Posted in Monday Mayhem

A Piece of Utopia—Family Day

Stay tuned this Friday when I make a major announcement regarding the direction of

I have to admit something. I’ve been thinking a lot about Utopia. I don’t find it a difficult thought to think about. All I have to do is to think of what would make me happy and I’m there. Given today is a holiday here in my province, I thought instead of writing a dark Monday Mayhem post filled with zombies, the undead and creatures from the abyss, I would concentrate on something light—Family Day.

A game of Apples to Apples
A game of Apples to Apples

Every year, the third Monday in February is when we Ontarians dedicate time toward the family.

Our household celebrates the day off big with board games, a special meal and perhaps some other things that we’ve wanted to do but never seem to have the time to accomplish—like tobogganing.

Casa Flacco loves board games. Over the holidays, we played a fierce battle of Monopoly while gorging on snacks. This year’s version of Monopoly featured characters from cartoons. Have I told you how much I love animated movies? The game went well and we negotiated Park Place, something my younger child was adamant to not bargain away. In the end, I lost to said younger child and it reminded me of when I was young to decline deals from my relatives ultimately winning the game.

I’m not sure what we’ll be playing today, but I’m sure whatever it is we’ll have a lot of fun doing it.

As of the time of this writing, a week ago, I had yet to decide what I wanted to make for our special meal today. In reality, I’ve been preparing the same meal every year. What meal is it? you might ask. Sushi, of course. Would you expect anything less?

I learned how to make sushi a long time ago when a friend introduced me to the delicacy during a long trip from home. I eventually loved it so much that when I returned, I scoured Google to find recipes to satisfy my palate.

If you’re interested in how I make sushi, you can find it in this Freedom Friday post I had published several years ago. The entire process does take time, but it is well worth the effort.

Okay, we spend the day playing games, eating food—basically, having fun. This year is different in that I planned to take the entire weekend off. To me it means not doing any writing whatsoever. You have to understand what that means. I take pride writing every day except Saturdays. Therefore, taking yesterday and today off to spend time with the family is a huge bonus. It means no committed deadlines. Nothing looming to review. But more importantly, it means…

Sleeping in!

There was a time I never used to be able to sleep in. Having suffered from severe bouts of insomnia, it prevented me from functioning like a normal human being. That was then. Nowadays, I live for my bed. It’s cozy. It’s comfy. It’s quiet. Gosh, I love weekends.

All right, I had better stop. I think I’ve deviated from the Family Day theme, but somehow you might not think that.

Anyway, to all those who have today off here in Ontario, Happy Family Day!

Get the Ranger Martin trilogy now!

Does your state or province have today as a day dedicated to the family?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Hero Boy

It’s five minutes to midnight. The train pulls into the street as whips of snow follow behind. Surprisingly, no one other than a little boy awakens to greet the mechanical beast. When confronted by the conductor with an, “All aboard!” the boy doesn’t know what to do. He sees the train as a curiosity. He doesn’t intend to hop aboard for a ride.

Hero Boy
Hero Boy

When the conductor (Tom Hanks) says it is the Polar Express heading to the North Pole, the boy’s willingness to abandon his apprehension escalates. After all, the North Pole is where Santa Claus supposedly lives. He’s at the point where he thinks Santa’s a fake. But it isn’t until the train begins to chug-chug-chug away that the boy calls to take him with them.

The film The Polar Express is the perfect Christmas movie. The cold atmosphere captures the essence of the Holiday season. A view inside the train offers the audience a warm setting featuring a comfy front seat with other kids eager to see Santa’s home.

Filled with adventure, the story carries Hero Boy from his home, somewhere in America, to the desolate tundra at the top of the world. All of it happening while the clock’s big hand rests at five minutes to midnight.

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

For Hero Boy though, aside from being a stranger on the train, he sees things with open eyes—not as how he’d like to see it. Ghosts would frighten other ten-year-olds, but not Hero Boy. To him, ghosts are like regular people. He can talk to them and not feel the need to run away, regardless of what anyone else says.

Halfway through the trip, Hero Boy plays a key role saving the Polar Express from utter destruction. He also attempts to aid one of the other kids less fortunate than he by lending a helping hand.

Hero Boy’s main purpose, however, is to disprove Santa. He hasn’t seen Santa. All he’s seen is a mechanical Santa in the window of a department store dropping presents in a fake loot bag. Then there is the time where he researched that the North Pole is barren and desolate. No way could anyone live there, let alone make all the world’s Christmas presents. Certainly, someone ought to have seen Santa by now.

The purity with Hero Boy’s character lies with his genuine need to find the truth. He does not take the first explanation as the truth. He digs, scours, examines carefully what he finds, then makes a logical decision of whether Santa does or does not exist.

And in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Hero Boy extends his faith to believe. It is only then Santa becomes real to him.

Get the Ranger Martin trilogy now!

What are your thoughts about The Polar Express and Hero Boy?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Clark Griswold

It may seem odd to highlight an everyman for the second article in the Wednesday Warriors series, but Clark Griswold is not your everyman. He’s the family man who’d make even the Father of the Year look ordinary. And since it is Christmas Eve, who can say Clark is not a warrior for the holidays?

Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold
Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold

Known for going overboard with his dedication to the holiday season, Clark (Chevy Chase) takes his place among heroes willing to uphold traditions in order to have a fun old-fashioned family Christmas Vacation.

It begins with hauling the family through the white tundra of the awesome winter wonderland in a quest to find the perfect tree. Not just any ol’ tree, but a tree that would make the Eiffel Tower seem short. When asked where he plans to put a tree that size, since it wouldn’t fit in the yard, he quickly says it’s not going in the yard. It’s going in the living room. And, of course, once the tree is set, all Clark has to do is to cut the rope holding the thing together. With a tree that size, we all know what happens. Let’s just say not a window survives.

Clark losing it.
Clark losing it.

Ah yes, Clark Griswold, the world’s last true family man. His idea of spending his bonus check is to buy a swimming pool and fly his family down to christen it. A man like him is a lost art. He makes setting up exterior illumination easy. He can’t simply have one, two, three rows of lights on his roof. He has to have the whole roof, pillars leading to the roof, window and doorframes covered in lights. If the draw of electricity becomes too much for the town to handle, all they have to do is switch to auxiliary power to keep up with Clark’s demands on the grid.

When Clark goes all out, he goes all out.

And when everyone’s ready to bail on him because the holiday becomes a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency, he steps in to do what any reasonable man would do—he holds them hostage by threat of violence while wielding a chainsaw as if it were a carving knife for the holiday turkey. Who could blame him? He lost his mind ages ago when he attempted to be the perfect father and hell showed up at his doorstep declaring war on his annual festivities. No, no—no one’s walking out on his fun old-fashioned family Christmas.

But the best part of who Clark is comes when he realizes that no matter how bad things get, he eventually snaps out of his morbid sense of adventure to accept what little good the holiday season presents—even if he keeps company with the jolliest bunch of idiots this side of the nuthouse.

[Author’s note: From my family to yours, have a wonderful holiday season.]


Have you seen Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation? What is your favorite part of the movie?