Eulogy for Oren Miller: A Blogger, A Father, A Friend

March 2, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Since my friend Oren Miller was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2014, I’ve written about him only once. Between Oren’s own devastating and inspiring words and those voiced by so many others, I’ve not felt the need to share my own. Perhaps because I was too close, too involved, or because I had the privilege of offering my support and friendship in person — my words have not found their way onto this page.

Last Wednesday I was able to share what were to be my final words and moments with my friend. Three days later, Oren passed away.

One of Oren’s greatest passions was for the words of modern fathers — regardless of the size of their audience or the strength of their voice — to be heard. His wife Beth asked me to speak at Oren’s funeral, and the flood of words finally came…

oren miller, blogger father and friend

Oren Miller at my wedding, April 26, 2014. Photo by Soo Park.

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I have the unimaginable honor today to speak about my friend Oren. And though you can’t see them, I’m standing here with more than 1,000 other men, who, like Oren and his online handle, are bloggers and fathers. We’re fathers from all across the country and around the world. We’re young and old, new and experienced fathers (and grandfathers). Fathers who work outside the home, and those that work at home, raising their children. Fathers of every ethnicity, religion and economic level. Straight, gay, bisexual, and transgendered fathers; biological, adoptive, divorced, single, step, estranged, and reunited fathers.

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My 5-Year-Old Sums Up the Oscar-Nominated Films

February 20, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

I used to be all about the Oscars. The joke about them being the gay Super Bowl? I was more than happy to perpetuate that stereotype. For several years, Papa was in charge of the Oscar pool at his law firm — I was banned from participating after winning 2 years in a row. And as a couple, we took great pride in seeing every nominated film prior to the Oscars ceremony — sometimes even prior to the nominations being announced.

However, with the onset of parenthood, our movie-going habits declined substantially. And they certainly don’t include any Best Picture nominees. Nowadays, we either take Jon to see the latest kids’ movies, or we spend a rare date night seeing a sci-fi or superhero blockbuster — something that will keep us awake during our few hours of childlessness.

This year is the farthest yet we’ve fallen from our glory days of fine film viewing. The Oscars are in a couple of days, and we’ve seen exactly ONE of the eight nominated films. We should have seen this coming. Looking back at the years since Jon was born, here are our Best Picture nominee viewing stats: 2010 – saw 9 (of 10); 2011 – saw 4 (of 9); 2012 – saw 4 (of 9); 2013 – saw 2 (of 9). It’s a sad trend, isn’t it?

A few years back, I employed Jon’s help to recreate each of that year’s nominees. Seeing as he’s not as agreeable/posable as he was then, I instead just asked him to sum up all of the Best Picture nominees based solely on the name and poster for the movie — which is pretty much all I have to go on.

Without further ado, heretofore and whenceforth… I present to you, this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture, as summarized by my 5-year-old:

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oscars boyhood

BOYHOOD

It’s about a boy wearing a hoodie. Laying in the grass.

(12 Years A Slacker?)

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Even More Movie (& TV) Inspired DIY Valentines

February 12, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE

movie and tv-inspired diy valentines

As promised from earlier this week, here are a few more movie (and TV) inspired DIY Valentines that didn’t make the initial cut. The first batch was more family-friendly — these are a little less-so, and (in my opinion) a little more fun! Please enjoy, share, make your own, get inspired and create something even more crafty and fun and lovely. But above all enjoy your Valentine’s Day, whether it’s with a person — or a movie — that you love.

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GMCW Concert ‘When You Wish’ Ticket Giveaway

February 10, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE, THINGS DAD DIGS, THINGS MY KID DIGS

WHEN YOU WISH GMCW CONCERT GIVEAWAY - disney songs

Who wants to see me on stage as a dancing bear?

You’re in luck, because I sing with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC (GMCW); our next concert is When You Wish, featuring music from animated films and TV shows… and I’ve got FOUR TICKETS to give away!

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Movie-Inspired DIY Valentines

February 10, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

movie-inspired DIY valentines

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I combined my love of movies with my love of, well, love — to create some fun, crafty valentines. Each one portrays an iconic movie duo, coupled with quotes from their films. Feel free to share with family, friends, crushes or classmates – or get inspired to make your own!

Head over to Fandango Family to see the full reveal (as well as printable templates and handy tips for each), and then come back here before February 14 for a couple more DIY valentines that didn’t quite make the “family-friendly” cut for Fandango’s page.

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If you REALLY want to make my heart go pitter-patter, head over to the Designer Daddy Facebook page and click the “Like” and “Get Notifications” buttons.
XOXO
Designer Daddy

Sometimes I Wish My Son Was Gay

February 5, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

I WISH MY SON WAS GAY

Even before I became a father, I would read stories about little boys who didn’t like sports, or preferred Barbie over Boba Fett, or wanted to dress like Daphne for Halloween, or enjoyed having their toenails painted pink. Invariably there was an antagonistic relative, neighbor or onlooker going head-to-head with a proud, resolute parent who was coming to the aid of their atypical son. I’m sure these moms and dads went through a period of adjustment to reach their own place of acceptance, but in these stories they’re already proud Papa and Mama bears, stopping at nothing to defend their cub’s right to live outside society’s rules. One dad even wrote a letter to his hypothetically gay son, which melted my heart, as well as that of the bazillion other people who read it. These stories are beyond inspiring and give me hope for humanity.

So yeah, sometimes I wish my son was gay.

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Disney Junior’s ‘Miles from Tomorrowland’ a Sci-Fi Mashup of Galactic Proportions

February 2, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

DISNEY JUNIOR - MILES FROM TOMORROWLAND

If you’ve got a preschooler in your house, you probably already know there’s a new show premiering on Disney Junior on Friday, February 6 called Miles from Tomorrowland. But what you may NOT know is which video game (subconsciously) inspired one of the characters; or what aspect of the show was the brainchild of a pair of 3-year-olds; or which two iconic sci-fi actors may face off in an upcoming episode…

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Similac’s Formula to End the Mommy Wars Falls a Bit Flat

January 26, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

A new video from Similac does a near-flawless job of illustrating — and then defusing — the so-called “Mommy Wars.” Yet by excluding half of all parents from the name of their campaign, they undo much of the goodwill built up during the ad.

Take a look, and be sure and watch all the way to the end.

Founded in human nature and fueled by the Internet, the Mommy Wars have been raging in full force for quite a few years. Mothers, physicians, psychologists, educators and all manner of experts and amateurs weigh in on all manner of parenting-related topics: circumcision, vaccinations, diet, working or homemaking, spanking or time-outs, “cry it out” or co-sleeping, attachment parenting, Tiger Moms, helicopter parents, etc., ad nauseam, ad infinitum. Often perched atop the list: breastfeeding vs. formula.

Similac, a primary purveyor of formula, tackles this titular issue (and several others from the list above) in their new spot, set within an initially humorous gang war between multiple parent posses. In addition to the bottle- vs. breast-feeders, you see baby carriers & stroller-pushers, stay-at-home-moms & corporate office moms, disposable & cloth diaperers – all posturing on the playground. A bunch of dads can even be found rocking baby carriers and (natch) manning the grill.

SIMILAC - MOMMY WARS - DADS

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Remembering Robin Williams: A Mini Film Fest with My Son

January 15, 2015 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, POP CULTURE

The Oscar nominations have now been announced, and while many are making lists of films they need to see, planning Oscar parties, or predicting winners, I’m left wondering what kind of tribute will be given to Robin Williams during the ceremony. As a winner for Good Will Hunting, a 3-time nominee, and a co-host in 1986, I’m hoping his work gets the attention it deserves. When you stop and look at the span of his career, you understand why so many felt personally impacted by his tragic death in August of last year.

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One of my greatest joys as a parent has been sharing favorite films with my son. As he’s still quite young, I’m watching most of these family-friendly movies for the first time in decades. Add to that the thrill of seeing them through my 5-year-old’s eyes, and it’s always an amazing experience.

Until recently, I was going through my mental list of favorite movies when choosing ones to show my son. Then in August, Robin Williams passed away, and I decided I needed to introduce my son to this beloved actor’s work.

To my memory, the world hadn’t lost a movie star who was as popular – and still active – in quite some time. I’d wager any movie-lover’s list of favorites includes at least one of Williams’ films. My library includes five of them.

Robin Williams left behind a body of work that included more than 60 films, four of which had yet to premiere. One of these was Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, the third installment of the wildly popular series. Excited at the idea of taking my son to see one of Williams’ movies in the theater led us to embark on a mini Robin Williams film fest over the couple of months following Williams’ death.
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ROBIN WILLIAMS - ALADDIN

© 1992 Walt Disney Productions. IMDB.com

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5 Ways Little Kids Wash Their Hands

January 13, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

5 ways little kids wash their hands

They don’t call this the dead of winter for nothing. Bitter cold. No sunshine. Cooped-up kids tearing the house apart as you slowly tear out your hair. No new episodes of The Walking Dead  for nearly a month.

And the sickness – the never ending cycle of sickness.

Mid-winter is always rough for families with kids, and this year has been particularly infectious. Aside from getting a flu shot, the most effective way to prevent illness is to wash your hands. Every doctor, childcare professional, teacher, parent, and educational Muppet has been drilling this into your kids’ heads since birth. And yet, based on personal experience of how regularly my child practices responsible (unassisted) hygiene, it’s a wonder we’re not in the midst of a full-blown toddler zombie apocalypse. Here are five reasons why…

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