Monday, October 27, 2008

Party Party Party

We had a weekend full of parties. On Saturday we drove up to St. Cloud for a niece's 1st birthday then came back to St. Paul for a fantastic Halloween party with some friends. In between the parties K8 quickly redressed the boys to turn Q into a Rock Star and Ozzi into Chuck while I used this instructable to turn an everyday watermelon into a pale human brain. Mmmm, brains.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My geeky heart is all a flutter.

THE. MOST. AWESOME. WOOD. BLOCKS. EVER! A Young Mad Scientist's First Alphabet Blocks are created by Xylocopa and was a stand out at Make Magazine's Austin Makers Faire.

I'm on the verge of dehydration from the amount of drooling I'm doing over these things. They are definitely going on my Christmas list this year (right under the G1 Phone). Don't think of this as a grown man wanting some baby toys, but instead, a patron of the arts wanting a masterpiece of geeky art in the form a child's plaything.

Look at what they've come up with for all the letters:
A - Appendages
B - Bioengineering
C - Caffeine
D - Dirigible
E - Experiment
F - Freeze ray
G - Goggles
H - Henchmen
I - Invention
J - Jargon
K - Potassium
L - Laser
M - Maniacal
N - Nanotechnology
O - Organs
P - Peasants (with Pitchforks)
Q - Quantum physics
R - Robot
S - Self-experimentation
T - Tentacles
U - Underground Lair
V - Virus
W - Wrench
X - X-Ray
Y - You, the Mad Scientist of Tomorrow
Z - Zombies


Imagine for a moment Q, Ozzi, and I all spinning, bouncing, and dancing to this yesterday afternoon.

Then Q rocking out so hard to this that, I swear to god, he almost puked.

Now imagine what it looks like from other cars to see Q and I rocking out to this song in the car.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hero(es) of The Week: Minnesota Dads At Home

My level of involvement with MDAH has dwindled since I first joined up with them after Q was born. They are a fantastic group of guys that I wish our schedule would allow me to hang out more with. Looking at myself in the mirror, I wish I would have at least made time for the Friday morning run around Lake Calhoun.

Over the past few weeks this group of stay at home dads has really demonstrated what it means to lead by example and be an at home role model to their kids. One of the dads has been struck with some major medical issues and is, last I heard, in some level of coma. When the news of this tragedy broke to the group there was an immediate outpouring of prayers, offers, and planning to help the family in anyway they could. Today, the family's yard work is being done by an army of Stay at Home Dads. I think there are plans to finish some painting another day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I posted this video demonstrating the ABC3D book by Marion Bataille a while back when it was said to be available in some vague future. That future is now people. You can go to Amazon right now and get your copy of the coolest ABC book ever.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Modern Times

One might argue that my not having a super-high-tech phone like the awesome new G1 (seriously Google, you and Tmobile have my address. How shameless do I have to get here?) would disqualify me from the title of "modern dad". Well, one might be right, but I'm trying. For example;

Q is getting quite familiar with computers and has his own XO Laptop,

the boys have their own ipod that even Ozzi is learning to operate,

and this weekend we went to a party hosted by someone we only knew via the internet. Our internet real life friend Pumpkin Girl put on a great party for the kids and the adults as well. She generously sent everyone home with her highly sought after handmade baby clothes available on etsy.

Q scored a rockin' guitar shirt.

Ozzi got his dirty little hands on one of the famous tiesies. All we need now is a pair of red baby Cons and Ozzi could be Chuck for Halloween.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

DK: "Q, what planet do we live on?"

Q: "Google Earth."

If that doesn't deserve a free G1 phone from Google, I don't know what does.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

ppppa ch pa pa ch ika ika ika

Here in the Twin Cities we have a seemingly endless supply of classes and activities for little kids. From art to ballroom dancing to music to Chinese, with just a little searching you can fill "_______ for kids" with most any subject that you want your child to get an early start on. Well, almost every subject. Despite Minneapolis/St. Paul being home to several music schools, I can not find a single Beatboxing for Kids class. What the hell yo? I thought the Minniapple was supposed to be all progressive and shit.

So MacPhail Center for Music, to help you get with the times I've compiled a short list of possible instructors for your new Beatboxing course:

Biz Markie, Nobody beats the Biz!

James Burchfield

Gregg Pattillo

or The Fat Boys might be looking for work these days.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Nook is Dead. Long Live The Blue Door Pub.

Ok, the Nook isn't dead, it's actually bursting with life and that's the problem. We're just blocks away and it is impossible to even get in the door. Well, a couple of ex-Groveland Tap guys have come to our rescue. They just opened up The Blue Door Pub and it is St. Paul Restaurant Heaven.

The Blue Door is a family friendly neighborhood pub with a real Cheers-like atmosphere. The staff is AWESOME friendly. A waitress turned one of the tv's to cartoons for Q as soon as we sat down. Even if there wasn't cartoons, Q would have still had the chalkboard wall to keep him occupied until the food came. In true "Small Paul" fashion we already know one of the waitresses from her days at Java Train. Like I said, family friendly.

The Food. Ohhh the food. Pub food perfection. They have successfully combined the Minnesota virtues of quality ingredients, inventiveness, and a little kitchiness (Spam bites and tater tots). They take the Twin Cities' favorite burger, the juicy lucy, to a new level using a veriety of cheeses and other ingredients to stuff the burgers. The deep fried green beans are a must-try that will go great with your Surly or Schlitz and if wine is more your speed, they have a nice selection as well.

Alas poor Nook, I knew the well.

Update: HOLY CHRIST ON A STICK! It looks like the word definitely got out. Friday it took over an hour to get a table for the 3.5 of us... and we showed up at 5:30. It didn't help that on a few occasions groups hanging at the bar that showed up after us saw a table clear off and jumped on it before the waitress could seat the people on the list. Maybe I should have grown a pair and did a little yelling but it really isn't in my nature.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008



Bat for Lashes


Monday, October 13, 2008


Ozzi just walked unaided for 5 feet. When Q hit milestones like this we celebrated. With Ozzi, we now see things like walking for what they are, advancements in trouble-making technology. These are just 15 more steps toward world domination.

Hero of The Week: Jay Walker

As long as I can remember daydreaming has taken up a large portion of my time. These daydreams vary from crazy inventions (that wouldn't work) to ideas on helping the less fortunate (that I always forget) to fantasies of what I would do once one of those ideas made me a multi-billionaire (which will never happen). One of those fantasies that I have held onto since I was a kid is my dream home. Certainly the layout and features of the house in my head has changed over the years, but one critical aspect of the design has remained constant, the library. I have always dreamed of a home centered around a massive library that contained a motley collection of bizarre, remarkable, and historic books and artifacts.

This brings me to this weeks hero, Jay Walker. The man behind has transplanted the library in my brain strait into his Connecticut home. His library, featured recently by Wired, houses one of the greastest collections in the world celebrating knowledge and inovation. I would sacrafice my finest goat to get an hour in that room. Of course, I'd have to leave the boys at home. Something tells me Jay wouldn't apreciate drool on his Engima machine.

From King James to James Bond, Chaucer to Sputnik, a personal library like no other.
Photo: Andrew Moore

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Living The High Life

One of the many joys of being a stay at home dad in St. Paul, going for a walk on a beautiful Fall Friday. If you're in St. Paul this weekend make sure you take a walk down Summit to enjoy the peek fall colors. There is a maple in front of the Governor's Mansion that has the most gorgeous combination of green, yellow, orange, red, and deep burgundy, all on one tree.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Serious Question

We've got potty-training pretty well licked at this point but could someone please tell me how you are supposed to teach a 3 year old how to effectively wipe his own ass? On a few occasions now he has taken it upon himself to do the paperwork on his own with a variety of less than desirable results.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


The Faint

Mates of State

We are Scientists

Monday, October 6, 2008

Internet Schooling

The Alphabet


Math, Economics, and Contracts


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hero of The Week: Dean Kamen

After watching Iron Man over the weekend, Dean Kamen seams like a logical choice for this weeks hero. If there was someone flying around in a super high tech metal suit saving peoples lives, I'm pretty sure it would be Dean Kamen. I've been fascinated by Kamen ever since I saw him demoing the iBOT many years ago and then heard him say,"You have teenagers thinking they're going to make millions as NBA stars when that's not realistic for even 1 percent of them. Becoming a scientist or engineer is." Later I read an article (that I can't seem to find now) about his private island where his lab is deep underground, acessible only through an elevator in his house.

Friday, October 3, 2008

DIY Parenting or Raising MacGyver

I've done the occasional dabbling in DIY projects like the playgarden and Q's robot costume but lately I've really started to re-catch the "hardware hacking" bug that I had as a kid. Spurred on by the short distance our dollars seem to be going these days and Q getting to an age where building stuff and basic science is almost as cool as Word Girl, I've found some fantastic resources and communities online.

  • The best DIY site I've found out there is An open forum for everyone to post and use instructions on building most anything you can imagine.
  • Curbly and the Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories are two great DIY blogs that are either posting their own projects or pointing us all to the innovative ideas of others. Curbly is centered on design while EMSL registers a bit higher on the geek berometer.
  • ReadyMade and MAKE are DIY magazines that also have great websites. A subscription to either one of them will definitely be on my xmas list this year.
And then there is Bre Pettis. Bre is the Jesus of the modern DIY movement. Formerly with MAKE, Bre is now creating videos for Etsy, blogging, and doing 700 billion other things to bring all us hipsters into the hardware hacker fold.
Coolest of all, his pilot tv show, History Hackers, just aired on The History Channel. (If you're like us and don't have cable you can find a torrent file online if you look hard enough.) The show is AWESOME! It even held Q's attention and he's 3... and its not a cartoon. History Hackers manages to perfectly blend Mr. Wizard, Nova, and Mythbusters together with a DO try this at home theme. The show is very well produced but still maintains a genuiness. I think the reason HH captures the attention of both adults and children is Bre's honest excitement for what he is presenting. Bre's ability to translate something like Nikola Tesla's ideas to something palpable like turning your bike into an AC generator with a few basic household items makes HH one program that I will make a point to sit down and watch with Q (and ozzi provided the show gets picked up for multiple seasons).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Can I get an apple Red Bull with my apple cider, apple muffin, apple pie, apple donuts, apple...

We met some friends at Pine Tree Apple Orchard today. Pine Tree is definitely kid friendly, but I think their core audience is more the 70+ crowd. At least, that was the most heavily represented demographic when we were there. The hay-free "hayride" was a fun little tour of the orchard with some nice views of the surrounding area from "the highest hill in the county" and there was plenty of room for the kids to run wild. The highlight for Q was the close proximity of the train that went by.

In the end, the visit felt a bit too much like a factory tour and not enough like a visit to a family farm. I'm not saying it was a waist of time. The kids still enjoyed themselves and that's pretty much the whole point. It just wasn't what I was expecting I guess. Maybe it was just the surrounding skyline of McMansions that put me off. Or maybe I'm just crabby from not getting any sleep the last few nights because Ozzi is fighting off a little ear infection. He was feeling much better today thankfully.

...and I still think my guy at the St. Paul Farmers Market has the best damn Honey Crisp Apples out there.