Oct 20 2016

Brett Singer Live Returns

Brett Singer Live has returned! Listen to it right here!

Next time we’ll get someone else to be on the air with me. Will it be you? It might be. Let me know on the Facebooks or the Twitters if you’re interested. Several fine folks have already said they will join me in my media endeavor, which is greatly appreciated.

You can also listen to past shows here. AND you can get my show on iTunes. Yes. iTunes. Click here and iTunes will open and all will be right with the world.

But I’m back! Let’s go!

Source: Guess Who’s Back? 10/19 by Brett Singer | Entertainment Podcasts


Oct 06 2016

Presidential Family Time

This DaddyTips Featured Video is of Michelle Obama on Stephen Colbert’s show discussing Presidential Family Time. It’s very funny and also nice. You should watch it.

 

DaddyTips Featured Video


Sep 29 2016

Alien Megastructure WHAAAT?

Scientists have discovered an “alien megastructure” in space.

Bill is alien

Bill is alien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s less cool than it sounds. Despite being SUPER COOL, this picture doesn’t help.

The video over at Business Insider (link) is very well made and definitely gets the point across in a short amount of time. That’s useful. And I’ll admit that the picture of what appears to be the Death Star got me to click.

BUT. Let’s calm down for a second. We don’t really know what this space thing is. And to be fair to Business Insider, the phrase “The peculiar dipping events in the disk-bearing young-stellar object EPIC 204278916” are not very exciting when you have no idea what they mean.

Space news is cool. We’ve discussed this. So if it takes using Star Wars style imagery to draw us in… well, I can live with that. I just hope our alien overlords are nice.

I kid. Sort of.

No one knows why these stars are acting so peculiar.

Source: New alien megastructure star discovered – Business Insider


Sep 08 2016

Star Trek Is Still There For You

This article (link below) about Star Trek and how it has lost some of its original charm (not the right word but I’m trying to get this post up quickly) is spot on. But ultimately, Star Trek is still there for you. And for your children.

The Original Series Trekkies at BayCon 2003

The Original Series Trekkies at BayCon 2003 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Photo note: I don’t know any of these people; it’s a usable pic from Wikipedia. I kinda love it, though.)

Here’s one of the the many money shots from the Op-Ed in the New York Times by Thomas Vinciguerra (and you should read the whole thing because it’s good, isn’t that long and it’s about Star Trek and is therefore important):

Still, my inner 12-year-old worries that this unique creation has lost much of its wide-eyed charm. Executed on a shoestring, begun amid major social tumult, “Star Trek” triumphed in large part because it tackled such essential and eternal themes as prejudice, war, learning and love. Shortly before the series began, the associate producer Robert H. Justman pleaded for “shows where the story is the thing and the gimmicks are unnecessary.”

Fair enough. However, as a parent and huge Star Trek fan (I also prefer Trekker to Trekkie, but that’s a subject for another time), I can safely say that the original series is still there for you. And your kids.

My own children are not as into Star Trek as I am, mostly because I am so deeply into Star Trek that I own a TriCorder and went to a friend’s wedding dressed (vaguely) as Mr. Spock. (I took my ears off during the ceremony, out of respect, but I put them back on when I got up to sing a Ramones song. Trust me, it fit.) I spent many tortured minutes debating whether or not I should go as Spock (now known as Spock Prime, because of the new movies) or Mirror Universe Spock. I chose the latter, although my beard wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped. Also, I wear glasses, so it was never going to be perfect. (One last caveat — the wedding invitation did say costumes. It’s not like I just showed at somebody’s wedding wearing pointy ears.)


Clearly, I have deep feelings for Star Trek. This is not a surprise to anyone who knows me reasonably well.

As such, I understand that many fans are disappointed with the direction the new Trek movies have taken. Personally, I like them, because they have managed to keep the essence of the characters mostly intact, and the characters are one of the reasons why I love the original series, or rather The Original Series. Of course the plots are another reason, as was the vision that Gene Roddenberry presented. Hell, it was the whole package. I loved it.

And I still do. I’m sharing it with my children. They get it. Are they going to feel the same way I do? I doubt it. And that’s fine.

Like the author of the New York Times Op-Ed, I didn’t go to the convention this past weekend. Why? I don’t know. One, I forgot. Two, I don’t love crowds. Three… that’s probably it. I could add “I’m cheap” and I imagine the tickets to the Con were not inexpensive.

You know what is, though? Watching The Original Series. Thanks to the wonders of streaming video, you can watch any episode of Star Trek whenever you like. You need a Netflix subscription, or Amazon Prime.


Is that a good way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek? It sure is. It’s also a good way to celebrate any other day. And that will never change.

Live Long and Prosper.

How the franchise lost its cult status — and why at least one Trekkie is in mourning.

Source: Who Stole My ‘Star Trek’? (New York Times)


Aug 23 2016

Warning: More Superhero Posts To Come (But It’ll Be About Parenting Too)

I know this is DaddyTips.com, but I think there are going to be more superhero posts to come. You have been warned.

Danger Will Robinson

This will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me or anyone who reads this site with even moderate regularity. I mean… well, I’ll let the picture say a thousand words.

Me and The Avengers movie.

Personally I prefer The Avengers. Have I mentioned that lately?

In case anyone is wondering, the phrase “Me and The Avengers DVD Combo Pack = happy dad” is still true. I could watch that movie almost any time. Luckily there is a steady supply of other stuff to watch, some that even doesn’t have superheroes in it like Stranger Things. (Stranger Things is all the things, by the way. I’ve already watched it twice. It’s good the second time around, in case you were on the fence about watching it again.)

Deutsch: Zentrale Heterochromie: Grüne Iris, u...

Deutsch: Zentrale Heterochromie: Grüne Iris, um die Pupille herum jedoch ein braun-gelber Ring (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(The image above is totally unrelated and is included just to freak you out a little.)

I will be doing a better job of tying the superhero stuff into parenting and related topics. Not that this is necessary. To paraphrase Whit Honea from way back when we both blogged for Babble.com, superhero movies are relevant to a parenting blog because I’m a parent and I like superhero movies. (Whit’s kind of awesome; check him out here, and also everywhere.) I also watch them with my kids. The values they impart are important. Not that it’s all about values. It’s also about fun, and sharing something fun. The world is a rough place. There’s a reason it’s called “escapism.” But while escaping, it is worth noting that sometimes there are good values being imparted. Acceptance of others (Vision and Scarlet Witch). The complications of friendships (Captain America: Civil War). How awesome and weird it would be to have super-powers at age 15 (Spider-Man). OK, that last one isn’t really a value. But those three are all from the same movie. I’ve got more than that, trust me. Because with great power, there must also come great responsibility. (Ahem.)

Face front True Believers! Welcome to the DaddyTips age of Superhero Parenting! Trust me, it’ll be a fun ride.


Aug 19 2016

Stranger Things Is All The Things

The Netflix series Stranger Things is all the things. I’m serious. I’ve never been affected by a television show like this before.

I’m going to attempt to explain. Please don’t get the men in white coats. I will also attempt not to spoil anything because you should watch Stranger Things and be amazed by it. There is a chance that I will mention something that happens on the show but I’m going to try not to.

DaddyTips, 'Strange'ified

 

(Make your own ‘Strange’ified text at MakeItStranger.com. But wait until you’ve watched the show.)

Everything about Stranger Things, including the pitch-perfect and totally brilliant fonts, is pure nostalgia. You can read about those aspects of the series everywhere. (Links are included below.)

What I haven’t read yet is what I think, which is the following:

Stranger Things is a dream I had but didn’t have, memories of a life I never lived but also did.

That’s harder to explain. I’ll give it a shot.

I grew up in the city. Lived in an apartment. Never learned to ride a bike. The kids in Stranger Things live in the suburbs, in houses, and ride their bikes everywhere.

Somehow, as I watched the series, especially the middle episodes (there are only eight in total, which is perfect both for your time and for the story being told), I found myself viewing the screen through a haze that I can only describe as memory, or a dream, or some combination of the two. The rest of my living room faded out and all I could see was my television. I mean this almost literally. It was an experience that I wish everyone could have because it was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before, at least when it comes to a TV show.

I suppose one could say that what I’m describing is what happens when you see a great movie, or at least what used to happen when you were younger and less jaded about entertainment. Maybe you are still less jaded, and if so, I envy you. In a world with so many entertainment options, it is difficult not to evaluate work differently than I once did. The sheer joy of seeing Star Wars for the first time is something that no one will ever experience again, if for no other reason than because no movie will ever come out of nowhere the way Star Wars did in 1977. That doesn’t mean the new stuff isn’t good. It is. (We all know how I feel about the first Avengers movie.) It’s simply different.

Stranger Things is different as well. Yes, the show taps into old movies, referencing specific ones. That’s not why I loved it. (If you’re interested in knowing what those references are, that information is very easy to come by.) What the show did for me was the following: it managed to be both entertaining and, in some very strange way, present a life experience that I never actually had. It’s the deepest form of nostalgia.

I want to repeat that one more time because it sounds so unbelievably odd: Stranger Things felt like something that happened to me, even though it obviously didn’t. (Again, I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but trust me, Stranger Things didn’t happen to anybody.)

A person could argue that this is simply the movie references at work. This person may be right. I don’t think they are. Somehow, the Duffer Brothers created a piece of entertainment that sprang forth from my own brain, from my my own memories of something I never actually experiencedThat is an impressive piece of work.

A few specific things I loved about the show:

  • The moment when Winona Ryder, who is so good in this she deserves every award, is going to leave her house but decides she’s going to stay instead. It sums up her character, and it’s an astonishing piece of acting.
  • The kids. Where did they get these kids, a time machine? I didn’t think they made kids like that anymore.
  • No parents. Yes, the kids have parents. But they are rarely seen. That’s extremely retro, and so important to the artistic success of the show. As a parent, I would never allow my children to be on their own the way I was, which is the way the kids on the show are. It was a different time. And I’m not a ‘helicopter parent’. Mothers and fathers simply don’t allow children to do their own thing the way parents in the 80s did. That’s not a social commentary, it’s a fact.
  • The walkie-talkies.
  • The majority of the adults, in particular the two parents (other than Winona Ryder) that we see more often than others, and also the science teacher. Well, and the police officers. OK, I like everybody on the show.
  • Yelling through rooms. “Time for dinner!” “OKAY! (gets quieter) Now listen, here’s what we need to do.” (Not a direct quote.) The jump between jarringly loud and normal speaking voices is something that I don’t think we do anymore. I know I did it. It’s a small detail, one of many, that make Stranger Things possibly even greater than the sum of its wonderful parts.
  • THE KIDS. ALL OF THEM. Everyone is talking about the main group of kids, and for good reason. They’re amazing. I want to include every kid, even the ones with small roles. And speaking of small roles…
  • The characters, and the actors who play those characters. Every detail in Stranger Things has been picked over in numerous articles online. This is because those details were carefully chosen. (Apparently there is one car that isn’t the correct year. I can’t find the story but I’m sure you can if you want to.) Every character, even the small ones, gets something to do. The main characters each have so much going on that in a lesser show it would be distracting. On Stranger Things, it isn’t. Orange is the New Black, another brilliant (for different reasons) Netflix series, manages a similar feat. But Stranger Things does it in a shorter amount of time and on a show with kooky stuff. Orange is the New Black is brilliant in part because it is based on events that actually happened, and as it continues, on events that still are happening, even if it’s not these specific events happening to these specific people. (That is, prisons are super messed up places and horrible things are happening in them.) Stranger Things somehow is about things that happened even though there is no way they could have happened. And in real life, everybody has a story. EVERYBODY ON STRANGER THINGS HAS A STORY. You don’t get to hear about all of their stories, which is also just like real life. (Again, please don’t get the men in white coats. I am aware that Stranger Things is a television show.)
  • D&D

There are so many other pleasures that came from watching this show. A friend told me when I started watching it that Stranger Things had “all the feels.” I thought I knew what he meant but I didn’t. Stranger Things brought up emotions in me that I didn’t know I could still access. I frequently had to pause an episode because I found myself getting more than a little verklempt. Three times while watching Stranger Things, I ate chocolate. Not because I was hungry, because I needed it. That has literally never happened to me before.

I hope you watch Stranger Things and that you enjoy it. I realize I’ve probably oversold it to the point where if the show doesn’t give you a foot massage while feeding you peeled grapes it won’t live up to the type. I apologize for that. Watch it anyway. It’s really good.

Other articles:

(Warning: many of these stories will reveal details of Stranger Things that it would be better for you not to know before you watch. This may not matter to you, which is fine. The warning is because I want to do my part to give you the experience that I had, which is impossible. But I want to try. I’m getting verklempt again. OK, here’s the list.)

Stranger Things Is a Nerdy Story That Is So Much More Than Its References, io9

Gizmodo’s Stranger Things coverage

I don’t totally agree with this, but I’m glad someone did it:
Stranger Things, Side-By-Side With Every Excellent Film It Borrows From (Sploid/Gizmodo)

An article from The Guardian about Winona Ryder, who is SO GOOD ON THIS SHOW

Read this Business Insider article only after you’ve watched the series; I don’t even want to include the title because it’s spoilery.

Watch this after you’ve watched the show. It’s very funny. (io9)

A review of Stranger Things and another Netflix series, The Get Down (The New Yorker)

Here are even more articles. Some of them look cool. See the disclaimer, but also this one: if don’t want to know anything about the show before you watch it, wait until after you do to read these stories. It’s OK. We’ll wait. And if you want to talk about Stranger Things, leave a comment below, or hit me up on Twitter.


Jul 03 2016

Lots of Star Trek Comics for Not Much Money

Wants lots of Star Trek comics for not much money? We gotcha covered.

English: Fireworks

English: Fireworks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, Humble Bundle does.

What’s Humble Bundle? Read on.


Pay what you want for Star Trek comics and support charity!

Humble Bundle is… well, here’s a quote from their web site:

At Humble Bundle, we put the power directly in the hands of consumers. You pay what you want for downloadable content and choose where your money goes. Through this model and the help of the Humble Bundle community, we’ve raised over $75M for charity.
So how does it work? We put together bundles of games and books that can be purchased at whatever price you think is fair. Once you’ve chosen a price, you can choose whether you want your money to go to the game developer or book publisher, charity, or Humble Bundle. We also offer the Humble Store, a digital storefront that features individual games at set prices with frequent discounts and a portion of sales going to select charities.

No idea what I’m talking about, orjust want me to cut to the chase? Basically, Humble Bundle gets a bunch of stuff (video games, comics, books) bundles them together and allows people (you) to pay whatever they want for it. The money goes to charity, and you get to decide what percentage of your money goes where. It’s very easy and you get to feel good about consuming mass quantities of digital stuffs because it’s for charity. Also you get a lot for your money.

In this case, we’re talking about $351 worth of digital comics for… well, the most anyone has paid as of this writing is $51.06. The average is $14.26. All Star Trek comics. I’ve read some of them and “Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive” is worth $14.26 all by itself. (Seriously. It’s really fun. Much better than it has any right to be.) The same could be said for “Star Trek: Year Four“, which is a comic book version of the fourth year of the Enterprise’s five-year mission. (Remember? it was a five-year mission that was canceled by the Gods of Television.) A lot of the others are good too, and those are just the comics I’ve read. You get a LOT MORE.

Check it out. Share with your kids. It’s easy because the comics are provided with no DRM, meaning you can copy them to whatever device you choose. If you go above a certain amount you even get a print book.

It’s a good deal, folks. Check it out. Limited time offer; your mileage may vary. DaddyTips takes no responsibility for anything.

Source: Humble Comics Bundle: Star Trek presented by IDW (pay what you want and help charity)

Star Trek Comics on Amazon