Towel Day and 45 Years of Star Wars

What a day to be a sci-fi nerd. I was so excited about this day I began writing this blog a year prior. But then I hit a writer’s block and that was the only sentence I wrote all year. Or I just procrastinated. Either way, I fished writing it today.

As many folks know by now, I love Star Wars. It has been around for 45 years as of today. I could go on and on about this science fiction fantasy universe, but I won’t do that today. I already celebrated May 4th.

More importantly- Today is Towel Day! This one is really significant to me. Our oldest received their name from book five of the trilogy. In my opinion- Random is one of the greatest names in this day and age. Random can choose a new name at random and no one would question it. Random can do random things and again, kind of difficult to question. But most of all, Random has suited their name since my wife first agreed to the name a little over 20 years ago.

21 years ago, Douglas Adams passed away at age 49. He was the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Or H2G2. A comedic series of books about the absurdity of the universe. I had recently re-read the novels when he passed. A short time later, the universe clobbered me with a 2×4 and was about to make me a father for the first time. Naturally, I wanted the universe to know that I was game and ready to play along. Random would become the greatest gift and biggest hurdle for my life. Which has brought me to this bit of wisdom:

As significant as today is, and how nerdy it is, one must always be prepared for adventure- so remember to bring a towel. It may just save your life!

Or perhaps just use a clean towel to dry off. That’s important too.

Excited For Disneyland

Even though we don’t head to Disneyland for a few more months, I’m getting very excited for it. It seems as though everything is pointing to a wonderful vacation.

Yesterday I was driving home from dropping the kids off at school- the sun was starting to come out. As it did, my watch reflected onto my visor; creating an all too familiar image. The iconic Mickey Mouse ears.

Naturally it made me feel jovial and happy. The previous trips were a blast. Each one was slightly different- creating new memories and unique experiences for all of us. Our future trip is looking almost like a whole new experience as well.

We will get to travel to the Star Wars inspired portion of the park: Galaxy’s Edge– finally after three years of anticipation and excitement. Plus there’s a whole new Marvel inspired land that will be a fun experience for all of us.

But there’s also the normal fun we love to have every trip. Turkey legs, Dole Whip, parades,shopping, rides, meeting characters… the list goes on and on. It’s just such a magical experience each and every time. This next time around, we are bringing a person who has never been to Disneyland. So we will get to see the joy and wonderment through their eyes as we hit up all the fun spots and secrets we have learned over the years.

Do you ever get signs of things to come? Does it make you excited? Let me know in the comments.

Friendaversay

23 years ago I started a job at the Colossus Movie Theater. I had so desperately wanted to work at a theater for my teenage years but never had the chance. At age 23 I finally got the opportunity. It was as if my life waited for the moment to arrive. I wasn’t a teenager anymore- so I was needing to find a friend closer to my age.

Within the first few days of working at the theater, I made friends with a fellow named Matt. We have been through so much together over the last two decades (and more). Matt is one of the few people who really knows my struggles. He has been a great ally as we been Theory navigated relationships and fatherhood.

On this day, 23 years ago, the theater opened. Star Wars Episode 1 was released. All of us were excited to be working there. My new friend-Matt dressed as a Storm Trooper. Freakin’ cool… Matt became a close friend.

After all these years, I’m happy to have started at Colossus and create the friendships I needed. It was almost exactly half my lifetime ago when this started. Better than high school- life was great back then. And it started me on the journey I needed to be on to get where I am today.

Those friendships from Colossus were important to me. I watched these friends succeed over the years and create lives that were challenged, yet amazing. Half my life has been involved with watching them and being a part of their lives. I’m happy to have made such great friends over the years. From those friends, I made more friends. A never ending life of kindness and fun.

Thank you Matt for being the close friend of mine that I needed. You have been an important part of my life, and I appreciate you.

Change In Weather Attitudes

I mentioned previously about wind storms and the havoc it once reigned on our lives. The chaos that the wind would cause. The destruction and mess that it would leave behind for us to clear up. And the fear that a branch or tree would come crashing down.

Today was another windstorm. And as it continues, I am glad to have moved from our previous house. My wife is also getting over those bouts of weather induced anxiety. She was even able to joke about it earlier.

I’m glad she was able to find humor finally after decades of calamity and fear. It also seems that this windstorm is doing its best to get rid of the cold weather we have had these past few weeks and months.

As of late, I have been wanting warmer weather to approach. This weekend, I may get my wish to come true. We are expecting some sun and higher temperatures that we have yet to feel this season. I look forward to lounging in the backyard and having fun doing so.

As a man, I want to get everything done so I can have nothing left to do. I just want to do nothing in the sun. Just experience it. The warmth on my face, the red hue behind my closed eyelids, and the sensation of the world being at rest and comforting.

Theory aka The Roy Turned 16

Today is our youngest’s birthday. He turned 16. It’s a big deal because now he can go and start to learn how to drive. That’s truly exciting!

He also wanted to do something else more grown up- he wanted to make dinner. He asked if I could help him make schnitzel the way I make it. Which is a variation on the recipe my father used to do. Theory’s comfort level with cooking is getting better. Dinner was delicious!

In true teenage fashion, getting a nice photo of him wasn’t happening. So I ended up with a bunch of blurry, hands in the face, head turning photos tonight. But in the end, he wanted to spend time with me. Both watching tv and making dinner. That was more a gift for me I think.

The one gift I’m really happy about that we gave him was a license plate. It was hand painted by a street artist who tags rail cars. His name is also Theory. I reached out to him a while back and paid for a piece in order to gift it to our son. I’m really happy with how perfect the gift was for Theory since he will soon be driving.

So a big shout out to our son on his birthday!

Happy birthday Theory! Who also goes by these names:

  • The Roy
  • Theor Bear
  • T Bear
  • Bearbee
  • B Bear
  • Bear
  • Scrufty
  • Boy Darwin
  • Boy Random
  • The Boy

We love you buddy. We are so proud of who you are becoming.

Being Awesome

I have started back with my egotistical self esteem. Years ago, when Facebook was in its infancy, I would write statuses about how awesome I am. I shared daily with my friend group about what a great person I was and how amazing I am.

I realized recently that I haven’t been feeling so proud of myself. I was undermining my own ego. I had moved away from saying nice things about myself. Of course, I wasn’t saying anything negative about myself out loud mind you. More like I just wasn’t saying anything at all about myself.

I have been sharing positive pictures and stories. Yet none of it was truly about me. It was of things I do and places I was at. Not the inner feelings. Those I generally keep bottled up. And I was feeling really low. It’s time for a change.

So instead of being sad, I’m going to be awesome instead.

True story.

Kids In The Hall

Back in high school, I was a huge fan of “The Kids in the Hall”. Yup, I was watching them when they first aired back in the early 90’s. The skits were very creative and totally out there. I even plagiarized some of the comedy in order to survive English class. My teacher at the time said I was “morbid” and “syndical” as well as “macabre”. Kind of like life if you ask me some days.

1996 rolled around and I was a couple of years out of school by then. “The Kids in the Hall” made the film- “Brain Candy.” I may or may not have been experimenting with psychedelics at this time in my life. But I did enjoy the film and the commentary on drug usage in North America at the time. Periodically I still put on the soundtrack because it was gosh darn good.

Around the same time, I went and saw “The Kids” perform a live show in Vancouver. Okay, maybe it was in the year 2000 that they toured. My life was a blur back then. I wasn’t ready to settle down… and life was still just a thing to live periodically. I knew one day that I’d be done monkeying about. Little did I know that was the year that my life would change.

22 years later and “The Kids in the Hall” banded back together for an appearance on Amazon Prime. Eight episodes to watch, and the first one had full frontal male nudity. Like the kind of nudity that was of men far older than I. Awkward nudity. Humorous nudity. Because- why the heck not? An added bonus- there is a contest they created called “paint Bellini” and naturally I entered. Wouldn’t that be a riot? Win the contest of a show that impacted my life all of those times way back when?

Anyhow, go watch the show on Amazon Prime. It’s Canadiana at its finest. Or don’t. I’m not your boss. But if you do- expect some new skits and a few classic characters to make an appearance.

Long live KITH. And did I mention, in high school- my friends and I tried to get our own comedy sketch show off the ground? Called “Slow Children Playing.” I tried a few times to get in going. Yet no one had the commitment to do it. Now it’s more “Middle Age Memes”. Or essentially “The Kids In The Hall.” So go watch it. Or don’t. No big deal to me.

I’m Blue Da Ba Dee…

This afternoon I decided that I wanted to do a painting. It had been a couple of years since I last did a special one for myself. I was feeling energized and didn’t want my ambition to wane. So I jumped right in.

Shelley by Josef 2020

A little over two years ago, I did a small version of a painting inspired by an artist named Shelley. The original painting was huge. I believe it was four feet by four feet in size. The one I made that mimicked the original was on one foot by one foot. Today, I decided to double the size. I also chose to change the color palette.

Blue Shelley by Josef 2022

I love this new color concept that I did. It made me think that perhaps I could do one or two other ones that could be similar. Perhaps a green one. Or a red/pink one. “Blue Shelley” is double the size of the one I did two years ago. But still half the size of the original piece that inspired me.

I know it’s not an exact replica in the shapes. But that’s what makes it unique. It’s not a printed image, but rather an inspired one that was inspired by another that was created by my memory.

I think I’d like to do more paintings again. I enjoyed listening to music and doing today’s piece. It was relaxing and pleasant.

Do you paint any art pieces? Let me know in the comments. Or perhaps share with me a picture or link to your art.

My First iPod

Since hearing about Apple retiring the iPod, I thought I could share about my first one. I first got an iPod in 2006. I bought it for myself on my 30th birthday. It was the latest version (5th Generation) and the first video model as well. 30GB in black.

I still have the iPod. I also still have the original box. On the day I got it, I uploaded every song in my library onto it. A far cry from 7500 songs that I could’ve put on it. But I also added a ton of digital photos onto it as well. Condensed video was not as easy back then to create. So my videos were minimal. Streaming was not an option either as you still had to connect to a computer where all your music and photos were saved.

That day, my wife gave me the gift of taking our kids away for the night so I could just enjoy my new toy. The kids were 2 and almost 4. Our son was to be born a couple months later. So I was left at home alone. So I did what any 30 year old man with 24 hours of freedom and a new piece of technology would do.

Mushrooms.

I will say, my first experience with the iPod was memorable. I listened to tons of different music, played with the settings, scrolled quickly with the click wheel and just enjoyed laying in bed listening to anything I wanted. However, by the time I was ready to sleep, I was lonely.

The photos I had put on my iPod were of my wife and kids from the previous couple of years. I missed them tremendously even though it was just one night. Our daughters were so loving and happy to always be around me. To this day, I still miss those moments of kindness and innocence they would showcase towards me with their personalities.

My heart was filled with joy the next day when they returned home. The love from the girls was the best gift that birthday. The iPod was a close second. Sixteen years later and I still get choked up thinking about my thoughts of missing them. Psychedelics are interesting to say the least.

Did you have a memory from your first iPod?

Everything Matters/ Nothing’s Important

I’m not sure why it happens… but it does…

My brain oftentimes brings up a memory that happened a few years prior on a day that is generally really close to the date of the original occurrence. I’m not talking about those Facebook Memories either. My brain just finds something and says- hey what about this thing?

Since I began blogging about my thoughts and experiences, I finally have a way to look it up once more and see what I originally wrote about. For example, Unfinished Work was a piece I wrote on May 18, 2017. Reading it now, I see that I really did put a lot more thought and length into what I wrote. Not that a lengthy blog is good… but it was one of the images that I was searching that my brain had decided to think about.

EVERYTHING MATTERS NOTHING’S IMPORTANT. This was a mural that was nearby my place of work when I was in downtown Vancouver. I’m not sure why it resonates with me periodically, yet it does. It’s a what life feels like some days. It’s not important, yet somehow it matters. Those intrusive thoughts and feelings that you should just leave behind. But there you are, letting it bug you.

So stop letting it get to you. It’s not important in the long run. Simple advice that even I wish I would take. Yet sometimes I can’t, but I should. I have to stop letting things bother me. I need to focus on the positive more. Even though that can be hard to do.

As I said though, my brain somehow cycles through thoughts and memories roughly the same time and date. Hopefully my next set of memories is more positive and I can get out of my rut.

That would be nice.

After Work Alone Time

I came home the past couple of days and headed straight to my bedroom… I just needed to be alone. I also wanted to enjoy the sunshine, but not sit outside. I genuinely can’t tell if I want to be alone right now lost in thoughts.

Laying down in a sunbeam warms me up. I don’t want to close the blinds- I want to feel the sun. It makes me feel alive. In fact, I wish for more sun these days. I need it.

Staring out the window at the clouds has me daydreaming of a life I once lived. The moments where I could enjoy myself and not care. These days I care too much. And I hurt too much from thinking too much. The hurt just sits there. Like a pit that I can’t swallow.

So I go to my phone. Facebook shares memories from the past decade or so. Mostly good times and follies of silliness. Again, the life I once lived. That energy is diminishing. The charisma is fading. Just making it through each day is the current sensation.

Not all days will be good. Not all experiences will be memorable. That’s not a bad thing. Just not a good thing. So I sit in my room. Watching the beauty in the world from my window. Not sure how to feel.

Timecop1983 and Jan Hammer

At some point in the past few months, Spotify slapped me with an artist I had never heard of. One who has now become a large part of my music rotation. I have no idea how Spotify figured out that I would like this music. Yet here I am, constantly playing it and now writing about it.

Timecop1983

This Dutch musician has created some of the best synth music I have ever experienced. I just wanted to thank Jordy Leenaerts for his amazing skills. I now listen to this music regularly to relax. I also use it as meditation and background music. It triggers some sort of nostalgia and youthfulness from the recesses of my mind that I need these days.

The music reminds me of Jan Hammer: a Czech/American musician who incorporates jazz fusion and synth pop. Jan did music for Miami Vice and the computer generated film from 1992: Beyond The Mind’s Eye. Which is one of my absolutely all time favorite films ever. Excerpts of that film used to be shown late at night on tv. A trippy, synthetic, alternate animated world.

Both artists have created a style of music that reminds me of what my friends from the 90’s used to write themselves. Perhaps that’s why I am drawn to these artists.

Be sure and check out Timecop1983 on Spotify.

May 4th- This Is My Favorite Day

It’s here! The bestestest day of the year! May the Fourth- aka STAR WARS DAY!

As you might be able to tell, I am a bit of a fan of Star Wars. It all started in the early 80’s thanks to my father. It was Christmas of 1981. We got a VHS VCR for Christmas. With it, my father had somehow rented 3 videos over the holidays. One of which was Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Five and a half year old me was blown away by it. This was- and still is- my favorite film of the series over the past forty years. I watched the movie at least a half dozen times over Christmas. A couple of years later, my mother took me to see Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in the theater. Shortly after that were a couple of TV movies made of The Ewoks. I remember recording them on videotape and watching repeatedly with my younger sister.

Over the years I have picked up artwork, mugs, movies, and toys that celebrate Star Wars. I never got into the action figures, even though I had bought a bunch in the mid-90’s from that run. I had them still in packages for years and ended up donating them one Christmas to a toy drive. I did keep a couple for my kids to play with. No need to keep things in a box when it’s meant to be enjoyed!

Nearly twenty years ago, I picked up my first replica lightsaber. The joy it has brought me is immeasurable. So I got more and started a collection- just like General Grievous. They are now on display in my son’s room. Passing on a love of Star Wars to my kids has also brought me joy.

My son has taken over my moniker for video games as well. Deathstar1138 was my PlayStation 3 name. He has since used it for his Instagram and other accounts. Our oldest has also grown very fond of Star Wars (and movies in general) because of my passion for it.

At one point in my life I was working at a multiplex cinema which opened the day Episode One came out in 1999. Admittedly, that isn’t one of the best movies in the universe of Star Wars, but it does have a place in my heart. Just like those Ewok films…

Over the next couple of days, I will rewatch many of the films. By the end of the weekend I will have my fill of everything Star Wars for a few months. Then it will be the excitement of visiting Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland that will start it all over again.

Until then, Happy Star Wars Day! And May The Fourth Be With You!

Hyped For Disneyland

Yesterday I booked the dates for using our Disneyland tickets that were purchased back in February 2020. I was only able to book them 120 days in advance. So when the dates opened, I jumped on them.

At this point the availability was good, but I didn’t want to chance it since we are doing a whirlwind trip. We are driving down, splitting it into a two day drive. Followed by four days in the park and a two day drive home. No resting or relaxation day in there.

From our first trip to Disneyland

Once I booked the tickets, our son began to really get invested in the trip. Discussing favorite lands/rides/food from previous trips. He also began to get new plans made for a possible itinerary for us. Plus he was sharing so trivia facts about the parks.

His excitement is contagious. It’s getting us all into the spirit of the road trip. I’m glad that our previous trips there were so joyous and memorable. I have a feeling this will be another memorable experience. Plenty of new things to see and do since our last visit in 2018.

Are you planning any vacations once more? Isn’t it nice to have a sense of freedom returning?

April Is Ending

What a peculiar month April was. Teasing of spring; a smattering of winter- all to remind us of how crazy Mother Nature is. And of course today is meme filled with…

As humorous as this joke was Ten years ago when it was first introduced to the internet, perhaps it’s time to retire the meme. It’s used as much as Cher’s “Turn Back Time” every year. I love a good meme, but sometimes oversharing can kill the joke. With May on the cusp- I am looking forward to nicer weather and wearing less layers

I really do love May and I am excited to overshare Star Wars Memes and phrases next week. So I really shouldn’t complain about memes that need to retire. Especially in four days time because I will be saying…

Alien Day

Come on in.

Today is April 26th. Otherwise known as ALIEN DAY.

LV-426 is the name of the moon where the aliens were discovered. You know, the Xenomorph aliens from Ridley Scott’s movie franchise. One of the best sci-fi/horror crossovers ever created.

I saw the movie Alien as a small child. Like 6 years old small. We had Superchannel back in 1982 and it was one of the movies of the month. Somehow I managed to sneak a viewing of it without my parent’s knowledge. You think that’s young? We took our daughter to see it when the film was re-released in the theaters in 2003; she was 15 months old. The aliens didn’t scare her. The android getting ripped apart did.

I was thinking about watching the first film tonight once more. It is a favorite of mine, even though it is terrifying. Except for the second film, I have seen every other film in the franchise in the theater. I am probably one of the few that liked the third one.

A few years back, we watched all the films in one marathon as a family. A midweek marathon isn’t going to happen. But I do love me some science fiction. The next month is exciting for me!

Next week- Star Wars Day! And May 25th- Towel Day!

Leaving Langley Blades

Our family has been a big part of Langley Blades Speed Skating since 2010. My wife has done a lot of volunteering, I have done my part whenever possible. Our two oldest became assistant coaches over the last few years as well.

However, as the next season in September approaches, many changes are coming. Our two oldest won’t be coaching since post secondary has taken priority in their lives. As well, our son will be leaving to go to another club. At the next club- he will have an opportunity to expand his abilities. He has already begun Spring Training and is enjoying the challenge.

As a thank you to my family, the Langley Blades presented us with a plaque and an award for our dedication to Speed Skating. My wife received it on Friday night at the AGM. Lee-Anne described the evening meeting as a bittersweet event. It was kind of the club to recognize the hard work and volunteering our family did over the last 12 years.

We will continue to see the skaters and parents at various meets and competitions. Perhaps we will be called upon to assist with their meets. Who knows, our two oldest may be able to find the time to coach as required. It’s tough to move on from a sports club sometimes. The growth for our son will only come if he learns from other coaches. And the growth of our previous club will come as they bring on new skaters.

Thank you Langley Blades for the years of training and fun. And a big thank you for the acknowledgment of our dedication to the club.

If you are local and want to keep your children active – try Speed Skating at Langley Blades.

Sunsets In Bed

Life is what you make of it. You can dwell on the negativity and it can bring you down. Or you can learn and grow and change those aspects of your life.

I’ve had my share of downs. I’ve tackled challenges. I’ve endured difficult times. After it all, I am able to see the beauty that the world still has in store. I appreciate that I can feel the sun on my face and watch the clouds roll off as I lay in bed.

I appreciate these moments. This world has so much more to offer. Getting past those negative emotions and thoughts; the light shines through. Another day to love and live.

Happy Easter Friends.

Darwin Is 18

Celebrating birthdays is something that the majority of us enjoy doing. Whether it’s our own or someone else’s- it’s nice to acknowledge a full rotation of the earth once more.

Darwin has quite the sense of humor. No “Happy Birthday” message again this year.

Today was our middle child’s 18th Birthday. Since it was just the two of us at home and it was a holiday, I allowed for some school friends to stop by. Our downstairs was loud with laughter and fun. I only showed up to do some dishes, bring in the pizza and cut the ice cream cake. A good way to stay out of sight, yet make them aware that there was a parent nearby.

Not that our children have had troublesome friends. For the most part, all of their friends have been really nice. Today, I did my best to hide away for the five or six hours of them laughing and playing games. It was the kind of birthday that Darwin wanted. Tomorrow, my wife and youngest return home from Quebec and we will have some family time to celebrate.

I still have a fun night planned for Darwin’s birthday. I’ll likely share the story tomorrow morning. But for now, it’ll be a Darwin/Daddy evening. I’m glad that I have the opportunity to still have some one on one time with Darwin. It’ll be tough as they enter adulthood and want to spend more time with friends.

Happy 18th Darwin!

No More Wind Fears

Today has been blustery. The wind is blowing fiercely across the Lower Mainland. But today, I am at ease.

In our previous home, we experienced wind storms so bad, our home and yard was damaged and we could be without power for days. Here is one example from 2018: Windy. After a few years of these storms, we were often on edge when it was like this. The clean up afterwards would take days if not weeks.

With the openness of our backyard, the wind comes across at full force. I can hear it whistle past the windows and see as our palm trees wave. But I’m okay with this. No crazy damage is occurring. No trees are falling on our roof or taking out our power. And even as the hummingbird feeders sway- the birds come to take a snack without hesitation.

No more wind fears. It’s a good feeling.

Disneyland 2020? Finally Going 2022.

We booked Disneyland tickets in February 2020 about a week before the world shut down. We had been planning to go for July 4th in order to see the military fly over and fireworks for that day. However, our trip has been in a state of hiatus ever since.

Memories of our 1st Disneyland trip

We are now on the verge of finalizing a trip to the most magical place on earth! The tickets we had bought were extended, but only until December 15th of this year. My original plan was to go at Christmas this year. Sadly that is unable to be accomplished. The other unfortunate part is our oldest will most likely not be joining us. This will be our the first Disneyland trip without them.

Of course I am discouraged by all of this. However, I know that the remaining four of us can still have a good time together no matter when we book our trip. As travel to other countries has been returning, I find it encouraging for our future vacation plans. I know that Disneyland won’t be the same as it was in years prior. But the familiarity is something we can look forward to.

Have you begun traveling again? Has it felt different or just another step to be taken in order to experience the world? let me know your thoughts on travel in the comments.

2255

Two Thousand Two Hundred Fifty Five. That’s how many days and how many blogs I have put out.

That’s an insane amount if you think about it.

That’s six years and two months worth of writing each and every day. Had I put that effort into writing novels, I’d probably be working on my third book by now. However, it is my life and an attempt at showcasing the positivity in it that drives me to blog. Not every story is great. Not every thought is really worth sharing. Yet I have been doing it now for 322 weeks.

I think I may actually be coming to a point where I will stop blogging about myself. I feel I have shared a lot over these past seventy four months and I know you all read them when you can. Which I appreciate. Maybe it’s time for me to focus on something else. Like that novel I always wanted to write.

Before I call the personal blog quits, I will let everyone know ahead of time. But I honestly do see it coming to an end soon. I hope my life’s journey over these past few years have inspired travel, food, fun and relaxation in your lives as well. Thanks for all the love each and every day.

Solo Movie Viewing

It’s been years since I went to the movies by myself. Back in the 90’s I used to go to the mall on a Friday and head to a matinee to see the opening weekend of a blockbuster. In the early 2000’s I worked at the multiplex cinema and would watch films regularly by myself. Many times from up in the booth staring through the small window.

Today I needed to revisit this feeling. I attended the IMAX at the theater I once worked at. I bought a ticket for the back row away from everyone else. Absorbing the experience by myself brought back the sensation I once enjoyed. I was able to dive deep into the movie and view it uninterrupted. No whispered discussion with friends or family during the show. Just the film and I.

I will say, I enjoyed doing that. I may return to solo viewing of movies. It was a time to unwind and fall into the fantasy world of cinema.

An experience that I truly missed.

Don’t You Forget About Me

Today is one of those dates in films that matters to those who love nostalgia. March 24, 1984.

The Breakfast Club is set for this date- way back when. A classic film from the 80’s. A John Hughes masterpiece. I remember watching it on tv one weekend in the 80’s. It was one of those “Special TV Movies” that were unmissable.

I haven’t seen this film in years (I think…I’m having deja vu as I write this blog- maybe I’ve seen it more recently). And tonight my wife and I are watching it in bed. Seeing these actors and listening to the dialogue makes me realize that the world has drastically changed. Yet in some ways we can all still relate to the struggles of life.

The hardships of being a teenager. The fact that these complete strangers stuck up for each other is understandable as well. I can relate to all the characters in one way or another. Many of us can, which is what makes it such a great film.

Watching it now, I see the scenes of the principal and relate to him as well. The difficulty of being an adult towards teenagers is my life these days. Life just keeps changing and evolving.

It’s unavoidable. It just happens.

Smokey

Today I hung out with an older coworker of mine. He is an experienced railroader who has been with the company as long as I have been alive- almost five decades. So I respect how he runs things and listen to his stories. Not many of his tales are of work. Most are of his family and experiences outside of there. I appreciate his tales and respect how he tells them.

I spent hours with him today. In doing so, I came home smelling like an ashtray. He smokes. A lot. I haven’t smelled like cigarettes in years. My father smoked regularly. And in the 70’s/80’s it wasn’t uncommon to be indoors or in a car with a child while you smoked. As a result, I took up smoking at around age 17.

I smoked for about 10 years off and on. There is hardly any pictures of me smoking. In fact, when my wife and I married, she requested that we do not have pictures of us smoking in case our children were to see them. The last time I smoked a cigarette was before my son was born. Over 16 years ago.

I have celebrated with a cigar on occasion since then. Not my favorite thing to do, so it’s only been about three times. I do not smoke any other things, as my world is already a trip as it is. Finding a picture of my indiscretions of the past is rare and I would be surprised if there are more than the two I have shared today.

But the smell of stale cigarettes on my clothes today brought back memories of long ago. I was unsure of what tale I wanted to share, if any, of smoking. So here’s a small tidbit.

When I was under the age of ten, my father would send me to the corner store to buy cigarettes. There was an age restriction of being sixteen in 1986, so I would be given note with a phone number to contact my dad, and I could buy a pack and bring it home. After a few times, the corner store owner began to know me and my father’s brand, so the note was unnecessary for a couple of years. That was when the age limit changed to 18 and the government cracked down on selling to minors.

Cigarettes and smoking have a different stigma than they once had. My coworker still smokes as of the 80’s and 90’s were relevant. A part of me looks to him as an uncle, and honestly he probably could’ve been a close family friend. He reminds me of the good aspects of my father. Plus my coworker has been known to dye his hair and mustache to look younger. He has a look of Burt Reynolds when he does this.

Hence the title of today’s blog- Smokey. Honestly, I think of how my father looked in the 80’s and believe this was also his attempt and being cool. Facial hair, a cigarette and a beer- that was the 80’s “Dad Look” and smell. No cologne needed as a haze of smoke would be around.