Photo Diary: September 2015 Part 2


Who Decided That Bead Mazes In Doctors’ Offices Were A Good Idea?

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The giant bead maze at our doctors’ office.

Last night our daughter started getting a some red bumps on her face. They started on one cheek and traveled around her forward and down the other side. She didn’t seem to mind, but when they were still there this morning, I called the doctor and set her up with an appointment. But, this post isn’t about the actual problem — which the doctor thinks is the not-as-serious-as-it-sounds Fifth Disease and an ear infection — but instead the insanity that is a pediatricians’ waiting rooms.

Our doctors have always been great. Aside from one doc who left the practice shortly after we signed on, we have always had excellent care. Sure, they tend to run late, but what doctor’s office doesn’t? However, I do have one big complaint: the giant bead maze table in the middle of the waiting room.

doctor office bead maze 1

She literally can’t stop herself from playing with this thing!

Now, look, I love bead mazes (even though it took me about 20 minutes to figure out what they’re actually called). I was a big fan as a child and still like sitting with my kids as they play with the smaller version we have in the playroom. But it’s inconceivable to me that doctors’ offices still have these things in their waiting rooms. Who knows better than medical professionals how easily germs can spread amongst people in an enclosed space like a waiting room? You then throw in the fact that you’re dealing with little kids who love playing and these things — which are like toddler and pre-schooler catnip — and it seems nearly impossible to keep the spread of germs to a minimum when an enormous bead maze is just sitting there, begging for tiny hands to push dozens of colored blocks wherever they can.

Worse yet? This one has beads going around the legs. You know what that translates into? Kids crawling on their hands and knees all over the floor of the waiting room! I don’t consider myself a germaphobe, but I am extra cautious when I’m in a place like that that’s just packed with potential sickness. Needless to say, I Purelled the heck out of both of us as soon as we got into the actual exam room.

I hate when people complain about things without offering a possible solution. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I can come up with one for pediatricians’ waiting rooms. On the plus side, these toys help calm the kiddos down before they see the doctors, but on the negative there’s the whole GERMS ARE EVERYWHERE thing.

What do you guys think? Am I being crazy about this or do you share my distrust of waiting room toys? Let me know in the comments!

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Presents: TJ & Brett Love Christmas!

tj and brett love christmasA few weeks ago, my buddy Brett White and I started talking about our love of all things Christmas so we decided to record a podcast about it! You might notice I sound like I’m a little under water for the first 20 minutes or so. This is the first time I’ve recorded via Skype with the monitors on which was throwing me off like crazy. Also, I thought about cutting my daughter’s quick appearance, but it was just too cute.

And now for some show notes!

I highly recommend checking out Brett’s appearance on Hear Me Out. It’s even Christmas-themed!

The Santa’s Workshop LEGO set Brett mentioned can be seen here.

Dig my list of non-traditional Christmas movies over on Topless Robot.

For what it’s worth, right after recording, I saw that one channel shows The Santa Clause 1 and 3, while another shows 2.

Don’t believe me about Eggbert? The New York Times did a story on him a few years back.

I mentioned the MiniMate Christmas village from a few years ago which you can see above. Shot on my very first “smart” phone, I believe. As if you couldn’t already tell.

Here’s Muppet Family Christmas, which Brett mentioned and I haven’t watched yet, but I want to!

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 79

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The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 79 covers Jack’s continued teething problems, Lu’s new school friend and me sharing my thoughts on the #HeForShe campaign.

Most of the horror movies I mentioned seeing were done during kiddo nap time, though a few were watched after everyone went to bed. If you only see one newer scary movie this year, make it Resolution!

The book I mentioned really enjoying on my phone is R.L. Stein’s Red Rain. Great stuff so far.


There’s just something about Little Princess that gets under my skin. Lu loves it though. sleeping beauty diamond edition

Disney’s Sleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition is fantastic. Pre-order a copy or just wait until it hits stores next week on Oct. 7th.

Here’s a video of Emma Watson’s UN speech as well as the blog post supporting stay at home dads by Aaron Gouveia over at And, for a funnier view on the whole thing, read Dead and Buried’s “Just Say No To Parenting Equality.”

For more of me check out,, Comic Book Resources and @PoppaDietsch on Twitter.

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 77

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The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 77 covers Lu’s first two weeks of school, the difficulties of going to the grocery store and a few words on the NFL-based child abuse cases.


grocery store baby train

Here’s the stroller-grocery cart train I mentioned forming while at the grocery store. star wars on proejctor

Star Wars on the wall!peep and the big wide world

The cartoon I mentioned is called Peep And The Big Wide World.

Check out Screen Team’s Tumblr here. The tutorials I mentioned are Fairies In A Jar DIY and Pokemon Melted Crayon Art Nerdcraft. I’ll let know how how these go on our end.

Speaking of arts and crafts, Tomie dePaolo’s book The Art Lesson is a personal favorte. Above you can see the cover as well as the title page of my version which he signed back in 1991. The song I mentioned is called “Flowers Are Red.”

For more of me check out,, Comic Book Resources and @PoppaDietsch on Twitter.

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 66

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The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 66 covers Jack’s recent growth spurt, Lu’s early mornings and a few thoughts on the children’s books If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and In The Night Kitchen.

Fisher-Price Newborn Rock n' Play Sleeper

I can’t believe I haven’t written about the Fisher-Price Newborn Rock n’ Play Sleeper before here on the blog! It’s a great bed-side sleeper for infants and is also super portable and can be folded up during the day if you’re tight on space like we are. It gets the Pop Poppa Seal of Approval even though I didn’t say it int the episode!

Do your kids like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond and Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen? Also, the animated Sendak DVD I mentioned is called Where the Wild Things Are and Other Maurice Sendak Stories.

While talking about the cartoon I can’t remember all the way, I called it Nintendo instead of Nickelodeon. Woops!

For more of me check out,, Comic Book Resources and @PoppaDietsch on Twitter.

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 47

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The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 47 is all about our recent vacation in Walt Disney World. This one’s got detailed information about the Grand Floridian Vacation Club Villa tubs, the super long wait to see the princesses from Frozen and digging out after we got back.

The Disney Jr. character breakfast I mentioned in Hollywood Studios is at the restaurant Hollywood & Vine.

I still haven’t had a chance to download all the pictures off of our camera because of space issues, but you’ll see them as I get caught up on Photo Diaries.

For more of me check out,, Comic Book Resources and @PoppaDietsch on Twitter.

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 41

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Thanks to New Year’s I got a bit delayed in posting the 41st episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast. This one’s all about traveling to and from Michigan, Christmas, family and the time my car got stolen via plow a few weeks ago.

We’re pretty light on links this week, but if you want to check out the Lose It app go here.

For more of me check out,, Comic Book Resources and @PoppaDietsch on Twitter.

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 40

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In the 40th episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast I lay out our holiday plans, rail against Santa and the Elf On The Shelf and look back on 2013.

frankenmuth-michigan-bavarian-inn-postcard-train-dj3a-surrey11If you want to learn more about Frankenmuth or Bronners, check out their respective websites.

tiny christmas tree 2013Here’s our little Christmas tree all decorated. Santa_Claus

I have no problem with the character of Santa Claus, but telling my kid he’s real? That doesn’t sit so well. elf-on-the-shelf

Teach your kids it’s okay to be spied on thanks to The Elf On The Shelf!

For more of me check out,, Comic Book Resources and @PoppaDietsch on Twitter.

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 34

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The 34th episode of the Pop Poppa Cast recounts a successful Halloween outing, a junker car, bad back and how a combination of toddler time and free stuff made me feel better.

If you’re interested in reading my thoughts about what I consider the main Halloween movies, head on over to

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Lu tried on the wig one time before Halloween, it can be seen in the October 2nd, 2013 Photo Diary.

The episode of Matt & Brett Love Comics I was interviewed on can be found here, or on iTunes.

Only I could get something wrong in a correction. I haven’t posted my John Landis interview on, but I did post the full Harold Ramis interview. Give it a look.

sesame street

The Sesame Street-centric episode of The Nerdist Writer’s Panel is also on iTunes or can be found here.

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 31

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There’s a whole lotta New York Comic Con talk on this episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast, which happens to be the 31st episode if you’re counting.

The article I mentioned about moms taking it easier on themselves and each other is called “Moms When Are You Going To Learn?” and was posted on So Wonderful, So Marvelous.

My review for The Frighteners can be read over on UnitedMonkee.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the exact Cinderella crown on Amazon, so I can’t link to it right now, but I’ll keep looking and let you know when/if I do track it down.

For more of me check out,, Comic Book Resources and @PoppaDietsch on Twitter.

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 4

pop poppa nap cast logoThe fourth episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast hits chock full of geekery from a video game-creating dad to a little girl mashing up Star Wars and princesses plus a few positive thoughts on Pixar’s Brave, the importance of keeping yourself happy and more!

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 4

Here’s the Disney Princess commercial I mentioned:

I first wrote about Brave on this very blog here.

Here’s the Wired story on Mike Mika, the guy who remade Donkey Kong for his daughter.

The Her Universe story on McKenna.


The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 1

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Alright gang, it’s finally here, the very first episode of something I’ve been thinking about for a while and working on for a few weeks now. There’s been plenty of starts and stops and the final product is far from perfect, but I think I finally hit something of a good stride and hope it gets better week in and week out.

So here’s the deal, if you’re looking to just keep this page and listen to the podcast, click the following link and hit the play button. If you want to save the file to your computer, click the link, right click and select “Save Video As.” I know it’s not a video, but that will download the MP3 file to your desktop. I’m working on getting the podcast searchable on iTunes right now, but you can copy this link: into the Subscribe to Podcast option in the File drop down menu of your iTunes. Give it a whirl, see how it plays.

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 1

Here’s a few links I reference in the episode:

LeapFrog Violet and Scout

The story about that d-bag on the airplane from The New York Daily News.

Monkeying Around The Kitchen

Me on Twitter

The Quesitonable Mythology Of Doc McStuffins

Doc McStuffinsI know I’m overthinking this, so let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. Cartoons like Disney’s Doc McStuffins probably shouldn’t be given as much thought as I give them. But, as a long time comic and genre fan, my mind automatically goes to the rules and functions of whatever supernatural elements are at play in the shows I watch. Also, not for nothing, but I’ve seen hundreds of hours of this show because my daughter loves it which gives me plenty of time to think about how the show’s mythology works (or in many cases, doesn’t work).

So here’s the deal if you’re not familiar. Doc McStuffins is a little girl who fancies herself a doctor of toys. She also has a magic stethoscope that brings her toys to life. It’s kind of like Toy Story, but instead of the toys deciding when to act inanimate, Doc holds the power thanks to her magic stethoscope that grants them life. Each episode a different toy gets some kind of malady that Doc diagnoses and cures with her toy know how.

Here’s my problem with the show, though, it’s mythology is sloppy at best. For one thing, it’s not clear what state of consciousness the toys are in when Doc’s magic stethoscope isn’t around. Are they like coma patients experiencing the world as it goes by without being able to do anything about it? Do they essentially “turn off,” existing only when Overlord McStuffins deems them worthy of life? These are the things I think about while my daughter does her best to sing along to the show’s many songs (which is adorable, by the way).

I’m also fuzzy on the range of the stethoscope’s power. Does Doc have to be in the same room as the toys? You’d think the answer to that is yes, but I saw an episode recently where she left a patient in her clinic (a clubhouse in the backyard) overnight with her nurse, a hippo named Hallie. Presumably the two toys were still “alive” even though Doc was in the house. If this is the case, why doesn’t she leave them “on” all the time? Maybe she’s one of those doctors who gets their jollies from being in control of life, even if it is toy life.

I have other, bigger questions. Who gave a child such power? Could the stethoscope work on other inanimate objects? Do other, similar objects of power exist in this world? Could Doc animate all the toys in the world, creating a veritable army — one that she has the knowledge to repair when they inevitably get damaged, by the way — and take over the world? Clearly that’s where the story is heading.

I just realized that the series might all be a hallucination. What if Doc is just imagining all of these things? What if she really is just pretending and we’re taken on the journey through her imaginings? If that was the case, it would answer a lot of my questions because a young girl wouldn’t understand the rules of a magical device and would therefore not bring those elements into her fantasy. I’d like to say I subscribe to that theory now, but I’m still going to watch and wonder.

Commercial Commentary: Dads Help Get Athletes To The Olympics Too, P&G

If you’ve been watching the Olympics nearly non-stop like we have or even just tuned in for the big events here and there, you’ve probably seen one of the “Thank You, Mom” commercials from Procter & Gamble, a giant corporation that makes everything from Tide to Tampax. I actually like the above spot because I’m a big softie with a baby and I’ll probably always see her that way. But, why does it have to be only “Thank You, Mom?” Would it have been so difficult to either alternate some of the ads between “Thank You, Mom” and “Thank You, Dad” or just “Thank You, Parents?”

I’m of two minds when it comes to these ads and neither of them are happy. First off, I understand that market research says that women do most of the grocery shopping and are thus the ones that ads should be aimed at. Still, it gets under my skin. I’m overly sensitive to these things, of course, because I am basically the antithesis of the big corporate idea of what a parent should be. As such, I find myself cringing or getting peeved while watching commercials in a way that I didn’t before.

On the other hand, it’s just ridiculous that men don’t play into the sports lives of their children (assuming dad’s around, of course). Heck, I heard of a few athletes who were still coached by their dads. I’m not saying that men should be more associated with sports than women , but that both are important. The way I see it, Olympians have parents who did some combination of the following: encouraged their kid to play the sport, taught them how to play, got them the help they needed to play and bankrolled the whole thing. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding a coach and sometimes the coach is in the family. The particulars of who does what aren’t really all that important.

So, what’s the point of this post? I’m not calling for a P&G ban or anything like that, I’d just like to see some of these corporations pull their heads out of the 50s and try to catch up with an ever-changing parental landscape. It would probably be a good idea considering I am the one who does all the shopping.

This Little Girl Sees The Coporate Gender Matrix

I know this video of a young woman berating corporate gender stereotypes has been making the rounds, but I just had to post it myself. I first saw it thanks to a posting on Facebook that my wife showed me and then peeped it over on Topless Robot, the Village Voice’s pop culture blog that I sometimes write for and my pal Rob Bricken runs.

As the father of a little girl corporate sponsored gender stereotypes and preconceived notions of what boys and girls should be weigh on me. I grew up without too much of that stuff and, while I mostly played with action figures of the Transformers, G.I. Joe and He-Man variety, I also had a My Little Pony. I don’t remember where it came from, if I asked for it or was given it, but it was there in all it’s purple glory. It wasn’t one of my favorite toys, but I do remember playing with it. Maybe I would have played with it more if I hadn’t been programmed to like “boy stuff” instead of “girl stuff” by my beloved television.

I personally don’t believe that one kind of toy is for one kind of person. I like action figures, but I had friends who were more into trucks and cars or building toys like Legos. I had a few of those toys, but you wind up knowing what you like. If my daughter wants to play with action figures–which will not be in short supply considering daddy’s many boxes of them in storage–that’s fine by me. Same if she wants dolls. Now she plays with a series of toys that don’t really have much gender identification, most of which are brightly colored animals and the like. My wife and I have even done a pretty good job of mixing up the sexes of her toys so some have boy names and others girl names.

The only problem I see with keeping things open for our daughter is potential backlash from other kids and parents. You can be as forward thinking and try to give your kids the best example possible, but sometimes they just want to be “normal” and fit in. The power of peer pressure can be intense and I understand that, but I also think that, if you can give your kid a good foundation of open-mindedness then they will be better equipped to handle an increasingly crazy world.

Videos Of Kids Freaking Out About Pokemon Cards Are Not Okay

If you’re like me and you keep even remotely good tabs on the geeky side of the internet you’ve probably seen or at least heard about this video of a kid freaking out at a toy store because his parent won’t let him get Pokemon cards. I’m not going to link to it. If you’re curious, I’m sure it’s not difficult to find. As I watched, I got a bit of a chuckle because this kid is way, WAY into Pokemon, but then an idea started creeping its way into my head: this is wrong.

Children are pretty much balls of emotion constantly trying to figure out how they should react in any given situation, so sometimes they have these extreme reactions to minor events. Capturing those events and spreading them all over the internet is not a good thing. Sure, it might get a chuckle out of people for the minute or two it takes to watch that video, but you know for a fact that someone is going to recognize that kid from their class or family and they will be ridiculed incessantly for who knows how long. Did you ever freak out in a store over something stupid? I’m guess the answer is yes, but you were just lucky enough to live in a time when people weren’t walking around with cameras in their pockets at all times.

This kid might have had bad behavior, but does he deserve the kind of ridicule that will surely flow from this getting around? No way. This is one of the problems with the ease of technology and spreading information, people do it without even thinking. I bet the two 20-something dudes in the video (one filming, one standing just to the side so his friend can have something to point his phone/camera at) didn’t even consider how or if this simple act would damage the kid. But, it’s out there now and all over the place. Even if the kid’s family took legal action, the damage is already done.

I’m not saying he’ll be scarred for life, but I am saying that we all need to take a few extra minutes to think about how technology has both changed our lives and our moral compass. I’m sure if I had seen this kid freaking out at a store, I would have told my friends about it, but the subject’s anonymity would have remained intact. Even blogging about it would just tell the story. This video might not showcase the child’s name but his face is pretty clear and easily identified if you know him.

At the end of the day, I think that children should be protected and that includes from online nonsense. The only surefire way to do this would be to never leave the house, but that’s ridiculous. I think it’s more important for people to just try and think a little harder about how their actions might effect other people.