Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

19
Nov
18

I’m not ready for this – Part 1

Bas Senior Day

Senior Day with Sebastian, Melina and me.

So it begins.

Or rather, so it begins to end.

This past weekend — Saturday November 17, to be exact — marked the end of my eldest son’s football season and, unless something really crazy happens (hey the University of Southern California football team could need a scholarship athlete to pull up their GPA!), the end of his football career.

And with that it hit me that Sebastian, my first-born child, is really wrapping things up a and hurtling towards graduation, college and full on adulthood.

I’m not ready for this.

I mean, who is?

I guess some of you are, but if the experiences of friends are anything to judge by, it’s a very few.

Complicating this is football, something which has been a massive part of this family’s life for a decade. Our younger son, Simon, isn’t a football dude. He may be in the Marching Band when he heads to high school next year, so we may still be at occasional games.

And I’ll be there almost every Saturday, covering the game for the town paper as long as it’s around.

But neither of those things are the same experience as actively having a stake in what’s happening and a connection to the team as exists when you have a kid on it.

It doesn’t help that the game ended badly for Bas’ team, as they lost in the State Sectional final, on their home field. It also doesn’t help that for the fourth year in a row he was hurt, which probably cost him a starting job, so he didn’t play quite as much at the end of the season as he may have wanted.

It doesn’t help that football was a place he and I have connected for a long time. Less so as he has moved to high school and become interested in other things, I stopped coaching and we both had other things to occupy our time.

So it’s bittersweet to see the end of football.

Mind you, there is a small, guilty bit of me that is a little relieved. I can’t tell you how hard it was to divest myself of emotion for the team – a team with a significant number of kids I coached plus my son on it – during the seasons. I would imagine my editor probably could tell you stories where he rolled his eyes.

It’s easier to manage that when I don’t have a son there. I still know the kids and have a connection but it’s easier to shove that aside when it’s not your kid.

What makes it seem a little better are the things I saw from my son as the season progressed. He became more confident and invested. He also cared a great deal about his teammates.

He would defend the quarterback when we talked about that kid’s struggles.  He felt sympathy when two of his team were lost for the season right before the playoffs. Bas was supportive of players who earned spots over him, no matter how much he might have wished to have won the job himself.

And while he was hurting because he had just lost his final game ever, he was expressing concern for the future of the team, and hoping the two offensive linemen who won’t be graduating this spring would have a good last season when they were seniors themselves next year.

Football seemed to bring out some of the best in him. He was never one for the limelight – each week a senior is asked to lead the team onto the field with the Mountie flag, and Bas said he declined it when asked if he wanted to do it – but he was always the kid who had his teammate’s back.

Last season, when the Mounties won the State Championship – undefeated, I might add – Sebastian’s role was pretty limited. Some of that was due to injury, some of that was due to the team being ridiculously talented and deep.

So when the game was over and Montclair was celebrating, he admitted to me it was a bit bittersweet – he felt like he didn’t do a ton to help, and wished he had had a chance.

I tried to point out to him that what he did each week as a member of the scout team — a group of guys who run the plays the coaches think the next opponent will use — and when he got on the field to give another player a breather, was very important.

Every day at practice, the coaches knew they could rely on Bas to make sure he gave his all, did what he was supposed to and help the starters get prepared for the upcoming game. If the scout team isn’t focused and working as hard as they can, the starters won’t be as prepared.

It’s kind of an important lesson to learn, one I hope he will take as he moves through life. You don’t always get the limelight, and you don’t always get the accolades. That doesn’t make your role or value less.

Most of the time, the people around you notice. I think his coaches and fellow teammates did, and I think  his future coworkers and friends will as well.

A chapter in our lives is ending, one of many as we move towards his high school graduation. It only just hit me as we all sat eating dinner Saturday night, that we are at the beginning of the end of Sebastian as a kid.

And at the end of the beginning of the rest of his life.

I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m not sure if I will for a long time.

I know I’ll revisit this feeling, whatever it is, a lot this year, hence the “Part 1.” At some point, maybe we’ll reach the end of it.

14
Mar
17

Technically speaking, my son is technically challenged

So a while back my eldest decided he wanted to get back into learning to design graphics, edit and other things like that on a computer. He also wanted to play more advanced video games. His laptop (which I have currently stolen because mine died) doesn’t have the power for any of it, and he also wanted to be able to upgrade things if a new computer became obsolete.

He asked for cash from his grandparents and my wife and I for his birthday and Christmas in lieu of other gifts.

So this week he finally ordered his computer, and it arrived yesterday. I was at the office, trying to get my work done since nobody was making it in during this blizzard. He texted me that he couldn’t get the computer to turn on. He had set it up, but it wouldn’t power on. I gave him a few suggestions, which he had already done, and then told him I couldn’t really help anymore as I was not there to see what was going on.

A short time later I got this text (which also contains my reaction). His texts are the ‘red’ ones.

dumbass2

In his defense there were two switches to hit for reasons I cannot understand.

That said, damn, son. I understand teen brain but wow.

 

10
Mar
17

JAILBREAK

There are perils in being a work from home dad. Constant snacking of everything in the house. Forgetting to shower. Having a dog come and attack your lunch.

For parents who work from home and have young children, there’s the added bonus of the sneaky little buggers showing up when you’re trying to do a television interview.

 

This makes me glad my children were in school for most of the videos and radio interviews I did when they were younger.

There’s so much to unpack here.

I would imagine this gentleman doesn’t work from home much as the very first thing you learn when doing live interviews from home is you have to lock your door, especially when you are doing a TV shot.

Of course, getting the dogs out of the room is a close second, but I see someone forgot to lock their door.

I love how the little girl in yellow bops into the room. She just wants to be a star, right? And then Baby Wheels comes in and everything goes off the rails with the panicked woman – mom? very much updating her resume nanny? – flies in to try and rescue the situation, but only really makes it worse.

Or better, at least for those of us watching at home.

Hopefully there wasn’t a ton of yelling after the segment, because kids are going to be kids and they’ll get away and find you if they know you’re home. I’m not going to criticize the guy much for not just rolling with it and plopping his kid on his lap during what appeared to be a fairly dry and serious topic. He was trying and failing to keep it straight, I respect that. He had spent a ton of time dolling up his bedroom to look more serious – the map, the books oh so carefully laid out on the bed, the suit and tie (Was he wearing just shorts? We can only guess.).

How hard was the host laughing off-camera?

I can’t blame the kids – they just wanted to be on the BBC.

A wise man (maybe George Patton, Maybe Dwight Eisenhower) once said “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”

Let me amend that to read “No home office survives any contact with a toddler.”

PS – when my kids were home and I had to shoot a video, I usually kept them quiet by making them my camera crew. They were still older than this lot, but it worked.

So glad my kids are past this. As my good friend (and PackersNews.com writer) Aaron Nagler remarked on Twitter, “I now expect kids to crash every one of these.”

Of course, Aaron has had his own issues.

08
Mar
17

Back in the NJ Groove

After way too long, Dad Moon Rising is back! Exciting!

It’s been a crazy period of time, and one which made me really have to consider work-life balance. Seriously – and I am sure you guys all have similar experiences – its easy to get caught up on the hamster wheel until you drop dead.

So, after banging my head against the wall doing nothing but freelance, and being busy with nowhere near as much income, I decided to find a regular gig with little things like regular pay.

This past football season was especially hard, given I had one gig basically disappear and another fall apart mid-season.

So after one too many hair-yanking seasons doing that, I decided two things: 1) to work in the places and with the people I enjoy being with and 2) start writing other things.

The first is easy enough in many ways – I adore working with the folks at Footballguys.com and have really enjoyed working with Pro Football Weekly this past season doing film-breakdowns. I may add one or two things to that, but most of the rest of it may fall by the wayside.

Coupled with that, I have begun working on an exciting venture here at home in Montclair, New Jersey. In the middle of last November, The Montclair Times – at the time our main local paper – was bought by Gannett and basically stopped doing local stuff. Some great folks decided to step in and replace the Times and I’m doing high school and local sports with them. The paper is called The Montclair Local and it has a great group of people on staff. It’s been a blast covering high school so far, and I love going into an office again.

You can check out the website, or if you’re local, get a subscription.

This blog is part of the answer for the second point. I love doing it and so here we are. As before I’ll talk about my kids, my family and my coaching experiences, but I’m also going to tackle more and more social issues as well.

I’ll try and be balanced, but this is my blog through my lens, so expect it to lean largely left.

But it won’t all be that stuff, so if that’s not your brand of vodka, do drop by for everything else.

I’m also working on some copywriting type stuff and – *drum roll* – a book! More on that later.

So I’m back!

Let’s have some fun, shall we?

 

Now I have to figure out how I embed videos and whatnot.

03
Jun
16

Fandom IS Broken – my Storified Tweets

So I tried to embed the Storify story, but as has been the case when I try to embed anything, it isn’t working.

As that’s the case, please follow the link for my thoughts on the article “Fandom is Broken” which has ironically broken the internet called “Fandom is Broken”.keep calm and geek on

30
Mar
16

PODCAST!

We have the dawn of a new age – I finally was broken (by the Batman-Superman mess) and have launched a DMR podcast called The Nerd Multiverse which will talk all things geeky from comics to movies to RPGs to everything. Sometimes with special guests called ‘my family.’

You can find it here and soon on ITunes.

10
Feb
16

Back with a Dad Joke

It’s been a while, huh? I’m back with this thing though, and what better way to start it off again than with a dad joke and my eldest son’s response to it.

He responded perfectly, by the way.

BAS JOKE

I could have put it together in a different way though –

CORAL

02
Jun
15

Responsibility and Charity

wirekidsI just watched the fourth season of The Wire again. If you haven’t watched the series, I cannot recommend it enough as it is a fantastic depiction of inner city life and struggles in Baltimore.

A running current throughout the fourth season is the struggle of schools in a large city, especially schools in more impoverished areas. As we follow many of the same characters we had been watching the previous season, we are also introduced to new ones, including four boys who are attending middle school.

All four students suffer from less-than-stellar home lives. For three of them, their situation ends up worse. The fourth gets taken in by one of the adult characters and the hope is his life will have a chance to be better.

The other three though, they get left behind. The system fails them, even when members of the system try to help them. Sometimes those helpful people learn how little control they really have in the lives of the children they interact with—others find their efforts make things much worse.

This was all on my minds last weekend when my older son’s friend came over out of the blue. We don’t see this young man all that often, but had run into him at a sports orientation for the high school (oh Lord, I’m about to have a high-schooler) and I told him to drop by any time.

So he did the very next day.

I don’t know this young man very well. He’s a very good kid from what I’ve seen and from what we understand, has a tough life.

His mom has moved in and out of town several times, moving this boy and his step-brother into different schools and school districts. One such landing spot saw this young man in a poor school with a lot of fights and what sounded like a bad situation. Looking to get him back in a better school district (and away from trouble), his mother moved him into an apartment back in our town with some relatives. It wasn’t ideal of course, since the family had a two-bedroom apartment, multiple kids of their own and my son’s friend slept on the couch.

Then the school district realized he wasn’t living with him mom, who was no longer in the confines of the town, and kicked him out of school. If your guardian doesn’t live in the district, you don’t belong in the district.

So back to his mother he went, back to the school with the fights and bullying. He told his mother he refused to go back, that he would get himself suspended if she made him and lo and behold, that happened.

His mother recently moved back to town and after several months of not being in school at all, my son’s friend is back at school.

We’ve become one of the places he shows up at when he is trying not to be home. He doesn’t talk about home life much but those of us who have reached out to him have pieced together what seems like something close to the truth.

His mom and he don’t get along. I have heard a step-father mentioned (most alarmingly once when he smashed the young man’s X-Box in a rage) but it doesn’t sound like he lives with them. His dad is an ex-convict who is in town but can only afford a studio apartment. I don’t know a ton about his interactions with his son.

Nobody seems to care that he disappears for a day or two at a time, floating from couch to couch. When he was over last weekend, we invited him to sleep over and asked if he needed to call home. He looked like us like we were crazy. Why would they care seemed to be his attitude.

Of course, all most of what we ‘know’ comes from the boy. Another parent has spoken with his mother a few times, and it seems as if a lot of our assumptions are right, but really we don’t know all of what is going on.

It seems very much as if this is a boy in danger of being left behind by the system and the people who should be supporting him.

And I’m very aware that there are elements of his life I cannot understand. I’m white, I grew up in an affluent suburb and really didn’t want for much. He’s African-American and having to struggle to make ends meet.

I’m very conscious of my privilege in this situation, very conscious of not ‘white knighting’ (in a very literal sense) and coming to the aid of someone I cannot understand. The assumptions we have about his home life concern me because they are very much assumptions. I’m not saying he’s a liar, but he is still a kid and kids stretch the truth.

It’s one of many reasons nobody has involved Child Protective Services—that and knowing that it could make things a whole lot worse in many ways.

But as he floats from house to house and various people feed him, make sure he’s showered and eaten and going to school, it’s clear to me that somewhere, somehow the ball has been dropped.

If we had an extra room, I’m pretty sure my wife and I would let him crash there all the time so he knew he always had a safe place. We don’t though, so we do what we can and hope it’s enough.

And so I think about that season of The Wire and hope he’s the one boy for whom things managed to get better and not one of the kids who drop through the cracks.

17
Jul
14

Female Thunder Gods, Black Avengers and Other Things That Seem to Scare Comic Fans

We’re about to get super-comic-book-geeky here so, you may want to grab onto something and hold on.

I’m not 100 percent certain, but the world might be ending.

image via BleedingCool.com

First, Marvel Comics announced that Thor, god of Thunder, will be a woman.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough for one week, they announced that Captain America will now be…..black. Yes, Sam Wilson aka The Falcon aka just about the coolest part of Captain America: Winter Soldier will be taking up the mantle after Steve Rogers somehow got really old and is more concerned with his Depends than what the Red Skull is doing.

OH DEAR GOD PLEASE STAY OFF THE INTERNET AS IT EXPLODES.

Listen, I’m no fan of change for the sake of change or PR stunts. I’m not bothering to buy the “How Wolverine Dies Until The Next Movie” series going on right now. And honestly, they can talk about how neither of these things are stunts, but we all know things will go back to normal when the new Thor, Captain America or Avengers movies come out. Just like Wolverine will come back from the dead the moment Wolverine 3: Even More Wolveriney or X-Men: Seriously It’s Only About Logan comes out down the road.

But I don’t get the knee jerk and, frankly, ridiculous reaction to either of the above changes.

Let’s assume for a moment they are both well written. I know, that can be dicey in comics, but indulge me. Isn’t story the ultimate determination as to whether something is worthwhile?

We all knew Cap was coming back when he was shot and killed in the comics because it was before the first movie. But writer Ed Brubaker did such an extraordinary job making Bucky (Cap’s former partner) transition into Captain America that when Bucky left the role (died, sort of) it was actually a bummer.

When it was announced that Barbara Gordon was returning to her role as Batgirl, we weren’t sold. She had been defined by the events of The Killing Joke and been in a wheelchair for so long it was who she was to fans. In fact, in many ways her struggle to overcome her disability and the wheelchair were an excellent thing for kids to see.

But Gail Simone came along and absolutely nailed Babs in her return to crime-fighting and (more importantly) walking that we forgot about our misgivings.

What is it about change in comics which makes us upset?

In the recent instances, it’s hard not to see the push-back in purely racial and gender terms and it seems as if a lot of the issues people have with it is that they immediately assume it’s the “PC-police” forcing a change.

I actually understand that thought as once upon a time, I thought it too. When Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) was brutally killed and replaced by Jaime Reyes, I wondered if it was driven solely by political correctness. I wondered the same thing when The Question died of cancer and was replaced by Renee Montoya.

image via Wikipedia

I’m not proud of my gut reaction, but I want to be honest about it to make a point.

Something about it seemed unfair. I can’t tell you what it was, only that it happened. In so far as The Question, that was likely in part to my love for what we did when I worked on the Justice League animated series. Seeing him replaced bugged me and that might be why.

But I ask myself why I disliked the idea of Beetle or Question or even Firestorm (who died in the dumbest way possible) being replaced and I don’t have a rational answer. I didn’t love any of the characters save Question (and again, for personal reasons) and none of them were comics or characters who drew big numbers on the sales racks.

And I have no rational reason because, if I’m honest about that time in my life, the reason wasn’t rational. I think I was upset on some level because I was watching three traditionally white, male characters get the brush off in favor of a different gender or color.

Again, I’m not proud of that, but I think looking back on it that it’s true.

And I can’t help but wonder if that’s true of many people reacting to Falcon-Cap and Fem-Thor.

image via ABCnews.com

Certainly if you read the comments (never do that) it’s there in subtext if nothing else.

Why is that?

I mean, not to get even more geeky here but Norse gods have always been mutable (hell, gods in general – Zeus anyone?) so Thor being a woman isn’t insane from the mythology. And honestly, if Captain America is the representation of the US as it stands, it makes sense to me that he isn’t a blond-haired, blue eyed white dude.

And who better than Wilson, his long-time partner (now that Bucky/Winter Soldier isn’t a choice)?

I have no explanation as to why changing a race or gender riles comic fans up. It doesn’t do that to me anymore (especially once I read the rebooted characters). I’m not sure why it ever did.

But I think it’s time to get over it. I think it’s time for readers – particularly white, male readers who have been the bulk of readership for a long time and get pandered too far more than we should – to let go of it.

If the story is good, the story is good. What does it matter if  Thor a woman? Or Ms. Marvel is a Muslim or Superman of Earth-2 is black?

The stories are either good or they aren’t.

And speaking of stories, let’s applaud comics for trying anything new. After all, there’s no new story to tell, just different ways to tell them. How can you make the same superhero nonsense fresh? Shake things up.

Too often that mean rebooting the universe *coughcoughDCcoughcough* and changing little or reverting things to status quo regardless of past stories *coughcoughMarvelcoughcough*.

image via Marvel Comics

So Thor is a woman? He’s also been an alien and a frog,  used to turn into a crippled mortal with a cane and at one point was a construction worker.  Cap’s been replaced at least three times I can think of in his own comic, and according to Marvel mythology, was several different people in the 50s and 60s.

Who cares if we change up who is holding Mjolnir or the shield? This could be a good jumping off point for stories as it was for Batgirl, Bucky-Cap and Ultimate Spiderman (currently Miles Morales).

That’s what will matter .

The stories are either good or they aren’t.

Hopefully these stories will open up opportunities for creators to put together more original female and minority characters like the aforementioned Ms. Marvel (on of my favorite books right now).

Meanwhile, maybe this is a chance for some new takes on old stories.

And if you don’t like it, oh well. As you can say about the weather in some states: wait five minutes and it’ll change.

Meanwhile enjoy the ride and stop bitching for once. We have two new heroes to follow. Let’s see where they take us.

12
Sep
13

Back Again!

So, it’s been a while.

The last few weeks have been chaos for a number of reasons—the start of football season, some job issues and the beginning of school—and I sort of fell off the planet.

But I’m back now and will be writing regularly again.

I’ll fill you in on some of the drama later, but for now, just know I am alive and mostly functional.

And my Pop Warner team is 1-1. Which, really, is the important thing, right?




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What I’m Into:

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