star wars

Hasbro Star Wars Family Game Night: Which Character Are You?

November 16, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

Designer Daddy participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Hasbro. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — one of best parts of being a dad is sharing the things I loved as a kid with my son. And with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens looming on the horizon, we’ve had a blast experiencing anything and everything Star Wars-related.

And as if the awesome toys Hasbro sent us recently weren’t enough, they’ve hooked us up again — this time with a box of booty to have our very own Star Wars Family Game Night!

I loved playing board games with my family growing up. We had pretty much every word/trivia/brain-teaser game there was; and I’m sure this contributed significantly to my love of writing. Not to mention my competitive streak.

Game night was always fraught with fun and emotion, and everyone had their role to play. Mom, The Peacekeeper: making sure older brothers were more lenient with the younger; Dad, The Jokester: somehow managing to work a really bad pun into every answer he gave; Littlest Brother, The Ticking Time Bomb: always trying to keep up, rarely able to keep his cool. And then there was me, The Mastermind — masquerading as the mild-mannered big brother, but constantly plotting how to crush my younger siblings when they least expected it. (Cue maniacal laughter)

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As Jon is just 6, we’re still finding our roles when it comes to game night. But we did have a great time playing LOOPIN’ CHEWIE (his favorite of the bunch) with him and a friend. I’ll just post this photo as a review — you can’t fabricate a smile like this:

Hasbro Star Wars Family Game Night Giveaway


Stellar New ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Character Posters Revealed

November 4, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

I know, I know — another freakin’ Star Wars thing. I was beginning to tire of the never-ending hype machine, too. But with these new character posters for The Force Awakens released today, I got all giddy again. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a kick-ass poster series.

While the “official” Star Wars posters are some of the most iconic in cinematic history, they tend to get a bit busy. Even the new one — overflowing with detail and daring dissection/interpretation — is a mite a lot overcrowded.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Character Posters collage

Click to enlarge/download this nifty collage for use as a Facebook cover photo. You’re welcome!

That’s why I love these new posters so much. Star Wars is about the big picture, for sure. But at its heart are the individual people/creatures/droids we’ve come to know and love, root for and hate. It’s what sets the Star Wars universe apart from so many other sci-fi stories — character.

And while these may not be as hip as this series from The Matrix Reloaded, or as action-packed as this set from the final Harry Potter film, they are singularly striking and powerful. Weapons drawn, staring us down… simultaneously allowing us a glimpse into their souls (or lack thereof).

Okay, I’m rambling. Enjoy the posters.


The Force Is Strong with These Gay Dads in Campbell’s Soup Commercial

October 8, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE

Gay Dads Featured in Star Wars Campbell's Soup Commercial

In the last couple of years — leading up to SCOTUS legalizing same-sex marriage — the appearance of gay dads and lesbian moms in national TV commercials and online ad campaigns has become more and more common. I’ve featured many of them on this site. And while I’ve always been excited to see families like mine celebrated this way (or exploited, depending on your level of cynicism), I’ll admit they no longer have the same impact on me as they once did. Until last night.

Take a look at this new Campbell’s Soup commercial I spotted (during Modern Family, natch), which stars real-life gay dads having a “Vader-Off” in an attempt to get their son to eat.

Actors David Monohan and Larry Sullivan — a married couple in real life — star alongside their young apprentice, Cooper, as part of Campbell’s Real, Real Life campaign, and to promote their line of Star Wars soups. The family also appears briefly at the end of a second ad in the series.


Officially the Parent of a Kindergartner

August 31, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Okay, yeah. I went ahead and did one of these annoyingly cheesy, Pinterest-y “First Day of School” photos. But with that face, how could I not? Don’t worry, I took plenty of sweet (i.e., non-goofy) ones to send Grandma and Nonna. But my kid is a Grade A Ham, and I intend to exploit share that with the world.

First Day of School - Kindergarten

So how’d it go? Jon mentioned during his bath last night that he was a little nervous. When pressed further, he was concerned about having so much fun.

This morning he was eager, but not maniacally so. After we took our photos in the backyard, I told him we had to go inside so I could put the camera away. He said he wanted to meet us out front, so I watched as he struggled a bit to remount his backpack, grab his lunchbox, and walk ’round the house where he sat patiently on the steps until Papa and I made our way out.


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!


Pop Secret, Star Wars and the Battle of the Bag

June 11, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

Let me drop some Jedi Master-level parenting knowledge on you: Just because you grow up an epic Star Wars fan, then became a dad and go into hyperdrive raising your child in the ways of The Force, things might not turn out exactly as you’d imagined. With the passing of time and the expansion of Mr. Lucas’ universe, stark differences have emerged between generations of Star Wars enthusiasts…

  • When I was a kid, Darth Vader scared the bejeezus out of me — as was intended. Upon his first viewing of Episode IV, my then 4-year-old son squealed with glee at Vader’s debut.
  • When I was a kid, we called it STAR WARS, not A New Hope. Not Episode IV.
  • When I was a kid, you could easily find t-shirts with Luke, Han or the droids on them. Nowadays, the majority of Star Wars clothing for kids is adorned by the Dark Side — Vader, Boba Fett, Stormtroopers, etc.
  • When I was a kid, we collected action figures. Today? After six films and multiple animated series, there are hordes of figures in every size, not to mention headphones, watches, bike helmets, lingerie, pet costumes, snowboards, wedding rings, toilet seat covers, bathrobes, chopsticks, sleeping bags, and oh yeah, LEGO. SO. MANY. LEGO.
  • When I was a kid, there was no Jar Jar Binks.

Despite all these differences, there are two things that bind my son and I together like The Force: We both love a good light saber battle, and we both love to eat popcorn when we’re watching the Star Wars films. So when I signed on to help promote the #PopWars Video Contest for Pop Secret’s Pre-popped Popcorn, I knew my video had to include copious amounts of popcorn AND an epic light saber battle.

Pop Secret, Star Wars and the Battle of the Bag


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!


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

April 28, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE


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.


Dad 2.0 Summit 2015: A Community Reconvenes & Honors A Friend

March 21, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

There were several distinct differences between my first Dad 2.0 Summit and my second. I was a newbie before, now an old hand. After the previous conference, I left with heart and mind bursting at the seams with ideas and plans and inspiration; this year I was determined to come away with a more efficient focus on ways to be a better writer, a better father, a better man.

Yet the theme common to both — and to the times between and since — is community. Here are some highlights from this too-brief time communing in San Francisco with my Dad 2.0 family.


Michael Kimmel, the opening keynote, spoke at length about what makes a good man and a good father. As a professor of sociology and gender studies, and the author of over 20 books, this was right in his wheelhouse. He talked about privilege, referencing one of his own quotes: “Privilege is invisible to those who have it.” Kimmel was referring to men (particularly white men) and their inability to see their own advantage, when compared to women. In fact, the entirety of his talk revolved around men vs. women, and how the differences and comparisons determine how men are viewed (and view themselves) as fathers. Ironically, halfway through the keynote, I started to feel rather invisible. Not once did Kimmel mention gay men or gay dads. For me, being a dad has nothing to do with how I relate to women, but how I relate to my child. Afterwards I thought I might have been being overly-sensitive, yet over the course of that first day, half a dozen guys (one gay, the others straight) mentioned this same omission, wondering if I had noticed and how it had affected me. Admittedly, it threw me a bit. I was well aware the vast majority of the men at this conference were heterosexual; yet I didn’t expect to be reminded of that so prominently and so early in the conference.

Dad 2.0 Summit 2015

Silicon Valley execs talk innovations for working parents: Michael Rothman (Fatherly), Kevin McSpadden (Facebook), Tim Catlin (, Nina McQueen (LinkedIn)

The second keynote of the weekend was my favorite by far, as it featured a panel of Silicon Valley executives, talking about their respective company’s benefits, and the ways they support parents of any gender and families of any makeup. Particularly encouraging was the presence of Kevin McSpadden, the Director of Marketing at Facebook, and a fellow gay dad. Not only are these companies innovative in their technology, but in their appreciation of the balance between work and family life, regardless of what that family looks like.


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.
Designer Daddy

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