Superheroes

SuperLunchNotes: Elsa

July 22, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Day 2 of Girl Power Week is everyone’s favorite super cool Disney Princess/Queen/chart-topper/box-office smasher/Oscar- and probably Grammy-winner… ELSA!

SuperLunchNotes Elsa Frozen

I apologize if I’ve once again given you the icy mother of all earworms, but how could I do an Elsa note without using those three magical words? Words that also happen to give a not-so-subtle lesson in sharing and moving on with your life. Or at least onto another toy.

Stay tuned every day this week for more Girl Power notes as I gear up for (and attend) BlogHer’14!

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SuperLunchNotes: WyldStyle

July 21, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

It’s gonna be ladies night lunch all week in Jon’s lunchbox. I’ve been wanting to do a Girl Power Week for a while, and I figured the days leading up to my 1st BlogHer conference would be as good as any. I’m going to be among the few males at one of the biggest and longest-running blogging shindigs in the country. This will be an estrogen booster shot via Post-it note, if you will.

SuperLunchNotes Wyldstyle

Funny story about today’s note:
I followed the boys out to the car this morning; Jon wanted to see his note so he took it out of his lunchbox and was very psyched to see Lucy (AKA Wyldstyle), leading lady of The LEGO Movie. As Papa was loading him into his car seat, I recited his favorite line from “Everything Is Awesome,” “Rocks! Clocks! And socks! They’re awesome!”

Being the master-level rhymer that he is, my clever 4-year old echoed back with his own impromptu line, “Kicks! Nicks! And dicks! They’re awesome!”

I stifled a laugh and muttered something encouraging like, “Wow you’re a great rhymer buddy.” and warned Papa (AKA Nick) to steer clear of Jon’s feet today.

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Stick with me and you’ll go far! Like Designer Daddy on Facebook, and follow SuperLunchNotes on Instagram!

SuperLunchNotes: SPACE WEEK!

July 14, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Last week was “Space Week” on SuperLunchNotes, because Jon was also learning about space at his preschool summer program. Space Dress Up Day, Build A Rocket Day, Space Moon Bounce Day… capped off on Friday with a display of a “real rocket!” I’m not sure exactly what that entailed, but he sure was excited to tell me about it!

I even snuck in an extra surprise on Build A Rocket Day…
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banana rocket

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WEEK 48: July 7 – July 11, 2014

Buzz Lightyear  |  Nova  |  Silver Surfer  |   Miss Piggy  |  Han Solo

superlunchnotes Buzz Lightyear

Serendipitously, on Wednesday I accompanied Jon’s class on a field tripand Toy Story was the in-bus film!
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READ FULL ARTICLE >>

LEGO-Shell Partnership Claims Another Victim

July 8, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

Homeless polar bears. Drowning Santa. Emmet and Wyldstyle in a pit of black ooze — all tragic. Yet someone’s missing from this list…

lego-shell-aquaman
Graphic inspired by this. Which was inspired by this.

Silly Greenpeace, if you’re going to show the effects of the supposed LEGO-Shell partnership, how can you not include Aquaman? He stands to lose more than anyone in the apocalyptic oil spill depicted in your very, very sad video.

Grab a tissue and check out the doomy & gloomy (but admittedly creative) cover of “Everything Is Awesome.”

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So what say you, readers?
Are you ready to sign the petition and ban LEGO from your household until they completely disconnect from Shell? Or are you tired of all the bleeding heart propaganda getting in the way of building a life-size X-Wing Fighter? Get your rant on in the comments! 

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For more toys and superheroes and arguments and silliness visit and like Designer Daddy on Facebook and follow Designer Daddy on Twitter.

Super Dad: Oren Miller!

June 26, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

Riffing off my SuperLunchNotes, this summer I’m doodling a series of notes featuring some of my favorite dad bloggers… re-imagined as superheroes. Why? Because it’s fun. And because you should be reading these guys. And because I’ve gotten so much support from my community of blogging dad pals, I wanted to toss some good karma their way. I’m pretty super that way.
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SPECIAL EDITION
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MEET SUPER DAD OREN MILLER, A.K.A.

PROFESSOR O!

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Super Dad Oren Miller

About PROFESSOR O:
Origin:
The first time this father of two sat down to write, he spilled his coffee and a sippy cup of milk onto his laptop. As he frantically grabbed to salvage his computer, the caffeine and calcium fused into a super-technological compound, surged through his body, and immediately connected him to every other dad blogger — past, present or future!
Powers: Using only his mind, PROFESSOR O can seek out any dad blogger in the galaxy! He then connects them into a secret community where they learn how to use their own mutant blogging skills to squash stereotypes, offer support to one another, and advocate for fathers everywhere! He is also a master level blogger AND father: he can change minds and manipulate emotions through the written word, coordinate hundreds of dads with a few mouse clicks, and oversee a playdate complete with healthy snacks and an important life lesson thrown in for good measure.
Weaknesses: He gets really annoyed by exclamation points (!) and by the ever-changing Facebook group policies. Also hates Nazis.

About OREN MILLER:
Oren truly is a superhero to me and to the nearly 800 dad bloggers that belong to the Facebook group he started two years ago. Even before launching this informal group, he would search out new dads who were blogging and feature them on his site, A Blogger and a Father. This is how I first “met” him. I met him in real life a few months later, when he invited me to a meeting between several other parent bloggers and the governor of Maryland. There I was able to personally thank Governor O’Malley for all he did to pass same-sex marriage in our state — an opportunity that still boggles my mind and warms my heart.

I’ve not met anyone else in the blogging community with such a pure desire to connect and support people. His aspirations were never to appear on The Today Show or be the keynote speaker at a conference. His ambition is to find and build community, to start and continue dialog — not just about writing and social media, but about the struggles of life and the indescribable experience of being a father.

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EVEN SUPERHEROES NEED HELP
I had already planned to include Oren in this series of Super Dad notes, but this post is serving an additional, and vastly more important function…

At the end of May, Oren was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. The cancer had spread to several other organs, and he was given a prognosis of one year. Please take a moment and read his own words about this experience, as mine can’t begin to do it justice.

Shortly after his diagnosis, I started a fundraiser through GiveForward on behalf of our ragtag group of dads, with the hopes of raising $5,000 to send Oren, his wife, and two children on a family vacation. Within 12 hours it surpassed that goal, and now (less than 2 weeks later) stands to reach $30,000. The fundraiser has since pulled in many beyond his dad blogging community, with their generosity now earmarked for medical bills, education funds for the kids, as well as an unforgettable family vacation. To help attain (and surpass) this next benchmark, the extremely helpful and generous folks at GiveForward have offered to contribute $25 for each blogger who writes about Oren — up to $1000 (40 blog posts). By the time I publish this, I believe I’ll be number 40.

DON’T BE A BYSTANDER
If you have ever read and enjoyed my writing
, you have Oren Miller partly to thank. After my first year of blogging, I was considering giving it up, not having felt I’d connected with many people. Being featured on Oren’s site, joining the Facebook group, and having the privilege of calling Oren my friend have inspired me beyond measure. Not just as a writer, but as a father, a husband, and as a person on this planet.

Please consider adding your own contribution to this fund. It won’t bring a cure. It won’t buy more time. But it will extend the community of support for those Oren cares for most, connect you to something bigger than yourself, and make you — even if for a moment — a superhero.
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Oren and Brent

Oren and me at my wedding in April

Dad Blogger offspring

Future generations of parent bloggers goof around in Oren’s backyard.

 

Super Dad: Zach Rosenberg!

June 23, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Riffing off SuperLunchNotes, and inspired by requests from friends and readers of “Will you make MY lunch?!?” this summer I’m doodling a series of notes featuring some of my favorite dad bloggers… re-imagined as superheroes. Why? Because it’s fun. And because you should be reading these guys. And because I’ve gotten so much support from my community of blogging dad pals, I wanted to toss some good karma their way.

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MEET SUPER DAD ZACH ROSENBERG, A.K.A.

ZACHNEATO!

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super dad: zach rosenberg

About ZACHNEATO:
Origin:
When a bottle of Coke and a packet of Pop Rocks spilled onto a Ms. Pac-Man machine, ZACHNEATO emerged fully-formed, robed in pink, and ready to rule to world!
Powers: The ability to manipulate bits, bytes & blogs into anything he chooses. His hot pink robe and helmet make him impervious to Internet trolls and Twitter crashes.
Weaknesses: Without his fluffy pink armor, ZACHNEATO is susceptible to attack from his arch-nemesis, MR. A!

About ZACH ROSENBERG:
ZACH is the more vocal (and more pink) half of the blog 8BitDad. He and co-founder Bryan Ferguson have been making the blogosphere crackle with smarts and silliness since 2011(ish). They’ve got the comics/sci-fi/gamer beat covered, and do their fair share of reporting on all things fatherhood — particularly how it’s portrayed in the media. He is also a father and husband, and his favorite superhero really is Magneto. Or maybe Batman.

8BitDad 101:
The Ugly Truths Behind Caillou, Curious George and Max & Ruby
25 Reasons Kids Should Be Left Alone With Their Dads (I’m at #17. This list inspired my own)
Observations On Dad-Bias In 140 Commercials From 2013
BONUS: Their archive of hilarious video podcasts

 

 

SuperLunchNotes: The Power Of Dad…and Oral Hygiene

June 9, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF

Some of my favorite moments as a dad are ones I don’t even see. Like my son’s face when he finds the note I put in his lunch every day. I make them either the night prior or before he gets up the next morning; I then sneak them into his lunch bag, and send him off to preschool with Papa. I’ve heard plenty of compliments about them — from Jon’s teachers, his classmates, his classmates’ parents. And every afternoon when I pick him up, I ask Jon if he liked his note — you know, as a way to strengthen his memory recall and attention to detail…

So even though I don’t observe my son’s daily discovery, or get to see his friends huddled in anticipation of each new character, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been doing this for nearly a year now, and while it’s sometimes a chore to keep coming up with new ideas, it also forces me to think of something positive to say as I send him out into the world each day. It’s my little way of staying connected. A way to pass down my vast and vital knowledge of superheroes and pop culture. And it’s a way to use my powers as a Dad for good!

For this Father’s Day, I was included in a campaign for Oral-B called Power of Dad. One of the components was to post photos illustrating my paternal powers or other special fathering moments. I decided instead to dedicate a week’s worth of SuperLunchNotes to the campaign, while offering some much-needed reminders to my son regarding oral hygiene. I’m setting my #PowerOfDad to stealth mode.

Below are the notes, each captioned with a feature of Oral-B’s newest toothbrush, the Oral-B 7000 Black…and also a plug for their awesome floss.

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WEEK 43: June 2 – June 6, 2014 (Oral Hygiene Week)

Hulk  |  The Count  |  Wonder Woman  |   Venom  |  Princess Leia

hulk
Indicator® bristles remind you to replace your brush head every 3 months (sooner, if you’re a Hulk), or once they’ve faded halfway (or turned green, if you’re a Hulk).
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READ FULL ARTICLE >>

SuperLunchNotes: April 7 – May 9

May 16, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

With everything going on, I haven’t had the chance to post any SuperLunchNotes in a long while (uh, five weeks it seems). I’ve also been pondering ways to better incorporate them into the blog without boring you/me to tears. What say you, readers? Would you like a daily dose of SLNs? Or are you fine just seeing them every couple of weeks? Other ideas?

While you ponder that, let’s catch up a bit, shall we?
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WEEK 35: Apr 7 – Apr 11, 2014

Bane  |  Black Widow  |  Captain America  |   Minions  |  Daniel Tiger

superlunchnotes - bane blackwidow superlunchnotes - captain america minions

I was growing weary of the theme weeks, so I just did a week’s worth that were top of mind. Bane was on an episode of a Batman cartoon we were watching — plus he’s one of the few Imaginext figures not to have been featured on a SuperLunchNote yet. Cap and Natasha were in the commercials for Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which Jon saw several times), and also in the movie — which Papa and I saw on a too rare date night. And the Minions popped up repeatedly on the DVD of Despicable Me 2, on heavy rotation in our house.

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Beware the Blark-Blark!

May 14, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Somehow I was able to convince Jon not to play outside after preschool yesterday. Both our allergies were killing us, and given the chance, he’d keep rolling around in the pollen-covered grass until his eyes swelled shut. I instead agreed to play Power Rangers upstairs after dinner. When we finished eating, I hauled my tired butt upstairs to our bedroom (AKA, Jon’s Playroom Annex), and fell to with the Power Rangers play.

I’m admittedly a longtime hater of Power Rangers, whether they’re Mighty Morphin’, Mega Forcin’, or Samurai Warriorin’. But if you’re going to play make-believe, the Rangers and their enemies make for some great inspiration. String together any number of nonsensical words, and you’ve got yourself a weapon, costume upgrade or villain that will fit seamlessly into the established vernacular of the never-ending series.

Case in point, meet Blark-Blark! A creature I made up on the fly, accessorized only by a pair of oven mitts. I’m not really sure of his origin, but his powers include stomping around yelling “BLARK-BLARK!”, shooting Blark missiles at random times/angles and of course, tickling.

blark blark - power rangers - dad

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And here’s Baby Blark-Blark. While his stomping may not be as loud or his tickling as effective, his Blark missiles are infinitely more deadly than his father’s, as they are infinitely more random in their aim and trajectory. Sometimes they don’t even come off, yet are still delivered with a forceful Baby Blark-Blark hand inside it.

blark blark - power rangers - jon

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What’s your child’s favorite form of make-believe play? Feel free to share your own creative ideas, as I’m always looking for more!

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Defying Hail Hydra

April 15, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

I finally saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier last weekend, but cut me some slack, because babysitters are expensive! I also finally saw Wicked a few weeks ago. Cut me some slack again, because… well, I don’t deserve any for that one. I’m a bad, bad gay.

After seeing the former, the “Hail Hydra” meme finally made sense. (Who knew Garry Shandling could get any creepier?) And then I remembered the latter, and realized that no one (that I could find) had done this…

wicked hail hydra meme

Happy Tuesday. You’re welcome.

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And oh yeah, Hail Hydra.