Archive | July, 2012

Soothe The Savage Beast

26 Jul

y third child, Episode VI is a social baby. That means he is happiest when he’s around people, which is wonderful when we’re out and about – it’s downright maddening when he should be sleeping.

Through the natural course of his sleep-cycle he’ll wake up around 45 minutes after we put him down, realize that he isn’t being held, realize that there isn’t another human being in the room, and let anyone within earshot know how he feels about it. Put him in the baby Bjorn and he’s happy as a clam. Lay him next to you or on your chest and he’ll sleep for hours. Put him in a crib… no way. This is true for both naps during the day, and when the rest of the world needs to sleep at night. 45 minutes… wah! 45 minuts… wah! 45 minutes… wah!

…every day for the last five months.

Episode V has a batman bed… maybe that’s why he’s such a good sleeper.

Episode IV was like that. It was easier to deal with when she was the only child in the house. Episode V has been an easy sleeper from the start. This kid… I’m pretty sure the United Nations branded sleep deprivation an unacceptable form of inhumane torture. There’s got to be something about it in the Geneva Convention documents. Clearly Episode VI didn’t get the memo.

Parents will employ any voodoo they can find to get their kids to sleep. Rain dance… chicken sacrifice… baby yoga… peppermint schnapps… whatever works; and usually none of it does. The level of desperation (and deprivation) around our house has reached such a peak, my wife has probably read 1000 pages in 4 different how-to-get-your-baby-to-sleep books in the last week alone.

See Lara’s dissheveled hair? That’s not drawn by accident.

One thing that seems to work for this kid is a little background music. If there’s music there and he wakes up, sometimes the music is enough to distract him from the thought that nobody’s around to hold him, and he falls back asleep. To that end we purchased one of those cheezy noise machines with a switch that chooses between white noise, forest sounds, ocean waves, piano music, etc… None of it works, but the piano seems to not not work the most (double-negative very much intended there).

So we play the piano music, which rotates between 6 or 7 different variations of “twinkle, twinkle little star” and repeats over… and over… and over… and over…

Last night about 7:30 I’d had enough. Give me waterboarding. Pull out my fingernails. ANYTHING! Just please don’t play for me another piano iteration of “twinkle, twinkle little star”.

But wait a minute. I am DorkDaddy after all. Indoctrinating my children is in the job description. I was a music enthusiast way before I had kids. I’ve got 400+ CD’s all ripped into MP3’s on my desktop. I have an old iPod and docking station in my office I don’t use anymore. There’s absolutely no excuse for this terrible state of affairs.

Imagine how many MP3’s Jor-El had to put on the iPod for the trip from Krypton to Earth.

So I took the bull by the horns last night and began Episode VI’s path towards The Dork Side at the tender age of almost 5 months. Suffice it to say, the playlist is assembled and being loaded onto the iPod tonight with just the sort of music geekery I think is worth brainwashing your children with. It’s mostly tracks from movie soundtracks, with a little classical thrown in, and even a track or two of high-end choral music that may or may not actually have my voice in the actual choir.

I managed to throw together a YouTube playlist of most of the tracks. I’m fairly certain none of this music is on YouTube legally, so if you’re inclined to give it a listen (totally safe for work by the way… though at 40 tracks and almost 4 hours it may take the whole work day to get all the way through) don’t be surprised if a track or two disappears from time to time. I assure you I do own all these tracks legally in my personal collection – along with many, many, many more.

Rest assured, there’s plenty of other dork-worthy music in my collection that my kids and I geek out to… just not when we’re trying to get the baby to sleep.

-Dork Dad

Where Do Dads Get Friends?

17 Jul

 remember the first time I went to see a movie by myself. It was just after college and for whatever reason my usual go-to movie partners weren’t available. I had this moment of introspection when I looked into my soul and said “well, am I going to do this?” as if there was some social stigma associated with going solo to a movie. I did it, but I felt awkward the whole time.

Today, that’s just about the only way I get to see the movies I want to see. “The Avengers”, “Prometheus”, “Spiderman”… all solo. Last year it was “Captain America”, “Thor” and even “Harry Potter”. This weekend when “Batman” comes out you’ll probably find me sitting by myself at the local Cineplex (although for this one I think I might spring for the IMax experience).

Over Facebook I came across this article from the NY Times about making friends as an adult, and it touched a nerve. I’ve joked about it before, the way the fat kid at school joked about being fat – it puts a thin veneer of confidence on the surface, but underneath it doesn’t sting any less. More than once my Facebook status has read “What does it say when a grown man’s best guy-friend is his 4-year-old son?”

When my wife has suggested, “I’ve got to take the kids to a thing this weekend. Why don’t you go out bike riding with a friend?”

“Hah!” I respond. “You know I don’t have any friends”.

**important note: In every real sense my wife is my best friend in the whole world. When I talk about “friends” and “friendships” here, I mean the ones you don’t have a mortgage and children with. They are two very different animals.**

On my mind recently has been my impending 40th birthday. As the NY Times article suggested I took stock of what a hypothetical guest list might look like for a hypothetical party and the result was, well… pathetic.

There are certainly people who play a regular role in my life, but none of those acquaintanceships seem to have the potency of the friends I made in my youth. And of those “real” friends I made when I was younger, none of them are part of my daily life anymore. I don’t need friendships now any less than I did then, and I certainly feel their absence in my life today, sometimes very acutely. But the realities of being an adult, which to my thinking is synonymous with being a dad, seem to preclude the “real”, emotionally sustaining friendships that I had in my youth.

So it begs the question:

“Where do dads get friends?”

So I took myself through the exercise of figuring out how I was going to populate my hypothetical 40th birthday party guest list. Sadly though, it became more an exercise of what used to be, as opposed to what has been for quite some time. As I examine my life, my friends seem to come from very clearly defined pools, and I suspect this is largely the same for most dads these days.

Early Childhood Friends

These are the folks you skinned your knees with, the folks you learned to ride a bike with, the folks you had the same bad 5th grade teacher with. The guy I think of as my “best friend” comes from this pool. We were inseparable from pre-school until we graduated high school. When one of those cheezy memes rolls across Facebook that reads “we may not be in each other’s lives, but we’re always in each other’s hearts”, this is the guy I think of. He and I spent countless hours beating “Contra” on the original NES, finding all the hidden secrets on Super Mario Brothers, and finishing each other’s sentences while we rode bikes together on our paper routes. When I needed a best man for my wedding, he was the only call. Our childhood shared so much DNA, in my youth I would have predicted that we would stay close for the rest of our days. Sadly, it didn’t pan out quite that way. Emails and phone calls don’t get returned, and then get sent with less and less frequency. Ten years after my wedding it was his turn to get married, and as disappointed as I was to not be invited to stand up there next to him, I really couldn’t blame him for making that call. I really hadn’t played much role in his life for the better part of a decade. History is nice, but with a lump in my throat I had to swallow my inflated notions and accept that history is just that — history.

Through the miracle of Facebook I have reconnected with a number of “old” childhood friends, and as we have moved into the professional and parenting worlds together it’s nice to find that we have things in common again. Chief among those though is the younger brother of my cribmate from infancy. He’ll tell you that growing up I filled something of an “older brother” role in his life. We share a lot of childhood DNA as well, including some serious life events that shaped who we both became as adults. When he and his wife were expecting he went out of his way to tell me – as family – before he made the public announcement. We’ve stayed tight ever since. Whenever we can we set aside time to go out for a beer and just enjoy each other’s company. He seems to share my sense of the gravity of our shared childhood DNA, and between parenting and professional realities we have enough in common now to lose track of time when we do get together. I find myself looking forward to the next beer we’re able to share together. Of all my childhood friends, he is the one who plays the biggest friendship role today – and that’s only happened just recently; something I would not have predicted when I was young.

Sadly though, those in-person meetings happen only a few times a year. The text messages we send geeking out over porsches or my son’s Optimus Prime costume are great, but they aren’t ultimately sustaining in a day-to-day sort of way. Ken won’t be able to move his schedule around to go see “Batman” with me next weekend.

High School Friends

Poets. I miss these guys.

Man, were we tight, in a time where we had to huddle together for mutual preservation. There was a group of 10 of us that pretentiously called ourselves the “Dead Poets Society” after the Robin Williams movie because we fancied ourselves as artists/intellectuals just outside the margins of the “cool” crowd. High school years are short but intense, and our connections to each other were forged in that fire. We stay in touch as much as possible via Email, Facebook (not everyone in the group has accepted Facebook as the new world order yet) and the odd reunion, but ultimately we’ve scattered across the country. We have our own lives now, separate from one another. Although they would all be invited to my 40th birthday, none of them will be going to see “Batman” with me either.

Poets with spouses… and kids.

College Friends

Again, the years were short, but intense. Bonds forged there aren’t easily broken. During those years I invested the greatest portion of my friendship energy into my college girlfriend. For 2.5 years she was my best friend. Together we learned what it meant to be in a committed adult relationship (and then later how to have an adult breakup). I wouldn’t be who I am today without the benefit and lessons learned from that relationship. We didn’t end things with any high-drama, so you might think that those shared experiences would be enough to keep us connected to this day. Not so. She lives in Germany now, and despite my many attempts to reconnect, she just doesn’t seem interested.

There were other people from my college years who I have genuine love in my heart for. My fondness for them won’t ever go away. But again, none of them play a role in my daily life. They are old friends. Not here-and-now friends… with one exception.

College friends.

During those years I made unlikely friends with a hot, young, (married) housewife, school teacher, co-worker, 10 years my senior. Our connection was immediate, potent and (contrary to the gossip-mongers at the school) quite innocent. She and I remain as close as ever to this day (her kids were the Ring Bearer and Flower Girl at my wedding). We text/Email/call whenever we get the chance, and it’s like no time has gone by. Her name is a must-have on my 40th birthday hypothetical guest-list. Sadly we live 300 miles apart, so she won’t be going to see “Batman” with me either – though she totally would if she could.

Me, the hot, young (married) housewife, co-worker, 10 years my senior, and our kids.

Professional Friends

Dental school was another short but intense period where friendships were formed in the white-hot forges of shared traumatic experience. More than a few marriages happened between classmates of mine. My classmates and I have the benefit of parallel professional lives today, and shared traumatic memories from younger years which gave us a lot in common, but we were adults when we met, and are even more so now. That means we have families and careers to manage. Our paths cross often at conventions and alumni events, but never much beyond that.

There was one guy from dental school who had the potential to be a here-and-now friend. We carpooled together every day, and again the connection was immediate and potent. We even naively tried to go into business together after graduation (easier said than done). Regrettably though, he doesn’t have much bandwidth for anything beyond his office, his family and his church. Unreciprocated one-way attempts on my part to keep the friendship going after school weren’t returned in kind. Today about all we exchange is a hearty handshake and back slap at a convention, and a cheezy card with the kids on it over Xmas. If he showed up to my hypothetical 40th birthday party I’d welcome him with a smile. But I don’t know that we need to go out of our way to invite him. If we did, he probably wouldn’t show up.

There are people like this out there.

As far as the other dentists in town go, we’re all stuck in our little caves doing our thing on our own. There’s nobody from that pool to go see “Batman” with either.

Virtual Friends

Oddly enough, this group of people seems to be the closest thing resembling “real” friends that I have today. 11 years ago a group of us formed up in anticipation of the release of the first Star Wars-themed massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG). Think about it like a special-ops team hand-picked and put together for the purposes of building a virtual community, including city buildings and operations, resource management, social hierarchy… while at the same time fighting the empire. We immersed ourselves in the experience and reveled in every minute. Although the game itself didn’t last, the community did, and 11 years later we’re still gaming together regularly (although admittedly less so as the geriatric-factor increases). These are people who, with a few exceptions, I’ve never met in person. Yet we speak to each other regularly and help each other to achieve common (ingame) goals. They were there when I got into dental school, when I married my wife, when I graduated, when I became a father, when I started my own business, and everywhere in between. I feel a very real kinship with these people, and genuinely feel the loss when one of them moves on.

First time any of the people in the picture actually met in real life.

And yet there’s the proximity-factor. Though I can easily imagine the lot of us getting together regularly for the release of every geek-anticipated cinematic blockbuster (and indeed some of them who live near enough to each other do), none of them live close enough to go see “Batman” with me either.

Dad Friends

These are they guys you run across by sheer circumstance. We wind up seeing each other again and again at the same birthday parties and the same dance recitals. We know that our wives text each other constantly, chat it up whenever the kids let them, and complain about their husbands together over cocktails at mom’s-night-out. To our credit we try to set up the dad-friend thing, but it never works out quite as easily as it does with our wives. “Oh, you like to mountain bike too? We should bike together sometime”. That works until you figure out that the other guy is Olympic-class, and you’re sucking wind like the weekend-warrior that you are. “Hey, a bunch of us professionals get together for breakfast once a week. You want to check it out, see if it’s something you like?” You check it out, but the whole Rotary-esque club-vibe with dues and bylaws just really isn’t your thing.

There’s one dad in my (wife’s) sphere of influence that has potential. He’s a professional, and a dad of 3, and a comic book geek, with an un-dorky wife. Sound familiar? Our daughters hit a lot of the same extracurricular events and our wives get along famously, so our paths cross regularly. If there were a equivalent for dads needing friends no doubt the matching algorithm would put us together in a heartbeat. We geeked out together over “Promethius” for months leading up to its release, and even planned a nerd-worthy, Dad’s-night-out event to go see it on opening night with a bunch of other dads. This was exactly the sort of thing I used to do in high school and college with my buddies. Finally. Alas, life got in the way, the Dad’s-night-out event fell apart at the last minute, and I wound up seeing the movie by myself (so did he a few days later).

Getting the windows of opportunity in each of our lives to align most times just isn’t practical. We’ve tried to work up something similar for “Batman”, but haven’t managed to connect the dots so far.

Family Friends

Naturally, these are the most important ones. I feel very lucky that there isn’t any serious angst in my immediate family that interferes with our relationships. I have trained my youngest sister particularly well in the nerd-arts. She would go see “Batman” with me on opening night if her extremely dense social calendar wasn’t already booked for that night. But those openings are few and far between. I can call my sisters my “friends” without any hesitation. But being friends with your family isn’t quite the same thing.

Family friends.

My dad and I are friends too. He has more history with me and more trust in me than any other man in his life. He needs his time with me. I see the same dynamic between me and my son. There is definitely some tongue-in-cheek when I say “What does it say when a grown man’s best guy-friend is his 4-year-old son?” but there is also a lot of truth in it. Ultimately though, the laws of nature demand that a son grows beyond his father. My son loves me, just as I love my father. But I suspect I get more out of my “friendship” with my son than he does, just as my dad does in his friendship with me.

“The son becomes the father and the father, the son”

The day will come when my kids are old enough to geek out and go see the next “Batman” with me, but those days are still years away. Even so, those days are finite. My kids will grow up and move out on their own to grow their own friendships. Thankfully, hopefully, that’ll leave me with my #1 best friend of all.

The Wife

She fulfills me in countless ways. She enriches my life beyond words. She is far and away the best thing to ever happen to me. She is the yin to my yang. She is my best friend.

As much as I love her, and as much as she loves me, I know she’ll understand when I say, it’s not the same thing.


I think the NY Times article hit the nail on the head when it said “the period for making B.F.F.’s, the way you did in your teens or early 20s, is pretty much over. It’s time to resign yourself to situational friends: K.O.F.’s (kind of friends) — for now.”

For what it’s worth, I’ll probably be seeing “Batman” at the local Imax theater sometime Saturday… by myself.

It may be a bit of a bummer, but that’s just the way it is.

-Dork Dad

Musings on Comicon

12 Jul

Or alternatively: “Why DorkDaddy Won’t Be Going To Comicon This Year”

ne might think that an annual trip to Comicon would be requisite to maintaining my credentials as a world-class Dork Daddy. Well, one would be wrong.

For the uninitiated Comicon is the annual convention of all things pop-culture that takes place in San Diego every year in July. When it started up 40 years ago it used to be all about comic books. It was humble, and intimate, and fun. Over time it grew, and became *the* comic convention to go to. You could find celebrities there to sign autographs, and vendors looking to promote their new products handed out swag like Halloween candy.

I attended Comicon every year from 1993-1999. It was a great time. You could show up on the day of, purchase your badge right there, spend the day walking around, and come home with a bag full of freebies, and autographs from Lou Ferrigno, Eric Estrada and Stan Lee (the Godfather of the American comic book industry). Then I went away for a few years to, you know… get an education, build a business, start a family. Every year in July for 12 I told myself “I’ll get back there someday”.

My oh my, how things have changed.

Now it is *THE* place for any big-budget franchise looking to generate buzz. It has become an obscene orgy of fanboys and fangirls – both dressed up as their favorite scantily-clad characters from pop-culture (these are comic book people we’re talking about here. Exercise isn’t usually #1 on their daily activity list. Also, the characters they dress up as typically wear nothing but spandex – or less. You connect the dots.) wrapped in a cocoon of toy, videogame, movie, TV, book and clothing producers all promoting whatever it is they’re going to be hocking in the next year with the volume turned all the way up. There are panels where you can see screenings of footage from whatever movie you’re going to be geeking out to in the next 9 months (and often see the director/actors talk about it live on stage). The cast from popular television shows are there to talk about the next season and field questions from fans. Hasbro, Kenner, X-Box, E.A., DC, Marvel, Lego all have “exclusive” products you can only get on the floor on certain days at certain times (just the sort of thing collectors go batsh*t crazy for. Within minutes the products can be found on Ebay at astronomical prices). In short, it’s nerd-Mecca. At the end of Comicon weekend you’re absolutely exhausted… in a Las-Vegas-bachelor-party-you-barely-remember sort of way.

This is the story of why I will not be going back there this year:

Last year I celebrated my triumphant return to Comicon, 12 years after my last trip to San Diego. Two years earlier, in 2009 I tried to make it happen, only to find that you could no longer buy a pass the week before the event. In June when I looked into it I found the entire event sold out. I was bummed, but I understood. I’d be smarter the next year. In 2010 I thought I’d get a jump on things in February. I went to the registration website to find – guess what… sold out. Really?! In February?! I was not going to let that one get past me in 2011. I registered for the official newsletter and subscribed to Comicon’s Facebook and Twitter feeds to make sure I didn’t miss out.

When at last it came time to register (online only this year, the first time they went that route) the countless throngs of people slamming the registration server all at once crashed the entire system. Registration was put delayed until they could fix the system. Two months later… same thing. System CRASH! Finally, another two months later online registration worked… but just barely, and only for those who could sit perched over their computers like vultures for an hour while the registration system barely limped along. Hundreds of people timed out, or lost their connection to the server, missed the window to purchase before it sold out, and were incensed. For my part, the first thing I discovered was that there was no chance of getting a full weekend pass (the event spans four days). Those were all sold out on-sight last year. Only one-day passes available. Fine, one day was all I needed anyway. I managed to snag a pass for me and my buddy Ken who’d never been and wanted to check it out. Score! After 12 years I was heading back to Comicon!

When we got there it was like discovering that the girl you had a crush on in high school was now a chain-smoking, gin-swilling baby-momma, living in a trailer, with bad hair extensions, botched plastic surgery working on her 4th husband. The ocean of people surrounding the San Diego convention center was akin to the pictures you see of Woodstock. A labyrinthine system of lines tried to funnel Comicon goers in the right direction and to the right places, but if there’s anything comic book people know how to do, it’s lines. Everyone was there hours before the doors opened, and before officials could manage traffic. In short, it was a mob scene. In my day you could just walk up, register and walk in. Clearly this wasn’t the same Comicon I’d left 12 years earlier.

This picture doesn’t do justice to the sheer mass of humanity that took over downtown San Diego like something out of a Hitchcock movie.

When the doors opened there was another labyrinthine set of lines through the bowels of the convention center to get your badge and goody-bag – people trampled over each other like it was the Kentucky Derby to get their badges and bags first. You see, in my day if you wanted to attend the Peter Jackson “Hobbit” movie screening in “Hall H”, all you had to do was go. But in 2012 there are so many people at Comicon, there just isn’t enough room for everyone. To see Peter Jackson talk about “The Hobbit” you have to be one of the first few thousand through the gate and camp out outside “Hall H” all day. And that’s it. No other panels. No walking the floor. You can’t even go out to lunch (unless you have someone hold your place in line). If you want to do an event you have to pick that event out ahead of time and dedicate your entire day to getting into that event. That’s it. That’s your day.

Gee. I would have LOVED to see Peter Jackson talk about “The Hobbit”, or Johnathan Favreau talk about “Cowboys And Aliens” (Harrison Ford made his first ever Comicon appearance at that presentation), but I only had one day there. I sure as hell wasn’t going to spend it duking it out with a crowd of people way more obsessed than me on the issue. Oh well. No presentations for me. That’s OK. What I was really looking forward to was just walking the exhibit floor, taking in the spectacle, maybe buying a cool Tshirt or ball cap, maybe seeing a has-been celebrity. So Ken and I headed to the floor.

Stan “The Man” Lee. The Godfather of comics.

I should say now that I really had only one “must do” on my list. I wanted to get Stan Lee to autograph a coffee table book celebrating 50 years of Marvel Comics for Episode V. As far as I’m concerned, I’m over that sort of thing. But Stan Lee is in his 80’s. He’s not going to be around much longer. Presumably when Episode V is old enough to appreciate who Stan Lee is, Stan’s gonna be gone. But how cool would it be if Episode V had that book, and inside the front cover read “Dear Episode V. Stay strong true believer. Stan Lee”. So I schlepped the coffee table book all the way down to San Diego in a backpack and carried it around the whole trip with that mission in mind.

I’ve had this book forever, just waiting to get it signed by Stan.

Again, in my day Stan Lee could be found at the Marvel booth at a scheduled time, and you could just walk up to his table, maybe wait in a short line, and shake his hand after he signed your whatever. The program indicated that Stan would be signing at 10:30 that morning and anyone wanting to meet him should show up at the Marvel booth at 8:00 to get a ticket. OK, fair enough. Turns out when you show up at the Marvel booth you draw a ticket out of a hat. If the ticket has a star stamped on it, you get to come back at 10:30 to meet Stan. If not, so sorry. And wouldn’t you know it? There’s already a 20 minute line just to reach into the box. Oh well. It’s Comicon. That’s what you do here. So we got in line for a chance to get Stan Lee to sign the book for my kid.

In line ahead of us are a couple of girls, couldn’t be more than 21. One girl says to the other, “Why are we even in this line?”

The other one responds “I think this is a line to get an autograph from Stan Lee”.

“Who’s Stan Lee?”

“I don’t know. Some old guy who used to make a lot of comic books I think. Must be a big deal ‘cause the line’s pretty long. Anyway, we don’t have anything to do until Jack gets here so we might as well wait in line”.

And with that girl #2 retreated into her iphone, presumably to send a text to Jack “where R U?!”

We get to the front of the line and naturally the “Who’s Stan Lee” girl pulls a winning ticket. Good for her. Maybe Jack will appreciate it. My buddy Ken reaches into the bowl. Nothing. I reach into the bowl, invoking all the karmic powers of the universe and pull out… an empty ticket. No star. But that’s OK. They’re going to be open for another 30 minutes. Ken and I quick get back in line and wait 30 minutes for another shot. As it turns out we were the last two to get a chance before they closed the line. Of course we both turned up empty… again.

As we’re walking away, a little bummed about missing out on Stan Lee for my son and a little bitter about wasting the better part of an hour in the pursuit, we see “Who’s Stan Lee” girl standing just 15 feet from the Marvel booth pronouncing like an auctioneer, “I’ve got winning ticket for a Stan Lee pass here! $100 if anyone wants it! $100 for a Stan Lee pass!”

You’ve got to be kidding me! I hauled this book all the way down to San Diego, carried it around on my back all day, stood in line twice for an hour to get an autograph for my 3 year old son who might actually appreciate it someday only to be skunked by the cruel mistress of fate, and “Who’s Stan Lee” girl is pissing all over that noble effort by pulling the winning ticket to something she doesn’t even want, and trying to hock it for a profit.

It’s the American way.

That’s when I knew that this wasn’t my Comicon anymore. It’s grown too big for its britches. It isn’t just for people who love comics anymore. It’s for everyone – which isn’t bad in and of itself. It’s an amazing experience that everyone should be able to experience. Where else can you take a picture with the actual Delorian from “Back to the Future”? Where else can you get green-screened into a anctual Justice League comic book cover (for $ of course)? Where else can you see zombie-apocolypse-Wonder Woman walking around with way too much junk hanging out of her star-spangled trunks, or unexpectedly run into and shake hands with Rowdy Roddy Piper (we did get to do that), or nearly get run over by Billy D. Williams in a wheel chair as security tries to rush him through the VIP exit (that actually happened to us too).

I’ll go back to Comicon again when my kids are old enough to appreciate it. I have visions of it being an annual pilgrimage we make, a tradition we do year after year. But those days are still a few years off. In the meanwhile, given my experience last year, I genuinely don’t feel the need to make the pilgrimage down to San Diego anymore.

And then there was this celebrity we ran into. It would have been the crown jewel of my son’s collection if the price tag hadn’t been $15,000.

There’s only one part of this sculpture they got wrong… but I’m not going to point it out.

-Dork Dad

P.S. Ken, I still think pumping albuterol through the air conditioning system was the idea of the century.

The World Needs More Art Like This

6 Jul

 recently came across these images by Andy Fairhurst and felt compelled to share them as they embody so much of what I try to get across here at Andy has showcased his art over on Go give him a look-see. It’s the least you can do if these images give you a smile like they did me. The world needs more art like this.





 Captain America

Cat Woman

Doc Ock

Ghost Rider

Green Lantern

Harley Quinn


Iron Man



Poison Ivy





The Flash

The Hulk

The Joker

The Punnisher

The Riddler



Wonder Woman

-Dork Dad

Baby Products Reimagined

5 Jul

aby products are intended to be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Anyone who has kids knows that this isn’t the way the real world works out. Here are five common baby products reimagined according to how they are *ACTUALLY* used:




Invisibility Cloak

Can you see him in there? No? There you go. Invisible.

Your little witch or wizard will take this along when you feel compelled to send him or her away to boarding school at a young age. Though it doesn’t exactly render the wearer invisible, rather it renders the rest of the world invisible to the user. As a side benefit, it generally comes in an assortment of psychedelic colors and patterns. When the sunlight shines through it just so, it induces an altered state of consciousness that satisfies a kid’s curiosity, thus eliminating the inclination to “experiment” with mind-altering pharmaceuticals later in life.


You use ’em for your beer. Why not for your baby?

Have you ever been standing around at a party and been afraid to put your baby down for fear of leaving an unsightly wetness mark on the table or countertop? With this revolutionary new product you can place your baby down virtually anywhere without worrying about leaving nasty residue behind, or even whether or not he will tip over and spill. Made of a special insulating foam it’s even designed to lock in flavor, allowing the aromas to marinate and mature as time passes.


Honey, where’s the baby? Right where I left him when my program started.

For those times when you need to check your Email, get caught up on Facebook, brew/drink/clean up a cup of coffee, or finish a rockin’ game of “Words With Friends”. Put your baby in here and feel free to do all those things you aren’t able to do while you’re carrying him around all day. It’s engineered with multiple devices designed to hold and keep your baby’s attention. Now no product is perfect, and inevitably your baby will lose interest just as the Bachelorette is knee-deep in that night’s rose ceremony. Fear not. The beauty of this product is that no matter how hard your baby screams, he can’t get out of the Neglect-O-Saucer until you are good and ready.

Sausage Maker From Hell

Not for the faint-hearted.

For millennia the recipe for making sausage hasn’t changed. Essentially you find the nastiest bits of animal flesh around, grind into a fine paste, and stuff into a thin membrane to maximum density. The Germans take 1 part veal, 3 parts pork, stuff it into pig intestine and call them “bratwurst”. The Scottish take sheep heart, liver and lungs, mix them in with a little oatmeal, pack them into the sheep’s stomach and call it “haggis”. But the Sausage Maker From Hell (patent pending) has them all beat. My next-door neighbor is German and he shudders every time he sees me bringing one of these bad boys out to the garbage cans.

Intimacy Monitor

Don’t worry. By executive order planting these in your home is totally legal.

Derived from Bush-era Patriot Act technology, this little room-tapping device allows you to spy on your sleeping child without their knowledge from anywhere within a ½ block radius. If your child typically naps in your bedroom, users beware. When at long last it’s time for that “special time” between you and your loved one after the baby is born and you happen to leave the Intimacy Monitor switch in the on-position, every neighbor within that same ½ block radius who uses the same brand monitor as you will know exactly what position(s) *YOU* were in as well.

-Dork Dad

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