Top 10 List of Geek/Nerd Things To Do This Year

One of my goals for 2012 from a previous post was to learn obtain some sort of new geek/nerd skill, trait or as I’ll add; notch to my geek utility belt. I’ve been pondering what that item should be and was torn. I’ve decided first of all to add this as a constant annual goal. This came clear to me as I ended up with a list of possible items for this year. I ended up broadening it to ten items. Some might be a little lamer or easier than the other, but this is the first year and it might advance over the years. I’m also open to suggestions from readers…if there are any out there.

I’m open to geek/nerd activities that allow me to involve my two younger sons Quattro and Mace.

Here is the list.

  1. Build something with a solar panel.  I always wanted to build something that uses renewable energy. May it be a Lego robot that travels across the picnic table or get a solar power kit from Harbour Frieght and wire up all the external house lights.
  2. Learn how to splice fiber cable. This one would be tough since we don’t carry the necessary tools at work and could be an expensive project to make mistakes in. Playing with small strands of glass sounds like too much fun though. My skills at crimping Cat5e and Cat6 cables as sped up this year and comes in handy when you want to make clean precise cable runs. Continue reading

Becoming a Geek Dad

As a dad you can always instill certain beliefs and ideology and hobbies onto your kids. You might not mean for it to turn out that way, but they are such a helpless mound of clay ready for your kneading. We, as parents, tend to do in conscientiously…sometimes. I’m always for trying to push my kids in a certain direction as long as I am not narrow minded or don’t mind them choosing against it. I’ve done the typical root for this sports team, play this sport, do this, try that. I wouldn’t say I pushed lil Eddie into playing a trumpet but I helped him choose the instrument I played as a kid. He could of picked the saxophone like he originally wanted, but he didn’t like sucking on the reeds.

Anyways, a lot of stuff I push on my kids to do has its own level into geekdom. You could analyze it all you want and tag watching and rooting for a specific sports organization as a level of geek. (Especially when the fan starts spouting out statistics, strategies, and historical revelations about the game or team.) The more wide range of stuff I introduce my kids to, I realize that I am that geek dad. I think I am more of a geek now than I was 2 decades ago. Good thing too, I probably would of spent more money and acquired more stuff lying around the house if I did this when I was single.

A lot of the stuff I pushed or encouraged on my boys would of come naturally as they usually do for young American boys. You know the typical superhero, video game, Pokemon, and war. Sure I helped guide them along by taking them to comic book stores, introducing them to video games other than shooters (jRPG), Magic the Gathering, and old fashion strategy board games. My wife and I also helped them pick out good literature from Star War novels, Harry Potter, Eragon, Lord of the Rings, Kingdom Keepers, and others. (Eddie reads so many books that I may have to buy him a Kindle. We have three huge bookshelves filled with books.)

We do puzzles, models, science experiments, etc. We watch Discovery and the Science Channel. We go to museums to see exhibits like King Tut, Star Wars, Pirates, and Narnia. (All social exhibits at Ben Franklin Institute over the years.) I try to explain the technologies I deal with at work. We build things. (We once took all their Hot Wheels tracks and built the longest raceway that spanned two rooms.) Lil Eddie and I almost stayed up all night playing video games.

I can’t wait for this summer to start some new projects. We got The Dangerous Book for Boys, which has a few projects in there. Plus Eddie has some other book with all kinds of cool stuff from making Zombie makeup to laser pens. I’m also considering getting the Geek Dad book series which outlines a lot of other fun projects.

Don’t worry. No matter how much reading and imagination they use, they still play sports and are a huge hit with the ladies. Which is good, no matter how geeky they become, they are not living in my basement. (I have plans for my basement…that’s my domain!) Now excuse me while we get fresh water for our dinosaur plants.

Bringing Back Family Game Night

It is time to put this back on the table. The tradition of a weekly family game night. A night where there is no TV, no Netflix, and amazingly, no soccer practices or games. A night where we all sit down and play one of our numerous board, card, or dice games. Either all 4 of us or 2 or 3…I’d say 5 but our cat, Matilda, only messes up the game boards or chews on the cards.

It’s time to brush up on my chess skills to take on lil Eddie. He is at that age where things just click on their own. He is building his own strategy and I can see in his face that he is planning ahead. Soon, I’ll have to increase my skill level so he does not beat me all the time. In chess, he has awhile to go to beat me. That was one of my games back in the day. Magic The Gathering, we almost break even when we play. I would say I win about 60% of the time.

It is time to start adding to our game shelves. It is that yard sale season. Anyone out their having a yard sale or getting rid of games, let me know! I need to get out their and find some missing classics for us. Some high on my list to find is a bigger chess set, Risk, Stratego, Mastermind, Othello, and Axis and Allies. Eddie’s been eyeing some non-traditional games that I am not accustomed to. Mainly games he sees at our local comic shops. You know the one’s that have instruction manuals as big as Cisco training text book. No not the one where you have to dress up, but I’m sure a d20 is needed to roll something.

I’m not against trying new games. Never have been, I just never had the chance or the close immediate friends that were also into it to play. It’s one thing to teach a friend Mancala or even Risk for the first time but trying teaching a game from TSR to anyone, especially when you have no clue on how it is played. Actually, I owned Marvel Super Heroes RPG. I read the manuals, tried to play practice games, but I do not think I was doing it right. I knew some kids that lived close by that probably were into it, but I didn’t know or didn’t bother to find out. Not because I thought it was nerdy or anything. I had my own nerdy things out in plain view that it didn’t matter to me.

Pretty soon our game shelves in the family room will be packed and it will be time to thing of our basement project. We want to convert the basement into a huge game room. It’s a big open space and there is already a poker table and air hockey down there. I want to add another long rectangle table, my desk, data cabinet for a server or two, couches, TV, shelves, and of course a small bar.I’m not going for that over the top media room, sports themed pub, or an over-the-top fantasy room (although his ideas go along with a lot of the decor styles in our home).

*On top of the games, anyone getting rid of 4-6 wooden chairs for my poker table?