Meet My Stuffed Animal- Roger Rabbit

Like many people who had a childhood, I owned my fair share of stuffed animal toys. To be perfectly honest, I kept most and passed them on to our children. Our middle child has kept the majority of them in her possession. She loves them tremendously as if they had lives and personalities of their own.

But the one “stuffy” I have kept to myself over the years is my Roger Rabbit.

I have had this guy in my possession since 1989. I picked him up when I was Thirteen. Yes, I was a teenager when I bought it. He was purchased on my first ever trip to Disneyland. He became a prize possession of mine. I truly love the film and all aspects of it. Even over thirty years later- the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” holds strong in my opinion. My toy, however, has seen better days.

Roger has moved with me from house to house. Oftentimes he has been on display somewhere on a shelf or even in my bed. He is stained, worn and dirty. Seams have ripped, strings have torn off and stuffing lost. These are the war wounds of a good friend who has always been there for me. He listens when I have problems that I don’t want to share with the real world. My wife finds it odd that he suddenly appears on our bed sometimes. She says she hates him. I don’t believe her.

Roger shaped my personality at a young age. He was a mentor of sorts.

The character of Roger Rabbit was of a simple man (rabbit?) who believed in the goodness of others. Trusting of friendships and looking for a laugh to make others smile. But when he needed to be serious, he could, sort of. His flaw was always trying to please others. Literally smacking his head with a frying pan to meet their expectations.

I’m not saying I’m exactly like him anymore. But I like to think I can still be trusting and see the goodness in others. (As well as go for a cheap laugh.) These are some good qualities to possess.

The Fixin’s

Our friends invited us out for dinner a while back. A dinner that I won’t ever forget. Chili. But chili with “The Fixin’s

As if homemade chili wasn’t good enough, our friend took it to the next level. Now when I make chili at home it has to come with more than just a dinner roll.

Slower cooker chili is pretty basic to make. Brown some beef, add some tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, peppers, onions, and of course spices; then let it simmer.

The Fixin’s:

  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Chives
  • Corn Chips

It’s that easy. And that amazing. So much so that my family goes for seconds almost immediately.

20 Years Ago

My life changed 20 years ago today. Okay, maybe there was a few days leading up to today, but May 19th, 1999 is the date I recall. How do I know this date? Two words.

Jar-Jar Binks.

Yes, Star Wars Episode 1 is celebrating it’s 20th Anniversary. With it comes my memories of a previous job. Coinciding with the Star Wars debut was the opening of the 19 theater multiplex called “Colossus“. Working as a projectionist was always my dream growing up. It came true once I began my job opening weekend of this movie theater.

I spent nearly five years working at Colossus (read about it here) with many people calling me a “Lifer“. The term originally coined as a derogatory- you’ll never amount to anything– phrase. But I did become a “Lifer” because my life changed over the course of my time at the theater.

  • I lost my father
  • I met my future wife
  • I got engaged
  • I got married
  • We had a kid
  • I don’t know if any of this would’ve mattered in any other context. But for me- Colossus was a bigger part of my life than high school was. In fact I was ready to try and gather up old Coloss-hole coworkers for a reunion. But I thought better of it. Partly because it’s the long weekend. And also because I don’t know if other people feel the same as I do about our previous lives there.
  • The changes we have all been through make us who we are. Even Colossus has changed over the years.
  • So instead, I am writing this quick blog. A THANK YOU letter of sorts to everyone who made an impact on my life two decades ago. I miss you all tremendously and have fond memories of our zany antics. I hope all is well with your lives.
  • See you at the movies.
  • Chewbacca Cake

    For my son’s birthday, I baked him a chocolate cake. Unfortunately I couldn’t find our round cake pans, so I made a bundt cake instead. When I was growing up, this was oftentimes the style of homemade cake I would receive for a birthday. There was never anything fancy about those cakes- just the fact that my father took the time to bake them himself.

    So my son ended up with a chocolate bundt cake this year. Kinda plain looking- but I did have some milk chocolate icing in the cupboard to put on top. At least then it’ll feel like a birthday cake. Sugary sweet!

    Once I finished the crumb coat, I realized that smoothing out the surface would look okay-ish. So instead I tapped the spatula on as I added more icing. The cake began to look kind of like fur. Since my son enjoys Star Wars as much as I do- I figured why not make this into a Wookiee inspired cake. But how? Off to the pantry again.

    I found some leftover mini marshmallows and some baking chocolate we had since Christmas. Chocolate and marshmallows don’t go bad, right? I heated up a small pot of water and melted the chocolate in a glass bowl. This was easy since the bowl fit perfectly on the mouth of the pot. I was able to stir the chocolate constantly and keep the moisture out with ease. Once it was a silky smooth mixture it was time to pour it out into a straight line.

    We own a long serving platter that I figured would be perfect. But the chocolate would end up not being a thin strip like I wanted. So I taped down a couple of chopsticks and lined my newly made rectangle with tinfoil. Pouring out the chocolate and placed the mini marshmallows along the edges was the perfect way to make Chewbacca’s bandolier. Into the freezer for about ten minutes and it was set.

    Not bad for a quick Star Wars themed cake. Chewy would be proud. I know I am. Bonus- my kids loved it too. But hey, it’s chocolate. All kids love chocolate.

    Theory Thirteen

    Today Theory Turns Thirteen.

    Okay, enough alliteration. Our son is having another birthday. This time he is officially entering his teenage years. Over the past year I noticed something about his personality. He has been enjoying taking selfies with me.

    This has made me really happy. He enjoys trying to be like me in many ways. Which I am flattered by, but it also has made me more self conscious about my actions and behavior. Our son has started to form a sense of humor similar to mine in many ways. But he also enjoys clowning around in his own style.

    Our doofus of a son is a great kid. I hope he enjoys his day of silly antics and fun.

    Happy Birthday Theory!

    Ps. Here’s the card your mom was going to buy for you…

    Carving Up An Education

    Our middle child entered grade nine back in September. The one thing about her is that she strives for excellence in all of her classes. A few years ago, her grade four teacher advised us that she could easily skip a grade because of her intellect. My wife and I discussed this at great lengths but came to the conclusion that as proud as we would be in pushing this, we wanted our daughter to remain amongst her peers. This proved to be the right decision socially.

    Back to the start of this school year…

    Our daughter had made her selections for classes the year prior and was looking forward to some of the possibilities that awaited her. When she found out at the start of the school year that she’d be taking a class she had zero interest in- let’s just say disappointment was prevalent. That class you may ask?

    Carving.

    Once she began the year, she took it quite well. Her ambition to maintain straight “A’s” took over the disappointment factor. So she aced the class. It didn’t surprise me. The reason being- her Opa is fantastic at working with wood.

    My wife’s father was a brick layer by trade, but enjoyed wood working and cabinetry as well. Much of our home was created and envisioned by him. Our children have been surrounded by his talents so naturally it opened up a door to their hidden abilities.

    I love seeing something made from nothing so to speak. Creating art from a piece of wood or a blank canvas makes me happy.

    Guided By TV

    There once was a time that the tv required a weekly tv listings magazine to be made available.

    Why should I read a magazine weekly?

    TV channels were pretty much set in how they ran things. A new show every hour on the hour or half hour. Reading a magazine with the listings for your area was the best way to plan your viewing week. There was also a crossword and articles about the Fall Lineup or a puff piece about your favorite shows. Picking up a TV Guide when grocery shopping was fairly common practice. There wasn’t a listings option to show on the bottom of the screen. Eventually there was a dedicated channel to a scrolling listing that changed about every fifteen minutes.

    After a while, people just left their TVs on. Or at least that’s how my home functioned. Monday to Friday was the same routine. My day even began with morning cartoons before school. From the minute I came home from school to well after my bedtime the glow of the boob tube illuminated our home.

    Immediately after school, I enjoyed afternoon cartoons for a couple of hours until my parents came home. Then it was 6 o’clock news followed by Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. It was after these few shows that the daily programs would alternate.

    Sometimes it was Murder She Wrote. Or it could’ve been Cheers, Doogie Howser, Night Court or Quantum Leap. After a while it didn’t matter. Our TV just stayed on. During commercial breaks was when I ran to the bathroom or got changed for bed. Bedtime? That was the four minutes of credits and ads before the 9pm late night shows. Only to have me slink off to my room to turn on my TV to fall asleep to the horizontal lines of electric hums and late night infomercials.

    For me, purchasing a magazine devoted to TV is a thing of the past. In fact, regular tv viewing has changed to streaming at my leisure. No more programming myself to be glued to the tv in thirty minute increments wasting my time. Let me marathon through a tv series at my discretion.

    Star Wars Day 2019

    Star Wars Day is one of my favorite days. I love Star Wars. My family loves me so much that they enjoy being a part of it. From wearing Star Wars t-shirts to naming our dinner with Star Wars puns- May the Fourth is great! A couple years ago we did more to celebrate May The Fourth than we did this year.

    As well, in the past, we have watched several of the films in one sitting. My favorite was watching the episodes in machete order:

    IV, V, II, III, VI

    On this May the Fourth we only watched two films. Solo and Empire Strikes Back. In my opinion- the worst film as of late and the best film in the series. Today we will be watching another film to celebrate Revenge of the Fifth because we are a bunch of geeks in this household.

    What did you do on Star Wars Day?

    Do you like Star Wars as much as I do?

    Let me know in the comments.

    Batman 30 Years Later

    This weekend, the Cineplex theaters cross Canada are showing limited screenings of Batman from 1989. Naturally I had to go and see it on the big screen again. I love this version of the caped crusader.

    Back when I was thirteen, this version of Batman was my first foray into seeing comic book superhero films on the big screen. (Seeing Superman IV in 1987 doesn’t count as it was an extremely bad film.) My mother was gracious enough to take me to this film on opening night. She knew I loved the magic of cinematic story telling. My mother always made sure that I saw films opening weekend so that I wouldn’t miss out. Seeing movies was something my mother always did for me. It probably played a big role into why I wanted to be a projectionist- a goal that came to fruition many years later. A job which I enjoyed tremendously. (Thanks mom.)

    Coming back to today’s blog…

    For DC Comics, Batman has always been a safe bet. I became obsessed with Keaton’s Batman. I learned everything I could about the film- buying magazines and comics- which I still own. As well, I watched any interview or tv spot about the film. Did I mention the Prince soundtrack? I listened to that on cassette for months on end. So much so that I have memorized every lyric as well as when the audio clips show up in the film. Nerd alert.

    Batman has always been important to me. Probably the only DC superhero that I like. Going to the multiplex to watch a 30 year old film when there’s newer/ flashier films out there seemed counterproductive. Ya, we saw Avengers:Endgame on opening night, but seeing Tim Burton’s Batman once more on the big screen was important to me. I shared this moment with my two youngest children. In a theater that holds 234 people- seven of us watched a screening of Batman.

    For a film that brought forth some of the greatest aspects of the Batman franchise -like Keaton’s line “I’m Batman” or the theme music still used in the LEGO Batman series- it surprised me that the theater was empty. Why is this? I dunno.

    Earlier in the day, I was walking around town and on two separate occasions, young kids pointed out my Batman shirt. Everyone from kids to parents know Batman. Why not share a cinematic joy like the 1989 version?

    In a few days Cineplex will be showing the sequel. I won’t be seeing it on the big screen again. When I was younger, I saw Batman Returns THREE TIMES ON OPENING DAY back in 1992 at the old Willowbrook 6 theater. I think they got my money’s worth back then. As well, don’t expect me to watch the other two sequels they have planned for next week. Keaton’s Batman is the best of this series.

    If you want to see any of these films, check out Cineplex Special Events to buy tickets. $6.99 a ticket isn’t a bad deal if only six other people are in the cinema with you. If Batman isn’t your thing- they have some Indian Jones going on as well this month.

    What are you first memories of superhero films on the big screen?

    Did you like Tim Burton’s Batman?

    Let me know in the comments.

    U-Turn!

    Having a day off before the weekend is fantastic. Shopping is easier when the stores aren’t crowded. This morning I thought I’d get a good jump on my day off. Out the door at 8am to drop the kids off at school, then down to the good ol’ U.S. of A for some reasonably priced gas and dairy. I’d even beat the other parents since most school drop off is at 9am.

    What a great plan. Or so I thought.

    Today was the only day I wasn’t listening to the news radio. Turns out there was an accident at a major intersection that I needed to go through. I was wondering why the traffic was so busy going the opposite direction from me. Got to the detour and instead of heading south I was on my way north.

    My brain went into re-routing overdrive. What roads connect where? Which ones won’t be busy? GIDDYUP U-Turn! Followed by a quick right and I was headed down a quiet street. I got this. Smooth sailing so far. Hang a left… traffic looked a bit busy up ahead- just a school zone to get through. Crossing over the other busy street when complete stop. Still about five blocks away from my planned route.

    A couple minutes went by and we’ve moved two car lengths. There’s a driveway to my left…U-turn number two! Heading north again in order to go west down another back road. But I need to head east and south! Now I have a Pet Shop Boys song stuck in my head. “Go West- life is peaceful there…”

    Finally a road that isn’t busy. The road that takes me home. I can’t go that way- I still need gas! I’m finally heading south. Back roads are fairly empty. Phew. I can begin to head east again. Alright- smooth sailing… construction zone!??!? How in the world is a person supposed to get anywhere? Am I living the traffic jam scene from “The Truman Show”? I gave up and just sat in the lineup. It was a bit of a wait, but not too bad.

    I finally made it to the border. Which was not busy at all. My guess is people gave up trying to get through the blocked intersection I was frustrated with that begin my ordeal. Zipped to get fuel and zipped back across to come home. No waiting either way. Going home was easy as well. No traffic this time.

    Two hours gone from my day however. But it was my day off without much in the way of plans- so that’s okay. Next time I’ll listen to the radio for traffic reports.