Tag Archives: lego

4 Days To Make It Happen

28 Aug



letter It is a rare opportunity to be able to use a blog for genuine good. I share most people’s discomfort with “causes” and “fundraisers” but the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a friend and his family, a friend who did so much for a community that has made such a difference to me… well, it was a moral touchstone I couldn’t pass by. You have all been so patient with my Facebook and Twitter updates on the subject, and you have generously spent your precious time over the years reading what I publish here. Believe me when I say I appreciate it and am humbled by your consistent patronage. Thank you.

There are 4 days left in my dorky t-shirt selling campaign, from which 100% of the profits will go to the fundraising campaign to benefit dadblogger Oren Miller and his family after his recent stage IV cancer diagnosis. Two of the 5 shirts offered have reached the “tipping point,” which is to say they have sold enough to officially go to print, but three more are just shy of their target. In an epic #timingfail we realized that the campaign will end on a holiday, so we don’t expect last-minute t-shirt enthusiasts to be engaged when the campaign ends on Monday.

So one last time, I’m asking for your help.

Just 1 more unit.

Straight from the scene where Luke, Han are in the gun turrets of the Millennium Falcon, escaping the Death Star. This is what you see on Luke’s targeting computer when he hits a TIE fighter and shouts “I GOT HIM!!” and Han replies “Great, kid. Don’t get cocky!” Any Star Wars nerd in your life would appreciate this shirt for what it is… pure awesome.

If you don’t get it, watch this. It’ll show up around the 0:35 mark.


Just 4 more units.

This one is for the hipster Lego nerds, who are too cool to wear a traditional “Lego” logo on their shirt… that, or they want to make a statement. Either way, the pop-culture value of this design is beyond dispute. Do you love Lego unabashedly? This shirt is for you.

Just 2 more units.

For obvious reasons, this one is close to my heart. If you are a DorkDad yourself, or if you have a DorkDad in your life, it’s something to be proud of. As with all the other shirts, this one comes in a hoodie AND a performance tee option, so dad can strut his stuff whether you’re mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, or running that 5K that someday he’s going to get around to.

Of course, if you’re so inclined, you’re welcome to pick up one of the other options as well. These have already reached their mark, will be going to print, and will therefore be generating funds for Oren and his family.




Again, thank you so much for your generosity and your patience.



Dork Dad



T-shirty AWESOMENESS — Blogging For Good

18 Aug

shirts header




This is the post that has all my geek-buttons lighting up.

Are you a proud dork yourself? Do you have a giant dork in your family? Here is your chance to stand up loud and proud and show the world that the dorks have inherited the Earth.

For TWO WEEKS ONLY, exclusively from Dorkdaddy.com these hardcore, dorktastic t-shirts will be available through our partners at Teespring.com. But it gets even better. Teespring.com has generously agreed that 100% OF THE PROFITS GENERATED WILL BE DONATED TO BENEFIT THE FAMILY OF OREN MILLER, a fellow blogger and father who was recently diagnosed with stage IV cancer. (for more about how this came to pass, see below)

So feast your eyes on the nerd-candy below. Remember, they will only be available for two weeks. Grab ’em while you can. Buy some for your friends. And please, for Oren and his family, SHARE THE HELL OUT OF THIS POST.

“Dorkdaddy And Proud Of It”

Admit it, there is no swagger like the swagger of knowing exactly who you are. There is no shame in pouring everything you’ve got into your family. Sure, you may still get a little tingle when you walk by the action figure aisle at the toy store. Sure, you may have more superhero t-shirts than dress shirts. Sure, you may have very strong feelings about the sequence you show the Star Wars movies to your kids. Your wife may have perfected the eye-roll when you quote every line from “The Goonies,” or when you obsess over the slightest statistical minutia for your favorite sports team. But at the end of the day it’s about sharing the things you love most in life with the people you love most in life. For that, you make no apologies.
Are you a Dorkdaddy? Own it.
Do you have a Dorkdaddy in your life? Own it.
Now there’s a “Dorkdaddy And Proud Of It” t-shirt. Own it.


“Stay On Target”

Remember that time when you were speeding down the trench to blow up that giant space station? Your dad was hot on your trail, trying to blow you out of the sky and your boss was all up in your face screaming “Stay on target. STAY ON TARGET!!” Of course you do. Who could forget an experience like that. Emblazoned on this shirt is the image seen on your targeting computer in the moment just before you destroyed the home-improvement project your father had been working on for years. Wear this shirt with pride. Been there? Sure. Done that? Of course. But now you can say “bought the t-shirt.”


“Don’t Get Cocky!”

Remember that time you slipped out from right under your father’s nose and ran off with your scoundrel buddy in his souped-up hotrod for some serious hijinks? Your dad was so ticked he actually sent out a couple of local henchmen to apprehend you and bring you back in. Little did he know your buddy’s dog could handle the driving while you and the scoundrel manned the turrets and told your dad’s lackeys exactly what you thought of them. Lucky for you your targeting computer grabbed a screenshot of the action. We’ve printed it for you here on this shirt, along with the words your buddy had for you when you got a little too excited. “Great kid. Don’t get cocky!”



Are you a Master-Builder? Are you “The Special”? Do you have an appreciation for little Danish interlocking plastic blocks that exceeds what some people would call “normal”? To heck with “some people.” Walk tall with the confidence of knowing exactly who you are and what you’re all about. You may be a “dork”, but that word doesn’t mean what it did back when The Breakfast Club was doing detention. The dorks have inherited the earth, and you are proud to count yourself among them.


“Dork” (ringer)

In your day you and your buddies roamed the neighborhood in a wild pack of Schwinn bikes with banana seats and nobody wore a helmet. In your day video games cost a quarter. In your day you sat in the back of the station wagon with the groceries, where there were no seatbelts. In your day cartoons only came on Saturdays, Hulk Hogan and The Macho-man were unstoppable and “knowing” was “half the battle.” In your day the coolest kid at school was the one who had the t-shirt with the sweetest iron-on. Now that kid can be you, only the iron-on is a righteous silk-screen proclaiming to the world you know exactly who you are. You’re a dork, and you’re damn proud of it.

Here’s the history:
The entire reason I got into blogging in the first place was to meet/find/create a community of like-minded dorky dads. I found that community in the Dadbloggers Facebook group, founded by dadblogger Oren Miller. All the members of the Dadbloggers group have come to think of Oren as our founding father. When he was recently diagnosed with stage IV cancer, we were all rocked to the core. You can read Oren’s heart-felt feelings on his diagnosis here.
A fundraising site was set up in his name. We knew we couldn’t do much to help Oren’s condition, but we still wanted to make a difference. What could be more important for his family moving forward than memories. That’s what we wanted to do for them. So we are raising money to give Oren and his family as many awesome memories as possible.
When the good people from Teespring.com came to me looking to partner up, I knew I’d found a way to turn this blogging adventure into something good. As I stated above, 100% of the profits made from these t-shirts will go towards the fundraiser for Oren and his family. So please, if there’s a dork in your life who you think would appreciate one of the shirts above, pass the word along.
Remember, the shirts will only be available for 14 days, so SHARE THE HELL OUT OF THIS POST.
Thank you for your continued readership. It means more to me than I can say.
-Dork Dad

Unexpected Gathering

23 Jul

letter by now my kids’ Lego prowess is well-established around here. No doubt if you follow the blog’s facebook page you’ve noticed the occasional pictures of my smiling children in front of a completed Lego project in your newsfeed at one time or another. One of our favorite projects was “The Shire” (as my kids call it), released in conjunction with “The Hobbit” at the end of last year. As always, when the project was done I snapped a quick picture (pics or it didn’t happen) to document the construction before the inevitable destruction.

"Sorry, dude. You aren't old enough for the movie. Please accept this as a consolation prize."

“Sorry, dude. You aren’t old enough for the movie. Please accept this as a consolation prize.”

Last week while at Comic Con, my friends and I decided to take in the sites outside the convention center (if for no reason other than to get away from the crushing throngs of people just for a moment). Although I did not bring my children, they’re still too young for Comic Con to be appropriate, I spent most of my time keeping an eye out for what might be appealing to them, rather than myself (a topic I’m kicking around for another blog post). As we walked around outside, breathing the fresh air and enjoying the sun on our faces, we came across a display in an open, public space that I immediately knew would resonate with my kids. There for everyone to see was a professionally made version of “The Shire”, only 20x the scale of the version Episode V and I made together months ago. It featured both the interior and exterior details exactly as the were in the store-bough set, including all the accessories, details and characters… only 20x bigger.

Naturally I had to take a picture and text it immediately back home for the kids to see.



I’ve seen these sorts of builds before. Most Lego stores have something like this on display, purely for the WOW-factor. The Lego store at Disneyland has some pretty impressive constructs, as you might imagine. But I’ve never had the opportunity to inspect them close up… to run my hands over them. As it turns out, this construct wasn’t a styrofoam mock-up. It wasn’t sculpted out of plaster to look like it was made of Legos. This was *ACTUALLY* built from the itty-bitty Legos parents with kids of a certain age have all over the house. As I took in the workmanship the thought occurred to me, “Man. Someone actually had to build this. This was someone’s job. Someone got PAID to build this. We’ve all had those fantasies before:

“If only I could be a professional shopper.”

“If only I could be paid to play video games all the time.”

“If only it was my job to travel the country and sample chocolate chip cookies.”

There before me was the realization of someone’s dream along those exact same lines. “If only I could build Legos for a living.” Lego actually employs “Master Builders”. Their entire job is to create… sometimes on a micro-scale, sometimes ginormous. They travel around to expos, store opening and special events to show off Legos and all the amazing things they can do. These are the people who dream up the ginormous builds that spread virally on the internet, as well as the more practical builds that get sent off to retail stores.

Needless to say, those jobs are very hard to come by. You have to be incredibly talented, the screening process is grueling, and you have to be in the right place at the right time. As I looked at that gigantic Shire build out in the middle of a San Diego public park, it seemed to me that for every rockstar Master Builder there has to be dozens of mid-level engineers… guys and girls who may not be rockstars, but are still incredibly skilled and can handle plenty of creative heavy lifting. Those jobs would be just as rewarding, and probably a little easier to come into.

As coincidence would have it, earlier this afternoon this YouTube video came across my feed and connected all the dots. Check it out.

It’s no secret, I’m rather bearish about the advice I’ll give my children when it comes to following their dreams. But if one of them told me they wanted to go work as a Lego Engineer for a career, I suppose that’s a decision I could get behind — just so long as they let me come over and play with their toys.

In fact, now that I think of it, to hell with this dentistry. If I could get a job building Legos all day, I’d sell this damn dental practice in a heartbeat.

-Dork Dad



1 Jun

ttention Lego-phyles and Ringers alike, the “Lord of the Rings” series of Lego sets has hit the shelves!

(On the actual site the photo below is interactive. Here’s the link.)

On the actual site this picture is interactive. Good thing I gave you the link.

Alas, I was too late to get in on the Star Wars Lego goodness. While I was busy

getting an education, setting up a business and building a family all the best Lego Star Wars sets were produced, sold and discontinued (that’s right Dr. Vandewalker, I’m looking at YOU). Now the only way to get them is on Ebay at rediculously inflated collectors’ prices, and even *I’M* not dorky enough to cough up that kind of cash. (search “Lego 10179” on Ebay if you want to see what to get me for my birthday). If you don’t follow this sort of thing, Lego did very well (and found new relevance) in producing an entire line of Star Wars sets, followed by Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and now Avengers and Lord of the Rings collections. Naturally the timing of their releases is carefully coordinated with the release of the feature films and all the marketing blitzkrieg that comes hand-in-hand. Be cynical if you will. I’m just glad my kids are into Legos.

I just called ’em “space legos” when I was a kid.

Seriously, who didn’t have a bucket full of Legos when they were a kid? I certainly had my share, chief among them was the “Alpha-1 Rocket Base” set which, although dinky by today’s standards, gave me more hours of imaginative play than I could count. My collection wasn’t small by any stretch, but my old buddy Daniel had the mountain of Legos to envy in the neighborhood (it didn’t hurt that he had an older brother who started building their collective mountain of Legos many years before Daniel was old enough to appreciate them). I’m happy to report that his mother had the foresight to save every single brick, and the entire treasure trove was inherrited by Daniel’s two sons who are now full-fledged Lego-maniacs. Daniel is a world-class Dorkdad in his own right.

Legos sort of crept into my kids’ lives rather organically. First it was with the giant “Duplo” blocks. Then on a trip to my parents’ house last year they discovered a small bucket of our old Legos my mom had kept over the years, and my kids were off to the races. At 5 my daughter was ready for the small bricks, but my son was not quite 3 at the time, and the small bricks were just slightly beyond his abilities. Now a year later, they’re arguing over who gets to use what pieces. Naturlly there’s the “Sweet! Let’s geek-out together over Star Wars and Lord of the Rings” factor. But as a parent there’s something else about my children playing with Legos that really speaks to me.

Notice Episode V’s tongue. Total concentration.

My bachelor’s degree is actually in elementary education, an odd degree for a dentist to have I’ll grant you. I even spent a few years teaching Jr. High before I launched into a lifetime of drilling teeth. I look at my childrens’ relationship with Legos from the perspective of both a dentist and as an educator and I have to say, the skills a child develops playing with Legos are so very applicable, so very valuable to real life. A dentist has to have a strong sense of 3-dimensional perceptual ability. You have to be able to see an object and be able to rotate it around to see all of its sides in your mind. It’s the same ability that lets you look at a blueprint on a piece of paper and see in your minds eye what the inside of a house will look like. The path into and through dental school is filled with all sorts of examinations of this sort, and during every single one I couldn’t help thinking to myself how it was all just another Lego assembly. Nothing teaches you better how pieces fit together in 3-dimensional space than building Legos.

Of course playing with Legos obviously develops fine motor skills as well. That’s an easy one. And the application of those skills is pervasive throughout life. But more importantly in the lives of a 5-year-old and 3.5-year-old is developing the ability to…

…wait for it…



Yeah, there are academic applications like writing your name on your paper and things like that. But for Pete’s sake, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been late getting out of the house because, after telling her to do it 5 times, my daughter STILL hasn’t gone to get her shoes (not to mention the times we’ve actually driven off and made it onto the freeway before turning the car around and heading back home after finally noticing that she didn’t follow instructions and get her shoes/teddy bear/backpack whatever). My son can’t even master “wipe/flush/wash”. Suffice it to say they can use as much practice following instructions as they can get. Lego instructions are ingeniously illustrated. No words. They’re purely visual, so even my 3.5-year-old can keep up with his (almost) 1st grader sister. And if you don’t follow the instructions the piece just doesn’t turn out. With respect to Lego instructions we have a rule in our house. Whenever we get a new set the kids have to sit down with Dorkdaddy and follow the instructions to build it to completion FIRST. After that they can destroy it and let the pieces mingle with the half-dozen other sets that have laid to rest in our Lego bucket (’cause you know once that happens the set is never, ever going to be put together again).

One benefit of Legos that I wasn’t aware of when I was a child, but is crystal clear in my mind now as a father of three: their direct application as impliments of torture. I propose that when the prisoners at Guantanimo Bay are sleeping we sneak in and sprinkle a few Lego blocks on the floor around their beds. Because I’ll tell you this – when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, or to hold the baby, or to let the cat in/out and I step on one of those bricks with my bare foot, I’ll give you the locations of three chemical weapons plants whether or not I know where they actually are.

Happy building.

Get a picture ’cause this is the last time you’ll see all these bricks assembled in the way they were intended.

-Dork Dad

%d bloggers like this: