This isn't the first time I've been a man alone in a park surrounded by kids I don't know. The last time this happened, I touched them. I felt no guilt, the other parent at the playground was another dad and the children were boys. This latest round...
When I was nine years old, I took a train from Kingston, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec by myself. I went to visit my grandparents for my birthday and to attend my first NHL hockey game.
The two cities are just three hours apart, and while the conductor kept an eye...
My oldest son is starting grade 3 this fall. We live about four blocks from school, and towards the end of last year, he started asking about walking to school by himself or with a neighbourhood buddy.
I can't let it happen. I won't let it happen. And it's all...
I've lived in Calgary for 5 years now. I grew up in Vancouver.
I'm finally consistently saying C-Train instead of SkyTrain, I know more about the Flames' prospects than the Canucks', and I love the Calgary Stampede like the summer Christmas that it is.
You can find adventure in all four directions you choose to leave from Calgary but if you point your compass to the east, you'll discover yourself in the heart of the Canadian Badlands.
It is rich fertile prairie soil but also rugged. The Canadian Badlands are criss-crossed by...
Every spring we see the same stories pop up: kids want to wear what they want to school/prom/dances. Teachers enforce dress codes/standards. Boycotts ensue.
Here's an easy solution: have all public school kids wear uniforms.
I don't want to see anything drastic, just a polo shirt in the school colors....
My grandfather recently turned 90, and while I revel in the 45 years I've spent with him, I'm thrilled to know that he's spent half his life with me around. It's been an incredible gift.
His birthday weekend was a collection of four...
I don't talk about religion in our home. Or, at least, I try not to.
While I think having a moral compass and personal spirituality are important bases for a great life, I'm not doing it because of any robed, bearded, mythical being in the sky. You do...
For the 20th year, the Calgary Hitmen have celebrated the holiday season with their 2014 Teddy Bear Toss hockey game.
The concept is simple: Bring a bear, when the home team scores, throw the bear on the ice. The Teddy Bear Toss Hockey Game is world famous, as...
It's a simple concept, really. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
It's about being polite. It's about respecting traditions. It's about going with the flow when visiting another city, country or experiencing another culture. The same applies when you move to live in another country or...
The LEGO KidsFest arrives in Calgary May 16-18. I took some time to chat with Chris Steininger about what it means to be a LEGO Master Builder, how he followed his father's path, and the magic that is LEGO.
Last year, when my son came back from Disneyland with his grandparents, the thing he couldn't stop talking about most was how he was now "a real Jedi." He went to the Jedi Training Academy at Disneyland each of the 3 days he was at the park. He fought Darth Maul, and Darth Vader and brought home a lightsaber for his brother as a gift. "I'm a real Jedi, Daddy" was all he could keep repeating.
A few months later, we took what is to become a Father's Day tradition - a weekend of camping, just the guys, at Dinosaur Provincial Park. The park is in the badlands of Alberta, so named because, well, the land is bad. You can't really grow anything on this sandstone. It is dry, arid, and doesn't do well with water. It's terrible land, really.
But while we were climbing around the hoodoos, the boys started to remark how the landscape looked like Tattooine, the home planet of Luke Skywalker they had seen in the Star Wars movies, and at the Star Wars: Identities exhibition in Edmonton over spring break.
I told the boys to pose for some photos and Zacharie immediately announced, "Star Wars pose!" and mock held a lightsaber in his hand. Charlie, the ever imitating younger brother, immediately copied him.
This would be the beginning of many mock lightsaber battles they would have over the course of the trip.
When I was flipping back through the photos, I saw the poses and wondered if it would be possible to add actual lightsabers to their poses. When we went to Mexico for spring break this year, I purposely asked the boys to do Star Wars poses again to try and mix them in again.
It was easier than I thought. Here's how to photoshop lightsabers in to the photos of my kids.
If you're good with Photoshop, and have the program, open it up. If you don't have Photoshop, there is a free, browser-based alternative called Pixlr. This is what I used to edit the images.
First you'll want to add the glow to the lightsaber.
Use your loop tool to slice the handle from the lightsaber blade and paste it into a new layer.
Then add the glow to just the blade layer using the Adjustment > Hue & Saturation tool. Lightsabers burn white hot in the middle, and then glow different colours on the outside. So just slide your hue and saturation until you get one that you like.
Paste the layers together to reattach the handle and then copy the lightsaber into a new layer on the photo you want to work with.
Align the lightsaber image to the appropriate size and angle of the hand of your photo by using the Edit > Free Transform tool.
When you drop it into the image, it will be a layer on top of your child's hand. You can then erase the part of the image that would be in their hand, leaving some handle out the bottom so it looks big and realistic.
Now, save it out. And do it again. I absolutely love these images of my sons playing and will now make it a regular occurrence when we are out adventuring across Alberta.
I'd love it if you would drop some links in the comments of any photos you've mocked up with lightsabering battles between your kids.
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