The Poor, Forgotten Blog Post

Posted by TechyDad on September 29, 2014 under Blogging

mystica_(Light)_bulbOn Wednesday, I picked JSL up from B’s parents house and started running some errands before coming home.  On the way, JSL and I got to talking, as we usually do.  I don’t remember the conversation much.  It was likely the usual things.  School, books he is reading, stuff he wants to do, stuff he has done.  That sort of thing.  Something in the conversation sparked an idea, though.  An idea for a great post topic.

I’ll admit that great post topics are hard to come by at times.  All too often, I’ll sit in front of my computer, with the blank post window staring back at me, wondering just what I should write before it gets too late.  Too many times, I get annoyed by the stares of the blank window and the emptiness of my idea bank and turn on the TV or do some idle web surfing to try to spark something.  Why I do this, I don’t know because it almost never works.  Instead, I find the hour even later with still no post in sight.

So when I had this idea, I should have written it down.  Obviously, I was driving at the time so jotting down the idea while steering the car was a no-no.  Still, I was in an area where I could have pulled over and quickly sent myself a reminder e-mail.  I didn’t, though.  I was sure I’d remember the idea later.  We all know how that usually turns out.

Now the idea feels like it’s still in my head, but just out of reach.  The more I grasp for it, the more it slips *just* past the edge of my mental fingertips.  It feels like if I just strain a bit more, I’ll recall it, but nothing seems to bring it back.  I even asked JSL if he remembers what we were talking about in the hopes that this would re-spark the idea, but he’s forgotten the topic of conversation.

So it seems that the idea is lost and – turning lemons into lemonade – I’ve turned the loss of the blog post idea itself into a blog post.

On a related note, while lamenting the loss of my idea, I noticed that the latest Dork Tower had been published by John Kovalic.  In it, he deals with ideas that get lost because they weren’t written down.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear he was following me around.

dork-tower-ideas

(Click the panel for the full Dork Tower comic.)

I’m sure, for the next couple of days, I’ll struggle to remember what the post was about.  Whether I recall it or not, I don’t know.  All I do know is that, the next time I get a blog post idea, I’m writing it down!

NOTE: The "light bulb" image above is by mystica and is available from OpenClipArt.org.  I modified it by adding a question mark.

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A Doctor Who Rosh Hashanah Greeting

Posted by TechyDad on September 24, 2014 under Doctor Who, Holidays, Judaism

The next two days are Rosh Hashanah.  During this time, Jews will celebrate the new year with sweets such as apples and honey.  If you are Jewish, then I’d like to wish you a very happy new year.  If you aren’t Jewish, then go ahead and have some apples and honey anyway.

Wibbly-Wobbly-Shanah-Tovah

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Addicted To Perler Beads

Posted by TechyDad on September 22, 2014 under Crafting, Doctor Who, Geeky Pursuits

We seem to have a new addiction in our household: Perler beads.

Have you ever used these?  If not, let me explain what they are.  Perler beads are tiny plastic beads.

beads

You place them on a plastic pin board to make designs.

bead-pegboard

When your design is done, you use an iron to slightly melt the beads, keeping perler bead ironing paper – or just parchment paper – between the beads and the iron.  (If you don’t, the beads might melt ONTO the iron and this would obviously not be good.)

bead-ironing

When the ironing is done, and your creation cools, you have something very cool to play with.

My first creation, of course, was David Tennant’s Doctor.

doctorwho

While I was making this, NHL made an ice cream sundae.

icecreamsundae

Later, JSL joined in the fun.  He wanted to make Robin from the Teen Titans TV show.  We looked up an image online and worked on it together.  I told him what colors to use and he placed them in.  Then, I ironed it for him.

robin

After this, I decided to look up Autism awareness patterns.  I found a nice small one of the Autism "puzzle pieces."  It turned out so nice that I glued it onto one of the blank tie clips I have.  Yes, I plan on wearing this into the office.

autism-tie-clip

I’ve also considered making more of these and attaching them to pins to wear when I don’t have a tie on.

I also made a larger one that we’ll turn into a magnet.

autism-large

JSL worked on some fireman pieces (which aren’t completed enough to make for a good photo) and NHL worked on a gaming system.

game-system

Finally, B got into the act also.  Previously, she been the "designated sorter" – sorting beads from the huge bucket into individual color bins.

lots-of-beads

She decided to make a butterfly for JSL to go with his Robin figure.  (Long story.  Basically, there’s a Teen Titans Go episode that JSL loves where Robin tries to survive in the wilderness by constantly eating butterflies and shouting "PURE PROTEIN!")

butterfly

Here’s a perler bead shopping tip:  You can get big buckets of beads from Amazon but we’ve found that going to local craft stores such as Jo-Ann with 40% or 50% off coupons (look in the paper or online) can help you beat that price.

As far as inspiration goes, there is a vast store of perler bead creations online that people have posted.  Some are in the form of patterns for you to follow.  Others are just photos that you can use to recreate the creation for yourself.  These can go from the very small to the very big.  The sheer variety of perler bead possibilities means that we’ll be making perler bead crafts for a long time to come.

Have you ever worked with perler beads?  If so, what have you made with them?

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Random Thoughts: Mayim Bialik/Frozen, Pina Colada Song, Doctor Who, and Pirates

Posted by TechyDad on September 19, 2014 under Disney, Doctor Who, Music

random_brainI sat down to write my next blog post and there were a couple of topics swirling about my brain.  None of them seemed enough to constitute an entire blog post, so I thought I’d just mash them all together into one post comprised of four mini-posts.

Mayim Bialik and Frozen Misconceptions

Actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik recently posted about why she and her sons hate Frozen.  I recognize that tastes vary from person to person and what one lauds as a great movie, another will view as a piece of trash.  I’m sure Mayim could name a movie that she loves that I’d hate to have to sit through.  That being said, the reasons she gave for hating it seemed misguided to me.  (Note:  If you haven’t seen Frozen – WHY HAVEN’T YOU?!!! Also, spoilers are ahead.)

First off, she cited the movie’s "reigning plot line" of Anna trying to find a man to marry.  What I think she missed is that this plot line was there for the sole purpose of subverting it.  Anna thinks she needs "true love" in the form of marrying the first guy who acts nice towards her.  She doesn’t bother to get to know him beyond one night of talking.  Later, when he turns out to be the villain, she makes the same mistake a second time and thinks she needs Kristoff.  Granted, she *is* being turned to ice and sees Kristoff racing back towards her.  Once she sees her sister is in danger, though, she drops the "gotta find a man" quest in favor of "must save my sister."  THIS turns out to be what, in turn, saves Anna, not some guy’s kiss.  Trope subverted.

Next, Mayim worries about the portrayal of men as scheming villains.  Except Prince Hans wasn’t a scheming villain because he was a man.  He was a scheming villain because he was a scheming villain. Kristoff was a man and also a nice guy.  So was Anna’s father.  Widening our definition of "man", we might even include Olaf and Sven.  Prince Hans *was* using Anna to gain power, but it’s not male bashing to have a male villain.

Mayim’s third gripe was the "doll-like" figures and faces of Anna and Elsa.  I’ll admit that, on looking at it again, they do have a certain doll-like quality about them.  Then again, so does Prince Hans.  Kristoff, being a mountain man and not someone who lives in a castle, seems built more ruggedly.  I write this off as animator’s license.  There are many different styles of animation.  Not all look 100% realistic.  That being said, I can understand being pulled out of a movie or show because of the animation.  I’m generally not a fan of shows that flip between "normal" and "anime" modes.  (Such as the old Teen Titans show.)

Do You Like Pina Coladas?  And Getting Caught Cheating On Your Spouse?

I’ve been listening to the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack a lot recently.  Perhaps a bit too much.  I’ve started pondering meanings in the Pina Colada song.  In case you’ve forgotten it, the song tells the tale of a guy and his "lovely lady" who fell into a boring routine.  He was reading the personal ads in the newspaper (to the youngins out there, this was the old-style Match.com) when he came upon a listing that intrigued him.  Ignoring the fact that he’s was planning on cheating on his lady, he answers the ad and arranges to meet this woman.  He waits for his mystery woman in a bar and then sees his lady walk in.  It turns out she was the one who placed the personal ad.  They share a laugh at having tried to cheat on one another and everyone is happy.  The End.

Wait, what?!!!  Is the Pina Colada song seriously suggesting that cheating on your significant other will relieve relationship doldrums?  Granted it might, but only to replace them with a relationship tornado that rips everything (i.e. your relationship) to shreds.  Pretty much any other action other than cheating (or attempted cheating) will be better that this.

Like I said, I might have been listening to this a bit too much.

Bored By The Doctor

I feel traitorous saying this, but I’m not liking the new episodes of Doctor Who.  The first one seemed confused, but I chalked that up to the Doctor having just regenerated and not quite being all there mentally.  However, the following episodes didn’t seem up to par either.  I’m not sure if this is all part of Steven Moffat’s Season 8 Grand Plan, but he’d better kick it up a notch soon.  Take, for example, Listen.  (Spoilers ahead.)  The episode seemed promising.  It started getting interesting.  And then it seemed to go nowhere.  The Great Villain evaporated into nothingness and was never there at all.  It was a big letdown.  It doesn’t even seem to be Peter Capaldi’s fault.  I actually like his Doctor.  I’m not sure I like him more than Matt Smith’s and definitely not more than David Tennant’s, but he’s good.  However, he doesn’t seem to be getting good episodes.  Capaldi can only do so much.  Here’s hoping these Doctor Doldrums let up soon.  (Meanwhile, I’ll be "cheating" on the Doctor with Sherlock.  Amazing show!)

Avast, me Hearties

Arrrr… Today be International Talk Like A Pirate Day, ye swabs.  So hoist the colors and grab ye treasure maps or ye shall be keel hauled!

 

There you have it.  Four completely different topics mashed together into one nice post!  Hope your weekend is great, and slightly random in only the best of ways.

NOTE: The image above is comprised of "Brain" by trubinial guru, "Pirate’s Boat – Navire Pirate" by cyberscooty, "Tardis" by tatica, "Single Snowflake" by erik_, and "Music Note" by cyberscooty.  All of these images are available via OpenClipArt.org.

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Six Years of TechyDad

Posted by TechyDad on September 17, 2014 under Blogging, Fatherhood, Parenting

Last week was my sixth blogoversary.  Honestly, I completely forgot about it given that it was also the first full week of school.  That and other hectic life events caused it to slip my mind until I happened to notice it yesterday.  I decided to go back and see what I was blogging about in September each year (limiting myself to one or two posts per year).

2008

This was the year that NHL started kindergarten.  JSL did not like his brother leaving every morning and he especially didn’t like me leaving every morning.  Though he still couldn’t talk, he made his opinions on the matter clear and gave me quite the guilt trip.

2009

This seemed to be the month of cooking.  I tried making Mock Crab Cakes to limited success (though now I’m thinking of trying it again).  The Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Dessert Pizza, on the other hand, was a bigger success.  (NHL’s braces might preclude this one given the ooey-gooey marshmallows.)

2010

JSL had finally figured out how to ride his big wheel.  He also got on his brother’s big kid bike to pose for a photo.  Little did I know, at the time, that not four year later, he would climb atop that bike again and ride it without training wheels.

2011

This wasn’t the happiest of months.  Hurricane Irene had just swept through, devastating much of the area.  Though our property was relatively unscathed, we had planned a trip to Disney World with just B and me.  This trip had to be cancelled due to the hurricane.  While it wasn’t of the magnitude of what others had to deal with, it took me quite awhile to recover from this.  Posting my two part blog post detailing our could-have-been vacation was very cathartic.

2012

Shhh…. There’s something I can’t share.  Or, at least, I couldn’t at the time.  I wanted to shout the news from the highest social media rooftops, but we needed to keep quiet while we got some things in place.  Eventually, I was able to post about how we had gotten a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome for NHL and how I suspected that I am an Aspie as well.

2013

B went to Type A Con.  While she was away, the boys and I had some time to ourselves and I learned some valuable lessons.

There you have it.  A quick overview of my six years of blog posts, or at least a selection of the September ones.  It’s been quite a wild ride.  I can’t wait for the next six years.  Then again, that will bring NHL’s bar mitzvah, NHL going to high school, JSL graduating elementary school, JSL’s bar mitzvah, NHL prepping for college, and me being the father of two teenagers.  Maybe I can wait for a bit for all of that.  Here’s hoping the next six years go by slowly!

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