Archive for July, 2013


You’ve got nothing to prove (you really don’t)

I’m a nerd.

That used to be a “brave” thing to say because it wasn’t cool. Which was fine, though I didn’t realize that at the time because like everyone else, I wanted to be cool.

Nowadays it’s considered cool to be a nerd. Of course, it was always cool to be a nerd—because everyone was a nerd for something.

Most people just didn’t realize it.

When I worked on Justice League Unlimited many moons ago, one of my bosses and I were teasing one of the production coordinators on the crew that he was a nerd, but didn’t know it.

He was a big sports fan, not a comic or sci-fi type of guy. In his mind, he was not a geek. Until my boss Shaun pointed out that the fact that he had painted his face to attend a game and cheer at the top of his lungs was pretty geeky.

Our friend and co-worker was passionate about Ohio State basketball.

Being a nerd is about passion (always has been), not what you’re passionate about.

Wil Wheaton, former Wesley Crusher and current writer and geek icon, puts it best:

image via and Wil Wheaton, evil or not

Yet, as is always the case, there are fractures in the community. For some reason, despite being ostracized all our lives for being outside the realm of normal, the nerd community has decided that for some reason people are faking it and don’t belong.

It seems as if the fakers are frequently women, but there is absolutely infighting elsewhere.

I’ve known geek girls all my life. I’m married to one, though I think I’ve made it worse since I’m a horrible influence on her and forced her into watching Battlestar Galactica (the remake) and Shaun of the Dead.

You should be welcomed. Men, women, children—you should be welcomed into the community of nerds, be they Star Wars fans, comic book readers, Harry Potter cosplayers or insane sports fans. There’s room for each and every one of you.

Or at least there is in my world and will be in the world I teach my kids about.

With that in mind, I present to you this video, which I found on Mr. Wheaton’s page yesterday.

No matter who you are, what you love, your gender, age or any other of a billion factors, you are always welcome in my geeky world.

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My Dog is NOT A PRINCESS. Dammit.

We take Dog to the same groomer pretty much each month. As a “hair dog” (a dog with hair, not fur), she needs to grooming, especially when it’s a billion degrees and 120% humidity outside.

They do a great job with her, but we have one complaint.

They keep putting bows on her.




She’s a rough and tumble pup. She wrestles, she nips, she runs and generally acts like a nutball.

She is not a “girly girl” dog who requires frilly frivolity.

She does have a bow tie, but that’s fashion. And besides, bow ties are cool.

This guy knows. (image via

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Winning Dad of the Interwebs for Today (and why cursing sometimes undercuts your point)

So today I read a post at which—I swear to God—is not a normal stop on my daily interweb perusals.

I had missed this particular kerfuffle but apparently there was a 14 year old girl who lives in Austin, Texas and had gotten herself some unintentional internet notoriety (is there any other kind?) for a sign she took to a protest against many of the laws Texas is trying hard to pass restricting women’s health rights.

Now she and her friend came up with a sign which was at once great (because it really was funny in a blue/low brow way) and rude.

I shall repeat the words here—hold onto your knickers kids.

The sign said:

Now, it’s not shocking that this went viral and if you know me, it’s also not shocking I was amused. After all, I have this shirt:

So yeah, if I didn’t offend you with the first one, I probably did there.

I will say, in my defense, that as the son of a carpenter and a man of the people, Jesus would probably converse in language some of you would blush at. My opinion—for whatever it’s worth—is that if Jesus were to pop up today, he’d probably speak to people in vernacular which is common to the majority of us.

And frankly, the above message is his message anyway and the quickest way to say it.

Anyway, let me get back to the story for the three of you still reading (hi mom!).

The young lady in question was shouted and swore at by one “Christian” (I put it in quotes because why paint ya’ll with the same brush?) in person who wasn’t exactly acting very Christian-like.

She also was basically assaulted—by mostly adults—on social media and was called among other things “a whore.”


So this is where dad becomes dad of the interwebs for today—he takes to social media and message boards to back his daughter. But from what I’ve seen, he didn’t just go for the “HEY DOUCHEBAG SAY THAT TO MY FACE AND I’LL KICK YOUR ASS” common behind keyboards across the internet.

He attempted to engage in debate—which as we know on social media, comment boards and message boards is a lost cause. But he did that anyway and continues to.

See, this is an awesome dad because not only is he defending his child he’s showing her that you can have a point and do so without resorting to bullying, name calling or being an asshole.

Maybe you don’t agree with he and his daughter and maybe you think he was irresponsible letting her take that sign out there to begin with. I mean, let’s face it, while you can expect harassment at any protest by people who disagree with you, that sign is a sure way to attract the wrong attention.

It’s eye catching, it gets its point across and again, I laughed, but you risk having your message missed because of the language. It’s rude. One could argue that what the legislature in Texas is doing is rude too, but again, you risk offending more people than changing their mind by not conforming to basic polite language.

The vulgarity of the phrasing can undercut and distract from your point.

On the other hand, I don’t really worry much about conforming so what the crap do I know, amirite?

But back to the dad point—he let her express herself, supported her desire to try and affect change and then when it got tough, he showed the right way to fight back.

That’s what being a parent is about. Guiding your kids, allowing them to make mistakes, backing them when things get tough and showing them the right way to do things.

So good work Bill Cain. Teaching your child to conduct his or herself in the face of hatred or bullying is at least as important as teaching them to be politically active, educated and passionate about their opinions.

In fact, if we could all conduct ourselves with your attitude, we might actually spend time talking through our issues instead of screaming at each other like toddlers.

Hell we might even solve some of them. Crazy, right?

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So the kids are gone to grandma and grandpa’s for the week (we call them GG and Pop Pop) which leaves me with a quiet and empty house which stays that way until my wife returns from work.

Now, maybe it’s the fact that after being virtually carb and sugar free for several weeks, I indulged on vacation at the beach a few times last week.

And then had some delicious cake at the Professor’s birthday. And then pizza that night.

I might have had a few sodas on Saturday as well.

Which, on a side-note, made it really hard to sleep that night because I was caffeine free longer than two weeks.

Anyhow, all that sugar and stuff does odd things to my brain which is always doing odd things on it’s own without any help, thanks. So it could be that I’m super-wonky anyway.

But I really, really miss the boys and have since they left.

Saturday night.

It may also be partly because, as I mentioned this morning, I might have some other semi-radical life changing junk going on (nothing bad). So add that the lack of sugar….. thus madness, thus kablooey.

Is there such a thing as “pre-empty nest syndrome”?

It’s funny though because, if this is just me missing the kids—and frankly, I go through this every time they’re gone for a week at a time—what the hell is college going to look like?

I mean for the love of all that’s holy, what kinda mess am I going to be?


It’s a long way off, I know. And I have a good bond with my kids. I really can’t worry all that much about them leaving for college because they will always be around for us.

That’s the bond you want, right? You train them to like you and hopefully they come back and visit in the rest home, maybe play a little Wii-Old Person-Version.

It’s just weird not having them home and not seeing them for stretches at a time.

Which all just goes to show you that two slices of cake and several cans of soda in a day will wreak havoc on my brain.

Such as it is.

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Who I Am vs What I Do

So there might be some changes coming on the job front again, though I won’t get into that now because it may not happen.

Anyway, as things might shift for me, I find myself struggling with the concept of changing what I do on a day to day basis and having a certain amount of anxiety about it.

As if changing what I do alters who I am. Which, on the one hand, it does because your experiences in life shape who you are as a person. Especially in America where we so closely identify with our jobs. Think about it.

How often do you answer “I am……” when someone asks what you do? Always?

We spend an awful lot of time at our jobs, whatever they are. So much so that they bleed into who we are.

Is that really a big deal? Well, sometimes, yes.

It’s why people fall apart when they get laid off, or waste away when they retire. We get so wrapped up in what we don, it’s all we are.

Or at least that’s how it feels. It certainly seems to be an issue for multiple men I know as well as women as well.

And it’s a real issue if, like me, your job changes on a semi-frequent basis. Seriously, how the hell am I supposed to know who I am if every year I have a different job title? How do I keep my feet under me?

The answer came to me walking some dogs today and it’s surprisingly straightforward.

Don’t let what you do define who you are.

There’s a line in the movie Fight Club:

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis.

Now, I cut out the very end because I don’t happen to think I’m the ” the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world” but otherwise it’s one of a few truths in an otherwise satirical look at male culture.

You’re not defined by the job you do. That goes for you ladies as well.

Notice I didn’t say “you’re not defined by what you do” because you are. We are what we do, in other words the actions we take are part of who we are.

HOWEVER, we are not defined by the job we do.

As a people, the human race love to categorize others as well as ourselves. I don’t know if (especially in America) it’s the general competitiveness left over from climbing over one of other in the primordial muck or if we do it to prove we fit somewhere.

Jobs easily define us.

But they shouldn’t.

I’m far more complex than what I do to earn a living. I’m far more than what I fill my day doing. I’m more than the sum of my paychecks and piles of work.

I’m a dad and a husband and a son and an avid reader and a lover of comics and a surfer and a huge nerd and a sports fan and a writer and a film nut—and on and on.

No one thing defines who I am. No one thing should.

We keep letting it though.

But not me. No more. Whether this new opportunity happens or doesn’t, whether I change my job title once or a hundred times in the coming years it won’t change who I am.

I won’t let it anymore.

Who’s with me?

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Happy Birthday Professor Omega!

Eight years ago today, at 4:20 PM PST we welcomed our second child into the world.

It was July in Los Angeles, with record breaking heat to boot – so it wasn’t just hot, it was REALLY HOT.

We did a home birth for the second kid. My wife had wanted to do that when Alpha was born, but despite having had a friend who wanted to be a midwife (and has since become super-midwife, traveling around the world doing midwife things with her family – Hi Tina!) and knowing it to be perfectly safe, I had talked her out of it.

With this second pregnancy though, I had been more enthusiastic about it, so when my wife went into labor we just made her comfortable, called the midwife and jacked up the window air conditioner.

Our first child progressed more rapidly (we’ll save that story for his birthday), but the Professor took his time.

This would become a pattern which repeats itself to this day. The dawdler.

Much of that day was a blur – the heat, the labor, the heat, the waiting,the heat – but when it was time for him to be born, the midwife turned to me and asked me if I wanted to deliver him.

I don’t know how many of you dads out there have had the opportunity to have your child born into your hands. There’s no way to describe it, really. To be the first thing he sees – to be that active in the birth, not just an observer but the physically deliver the baby – it was incredible.

I sat and stared at his little face for what seemed like a million years – until our midwife suggested that maybe mama would like to meet her baby.

I found that hard to believe really……. but handed him over anyway.

The other strong memory I have of those first few days was a nasty diaper rash which required us to lay him down bare-assed naked on a towel with a light pointed at his rear end, which was slathered with diaper cream. Alpha Tween thought it was the funniest thing ever to happen.

It probably was.

Welcome to the world, kid.

It’s been a crazy eight years. Every day I see a new part of him that I hadn’t noticed before. Every day is a revelation.

I love you, baby boy (not so much a baby anymore).

I’ll always be there to catch you when you need me to.

note – I just noticed that Professor Omega sounds like a Doctor Who villain (although he did get a locket as a gift which he was pretending held his Time Lord memories, so maybe) so we’ll just call him Professor from here on out. Which fits the whole Time Lord thing anyway.


And So A Little Surfer Dude Was Born

When we left California, I pretty much wrote of an experience I had been looking forward to since my first son was born: teaching him to surf.

Yes, you can surf on the east coast and yes, I could still teach them but I was already struggling to find time to go surfing. Add in a two hour or so drive and I was pretty sure I wasn’t getting to the beach for it on a regular basis.

And when it comes to kids, very few want to get up at 5am to make this happen. They’ll happily go to the beach, but try to pry them out of bed that early and they look like this:


And when they get to the beach, more often then not they just want to do their own thing. Which is fine.

Flashforward four years or so to this week when we’re down on the Jersey Shore at this awesome beach house. The kids saw a lot of other kids boogie boarding and wanted their own boards. Luckily for our wallet, the house we rented had boards already.

So this afternoon myself, Alpha Tween and Omega Child now also known as The Professor, headed to the beach with the boards in addition to our usual gear.

Alpha, as is his wont, dove right in and headed out with his board. He tried hard but had a difficult time getting going and even when I gave him a push he missed more waves than he caught.

Omega is another story entirely. He’s not the most confident swimmer. At some point in New York, after doing well in swim lessons back in LA, he was placed in a swim group which used water wings. Ever since then he hasn’t had any confidence no matter how much swimming we do.

This is even more of an issue in the ocean. I have always tried to stress to the boys that while the ocean is wonderful and a lot of fun, it’s also dangerous. You have to be careful about turning your back on it and you have to pay attention.

That cautious reminder has backfired with The Professor as he is now somewhat afraid of the water. He’s afraid of the fish he can’t see, the crabs he can’t see and the waves.

Suffice to say I won’t be showing him Jaws anytime soon.

Flying sharks…..awesome


Yesterday we discovered that the beach we are at has a sandbar about thirty feet or so from the shore. So you can walk, then swim and then stand waist deep. Professor Omega wouldn’t come out at first, then only on my back. He was happy to learn he could stand but said he was definitely going to forget about it and not return to the sandbar again.

My son is a big fan of the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Today he allowed himself to come out in the water with his boogie board (leash firmly attached to his wrist), but not too deep and ONLY if I held onto the board.

We got out to where I was a little deeper than waist deep and I helped him lay on his board (he’s a small guy) and taught him to properly balance himself. Slowly but surely, I held onto the board less and less firmly. Finally he didn’t even notice when I wasn’t holding on.

Then, when he said he was ready, we picked out a wave and when it closed on us I shoved him towards the shore.

It wasn’t a good ride nor a long one. Yet when he turned towards me afterwards his eyes lit up. He was so proud.

Soon, he was running back into the water and jumping over waves with his board. Soon he was kicking himself to catch a wave on his own (mostly – I still gave him a shove most of the time) and pushing himself further and further from shore.

We took a break and almost as soon as he was out of the water he was arguing he had to get back in, shivering lips and all.

When we got back in, I began to tow him out to the sandbar.

Omega: Dad. Dad! DAD!

Me: What?

Omega: I really don’t need you to tow me dad. I can do this myself. I don’t need your help with this.

Well, well, well.

Little Surfer Boy

Little Surfer Boy

And he didn’t (mostly). He even got to the point he could paddle with one or both arms as well as kick with his legs. He caught some waves all on his own.

He even jumped back in to board with me when I grabbed Alpha Tween’s board. He didn’t last long (another first – ab/stomach pain from so much swimming and paddling) but it was great.

We were already planning on bringing my board down here next year (we’re hoping to come back) and now, without a doubt, I know the Professor will be there with me.

The friend who taught me to surf said that for a lot of people, once you get the surfing bug it’s really hard to shake it. It looks like at least one of the kids (eventually both once I get done with the Tween) might have been bit.

Whether that’s the case or not long term, I’m so thankful that I had a chance to fulfill a goal I had given up on seeing happen.

A little surfer dude has been born.

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What I’m Into:

Reading: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher Listening to: The Heist, Macklemore Watching: Damages