Daddy Daughter Podcast Episode 7 – Easter, Spring Break, HeroesCon, and Cosplay

After what seems like months… wait… it IS months! Oh my! We’re back in the “studio” (the studio that’s cleverly disguised as a kitchen I might add) to catch up and talk about Spring Break, Easter (and of course the Easter Bunny), the upcoming Heroes Convention in Charlotte, and assorted other goodies! It’s another terrific episode. Take a listen!

Hey, don’t forget, if you enjoy the podcast… subscribe to it! You can subscribe viaiTunes and Stitcher to get it automatically updated to your choice of podcasting software. If you’re so inclined, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter as well, we’re @DaddyPodcast on Twitter and you can follow along and even ask us questions there, we answer every one in the podcast!

Enjoy, and talk to you soon!

Dragon*Con 2014 – Part 1: The Costumes

Well, of course the my FIRST post about Dragon*Con (don’t worry, there will be a couple more, I promise!) has to be about the Costumes. It’s well known that of ALL the conventions during the summer, that Dragon*Con in particular is perhaps the most well known among Cosplayers. It’s one of the main attractions of the convention, and the layout of Dragon*Con with it being spread between several inter-connected hotels and hotel lobbbies is the perfect environment to see and be seen. The below gallery of 66 images was taken by myself over the course of just two and a half days of convention. I arrived early Friday afternoon and left Sunday evening. In between, I stopped whoever looked particularly good and space (and traffic!) permitted. Always ask politely to take a picture and ALWAYS move the subject out of the main flow of traffic. If you can do these two things, you’ll score a nice treasure trove of photos of some really talented CosPlayers.

Enjoy the slideshow! Click the first image, then just use your arrow or click left or right to view the photos:

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Episode 3 – Monster High and Recess Games

This week, Abby and I discuss recess, and talk a bit about “Monster High”. Unfortunately, Abby’s been sick so we’re going to wait until she’s better and pick up where we left off. Next podcast will be all about Dragon*Con! Thanks for listening and remember, you can listen (and Subscribe!) on both iTunes and Stitcher!

Purplicious and “Suicide Slurpees”.

Sometimes in life there are moments you just wish you could freeze and hold on to forever. I remember various times in my life saying to myself, “don’t ever forget this. Try to remember every detail, what the weather was like, what time of day it was, how you felt…”.

The other night was one of those times. Over the last 48 hours or so, I’ve just been turning this moment over and over in my mind, unable to shake it. Some things just resonate, I guess.

I got home the other night, and as soon as I walked in, I grabbed Abby, turned around and headed over to the library. My wife had some books she had reserved that had come in, one of them being “Purplicious” for Abby. The rest were books she had been really looking forward to reading, and since the baby was up, she couldn’t get over there, so I agreed to run over there and pick them up for her. Besides, it gave me a chance to give the Graphic Novel section a good once-over and see if any new graphic novels had arrived for 2011. Believe it or not, the Horry County Library has a pretty kickass collection of graphic novels. Abby wanted to tag along and who was I to say no to taking a kid to a library, right? As soon as she realized that one of the books on hold was not only hers, but it was the copy of “Purlicious” she had been waiting for, she squealed in that way that only happy four year-old girls can squeal.

One ritual that Abby and I have adopted… well… okay, one ritual that ABBY has adopted, has been stopping off at the new Turtle Market on 707 and getting a Slurpee (I call them Slurpees, they’re not technically Slurpee brand Slurpees, but that’s what I call ’em). As soon as we got in the car on the way to the library, she popped the, “can we stop on the way home and get a slurpee, daddy?” question. When the store opened a couple months ago, I took Abby over there and introduced her to the concept of the “suicide“. Since then we’ve been exploring every possible combination of mixed Slurpee recipe you can have. We’ve done green and orange, orange and pink, pink and green, etc. This time, we did pink on the bottom, and orange on the top. “It’s like orange, but it’s sour like lemonade and it’s pink when you suck it up the straw!” She was delighted with this one.

She paid for her drink, we walked back to the car, and I started buckling her into her car seat. She handed me the drink to hold, and looked me right in the eye and said, “Daddy, today has been the best day ever. I was good in school, I went to the library, I got Purplicious, and I made the best Slurpee ever!”.

I sort of sat there for a second, awestruck.

You know, we have lives that throw all kinds of “complications” at us. We have dental issues, insurance problems, car troubles, economic anxiety. We worry about jobs, our family members, our loved ones. We ponder futures and create stress. We drive around, oblivious to the world, completely unaware of the moment.

But right now, in the mind of a four-year old, the world revolves around Purplicious and Suicide Slurpees, and it couldn’t get any better.

The Seven Days of Thanksgiving: Day Three

Easy one tonight, Family.

I’m sitting here typing this after one of those nights that you always look back on as “one of the greats”. My mother-in-law’s birthday. Me, my wife, the kids, my brother-in-law, his wife, their kids, and my mother-in-law… all spent the evening bowling down in Surfside Beach. I wouldn’t trade nights like this for all the money in the world. My brother-in-law lives in the same neighborhood, across the street. Our daughters have spent their whole lives growing up across the street from each other, sharing playdates, birthdays, holidays and a whole host of important days and memories. My mom and dad live right across town in a town that’s only about 15 minutes across and my mother-in-law lives right on the way to work. I’m surrounded by family and I love it. I’m very fortunate to be this close to the people who matter most and I don’t ever forget it. We don’t want for babysitters who are eager to get the kids.

This Thanksgiving we’ll spend it over at my parents’ house and I won’t forget to take a minute and give thanks for the location and the company.

“Where’s the camera? I need it…”

This weekend I’m sitting on the sofa, minding my business when a “supposed to be already in bed” little ball of energy come bounding around the corner.

“Dad, where’s the camera? I need it…”

Now I’m curious. Why would a 4-year old need a camera after nine at night?

“It’s in the diaper bag… why do you need it?”

“Because I’m going on a safari”

“…”

Well, apparently, over on Nick Jr., Olivia was going on a “wildlife safari”. Not the Ernest Hemingway type, mind you, but the safe, fun, “adventurous-for-your-four-year-old” kind. As someone who has actually gone to Africa and experienced a real life, “holy-shit-this-is-awesome”, life-changing Safari, I was intrigued, so I pressed further. “Are you prepared for your Safari?”, I asked. “Yes, I have a backpack, and a camera, and a map, and everything!”, she replied.

Good enough for me!

About 12 hours later, I’m going through the camera and I stumble across the below photos. All descriptions come directly from first-hand accounts of the dangerous expedition undertaken earlier that morning, while I slept. You owe it to yourself to read them:

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“The Best Laid Plans…” and what my gut told me.

I had actually planned to write a lot this weekend. I felt like I had a lot of pent up blogging inside me. Like I had things to say and there was some underlying emotion bubbling through me that would somehow be cathartically released if I wrote about it. I mean, I can’t explain it. Ever have one of those feelings like, things are just over the horizon, and you can’t quite see them yet? They’re just not in focus, or not completely visible? That’s how I’ve felt for about the last couple of weeks. I think a lot of it has to do with Adobe Max this year. I’m struggling with the “all over the map” feeling that this year’s Max Conference has left me with. Oh, not in a bad way. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I feel as if there are dozens of opportunities out there for me to apply a little talent, a little skill, a little elbow grease, and wind up on the other side of a hugely rewarding experience. So I thought maybe meditating on it, spending a little time writing about it, and talking to some friends this weekend would help me sort things out in my brain-container.

Then Fallout: New Vegas arrived. Then I got a new iPhone.

I mean, seriously, could I have had two bigger distractions fall into my lap? First off, don’t even get me started on Fallout. I wrote about it a while back on my other blog. The previous version was my number one game of 2010 and the damn thing was released in 2009. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how many hours I spent playing Fallout 3, but I will cop to it being in the hundreds. And don’t think I’m the only one. My wife not only loved Fallout 3, but she’s got a book she checked out from the library that’s a 14-day checkout (that’s already overdue), and on about three separate occasions this weekend she stopped what she was doing and sat next to me watching me fight dehydration (of course I’m playing it on hardcore mode, silly), fend of radscorpions, and work with “Fantastic” to squeeze more efficiency out of a solar panel array in the nuclear wasteland formerly known as “The Nevada Desert”. Quite simply, the game is magnificent. Oh sure, it’s basically an add-on pack to Fallout 3… but I don’t care. It’s more wasteland, more post-apocalyptic carnage & mayhem, and more piled on top of more. So here I sit, Monday morning, with barely any sleep on a weekend where I actually got an extra hour built into the weekend, having accomplished nothing more than learning how to tan golden gecko hides in the desert with some roots and turpentine. Oh, and I shot some ghouls into space. That was pretty cool.

The iPhone? I dunno. Jury’s still out on that one. I played with it a little. Wasn’t “blown away” but wasn’t disappointed either. Apple is Apple, and everything they touch they think through to such extreme that it’s almost annoying how perfectly everything works together. UI isn’t so alarming after owning an iPad for six months, but I have to tell you, if I didn’t own the iPad, jumping from 2 years on an Android phone to the iPhone would’ve been a lot more jarring experience. Having a Droid 2 and an iPhone simultaneously should be an interesting experience that I hope to spend a little more time exploring. Initial thoughts however, are a resounding, “meh”. It was, however, nice to have a new iPod. I will admit to spending an inordinate amount of time this weekend loading the shit out of it with Video/Movies/TV shows and music. Somehow Band of Horses just sounds better on a new iPod/iPhone. I can’t explain that… something about how shiny it is, I think.

But you know what? I don’t regret a minute of it. I think my gut was telling me to relax. I spent a week in Los Angeles on sensory overload and it actually felt nice to curl up on the sofa all weekend, enjoy time with the family and decompress a little. I cooked dinner for my mom, went grocery shopping, and helped my daughter go on a “wildlife safari”. Taking occasional time outs to shoot the arms off of legionnaires who don’t like me because of my tremendously good karma (the idolize me in Novac!) was just the icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned.

“…actually…”

The great thing about kids is the spontaneous memories they serve up. The great thing about blogging, is that you have this awesome place where you can quickly jot down memories and capture those moments so you never forget them.

I don’t wanna forget this weekend.

Aside from all the fantastic Halloween festivities, we were invited to our friends Tracy & Michelle’s son’s birthday party on Sunday afternoon. Davis and my daughter both attend the same Montessori school, and I’ve been friends with Tracy now for (whoa…) over ten years (it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, bro!). So it’s such a treat to spend time with great friends, have our kids grow up together and to become so close. Tracy is wildly creative, and together with Michelle, seem to outdo themselves every year. Last year it was race cars, complete with a custom “Hot Wheels” invitation, and this year Davis wanted a “spooky” birthday, so imagine how shocked my daughter was to receive a skull in the mail. Not a box containing a skull. Not an envelope with a skull inside. A skull. With her name and address printed on the back of the head. My wife said, “who knew the post office would deliver a skull?” Apparently Tracy did.

So with my daughter dressed as (and I’m quoting directly here) a “Vampire Queen Princess”, me as a zombie, my wife as a pretty hot vampire (seriously… wow), and a 5 month old pumpkin, we headed over to their house for the party. Great food, great guests (my wife remarked on the way home, “you know, I really loved all the people there tonight” and I had to agree…) and great fun ensued.

But the moment that I hope I’ll never forget was a flash of my daughter’s personality that only briefly appeared, but was so beyond awesome in delivery and timing. I’m not sure a blog post can do it justice, but I don’t care. I’m really just putting this down so some day when I’m old and feeble, and my daughter Googles her old man’s blog from way back when, it might jog my memory and I’ll be able to relive the moment again. At least that’s the plan.

It happened during the “games” portion of the party. Michelle had set up this sort of “egg toss” type game. On one side were these cute little paper buckets that each child had, and on the other side, a couple of yards away, were bowls of candy corn. The idea was, you run to the bowl, fill your spoon with candy corn, then walk back carefully and fill your bucket. It was great watching the kids struggle with carrying spoonfuls of candy corn all of two yards without dropping the entire contents of their spoon all over the back yard.

Naturally, kids being kids, and groups being groups, and of course attention spans being attention spans, at some point during the game, one of the little boys became a little distracted and was no longer really “into” the game. He was drifting a little and had sort of lost interest. In an effort to cajole him a little and get him “back into the game” one of the parents was standing on the sidelines egging him on a little. I don’t remember his name (wish I did) but for the sake of the story, we’ll call him Chris. He’s positioned right next to my daughter, who is laser-beam focused on getting a bucket full of candy corn, one spoon at a time. She’s almost completely oblivious to what’s going on next to her.

“Chris! Chris! Come over here Chris! Don’t you wanna play the game? Don’t you wanna win a prize?”

That was all it took to get my daughter’s attention. She stopped everything she was doing and turned to the parent doing the shouting.

“um… actually, I’m going to win…”, then, without another word, turned back to finish her (obviously, duh) preordained task.

I really didn’t know what to do or say… except deep in the pit of my stomach, I got a little knot…

“why wasn’t I videotaping this?”