Pokémon Go – Ok, I get it now

Pokéball

When Pokémon Go was first released, my kids were immediately hooked. “Dad, you need to get Pokémon Go, you need to right now! It’s so awesome!” they would tell me. I was torn. Pokémon never interested me, at least not the card game or the cartoons. Did I really have the energy for this? I balked. I didn’t get Pokémon. I just didn’t. Whenever someone tried to explain to me how to play the card game, it was like they were speaking a different language. Of course, many of the explanations came from children, who I’m not sure actually got the rules themselves, so it was kind of a Calvinball situation. The explanations of Pokémon Go flummoxed me as well. Pokémon candy? Pokéballs? PokéStops? Poké what? Within weeks of release, the media was saturated with stories about this new craze, Pokémon Go, the game where everyone gets outdoors to walk… read more

Forefatherhood

my grandfather and his parents

As I work on my family history, I often wonder about the people behind the names and dates. I unearth clues and dig up bones — figuratively, of course. But the vital records, census entries, immigration and military records only build a framework for my imagination. What were these people like? What did they think about, talk about, eat, play and dance like? I took a moment and thought of a small handful of facts that could describe me as a person: I like Steely Dan I’m not a picky eater I don’t sleep much I can’t parallel park Summer is my favorite season Steely Dan wasn’t around in the 19th century, but aside from that, how the hell would I know any of that stuff about my ancestors? Some people were written about, and still others have had their journals and diaries published. Most of my ancestors were poor… read more

ISIS, plane crashes and tornadoes – Why the news is bad for my fatherhood

world newspapers on news stand

ISIS beheading Christians, another plane crash, more tornadoes destroy entire towns, another celebrity suicide, more plane crashes, the endless Middle East conflict, another suicide bombing and pictures of dead children. It’s all in the news, all the time. It seems like it’s all bad news, and I’ve had enough. Last week I was reading story after story about ISIS beheading dozens of people in Iraq. Innocent people who did not share their killers’ radical beliefs. There are so may readily available and in your face pictures of heads on spikes and dead children. The children. It literally made me sick to think about the children. And it pissed me off. The last time I was so pissed off at the world was October of 2001, and I marched into my local recruiter’s office to enlist in the US army. But that’s a whole different story. I came to realize that… read more

Parenting assumptions nobody should make about stay at home dads

father and son walking holding hands

Another year, another school, another kid found ineligible for special education services because he’s too damned smart. But after a perfectly written letter from my wife to just the right people, a second meeting was held and our four year old was identified as needing special services. The battle has just begun. We’ve done this before with J, and we know how it goes with a very gifted kid who does not fit the mold in our school district. B tested well into the genius range on the IQ test done by the child psychologist, with his true score likely being much higher as the tests needed to be stopped because my son never hit a ceiling. Over 99.9th percentile. I’m uneasy talking about it because it somehow feels like bragging, but it’s not. It is what it is, and it’s not easy, not for B and not for us…. 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