’ve been able to afford the lifestyle we now enjoy. Including all those Disneyland trips.

It feels like my days at the railroad have been going on forever now. But 13 years went by rather quickly. With tons of memories made over the years at CN- and the first memory being the one where I had to leave some wonderful people- makes me realize how lucky I have been.

A Decade of Disneyland at Halloween

Looking back at my memories, I saw that we spent a majority of our kids’ Halloweens in Disneyland. Since 2010 we have been enjoying haunting up the theme park.

To say I miss visiting Disneyland is an understatement. Once this pandemic clears up and travel opens again- I’d love to hit up Disneyland. No matter what time of year it is. The family and I always had a good time goofing around as we immersed ourselves in the joy of the parks.

Disneyland California Adventure 2010

We would push for full days at the parks. Lining up before the gates opened and being some of the last guests to leave at night. We made every minute count.

Honestly, some of the best parts of the trips was also the drive. We would be hyped going down the coast, then excitedly talk the drive back about all the fun we had. As cheesy as all this sounds, I am sad that we didn’t get to do it this year. Some of the biggest connections I created with my children was on these vacations. Those memories however will last me a lifetime. As is obvious by today’s blog.

In order to bring forth those good feels, I decided that tonight we are watching Disney’s Hocus Pocus as a family. I haven’t seen this film since the mid-90’s. I also have no idea of my family has seen it. I hope it holds up.

Even if traditions change and we need to adapt. We shall continue to make scary memories together as a family in a variety of ways.

Carving Pumpkins 2020

This year I bought some pumpkins for carving. My two daughters and I try and push the limits on our skills as well. Both of them are getting much better at pumpkin carving all thanks to my advice and assistance.

Although I will say, our oldest is getting to a point of almost surprising my skills. Take a look at the detail in her “Audrey 2” carving.

The leaves and the lips have definition and realism added! This took her about five hours to complete. I am truly impressed.

Our other daughter has been at her carving for hours. She even took a break and started working on it again today. She still isn’t finished, but I have faith in her. She’ll get her meme completed by Halloween!

I did one of my favorite fandoms- “Firefly”. In my carving, I love the way the light shines through the title. My spaceship isn’t quite as detailed as my daughter’s pumpkin. It still took my nearly four hours to complete. Of course, immediately after I took my photos of the pumpkin lit up, I dropped it and it broke in half.

I was a bit upset. But not angry. Pumpkins get thrown away after as it is. So for me, the carving is the therapeutic exercise that I enjoy. I’m glad I got the pictures at least.

How are your pumpkins looking this year? Ever have a failure like I did after hours of hard work?

Let me know in the comments.

Provincial Vote 2020

Today is the official day to vote for the Provincial Election of British Columbia. There was the option to mail in a vote or hit the advance voting stations. We chose to head out first thing this morning and cast our ballots.

It was also our 18 year old daughter’s first chance to vote and have her voice heard as an adult. As much as I wanted to commemorate the day with a picture of her- you’re not supposed to take any photos inside. But even before and after, she was adamant that she didn’t want me taking her picture. So I didn’t.

My first time voting was also at the age of 18. Since then, I have voted in every election that comes around, including referendums. Who I vote for doesn’t always win. In fact it feels like they rarely win. But it gives me a chance to share my choice in hopes to better the rest of the population.

It seems a tad bit crazy to be out voting during a pandemic. But here we are. So if you go out to vote today (or those in the USA who need to vote) remember to stay safe and follow guidelines. Wear the mask, use the sanitizer and keep your distance from others. But get out there and have your voice heard!

Beetlejuice Time

Halloween family film tonight is the 1988 classic- Beetlejuice.

This is easily one of our favorite films to traditionally watch each year. Kind of like when we watch Independence Day on July 4th. Or our regular viewing of Christmas Story every year.

I loving having traditions like this. Where we as a family just hang out on a Friday night and enjoy a film we’ve seen numerous times.

We also enjoy “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and have that movie memorized. Along with each and every song. Which reminds me- Beetlejuice is a Broadway musical now! I need to see it one day.

Do you have any family movies you watch regularly with your kids?

Halloween Costume 2020

Halloween 2020 is going to be more subdued than originally expected. Our son is going to his friend’s place for the evening and our middle is having a couple friends over to watch some horror films. Being that they are teenagers now, last year was pushing it for Trick-or-treating anyhow.

This year I am not planning on some elaborate Halloween costume. Last year was fun- Halloween 2019. I made a proton pack with my son for his costume. And I destroyed it with my Skesis costume. I’m not going to fall back on my favorite Obi-Wan Kenobi, Rick Sanchez or my Hudsucker Proxy costumes. I was pretty good in those ones- even acting the part as required.

No, this year I’m going as the actor behind the roles of horror long ago.

I’m wanting to do a tribute to the Late Great Vincent Price. And a bit of a throwback to my favorite image of him from The Muppet Show back in the late 70’s. I’ve picked up a jacket, just need to get an ascot!

For those of you who will see me over the next couple of weeks- forgive the mustache. And if anyone has a Kermit the Frog to lend me- I’d be indebted.

Coffee Talk

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.

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!

Autumn Jazz and Mixer

Spotify Fun

I discovered an Autumn Jazz mix on Spotify. It has some great classics, and tons of songs that I know from years of hearing them. I appreciate these playlists more than expected.

This playlist is filled with a bunch of 1940’s-1980’s music. Lots of trumpets and swing style songs. Great as background music while siting around.

I catch myself dancing around the house as well while no one is here. Even shaking my butt in my chair while sitting at the table having lunch. If music moves you- why not share the joy with others?

Honestly, I was listening to White Zombie earlier this morning. Which is quite the difference to what I am listening to now. Do you have an autumn go-to playlist?

Have You Begun Holiday Shopping?

The year is in the final quarter. That means gift giving season is approaching quickly. Whether you celebrate Winter Solstice or any number of religious based holiday- giving gifts is a big part of it.

Ordering online is a gamble these days. Sometimes packages are shipped overnight while other times it could be a few weeks. Ordering from Amazon is interesting, I swear that a new package arrives every other day. So I am trying to get the goods before the crazy rush that will approach makes it difficult.

I worry that I will resort to last minute shopping in a Walmart mid-December. When all the good stuff is gone. I’m already getting panicky that our gifts will feel meager when under the tree. Who knows. I have a few tricks up my sleeves still in order to make Christmas special.

Are you ready for the holidays? How much shopping do you have left? Does shopping in Walmart scare you? Let me know in the comments.

Doctrine

This morning when I came home from work, I decided to have a cup of coffee as I usually do. Instead of grabbing one of the Matching Mugs that my wife and I use, I chose to grab an old mug of my father’s. I somehow inherited the mug decades ago, and forgot about its existence until today.

It states on the mug this poem:

Joe

Meaning: Contributor

If there is one doctrine

You truly believe

It’s this one: It is nicer

To give than receive.

Your heart is unblemished

By envy or greed;

You are there for all

In times of desperate need.

Because of the kindness

And love you distribute,

You shall improve this world-

You’ll truly contribute.

I remember gifting my father this mug when I was a child. With it’s faded paint and cracking glaze, it continues telling a story. One that I read numerous times growing up. A story that I feel I have inadvertently made real.

The doctrine on the mug is one I tend to follow as often as I can. Being an ear for the voices, having my hand to hold, and passing on my love to those who need it- fills me with a great joy. I’m always the person to be counted on when needed most.

Re-Learning How To Use An Apple Computer

Back in elementary school during the early 80’s I learned how to use an Apple IIe. A large floppy disk drive with a single button mouse and a black and green monitor. At home I was learning DOS on an Adam computer with magnetic tape drives.

In high school during the early 90’s I used a Macintosh. There was a computer lab- called the Mac Lab. My school also had two IBM labs. I enjoyed the shareware from the IBMs and programming, but my passion to create pixel art- was done on a Mac.

At home I’ve never owned an Apple computer. I always ran Windows based computers. But I still enjoyed using an iPod followed by an iPhone. A few years ago I picked up some iPad minis for the kids. Three years ago my wife got a MacBook for her work. Recently they updated her to a Google Pixelbook. So she had the opportunity to buy her MacBook Air, and she did.

So now I’m re-learning how to use an Apple computer. So far, a few hours have been spent. A few headaches, but I’m getting back into understanding once more how Apple operating systems work. It will be a family laptop for school mostly. But I look forward to being creative with Apple once more.

All The Leaves Are Brown… Again

It’s October 1st my spookies! The world around here is changing from green and blue to orange and black. I love this gothic feeling that arrives before Halloween. I almost wrote the same title as i did last year for a similar story today- All The Leaves Are Brown.

With the change is seasons, comes the wonder of nature. The way the leaves begin to fade out from green. As if magically overnight- the air gets crisp and the ground below crutches underfoot. I remember meeting a couple of older ladies collecting leaves a few years ago- Leafers

In our yard, we have mostly pine needles falling. There are a few maple trees and what we like to call an “elephant ear tree” that shed leaves. Over the next week or so I suspect that we will be taking the dead leaves up into large piles to jump into. We should be lucky this year and not find any dog turds lurking underneath. (Our puppy is getting much older and tends to do his business just outside the door in an easy to find location.)

So be on the lookout as you enjoy your autumn walks. Especially if you have kids who love to kick up the fallen leaves. Nothing worse than stepping in a poop landmine and carrying that smell around.

And if you have a dog- please pick up after them. Unless you find it funny to surprise unwitting strangers, then be all means- be a jerk. The ghosts of Halloween will curse you and karma shall return with a vengeance.

Artsy and Creative

Last night I was called “Artsy” by a person who I’ve only known for a short while. I guess I kind of am. But I prefer to be considered more of a “Creator”.

My 14 year old son took this picture yesterday.

I love building stuff, creating paintings, writing stories, taking perfect photographs- that sort of thing. I find it pleasurable to make something from nothing. (It’s probably why I’m obsessing over my 3D printer lately.) Looking at my life, I’ve always been that way.

Disney inspired paintings by my 18 year old.

But my joy of being “Artsy” has rubbed off on our children. Everything from painting to making music videos to photography- our kids create as much, if not more, pieces than I do. Sending them to a Fine Arts School has helped in bringing out their inner creative spirit.

Art is a great way to express oneself. I encourage it for everyone to do. It’s good for the mind and soul.

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.

First Day Of Autumn 2020

By the time you read my blog today, it will officially be Autumn. I love the changes in seasons. Each season is exactly the right length.

Even though this year has felt like it has drawn on forever, we are entering the final quarter. The last hurdle to go until 2021. To me, autumn gets broken down into pieces. We have the first week of Fall, Thanksgiving, Halloween, then November leading us into December and the excitement of Christmas Holiday Season.

By the time the Winter Solstice hits, we will be looking back on this year as if it had lasted a decade. A lifetime of history making done in a single year. It’ll be a relief to look back on 2020 and have it all behind us.

What is your favorite season? Are you ready for 2021?