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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Geek Dad

Living in the Datacloud

by Ken Newquist / June 21, 2008

As I write this, I'm in a Holiday Inn in New Hampshire. I don't have a laptop with me, but I've got a stack of Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition books next to me, and a review due Sunday night. A few years ago, I'd have been doomed, but now I've got access to the net via the hotel's lackluster Windows XP machine. The machine itself doesn't have Microsoft Word installed, but again, no problem: the net has what I need, or more specifically, Google does.

Sitting in Google Docs is a copy of my review, and with a few clicks, I've got the document up in front of me, cursor eagerly awaiting my input. I won't finish the review tonight (especially if I keep breaking away to Nuketown to write spontaneous blog posts) but that's ok. One quick save, and my Google Doc's updated, and ready for me to pick it up again once I reach my sister's house.

Laptop? Who needs a freaking laptop?

Geek on the Water

by Ken Newquist / May 12, 2008

 Jordan and I canoeing on the Bushkill Creek.

Jordan and I went canoeing on the Bushkill River on Mother's Day as part of an effort to get Jordan, Luke and our friends Jess and Dylan's two-year-old twins used to the idea of being in a boat. We started off putting all four kids in the boat, and then Sue and Jess dragged them up and down the brook for a while (exceedingly cold work, given that it was only about 70 degrees out, the water was far colder, and they were standing in it). Once the little kids had had their full of the water, I took Jordie out in the (slightly) deeper water. The water was about two feet deep in this picture, giving us just enough clearance to go paddling.

The dent you see in the side of the canoe is not from me; rather it's a legacy of a disastrous family canoing trip on the Delaware River when I was a kid that ended with said canoe colliding with a rather rock after our first encounter with rapids. The canoe is in good shape in spite of its Titanic moment, and Sue and I have had it out on the Delaware a bunch of times, though not much since the kids were born.

Jordan at Five

by Ken Newquist / April 6, 2008

"How many Harry Potter movies are there?" Jordan asks me from the back seat of the Wrangler as we drive around Easton. The question isn't surprising; she's just watched Chronicles of Narnia and has decided she's ready to watch the first Harry Potter movie.

"Well, there are seven books," I said, "but there are going to be eight movies, because they're splitting the last book into two films."

There's a pause, then Jordan says "Eight minus two is six."

Impromptu Take Your Daughter to Work Day

by Ken Newquist / February 14, 2008

My dad was a science teacher, and I spent many a day going to work with him, on Saturdays or summer days, while he set up his classrooms, rebuilt bulletin boards, and generally did teacher stuff. I have pleasant memories of wandering through empty schools, exploring new corridors, and taking the occasional break to draw epic space battles while my dad put the finishing touches on a display case packed with jars of preserved crittees caught at Sandy Hook.

Nuclear Midnight is now 5 p.m.

by Ken Newquist / January 31, 2008

I’d settled into a good routine. Get off work at 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., go to the gym, and then get home by 6:00 to 6:30 in time for dinner with the family. Take care of the kids – giving them baths and cleaning up the house – and help herd them into bed by 8:30. Then my wife and I would have the evening to ourselves. That was the theory, and it was also the practice for a good long while.

And then Luke became a toddler.

Operation Zzz

by Ken Newquist / January 21, 2008

Operation Zzz Day 0 I look like death warmed over. There are deep bags under my eyes, my neck muscles are vise-tight despite a massage on Saturday, and my face has that hang-dog, puffy look that comes from one too many nights spent sleeping far too little.

This is actually an improvement.

Things were worse in December and January, which were hell on sleep in the Newquist household as the kids forgot how to sleep through the night, family emergencies smashed our piece of mind, and a nasty stomach virus had my wife and the baby fighting to keep food down. And while it feels like we’ve been under siege for the last three days fighting this virus. Not all of my sleep deprivation is family induced though. There was a marathon session of Civilization IV of Saturday night, and more than a few late night DVD forays to watch the two Resident Evil sequels, the first two discs of Doctor Who, Season 3, and the Futurama movie Bender’s Big Heist.

Some days, I’m my own worst enemy.

Under the Geek Tree 2007

by Ken Newquist / December 25, 2007

 Under the Geek Tree 2007T'was a very geeky Christmas once again this year, and the Geek Tree's rocket tree skirt is filled with all manner of games and toys for thirtysomething boys.

First up, this year's Hess truck goes off-roading with a huge engine-revving 4x4 with two motorcycles. Very cool, and an instant hit with the kids. My annual Star Trek ornament was the bridge of the Enterprise from Wrath of Khan, with the Reliant depicted on screen. It has dialog from the movie, which just makes me want to pop the DVD in and watch it.

The Advanced Players Guide, by Green Ronin, with new spells, new classes and the big surprise -- a mass combat system compatible with D&D. Another big Green Ronin book is the Ultramodern Weapons Guide, which is a d20 Modern-compatible hardcover detailing hundreds of weapons with descriptions, pictures, specs and game stats. I know, perfect for Christmas, but I've heard nothing but good things about the book from my fellow gamers.