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Photo Diary: November 2015 Part 2

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The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 84

pop poppa nap cast logoThe Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 84 delves into some of the larger issues that are close to being in the rear view, Christmas entertainment and my attempts to calm the heck down.

I thought I’d talked about the Mickey Christmas specials I mentioned on Netflix, but apparently I haven’t. They are Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas and Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, or as my daughter calls them Mickey Christmas Red and Mickey Christmas Blue. charlie and lola vol 2

Charlie and Lola, Vol. 2 and I can’t seem to find the exact Hello Kitty DVD after minimal searching.

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

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 65

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In The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 65 I talk about our Father’s Day weekend, extol the virtues of our library system and go on and on about my comic book fandom, all ages books and the movies from my childhood they remind me of.

To see the Hot Mess dish I mentioned from Handsome Devil, head on over to Monkeying Around The Kitchen.wusic waterproof speaker

For Father’s Day I scored the Wusic Bluetooth Wireless Speaker and the Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy [Blu-ray]. I’m so jazzed about both. bill and ted toy catalog page

If you’re in the area, I highly recommend checking out the Stormville Airport Flea Market. Just don’t buy any Bill & Ted action figures if you do go. I call dibs.

If you’re looking for an RSS feed reader, I’m a pretty big fan of Feedly.

For more of my thoughts on E.T. and Cloak & Dagger, follow their respective links. This reminds me that I really need to review The Goonies. I recently read a book called Finding Gossamyr that fits in with these movies along with more fanastical ones like Labyrinth.

Leave It To Chance Vol. 1: Shaman’s Rain, Zita the Spacegirl and Tiny Titans Vol. 01: Welcome to the Treehouse are awesome comics that kids can dig into. Check them out!

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

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 26

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Thanks for your patience once again regarding this holiday-belated episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast. The 26th episode covers the Labor Day Weekend, taking care of house business and my thoughts on gender and how niceness comes into play.

You can read Catherine Newman’s complete article, titled “I Do Not Want My Daughter To Be ‘Nice'” over on The New York Times sitemagic trackpad

Apple’s Magic Trackpad earned the Pop Poppa Seal Of Approval this week. As an added piece of goodness, I used this bad boy to help while recording and editing the episode. The-League-Kevin and ellie

Finally, here’s Kevin MacArthur (Steve Rannazzisi) with his daughter Ellie from The League also known as this episode’s Pop Poppa Of The Week.

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

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 18

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Talk about our upcoming trip to Michigan for Fourth of July and my cousin’s wedding as well as reusable diapers is peppered with rants about Disney not automatically including digital copies of their movies, a great Kindle Fire app and some rad dads in Gangster Squad on the 18th episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast.

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 18

I wrote about why we decided to use reusable diapers here, the newborn ones here, the ones we still use here and the wipes set-up here. Head on over to the Bum Genius website for more information on what they’ve got going on these days. The new detergent we’re using for the diapers is called Rockin’ Green. I’m not seeing the exact diaper sprayer we have on Amazon, but here’s the search I did . As you can see there are plenty of options. When we do use disposables we use Pampers Cruisers 3-Way Fit which we get at Target.

kindle free time

For more information on Amazon’s Kindle FreeTime app, check the site out.

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Pop Poppa Of The Week winners Giovoni Ribisi and Josh Brolin are on the far left of this Gangster Squad poster. My review of the film goes up on UnitedMonkee.com this Friday.

Read more of me on UnitedMonkee.com, MonkeyingAroundTheKitchen.com, Comic Book Resources and on Twitter @PoppaDietsch.

The Day I Thought I Deleted Every Picture Of My Daughter

Last February there were about two hours where I thought I accidentally deleted every single picture of my daughter Lucy since she was born back in May. I can’t even really explained what happened, but I was trying to back my iPhoto up to our external hard drive. This used to be a much easier task than it is now, but I clicked a few things, realized it looked like all the photos from the hard drive were being brought back onto my laptop and stopped that process. See, the whole reason I needed to back things up was because I was way low on memory. Cancelling that action made it look like every single picture taken in 2011 or possibly even earlier had been deleted. Not trashed, because I could have pulled them out, but vanished.

I felt like I was going to throw up. I freaked out, looking everywhere I could think to find the images and came up with nothing. I even emailed a friend from college I haven’t spoken to in forever to see if he could help. I felt like a tool for doing that, but I needed to find these pictures. I searched around online to find a few possible things that could help me out and then, I’m not sure why, I decided to right click on the iPhoto library icon. That’s when I saw that it has an option in the drop down menu that says “Show Package Contents.” If you select that, then you can see the files organized by year and month with all your pictures in them. This is how things used to be organized before an update or new operating system or something. Maybe they did it like that so you couldn’t accidentally delete photos, but it literally drove me insane for two hours.

Those were very honestly two of the worst hours of my life. I’ve felt so sad or mad that I’m actually sick to my stomach, but it has never lasted that long. The whole thing started while Lu was taking a nap, but she woke up and that made it even harder. I can not tell you how glad I am that I figured out what happened, but I’m still not completely comfortable. I know external hard drives can be tricky at best. I want to get an external DVD burner (my built in one doesn’t work anymore for some reason) to make physical copies and maybe get some kind of cloud back-up system to be extra sure. I used to laugh at people who would do all that, but now I’ve actually got important things I want to keep.

By the way, the next time I opened iPhoto after that? Everything was back to normal like nothing ever happened. Times like this make me wish I had been even more interested in computers and really got to understand how the work. It’s a bit unsettling trusting so much of my life to something I can’t really fix.

Lucy Likes The Music, But Loves The iPhone

As I mentioned before, sometimes my guitar playing calms Lucy down. For a while, it seemed like she just wanted to grab the guitar or the strings, which made me a little nervous because the strings can be thin and maybe hurt her tiny fingers. Also, you never know where their hands have been.

Well, today, I played for her a few times, once actually plugged in as you can see in the above video. She was kind of cranky today and since all the usual boxes were checked off (fed, changed, napped) I plopped her down in the bedroom and plugged my amp in. She really seemed to like the song I played, which is actually the song I’ve been putting together for her for a while and only just recently breaking some actual ground on.

But, as you can see from the video, Lucy wound up being a lot more interested in my phone which I was recording her with. I had haphazardly leaned it against a shirt and while the sound coming out of the amp distracted her for a while, the allure of the iPhone turned out to be far too much for her to handle and you get to see the funny ending to the video. The kid’s got natural comedic timing, I swear.

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.

Why Isn’t Everything Voice-Activated?

In one of the very first posts I ever wrote about my experiences as a dad, I talked about the Kinect/Xbox interactivity and how it’s good, but could be better. I still have the same problems I had before with the crappy Netflix motion stuff. You still don’t have access to your actual queue and flipping through them is clunky at best. But I’m still pretty much in love with the voice command stuff. I use my Netflix quite a bit, though not nearly as much as I did before Lucy came into our lives.

The ability to just say “Netlflix Pause” or “Netflix Stop” and have it actually do that exact thing is amazing. It totally reminds me of the future I saw in sci-fi cartoons and movies as a kid and still marvel that this is real life. The problem, though, is that not everything in my life is voice activated. I want to tell the sink to start or the bath to run or even the Xbox to turn off. Instead, I’ve got to use my hands. I’m not saying this out of laziness, but thanks to a lack of spare hands. Though, to be fair, I’d probably still use these things after Lucy grows up because it’s just too damn cool!

I would also like for my laptop to have better voice-activated commands. I’ve got a MacBook from a year or two back and overall it’s a great little workhorse computer that’s put up with me well. The other day I tried setting up the voice commands and it was just baffling. I don’t need commands for every single thing the computer can do, just the things I need. “iTunes Pause,” “Photoshop Shrink Image Size,” that kind of stuff. I had it running for about an hour which wasn’t really enough time, but it just wasn’t working out for me so I turned it off. Maybe someday it’ll work better.

It must be difficult creating voice recognition technology and programs, but aside from teleportation and flying cars, I think really solid voice recognition software is the technological advancement I most want to see. In addition to all this “talking to my appliances” thing, I’d also like a talk-and-type program that really nails it. I know there’s a few for Macs, but they’re expensive and I don’t want to drop that kind of coin without having some hands on (or rather off) experience with them. In the meantime, would it kill TV makers to allow me to turn the tube on and off just by talking? Methinks not.

Pop Poppa Review: Itzbeen

When my wife first told me about the Itzbeen, I thought it sounded ridiculous. Who needs a device to keep track of how long ago you changed, fed or slept your baby? Like pretty much everything baby-related, I deferred to her wisdom and she wound up getting her own Itzbeen thanks to Amazon for around $20.

And thank goodness she did because now that I’m both watching Lucy on a daily basis and busier than I’ve ever been as a freelancer, this thing has become indispensable. When you’ve got a lot on your mind, it’s really easy to forget the last time you changed a diaper or put the kid down for a nap and this thing keeps track of it for you. Basically you hit the assigned button for change, feed, nap and a fourth bonus button and it restarts the clock from zero so you know how long it’s been (get it?) since the last time you did whatever that thing is. There’s also a clock, switch on the bottom to help women remember which side they last breastfed on, nightlights, optional sounds (which we have turned off) and a lock so you don’t accidentally hit a button when it’s rolling around in your diaper bag. Yes, I have a bitching diaper bag, but I’ll get to that when I’ve got more time.

More tech-savvy folks might just as soon use use an app or some such to keep track of these things. I would assume that kind of app would keep track of everything that happened in a day, collate that information and give you a detailed read out of your kid’s pooping habits for the week. I don’t have a smart phone or an iPad or an iPod Touch so that’s not an option, but I will say that sometimes having a gadget at your disposal that does one thing and does it quite well is an asset. If I had to fumble through a series of icons to find the one I wanted and then tap the right button with my fat fingers while I’m trying to respond to an email and figure out if the baby is crying because she’s hungry or tired or poopy, I think that might be too much. I’d much rather grab the white thing on my coffee table, glance at it, get the info and move on. I just wish it didn’t look so much like our baby monitor, that gets a little confusing at times.

Of course, the efficiency of the Itzbeen completely relies on how disciplined you are with hitting the buttons. I’ve forgotten to hit the button on several occasions (heck, several times today), but overall it’s a great little tool to use when you’ve got a million things going on in your head at once. If I had a stamp of approval, the Itzbeen would get it. Hmm, now I need a stamp…and a logo…

And now, the Barenaked Ladies video for “One Week” because it pops into my head every single time I write, say or think about the Itzbeen. And it’s all because of those first two words.

I was 15 when that song came out in 1998, it will be 28 years old when my daughter is the same age in 2026. Almost everything about that sentence makes me wince.

The Kinect Is Great For Dads, But Could Be Better

Originally published on UnitedMonkee.com on May 16th, 2011

The Kinect for Xbox 360 isn’t the kind of thing I would have bought for myself. But, my lovely wife liked the idea of it and we wound up getting it for Christmas. We played and enjoyed the game that came with it and Dance Central, but the pregnancy kind of deterred her from playing. I could write that it’s not the kind of game I would play on my own, but to be honest, there were a few days where I’d shake my booty before she got home and I had to start making dinner. It’s actually a pretty good way to work up a sweat. Anyway, I was most interested in seeing how the Kinect would change the way I use the Xbox overall. While I do play my fair share of video games–usually at night after everyone’s gone to sleep–I mostly use the ‘Box as an entertainment center to play Netflix Instant movies and shows. Initially, there was no Netflix capability for the Kinect which was kind of disappointing because I had visions of flipping through my queue like something out of Minority Report. Recently, Netflix got updated and can now be used with the Kinect, but it’s far from perfect. Now that my hands and arms are quite literally full with our darling daughter, I was hoping to be able to wave my hand, take control of the Instant menu, flip through my queue and find something I wanted to watch. Instead, the Kinect-enable Netflix menu shows me things it thinks I want to see and, unless I’m just completely clueless, does not give you access to your actual queue which is annoying. And even if it did, flipping through the list isn’t nearly as smooth as I would like. You’ve got to hold your hand up on an arrow and wait for it to move on to the next four or five selections. Someone get Steven Spielberg on a redesign! But, it’s not all bad. The Kinect allows for voice commands, which I didn’t even know were available. The missus and I were watching Veronica Mars, one of us said something and we saw a tiny microphone graphic show up on the TV. That’s when I remembered reading somewhere about voice commands. All you’ve got to do is say “Xbox” and then any number of commands and it does what you want. Blammo! Now this is excellent. While I can’t flip through my queue using my dulcet tones, I can tell my Xbox to pause, play, fast forward and whathaveyou, which is incredibly helpful when holding a sleeping baby. The only risk is talking so loudly that you wake the kid up, but thankfully Lucy doesn’t seem to mind. So, while the Netflix/Kinect combination isn’t quite as good as I would like, it has offered me hands free control of my Netflix account to some extent. I’d like there to be more, either through voice activation or hand waving. Even so, it’s a pretty good trade off for having my TV look like Johnny Number 5’s fatter cousin.