POP CULTURE

Movies, TV, music, comics/superheroes, etc.

Epic Ticket Giveaway: The LEGO Ninjago Movie!

September 14, 2017 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

The folks from LEGO are back with another action-packed, sidesplitting, surefire hit with The LEGO Ninjago Movie… and Designer Daddy is here to hook you up with FREE tickets to an advance screening!

LEGO Ninjago Movie

FREE MOVIE PASSES!

Thanks to the awesome bros at Warner Bros, I’m giving away a brickload of tickets to an advance screening of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie! The screening is Tuesday September 19, 7pm at Regal Majestic Stadium 20 in Silver Spring, MD.

SIGN UP HERE TO GET YOUR PASSES. Up to 4 tickets per person, while supplies last.
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BONUS GOODIES!

The first 5 people to take a selfie with me & Jon at the theater get a special LEGO Ninjago prize! We’re both super excited about the movie, and hope to see you there!

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The ABCs of Trump: Words My Kid Has Learned Since 45 Took Office

August 31, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

The other day my 7-year-old was chatting away about some odd thing or another — a not infrequent occurrence. But this time instead of pretending to understand words like Zombie Pigmen or Squirtle, I heard a word I recognized: egomaniac. I didn’t catch the context, but knew immediately why this had entered my son’s lexicon: Trump. This got me wondering… What other words has my kid learned since DJT became president?

As a candidate and up through his first 222 days in office (but who’s counting?), 45 has introduced the American people to new levels of divisiveness, self-involvement, and volatility. He’s also introduced Americans — and our children — to a whole lot of new words.

Some of these are words adults don’t typically teach to kids due to them being entirely inappropriate. Many are words whose definitions have been tainted by POTUS-association. And quite a few are completely made up — maniacally spewed from Cheeto-In-Chief’s raging maw.

So as it’s a brand new school year, I’ve compiled a vocabulary list — an ABCs of the unfortunate, vulgar, disturbing words my child and others have learned these recent dark months.

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THE ABCs of TRUMP

WARNING: As with everything Trump-related, some language may not be suitable for children. Or anyone, for that matter.

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A is for ARMAGEDDON

Armageddon was one of those films I look forward to watching with my son in a few years. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon, devouring popcorn and laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. Now the actuality looms on the horizon, thanks to our posturing POTUS. Where’s a squad of slow-motion-walking misfits you need them?  Additional As: arrogant; alternative facts; alt-right
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ABCs of Trump
B is for BIGLY

His ego knows no bounds — so it made sense Trump would make up a word to exaggerate his exaggerations. But it turned out that a) he was maybe saying big league instead; and b) bigly is an actual word, though categorized by Dictionary.com as archaic (meaning nobody uses it anymore, so you’re weird if you do). Either way, Merriam-Webster honored bigly as one of the most-searched words in 2016. And what was the top Word of the Year for 2016? Surreal. Bonus Bs: buffoon; Breitbart; blowhard; bigot

(Aren’t you proud I made it through that without a single joke about Trump’s decidedly non-bigly hands?)
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How (and Where, and When, and What…) Do You Netflix?

July 24, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

How do you Netflix?

Remember (it wasn’t that long ago) when you had to watch your favorite TV shows at a specific time every week, and only then? When there was no DVRing? No pausing or rewinding? No watching it anywhere other than on an actual TV?!? *SHUDDER*

Thanks the TV gods for technological advancements…. and for whoever first used “Netflix” as a verb. [note: I’m not talking about Netflix and Chill, though that certainly has it’s merits.] NETFLIXING is watching what you want, when you want, where you want, and how you want. A Mad Lib of entertainment, if you will. As a parent, this is especially helpful; finding time to watch my “grown-up” shows can be challenging, to say the least.

For an example, fill in the sentence below, with either your favorites or something completely random:

I just watched ___________ (number)  episodes of ___________ (show)  at ___________ (time)  while ___________ (setting / situation)  on my ___________ (mode of delivery).

A recent afternoon of Netflixing for me included the following components: 2; Wet Hot American Summer; 3:30pm, waiting at my 7-year-old’s summer camp pickup; phone. The possibilities are endless, and I’m sure most of you have way more awesome/hilarious/interesting outcomes than mine. Share them in the comments, and I’ll repost some of my favorites!

In the meantime, I’ve created some silly, pun-filled scenarios to help inspire you on how, where, when, and what to Netflix.

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Scenario: watching your ferociously cute toddler twin nieces

Show: GLOW
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How do you Netflix?

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So Long, Old Chum: RIP Batman’s Adam West

June 19, 2017 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, POP CULTURE

Adam West’s Batman was my first exposure to superheroes, as he was for so many others. There were a lot flaws in West’s version of the Dark Knight — his Shatner-esque acting (or was Shatner’s Westian?); his astonishingly high shorts; his general lack of musculature. But because he was first, he holds an important place in my memory.

RIP Adam West Batman

But it wasn’t just the superhero aspect of Batman that hooked me. Everything about the show and West’s campy Caped Crusader was iconic. The theme song. The pop art graphics. The off-kilter camera angles. The guest star villains. Robin’s “Holy _____, Batman!” exclamations. The Batusi. The cliffhanger sign-off at the end of each episode.

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Make Game Night Great Again: Board Games & Cocktail Pairings!

May 4, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

Board games have been a favorite family pastime for nearly a century, purporting to bring parents and children together and teach valuable skills like colors and stuff. But as many families know, what they really do is drive deep, pie-shaped wedges between spouses, create world-conquering rivalries between siblings; and generally scare the bejesus out of the cat. Even on game nights not boiling over with incessant whining and arguing, there’s still the mind-numbing boredom.

And yet, it is our duty as involved parents — nay, as Americans — to subject ourselves and our progeny to these worlds overflowing with candy and ladders and murder weapons and New Jersey real estate.

I’ve found that a little libation makes any activity run more smoothly. Classy folks look to experts for pairings of alcohol with their cheeses, meals, or cigars. You can even find wine to go with Girl Scout cookies. So why not match up cocktails with board games?

board games & cocktail pairings

I polled a bunch of parents to learn their most-hated games. Then I played them all with my kid while I drank a bunch of stuff to see which combos were most fun tolerable. Here are my scientific/strategic/spirited recommendations.
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SuperLunchNotes for Spring

April 10, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

SPRING IS IN THE AIR!

Flowers are blooming! Bees are buzzing! And of course lots of excited young’uns are scurrying about, frolicking in the sunshine like kittens on Red Bull.

It’s possible your kids are just excited about spring break; but in all likelihood they’re already looking ahead to summer. Help keep those little minds focused on the last few months of school by celebrating all things spring! I’ve pulled together some of my favorite spring-themed lunch notes to help put some fresh fun in your kids’ lunch.

THINK GREEN

When it comes to ideas for springtime lunch notes, just look out the window. Plants, flowers, and trees; butterflies, bugs and other creepy-crawlies; birds, frogs, picnics — you get the picture. And don’t forget Earth Day is April 22!

superlunchnotes lunch notes for spring

There’s no shortage of springy characters to be found in comics, video games, TV and children’s books. L to R, top row: Bulbasaur (Pokémon), Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy), Curious George, Clayface (DC Comics/Batman). Middle row: Wasp (Marvel comics/movies), Toad (Super Mario games), Kermit the FrogAnt-Man* (Marvel). Bottom row: Red (Angry Birds), Spider-Man, Superman, Poison Ivy (DC Comics/Batman).

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Girl Power for Boys: 10 Action-Packed Shows Featuring Powerful Girls

March 28, 2017 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE, THINGS MY KID DIGS

Typical boy. All boy. Boys will be boys. I cringe every time I hear those phrases — whether used to praise, admonish, excuse, or label a boy; especially when it’s my boy. And especially when it’s me saying it about my boy.

Stereotypes are convenient, yet entirely dismissive of a child’s ability (and need) to experience beyond what society expects of them. As his father, I strive to fill my son’s eyes, ears, and mind with all the richness and diversity the world has to offer. And as he’s got two dads, making sure he’s surrounded by strong females is at the top of that list.

In addition to the real women in our lives, superheroes have been a way to introduce Girl Power to my son. From the books we read, to the notes I put in his lunch, and of course the TV shows and movies we watch — he’s never lacking for examples of strong, wondrous women.

Below are 10 of the best examples of Girl Power shows for boys* currently on Netflix, all “Boy Approved” by my “all boy” boy.

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Powerful Girl:
STEALTH ELF
Show: Skylanders Academy

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girl power for boys - skylanders

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My Marvelous Superhero Family

March 13, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

So I did some work with Marvel Comics (I ❤️️ typing that!), where I talked about everyday heroes. I nominated my friends the Scheers for Marvel’s #WhoIsYourHero campaign. If you haven’t read it yet, go do that.

As part of the gig, Marvel sent me some cool superhero merch so our family could play dress up, mug for the camera, and display the true essence of our own superheroics. Not content to just pose and shoot, I called upon my mutant design powers (and my family’s patience) and spent some time tinkering in Photoshop and Procreate.

Presenting, my family — as our Marvel Superhero selves.

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Adventurous & headstrong; loves to make a racket and swing hammers around the house. 🔨 JON is… THE MIGHTY THOR!
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My Marvelous Superhero Family

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Who Is Your Hero?

March 7, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE

I’ve written about Super Heroes on this site a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Spandexed super beings have been part of my life for as long as I can remember; and becoming a father only deepened my fandom as I passed down all this adoration, excitement, and knowledge to my son. Yet while I ensure that Jon is up on his origin stories and rogues lists, I want him to know heroes exist in real life, too.

Marvel Comics Super Heroes

Click to view SUPER sized!

A Family of Super Heroes

We’ve been lucky enough to know such a team of heroes, in the form of The Scheer Family — who I’m nominating as part of Marvel’s Heroes Come In All Sizes campaign!

I’ve written about the Scheers before, too, but am always thrilled to share their heroic story.

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If Trump Were My Kid: 17 Bits of Fatherly Advice for the New President

January 19, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

As Donald Trump takes office, I’m struck by many things: fear, anger, frustration, waves of nausea. I’m also reminded (almost daily for the past year) just how childlike America’s new leader is. Not in a wide-eyed, full-of-wonder kind of way, but more of a throwing-himself-on-the-ground-and-holding-his-breath-till-he-gets-his-way kind of way.

One of Trump’s most infantile characteristics is his apparent inability to accept advice. Not from former presidents or members of his own political party. Not from career military generals or the entire intelligence community.

Since there’s little hope for our new president behaving like a rational adult (much less, presidentially) I thought I’d appeal to Trump’s childishness with some fatherly wisdom.

So I went through all the lunch notes I’ve made for my son, and pulled together a few I thought might help Donald in his new job. Keep in mind these were originally created for a little boy between the ages of 4 and 6. Also keep in mind how scarily appropriate they are for the new Leader of the Free World.

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1. WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY.


If Donald Trump Were My Kid: Fatherly Advice for the New President

What it doesn’t come with is the right to be mean to someone because of their gender, race, orientation, religion, or disability. Or any reason, really.
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