robots!

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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R.I.P. R2-D2

August 14, 2016 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

RIP R2-D2

Kenny Baker 1934-2016 Rest In Peace

While the character of R2-D2 will be around for a long, long time, I wanted to pay respect to the actor who played him in the first six Star Wars films. Special effects aside, Kenny Baker was the one who brought everyone’s favorite droid to life.

In October 1977 I was eight years old, and my dad took me and my younger brother to see Star Wars. There were so many moments in that first viewing that have stayed with me ever since. Certainly the adventure and fantasy are incredible, but the characters are what make the films more than just a thrill ride. Luke was the everyman I related to most; Chewbacca, the furry bodyguard I wished I had; and R2-D2 was the loyal friend — filling the screen with mischief and humor, all without a face or uttering a word.

Not long after seeing the movie (maybe the same day?), we got our first Star Wars t-shirts. My brother got the one with Sand People; I chose R2-D2, and I never really stopped…
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SuperLunchNotes: Now I Eat My ABC’s

March 18, 2016 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

As the old year rebooted to a new one, I kicked it off with SuperLunchNotes A-to-Z in my son’s lunch box. I was bored at the idea of just doing a character that starts with each letter, so I decided to include a word describing or associated with the subject. A word he could figure out on his own — either in context or using his ever-increasing reading skills. If he wasn’t always going to eat well, at least he could learn something.

I initially thought I’d also choose words that could apply to Jon, either in reality or aspirationally. But you’ll see I quickly hit a snag with “E” and broke that rule.

In any case, grab your lunch salad and a water (or goldfish crackers and a juicebox — I won’t judge), sit back and enjoy an alphabetized study in scrumptious superheroics!

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1.4 Aquaman  |  1.5 Brave’s Merida   |  1.6 Catwoman

superlunchnotes a-to-z

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The 50 Greatest Superhero TV Theme Songs of All Time: #1-10

December 31, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

50 Greatest Superhero TV Theme Songs of All Time

At long last… the Top 10. As with much of the list, this final batch is a mix of expected crowd-pleasers and personal favorites. I toiled long and hard on it, so if you take issue with some of my rankings, please be gentle.

Without further fanfare, the final installment of the 50 GREATEST SUPERHERO TV THEME SONGS OF ALL TIME!

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10. TEEN TITANS / TEEN TITANS GO!

2003-2006 / 2013-present

Anime-inspired Teen Titans balanced fun and sophistication, as did its retro-cool theme song. Cancelled after its fifth season, the show was reborn in 2013 as Teen Titans Go! Though the spin-off features the same heroes voiced by the same actors, that’s where the similarities end. As an appeal to a younger audience, everything was shortened: the length of the episodes, the characters’ stature, even the theme song. The Teen Titans theme was chopped and remixed, now buzzing with frantic layers of electronica — a perfect fit for this over-the-top send-up of young superhero life.

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Toy Box Life Lessons

October 15, 2015 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, POP CULTURE, THINGS MY KID DIGS

toys4bw2

My son’s transition to kindergarten has been more difficult than I’d anticipated. He finished preschool a confident, friendly, and bright young boy. I figured he’d just stroll into kinder (as the cool kids call it), turn on the charm, and settle right in.

Yet the first couple of months have been a roller coaster of emotions, for both of us. There are certainly plenty of good days, but also more bad than I’d hoped. The days — both good and bad — are long, a strain on his young mind and body.

My first inclination at pickup is to ask about his day…and if I sense something is amiss, to dig deeper, set it right, and dole out a life lesson on the spot. But often these attempts are met with blank stares from the weary 5-year-old in my back seat.

So when — and how — do I do my digging, setting, and doling? How do I discover what’s going on inside his scruffy little head, so I can then fill it back up with all the good stuff I want to share with him?

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Can’t Wait for Episode VII? LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales is Here!

July 4, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales

Back in February, you may remember I attended a conference in San Francisco. One of the many highlights of the Dad 2.0 Summit was a private tour of Lucasfilm! Sponsored by LEGO, it included a screening of top secret footage from an upcoming LEGO Star Wars project. Well, that project is now set to premiere, and I’m as giddy as a Gungan!

LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales is a five episode series that acts as a helpful (and hilarious) way to catch up prior to December’s premiere of Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens!

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5 Rebooted TV Shows to Share With Your Kids

June 30, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

One of my favorite things about being a dad is sharing my passions with my son. Whether it’s a certain song, a board game, favorite holiday or superhero, I never tire of re-experiencing these things together — and through his eyes, for the first time.

This is also true with the TV shows and movies I grew up on. Yet some of the shows and films I loved might not yet translate to a 5-year-old’s mind or patience level; or perhaps they didn’t age well; or they’re just plain impossible to find.

But as the saying goes, “Everything old is new again.” (Or was it, “All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again”?) In any event, pretty much anything you were into as a kid (movie, cartoon, comic book, toy, video game, etc.) has been rebooted, rehashed, reconfigured or reborn into a new iteration for you and your kids to enjoy. Here are just a few examples* that our family has found to bridge the generation gap!

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5 Rebooted TV Shows from Your Childhood to Share with Your Kids

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Super Friends
/ Young Justice

Super Friends was absolutely my favorite show as a kid. How can you lose with Superman, Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman? Yet as I watch the episodes now, they are as corny as the Wonder Twins’ jumpsuits are an unholy shade of purple. They were fine when my son was little-bity, but today’s kids (at least mine) have much more sophisticated tastes, and Young Justice fits that bill perfectly. It’s like Teen Titans, but with more glowering. Junior versions of the Super Friends/Justice League take on global threats, led by an ultra cool water-sword wielding Aqualad! And don’t worry, the old-timers show up from time-to-time, too.
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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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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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Big Hero 6 Review: A Big Hit with the Whole Family

November 10, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

To cap off a truly epic 5th birthday weekend for our little (sorry, BIG) guy, we put down the LEGO sets and headed out to see Big Hero 6 as a family. This had been in place for several months — long before we’d planned the birthday party or bought presents or spent way too much time stuffing the hero-themed goody bags.

On a previous family movie outing, we’d seen the trailer for a new film we knew nothing about called Big Hero 6. Yet by the end of the preview we were all hooked. Disney + Marvel + superheroes + martial arts + huggable robots = DUH. And then it said it was coming out November 7 — OUR SON’S BIRTHDAY. We made plans then and there to be back opening day.

Since the characters and story were new to us, I had fun doing some “research” and then “educating” Jon in preparation for the birthday viewing. We had a blast on the film’s web site, which included character profiles, video clips and a couple of cool games. I even bought a picture book to read at bedtime. Disney — ever the marketing masters — already had quite a few books (for all ages) available prior to the movie’s release.

And it probably comes as no surprise that I made lunch notes of all the characters. But okay, enough set up — what did we think of the movie?

Big Hero 6 - Hiro

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