Tag Archives: star trek

To Hell With Normal

24 Mar

To Hell With Normal


letter OOoh, the adventures we had this past weekend. Not to put too fine a point on it, I took the big kids to the inaugural Silicon Valley Comic Con. On balance, the experience was not a new one for them. Last year I took them to the Star Wars Celebration (and have yet to blog about it. Can you believe it?) where they got a full dose of what it means to do a convention. The only thing that could have been bigger would be the San Diego Comic Con, and that’s still a few years off for them.

Prepare Yourselves

After posting pictures of our shenanigans on Facebook, my old Jr. High English teacher and life-long mentor, Kitty, left the comment: “YOU S#@$$%! How will your kids ever turn out “normal”? That’s right, they won’t. They’ll be extraordinary! Love ya.”

The kids got to meet Kitty earlier this year. "How did you like her, kids?" "She's super cool, but she has a potty mouth." "Yes. Yes she does."

The kids got to meet Kitty earlier this year. “How did you like her, kids?” “She’s super cool, but she has a potty mouth.” “Yes. Yes she does.”

Let’s just say Kitty shares my distain for all things “normal”.

Sharing vodka on the rocks with the woman who, 28 years ago, taught me a healthy disdain for authority.

Sharing vodka on the rocks with the woman who, 28 years ago, taught me a healthy disdain for authority.

I have no intention of giving my kids a “normal” childhood. I want their childhood to be AMAZING. This entire blog is dedicated to chronicling the pursuit of “amazing” while infusing them with a firm grasp of perspective and social-competence which, to my thinking, is the only really valuable component of “normal”.

Meeting The Shat

Meeting The Shat

When I learned that William Shatner was going to be signing autographs at the convention, I knew that it would be an experience my classic Star Trek-loving daughter would appreciate. Add that to the fact that Stan Lee would be making one of his last-ever public appearances (the guy is 94 after all) and I knew I would regret it if I passed up the opportunity.

OMG! Stan Lee!!

OMG! Stan Lee!!

So this past Saturday I loaded Episodes IV and V into the car and drove them to the San Jose Convention Center for a day of geek-tasticness. The show did not disappoint. The cosplayers were in full-force. The kids got to play with some virtual reality rigs, talk to the local R2D2 Builders Club chapter, spend their allowance money on super-nerdy collectables and on and on…



There was even a bonus that we weren’t expecting. For the past few weeks my 7yo Episode V has been working his way through the book “The Martian” (because you can’t watch the movie unless you’ve read the book first). As we were waiting in line to meet The Shat(ner), Episode V was flipping through the convention program. Suddenly he went white and started shaking, pointing to a picture in the program, “Daddy! Daddy! Look! Andy Weir is here. Andy Weir is here!!”


Andy Weir is the author of “The Martain”… the book that my 7yo has proclaimed as his favorite book of all time. So of course we had to make sure that connection was made. I tell you, Episode V was more excited to meet Andy Weir than he was for Captain freakin’ Kirk – and props to him for realizing early that authors are cooler than television/movie actors.

Got it

So here’s to all the parents out there doing everything they can to make their kids’ childhoods amazing. Say it with me now:


To hell with “normal”!


-Dork Dad

How a Dorkdad names his kid.

31 Dec

lenty of parents spend plenty of time agonizing over what to name their new child. With our third only a few short weeks away we are starting to feel impending deadline on the horizon. In that way we are no different than most other couples. In truth, we’ve come to the names for our children in the most normal way and plan to do so again with the third, but when you’ve got a Dorkdaddy in the family it adds an additional layer of complexity and angst. The following story is an account of how we came up with the names of our first two children, and potentially the third. I feel obligated to share because if you met my children and learned their names after knowing me for any length of time, you might jump to a few unfortunate conclusions. I want to set the record straight. Some details have been changed because it’s never a good idea to plaster the actual names of your children all over the interwebs. The point is made just as well.



My wife and I had a relatively easy time arriving at a consensus on her name. There was a particular name we both liked the sound of that coincidentally worked as a derivative of the names of my wife’s grandmother, both my grandmothers (one just recently deceased), and my mother. We wrapped my wife’s other grandmother’s first name up into a middle name for our daughter and whammo… child was named and everyone was happy.


The OTHER Spock, and his father.

Two years later and our first child was at a very chatty time in her vocal development. We found out we were having a son and the search for the perfect name began. I was keen on incorporating my grandfather’s first name, Westin (also my middle name) and my wife wasn’t opposed, but there was a  lot of back and forth about whether it worked better as a first name or middle name. Now at this point I have to point out my life-long borderline-obsession with all things Star Trek. Anyone who knows me knows that I have an encyclopedic knowledge and irrational love of Star Trek. We all have our things, Star Trek is mine. Now it just so happens that at that time my sister had a crush on a guy named “Spock”. “Spock” was the topic of discussion around the dinner table relatively often back then. For whatever reason my 2-year-old daughter imprinted on that name, and for a time every strange man she came across she called “Spock”. The three of us were on a walk one afternoon, and we were kicking around names for the new baby. We asked our daughter what she wanted to name her new brother. “Spock,” she said. My wife and I both looked at each other. “Spock Westin”. We liked the sound of that. It just seemed to work.

Westin, by itself is a relatively normal name – as is Spock. But nobody who knew me and my aptitude would ever believe my assertions that I did NOT name my son after one of the primary characters of the greatest science fiction franchise of all time. In fact the name was chosen by the boy’s older 2-year-old sister, who in turn got the name from a boy my sister had a crush on, with absolutely no knowledge of the greatest science fiction franchise of all time. The association concerned us, but ultimately we decided to go with it, and I’m glad we did. As much as I love Star Trek, I love my son that much more. As hardwired as Star Trek is in my DNA, whenever I hear the name “Spock”, I think of my son first and the sci-fi character second.


For what it's worth, I have the original printing of this in mint condition in a box up in my attic.

The roots of this child’s naming dilemma stem all the way back to the week Dorkson#1 was born. My wife and I went out to dinner alone on one of our very last nights together as parents of only one child. During that night’s conversation we whimsically discussed what we might name a third child if it ever came. We both agreed that we loved my great grandmother’s first name. If we had a third, and it was a girl, that was going to be it. We also agreed that if we had another son we would like to incorporate my wife’s favorite grandfather’s first name, Peter. But my wife was pretty firm on keeping “Peter” as a middle name. Then my wife looks off into the distance and says, “You know, I’ve always liked the name Logan. If we have another boy I think I like the name ‘Logan Peter’”.

I stopped dead in my tracks, needle scratched off the record, mid-mouthful of pasta carbonara.

If there is one thing this Dorkdaddy geeks out over more than Star Trek, it’s Marvel superheroes; my absolute favorites being Spiderman and Wolverine. As the rest of the western world knows, Spiderman and Wolverine’s secret identities are Peter Parker and Logan (last name unknown) respectively. My wife had just suggested that if we have another son we should name him after (or, more accurately, give him the same names as) the two greatest superheroes (in my opinion) of all time.

I’m not sure how I forced down that last bite of food, but I remember just sitting there, staring at my wife, dumbstruck at the words that just came out of her mouth. It seemed like forever before she spoke. “What?” she said.

“You do realize what you’re saying, right? I’ll give you five minutes to retract that statement, because if you don’t, and we do have another son, I’m going to hold you to it.” Bless her sweet heart. My wife is so UN-dorky she had absolutely no idea.

The five minutes came and went, no retraction. We went through the entire meal, and still she could not figure out what elicited that response in me. Afterwards, driving home I had to come clean and tell her. “Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no” she said after realizing her drastic error. But it was too late. The window for retraction had passed. The die was cast. She couldn’t make a legitimate claim that minus the pop-culture, superhero association, she didn’t like the SOUND of “Logan Peter”. She was committed. And wouldn’t you know it? We ARE having #3, and it IS a boy.

There are so many things WRONG about this, don't even get me started.

In all honesty I have no desire to actually name my child after superheroes. Even in my Dorkdaddy-opinion, Nicolas Cage crossed a line when he named his son “Kal-El” (Superman’s Kryptonian birth-name). But I’m very happy to use my wife’s favorite grandfather’s name along with another name we both like the sound of. That’s a perfectly rational, normal way to name a child. But when those names coincidentally are the very same names as two superheroes I have had a better-than-healthy relationship with all my life, most people would assume I went the Nicolas Cage route, rather than the rational, normal route.

As it stands we are still not settled on “Logan Peter” for the son that will make his arrival very soon, precisely because of the association with those superheroes and my better-than-healthy relationship to those same superheroes. But in all honesty, there are no other contenders. “Logan Peter” is polling way out ahead of all the other contenders at the Iowa Caucus. Sure it has some baggage that voters (me and my wife) will have to get past, but looking at all the other candidates it really is the frontrunner.

Just under eight weeks before the election, and the nomination is all but cinched.

“Logan Peter” in 2012.

-Dork Dad

(as always your reactions and comments are welcome below)

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