INTERVIEWS

Comfort Cases Gay Dads Meet Ellen

June 7, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

“Their story is one of the reasons I love my job.”

– Ellen

A couple of my favorite gay dads (and favorite people in general) recently appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to talk about one of my favorite charities, Comfort Cases. I got some behind-the-scenes scoop on the experience from this amazing family I’m privileged to call friends.

The latest adventures of Rob and Reece Scheer & family found them being contacted by Ellen’s people back in February. They had seen the video produced by Upworthy, which at that point had over 11 million views. (It currently has over 83 million.) Inspired by the Scheer’s story and Comfort Cases mission, Ellen asked them to be on her show.

The interview happened back in March, but Ellen was so moved by the Scheers, that she decided to produce an original video segment to accompany their appearance on her show. If you haven’t watched the video yet, scroll up and do it now to avoid any spoilers! 🙂

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‘Snapdad’ Creates Adorable Masterpieces While Baby Sleeps

January 12, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

One of the first things new parents learn is the art of getting baby to sleep. And by “learn,” I mean reading books, scouring the Internet, texting your friends, calling your parents… and then winging it out of panic. Whether it’s naptime, nighttime, or OMG-WHY-IS-HE-AWAKE-time, getting an infant to sleep (or back to sleep) can be a harrowing, tedious, mind-numbing experience.

Then there are new dads like Lukas Costeur, AKA SNAPDAD. Since the birth of his son Felix, Lukas has been using Snapchat (and his creativity) to capture the special moments spent lulling his wee one to sleep. With nothing but the Snapchat drawing tool — and a willing subject — Snapdad has begun a whimsical gallery of pop culture baby pics.

snapdad

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Super Lunch Notes Fly Across the Internet and Around the World

March 30, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

super lunch notes - Today Australia

To say the last week has been a whirlwind would be an understatement. Perhaps a cyclone of sticky notes would be more fitting. Or a maelstrom of media. An avalanche of exposure? All would apply.

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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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Happy New Year from Designer Daddy, Depeche Mode & DMK

December 31, 2014 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, POP CULTURE

Early on in Designer Daddy’s existence, I learned about DMK — a Depeche Mode cover band from Bogatá, Columbia. If you’ve never heard of them, do yourself a favor and check out my Q&A from a couple of years ago with lead singer/video producer/dad extraordinaire, Dicken Schrader. He and his kids Milah & Korben (the “D,” “M,” and “K”) have added another Depeche Mode classic to their growing catalog, a whimsical cover of “But Not Tonight.”

The production and special effects are certainly more involved than their early, simpler videos. However, it still maintains the innocence and joy this family still seems to have performing together.

I thought the lyrics of “But Not Tonight” and DMK’s accompanying video were a fitting soundtrack as we reflect on the end of one year and the dawn of the next.

The stars in the sky
Bring tears to my eyes
They’re lighting my way tonight
And I haven’t felt so alive
In years

The moon
Is shining in the sky
Reminding me
Of so many other nights
But they’re not like tonight

Wishing you and yours a bright, peaceful, magical, Happy New Year.

Much love,
Brent
Designer Daddy

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Be sure to check out Designer Daddy on Facebook & Twitter for lots of exciting/silly/sappy stuff in the coming year!

Author Judith Viorst Talks Alexander, Movies & the Benefit of Bad Days

November 12, 2014 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, POP CULTURE

A couple of months ago my husband mentioned that he had a client whose mother was a children’s book author, and that a movie was being made of one of her books. He couldn’t remember the mother’s name, so I asked him his client’s name: it was Alex Viorst.

“You mean like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Alex?!?” I asked excitedly.

It was indeed the same Alex. And his mother — and the author of the book (and many others) — was Judith Viorst.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, was published in 1972, has sold over 2 million copies and won a myriad of awards. It spawned three sequels, the most recent published in September of this year. In 1998, Viorst worked with the Kennedy Center to turn the book into a musical production. On October 10, 2014, Disney released a film version of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner.

Judith Viorst - Alexander and the Terrible book

Like many kids who started reading in the 1970s, Alexander was a perennial favorite. Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled to talk with an author from my childhood. Many thanks to Nick and Alex for arranging this wonderful opportunity for me to chat with Judith about her books, the movie, her family, and the importance of bad days.

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Designer Daddy: I know you were involved in the creation of the musical of Alexander at the Kennedy Center. How much were you involved in the creation of the movie?
Judith Viorst: Zero. There’s a different set of principles between what authors do in the theatre and what they do in the movies. In the theatre, they really cannot change an and or a the without consulting you. So I wrote the script for the musical, I wrote the lyrics, and I worked with a friend of mine, Shelly [Markham], who wrote the music, and I was at every rehearsal. If they needed something, I wrote it. Nobody else did. And of course there was a huge amount of brilliant input from the director. But with the movie, they buy the book, they give you money, and that may be the last time you have anything to do with each other. They did arrange for a weekly fee for the 12 weeks they were making the film, if they felt the need to consult me. But they never felt the need to consult me. The musical was my take on the book, and the movie was Disney’s take on the book.

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Honey Maid Redefines “Wholesome” to Include Gay Dads

March 13, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, THINGS DAD DIGS

Looks like the gay agenda is continuing to blaze its flaming path into more and more homes, this time via a commercial for…DAH DAH DUM!!! graham crackers.

But seriously, this is a seriously sweet ad. Not only does it depict doting, gay dads, but also a mixed race family, a single father, and a tattooed dad banging the drums as his little girl dances around the living room. The ad, the campaign and the company have gotten quite a bit of coverage, but I wanted to get the scoop on some of the thought behind the spot.

A representative from Honey Maid was kind enough to answer a few questions in the midst of what I’m sure is an extremely busy time for them.

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DDQ&A: Khoi Vinh

January 24, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Of all the fellow designer dads I’ve interviewed,* Khoi Vinh is the one I’ve known the longest. We were together in the DC design trenches early in our careers, building up our portfolios and burning lots of midnight oil. While I can’t think of a designer whose style (and personality) is more different than mine, I’ve always respected and admired him and his work. As we’re both now dads of preschoolers, we finally have something more in common. Except that he also has twins, so I obviously have some catching up to do. I settled for catching up through this Q&A.

Q&A with designer dad Khoi Vinh
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Tell me briefly about your design career: how long in the industry, what kinds of clients you have and/or work you specialize in.
I graduated from art school in 1993 with an illustration degree but have done some kind of design ever since. Jeebus. Twenty years. I started out in print media and switched to digital media in 1998.

DD note: Khoi’s being coy (sorry, had to do it) and leaving out lots of details. He was the design director for NYTimes.com from 2006-2010, created a photo collage app, is a published author, and has been blogging for over a decade at Subtraction.com. In 2011, Fast Company named him one of “The 50 Most Influential Designers in America.” Coy, indeed.

NYT

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What If You Found Out Your Husband Is Gay?

October 11, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

gayhusband

For the last few weeks I’ve been lending my Dad-wisdom (limited as it is) to The Madness of Mommyhood Facebook page. Wednesdays are “Dear Dad Day” where readers from among the page’s 55k followers ask questions of myself and the other sage dad bloggers in our group. On occasion I’ll be posting my Q&A’s here. This one is quite heartbreaking…

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Dear Dad,

I need advice from a man. I am hurting so bad inside. I am 37 and I have been with my husband for 19 years this November, and we have two children together. I never in a million years thought I would catch my husband cheating on me. But he did, and it was with another man. I am confused and hurt. He is a good man for the most part. He provides for us and he has stuck by me through a lot of health issues. Sexually I have been lacking in that area due to having endometriosis and cervical cancer. I had to have a partial hysterectomy. I know there are other ways of pleasing him, which I have tried — more than I can count. But after awhile — especially the last year or so — I am just not in the mood.

I didn’t know he had an account with Yahoo and one day he left it open. I had seen conversations that he has [had sex] with men. Also, in one conversation he and this person were talking about my kids, and how “wives snoop so don’t forget to get rid of everything.”

I confronted him and he admitted it and said sorry, and that he doesn’t know why [he did it], but that he loved me and wanted to work things out. I love him more than anything. Counseling he will not do — he says it is a waste of time. I am trying to forget but the trust is gone. I don’t know if I can get it back. I am burying myself in my work and my kids.

Please can you give me some advice? It’s 19 years of my life that I am not sure I can throw away. My family knows he cheated on me but they think it’s with a girl. I just can’t tell anyone it was with a man.

– Hurting

 

Dear Hurting:

I just want to say how much I feel for you. Yours is an incredibly painful and confusing position. And you have every right to be confused and hurt (and angry and a whole lot of other things).

I really wanted to take your question, because I’m gay. I know you may not want to hear from a gay man right now, but I do have personal insight — at least into what your husband might be feeling and thinking — which I hope will in turn help you.

First of all — his affair, lying to you, being attracted to men — it’s not your fault. AT ALL. Regardless of who it was with, he shouldn’t have cheated. And his attraction to men has absolutely nothing to do with you personally or how good you are in bed.

However your husband being gay is not HIS fault, either. All evidence (and my personal experience) suggests people are gay or straight from birth. But due to whatever pressures are in a person’s life (church, society, family) many still remain in the closet into adulthood, oftentimes getting married in hopes the feelings will go away. I’m certain he didn’t set out 19 years ago to marry you only to break your heart and become attracted to men. But he is clearly, in my mind, gay. And that is not going away.

I never married a woman, but I dated quite a few, each time hoping something would click, I’d fall in love and be physically attracted. I grew up in a religious home, so being gay was never an option. I know I broke the hearts of several women, though it never got as far as marriage or children. But I have many close friends who did get married, had kids, stayed with their wives as long as they possibly could, until it got to the point one or other in the marriage knew it was over. Some had affairs with men prior to divorce, some didn’t. Regardless of how your marriage ends up, you have the right to ask him to stop cheating on you. If that’s what you want, you tell him so. He needs to be a man, honor his wedding vows, and keep it in his pants while you figure out what to do next.

Regarding counseling: If you’re hoping it will change your husband’s attraction to other men, then he’s right — it’s a waste of time. Take it from someone who spent nearly 10 years in therapy in attempts to “fix” my sexuality. But if YOU need the counseling — to work through your emotions, ask the questions you want answers for, and to just be heard — then go. Whether he goes or not, YOU GO. I personally think he owes you some counseling, if for no other reason than to talk together with someone about what to do next.

I’m not going to say that there’s no way to save your marriage. I know of couples that have arrangements where they can have outside partners, as long as they come home to one another. Or they stay together “for the kids,” lying to them through it all. But I don’t advocate either of those scenarios, because they only keep the lies and deception going. And they continue to “throw away” your time and your life.

Someday I hope you’ll be able to see your marriage as more than a complete waste. Right now I imagine that’s not possible. Don’t worry about other relatives — you can tell them if and when you want to. But for your sake, your husband’s sake, and for the sake of your kids, you need to be honest with them and yourself. Get some counseling, seek out support groups for women married to gay men (there are many), find private groups on Facebook or Yahoo with women in similar positions. You may feel alone, but you’re not.

– Designer Daddy

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Visit Designer Daddy on Facebook for more light-hearted fare and the occasional adorable toddler photo.

Would You Protest A Transgender Student Using the Girls’ Bathroom?

September 30, 2013 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

trans-bathroom

For the last few weeks I’ve been lending my Dad-wisdom (limited as it is) to The Madness of Mommyhood Facebook page. Wednesdays are “Dear Dad Day” where readers from among the page’s 55k followers ask questions of myself and the other sage dad bloggers in our group. On occasion I’ll be posting my Q&A’s here. This first one’s a doozy, and garnered quite a few comments – not all of them supportive.

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Dear Dad,

There is a male-to-female transgender kid in the high school where I live, who is allowed to use the female restroom for safety. Some fathers are outraged that a boy is allowed in the girls restroom. There are NO complaints on him, for harassment, sexual advances or anything like that. In fact the girls don’t seem to mind. I’ve read in a parenting group that some fathers are prepared to “beat his ass straight.”

My question for you is: Would you be so offended that you would demand this kid be thrown out of school or demand him not be allowed to use the girls’ restroom? Once again, I stress that he hasn’t hurt anyone, he hasn’t peeked over stalls to look at them, he hasn’t asked for or offered sexual favors. He urinates and goes on with his day. I’m so deeply saddened over the treatment of this kid.

– A Concerned Mom

 

Dear Concerned Mom:

I’m pretty sure I can speak for all of us in the Dads Day crew that we would NOT be offended by this student using the girls’ restroom. We would, however, be happy to talk with any of these ignorant d-bags you encountered online. Or “beat their asses smart,” if necessary. These stupid, scared men have nothing to fear — not for their daughters, their sons, or themselves. I imagine this kid is trying to just survive high school — or at the very least, do her “business” like everyone else, and get to class. And if he’s truly identifying as a female, then she’s sitting down to use the bathroom, so no peeking, and nothing to peek at.

So to answer your question, no, I would not be offended or concerned over this, other than for the student’s continued safety. Yet I AM concerned for what harm these dads may be doing to their own kids, passing down such dumbfuckery.

But I’ve got a couple of questions for you. This parenting group where you read the violent comments — is it officially associated with the school? If so, this kind of hate speech should be monitored and dealt with immediately.

Does the school have an anti-bullying policy, and counselors and/or administrators trained to deal with issues relating to gender identity? Letting her use the correct restroom is a good start, but there’s more to it than that.

My advice to YOU is to keep being open-minded and concerned. Share these views with your kids and their friends. Be as vocal (or more so) than the ones spreading the lies and stupidity.

Keep fighting the good fight! We in the LGBT community need and appreciate each and every one of you, our awesome straight allies!

– Designer Daddy

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Come check out Designer Daddy on Facebook, for lots more style, sass & sentiment. And funny pictures.
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