Music Monday Review: Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam “Everyone’s Invited” – Not just Raffi Rocking Out

Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam Everyones Invited album cover

Not just Raffi rocking out Last week, I won a giveaway iTunes copy of Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam’s latest album Everyone’s Invited!. After three listens through with my four year old, my overall impression of Everyone’s Invited! is that is is at the core a great rock album for kids. The rock base differs, in my opinion, than children’s records that are recorded with backing tracks in a rock style. It’s not just Raffi rocking out. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Raffi. I love his world style and my kid loves his music. But he also likes smarter, more modern kid-based music like the great albums done by They Might Be Giants, and Everyone’s Invited appealed to us in some of the same ways. I just get the impression that Jason Didner and his band are rock musicians first and foremost, and great kids’ music… read more

For my wife: Year after year, we can make it through anything.

wedding bouquet

Marriage is our rock My dear wife, Do you remember our first year? Newlyweds in a city we hated, in jobs we despised, with no money for diapers or milk? We both were rebuilding after divorces, almost nothing to our names. We whispered and tiptoed so we didn’t wake the child who barely slept, such a mess with his unknown-to-us Asperger’s. Every day was an ordeal and a test. It was my first leg of the step-parenting voyage, my first taste of fatherhood. We talked of snapshots, pictures of our life together that we wanted to treasure. That was the year I knew we could make it through hard times and still love each other, and what a good team we made together. It was the year we became a family. But there was also that second summer together. The summer of “Goodwill Hunting”. Sleeping late, sometimes staying in bed all day…. read more

Pirates, Dungeons and Dragons, and LARPing – A Geek Dad Moment

pirates or privateers, pirate ship like Jacques Francois Morin operated in French waters

Pirates: they’re in our blood Pirates are trendy in the geek community, geek chic, I guess you could say. And my son and I have pirates in our blood. A distant cousin of mine, Jacques François Morin dit Bonsecours, was a privateer in New France in the early 1700s. His ship, crew, and logs of his takes are documented. He did have French consent to board English ships, but other accounts of his exploits portray him as ruthless, nothing but a pirate. Argh, mateys. What would that be in French? I also have Viking roots in another line. Badass. B thinks it’s cool that he has pirates in his bloodline. J thinks so, too, but technically being a stepson, he does not. He’s part Asian, though, so he does wonder if he has ninjas somewhere in his tree. We will make that a genealogy project for another day. An appropriate… read more

Zombie apocalypse – Fatherhood in the end of the world

zombie apocalypse LEGO zombie minifigs

Fatherhood in the End of the World I’ve been reading a lot of zombie novels lately. World War Z by Max Brooks, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, Monster Island by David Wellington, to name a few. I’m also mildly addicted to The Walking Dead graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore, as well as the TV series. I’m fascinated not only with the concept of a zombie apocalypse, but also what the world would look like during the fallout. And, as a parent, that brings up some very real fears for me. I think that any good zombie book makes the reader think more about how society and humanity would change when forced to step up and survive a zombie outbreak. When faced with the end of the world by undead hordes, will all governments fail? Will looting and fighting among survivors be the end of… read more

Moxie & whoopie pies. Summer, I dub thee FestivalFest!

Whoopie Pie New England treat chocolate flavored with powdered sugar

New England, and Maine in particular, is big on the summer festival. Summer is short here, and Mainers like to take the opportunity to celebrate! Moxie, whoopie pies, and blueberry anything can be had along with lobster and clams in huge quantities. Some things can seldom be gotten outside of New England (see the aforementioned Moxie and whoopie pies), and some are just Maine tradition. I know people who send Humpty Dumpty potato chips to friends and relatives because they just can’t be found anywhere else. Festivals are a great way to spend time together, get out and enjoy the outdoors, and most of them can be done on the cheap. They are a great choice for family activities. I look at it as good parenting to shake things up a bit and spend some family time away from the usual routine of home. My somewhat offbeat and geeky family… read more

New Hampshire bound, zero agenda

Family vacation plan checklist on a clipboard

New Hampshire wasn’t the first choice location for our family vacation this year, but we do love it and it has lots to see and do. I’ve written a lot about Disney, and while Walt Disney World is pretty much constantly on our minds, we just can’t swing it this year. Even though New Hampshire is adjacent to our state of Maine, it’s far enough away to escape real life and the tourist season for a while and have some fun. We’ve been to North Conway, NH several times and taken the kids to Storyland. We went to Kahuna Laguna and rode out Hurricane Irene while zipping down the indoor water slides there. This year we hope to take B to Santa’s Village, Clark’s Trading Post, maybe even head north to Franconia Notch. So while we are enjoying some family fun in New Hampshire, set against the backdrop of the… read more