David Letterman’s Final Show

Posted by Stacey on May 21, 2015 in Life Musings |

I did something last night that I haven’t done for a long time – I stayed up late to watch television.

Last night I watched the final episode of The Late Show with David Letterman. I watched it live, while it was being broadcast.

The fact that staying up late to watch the Letterman show is noteworthy is, well, noteworthy to me.

Typically what I do, and what many people I know do, is I we PVR TV shows and then watch them later when it’s more convenient.

That is if you’re even watching television anymore. Many people don’t even watch television anymore. Either they watch stuff on YouTube or they watch off the Internet from sources that I can’t even begin to understand.

Anyway about Letterman, I remember watching Letterman in the late 80s and early 90s. My friends and I watched Letterman while Johnny Carson was for parents or grandparents. Letterman was young, hip and edgy. He did things that nobody else on TV was doing. He was crazy and unpredictable and fun to watch.

Funny thing is that as I got older I also stopped watching David Letterman. I did not start watching Carson or Jay Leno, it was simply too much effort to stay up late and watch The Late Show.

And even though I could have PVRd the show, it just seemed weird to watch Letterman in the afternoon or earlier in the evening. Letterman was meant to be seen after 11 o’clock.

Funny thing is I have missed most of the big finales for most shows. I’ve never seen the finale for M.A.S.H. or the Sopranos or Breaking Bad. I didn’t see Jay Leno’s finale. I didn’t see Johnny Carson’s finale. I actually recorded the finale of Prisonbreak and never actually watched it.

However two series finales that I did watch were the final episode of Seinfeld and the finale for Lost. Both of which were monumentally disappointing…Lost…I can’t even begin to talk about that bullshit finale.

Which brings me to Letterman’s final episode that aired last night. For his classic Top 10 list he had 10 of his frequent visitors each read an item from the list.

Julia Louis Dreyfus read hers out and and it said something like; thanks for involving me in another disappointing finale.

Fortunately the only monumentally disappointing finale that she was involved in so far was Seinfeld. The finale of the late show with David Letterman was beautiful and heartfelt.

Letterman was the perfect balance of self-deprecating, serious, and humourus.

The finale for Letterman was probably the best finale. Of course he’s got some pretty crappy competition that he’s been up against but for me, the final episode of The Late Show with David Letterman was absolutely perfect.

Dave, I wish you well in your retirement. You are, and will always be the king of late-night television.

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The Birthday Party

Posted by Stacey on May 20, 2015 in Life Musings |

When I think back over the few short years that I have been a father there are only a few things that I had to do that were really tough to muster up the strength and courage of convictions to actually do.

Cleaning dirty diapers was not my favourite thing to do. The occasional poonami disgusted me absolutely no end. Waking up any number of times during the night to soothe a screaming child was not my favourite thing. Having a child climb into my bed and sleep across my throat is not a happy thing for me. Even the play date experience was a scary experience for me.

However, there is something that trumps all other events that I have grown to fear and loathe. And what is it that I fear and loathe?

When my kids come home joyfully announcing that they have been invited to a classmate’s birthday party.


Ugh. Errrr, I mean oh joy.

And then the reality sets in. It is not just another birthday party at someone’s house, this party is going to be held at one of those disgusting places where kids are allowed to run around like wild animals.

Crash Crawlies. A place that chose a teenager in a giant rat suit as their mascot.

Then you actually arrive at the hellhole of a warehouse where the birthday party will be held. You thought that Led Zeppelin concert you went to a 1971 was loud? That concert is nothing compared to the decibels that are being produced inside of the warehouse hellhole that is probably used as a rave site during the nighttime.

Thankfully they have a food supply there. Pizza supplied by the same kid who is probably going to be putting on the rat costume later. No birthday party is complete without birthday cake.

Are you getting the idea about the post-apocalyptic conditions in which you are leaving your child? This is a germaphobes worst nightmare.

And then what do you do during this experience? Do you leave your child in this arena of despair? Or do you stay and try to talk to the other parents who you don’t know and have no real plans of getting to know. How long really, can you make small talk with these people over the deafening roar of screaming children?

Although you recognize this pit of despair as the purgatory that it is, your children are probably having a really good time. Until they’re not. Then they come running screaming and crying that there has been some slight made by a person they thought was going to be their best friend for life.

Of course before the party ends every child who attends is given a goodie bag. A goodie bag of crap toys bought from the dollar store that is more than likely going to going to the garbage soon as he gets home.

Perhaps I have a more negative view of the birthday party event for children. Perhaps you share this point of view but have never felt safe actually admitting that you fear and loathe the birthday party the way I do. Feel free to whisper it – you also fear and loathe the birthday party.

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Google’s Self Driving Car

Posted by Stacey on May 18, 2015 in Life Musings |

I read with a chuckle a letter to the editor in our local newspaper the other day about Google’s plan to introduce self driving cars to the North American car market. 

The letter writer was complaining that if there are self driving cars these “soul-less machines” will have no accountability and that one of them will drive up onto the sidewalk and kill your grandmother. And there will be nobody to say they’re sorry.

   

His argument reminded me of a Facebook post I saw that said, and I’m paraphrasing here – the great thing about science is that even if you don’t believe in it, it’s still true. Same thing applies to facts. 

See the facts and evidence in this case are that Google has had a fleet of self driving cars roaming around California that have logged more than 1,000,000 miles in the last few years. They are currently logging 10,000 miles a month.

In that time, the Google self driving cars have been involved in 11 collisions. None, none of which were the fault of the Google self driving car. None. 

The fact is that a computer controlled car won’t get road rage. It won’t run a red light because it is late for a meeting or late getting the kids to school. It won’t have an ego that will make it want to race the car beside it and it will not travel along on our city streets at 80-100 kmh.

If anything, the Google self-driving car will probably keep your granny safer than she is with humans at the wheel of the car.

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Video Review of my Gustin Chinos

Posted by Stacey on May 18, 2015 in Clothing |

I have blogged about the Gustin merchandising system previously and I have blogged about the great quality dungarees I received from Gustin, so today I have for you a video review of my latest purchase, my Gustin chinos.

I’m not sure I said in the video or not, but these Gustin chinos cost me $104US. They really are of a superior quality than anything I have bought in a bricks and mortar store and feel they are a very good value at that price.

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Glen Pine Swap Meet

Posted by Stacey on May 14, 2015 in Community Events |

If you are looking to swap your community for a new one you may want to visit the Glen Pine (1200 Glen Pine Court) on Saturday, May 23 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Although you may be wishing to swap out your entire community, this swap meet is more of an opportunity for you to purchase some of the things that your neighbours have bought and no longer use.

The Glen Pine swap meet is a great place to buy household items, gently used kids’ clothes, books, toys and more. Perhaps the best part is that admission to the event is free.

You can drop by anytime between 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. to stock up on affordable items for the spring and summer.

For more information about the event, please visit www.coquitlam.ca/glenpine or call 604-927-4386.

 

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Military Training and Fatherhood

Posted by Stacey on May 10, 2015 in Life Musings |

A friend of mine is going to become a father very soon and he was asking me what fatherhood is like and what he can do to prepare himself for the life changes he will soon be facing.

So I told him the truth – being a parent is much like being in the military.

First off, once you are a parent you will forever be answering to someone who ranks higher than you even though you are much more experienced and knowledgeable about basically everything that will be encountered. Get used to it.

Another similarity is that life with children is essentially continuous training exercises. Everything you do is training for the day that the shit really hits the fan. And just like in the military, no matter how much training you have done, you will not be ready for that day. What you will do is fly by the seat of your pants and hope that nobody sees that you have shit your pants.

Speaking of shit – life as a father, just like life in the military is all about you trying to clean up shitty messes that someone else has created and left for you to deal with.

Third, in the military you never wear white unless you are on parade. Enough said.

I told him that even though you have a plan that seems fool proof and you have practiced and read up on all the variables and you are sure that you know how to deal with anything and everything that you are approaching, you really don’t.

I also added that in the rare instances when things do go well, everyone wants to shake your hand or slap you on the back to be seen as your long-time supporter. However, when things go sideways, you are persona non grata.

Finally, the best piece of advice I gave him was the advice that a more senior member of the military establishment gave me one day while we were out on one of those ridiculous training exercises –

Don’t stand if you can sit. Don’t sit if you can lie down. Don’t be awake if you can sleep.

The rational for this? He told me that you never know when you are going into battle and may be without rest and sleep for an extended period of time. It is better to be rested before you end up facing the enemy for an all night battle. And there will be plenty of overnight battles.

That is it. That is all the advice I could muster up for my friend who is about to join the fraternity of fatherhood.

Disclosure – I have never been in the military and in fact have no real knowledge about what life in the military is like other than from watching Tom Cruise in Top Gun and that other movie where Jack Nicholson yells at Tom Cruise that he can’t handle the truth.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron the Best Marvel Movie Yet!

Posted by Stacey on May 6, 2015 in Theatre with Comments closed |

Hey there, it’s The Movie Dude Toth back with another spellbinding review. Sorry for the long absence but work (those darned kids) and home (those darned kids) got in the way. I actually do have another review on the way of the latest Bill Murray vehicle.

Anyhow to the matter at hand….I said it in the title and I stand behind it! Joss Whedon has managed to make the best Marvel film to date with Avengers: Age of Ultron.

You may be saying: why do you say this? How are you an expert on movies anyways? Well, gather close and pull out a piece of paper and a pencil cause “I’m about to take you to school!” (Thank you Dr. Evil :))

Before I begin, I’ll preface my praise with the disclaimer that I am a Marvel fan but a very picky one at that. Here is how I rank the Marvel films to date:

  1. Age of Ultron
  2. Iron Man
  3. Guardians of Peace (oops sorry Sony hackers), I meant to say – Guardians of the Galaxy
  4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  5. The Avengers
  6. Captain America: The First Avenger
  7. Iron Man 3
  8. Thor: The Dark World
  9. Thor
  10. The Incredible Hulk
  11. Iron Man 2

When I saw the first Iron Man back in May 2008 I knew that I had just seen something really special. It captivated me in a way that only the best movies I have seen in my lifetime can. I knew I had to see it again immediately.

I felt the same way walking out of Ultron.

This is the point in the Marvel films that I have been waiting for. There is no introduction or flashback to catch moviegoers up on what they missed. The movie jumps right into the action showing us what the Avengers can do as a team. This is perhaps the best action sequence in the film.

Some critics have complained that because the best action sequence is at the beginning, that the rest of the movie is a let down.

To quote Tony Stark: “I respectfully disagree.” My appetite was whetted for more from that point on. I saw Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk, Hawkeye, and SHIELD operatives working in unison to take down some people.

I will try to make this review spoiler free hence the “some people” description of who the Avengers were attacking.

As a studio, Marvel is slowly achieving many comic book fans’ dreams by making a cohesive universe for their characters to play in. All the potential of Tony Stark and his capabilities that were brought up in the first Iron Man have come to fruition in Ultron literally and figuratively.

He realizes that someday a threat will come from our world or some other world that the Avengers will not be able to deal with. So what does he do?

With the help of another brilliant scientific mind and something else (no spoilers allowed), he creates the Ultron program to bring about world peace.

If you have seen even a single trailer then you will know that Ultron turns out to be Stark’s own Frankenstein monster. The rest of the film involves the Avengers trying to find a way to stop Ultron.

There is also some great character development amidst all the heroic fighting. Black Widow and Bruce Banner (aka the Hulk) have a lot of personal demons to fight before they can really help in the battle against Ultron.

Hawkeye is given a great back story and adds a lot of humanity to the fantastical proceedings. Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo have a nice chemistry together. Jeremy Renner is given more of a chance to shine here because he is not possessed by Loki the entire time as in the first Avengers.

James Spader does a great job as the voice of Ultron. He is snarky, angry, bitter, jealous, and dangerous all within the span of 30 seconds sometimes. I laughed out loud at several of his lines including this exchange with his creator where Stark asks Ultron what a rare element called vibranium is for and without missing a beat Ultron says: “I’m glad you asked that, because I wanted to take this time to explain my evil plan…”

Even though some of the subject matter is dark, I was laughing throughout Ultron and appreciated all the one liners and witty banter between hero and hero and from heroes to villains. In saying all this, the action sequences are nothing to snooze at.

I saw new and exciting action sequences that I had not seen before on film. The action was framed in a different way and was superior to the first Avengers film. There were some ideas that I had seen before in other superhero films but they were approached in a fresh way that made them seem more original.

There is a fight between two Avengers that is huge and city shaking. As I mentioned, the opening sequence is amazing and the finale achieves a certain kind of “lift-off”.

There is a mid-movie chase sequence involving a semi-trailer, motorcycle, and supersonic jet that is also eye-popping. Of course all of this would not matter at all if the stakes weren’t so high.

How does a movie raise the stakes so that the audience really cares about what is happening to the characters? Well in the Marvel Cinematic Universe they have nine other films that have developed the characters and story arcs.

Also, in Age of Ultron the writers have accomplished this by continuing to develop their characters in interesting ways.

There are new characters introduced that are a bit strange, but because the whole movie feels like you are flipping through the pages of a comic book these new people do not seem so out of place.

Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Samuel L. Jackson continue to give great performances even though they are not given as much individual story time.

It is also interesting to note that the value of each human life is of great importance to all of the heroes. They are willing to sacrifice their lives to save the lives of others, and this is made very clear in the final action sequence of the film.

Avengers: Age of Ultron continues the Marvel tradition of making movies that are fun and intelligent. Unlike other big special effects blockbusters (looking at you Transformers!), Ultron shows that all those computer generated pixels on screen can make you feel thrilled and captivated.

Many strong performances anchored by a solid screenplay and excellent special effects helped to transport me away from my seat and into the movie. Is there any more I could ask from a summer blockbuster?

If you are a Marvel fan, run out and see this on the biggest screen you can find.

If you are a casual moviegoer, you could do a lot worse than seeing Ultron and will no doubt find yourself having a lot of fun with these modern day versions of mythical heroes trying to save the world.

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Monster Homes Consultation 

Posted by Stacey on May 5, 2015 in Life Musings with Comments closed |

The City of Coquitlam will be hosting an information session exploring possible options for addressing concerns around large homes; the concerns being addressed do not not include the issues around how to pay for heating, lighting and keeping monster homes clean and tidy.

On Tuesday, May 12th from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.residents are invited to the Centennial Pavilion (620 Poirier Street) where staff will be on hand to share information about potential options to help guide development of single-family homes in certain areas of Coquitlam.

Some residents in more established Coquitlam neighbourhoods – for example, Austin Heights, Burquitlam-Lougheed, Harbour-Chines, Ranch Park and Maillardville – have expressed concerns about the size of new homes going up around them. 

Monster Homes

Monster Homes

Some have taken to calling the very large homes “monster homes” and when one Coquitlam council candidate in last fall’s municipal election was asked for his thoughts on “monster-sized” homes he replied that “only monsters live in monster homes.”  

If that is the truth, then there are a lot of monsters moving into Coquitlam neighbourhoods. 

The reality is that most of Coquitlam’s single-family homes in those neighbourhoods fall under the RS-1 One-Family Residential zone. Many homes that are subject to this zoning in older neighbourhoods are relatively modest in size, and are well below the maximum density allowed and therefore very different in appearance to the monster sized homes that are being developed.

In contrast, many new homes are built close to, or meet, the maximum density allowed which includes larger square footage, higher rooflines, smaller setbacks and often a basement suite.

The question of large homes is not unique to Coquitlam, but rather, is being asked throughout Metro Vancouver where many monsters seem to want to set up house. The trend toward maximizing the size of new homes is being driven by overall rising property values as the supply of developable land for single-family homes becomes more constrained.

In Coquitlam, these concerns have been ongoing since the 1990s. Since then, and as recently as 2011, Coquitlam has implemented a number of changes to the building size provisions in the RS-1 zone that are felt to have produced better-designed homes. These changes included, for example, encouraging better building design, maximum site coverage of 45% and adjustments to perimeter wall height and perimeter wall area.

For more information you can visit with Coquitlam city staff on Tuesday, May 12th from 4:00 – 8:00 pm in the Centennial Pavilion (620 Poirier Street) or you can visit www.coquitlam.ca/largehomereview.

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Bexar Goods Co Porter Satchel

Posted by Stacey on May 4, 2015 in Luxuries |

Here is a video review of my latest leather goods purchase, a Bexar Goods Co Porter Satchel. I will say up front that this is not my best video work, but here it is anyway.

I didn’t make it clear in the video but this is a leather bag that I purchased used from a friend so it is more than a couple of months old. In the time that I have had it, it has really has developed a lovely character and feel to the hand.

I often find myself using the Bexar Goods Porter in backpack mode on the weekends when I am out and about with my family. This Porter Satchel from Bexar Goods Co is a beauty in the city and out in the woods.

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Emergency Preparedness Week

Posted by Stacey on April 30, 2015 in Life Musings with Comments closed |

In light of the major earthquake that has recently devastated so much of Nepal, this year’s Emergency Preparedness Week is a good time to think about what your life would be like in the event of a major earthquake.

During this year’s Emergency Preparedness Week, which runs from May 3rd to 9th, the Cities of Coquitlam and Port Moody are inviting residents and businesses to experience a simulated 8.0 magnitude earthquake.

On May 6, 2015 from 11:00am to 7:00pm you can visit the southwest corner of Coquitlam Centre’s parking lot to experience the Quake Cottage™ – a mobile trailer that shakes and moves, creating the experience of a major earthquake.

In addition to the simulator, local first responder and non-profit organizations will be on hand to provide valuable information on how you, your family, and your business can be prepared for a major emergency. These will include:

  • Coquitlam Amateur Radio Emergency Services Society
  • Coquitlam Emergency Management Office
  • Coquitlam Fire / Rescue
  • Coquitlam RCMP
  • Coquitlam Search and Rescue
  • FortisBC
  • Insurance Bureau of Canada
  • Port Moody Fire / Rescue
  • Red Cross
  • Salvation Army
  • St John Ambulance

The Quake Cottage™ will be spending a week in the Lower Mainland, thanks to sponsorship from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, FortisBC and participating municipalities. Additional in-kind sponsorship for Coquitlam and Port Moody’s event has also been provided by Coquitlam Centre.

Emergencies and disasters can happen anywhere at any time. Everyone should be prepared to take care of their basic needs for at least the first 72 hours following a disaster.

If you have been thinking about putting together an emergency kit and do not know what to put in that emergency preparedness kit other than a roll of toilet paper, a cross-bow and a case of pork and beans, you can visit the Emergency Management BC website to get a list of other important items to add to your kit.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit www.coquitlam.ca/ep.

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