My Baby’s First…


If you’re a normal parent (or just otherwise normal) you probably finished this post’s title with the word “word.” Or if you’re the motivated type, the word “step.” Perhaps “tooth,” for the orally fixated. But it takes a special breed of parent to remember their child’s first logo.

I’ve met a lot of other dads in recent months, thanks largely in part to a Facebook group of Dad Bloggers. Among them are several sports nuts, a battalion of Star Wars fanatics, a few Lego freaks — all of which are hoping to pass their passions on to their offspring. While there’s definitely some overlap with many of the other dads, my love and appreciation of design — and where it mashes up with marketing and pop culture — is tops on my list.

From the onset of JJ’s visual development, I’ve kept a mental list (oh alright, an actual list) of the logos and brands he’s recognized on his own. Had he the memory capacity or verbal skills at the time, he might recall differently… but I’m pretty sure THIS is the first brand my kiddo knew:


If I have to explain the significance of the above logo and the role it’s played in my life these last three or so years, you’ve clearly never been or met a new parent.


Same-Sex Marriage: What We’re Really Fighting For

April 2, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF

marriage equality

While last week was a monumental one for marriage equality and its supporters, it was also quite eventful for our little family. A quick recap:

I was coming off a “theater high,” having performed the weekend prior in Xanadu with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. However, re-entry into real life was rather bumpy. I hadn’t been around for JJ’s nightly routine in almost a week, and he acquired a few new tricks in my absence: finding new (and unending) reasons to get of bed, coloring on walls, and a higher register in his screaming voice chief among them.

Our family dog baby girl was recovering from her third surgery in as many months — and she’s still not out of the woods.

Papa and I had our first date night in months. It was about as romantic as you’d expect between toddler parents (i.e. sharing stresses, trying to stay awake, drinking). Yet the real high point was me kneeling over the toilet at 4am, and then either parked on top of it or in bed for the next three days.

It wasn’t all screaming and sickness. An interview we’d done with NPR (not about gay marriage, but remote controls) aired on Morning Edition. While they used very little of what we recorded, and apparently I wasn’t miked well enough so can only be heard muttering in the background, it was great to hear Papa and JJ get some airtime!

Add to all that, ongoing struggles with money, work, eating/exercise habits, potty training, pacifier addiction, too much TV, not enough family time… It’s not surprising the Supreme Court hearings about Proposition 8 and DOMA snuck up on me.

I’m sure I’d gotten a dozen emails from various organizations I follow, and had even seen some chatter about it online. But with everything going on in my life, I was in a bit of a bubble… and not the cool Glinda the Good Witch kind.

So I was genuinely shocked when I logged onto Facebook late Tuesday morning and saw a sea of red — dozens and dozens of friends had replaced their profile photos with equal signs to show their support of same-sex marriage.

I was also genuinely moved. I not only felt accepted, but advocated for. And I felt a sense of community I’d never experienced on Facebook before. And it wasn’t just my LGBT friends — but a number of my heterosexual friends. It was having so many of them mixed in that made it feel more real, like more of a change had taken place.

As the day progressed, the numbers of red avatars grew. People (yours truly included) started creating their own versions, which ranged from the politically clever to the absurdly silly. Several  friends who’d made it to the rallies started posting photos of the crowds. Various news sites and blogs started uploading recordings from the hearings. And by the second day of hearings, there were already stories about the profile photo phenomenon happening on Facebook. All told, nearly 3 million people changed their profile pics to some variation of the red and pink equal sign.

I want to acknowledge all those straight friends in particular: I felt and appreciated the love. It didn’t just make me feel equal, it made me feel like I was being carried around on your shoulders at the end of Rudy.

Now before I get too sappy (too late?), I need to answer the question posed in the title.

What are we really fighting for?

While the show of virtual support was wonderful, and indicates in a small way how things have shifted, that’s not enough in itself. And the court battles are not just so we can get married. Gays have been creating their own weddings (commitment ceremonies, civil unions, beach parties) for decades. The same goes for building our own families, whether it’s through biology, adoption, surrogacy or circumstance. We’ve also learned ways to circumvent the walls blocking us from healthcare benefits, visitation rights, inheritance issues and parenting restrictions, so that we can protect these self-made families the best we can. We’re an industrious bunch.

But being a family is hard, regardless of who has what parts. And legal marriage makes all the stuff I’ve described — both the personal stories and the general issues — a little bit easier to manage. So to answer my question: We’re fighting for all of it. For marriage, for equality, for our families, for our lives.

Because when one week finds you dealing with food poisoning, dog surgeries, remote controls, temper tantrums and crayon graffiti, you’ll take all the legal/societal/spiritual/financial/emotional help you can get.

An abridged version of this article also appears on The Good Men Project.


Who Makes Your Heart Throb? (Free Stuff Alert!)

June 1, 2012 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

This weekend I’m performing with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC in “Heart Throbs” — our presentation of all things boy-bandy, crush-worthy and swoon-inducing. Whether you spent your youth (or adulthood) pining after David Cassidy, Sinatra, NSYNC or the JoBros, we’ve got you covered. Plus songs by Elvis, The Beatles, BSB, JT, MJ, NKOTB, Boyz II Men, New Edition, Ricky Martin, Maroon 5, The Monkees… like I said, covered.

AND… I’m giving away 2 FREE TICKETS to Sunday’s matinee performance.

Just post in the comments here (or Facebook or Twitter) who made/makes your heart throb by 5pm Saturday (June 2) and I’ll draw a winner from the entries!

Show info:
Heart Throbs
Sunday, June 3 at 3pm
Lisner Auditorium (GWU Campus)
730 21st Street NW
Washington DC

(PS: There’s also a Saturday night show, in case you don’t win these! Read more about the show on GMCW’s web site.)

(PS2: The spiffy show logo was created by yours truly.)

Advent In An Hour: Dec 5

December 5, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Woohoo, I’m caught up again! Today’s doodle is in honor of the upcoming Holiday concert of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington (of which I’m a member). It’s called “Red & Greene” and features a whole stocking stuffed full of Christmas classics, some campy confections, and several numbers accompanying our special guest, Ellen Greene! (hence the extra “E”…)

To refresh your memory (or perish the though, introduce you) Ms. Greene is most well known for starring in both the Broadway and film versions of Little Shop of Horrors, as well as being a cast member of Pushing Daisies and a guest spot as Syler’s ill-fated mother on Heroes. I saw the Little Shop film when it came out, and she’s always been my favorite part – with her distinctive voice that alternates seamlessly between quirky and powerhouse. Check her out singing “Suddenly, Seymour.” The powerhouse kicks in around the 1:50 mark.

And here’s a snippet from last night’s rehearsal, which she graciously attended even though the show’s not for another 2 weeks. How cool is that?!?


By the way, the show’s logo (below) was created by yours truly. I’m gonna do my best to get her to sign my program — fingers crossed! 🙂

Fridge Wisdom

October 1, 2011 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES

I had an idea a while back* — inspired by my blog’s masthead — to spell witty (and hopefully sometimes wise) things on the fridge using the magnet letters we seem to be accruing at an alarming rate (we’re up to 3 sets). As with any idea that requires more than me sitting on my ass at the computer, it took a while to get around to it. But at long last here I am, presenting my first installment of…

As I was playing around with this, I decided there needed to be some rules to keep it interesting (for me at least) and from getting out of control. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1. I can only spell words using the magnets I currently own (no Photoshopping in additional “T”s if I want to spell “temper tantrum” and only have one).

2. I can, however, manipulate letters to form different letters. (The “d” in “Fridge” is a “P” turned on its head)

3. I can use other, non-letter magnets – if needed – to spell a word. (See Starbucks magnet above)


Pre DD: Learning to fly

July 19, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Here I am – heart in hand (or morphing into a bird, rather) – once again apologizing for a long span of blog silence. But I’ve been busier than I have since… well, I can’t remember since when. And with the economy still recovering and so many friends looking for work, I am extremely grateful. Especially since I know a dry spell is always just around the corner. Such is the life of the self-employed.

But another reason I’m enjoying this giant mountain of work I’ve been buried under is that most of it is good stuff. And for a designer (well, for me at least) good stuff = 1 of 3 things:
1. Creative Freedom
2. Decent Budget
3. Likeable Clients

And in several cases, I’m even into my #4: Projects/Clients I Genuinely Support and/or Am Excited About. So yeah, I’m savoring this, counting my lucky stars, rubbing the Buddha, etc.

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