Anxious but trying spouse and dad. Trying (and sometimes even succeeding!) to introduce my kid to bikes, games, books, French, and more.

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Kiddo learned what a bulletin board is from Stardew Valley’s quest mechanic and made one out of construction paper for asking for help with things around the house.

I know that video game adaptations of other properties are always dodgy, but how did they make Wreck-It Ralph’s so dang bad?

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for The Muppet Christmas Carol

It has puppets, Christmas, and social justice—what more can you ask for? This is at least the third year in a row I’ve watched this with kiddo, and it still makes me laugh and cry when I watch it.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Wish

So, the thing is that I don’t really love the genre of the classic Disney movie, and this suffers from a lot of the issues of that genre. As a somewhat self-indulgent anniversary celebration, though, I think it’s a good homage to the past 100 years of Disney, blending the tropes of the genre with modern sensibilities and interesting animation.

Kiddo has no cousins on my side of the family, so during our Thanksgiving Zoom call, we successfully lobbied to add her to the siblings and partners gift exchange we do every Christmas.

Spouse and I have been using French to talk about Christmas presents in front of kiddo. Tonight, I got to hear spouse refer to “monsters of the pocket” so that kiddo wouldn’t recognize “Pokémon” in the middle of an otherwise incomprehensible-to-her sentence.

Spouse typically has a strict after-Thanksgiving rule for Christmas decorations, so the fact that we’re breaking them out today should tell you something about the week we had.

“Just as I suspected, Daddy… You’ve been listening to We Will Rock You!”

For orthodontic reasoms, kiddo has to brush teeth after eating basically anything, and we usually double check after each brushing. This just happened while I was making myself some chai, so she complained my fingers tasted like tea when I was poking them in her mouth.

Kiddo gets scared by even the mildest of spooky things, but she also loves the “jibblies” monster from Homestar Runner and does imitations of it where she says legitimately creepy things, and I don’t know how to reconcile those.

Did early voting on Saturday, so I guess my civic contribution for today is giving kiddo extra screen time while her school is being used as a polling place.

in praise of 'dad friends'

I have a “dad friend” I see most afternoons as we’re waiting for our kiddos to get out of school. He walks his kid home every day, and I either walk home or bike home with kiddo (a lot of walking recently because weather and a broken bike have been getting in our way). So, we hang out where all the walking parents hang out and chat for a few minutes before heading home.

Kiddo has reached the “I want to read while you buy a few groceries, please steer me so I don’t walk into anyone” stage of bookwormdom.

I would never visit a casino or place a bet, but I’m putting off the last mow of the season until tomorrow morning, when it might rain and get all the leaves wet, so clearly I’m still a gambler.

Kiddo picked up a new library card over the weekend (lots of Kentucky counties do reciprocity agreements, so we collect them), and she’s incensed that there’s a 25-book limit at this system (we regularly check out 50 books each from two different counties).

It’s one of those Saturdays where I step out of the shower, and kiddo has left me a secret message in hieroglyphics to decipher.

When my sister was in town last week, kiddo insisted on drawing her a surprisingly accurate diagram of how data gets transferred over the internet, so I brought it into the office for the next time I have to teach it.

Someone let us go to our local indie bookstore the week that kiddo is recovering from a rough semi-allergic reaction, so now she has a bunch of new stuff to read, and we have a lot more loyalty points.

Welcome to Mysterious Malady Monday, every parent’s favorite way to start the week!

Kiddo just responded to an instance of sexism in the past with a sarcastic “thanks, history!” and I think this should become a standard answer.

This is apparently the second August in a row I’ve complained on here that I’d much rather pay higher taxes than deal with another school fundraiser.

how is this more preferable than taxes?

Kiddo’s school is contracting with a company called Booster to raise $78,000 for new technology for the school. U.S. schools are, of course, underfunded, and I’m generally in favor of getting more money into their bank accounts. I have a number of concerns about this fundraiser, though, and it’s making me grumpy. what “technology”? I have a PhD in educational technology, which means two things in this context. First, I’m very aware of the fundamental—and often useful—role that technology plays in learning, so I’m not opposed to updating the tech in kiddo’s school.

Inspired by a sci-fi book I’m reading, I made an off-handed quip this morning about becoming a disembodied simulation. Kiddo responded that she preferred to have a “huggable, play-withable” daddy.

Does anyone have experience arranging for language lessons for kids? I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m reasonably competent as a French teacher and as a dad, but not the combination of the two.

I don’t like the card game War as a game, but I’m increasingly appreciative of it as a way to spend time with kiddo.

We decided to stuff this weekend full (early anniversary dinner and movie, then visit to friends across the state, then family visit to water park) so naturally kiddo tested positive for COVID-19 tonight.

how does a churchgoing agnostic talk about religion with his kid?

This summer, I’ve taken advantage of my 9-month contract with the University of Kentucky to have lots of adventures with kiddo while my spouse (who has a 12-month contract) continues at her job. It’s been a real delight! A couple of Fridays ago, we drove to Danville, a town in Central Kentucky where I spent a summer as a high schooler but haven’t been back to since. We bought her a book, me some amazing chocolate mint tea, and had a great time exploring fun shops and public art in adorable downtown Danville.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Elemental

Lots to love in this movie: The animation is gorgeous, the concept is interesting, the metaphors are well-meaning, and there are plenty of funny bits. There seemed to be too many subplots, though, and when any of them saw a shake-up, it didn’t always feel deserved. It also feels essentialist in the way that D&D does—yes, differences make sense in the fictional world, but since we’re meant to read them onto the real world, it doesn’t always sit right.

We’ve had so many severe storms recently that when the weather sirens just went off for their monthly test, I reflexively panicked even though there isn’t a cloud in the sky.

When now-spouse met my siblings, we all went to see Spider-Man 3 together in a near-empty theater. My siblings and I mortified her by cracking each other up making fun of the movie (including making Babe jokes when James Cromwell was on screen). Fun memory.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for The Super Mario Bros. Movie

I’d been meaning to watch this, and kiddo was happy to walk me through it (she’d seen it in theaters). The animation is beautiful and there are lots of fun in-jokes and shout-outs. At the end of the day, though, the plot was thin and the characters flat (though they could have done much worse by Peach). It’s probably the best one could do with the source material, but that doesn’t mean it’s great

After nearly thirteen years of life as a one-car family, we’re buying a second car today. I wish we didn’t have to, but I keep reminding myself this is as much a natural consequence of the systemic failures of American public transit as it is a deliberate family decision.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Adventuregame Comics 1: Leviathan, by Jason Shiga

I don’t remember how I first discovered Jason Shiga, but I do remember working my way through his interactive puzzle comic Meanwhile one summer, some of it while purportedly completing an internship. Meanwhile is one of the first comics I added to my collection and one of the few of my early acquisitions that I still have. Anyway, all of that is to say that when I saw this comic in the new children’s books area at a local library, I immediately grabbed it.

In further proof that stereotypical plots in children’s media often have some truth to them, kiddo was dreading going to summer camp this morning but wished this afternoon that she didn’t have to leave.

Grateful to have a spouse who thinks I like ginger way more than a person should but still buys dark chocolate ginger cookies because she knows I’ll like them. She and kiddo tried them, but I’m the only one who appreciates the burn.

Kiddo: “I just want to teach cavemen to make pepperoni pizza.”