Beauty Made

The FAILURE I wrote about yesterday led me to try exponentially harder on my next rug. So much so that I put in around 12 hours labor to get it right. That’s a long time for a twenty eight inch round rug. But I wanted it to be perfect. And it almost is.

I traced out the image as I normally do. This time I labeled each and every color spot and worked tediously to fill them in; leaving enough space to do the black outline in the end. After each colour, I trimmed the yarn. It was easier to do it this way so that the final touches would be minimal and easier to complete.

I have wanted to do this specific image years ago, but in an different medium. I was originally going to paint it, then I was going to paint it on a window, I even thought about doing it in stained glass; but now I created it in rug form. Beauty and The Beast is my favorite Disney Princess Classic. I’ve always loved this film. Great music, good story, very vibrantly executed. A masterpiece in animation.

I’m very happy with how this rug turned out. As usual though, I can see every flaw and just want to continue trimming and cutting. But if I do that, nothing will remain of my rug. The beauty will be gone and only a beast would remain.

This Beauty is adorning our master bedroom in front of the doors to our Juliet deck. It adds a splash of color and I am totally in love with this piece and the placement.

Now I don’t know what to make. This was the pinnacle of my desires. Maybe I’ll take a week off and get back to basic images. Unless you all have a suggestion! I love this hobby!

What’s A Unico?

Hello Kitty

Our middle child has been a huge Hello Kitty fan ever since a pair of shoes was put on their feet at around age two. Darwin went to a Hello Kitty Super Cute Friendship Festival a few years back. We even went to a Hello Kitty Cafe in Tokyo in 2018. We still buy Hello Kitty gifts and that will probably never stop.

But even after sixteen years of enjoying everything Hello Kitty and Sanrio- Darwin discovered a character that they knew nothing about in the Sanrio universe. No, not Dar-Chanrio…

This evening I put on an anime film from 1981. I remember watching it with my little sister when I was a child. As the film credits began- the old Sanrio logo appeared. Darwin was shocked to have not know of this movie (or it’s sequel). Immediately an internet search was underway.

After a dive into the official Sanrio and Hello Kitty sites, no mention of Unico is made. But a search of Wikipedia and a Hello Kitty fan page showed this cute unicorn is indeed a piece of Sanrio’s past.

The discovery of this character was a bit mind blowing. It was almost turning into a “Mandela Effect” moment as there was no record of Unico on the official websites. In all honesty, the first film was nothing special. We will probably watch the second one in the future. I don’t think anything Unico will enter Darwin’s collection.

But I could be wrong.

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!

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.

Dino Mountain

There are plenty of paths in our neighborhood. Some lead around the houses, other paths lead through trees and parks. One of the paths has been filled with toys and art. It is titled “Dino Mountain” and was created in 2017.

There are little plastic dinosaurs near a large rock. My daughter will often straighten the ones that have toppled over and sometimes set up little scenes. I think it’s a fantastic way to encourage children to go on walks. It’s neat that the City of Surrey has also left it for the neighborhood to enjoy.

Today, we added our own touch to the Mountain.

Back in 1994 I was given some promotional material from a video store for the release of Jurassic Park. I have put them on display in all of our houses. Because I love the film so much, it was time to give back to the world and share some fun. I took the cardboard signage and taped it up in hopes that it survives the elements. Off to the trail we went and put them up for others to enjoy.

So if you’re in my neighborhood and go for a walk passing Dino Mountain- make sure you keep an eye out for Dinosaurs Crossings the path.

25 Years of ID4

Every year on the Fourth of July we watch the movie “Independence Day”. It’s a tradition that I have kept up since I can remember. I first shared our story five years ago: ID4. My wife and kids all look forward to it each year. I can’t believe the film is a quarter century old now.

This is a great sci-fi film which borders on impossible at times. The characters and interactions more than make up for the fluff that this movie has to offer. Heck, after 25 years a lot has changed. Even the US Military has sort of, partially, kind of told the world that there is such things as ufos.

As American as A.L.F.

I have always wanted to believe that there is life out there. Hopefully it isn’t as mean as the aliens are in this film. Perhaps as a race we can come together and accept diversity as a way of life. Only then do I think we will meet alien life forms. Hopefully they are also not like A.L.F.

Happy July 4th to our American Cousins!

Practicum: One Year Done

Our oldest finished her practicum and received her feed back today. That means a year of post secondary school is now behind her. She is finally relaxed.

Ice Cream Cake

Tonight we picked up an ice cream cake to celebrate her first year behind her. Random deserves a treat after such a stressful few weeks getting her project completed.

Unfortunately there are no options for her to get in the workforce this summer. Covid has made it difficult for her to get some hands on experience. Hopefully after her second year she will get experience in her chosen field. In the meantime, she is excited to work for her boss at 1 Fish 2 Fish this summer.

What’s really neat is that for her practicum film project- she interviewed a coworker about working there. After getting feedback from her teacher, Random is going to edit the project and present it to her boss. I think that’s wonderful. Our daughter can combine her passion for film and fish into one.

I hope she continues to enjoy the career she is choosing to pursue. There will be plenty of opportunities coming up and she could be a very busy person.

Life’s Like A Movie

Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing. Keep pretending.

Seven thousand four hundred and eighty days. Or twenty years, five months and twenty four days. That was when I proposed to my wife.

We had gone out for dinner, then an evening stroll in Fort Langley. We stopped at a coffee shop and sat on the patio, at which point I popped the question. On the sidewalk right next to us they were filming a movie.

We married on July 10,2001 in Fort Langley at a small church on a Tuesday. Across the street, they were filming “Air Bud 4”. The production company stopped filming and stood at the door and watched us get married.

This past weekend, my wife and I walked through Fort Langley once more. This time the little town had changed into the setting of “Sonic The Hedgehog 2”. Fort Langley became a town called Green Hills. My wife and I went “full tourist” and took a bunch of photos.

My favorite part about walking around, was seeing the details added to the set. Things that no one would ever see. The background story of a fictional town hidden all around. As if Green Hills was a real place.

Movies have always been a big part of my life and I enjoy them tremendously. Movies can whisk you away for a couple of hours into an imaginary storyline. My life with Lee-Anne has been magical since we first met.

The eye of the mind makes a movie. And my movie has been nothing short of awesome.

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.

Zoom Fest 2019

Last year our oldest daughter participated in Zoom Fest– a student film competition that lasts only 48 hours. This year her group is doing the filming and editing at our home. Originally it was just our oldest daughter and her classmate. But since arriving at our home, our other daughter has begun to help them.

The film needs to be between 30 seconds and 7 minutes in length. The are given a theme and told to incorporate a prop in some form. This year the prop is “Gloves” and the theme is “Haste makes Waste”.

The Langley Fine Arts school has loaned out cameras, equipment and Apple Computers to each team. The competition began at 5pm yesterday and ends tomorrow at 5pm. Last night, our daughter’s group gathered up their props, figured out their shots and story line. They opted to get a good night’s sleep and woke up at 5am to begin filming. We are already two pots of coffee in…

As they were outside filming during a windstorm- a large branch fell. They shakily caught it on camera and their excitement levels have increased. With all of their caffeine and adrenaline levels spiked- these girls are talking a mile a minute trying to get their film together.

These two/three girls are working well together so far. With a little under twenty hours behind them and twenty eight hours left to go- they think they have plenty of time to finish. I wish them the best of luck and I cannot wait to see the finished film.

Summer Clean Up

Our kids have already been enjoying over a month away from school. We’ve kept them busy and active for the most part. Or at least tried to. Somehow they always resort back to playing on screens both big and small. Ask them to get off the computer, straight to the iPad. Ask them to put down the iPad, off to the iPhone. Then the PlayStation or the Nintendo Switch. The kids need to be occupied with something.

Today my wife and I are going to keep them occupied with a massive cleaning of our home. Inside and out. Our kids’ responses: GROAN. That was to be expected. But our lovely home has fallen into some disarray. It’s time to get things back on track and try to keep it that way.

Hahahahaha… I know the house will get messy again. Of course no one wants to do chores. But we all love living here. So…

GET TO WORK!

Hopefully the weather stays calm and we can enjoy our first night at the Drive In. You know- reward the kids with the biggest screen of all!

Theory and Toy Traders

For the second time in two days, old friends have popped out of the woodwork and sent me texts. It’s pretty cool to know that you are randomly thought of. Anyhow, on with today’s blog.

Back in September of 2015, our son took part in a short video about a local toy store. It was made by a former coworker friend of mine from back in my Movie Theater days. Late Friday night my friend shot me a text linking to the YouTube video. I had completely forgotten that they made this.

2015 at age nine

It was a great experience for my son. He was literally a kid in a toy store. All he did was talk about the toys while a camera followed him around. They did this for hours and my son enjoyed every minute of it. My friend had a ton of footage to go through.

Check out the short pilot video here: Toy Traders – Trade Fever.

My friend Dan loves films. He was a collector of many movies and watches almost everything. This was his foray into making his own. I like the premise of what he made. It was in a style similar to Comic Book Men. Which by the way is made by Kevin Smith who also loves visiting Toy Traders as seen here: Kevin Smith Live at Toy Traders.

I hope Dan keeps creating films and shows. He is extremely passionate about the medium.

Marvel Mania

This weekend marks some closure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Disney isn’t stopping production of Marvel films by any means. But with “Avengers: Endgame” the stories could take a drastically different route.

11 years of MCU all leading up to this latest installment. I’m excited and not going to speculate on the outcome. Nor have I been reading anything online about the film. I refuse to succumb to spoilers or fan theories. I just want to see the movie and enjoy it.

MCU isn’t the first film franchise to spread out over the years. Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings come to mind for fan favorites. Because of devoted fans, there are also devoted haters. People who are “sick of hearing about the films” but want to share their negativity as loudly as possible. I don’t understand why people want to poopoo on other people’s happiness.

I, for one, am going to enjoy the show with my family. Of all the fandom t-shirts I own, none are Marvel based. So I’m rocking my favorite cartoon villain- Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls. He’s not like Thanos, but still a favorite of mine.

Let’s hear it for fictional bad guys! (Not irl bad guys.) Let me know in the comments if you ever cheer for villains!

Spoiler Free Zone

This weekend my son and I were at Calgary Expo: a veritable nerd haven of fandoms and merchandise. Thousands of geeks gathering together… on a weekend when the new Avengers movie hit the theaters. This could not end well…

Many tables had signage saying “Spoiler Free Zone” or “No Spoilers”. Because we had to work the tables/booths all weekend- many of us couldn’t escape in the evenings to view the newest movie. The best part about the weekend and the attendees was the fact that no one spoke about the new movie with those of us who hadn’t seen it yet. Complete and utter respect given to everyone in this regards.

It made me happy that our nerd culture can do such a thing. This weekend I avoided viewing social media. All I did was post a few things, but never scrolled through or read anything that could diminish my movie going experience.

Tonight, I am taking the family to go and see the film. Just a couple of more hours to go in hopes that I can avoid hearing anything about the film. I’ve made it 4 days so far… we can do this.

October is Here

Today is the start of Halloween!  Well, maybe not… but I do love the season. I have for many years.


Today I don one of my favorite t-shirts. A mashup of two films from my youth. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “E.T.” Both films impacted my life in profound ways.


The first movie I ever saw in a movie theater was “E.T.” when it was first released in 1982. I was six years old and it scared the crap out of me at the time. Yes, the cute alien terrified me enough that I had nightmares of it for weeks. I’m much better now and it holds a place in my heart as an introduction to the emotional connection that films have brought me.


Eleven years after my first theater film, I saw “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Tim Burton’s style of films had been some of my favorite cinematic experiences over the years. This film was exceptional in the visuals and songs. For some reason, at age 17, I was able to relate to Jack as a misunderstood skinny guy in a dark world of happiness. 


Since then, I have collected numerous NBX memorabilia and love having them out from Halloween to Christmas. It saves from taking down the decorations! Maybe this time next year my family and I can be in Disneyland for Halloween. But until then, time to spookify our home for October!

First Holiday Family Film

Most weekends we enjoy sitting around and watching movies as a family.  Tonight we watched our first Christmas movie.  It was one that our oldest daughter wanted to watch.  It was also one that we had never seen before.  I was hoping for one of our favorites…

The soft glow of electric sex…


We have our regular favorites of course.  Every year on Christmas Eve we watch “A Christmas Story”.  A tradition that started for me 25 years ago when I was about 15.  I believe it was TBS that showed it for 24 hours straight through Christmas Eve into Christmas Day.  I had a tv in my bedroom and often fell asleep with it on.  I must have woken up numerous times throughout the night to different parts of the film.  It wasn’t until the year after that I finally watched it in proper order.  

It’s full.


There’s also “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” that my family loves to watch.  I am often quoting this movie during the season.  Some great facial expressions and music make this movie fun.


The darker side of me really enjoys “Scrooged” with Bill Murray.  He holds this film together with some great dialogue.  The sarcasm and bitterness is enjoyable as we have all been there and felt it.


But tonight’s film was not what I was expecting.  We watched “Krampus”.  The story of Santa’s evil darker sided shadow that punishes misbehaving children.  The film about Krampus was stuck between trying to be a comedy and trying to be a horror film.  At the end of it, I just felt kind of meh.  Not a good film by any means.

Two Gargoyles make me laugh every time we meet.


The story behind Krampus has garnered somewhat of a cult following over the years.  I’ve known the story and imagery of Krampus for a few years myself and love the idea behind it.  Some friends from the comicon circuit (Two Gargoyles, check them out here: Twogargs.com) that make a neat Krampus coffee mug that I’ve been wanting for a while…


Unfortunately after watching “Krampus” it didn’t fill me with joy.  I’ll stick to “Nightmare Before Christmas” if I want to mix up holiday fun with spookiness.