LEGO-Shell Partnership Claims Another Victim

July 8, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

Homeless polar bears. Drowning Santa. Emmet and Wyldstyle in a pit of black ooze — all tragic. Yet someone’s missing from this list…

lego-shell-aquaman
Graphic inspired by this. Which was inspired by this.

Silly Greenpeace, if you’re going to show the effects of the supposed LEGO-Shell partnership, how can you not include Aquaman? He stands to lose more than anyone in the apocalyptic oil spill depicted in your very, very sad video.

Grab a tissue and check out the doomy & gloomy (but admittedly creative) cover of “Everything Is Awesome.”

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So what say you, readers?
Are you ready to sign the petition and ban LEGO from your household until they completely disconnect from Shell? Or are you tired of all the bleeding heart propaganda getting in the way of building a life-size X-Wing Fighter? Get your rant on in the comments! 

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For more toys and superheroes and arguments and silliness visit and like Designer Daddy on Facebook and follow Designer Daddy on Twitter.

Reader response: I want to be a father

July 6, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

I apologize if this smacks of bragging, but I wanted to share a particularly sweet note I got from a reader a bit ago. Okay, so maybe I’m bragging a little. Yet I’m also putting it up here to remind me, on days that I’m discouraged, that my words do get heard; that I’m not alone in my feelings of aloneness; and as a motivation to keep on keeping-on — as a writer and as a dad. Plus, his comment about Stepford gays was perfection.

So if you send me a particularly sweet (or sassy) note, you may very well make my day…and I might publish it. You’ve been warned.

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stepford-gays3

You don’t know me, and that isn’t the point of this message. And I promise there is a point to this message, so please just stay with me as I can get a bit long-winded.

Just recently — this past week in fact — I’ve decided that I want to be a father. This has been something I have gone back and forth on for years as a gay man. I have been filled with so much worry about this or that: Do I adopt or do I find a surrogate? Am I capable as a person to raise a child? What will I do about explaining to him about where he comes from having no personal points of reference in my own life? Did my parents screw me up too much to raise a child? All of the standard questions I would imagine plague most would-be parents. However in recent days I have focused less on the impact to me and my life and more on the positive of having a child. But still I worry [if I] will I be a good dad. Will my child know how much I love them and that no matter what happens that love will never end?

As a result of these feelings I started writing letters to my future child, as writing has always been an outlet for me. So as the afterglow of wanting to be a father started to fade, I wondered again how I would deal when my little angel is reaping my mother’s revenge upon me for one reason or another (lack of nap, saying no to a toy or candy, whatever) — and how am I going to keep my sanity? And just as these questions started to boil to the surface, I found your post “Hide-and-Seek with Mr. Moon” and I am not gonna lie: I cried just a little bit.

I found myself crying — not just for the heartbreak of a small child, but because of the line about you expending so much energy to keep from “throttling” your child.

I have read some parenting blogs, and specifically followed two over the past couple of years (more for the hilarious insights on life than the parently portion), but all of them were from the points of view of heterosexual parents. And let’s be real — as sad as it is, gay men are still not properly portrayed in media. Yes, we have moved past a good portion of the stereotypes, but there are still some there that bug me. I think we as a culture are entering the Stepford portion of our media portrayal.

So with all of this said: thank you. Thank you for granting me insight to a seemingly random moment in time that has shown me that not only is it possible to be a good parent while still making mistakes, but that life really can be normal as a gay father.

With gratitude and sincerity,
BigMac

P.S. I am totally going to steal and use the Hide-and-Seek with Mr. Moon game when I do have a kid. :)

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See? Toldya it was sweet. For more sweet and sassy and stylish conversation and long walks on the beach (except that last part), check out Designer Daddy on Facebook and follow along on Twitter.

Boys Kissing Boys

July 2, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, MAKING MEMORIES

Boys Kissing Boys

We were winding down from a particularly drama-filled play date. There had been sharing-related skirmishes; LEGO lay strewn about the playroom like carcasses on a battlefield; there had been tears. And after much cajoling and promises of future bounty, there had been an “I’m sowwy” from my little force of nature to his playmate and host. Jon can sometimes be like a giddy locomotive off its tracks. Full steam ahead, tooting its merry horn, nary a thought for the fact that it’s derailed and tearing through the countryside, mowing over everything and everyone in its path.

Yet while he may be full of drive and boundless energy, he’s always been very affectionate. Which, for me — his somewhat introverted and decidedly less adventurous Dad — makes it all manageable.

After we’d made our apologies and gathered our things to go, Jon approached his friend — 6 years old to Jon’s 4 and-a-half — to tell him thank you. He followed with one of his epic hugs — both arms flung out fully extended, not closing them until he’d fully enveloped the huggee. His friend seemed a little overwhelmed, but hugged back; then my son tilted his head, stretched up on his toes, and moved in to give his pal a smooch on the cheek.

The friend jerked his head away, reacting with an annoyed “WHAT THE…?!?” Jon just kind of shrugged and let go. But my heart broke a little.

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Out Of This World Movie Giveaway! #EarthToEcho

June 29, 2014 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS

Earth to Echo Designer Daddy Giveaway

Think E.T. meets Transformers with a little Goonies thrown in for good measure, and you’ve got EARTH TO ECHO — a great way to keep cool and entertain the whole family this summer!

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25 MORE Reasons Having Gay Dads Is Awesome!

June 28, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Due to popular demand (the original post was one of the most-viewed ever on this site), as well as an over-abundance of photos from awesome gay fathers, I had to do a sequel — which I’m hoping is as good as (or better) than the original. Think Empire Strikes Back, not Teen Wolf Too.

So as we wrap up Pride month, I wanted to share 25 more reasons having gay dads is uniquely, similarly, lovingly AWESOME!

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1. You’re always surrounded by love
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Gay Dads Are Awesome! - Andy Miller

Especially when you’re smooshed into a photo booth. [Photo courtesy of Andy Miller & Brian Stephens]
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Super Dad: Oren Miller!

June 26, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

Riffing off my SuperLunchNotes, this summer I’m doodling a series of notes featuring some of my favorite dad bloggers… re-imagined as superheroes. Why? Because it’s fun. And because you should be reading these guys. And because I’ve gotten so much support from my community of blogging dad pals, I wanted to toss some good karma their way. I’m pretty super that way.
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SPECIAL EDITION
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MEET SUPER DAD OREN MILLER, A.K.A.

PROFESSOR O!

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Super Dad Oren Miller

About PROFESSOR O:
Origin:
The first time this father of two sat down to write, he spilled his coffee and a sippy cup of milk onto his laptop. As he frantically grabbed to salvage his computer, the caffeine and calcium fused into a super-technological compound, surged through his body, and immediately connected him to every other dad blogger — past, present or future!
Powers: Using only his mind, PROFESSOR O can seek out any dad blogger in the galaxy! He then connects them into a secret community where they learn how to use their own mutant blogging skills to squash stereotypes, offer support to one another, and advocate for fathers everywhere! He is also a master level blogger AND father: he can change minds and manipulate emotions through the written word, coordinate hundreds of dads with a few mouse clicks, and oversee a playdate complete with healthy snacks and an important life lesson thrown in for good measure.
Weaknesses: He gets really annoyed by exclamation points (!) and by the ever-changing Facebook group policies. Also hates Nazis.

About OREN MILLER:
Oren truly is a superhero to me and to the nearly 800 dad bloggers that belong to the Facebook group he started two years ago. Even before launching this informal group, he would search out new dads who were blogging and feature them on his site, A Blogger and a Father. This is how I first “met” him. I met him in real life a few months later, when he invited me to a meeting between several other parent bloggers and the governor of Maryland. There I was able to personally thank Governor O’Malley for all he did to pass same-sex marriage in our state — an opportunity that still boggles my mind and warms my heart.

I’ve not met anyone else in the blogging community with such a pure desire to connect and support people. His aspirations were never to appear on The Today Show or be the keynote speaker at a conference. His ambition is to find and build community, to start and continue dialog — not just about writing and social media, but about the struggles of life and the indescribable experience of being a father.

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EVEN SUPERHEROES NEED HELP
I had already planned to include Oren in this series of Super Dad notes, but this post is serving an additional, and vastly more important function…

At the end of May, Oren was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. The cancer had spread to several other organs, and he was given a prognosis of one year. Please take a moment and read his own words about this experience, as mine can’t begin to do it justice.

Shortly after his diagnosis, I started a fundraiser through GiveForward on behalf of our ragtag group of dads, with the hopes of raising $5,000 to send Oren, his wife, and two children on a family vacation. Within 12 hours it surpassed that goal, and now (less than 2 weeks later) stands to reach $30,000. The fundraiser has since pulled in many beyond his dad blogging community, with their generosity now earmarked for medical bills, education funds for the kids, as well as an unforgettable family vacation. To help attain (and surpass) this next benchmark, the extremely helpful and generous folks at GiveForward have offered to contribute $25 for each blogger who writes about Oren — up to $1000 (40 blog posts). By the time I publish this, I believe I’ll be number 40.

DON’T BE A BYSTANDER
If you have ever read and enjoyed my writing
, you have Oren Miller partly to thank. After my first year of blogging, I was considering giving it up, not having felt I’d connected with many people. Being featured on Oren’s site, joining the Facebook group, and having the privilege of calling Oren my friend have inspired me beyond measure. Not just as a writer, but as a father, a husband, and as a person on this planet.

Please consider adding your own contribution to this fund. It won’t bring a cure. It won’t buy more time. But it will extend the community of support for those Oren cares for most, connect you to something bigger than yourself, and make you — even if for a moment — a superhero.
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Oren and Brent

Oren and me at my wedding in April

Dad Blogger offspring

Future generations of parent bloggers goof around in Oren’s backyard.

 

Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Indiana

June 26, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

same-sex marriage in Indiana
Indiana: Same-sex marriage legalized June 25, 2014. Folks gettin’ married the very same day.

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The birthplace of Letterman, Lincoln and Larry Bird — and now home to a whole lot more little pink houses* — Indiana joins 18 states and the District of Columbia in legalizing same-sex marriage! Just over a month after gay marriage became legal in Pennsylvania, equality wins out two states over as U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young declared Indiana’s ban on marriage equality unconstitutional.

In his ruling, Judge Young states,
“In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as [the plaintiffs], and refer to it simply as a marriage — not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”

Until that time, congratulations to all the homo-Hoosiers who can finally get hitched! Indiana is the 11th state where a federal judge has struck down a marriage ban since SCOTUS overturned Prop8 and DOMA. We’re on a roll, baby!
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BUT WHAT ABOUT UTAH?
First it was legalized. Then it wasn’t. Then yesterday a judge overturned the ban. While I’m very glad for this step back in the right direction, the governor still plans on appealing the overturn of the denial of the freedom for the refusal of rights on the ban and… OH MY GOD I’M SO CONFUSED!!! So until same-sex marriage in Utah is a once-and-for-all done deal, signed in blood and toasted with Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, I’m holding off on putting their magnet up gain.

Since the next step my very well be the U.S. Supreme Court, when they do get around to appealing, the decision could be monumental — and hopefully turn my whole map green…
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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN THE UNITED STATES

as of 6.25.14

same-sex marriage map of the united states
Click to biggefy. Source: Wikipedia

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Every time a country or US state legalizes same-sex marriage, I post a photo of a magnet from either my fridge or that of a reader. Take a look at some of my previous magnet posts.

For more maps and magnets (not really, but for sure a lot of fun), stop by the Designer Daddy Facebook page, or follow along on Twitter!

*In 2010, the song “Pink Houses” was used by NOM (a leading opponent to same-sex marriage) in an anti-gay rally. Songwriter/performer and Indiana native John Mellencamp sent them a Cease and STFU. Thanks Johnny Cougar, you R.O.C.K.!

Super Dad: Zach Rosenberg!

June 23, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Riffing off SuperLunchNotes, and inspired by requests from friends and readers of “Will you make MY lunch?!?” this summer I’m doodling a series of notes featuring some of my favorite dad bloggers… re-imagined as superheroes. Why? Because it’s fun. And because you should be reading these guys. And because I’ve gotten so much support from my community of blogging dad pals, I wanted to toss some good karma their way.

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MEET SUPER DAD ZACH ROSENBERG, A.K.A.

ZACHNEATO!

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super dad: zach rosenberg

About ZACHNEATO:
Origin:
When a bottle of Coke and a packet of Pop Rocks spilled onto a Ms. Pac-Man machine, ZACHNEATO emerged fully-formed, robed in pink, and ready to rule to world!
Powers: The ability to manipulate bits, bytes & blogs into anything he chooses. His hot pink robe and helmet make him impervious to Internet trolls and Twitter crashes.
Weaknesses: Without his fluffy pink armor, ZACHNEATO is susceptible to attack from his arch-nemesis, MR. A!

About ZACH ROSENBERG:
ZACH is the more vocal (and more pink) half of the blog 8BitDad. He and co-founder Bryan Ferguson have been making the blogosphere crackle with smarts and silliness since 2011(ish). They’ve got the comics/sci-fi/gamer beat covered, and do their fair share of reporting on all things fatherhood — particularly how it’s portrayed in the media. He is also a father and husband, and his favorite superhero really is Magneto. Or maybe Batman.

8BitDad 101:
The Ugly Truths Behind Caillou, Curious George and Max & Ruby
25 Reasons Kids Should Be Left Alone With Their Dads (I’m at #17. This list inspired my own)
Observations On Dad-Bias In 140 Commercials From 2013
BONUS: Their archive of hilarious video podcasts

 

 

Proud Papa Gallery of Greatness 2014

June 20, 2014 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, THINGS DAD DIGS

Father’s Day has come and gone, and yet those of us who are dads are still dads, and still have dad stuff to do. One of the most important is instilling self-confidence and a sense of achievement in our children. Stereotypes dictate fathers only appreciate the physical accomplishments of their children — especially for their sons. But the best dads appreciate the artistic as well as the athletic — and man have I found a great bunch of art-loving dads for this year’s (POST) FATHER’S DAY PROUD PAPA GALLERY OF GREATNESS!

Welcome to our virtual fridge, take your time, and please visit the gift shop on your way out.

Please note that many of the images can be enlarged if clicked on. So click and enjoy!

Artwork credits key:
Title of work

medium
Artist name, age
Father of artist (links to their website/blog)
Artist’s (or artist’s dad’s) description

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THE CLASSICS

 

GADDIS-MONET
Monet

tissue paper, construction paper
markers on paper
Chris, 5
Carter Gaddis
Based on the Water Lilies series.
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Which Kids’ Movie Song From The Last 12 Months Is The Best?

June 17, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

With the release of The LEGO Movie on DVD/Blu-Ray, it’s got me reflecting on all the great music to come from kids’ movies in the last year. Three songs in particular have delighted children and adults alike… that is, until they bored holes into our brains from repetition. I’m of course talking about “Everything is Awesome,” “Let It Go,” and “Happy.”

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During the Disney renaissance of the late-80s/90s, songs from the Mouse House’s animated films were all over the radio and the charts. “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Whole New World,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” all cracked Billboard’s top 10; and between 1989-1999, 15 songs from Disney films either won or were nominated for Oscars. Yet since that heyday, I don’t recall a time when songs written specifically for kids’ movies have had such an audible impact as the three in question.

So… between “Everything Is Awesome,” “Let It Go,” and “Happy,” which one is the best? Or perhaps a better question, the least annoying? I decided to break it down scientifically to give you an objective, definitive and 100% fact-based answer. I took into account several factors, then gave points for each category to reach my accurate, foolproof, final results.

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