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Aftrthought051

Toanstation: Dad in the Spotlight Nov. 26th - 30th

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Great intro man, yeah you have to relax with games, hence the meaning...games.  If you want a good laugh check us out on Halo too.  Nothing but bullet sponges everywhere lol

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Tuesday-Tell us about your family

 

Alyce and I have been married for 5 years. We first met several years before that through out helping run Otakon, one of the largest anime conventions outside of Japan. We were friends for a few years, and after one convention, I finally got over my innate shyness and asked her out. We hit it off immediately. After dating for a year or two, we moved in together and then in 2007, we got married. Alyce is a writer, with an MFA in Poetry from Penn State University (where she was an active member and, at one point, president of the Penn State Monty Python Society). While she'd prefer that her financial contributions to the family come from her writing, her primary job-for-pay is transcribing cable news, which has her working from home in the evening and into the wee hours of the morning. In her writing life, she is the editor of an online literary magazine, Wild Violet (http://www.wildviolet.net/).

 

Her working evenings means that care of our son, Graham, falls on me in the evenings. For a gamer dad, this is both beneficial and challenging. I have the benefit of being able to play games in the evening without any real wife aggro, but it's subject to the inflexible demands of a toddler.

 

Graham, referred to online by us as "KFP" (Kung Fu Panda -- see the nicknames thread for how he got this name), is 2-and-a-half years old. He's named after Graham Chapman, Alyce's favorite member of the Python troupe. Graham's an adorable, sociable, caring boy. He was big when he was born (high 70s percentile for length and weight, and a head circumferance in the 90s percentile), and he's kept his size in a balanced way (although his head is still big). Words cannot express how much he loves trucks and trains. We have a book made by Caterpillar with an accompanying DVD that talks all about trucks in almost a sales pitch like manner. Because of this book, he can identify by sight dump trucks, loaders, backhoes, graders, excavators, tele-handlers and material handlers. He's fascinated with trains, and even has his own little wooden train set.

 

We haven't subscribed to "no TV kids," but we have been very particular about what he watches, and the shows that he watches, and chooses to watch, mostly all have some kind of value. His current favorites are Caillou, Wibbly Pig and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. He used to be a big fan of Thomas the Tank Engine, but that has waned a bit. The same was true about Chuggington Station, but last night, he asked for Chuggington by name. Fortunately, our digital cable has a good assortment of free kids programming through on demand. Between our choices in TV he's watched and his love of books, we're pretty sure they've contributed to what seems to be some pretty well-developed language skills. We're regularly amazed at his vocabulary and his ability to count to ten.

 

As I said, I primarily take care of him in the evenings, but mommy is still the one that needs to put him to bed. He's recently become attached to his "amumuls" which are a small stuffed rabbit, bear and a cow (the cow used to be one of the cat's toys). He also recently got a Dream Lights puppy ("Mah puppy"), which, along with his animals, figure into the night-time routine. He's generally content to occupy himself in the evening playing with his trucks, train, various kids musical instruments and books, with breaks to watch either Sprout TV or whichever of his favorite show's he's demanded to watch.

 

I'd like to thank Sprout TV for making it possible for us to put his toys away most nights without crying and protesting (it's part of Sprout's evening program). And when he does object, I just need to sing a few bars of their clean up song to get him to agree. I'd also like to thank Daniel Tiger for teaching KFP that "grownups come back," which makes those occaissions when Alyce or I need to go out, he doesn't cry. We've also taught him to say "bye" to people and things when they leave or get put away. He's learned that saying "bye" is okay because he'll see them again. It's adorable when we put toys aways and he says "bye" to his favorites.

 

He is a bit frustrating, though, because he's going through a common toddler thing where his eating has gotten picky. He generally only eats his familiar favorites (most of which are beige), and on some days he won't each much of anything. We are fortunate in that the only things he really likes drinking are milk (this plus his liquid multivitamin are sometimes the only thing that keeps us sane when he won't eat) and water, and he hasn't developed a taste for candy. One time, coming back from visiting Alyce's family, we stopped in a roadside convenience store. She was getting stressed about thinking she was a failure of a mother (we stopped because he had a crying fit), and I pointed out to her that we were standing in the middle of a sea of junk food which he wasn't even remotely interested in.

 

Oh, and we have a cat, Luke (he was an orphan with two siblings Han and Leia), that we adopted from our local animal coalition. He's a nice if small and skittish cat. KFP has a bit of a wierd relationship with the cat. By turns he's fascinated with, terrorizing of, and frightened of Luke. We wouldn't expect Luke to ever do anything, but we wonder if at one point Luke hissed at or scratched him.

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:lmao2  You definitely care about your son that's for sure.  Hope your wife one days gets a writing job she loves.  My friend does a bunch of freelance writing, doing articles for magazines in his area of expertise.  If she has the time, she really should look.  My friend is always hounding me to quit writing on this site for free and put my time in writing something to get paid for it.  :lol  Look forward to tomorrow.

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:lmao2  You definitely care about your son that's for sure.  Hope your wife one days gets a writing job she loves.  My friend does a bunch of freelance writing, doing articles for magazines in his area of expertise.  If she has the time, she really should look.  My friend is always hounding me to quit writing on this site for free and put my time in writing something to get paid for it.  :lol  Look forward to tomorrow.

 

It's on her short list of options to investigate. She spent her first few years out of college as a reporter for the Milton Standard in central PA.

 

I care about her as much as I do about KFP. I left out that she's also a contributor for Yahoo! News. Also for those dads who are like me in that they're older, you're wife/SO might be interested in a project that my wife recently started: http://www.belatedmommy.com/.

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Great write up man ! I love it when kids are going thru there i love "this" today, then the next day you try and give them the same and it's the "how could you feed me this slop" look !!!  :lol

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Cat probably did get him at one point.  My son learned the hard way not to pull the big cats tail, he hits back.  I don't really punish the cat for it as I've watched them and they take it a lot from the kids then they hit that lvl and scratch my son.  Then I spank him for pulling the cats tail and make him go to his room.  At least your son has learned through pain, mine still keeps going back for more  :lmao2

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Sorry this is later in the day than the first couple. I couldn't concentrate on it earlier. Work was a bit all over the place today, and I have a bit of a cold.

 

Wednesday-Tell us about all your job and your hobbies

 

Where to start... well, currently, I'm the Director of Technology for Philadelphia-area branding agency. I started there in 2008 doing web development. Those following along, may wonder how I got from a BS in Chemistry Education to web development. Well, I originally was a teacher, teaching in an inner city Philadelphia high school. While I enjoyed teaching, I didn't enjoy the politics or pay. So, with my initial certification running out (your initial teaching certification in PA is only good for 6 years), I left teaching and became a chemist. I spent a few years working as an analytical chemist, first for Johnson & Johnson and then for a pharmaceutical contract lab. After being let go from the contract lab, a friend offered me an opportunity to work for a Microsoft Solution and Training provider. I took him up on the opportunity and made a shocking discovery: the best career was the one that had me working with the things I like most: computers.

 

After working there for two years, they had to let me go, but found me a position at a small, Philadelphia healthcare company where I work for eight years. I became their Director of Technology and was a valued member of the upper management. The corporate culture was like that of a family. When the owners decided they wanted to retire, they found a larger company that valued what we did and who we were that they felt would nurture the company and give it an opportunity to grow.

 

Unfortunately, our new partent company put a person in charge of us who was running a company similar to ours but based in Florida. And with a toxic culture. Our new boss didn't understand the differences between northeastern metropolitan clients and southeastern ones. Over my last couple years with the company, we lost one large client after the other where the only reasonable course of action was for our company to be significantly scaled down and absorbed. I was there during the last days of the company as it had existed. I had already had my notice when I was helping them transfer all IT operations to the Florida offices. It's the hardest termination I've ever had to go through, watching the company that had become a kind of family be steadily disassembled around me.

 

Another lead from a friend brought me to my current job.

 

My hobbies, by contrast have been a bit more consistent. My hobbies can be easily summarized as gaming (all kinds), science fiction and anime. I got my start with gaming and computers in 1980 with the red box of D&D, and making ASCII-based computer games on my friend's father's HeathKit Z-80 computer.

 

I think my love of science fiction goes back to 6th grade, when I would go to the public library next to my school after school every day. While waiting for my dad to pick me up after work, I steadily read every science fiction book the library had.

 

I can trace my love of anime back to middle school, when I remember running home after school to watch that day's episode of Start Blazers, and being rivitted to the little B&W TV in my room watching Battle of the Planets.

 

The ultimate expressions of my hobbies -- let's face it, my geekdom -- are my involvement in conventions. For the last several years, I've been a regular panelist at the Philcon science-fiction convention, participating and leading discussion on a variety of gaming, science fiction and anime topics. I've also been a staffer and voting member of the Otakon anime convention since 1997, going as far as sitting on its Board of Directors on multiple occaissions -- I was even it's Comptroller for a year.

 

My hobbies are dear to me. Looking back, they're tied to much of where I am today. Through them, I've met the people I'm happy to call friends; I've joined several good communities, including this one; and I've even formed my family.

 

Last year at Otakon, I had the opportunity to tell Noboru Ishiguro, director of Space Battleship Yamato (a.k.a. Star Blazers) how I was introduced to anime through Star Blazers, which led me to join Otakon, which led to my meeting my now wife, which led to our son. I was even able to introduce him to KFP who was only 1 at the time. He was touched. I'm glad to have been able to share with him the impact his work had before he passed away earlier this year.

 

Just games? Yes, but still important in ways that the :asshat chatting "n00b!" while he blows up your tank may never comprehend.

 

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