monsters!

October SuperLunchNotes: A Month of Villains!

November 1, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Admit it — villains are more fun sometimes. They get all the good lines, they have the coolest gadgets and flashiest costumes, and they always go out with a bang. So in honor of Halloween and all things villainous, October SuperLunchNotes were ALL BAD GUYS ALL THE TIME. So sit back in your high-backed chair, stroke your white cat or twirl your mustache, and enjoy these devious doodles.

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10.2 Cruella de Vil

October SuperLunchNotes

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Monstrously Delicious Back-to-School Meals with Barilla

October 3, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

Monstrously Delicious Back-to-School Meals with Barilla

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Barilla; the content and opinions are my own.

Jumping back into a school year schedule can be scary. Trying to serve school night meals that are quick, simple, healthy, and delicious can be downright terrifying.

Adding to the terror is the fact that I’m not much of a chef. What I am is a crafty mad scientist. I don’t so much mix ingredients as I do assemble supplies. Hence my most successful creations end up looking more like experimental DIY projects than respectable meals prepared by an adult.

And yet, all that playing with food and making things more fun than they need to be works well with being the dad of a picky eater. And I’m not talking prefers-blanched-asparagus-over-steamed picky. I’m talking eats-roughly-the-same-number-of-things-as-he-is-years-old picky.

Luckily, my persnickety seven-year-old loves pretty much every variety of pasta. Also lucky? Barilla has 38 different pastas and 14 different sauces with which to satisfy my hungry, finicky beast.

In addition to their endless meal combinations, Barilla products fulfill that whole quick, simple, healthy, and delicious list I mentioned earlier. It’s not surprising they’re the #1 pasta brand in both the United States and Italy… as well as the preferred brand of my first generation Italian husband!

While our family certainly enjoys tried-and-true meals like spaghetti with meat sauce, lasagna, and baked ziti, I like to get creative from time-to-time to hold my son’s interest. Who am I kidding? It’s just as much fun for me! Here’s one of my favorites… MONSTER PASTA!
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12 Days of Christmas Lunch Notes

January 2, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

12 days of christmas superlunchnotes

As with many of my ideas, this one started bright but with very little planning — certainly not enough to allow for the predictable unpredictableness of the holidays.

“I SHOULD DO A ’12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS’ SUPERLUNCHNOTES! I’M SO NIFTY & CREATIVE! AND I’M SURE I CAN THINK OF ALL TWELVE, SO THERE’S NO NEED TO PLAN THIS OUT VERY FAR IN ADVANCE!”

I was zipping along doing a note a day to culminate on Christmas Eve. But then my 7 year-old got sick. Then some work crises sprung up. Then I traveled to Texas for a friend’s funeral. Mix in all the seasonal insanity of shopping, decorating, planning — and for the first time in our new house — hosting, and that puts me here, on January 2nd, posting about Christmas. Right on schedule.

In my defense, my (after-the-fact) research shows that “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is in fact about the days following December 25th, not those preceding it. Ergo, this post is actually a little ahead of schedule. Gold star for me. ⭐

Blah, blah, blah — here are the notes, along with a few notes on the notes.

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Brains, Schmains: How About Some Zombie S’mores!

February 10, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Zombie S'mores!

S’mores are just about the most perfect snack. First, there’s the simplicity of them: chocolate + marshmallows + graham crackers; heat, eat, repeat.

They’re also super easy to customize, personalize, and accessorize. Maybe you like yours with peanut butter, or Nutella instead of chocolate; or maybe once in college you experimented with s’mores made from Pop Tarts and have always fantasized about trying that again.

And finally, s’mores are always in season: they taste just as gooey and delicious whether you’re huddled around a campfire telling ghost stories or huddled on the couch binge-watching The Walking Dead.

Speaking of zombies…
A while back I made some spooky monster s’mores for my son’s class Halloween party. They were such fun to make (and a big hit with the kids), that I thought I’d revisit this snack-craft and see what other monstrosity I could come up with. Then it hit me — ZOMBIE S’MORES. What could be more fitting than a gooey, melty, drippy snack made to look like a gooey, melty, drippy reanimated corpse?!

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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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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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The Best of 2014: SuperLunchNotes!

December 31, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Best of 2014: SuperLunchNotes DESIGNER DADDY

I hope to get around to a “Greatest Hits of 2014” post for all of DesignerDaddy.com, but until then this one will have to do. It’s been a while since I’ve posted any SuperLunchNotes, so here’s a Year In Review/Top 14 (give or take)/Best of 2014 thing. It was hard to narrow them down or pick a statistical manner in which to list them, thus I went with a mix of most popular and personal favorites of both mine and Jon’s. Bon Appétit! (Note: click all the smaller notes to view in Big-O-Vision!)

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Movie-Inspired Halloween Costumes

October 28, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

If you’re frantically looking for easy, last-minute Halloween costume ideas, this is probably not the post for you. But if you love Halloween, creativity and the movies, you’ve come to the right place!

I recently started writing family-related content for Fandango, and my first assignment was an article about creative family Halloween costumes. Our family has always had a blast dressing up together, and I knew I had more than a few friends out there who did the same. So I pooled my massive sea of Internet resources, and they delivered… TOO MUCH! I ended up with more content than Fandango could use, so I wanted to give these other cinematically-creative families the spotlight on my own site. Go grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy these picturesque, movie-inspired Halloween costumes!
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Halloween costumes - Rocket Raccoon - Guardians of the Galaxy

Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy
An avid comic book fan, James decided to make his young son into Rocket Raccoon for an upcoming comic-con, who had seen (and been enamored by) the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer he’d seen on TV. The costume was a simpler version than shown here, but James made it all himself. At the convention it caught the eye of an experienced costumer who ended up making the custom mask, feet and tail shown in the photo. Way to work a room, Rocket! James’ son will, of course, be trick-or-treating in his full Rocket gear this Halloween.

Get the look: The jacket was made by cutting up and sewing pieces from a red t-shirt onto a navy turtleneck, accented with gold buttons. The raccoon tail (found at a frontier shop) was sewn into the seat of blue sweatpants. Read more here.

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SuperLunchNotes: Back to School, or Why I Stopped Telling My Son I Loved Him

September 25, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Holy Time-loss, Batman! Has it really been a year already?! For the first week of school, I wanted to come out strong on the lunch notes, as this was the start of my son’s second year of preschool. So I went back to where it all started…Batman. His image is the most iconic, most adaptable, and rife with puns to be played upon. I threw in some other favorites (Cyborg, GL), Daddy’s favorite (Aquaman, duh) and a first appearance from Booster Gold, who we’d watched on an episode of Batman: The Brave & the Bold recently.

And finally, for good measure I added “♥ Daddy” as a signature. This was to be a short-lived addition…

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BACK TO SCHOOL WEEK-ish: August 28 – September 5, 2014

Batman  |  Green Lantern  |  Mr. Fantastic  |  Aquaman  |  Cyborg  |  Booster Gold

Designer Daddy Batman

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Halloween Treats: Spooky S’mores

September 3, 2014 | By Brent Almond | THINGS MY KID DIGS

For my son’s very first class party, I made the rookie mistake of not pouncing on the snack sign-up sheet. It was for his preschool Halloween party, and by the time I got around to volunteering, all that remained was the dreaded “other” category.

But I’m always up for a creative challenge. So I retreated to my laboratory, pulled together some randomly yummy ingredients, and SPOOKY S’MORES were born! Mwaaa-ha-ha-haaaa!

Halloween Treat: Spooky S'mores

I got weird & wacky with the snacks for my very first class party

But wait — aren’t s’mores supposed to be toasted? Technically, yes. But I wasn’t about to bring an open flame into a classroom full of three- and four-year olds. At least not at my very first party. Trust me — they’re plenty yummy without being heated, and certainly messy enough in this form. However, I may try them another time with pre-toasted marshmallows. That could make for some very cool melted eyes/zombie effects…

They’re super simple to make, and you can even employ the help of your kids. Just make sure they (and you) have a healthy snack beforehand, or be prepared to lose quite a few ingredients in the process of putting them together.

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