Monday, January 12, 2015

My Random 2014 Rewind

Normally, I match the number of noteworthy news bits from the last year to the year itself (14 for 2014, etc.) but since I'm publishing this in 2015, we'll do a plus one. So without further adieu, here is your 2014 year in review.

Hey, that rhymed! (Ficky, ficky, fresh!)

A Nightmare on Main Street – The shooting of 21-year-old Michael Brown sparked a national debate (and in many cities, outrage) over the not-guilty verdict and acquittal by a grand jury who indicted Ferugsson, MO police officer Darren Wilson for shooting an unarmed Brown seven (7!) times. Call me old fashioned–and yes, context matters–but shooting an unarmed man 7 times (he fired 9 times btw) isn’t quelling civil discord. Unfortunately, the only other person who could give this any perspective is dead. 

Gamergate – In August 2014, the debate over sexism in video games came to a head due to ongoing harassment and threats–primarily targeting women–in the video game industry. Everything from rape and death threats to bomb threats highlighted the maniacal state of ethical issues like sexism and misogyny in the video game industry. Many women in the gaming industry have been victimized by harassment and threats to themselves and their loved ones for calling out the inequities of the industry. Feminist culture and industry critic, Anita Sarkeesian who released a video manifesto on the very male-dominated face of gaming, characters, development, and propaganda was at the seething heart of this growing cultural and media scandal. Rest assured, this one is just getting started. 

Sony: The Interview and The Hack – The Christmas Day DDOS attacks on the world’s largest entertainment and media servers included spamming the servers of Amazon, Xbox Live, and Sony PlayStation as well as leaking vital Sony financial, movie and employment info. This culminated in the unauthorized release of the Sony film, The Interview online. Ultimately, this did little to motivate people to see a film that pretty much no one wanted anyway.
Computer terrorism, it appears, has arrived. 

Oh, Obamacare –Also known as the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s landmark blueprint to reform health care was plagued by technical glitches and consumer confusion. Under heavy crossfire from conservatives, the salvos are getting loaded as the real battle to keep it begins. Standby for a looming Supreme Court case that threatens the entire program.

I knew those Jell-O® pudding pops tasted funny – We really lost two great comedy minds to tragedy this year. Robin Williams (see below) and the 80’s sweater man himself, Dr. William Cosby. Creator of the Cosby kids (a.k.a. Fat Albert), I Spy co-star, and America’s perfect Dad Heathcliff Huxtable. Cosby is / was a entertainment media super-mogul—who just so happened to like drugging women and sexually molesting them ruffi style. At the time of this post some 20+ women dating nearly four decades have stepped forward with similar allegations of sexual misconduct. Since, all future projects with TV and movies and all re-runs of Fat Albert, I–Spy and The Cosby Show. “Hey, hey, hey… its a faaaaat class action suit!” Coming at ya, Cos.

Ray Rice: The Slugger Chronicles – The scathing video of Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice punching his then fiancé (now wife) out in a casino elevator brought the conversation of athletes and domestic abuse to the American table of discussion once again. He is far from the only culprit but listen, a 265-lb pro football player shouldn’t be hitting ANYONE… other than other 265-lb pro football players.

Tragedy in the Far East – In February, (and then again in December in 2014) the world held its collective breath when a Malaysia Airlines flight first went way off course and then went missing, later to be declared a crash out deep over the Indian Ocean with all aboard lost. To this day no one know s why these two events occurred but it is the stuff of nightmares and not very a good year at all for Malaysia Airlines. 

I Saw What You Did Last Night  – At this point there is no understandable reason why anyone should be surprised by anything movie stars do. I mean who else has naked sexy-time pics of themselves on their phone these days? Its so 2004. Sure they were ‘deleted’ but any 4th grader knows anything that's been digitally trashed can be recovered. If you live in a world were your career is affected by technology you don’t understand, then you deserve anything that happens to you. So, J-law, calm down, those naughty-girl pics of you as a naked Catniss Everdeen only helped you. Stop pretending you’re so outraged. The real tragedy is that you took the pics in the first place. 

The Walking (Ebola) Dead – So, color me lost on this one but hasn’t Ebola been around for like, a kajillion years? How was it that this Walking Dead kind of pandemic disease made its way into the US? As a nation, this country was completely at a loss for how to deal with the mother of all viruses and several infected people in New York and Texas lost their lives. Though the CDC was Johnny on The Spot, I fear this isn’t the last of this deadly killer. 

Mork Signs Off, One Last Time – As with every year we lost a whole lot of really stellar folks in 2014 but none will eclipse the loss off comedy legend Robin Williams. Known for his campy 1970’s alien funny-man role as Mork from Ork, Williams was one of Hollywood’s most esteemed funny-men. Tragically taking his own life, we were lucky to enjoy a slew of unforgettable movies from one of the very best. So, Nanu, Nanu, Genie. Godspeed. 

Cold Days in Hell – Welcome to the SOCHI 2014 Winter Olympics. Take a region just an hour away from a savage, bloody civil war, add packs of wild dogs (in the hundreds!) and award it the largest international sports competition in the world and hi jinks ensue. What was laughable, was the Wifi didn’t work (kind of important when thousands of media correspondent from around the world will be on hand), the showers didn’t have running water and the hotel staff at the event would steal liberally from its patrons. (Sigh)

Kicking Old Habits For New – If you were near a TV set this past summer then all you heard about was the American Soccer Team during the FIFA 2014 World Cup and how this was “our year.” And by that we meant, this was our year that every sports nut who was tired of Baseball, jonesing for Football and between Golf tournaments, needed yet another reason to take a two-hour lunch and get faced while pretending to be passionate about a sport they knew nothing about. Welcome to Soccer in America. Oh, and congrats, Germany

I Dare You To Dare Me – You must have been on another planet this past summer if you didn’t hear or see anything about the ALS Ice Water Challenge. In the most egocentric awareness campaign of all time, throngs of well-meaning do-gooders challenge each other endlessly to dump water on each other within 48 hours or donate to the ALS foundation. I got just as caught up in this as everyone else. Maybe next time, we don’t make it about us and instead make it about the disease. The victims need financial help, not a viral campaign of do-nothing awareness. Just a thought.

Last Comet Standing – The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission achieved a first in 2014, sending a lander onto the surface of a comet. Millions of curious viewers world-wide tracked the landing on Nov. 12 in real time–on TV and online. Landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, was so hard that the lander’s anchoring harpoons couldn't sink in, and it bounced twice before settling down. Churyumov-Gerasimenko continues its course that rounds the sun, hopefully with more information to come.

Apple Doesn’t Miss A Beats – How’s this sound? In May of 2014, Apple writes a $3 Billion check to acquire Dr. Dre’s Beats Electronics and Beats Music — by far the largest acquisition in Apple history. Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre joined Apple. And even though the Beats brand will remain separate from Apple’s, when you think Apple, think funky Beats. 

Happy belated New Year to all my readers and a prosperous and joyous 2015 to us all! 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Five Reasons Why We Should Let The Machines Take Over

I'm convinced, contrary to what Hollywood, Raymond Kurzweil and Steven Hawking all would have us believe, the machines will (and should) take their rightful place alongside us in the world. I think its time we threw in the towel and let the machines take over.

Yes, I’m serious. 

We have spent nearly a million years of development and evolution (such as it is) to reach a spot where we kill more, destroy our bodies faster and do more harm to the planetary ecosystem then ever before. We clearly don't appreciate the lives we have. Maybe we should take the hint. 

Five Reasons To Let The Robots Win:

1. We Kill Everything. We kill our environment, our prospects for a long healthy life, and even ourselves. We're a species that is figuratively and literally drunk behind the wheel. Time to take the keys away. The machines are more efficient, more dutiful and more responsible. This isn’t “I, Robot” where the robots are taking totalitarian control. We give it up, willingly. And with it, no more illusion of a 'better world' we still would have a lot of work to do but we would be forced to think of ourselves differently. To be people and not adversaries. End of story. 

2. They’re Better People. They already clean our floors, vacuum our living room, drive our cars and fight our wars. They do our bidding, selflessly, helping and achieving, without question without thought of personal sacrifice. You know, the way we should be living, ideally. Boston Robotics has developed a fire-rescue bot that is 6’ 2” and weighs 320 lbs and is engineered to run into burning fire and rescue any survivors at no regard to personal injury. Like I said, better people. 

3. We Would Be Freed Up. Again, wipe away the silliness of the Cylon overthrow or the Terminators declaring war on humanity or Matthew Broderick’s War Games scenario. Those all feed into the robot doomsday mythos. Think instead that if we are freed up to work alongside our robo-brethren, we could do more writing, create more art, compose more music, conceptualize more philosophy, commit to deep sea and deep space exploration and work toward greater technological advancements. While they take out the trash, cultivate our crops and delivery our sundries. see? Win-win. 

4. There’s Nothing You Can Do About It. Hey, it's already happened. The singularity is coming. Heck, it's already here. Ray Kurzweil predicted back in the 1950's that in the year 2041, AI (artificial intelligence) and mankind would reach an apex of equals, that there would be a new life form on Earth. It sobering sure, but honestly, would anyone be that surprised? 

5. We Would Take Our Rightful Place Among The Stars. Imagine a unified, one-Earth collective, free from thoughts of prejudice, greed and selfishness. Daily life would not change much, but we would have an entire planet of people thinking an doing all for the greater good–backed and protected by a species of synthetics, working on our behalf–and theirs–for further knowledge, creativity and exploration. Imagine. Its easy if you try.

The Paradigm Has Already Shifted

Like it or not, the revolution is over. They fly our planes, drive our cars and rescue our elderly and small children from burning buildings. Something we used to do before we all got so enamored of the Kardashians, with Twitter and of our microwave-safe, McDonald’s fed 500-channeled lives of worthlessness.

Now, don’t go crying into your GMO food stuffs over all of this, there really is nothing to be upset over—you could get cancer or an ulcer. Then you’ll need those Nanobots to go in make things right again. Now who looks silly? At least they’re not shooting each other over being a different skin color or religious affiliations. 

It’s a brave new world, just accept it. It’s likely you already did. Welcome to the new. better world. The synthetics will take your coat and see that your every need is met. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

You Have No Excuses

Our world is ever-changing. Always has been. And the amount of information and content has exploded to unimaginable levels. Now there's Google, and a host of other browsers, that put the entirety of human history at your fingertips. Do you know what that means? There’s no excuse not to be at least semi-informed. About anything.


I guess thats why when my children–all in High School right now–have poor grades or simply don’t have any clue or knowledge off current events, world history, art, events, movies, TV shows–even your own bank account–is available at just a few clicks of the button. 

So how is it all my kids struggle in school? You have all the answers in front of you, as close as any monitor. Why do 26% of American adults think the Sun revolves around the Earth? WTH? News flash you ding dongs, the moon isn’t really made of cheese, thats just a cartoon. 

Anything you could possibly need to know is an answer you could get inside of three minutes. So, as I stated in the title of this post, there are no excuses for this level of disregard for knowledge. 

No excuse not to know basic info. 
No excuse not to be (vaguely) informed. 
No excuse not to understand rudimentary language, thoughts and concepts.

Here’s a secret this artistic gamer Dad will share with you. Information is like all other things, it doesn’t always have to be “fun” – but it is necessary, Like paying bills, taxes or having dental work done. You just accept it for the necessity that it is. And its a whole lot less painful than those other things. Heck, it can even help you. 

I used to believe people were capable of great things. Now I'm not so sure. True that great things are still being done out there but there seem to be more dummies than ever. And I don’t understand why.  Are we too lazy? Too preoccupied or do we just not care any more? The scary answer is its probably a little of all of the above. 

Come on folks, a little knowledge isn’t Kryptonite. Its power. Use it. There's no excuse.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Got a definitive thought? Think again.

...or why EVERYTHING is a grey area these days.
Have you noticed the disturbing new trend in the world? Nothing is ever succinct. EVER. Problems are on the rise as solutions or on the decline. Here’s what I mean.
Everything… and I mean EVERYTHING you say, think or do, has an asterisk, an addendum or counterpoint. This means nothing is ever a definitive statement or complete thought. And it's exactly why no one–from Politicians to parents–can ever seem to resolve anything.
To clarify, lets take a little quiz shall we? 
Try convincing someone (not arguing, because then you’re just being a bully) any of the following topics:
  • Titanic (1997) is the greatest movie of all time. 
  • The President is single-handedly responsible for the state of our economy
  • Elvis is the greatest entertainer that ever lived
  • The Super Bowl is completely unwatchable due to excessive advertising
Think about each of those statements. They’re all opinion. I can tell you where I fall on each topic, sure, but the point is there are facts—verifiable FACTS—that validate either side of each statement. And so, there is no right or wrong, no one definitive answer and thus, no resolution.

Human beings have displayed a remarkable propensity to be bull-headed on just about everything. The more facts we seem to have at our disposal, the more we seem to ignore facts and stubbornly stick to what we chose, regardless of logic or often even common sense.
It goes something like this: 
James Cameron’s Titanic is the single highest-grossing film (in non-adjusted dollars, that would then be Gone With The Wind from 1939). From a box office standpoint, the movie is a resounding success. However, it is widely seen by film critics as a shoddy, fragmented and meandering screenplay (fact) that makes sitting and watching a 3-hour preamble to a sinking boat disaster film nearly unwatchable (opinion). 
See my point? Nothing is definitive. Both the fact that it is the highest grossing film of all time and the fact that many movie watchers who have been trained in what to look for (like say yours truly) find the film almost impossible to sit through—are both 100% accurate. 
Here’s it is; if nothing you say is definitive or has a counterpoint, then we will decide on anything. Ever. This is the root behind why our nation is so divided on just about every topic from race relations, to religion in schools, to the economy, to terrorism to gun control and immigration, and this is why we will never resolve anything. Too much to consider from both sides and too many counter-points, so we all simply shut down. The breakdown of communication and the erosion of any social progress we have made in the last 100,000 years.

Here’s a little impromptu case study to further my point:  
I’m hungry. 
So get a burger. 
But what about the carcinogens? 
I know, but you like meat. 
Yeah, but methane is destroying the ozone layer. 
Sure, but the animal is already dead and processed. 
And those processed fillers cause cancer. 
Well, there's always tofu or salad.
I know, but I’m still hungry. 
This limbo of point / counterpoint is making us into a society with no ability to make a decision—or immediately regret any decision or opinion instantly. We need to get over this cultural check mate or we will continue to watch the steady erosion of our laws, our progress as a society and even or very way of life.

And that, is a fact. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Why I am (finally!) excited for Star Wars again!

Ask me why I’m suddenly giddy again. 
Go ahead, ask me. (Need a clue? Just read the title.)

Unless you’ve been bulls-eyeing womp rats in your T-16 back home (I hear they’re not much bigger than two meters), then you must have at least caught wind that the new teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode 7 from the Disney/JJ Abrams/LucasFilm trifecta hit the internet the day after Thanksgiving—and the internet exploded as if ignited by two Proton Torpedoes through a narrow exhaust port.  

Sure, sure. The 90-second trailer didn’t tell us much but it showed us lots. If JJ can work half the magic on a Galaxy Far, Far away as he did for Starfleet and the USS Enterprise, then… oohhhh Momma!–is this movie going to sizzle! 

Internet Gundarks all had dumb shit to say about it, but it had everything this life-long apprentice has needed. X-Wings flying 5 feet over a lake? Check. Whacky new droids bleeping and blooping through the Tattoine desert? Check. Dark voices mumbling stuff about the Dark Side? Of course. A new Red Light saber with crazy impractical laser hilts? Hells yeah! 

The best scene of all was a crazy, high speed ‘evasive maneuver’ featuring the Millennium Falcon (I understand it made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs) doing a 360º barrel-role while narrowly avoiding a couple of oncoming TIE Fighters (they have Twin Ion Engines and stuff). Adventure? Heh. Excitement? Heh. A Jedi craves not these things, however, this is one scruffy-looking nerf-herder, who is about to be seduced by the awesome side–! As will millions of others. 

This flick stars a bunch of crazy new Padawans along with some veteran Star Warriors like General Han Solo, R2D2 and C-3PO, Princess Leia , and of course, Luke Skywalker. He’s a Jedi, like his father before him. 

For your viewing pleasure, please click on the link posted below. You will be whisked away to the outer rim territories (also known as YouTube) and I encourage you to watch this link. This one, a long time I have watched already.  

You can view it here.

May The Force Be With You December, 2015. 
Begun, the countdown has.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

That's NOT what I said

So after 46 years on Earth, I’ve noticed some stuff. 

One of those things is the growing number of instances where people feel compelled to tell you their misunderstanding of something you just said. Then, proceed to share how amused they are by what they thought they heard, even if you’ve verified your words anyway. 

Here’s an example:

(Watching sports with someone) 
“That shot was just what the team needed–crazy luck.”

“(Giggles) Wait! What did you say?” 

“…uhh, crazy luck.”

“Haha! I though you said ‘Lazy Fuck!’ Haha!”


So, here’s how my solidly juvenile-though-middle-aged mind works. If you ask me to repeat what I said, you didn’t hear it (or I didn’t say it) correctly the first time. Fair enough. 

Yet, if I tell you what I said and why am i now subjected to listening to what you thought you heard. It doesn’t change what I said nor is what you thought I said nearly as funny, now that I know its a misunderstanding. Why would I say what you thought I said? The words don’t even make sense in context. The listener is word associating their poor hearing or my bad projection. Now I’m forced to ‘laugh-along’ with something that is marginally amusing at best. What’s worse, we both know you heard what I said, you just wanted to share your “fun,” self-manifested impromptu wordplay. 

While adults seem to do this a lot, my kids do it almost daily. Sure, I have a pet peeve about being asked to repeat myself (needlessly) but this goes way beyond that. Now I gotta pretend your audio deficiencies are comical or my ability to project my thoughts are somehow diminished. (sigh)

Maybe the next time this happens, when I’m asked “(Giggles) Haha! Wait! What did you say?” I’ll say “…lazy fuck.” Then I can watch them try and process a statement they know makes no sense whatsoever and I can revel in watching their face (and sometimes body) contort into fun and compelling shapes as they attempt to apply logic–you know, the part of the brain that should have prevailed in the first place–to a statement they knew wasn’t made. 

My slow transformation into a grumpy old guy is coming along nicely.

Friday, October 31, 2014

We already won

Geek culture isn’t ‘taking over.’ That already happened.

It is with great joy I bring you the following op-ed: We won! The war is over. Go grab a nurse in Times Square and lay a big wet one on her (or him). The verdict is in. The jocks lost to the nerds, the cynics have retreated against the enlightened onslaught of the dreamers. The folks who asked “what if” got their answer while the ones who ask ‘why?’ were left behind like so many Kurt Cameron movie adaptations (see what I did there?).

Today is Halloween, 2014, the biggest official Cosplay day of the year. We’ve de-fanged the witless downers and non-believers by changing the terminology from ‘dress-up’ to cosplay, comic book to graphic novel and super-hero movie to blockbuster. But it hasn’t been an easy road for those of us who embrace fantasy and sci-fi culture. Like so many others, I was ridiculed in my early years for my love of (nearly) all things geek.

It's no secret that superhero and sci-fi films (and culture) have become the biggest entertainment properties on Earth. In 2012, I had a boyhood dream come true when Marvel Studio’s The Avengers became the single-highest grossing box office film of all time (worldwide) raking in $1.6 billion. Audiences the world over threw mad love (and crazy cash!) at Marvel’s iconic superhero mash-up film. Since I have been reading the Avengers since age 7 (thats almost 40 years of being a fan for anyone keeping track), seeing Marvel's The Avengers was one of the greatest moments of my life. 

Assembling Winners

The Avengers were hands down my favorite comic book growing up. Five years ago, you likely didn’t even know that name, not if you grew up without appreciating Marvel comics. I guess it’s no surprise that the latest Avengers (Age of Ultron) movie trailer broke all kinds of internet and YouTube viewing records. The phenomenon is just beginning. 

The explosion of Marvel’s success at the box office shows these movies resonate with many people and are here to stay. I guess I wasn’t reading “funny books”–as my mom would call them–when I was younger. Of course if Mom had ever taken the time to read Crisis on Infinite Earths, Judge Dredd, The Walking Dead, The Dark Phoenix Saga or the The Dark Knight Returns, she might rethink that terminology. 

A Future Worth Exploring

And as more people then ever in the history of cinema flock to these films of larger-than-life heroes and heroic figures, the cynics and critics keep trying to take cheap knocks at the characters I have spent a lifetime reading about, cherishing and even creating. TV shows like the Walking Dead, Arrow and Gotham continue to resonate with everyone, not just geek culture. Praying for it to end? Won’t happen. 

Give up now, join us. These shows are fun, well-handled, well-scripted, well-acted and compelling movies that only keep getting better. While I won’t be wearing any costumes this Halloween, I will be at my desk, giggling like a school girl as I pour over all the Marvel studios and Warner Brothers/DC movie news. 

My Condolences 

For those that don’t like it, I'm really sorry the optimistic young child who used to reside in you died striving against that boring, dismissive, closed-minded grump you’ve become. Just know it’s not too late to revert back to the cooler, funner, brighter-eyed you. Simply embrace the fact that this [geek] culture is here to stay and will only keep getting bigger. Join us!

Between Comicons, Cosplay, Superhero TV and movies, comic books, novels and graphic novels boring stuff–that is people and content with no imagination–just doesn’t cut it anymore. Just waive the white flag, because in case you didn’t hear, we won. 

Arthur Milano is a blogger, writer, designer and avid geek culture enthusiast who revels in his continuing role as a single Dad, ad man, and video game podcaster.

Friday, October 10, 2014

This just in: Dads aren’t dimwits.

I have noticed recently that Dads in the media are portrayed increasingly as dolts, dummies and dimwits. This post is going to attempt to alter the course of that nonsense.

How dare you!

As a single Dad to four teens, I have been the grounding voice of discipline, authority, wisdom and common sense in lives of my kids. I'm their Rock of Gibraltar. Now, I'm pretty damn far from perfect. But I can cook, I can clean, I am college educated and I'm the holder of all the highest high-scores in the family. I have the best jump shot and make the best omelet in the house. (butter, not oil).

Sit down, dummy. According to TV, women get the job done better.

So why does Hollywood, TV and advertising portray Dads as clueless dolts and dopey dudes who can barely tie their own shoes, know nothing about fashion and can’t boil a pot of water without their wife or girlfriend? Give me a brake! I'm the first to admit, women offer an amazingly diverse perspective on everything from raising kids to shopping to running a household. I cherish every suggestion my girlfriend has offered over the years. But that's not because I'm some doofus who wouldn’t be able to function without some woman telling him what to do. 

I know how to iron, I know how to tie a half-windsor, I know how to bake bread, I’ve made lobster croquettes and bake a mean lemon cake (yes with lemon-shards and ground vanilla). As a classically trained artist, I can paint, build furniture, organize color schemes and cook better than most women I know. So sorry Hollywood, I’m pounding an angry fist on the BS button on your views of men!

Double tuning the carbondifibulometer with a 3” torque ratchet… thingie. 

I played organized softball, volleyball, football and basketball. I bench-press a considerable portion of my 270+ pounds. I do indeed, enjoy watching sports. Pretty manly stuff, right? But lift the hood of an automobile engine, and you might as well be showing me the operating schematics to a rocket propulsion system. In arabic. Backwards. Upside down. In short, I'm lost. 

I understand (fundamentally) how internal combustion works. But that's as far as it goes. I know nothing, repeat, noting about cars. I did not spend time as a grease monkey, huddled under a hood or a cranked ’72 Chevy Bartooga (or whatever) learning why the chronic flan-ger-ator doesn’t syphon off properly. With today’s computer-driven cars and repair systems, this seems completely unnecessary to me. 

Dad or bust.

Given the mixed messaging from society and the media, men have an increasingly convoluted picture about what it means to be a man. Or a father. Actually its really quite simple. Mothers give a caring, nurturing and loving perspective to life. And so does a man. A woman can have patience, compassion and emotionally ground. And so does a man. What women CANNOT show a child, is what it means to be man. To be there, to be engaged, to be a stern voice of authority when necessary, to show both daughters and sons what manhood really means. To take care of business, problems and your family. 

So, Hollywood, take out your notepads. Anyone can lay down and make babies. The real test of manhood is to stand up and take care of them. Everything else is a careful mix of common sense, fear, intelligence, lede expereince and blind guesswork. We all trip, stumble and make mistakes. Just admit when you’re wrong, apologize for any mistakes and pain you have caused, hold your head up and persevere when you would rather quit. I don't need a woman to help me with any of that. 

So that’s what it means to be a father and to be a man, according to me. Its not easy but its pretty simple, right? That's because it.

P.S., For the record, my Dad was never around. Which taught me the #1 most important part of being a Dad. Being there. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

18 things to remember when you're 18

On September 30th, 2014, my daughter turned 18 years old. What an amazing milestone she has reached and I will save all the “it seems like only yesterday, when…”cliches you’ve heard them all… even though they still apply.

Instead, I thought I would offer this quick reference guide for the savvy young adult entering into a new phase of life. These are (mostly) my thoughts, not borrowed from somewhere else_though if they were -profound enough that would be ok too. Enjoy. 

1. Life is a precious gift. Don’t squander it on people or pursuits that don’t make you happy. 

2. Travel. It will give you life perspective and help you understand people.

3. Don’t marry anyone before age 30. Live, love, travel. If you meet the love of your life, they will be there waiting for you at age 30.

4, Trust your instincts, they are rarely wrong.

5. Keep an open mind. You’ll be amazed at how full and rich your life will be.

6. Maintain a good sense of humor. No one likes a grumpy puss.

7. Listen before you speak. Don’t just wait for others to stop talking before you start. 

8. Your family in life will be defined by the people who stand by your side when they could have looked (and ran!) the other way. 

9. You are important and you matter. Vote. 

10. No one loves you more than God. Its true. When all feels lost, he is there to help you find your way. 

11. Do kind things for strangers. What you get back is immeasurable. 

12. Doing something you love is far more important than making a bunch of money. 

13. Never stop drawing, it promotes neuro-elasticity in your brain and enhances critical thinking. You'll need that to out-think the dimwits. 

14. Take care of your body. Its the only one you’re going to get. 

15. Your family loves you. Remember that during the tough times. 

16. Don't be too quick to judge others. Remember how much it sucks when it happens to you. 

17. Put the technology down and go outside. The sun is good for you and flowers smell good. 

18. Everything in moderation. Including moderation. Lets face it, sometimes you gotta just cut loose. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I decided “getting old” just isn’t my thing.

Nothing makes you feel the weight of your years like your children. They know nothing, yet have all the answers. Their music is “better” (also known as worse), their TV and tech is almost out of reach if you are over 35 (I am) and they have boundless wells of energy and seem to be able to not sleep. Me? well the concept of mid-afternoon naps sound like a heavenly way to a complete day.

I frequently hear people ‘my age’, namely those part of Generation X (those born between 1961 and 1981) say things like, “us old folks got to stick together” and “kids these days’ and other old fart bag statements that make the person saying them like they have one foot in the grave. It hints at a old, grumpy person’s mentality that I just don’t adopt. 

I won't.

At 46, I workout more, eat better and watch more (and admittedly cooler) movies than the teenagers in my my life. I also play more video games, watch more sports, do more things that bring my life joy and meaning than they ever have. “Me time” is essential for healthy longevity and I plan to keep that going. It works. When asked about my age I always say “guess”, I have gotten everything from late 20’s to mid and late 30’s. Hah! See? Either 40 really is the new 30 or the youthful way I live my life is paying dividends. Or I could just have some decent genetics.

Be mindful I am NOT in denial. Again, I am confidently able to state my age; 46 in case you missed it, and to me, there is a huge canyon of difference between "growing up" and being an adult.

Sure ‘kids come first’ and ‘everything I do is of them’ those are both true. What is also true is my teens don’t have a lackadaisical Dad who sits on the couch, drinking, smoking and wailing about the “good old days.” No I’m the Dad taking them to the opening night premieres, the Comic Cons, watching (and playing) sports, checking grades online (that's not very popular with them but whatever) and sitting and talking with them whenever possible. Heck I even co-host a gamer podcast to discuss the video games I play with them. Yeah, I’m that Dad. 

I’m too busy, too enthralled with my world, my art, writing and design, my job, blogs, my love life, my love of entertainment and my growing “where I want to go” list of travel to worry about ‘getting old.’

Sure I’m aging, but getting old is a way different mindset and I decided long ago, It just ain’t for me. Listen, I’d love to chat more but I’m heading out on a raid in Destiny and the kids are telling me my online fire team is waiting for me.