Thursday, August 31, 2017

Going to the Movies

I used to love going to the movies.

I mean really loved it!

If I knew I was going to a movie that night, my day was pretty awesome.

The anticipation was wonderful!

I enjoyed the smell, the sights, the sounds, everything about the theater was fascinating.

I remember seeing Superman-The Movie, King Kong (The silly 70's version) and of course Star Wars!

We saw Star Wars 3 times.  It played in London, about an hours drive!

We pestered our folks to take us!

It was so good!

The drive-in was a cool experience.  If I remember right, we saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind at a drive-in.

Some of the scenes with UFO's blended so well with the starry night of being outdoors, it was magical!

I don't know if my love of the movie theater is in my blood, but my grandfather was a projectionist.

That must count for something!

Years ago, we were part of a church that purchased a movie theater!  A church, in a movie theater!

I enjoyed poking around the building and discovering new things.  I hung out in the projection room!

Good times!

Lately though, the thrill is gone.

To go see a movie is a downer for me.  I don't like trying to get there on time, the parking, the high price of food, the other people in the theater that kick my seat, the cell phone glare, the ads at the beginning of the show, the endless trailers...etc.

I would rather stay home.  (I may just be getting old and grumpy!)

It's been a dismal year for the cinemas, and I can see why from one perspective.

The entertainment experience ain't what it used to be.

Movies are just "a thing to do" rather than a special night out.

I get the feeling sometimes that no one really cares what they are watching.

It's just another YouTube video on a huge screen to be distracted from when a text from your friend pops up.

You're paying good money for this, pay attention!

Because I work in media, I have been to a couple of press screenings for upcoming movies.

It's a great crowd because everyone has a purpose for being there.

There's focus.  (Little movie pun there, sorry.)

The level of engagement is higher because, you will be asked for a response following the feature.

I call this active entertainment, not passive.  It's more fun!

Ya sure, you need a romantic comedy once in a while to go on a first date with someone, but it should lead to a discussion of WHY the lead character needs that hot guy to give her all that attention, just to discover the nerd REALLY loves her for who she is.

This would be more constructive.  Maybe relationships would be more clear.  No more "I can't tell if he's into me."  Let the movie do all the heavy lifting!

My point is, it's not just mindless viewing folks!

I'm not sure what the answer is for getting people back to the movies, but I for one would like to have that excitement again.

What's the answer?

Outrageously high ticket prices, to weed out the crowd that will update Facebook during a pivotal battle scene?

Members only subscriptions?

You tell me!

I want to feel the magic again!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Dead On!

OK, I think about death sometimes.  I know you have also.  I think it's a bit scary.

We should all be sat down at the beginning of our lives, as soon as we can understand words, and it should be explained to us that people die.  Animals die.  They cease to live and don't offer us love and conversation any further.  We take their remains and either burn it or bury it in an expensive box.

We will all be dead longer than we will be alive.  It's just a fact. 

Why don't we make "the talk" with our kids not about sex, but about what's the deal with death?
I have a lingering fear of crossing over.  What will it be like?

What if it's awesome?  What if it's painful?

We have some comforting words from the scriptures, if you choose to take them to heart.

Death is like falling asleep.

I'm GOOD at that! I fall asleep every night! I have tons of practice!

It should be no problem.

Knowing that death is inevitable, I like to keep that fact in mind during my everyday life and decisions.

I'm not good at THAT, though.

I should be nicer to people in traffic, I should be nicer to my wife. Time is limited.

Ever see someone who has had a terminal diagnosis? Ever see the smile on their face?

They choose to enjoy the time they have left because the clock is ticking!

You know what, my clock is ticking to. So is yours.

Life is terminal. We should all have amazing grins and positive attitudes!

We GET to spend time alive.

It may not seem like a blessing, but dig deeper. Life has meaning in the living of it, not the endurance.

Smile, forgive, laugh.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Rains, Pains and Stains

The Gales before and after Tough Mudder Half.
Family can be messy.
Family can be painful.
Family can test your limits.
Family can force you to go outside what you are comfortable with.
Family can leave you exhausted.
Family can be full of obstacles to overcome.
Family is full of unique challenges.
Family can be sticky.

Family can also be the most fun and rewarding thing you ever get involved with!

All these things also describe an event called Tough Mudder!

Add Tough Mudder to a family and you've either got a recipe for disaster or you've got something...AWESOME!

Back in January I had a bright idea.  I don't have many, but this one seemed like a winner.

I asked Rose, my wife, "Why don't we do something REALLY challenging?"

"Why don't we do a 5K run?"

I was asking this because I have been on a "journey" to lose excess weight and be healthy.

Since May of 2016 I have lost about 60lbs and I feel great!

The thing about achieving a goal like that is, you need to keep challenging yourself, or else you don't have a reason to stay in shape and be active.

This is where the running idea came in.

Rose and I signed up for the Oasis Zoo Run.  It's at the Toronto Zoo and it's an EASY 5K.  (lol)

I say easy, cause no one is going to scold you for walking if you get really tired.

On top of that, we bought our own finishing medals, so we win either way.

If you know the Toronto Zoo at all, you know it's a challenge just to walk through on a good day.

So that was a done deal.  We signed up, paid the fee, and we are gonna do it.

Then the idea hit me.  Why not do a crazy one.  Something that will be REAL HARD!

Tough Mudder!  Rose got real excited about this one!  She loves a good challenge!

OK, cool...then how about we do it as a family?  Let's get the kids on board!

Check!  All of them ended up registered and we awaited the day!

I was nervous.

The excitement of committing to do the thing was cool, but now, you have to DO IT!

If you have ever seen pictures of this particular event, you know it looks difficult!

The cool thing about Tough Mudder is, they put up YouTube videos to help you train!

We signed up for the Half.  It's pretty self explanatory.  I did not want to go too crazy right away!

Rose and I did the workouts in the videos, plus biking and walking.

Then August arrives.  The event is soon.  Were we ready?  Were the kids ready?

We hoped we would not fail!

The Friday before the event, all the kids arrived.  The weather forecast said...rain!

What?  Now the crazy has gone up a level!

We got to Mount St. Louis Moonstone and , yes it rained.  Not a lot, but enough.

We started the course and right away I knew the biggest obstacle on this course would not be a wooden wall or a mud was the hills!

Mount St. Louis is a ski resort!  Most of the challenges were on top of the mountains!

Not all of us found it easy to trek up those slopes, but we stuck together and did all the challenges as a team!  We helped each other over walls, under nets, through water and up the hills.

We did it!  I am so proud of everyone!  Rose, Alex, Vicki and Jasmine, you guys ROCK!

Family should stick together, even if it takes mud to do it!

Now...bring on the Zoo!

Blank Stares and Dirt


Let's go back in time, shall we.

Whizzapp! (That's the sound of time travel. Look it up in the future.)

You open your eyes and you find yourself in Israel at the time of Jesus!

The wind blows softly on the side of a mountain near Capernaum, where you are among the crowd of people gathered to hear Him speak.

You breathe it in and notice It has a freshness that seems to fill you and everyone else with hope.

There are two reasons for this.

First, the sea is nearby!

The mixture of the scent of mountain grass combined with the salty water gives you a sense of optimism.

(Seaside towns always have a work hard, play hard kind of feel!)

The second reason you feel so hopeful and expectant is the most important.

The very air you are breathing is the same air that, in just moments, will be inhaled by the one called Messiah!

He is about to take in the same oxygen you both share and use it to vibrate His vocal cords in a way that will affect mankind for centuries!

His teaching will be so important that He spent 40 days in a wilderness alone just to pray and get ready to deliver it.

His words on this day will have so great an impact, that even the enemy, the top bad guy, the lowest of the low, Satan himself will do anything he can to throw Him off His game!

It all worked out in the end. Satan took a hike and Jesus was able to get back to civilization and choose 12 teaching assistants.

Everything seems ready. He has prepared so much for this very moment! Here we go!

Jesus speaks. It's wonderful!

Such wisdom! "Blessed are the poor in spirit!" "Love your enemies!" The Lord's prayer!

Great stuff!

Then you look around. The crowd is dead still. You notice the look on their faces.

You expect to see big smiles, dropped jaws, wide eyed amazement.

But you don't.

You see blank stares.

Some people even look a bit angry.

One guy is looking at the ground!

What is going on? Is anybody listening? You are a bit angry!

Come on you know what you have here? We should be clapping and shouting loud "Amen's"!

Here's a little secret I have come to learn about people and still struggle to put into practice.

When you are speaking to someone, it doesn't matter if you are a server at Tim Horton's or a politician...

...people seem to always have a WEIRD LOOK on their face when they are listening to you!

I believe even the Lord Jesus looked out into a sea of faces that were seriously lacking in any kind of discernible expression. What do you do?

Don't be fooled by it! I believe that when the brain is engaged, the face turns off.

It's like it just disconnects and leaves all the muscles that should make you look happy and excited to just go limp.

If you have ever seen pictures of yourself in a crowd, you know what I mean.

You know what, it's OK! Don't worry about it! It's a good thing!

As someone who speaks in front of people often, it would be nice, but impractical, for the whole audience to be given one of those crazy "V for Vendetta" masks so I could be comfortable with his delivery.

Speaking in front of an audience is not an exercise in judging people's reactions, at least it shouldn't be.

I get a little annoyed when a speaker constantly needs feedback from the crowd.

"You are here give something to us, we are not here to make YOU feel good!"

Jesus was not like this, we know. He had no ego to bruise if no one shouted an amen.

I think there is so much going on in the heart of the listener, that all other bodily functions go into suspended animation. It's like hitting pause during the movie of your life.

To make this even clearer, I think about the story Jesus told about the sower.

In those days you had to fling your seeds far and wide in order to get the most return on your crops.

If you read it for yourself, you will discover there were a variety of results depending on where thew seeds landed. That's a whole other topic, but for now let's just imagine a perfect scenario.

The seed hit good ground, went deep and has all it needs to grow. Mission accomplished!

Now all the cool stuff happens underground!

We can't see it! The ground is the blank stare that Jesus must have encountered on the hill that day.

Underneath the cold, dark land, something pretty amazing is happening.

Dirt and chemicals are all mixing in a glorious miracle!

In time, we will all see the result, but for a while all we get is the stark barrenness of a patch of empty space.

That empty space is where there is going to be a fabulous work of art.

It may take a few days, a few years or even a few decades!

We are not in control at that point!

Even Jesus knew it. He must have, because we are still talking about the words he spoke.

It's been a couple millennia since the seeds were planted and the fruit continues!

Those stares must have been pretty vacant because the Good Seed was planted down deep in the soul!

Don't be turned off by a blank stare, if you've got good stuff to say, go ahead and speak!

Monday, August 14, 2017


Spock, investigating the latest trendy fashion on Vulcan...

Mr. Spock used to say "Fascinating" a lot.

He was a non-human who would look at us humans and being amazed by us.

I, to, find certain things about us fascinating.

Like, why is it that some things grab the interest of one person, yet the next guy finds it boring?

If we are all members of the same big ole family, we should all be locked into the same things.

Star Trek is a good example. I like it, but my wife could take it or leave it.

She could live her life just fine never knowing what maximum warp is.

On the other hand, I do not care about chintz teacups. Not one little bit.

Should I?

I remember one kid I saw on TV who was obsessed with vacuum cleaners.

He could tell you the year, make and model of any particular floor sucker.


If you think about your particular obsession, you have to admit that someone introduced you to it.

At some point, there was that one friend who said "Hey, try this!".

I knew a guy years ago who would get obsessed with a new thing every year!

At first it was scuba diving, then it was astronomy, then it was building computers!

Pick one!  Find a campground and set up a tent already!

That's what's even stranger. How things of interest come and go.

I guess those are called fads.

Fads are like markers in history. You can find out how old someone is when you ask them about things like hula hoops, Tamagotchi or fidget spinners.

Sometimes people get stuck in fads and never get out.

Their interest is cemented in that one thing and till the day they die, they will cling to it.

Certain hairstyles come to mind!  (How about the mullet?)

I hope you have found this blog to be interesting!

Live long and prosper. (It's from Star Trek.)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sorry For The Healthy Choices!

At the bottom of this blog there is a link to a story that I found interesting for an odd reason.

The article talks about how airline attendants secretly hope you don't ask them for a Diet Coke when they come around with the refreshment cart during a flight.  According to one attendant, the beverage is extra fizzy due to the pressurization of the cabin and it slows the whole serving process down because they have to wait for it to calm down before they can pour it and give you the cup.

The guy said he didn't want to make a big deal out of it, it was just a thing they often deal with.

The fact that it's even mentioned caught my ear and I thought, wait a minute, I see a pattern here! 

About a year ago, I weighed over 220lbs.  As of today I am 164.  (Insert applause.)

Thank you.

In order to do something like that, a few people had to be slightly inconvenienced.

For starters, my wife had to get up a bit earlier to drive me work so I could walk home!  (Burns about 250 calories by the way.)

I think of the people who order food in restaurants that have special details they want. (Gluten free...etc)

Being a bit more aware of our health takes a little extra time.

Diet Coke is not a fantastically healthy drink, but just the fact that there is way less sugar, makes it a bit better choice than regular Coke, and that's a start for someone.

So if it takes a little extra time...that's OK.  Most of have time we waste anyway.