Saying Farewell To A Coworker

It’s bittersweet when a coworker leaves. You’re happy for them to be making a change, but upset that they are leaving. Especially if you’ve worked side by side for years.

This week at the railroad is the last for a close friend of mine. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye, so the sarcasm and jokes are already coming out. I wrote a note of “encouragement” on a picture that I had hanging in our office for almost a year.

KC,

Good luck @ KM. You’re only gonna last 3 weeks!

#sixseasonsandamovie

-Joe

He and I had very similar tastes in entertainment. We often had discussions about movies and tv shows. My farewell to him is in reference to the show “Community”. A show we both enjoyed.

In a couple of days, he shall be off to a new adventure. We will still be in contact periodically because our railroad services the company he is moving to. The dynamic will change, but out jokes shall remain the same. I wish him all the best in his new adventure.

Jim Henson

For some reason this past weekend I have spent hours watching YouTube videos devoted to the life of Jim Henson. A full barrage of documentaries. All of which I found informative and inspirational.

Jim Henson and all of his works resound with me. There is an air of magic about the shows, movies and tv specials that sprout childhood memories inside me. I grew up enjoying anything and everything Muppet related.

I’ve shared with my children the beauty of Fraggle Rock, Muppets, Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal to name a few. I think they have grown a fondness of everything Henson as well.

Kermit the Frog was an inspirational character through all of his performances. Jim Henson brought him to life and made him feel real. Even though I knew someone had a hand stuck in the back of the puppets, it didn’t make them any less real.

It’s not just the puppeteering that I love, but also the music. The songs are a bit hippy-dippy at times, yet very catchy. Rainbow Connection is one of my all time favorite songs ever.

I’m glad that someone like Jim Henson came around and changed the world. Now to go and watch The Dark Crystal before the new series comes out.

Breaking a Tradition or Breaking a Promise?

Today is July 4th and with it is the American Celebration of Independence Day! Up here in Canada, my family and I celebrate by watching ID 4 every year since I can remember. It has been a favorite Tradition of ours.

I love it because the film is so cheesy and fun and I’ve watched it every year since it came out back in 1996 when I was 20. That’s 22 years so far of watching this film for me. We even made a trip on the Extraterrestrial Highway a few years ago so I could see a time capsule for the film.

But today we may not get to enjoy it as a family- thus possibly breaking a tradition and that makes me kinda sad. It seems like plans and schedules could be interrupting our family movie watching.

My wife and our oldest daughter are working during the day and won’t be done until 6pm. I made a commitment to an old friend and a coworker to go and see their first live musical performance gig this evening. I even bought a couple of tickets in advance. I’d really like to see how good they’ve gotten.

So do I cancel on the family? With our teenage kids growing up and having their own lives- these moments we share are rather important and starting to dwindle. Can I just stop a tradition that is decades old and one that I enjoy?

Or do I cancel my plans to support my friends and their first ever show? I’ve seen my old friend perform over twenty years ago on many occasions, it’s just that this is his new band. But it’s also in Vancouver which is a 45 minute drive there and 45 minute drive home late tonight. I bought tickets for my wife and I, but I hadn’t confirmed if she wanted to go when I did.

So what do I do? Cancel on family or cancel on friends? Who is more understanding? I think I know the answer now that I’ve written out my dilemma. It seems kind of obvious now.

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.
  • 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.

    Super Easy. Barely an Inconvenience.

    My kids have become obsessed with a YouTube channel these days. So much so that they are doing their best to incorporate some of the catchphrases into their daily routine. Which is “super easy, barely an inconvenience” if you ask my children.

    Go and check out Screen Rant: Pitch Meetings and enjoy the banter of how your favorite films and tv shows got made. Or rather, a humorous take on how the film was created. Every video shows a “Producer” getting a pitch idea from a “Writer”. Oftentimes pointing out glaring plot holes and lazy movie making. You know, the stuff the studio doesn’t want you to think to hard about.

    Whoops

    Good YouTube channels are “Tight”. I highly recommend this one. I’ve even rewatched a few of the pitch meetings a couple of times. They are pretty amazing. I can’t wait to see their take on the next Marvel or Star Wars show.

    Go and take some of your free time and enjoy Screen Rant. You won’t regret it.

    Don Quixote

    You think you can hide from me? We shall have such great adventures together.

    On Wednesday April 10th, there was a limited screening of “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” by Terry Gilliam. I have been waiting years for this film. About a month ago, I found out this screening was happening- As I mentioned in My blog last month, I love Monty Python and Terry Gilliam. So I found someone else who equally appreciates these things and I bought two tickets to a film.

    As I watched this film in an uncrowded cinema, I realized that his movies speak to a select audience. These aren’t Marvel or Star Wars. But it’s not exactly artsy either. It’s like having a dream come to life and everyone around is sharing it with you.

    For my friend and I, this film did not disappoint. Terry Gilliam successfully shared a marvelous adventure through the art of celluloid. If you watch previous films of Mr. Gilliam, you can stitch together sensations from each of his pieces. As if this film is the culmination or even the pinnacle of his film making career.

    Time Bandits

    Brazil

    The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen

    The Fisher King

    12 Monkeys

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    The Brothers Grimm

    The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus

    All of these play a part in the cinematic experience that created Don Quixote. From dream sequences to the angle of the artistic shots. From humor to homelessness and helplessness. The way insanity spreads and takes over but somehow makes everything better.

    So there you have it. No spoilers. No criticisms. Perhaps one day I shall read the book. A peasant like you cannot read. I will sound the words and you can look at the pictures.

    To tell you that I enjoyed the film would be meaningless.

    But I enjoyed the film.

    Kill Bill

    Last Saturday I revisited an old film series- Kill Bill Vol 1&2. We often show our children films from our past that we found to be entertaining. Sometimes films don’t hold up- sorry Encino Man but wow you are a terrible film. While other times the films remain incredible.

    Kill Bill is the type of film that really holds up. From the musical score, to the cinematography, to the story arcs, to the monologues- this film nails it. There is really nothing negative to say about the film.

    • Strong female lead? Check
    • Action packed? Check
    • Plot twists? Check
  • During the film, we discussed every aspect. Our oldest is interested in film making and is trying to find her vision. Our middle wants to be a writer and loves to dissect film and tv shows to understand how they piece together. And our youngest tries to read into foreshadows to guess where the story will lead to. I love that each of them can take something unique and different away from our viewings.
  • As much as I love the fact that this film holds up, I also understand that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The scenes are a bit gratuitous in the violent aspect but are necessary for the story. I mean with a title like Kill Bill someone has to die.
  • For those who love a good Tarantino film- go back and re-watch Kill Bill. There’s no need for me to give a review of this film because of how long it’s been since it was released. Now to figure out our next family movie. I wonder if Howard The Duck is any good…

    Groundhog Day 2019

    After seeing “Groundhog Day” in the theaters when it first came out in 1993- I always wondered what it would be like to relive one day over and over. I saw that movie in the theater??? Ya, I was 16 at the time.

    Since the debut of that film, many shows and movies have taken similar spins on the premise. Two of my favorites are:

    Run Lola Run (1998)

    Every second of every day you’re faced with a decision that can change your life.

    Lola is a young lady whose boyfriend is caught up in crime and she needs to save him. It showcases the choices and adverse effects little moments can have. This is a beautiful 120 minute film with three possible outcomes. The soundtrack is also phenomenal with a mix of German and English throughout.

    This is a film that my wife exposed me to at the start of our dating life. As I fell in love with my wife, I also fell for this movie. She bought it for me on DVD and I bought her the soundtrack on CD. About a year later, I bought her an original German movie poster of it and had it framed for her. A few years later we bought a new car. The first song we played in our brand new 2003 Honda Element was “Wish” from the soundtrack sung by the lead actress, Franka Potente.

    This is my other favorite “Groundhog Day” inspired show:

    Supernatural: Season 3 Episode 11. “Mystery Spot”

    Sam relives the same day over and over again having to deal with his brother Dean’s death repeatedly.

    “Supernatural” tv series has been around forever it seems. This particular episode came out in 2008. It stars one of my favorite characters in the series: The Trickster.

    Much like the film “Groundhog Day” that it copies, the day starts off with the radio playing the same song over and over again. This time using Asia’s “Heat of the Moment”. My daughter marathoned through the “Supernatural” series last summer and loved this episode so much, she downloaded the song. She chose it as her alarm for the first day of school (which was on a Tuesday, just like in this episode).

    Unfortunately this show has its ups and downs and not every episode is as entertaining as this one was. But The Trickster makes a few appearances in later episodes. Such as the episode titled “Changing Channels” which was clearly a rip off of the film “Stay Tuned” from 1992 starring John Ritter. I saw that in the theaters as well. Gawd I’m old…

    Maybe I really don’t want to relive one day over and over. It’s better to reminisce and move on. All of life’s choices can make big impacts even if the decision is relatively small.