Stan Lee Excelsior


I’m not very precious about my iPhone but maybe I’m the outlier.

Despite the negative coverage around “bendgate”, including another article published just today, I happily tote my 6 Plus in my back pocket (I just don’t sit down with it still there).

My previous iPhones – a 4 that went to a watery grave at the local pool & a 4S that I shattered in a moment of extreme anger – both went caseless. Sure they had some nicks but no screen scratches or cracks, just normal wear & tear from average usage.

My main phone use case, the one that really defines me, is running with my phone strapped to my arm so I can log all kinds of data via iSmoothRun. Part of my excitement over the new iPhones was their dedicated M8 processors for tracking motion. It’s definitely a boon for battery life as I’ve never drained more than a percentage point or two during my average jog (5-7k).

But new hardware means new accessories, new routines and new challenges. Case in point: there’s not yet a running armband on the market for the 6 Plus. What that means functionally may shock some of you: I’ve been holding my phone in my left hand during all my runs over the past month.

Before you call a mental health professional on my behalf, I am using the silicone RED case from Apple. I’m brave but I’m not completely stupid. The combination of “bendgate” and a lack of any armband options (though I hope to buy one soon) made me just a bit more overprotective of the current phone than the last two. Also, despite feeling emotionally satisfying, smashing a phone like I did makes you realize just how fragile they are. I was just really lucky before.

No other phone has left me feeling like it’s about to jump out of my hand quite like this one, so a case is about function (peace of mind) as much as fashion. I’m thinking maybe a leather case might be more my aesthetic but the current case screams “Go Dawgs” and I’m ok with that.

Ideally I’d use something that was either malleable and slim enough to fit in an armband without me removing it, or I’d go completely in the opposite direction and get a Twelve South case for maximum ostentatiousness. I’ve always liked the exposed Apple logo as my hipness signifier but I could change my mind.

Whatever my choice, I’m committed to using the new phone as my primary computing device. I even typed this post using iA Writer and the suggested text feature in iOS 8. I still wish the 6 Plus had the iPad-style split keyboard in landscape orientation, but maybe I’ll find another solution.

For now I’m just excited to be using my phone more often. Where before my 4S had started to feel like the participation ribbon in my daily technology race, I really feel like I’ve won first prize now.

Until next time, I’ll be the one bravely toting my phone like a red relay baton.

Fatherhood v4.0

Fatherhood isn’t Motherhood mostly because Dad isn’t Mom, despite the fact that our two younger girls still call me “Mom” from time to time.

On Tuesday, with Election Day in full swing and the older kids home from school as their schools were polling places, I had a moment of parental clarity in dealing with our son.

He ran inside from playing with his friend.
He raced upstairs to his bedroom slamming the door to the Jack & Jill bathroom.
He hollered downstairs to me with explicit instructions that his friend not come in & not come upstairs.

Now I’m no genius but even I could tell something was up.

Despite repeated efforts by myself & his older sister to talk to him, he shouted us both down and we relented. She went back outside to play & I went back to working from our home office. 7-year-old boys will be 7-year-old boys, after all, and I didn’t feel the need to get up in his bathroom business.

Turns out I should have been more proactive in my fathering.

30 minutes later, having gone back outside with his friend, he careened through the front door and made a screaming beeline for the downstairs bathroom.

As I rushed to meet him there I heard the twin yawps of a son claiming his big sister wouldn’t let him come in despite the fact that he NEEDED to “go” and a sister alerting me to the fact that her younger brother was currently defecating all over the floor.

Fatherhood, man.

I’ll spare you the more graphic details of the rest of my evening but suffice it to say that parenting – Fatherhood – of a child is (apparently) a lifelong lesson taught to fools by the insane.

Much disgusting cleanup in BOTH bathrooms, physical & emotional, ensued.

At the end of the day I wasn’t angry or upset – the poor kid had a tummy ache and needed my nurturing fathering – but I was more than a little surprised he hadn’t sought out my assistance. I’m there to help, after all. I’m his dad not a babysitter or a teacher. He shouldn’t feel emberrassed or ashamed or scared when he’s around me.

But he thought I’d yell at him and so he hid his discomfort and then both of us were literally in deep shit.

How do you console a sick kid who doesn’t enlist your help for fear of retribution? Let me tell you that trying to answer that question will make your head and your heart hurt.

Most of all I just wanted to hug him (after washing my hands & he washed his).
I wanted to tell him it would all be all right, being sick & being apprehensive of me.
I needed to hold him & comfort him in all the ways he needed my comfort during his discomfort.

I don’t know that I’m always the best dad in the world, but I know that my kids always challenge me to rise to the occasion. They constantly surprise & delight me, sometimes in terrifying & frustrating ways.

At the end of the day we’re intertwined on this journey together and I can only hope their memories & expectations of me aren’t of yelling & screaming threats to pull the car over, but of all the times I cleaned up their messes.

I don’t mind getting my hands dirty and I think that’s the part I hope they learn about parenthood: that Mom & Dad will be there for them, always.

Summer Games

With the World Cup in full swing – I’ll be watching USA v. GER later – and our annual Summer vacation starting next week, my head is already drifting away from work and towards fun, sun and games.

Now, normally, we don’t bring consoles or handhelds on our vacations. Phones, yes, but that’s mostly for music. But I had a few open browser tabs this morning and I haven’t shared anything here in a while so, in the spirit of community, I give you two games I’m interested in this Summer.

The first is purely a “school pride” choice: Angry Dawgs

In what is clearly a clone of the popular Angry Birds series, Hairy Dawg must defend the UGA Career Center from rival “mutant” mascots all while dispensing valuable career advice to graduating students.

No, really. It won an award too.

I don’t need the career advice (I hope) but I’m always happy to see UGA win awards and even happier that Hairy Dawg is taking down rival mascots.

Go Dawgs!

The second game on my list is Shovel Knight an 8-bit side-scroller that reads to me like the bastard child of Super Mario Brothers & Ghosts ‘n Goblins

I learned about the game just this morning from The Verge and it seems like it’s going to be a real winner. I dig old school console games like this (more my speed) when I’m not playing mobile-first games (like the one above) so I’m bummed that I missed their Kickstarter, but $15 seems like a cheap price to pay for something that looks so awesome.

If you end up playing either game let me know in the comments. I promise not to read them on vacation.

Oh, if you’re curious, we’ll likely be bringing a different kind of game – Cards Against Humanity – to the beach, just for the adults.

Until next time, happy gaming!

Jim Henson’s Doozers on Hulu

I’m not proud to say this here, but I accepted a Klout Perk today: a sneak preview of the new Hulu original series from Jim Henson Productions, Jim Henson’s Doozers.

60% of the time Klout Perks are crap all the time, but this is a nice surprise that I’m happy to share here.

For folks that want the full experience instead of an embedded player you can go here.

I’m not a current Hulu subscriber – mostly due to the fact that I pay for premium cable plus Netflix – but this might start to sway me.1 2

If you’re looking for a better breakdown of the costs/benefits of Hulu vs. Netflix, I’m not the expert, but they’re both making a go at acquiring/licensing/creating new shows.

The greater problem this causes for fans of quality entertainment is how they get to shows they used to love, are in love with currently or might love if they could find it. (Feel the love?)

To that end HBO actually did the once-unthinkable and has agreed to license some of their original series to Amazon Prime Instant Video. That’s a HUGE deal and it might (though it probably won’t) make HBO GO more usable on Game of Thrones premiere nights.

Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

Whatever the case I’m happy Henson is getting Doozers out there for kids. It seems cute and high quality which is a lot harder than it sounds, especially for preschool kid content.

Being totally selfish I wish it had 3 things:

  1. Fraggles, Gorgs & the Trash Heap
  2. Motion capture digital puppeteering a la Sid the Science Kid
  3. A better theme song

All things considered though it seems like a fun little show. Maybe not $7.99/month to get Hulu “fun” but we’ll see.

I like that, exactly like the Doozers of the Fraggle Rock show, these new digital Doozers are industrious & engineering/technically-minded. What better way to introduce little kids to the 21st century.

Happy Wednesday!

1 One of my biggest gripes about the TiVo is that I don’t sample enough new/current broadcast TV.

2 One of my biggest gripes about Netflix is that they don’t have great kids programming (but they do have great originals for adults.