Computer Animation

I’ve always loved computer animation. Back in 1982 “Tron” came out and changed the film industry. Shortly after was “The Last Starfighter” in 1984.

Then in the 1990’s, one of my favorite artsy styles of the animation came out with a mix of music and creativity- “Beyond The Mind’s Eye” showcased the future of computer animation. Shortly after- some of the scenes were used in “The Lawnmower Man”. This was a couple of years before “Toy Story”.

The late 90’s had “The Matrix” making people question reality. Side note: In 2003 I picked up a metallic holographic style poster for the sequel and had it framed.

Back in 2010, we enjoyed Flynn’s Arcade in Disneyland. A throwback of the arcade from the 80’s film “Tron” and a segue into the sequel.

The art style of computer animation has come a long way in four decades. Seeing some of the older shows proves how far film has gotten.

What are your favorite computer rendered films?

Never Too Serious

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

Old Dog Lex

Our puppy is growing old. I love him tremendously since we first met. We adopted him back in January 2013 to be a friend to our old dog- Chuppy. Little did I know that he would also be such an integral part of our lives.

He was such a goofball back then even at age four. This picture is from the day we drove him home with us. He has always been a perfect match for our family from the first day we met him.

As all dogs go- he is quite content to be lazy. But he also tries to stay energized when he knows that there is a potential walk about to happen.

He’s still a lovable goofball. Even as he gets slower and has difficulty keeping up. He wants to be a young pup- but his age is catching up. So Happy Belated Adoption Day Lex!

Irn-Bru

My favorite drink In The World is Irn-Bru. It’s a Scottish soft drink with a unique flavor. What is the flavor of Irn-Bru? I like to describe it as an orange cream soda.

I first had some in Scotland back in 1995 when I was 19. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. My favorite part about traveling in Scotland was buying Vodka and Irn-Bru at almost every pub. I brought some bottles home to share with friends. The soda didn’t last long as everyone enjoyed it. It took me a few years to find it here in Canada.

When I did find it for sale- boy was I excited! I bought it every chance I got because of the scarcity of it. Oh, and the cost was a bit ridiculous for a soda, so I limited my purchases. Paying $10 for 2 liters is a bit much or $4 for a small bottle. The problem now is that I introduced my kids to the drink, and they love it too!

Today I found a neat looking bottle of vodka that I had to own. And what better way to enjoy the vodka with than some Irn-Bru? Tonight I’m enjoying a vodka and Irn-Bru. It brought back some great memories. Perhaps one day I’ll share with my kids some vodka and Irn-Bru. Until then, this is my treat.

Perler Beads

“How do you use Perler Beads?”

That was the question I asked back in August 2010 when I first discovered them at a convention. Eventually we bought a few of the crafting sets and learned how to use them. It was an easy process and soon we branched out and began to focus on some other creations.

What are Perler Beads?

Perler Beads are small plastic beads that you lay beside one another to make an image, followed by melting them. There are clear plastic plates with tiny pegs which you use for the projects. They are about 4 inch square. Using tweezers to place the beads in formation- eventually you get an image.

Most of this craft is counting and separating coloured beads. Once the image is done- you use a wax style of paper and iron gently in order to melt the beads together. We liked to melt them only slightly to keep the the image, while I have seen other melt them flat, thus “bleeding” the beads together.

Today I discovered a set of coasters I had made years ago. Perler Beads are perfect for recreating 8 Bit or 16 Bit video game characters. Artistically- I found each image needed a bit of “shading” to make the images pop. By “shading” I used a colour that was similar but a tad bit darker. Greens, blues, red, yellows, etc.. all popped around the black frame.

Our kids used the coaster video game characters as templates and made numerous magnets which they would sell at conventions in order to earn some spending cash at the shows. They also made Hello Kitty hair clips and keychain Mine Craft tools which were very popular.

My favorite that I have made to date, also happens to be the largest. We bought an oversized plate and I filled it up with beads to create a Jack Skellington for the film The Nightmare Before Christmas. This particular creation took me about 5 hours and 3500 beads to complete.

Making Perler Bead creations was a fun family hobby when the kids were younger. We still have a metric shit-ton of the beads in all sorts of colours. After discovering my original coasters- I have a feeling that the kids may want to start making them again once more.

Or I could be terribly wrong and our kids will go on to be teenagers and grow their social lives. But I still like crafting and may return to it soon.

Concert Ticket Stubs

What do you do with old concert tickets?

When I was a teenager and for a few years afterwards, I enjoyed going to concerts. Over the years, much of my musical tastes have varied to a point that I’m not sure I love one style only.

I attended shows in small venues to outdoor weekend long extravaganzas. The 90’s were filled with great shows and the music industry was booming thanks to cd’s and radio. All before mp3s or streaming.

The other day I found an old photo album of mine. Inside I discovered a page of ticket stubs. Concert tickets and show stubs ranging from comedy to magic, or gothic to alternative music. I can remember each person I attended these shows with. I loved the experiences and keeping these ticket stubs was a great reminder of these shows.

Nowadays tickets are mostly on your phone, with no way to keep them. Perhaps a screen shot? Or saving an email? Having a physical stub is a tactile item that I personally used as a memento. I also cannot believe the difference in show prices. A show cost $25 or less in the mid-90’s. Last year I went to see Queen in the nosebleeds and it cost $160! And no ticket stub!

Ya, I’m old. And I love music. I’ll gladly pay 99ยข for a song now. Or search out old records at the thrift shop. But concerts are a thing of the past for me. Because without a ticket stub, did it even happen?

Yo-yo Yo

Last night my son asked me if I knew how to yo-yo. A couple years back I donated some Puzzles and wooden yo-yos to him. He never really cared for the yo-yos before but loved the puzzles.

His fascination with the yo-yo kind of started a few days ago when we were watching a collection of Vine videos on YouTube and one of them involved Tom Smothers aka “The Yo-yo Man”. This clip is from back in the 80’s- which was around the time I used to watch “The Smothers Brothers” when the show was revived in 1988-1989. That was when I became interested in the yo-yo but it never blossomed into much.

It wasn’t until the late 90’s that I really fell in love with yo-yo. Put it up there with hackysack as useless but fun pastimes which I excelled at in the mid 90’s. So I naturally jumped at the opportunity to show off some of my lame dad skills to my son last night.

I started with showing him the basics of the yo-yo. String, wax and the wooden classic yo-yo. My son took my “well loved” green yo-yo and I used my more pristine red one. I showed him some basic tricks like “sleeping”, “forward pass”, “walking the dog” and “around the world”. It’ll take me some more practice to dust of my other skills to get back to things like “rock the baby”.

Hopefully my son enjoys this useless pastime like I did. Looking online, there are plenty of YouTube videos teaching people how to yo-yo. I even found a video available on Amazon of Tom Smothers on VHS!

Did you ever enjoy this simple toy? Or did you get into some professional style ones? Let me know in the comments.

Classic Disney Films

Over the winter break, the family and I have been enjoying Disney+. Besides enjoying some of the newest content like The Mandalorian or Jeff Goldblum- we’ve been watching some of the oldest films in the library.

Last night was “Journey to the Center of the Earth“. I don’t recall ever watching it before. It wasn’t what I expected considering what my mind perceives Jules Verne works to be.

The other day, I made the family sit through “The Blackhole“. This was my choice after my wife had us watch “The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes“. Both were rather bad.

But when you look at the original release years of these films- they are ahead of their time in special effects, even if the dialogue is more poetic and theatrical. We have a few other films that we will watch as we jump around the various decades of movie magic that Disney has to offer.

A couple weeks ago the kids did enjoy “The Flight of the Navigator” and I happened to notice some other Live Action Disney films that we may need to have a viewing of. “The Rocketeer” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” are in our queue already.

Have you been watching some old content from Disney+ lately? Let me know if some of those films and tv shows hold up. I’m pretty sure “Ducktales” does, but “Hanna Montana” may not.

Brain Power

Yesterday was rather windy. Living in a neighborhood filled with trees and power lines- it was only a matter of time until our power went out. I’m glad it happened after dinner at least.

Our fireplace kept us warm during the outage.

I had started a fire shortly before dinner to begin warming the house. As soon as the power went out, the kids sprang into action and gathered up candles and flashlights. I headed outside and turned on our portable generator. We connected a small space heater and a couple of table lamps.

The kids have decided that during power outages we need to play a board game to pass the time. Last night’s game was Trivial Pursuit: Family Edition. To my surprise our oldest daughter ended up winning the game and my wife came in last. Going through the questions I realized that I don’t know much about sports or recent historical events.

It was a fairly good evening as we hung out as a family without a screen being on. But almost immediately after our game ended- the power returned. Then we went to the living room and streamed some Disney+ before retreating off to bed.

How do you handle power failures? When was the last time you played Trivial Pursuit? Let me know in the comments.

Empty Spaces

Yesterday afternoon we removed Christmas from our house. The walls, shelves and floor space are abundantly empty. It feels barren and spacious. It’s all sorts of creepy.

Our home looked so festive throughout December. It felt warm and inviting. Not to mention joyous as well.

Now it’s stark and devoid of life. But as we do quite often- it’s time to rearrange our furniture and knickknacks. During this time we will purge some stuff that we don’t want or need anymore. It always feels good to do that.

Have you De-Christmased your home yet? How does it make you feel?