DIY Superman Father’s Day Card for Your Super Dad!

June 8, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

DIY Superman Father's Day Card

I’ve been teaching my son about superheroes since birth – beginning, of course, with Superman. His brightly colored costume and superhuman abilities, paired with an innate goodness and endless supply of hope, make Superman the understandable idol for even the youngest of superhero fans.

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9 Netflix Titles for Non-Traditional Families

May 30, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE

As part of what is often labeled a “non-traditional family,” (or NTF*) I strive to fill our son’s life with people, experiences, and stories that reinforce that there’s a place in the world for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, skin color, or how their family is made — including an adopted boy with two gay dads.

While our family may be atypical in it’s makeup, we are extremely typical (boringly so) in that we have the same worries as so many other parents.

How will our son do well in school?” “Will he ever eat his vegetables?” “Who will his friends be?”

Yet add to that list “Will he be treated differently for having two dads and being adopted?” and we’re back in non-traditional territory. And as any NTF parent can attest, finding books, toys, TV shows, and movies that represent your family can be challenging.

netflix titles for non-traditional families

One great resource I’ve found is something we already had — our Netflix subscription. As a long-time Netflixer (?), I consider myself an expert at finding the perfect show to appease or distract my energetic 5-year-old – or even provide some occasional downtime for his two dads.

Below is a list of nine great Netflix titles that provide just the right mix of entertainment, encouragement and empowerment for our little NTF.

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Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Ireland, Lots of Eyes Smiling

May 26, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

same-sex marriage in Ireland

A hearty congratulations (and a lifted pint) to the people of Ireland! On Saturday, The Emerald Isle became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. With a turnout of 60% of the population, the marriage referendum was approved by a 62-38% majority.

While it’s encouraging to see a sizable number of its citizens voting to legalize same-sex marriage in Ireland, it’s still a shame that such a vote had to happen at all. Not just a shame, unethical. Someone’s freedoms shouldn’t be determined by the will of the masses — especially when the individuals in question are well in the minority.

Can you imagine having to allow millions of strangers vote whether or not you could marry the love of your life? I can. It happened three times in my home state of Maryland. Only after the third vote passed (by a small margin) was I able to legally marry Papa… whom I’d been with for 17 years. Maryland was part of the first (and only) batch of U.S. states to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. While the eventual result was wonderful, the process was humiliating and frustrating, leaving myself and many others in the LGBT community feeling powerless and without advocate.

Still, I’m happy for Ireland. And with our country’s highest court deciding the fate of same-sex marriage very soon, I hope Ireland’s progress helps sway SCOTUS in the right direction.

Another thing Ireland can teach the U.S.? How not to be a sore loser. Several groups opposed to the Marriage Referendum showed good sportsmanship in the face of defeat.

“Congratulations to the Yes side. Well done.” was tweeted by a conservative Catholic think tank.

Mothers and Fathers Matter, another group opposing same-sex marriage, stated, “This is their day, and they should enjoy it. Though at times this campaign was unpleasant for people on all sides, nobody who involves themselves in a campaign does so with anything but the good of their country at heart. There is no better way to resolve difference than the way we are using today.”

Can you imagine an American politician (on either side) saying anything even remotely similar? How about a Supreme Court justice? Certainly not Scalia.

Here’s wishing on a four-leaf clover…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A handy map showing the progress of same-sex marriage in the world. And you thought it was frustrating looking at the U.S. map…

same-sex marriage in ireland
Click to biggefy. Source: Wikipedia

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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 previous magnet posts.

For more family-friendly(ish) fun, visit Designer Daddy on Facebook!

DMK Releases First Original Song, ‘Pale Blue Dot’

May 22, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

DMK — the incredibly talented (and adorable) Depeche Mode cover band from Bogotá, Colombia — has written and recorded their first original song, “Pale Blue Dot.”

Dicken Schrader, daughter Milah (11), and son Korben (8) have been performing as DMK for the last 5 years, putting their creative touch on “Enjoy the Silence,” “Black Celebration” and half a dozen others Depeche Mode classics. They’ve gotten to perform live for crowds all over the world, and even ventured beyond the kids’ bedroom into more creative video productions.

Their latest is an all-new, original family project, with Dad on keyboard and kazoo, Milah playing the ukulele and recorder, and Korben tackling the xylophone and accordion. “Pale Blue Dot” was inspired by Carl Sagan’s book of the same name, and is a simple, sweet song about being connected on this “pale blue dot” we all call home.

A more detailed (and bittersweet) explanation of the song, from the band’s YouTube page:

It was written by Dicken and dedicated to Milah and Korben — who will soon move outside the country to live with their mother — to remind them that our planet is just a tiny speck of dust in the vastness of space and so it doesn’t matter how far away we go, we will always be together.

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New Clothing Line Tackles Gender Stereotypes One Adorable T-Shirt at a Time

May 21, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

svaha girls clothes

Sugar and spice and everything nice? Not always. Sometimes little girls are made of sports and science and everything nerdy. Sometimes they’re not enchanted by princesses and sparkles and fairy wings. Sometimes they don’t think pink.

More (girl) power to them! But when it comes to buying clothes for such independently-minded young ladies, what are progressive, supportive parents to do?

One way to encourage and empower your kids is to check out Svaha, an awesome and awe-inspiring new clothing company. A designer friend turned me on to them, and I was instantly charmed by their cute-as-pie/out-of-the-box designs for little girls. Watch this video to learn more…

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Celebrating ‘Supergirl’ and Girl Power With SuperLunchNotes!

May 18, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, POP CULTURE

girl power superlunchnotes

Ever since I started putting notes in my son’s lunches, I’ve tried to ensure a good representation of female characters. The same goes for educating him about superheroes outside the context of lunch, and about life in general. Yet any parent that has attempted to teach gender equality to their kids knows it’s an uphill battle. As much as you try to debunk stereotypes, model acceptance, and expose them to what’s fair, you’re regularly thwarted by a toy company, or the aisles of a retail store, or that boy at preschool who convinced your kid that “Frozen is boring…because it’s for girls.”

Then last week, the trailer for the upcoming Supergirl TV show debuted, and I saw a glimmer of hope on the horizon…

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Welcome to the Party: Gay Men Have Been Appreciating ‘Dad Bods’ for Years

May 14, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

dad bod or gay bear

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve no doubt heard the term “Dad Bod,” and have subsequently seen a marked increase in the number of paunchy, fuzzy man-tummies in your strolls through the Internet.

The term was coined by a college student to describe her ideal guy: a less-ripped/more average fellow who she could cuddle up to and ultimately settle down with. This phenomenon has had beer-bellied men rejoicing, some women crying foul, and me wondering why this is news.

Dad Bods aren’t a new trend, at least not with the always-ahead-of-the-curve Gays. Gay men have been celebrating their stout brethren for decades, declaring definitively that Fat + Hairy ≠ Undateable. They’re called Bears, and as a card-carrying member of this cuddliest of gay subcultures, I want to officially welcome you to the party!

While not without their flaws and stereotypes, Bears pride themselves in being more accepting of the average-to-overweight man. Bears are the “real man’s” alternative to the cliché of a smooth, sculpted Adonis. And as a gay bear and a dad, I am undoubtedly the ultimate expert on what constitutes a “Dad Bod” …and how to make the most of it.

So to my hefty, hetero brothers, let me offer you some of my unsolicited expertise.

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How Was Your Day? or To the Sun and Back

May 7, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

how was your day - to the sun and back

Maybe it was the perfect weather — where the last cold evening had passed, but the first sweltering one had yet to arrive. Or perhaps it was the extra hint of eagerness (sweetened with politeness) in his voice. Or was I thinking of my friend, and how he’ll never again be asked, “Daddy, can you come play with me?”

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10 Stellar SuperLunchNotes to Celebrate Star Wars Day

May 4, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

star wars day superlunchnotes

Star Wars Day could also be called Pre-Father’s Day. What other holiday says “Dad” more than one centered around the most awesome movie series of all time, gained popularity as an Internet meme, and is all based on a pun?

To celebrate Star Wars Day, (May the 4th be with you, in case you’ve been stranded in the deserts of Tatooine and didn’t get the joke) Jon helped me pick out 10 of our favorite lunch notes to share with you. I’ve done 25 Star Wars-related notes for Jon since starting he started preschool, and I can’t believe by this time next year, I’ll very likely have doodled several NEW characters for him!

Be sure and fire up the hyperdrive and jump over to my SuperLunchNotes Instagram account to check out today’s all-new, never-before-doodled Star Wars character that went into today’s lunch!

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Know Your Movie Robots: From Cute to Crazy & Everything In Between

April 28, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

KNOW YOUR MOVIE ROBOTS - AVENGERS ULTRON

For nearly as long as there have been movies, there have been movie robots. Throughout the decades, they’ve come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. These mechanical men (and women, monsters, and teddy bears) never cease to mesmerize moviegoers as they intermittently aid or annihilate mankind.

With so much rich, robotic, cinematic history — and with so many different makes and models — I thought it would be helpful to create a graph categorizing some of the best known/loved/feared movie robots. And with the impending arrival of Avengers: Age of Ultron, you really need to know what you’re getting into. This guy Ultron is bad news (see #20).

The ‘bots are arranged on a quadrant graph from nice to nefarious, and from super smart (fully independent) to not-so super smart (only do what they’re told). See if you can guess them all, then scroll down to where they are listed chronologically by their first film appearance.

Without further introduction… these are the droids you’re looking for.
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