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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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Big family bike ride today, and spouse and I were trying to figure out why kiddo was struggling so much on a mostly flat rail trail. Get back and learn that her brake pads were broken and slowing her rear tire the whole time.

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I work hard not to be a sitcom dad, but it just occurred to me that after spouse left for airport, we’ve basically done nothing but order pizza and play video games, so…

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Kiddo, just now: “Are Pokémon even marsupials?”

🍿 movieblog: ❤️🖤🖤🖤🖤 for Firedrake the Silver Dragon

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This movie knows that it’s a pale imitation of How to Train Your Dragon, but the lampshading is half-hearted, the story and dialogue are weak, and the performances feel like cash grabs. On top of that, it seems to go out of its way to include some casual racism just to make sure it doesn’t hold together. What a disappointment.

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Update: I’ve been a Kentuckian for 20+ years, but my first time watching the Kentucky Derby was just meh. So much wealth invested in a race that I didn’t really find interesting. Looking forward to family Eurovision next Saturday, though!

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We signed up for a month of Peacock so that we could watch the Kentucky Derby today and Eurovision next Saturday. I’m sure that says something about our family, but I couldn’t say exactly what.

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I was a big fan of Homestar Runner in the early-to-mid 2000s, but I’m still baffled by how into it kiddo has gotten over the past few months.

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When I was kiddo’s age, Pokémon didn’t exist yet, so there’s something that breaks my brain about her current enthusiasm for the franchise.

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Kiddo last night: “please let me sleep in on Saturday!” Kiddo this morning: wakes up earlier than she does on a school day.

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If ClassDojo can send me “hey, check the new content in ClassDojo” emails, it could also send me that content in the email itself, so that I never have to open the app. Too bad it’s too dedicated to walled gardening.

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Kiddo has EXTREMELY low standards for a pronouncement of “Best Daddy Ever,” but I’m grateful for it nonetheless.

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Kiddo is excited to be signed up for soccer, so we’ve spent time kicking her new ball around the past two nights. I’m surprised by how much is coming back to me, given that I haven’t played in ~15 years and that I’ve never been good.

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Kiddo is complicating our errand to buy her soccer stuff by insisting on hugging all the mannequins in the sports store.

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I hurt myself on a pizza cutter last night—but not even on the blade? Somehow that last detail is absurd enough that I’m more upset about that than the injury itself.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Sky High

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By the time this movie came out in 2005, I was already deep into superhero media, and I love using recycled tropes to tell an interesting story. This does an excellent job, and it was a favorite for my whole family when it came out. (In fact, I hadn’t remembered until rewatching it that one of my family’s shared verbal tics comes from a running gag involving Ron Wilson, Bus Driver).