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.
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.
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.
T'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.
The Geek Tree has spawned. With my 18-month-old son Luke obsessed with putting almost everything he finds in his mouth, we decided that hanging up my various mini (and easily swallowed) ornaments wasn't a good idea. At the same time, my parents discovered my old Christmas tree from high school, a 18" tree that I used to setup in my room.
A string of white lights later, and the Spawn of the Geek Tree was born.
Like the Geek Tree, the mini-Geek Tree is decorated with a variety of science fiction and comic book ornaments (no fantasy ones though -- I didn't have any small enough for this tree; even the hobbits are out of scale). It's decorated with Hallmark's miniature Star Trek ornaments (the Enterprise-E, Defiant and Voyager) as well as their Star Wars collection (Imperial AT-AT, TIE Fighter and X-Wing).
It's the 23rd of December, which is a date my four-year-old is having a hard time grasping. She's mentally willing for Christmas to be here tomorrow and the whole "Christmas Eve" thing just isn't making sense to her. But she can tolerate Christmas Eve ... it's the Day before the Eve that's really getting to her.
I'm an uncle again. My sister Kristen had a baby boy earlier this week -- Benjamin Francis weighed in at 8 lbs. 8 oz. and measured 22.5" long. That's an inch and a half longer and about 5 oz. heavier then Luke when he was born ... and about 2 lbs. bigger then Ben's sister Sydney. (Ben came 8 days late, Syd 10 days early).
Hallmark's released their Winter 2007 ornaments, so it's time to warp ahead to the future of this year's Geek Tree. I have my eye on three new ornaments, two spawned by Star Trek and and Joss Whedon's Firefly.
First up is the three-warp nacelled Enterperise 1701-D from the episode of "All Good Things", the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation:
The Cosmic Cup had live jazz tonight (with my boss on drums, so I stopped by with the kids for coffee, hazelnut chocalate gelato, and good music. We didn't stay long -- Jordan was tired after a big day at preschool -- but the kids seemed to enjoy it, and it was a great break from the regular routine. Luke really liked it, and spent half the time bouncing up and down on my lap, smiling at my friends, and occasionally pretending to be shy.
Parents are buying domain names for their newborns, partly to make sure the address doesn't get bought up by someone else, partly to provide friends and family with an easy way of getting photos/news and partly because hey, they are geeks. Well, not all of them -- one of the points of the story is that the practice is happening beyond geek circles, with others seeing the value of parking their kids' domain name from day one.
There are privacy concerns -- some folks aren't locking down their kids sites, others are concerned that being able to easily guess a child's domain name (e.g. first name, last name, .com) is an invitation to unsavory types.