Geek Tree 2014

The 2014 edition of the Geek Tree is up. As has been our tradition for years (exactly how many years I can’t recall) I setup a dedicated Christmas tree for all of my geeky ornaments. It typically goes up the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and is packed with all manner of genre ornaments representing Star Wars, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Loony Tunes, The Hobbit, the Marvel universe, and many more.

Coach Newquist

Girls get ready to field the ball during a softball game.

It’s probably the goatee.

Somewhere around the year 1998, an alternative version of myself never started watching the Mets again. Never got hooked on the Subway Series between the Mets and the Yankees in 2000. Never started playing baseball games again on his Xbox 360, never started throwing baseballs on the quad at the college where he works, never went to an IronPigs game, never assistant coached his daughter’s softball team…

LEGO and the Death of Imagination

There’s this meme that’s circulating that claims that themed LEGO sets — Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc. — are killing imagination. The argument goes that unlike the generic sets of old (or even better, the big bin of blocks), these sets kill imagination. Advocates of the Good Old Days … Read more

Searching for Kid-friendly Board Games

Winter is coming. In my house, that means long weekends trapped inside with increasingly crazy, argumentative kids enraged by too many hours fighting over the rules to Uno, Life, and Monopoly. It’s the sort of thing that inspired Cracked’s “Six Board Games That Ruined It For Everyone” post, and we see it in spades thanks … Read more

Father’s Day 2012

A close-up shot of the jeep's steering wheel and new digital radio.

I was on the road last week, missing my family terribly and looking forward to getting back home. Oh sure, I had a blast on my trip — I got to hang out with higher education friends as part of Moodle Hack/Doc Fest at Kalamazoo College, I saw two baseball games, and got to watch prices rise and fall at the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange — but I was looking forward to coming home the whole time.

The Geek Tree, 2010 Edition

Two starships from Star Trek face each other within pine tree boughs.

The Geek Tree returned in 2010, but not in its standard format. In an effort to conserve space, and to avoid having rampant two-year-olds Godzilla the ornaments, I combined the Geek Tree with the Family Tree. The upside was that I was able to easily fit all of the geek ornaments on the larger tree, … Read more

Star Wars Talk to Your Kids PSA

Advice for geek parents on when to introduce kids to Star Wars, and how to tackle the delicate issues of Luke Skywalker’s father, the correct order to watch the movies, and the heresy of the special editions.

Rock Candy Dinosaurs

It began innocently enough with dinosaurs.

Kids love dinosaurs. I loved dinosaurs. Hell, I still love dinosaurs, so why wouldn’t I share them with my daughter? Girls can be archeologists too after all, and this was the perfect setup to watching Indiana Jones a few years down the line.

Except that to my daughter, who was four at the time, dinosaurs weren’t exotic reptilian wonders from 100 million years ago, they were 20 foot tall monsters with teeth like steak knives. Initial wonder gave way to horror, which spawned nightmares about being chased by velociraptors.

The Battle of Helm’s Deep … in candy

Every year at Christmas time I spend the better part of two weeks re-watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy in all of its extended glory. But I could be making far better use of my time, say rebuilding the Battle of Helm’s Deep in candy. This post first made its round in 2007, but … Read more