Saturday, March 31, 2012


Transformer Generation Dad is all about the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.  It is one of my favorite sporting events of each year and the inspiration behind TGD's Geek Tournament.

Another thing I am into is respect for the Presidency.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion about any President, but when it comes down to it, whomever wins the election has my support and respect for four years to follow.  At the very least, I am willing to here them out.  I feel that the leader of our country ought to look good to the rest of the world.

So it was that I decided to participate in Barrack Obama's NCAA Tournament Challenge a few weeks ago.  What a fun idea, I thought.  It was an opportunity to fill out a bracket and see if I couldn't outsmart, or at least make more lucky guesses than, the leader of the free world.  It was the sort of down to earth thing that endears you to a public figure, whether you happened to care much for them prior to that or not.

I was completely unprepared for what was to come.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Another Third Person Outlet

I didn't get around to a Third Person Thursday post yesterday, but that is because I have been splitting my creative energies lately, producing some work for the Yahoo Contributor Network.  If you would like to read my latest story, you can check it out here.  Another should be posted there soon and I'll be sure to pass the link on to all of you.

Please also keep in mind that I will be trying to produce work for them on a more consistent basis from now on and I want all of you here to read it too.  You can look at any of my work on the YCN simply by clicking the cute little Ewok picture (my very own creation, mind you) in the right hand column.  If you like what you see, let me know.  If you don't, keep your mouth shut.

But seriously, folks, I appreciate any constructive feedback.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I've Created a Muttation

Once again, an attempt to manipulate my family’s actions in order to accommodate my selfish intentions has backfired.

Christmas morning revealed a hardcover set of the Hunger Games trilogy under the tree for yours truly.  I didn’t get to them right away but once I did, like most geeks reading a story set in a dystopian future, I was absolutely hooked twenty pages in and burned through all three volumes pretty quickly.  My goal was to complete the trilogy before the first film was released.  I did not only that, but managed to complete Mockingjay before allowing myself to see the teaser trailers for the first movie.

I was prepared to see The Hunger Games in the theater upon its release except for one fatal misstep in my planning.  Who would I see it with?

My wife had not read the books and since I am a staunch believer in book first, movie second (provided the movie is based on the book, not the other way around…books based on movies suck), I needed to get her to read at least the first tome.  I was reluctant to sit by myself in a movie theater and feel like a creep, a feeling which would only be magnified by all the teenage girls likely to be in attendance, to go see The Hunger Games on the big screen.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Don't Bully Tebow, Even Though I Know You Totally Want To

I am not a Tim Tebow fan.  I have absolutely no personal interest in him.  That’s not to say I hate him, but I can see how people are annoyed by him.

Take a guy who is not the prototypical NFL quarterback, who is actually not a particularly good quarterback,  and surround him with a media circus despite the fact that he is a back up (likely the most talked about second string QB in the league’s history) and you are bound to get sports fans upset.  They want to hear about the good players, not have personal interest stories rule Sports Center every night.

Perhaps even more polarizing is Tebow’s religion.  Let me be clear, God does not give a crap which team wins…ever.  Whatever all-powerful deity you believe in stays out of such matters.  They probably already know what the outcome will be and, if they really cared that much, would keep you from getting your hopes up.  If you think your god cares about sports, then you must either believe that Cubs fans are being punished for their evil ways (the North side of Chicago existing as a virtual Sodom and/or Gomorrah) or they are the chosen people and the past 100-plus years have been their own version of wandering through the desert in search of the land of milk and honey.  Maybe they’ll get there next year.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Finish It!

After a heated semifinal round, including a harrowing rally just before voting closed by a certain Wookie, the final round of our Geek Tournament has begun.  I am sure a hushed reverence just washed over your face at the thought of seeing the champions crowned within a week's time.  I feel the same way.

The field has been thinned to only eight contestants from four franchises (and that's including the Star Treks separately), which leaves me wondering why I bothered to spend the time coming up with sixteen groups of contestants, but no matter.  Star Wars, Star Trek and Doctor Who reign supreme in the minds of our readers and who am I to complain.  Star Wars has the potential to run the table in all four categories which would be particularly encouraging to George Lucas, but would make for an awfully boring mash-up image with which to celebrate the tournament's conclusion.

It's all up to you, the reader, now.  So vote if you haven't already.  And keep coming back, because even when the Geek Tournament is over, Transformer Generation Dad will still be here to (attempt to) provide you with quality entertainment and information.  That's just what we do.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Springtime Features

I hate to be a downer.  Well, hate’s a strong word.  I would rather not be a downer, but when there are flaws in a system, I feel the need to point them out.  Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly and all that.

The specific system of which I am currently critical is spring.  Thus, this week’s features will start with the top five things wrong with everyone’s favorite season (until summer hits…and except for lovers of autumn…winter is never anyone’s favorite…poor winter).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Approaching Finality

Less than 48 hours remain to vote in the semifinal round of the Geek Tournament.  I wanted to take this time to remind you all that, should a particular matchup come down to the wire, it will be posted on the Transformer Generation Dad Facebook page Sunday morning.  Comments left below the Facebook post for each matchup will then be considered overtime points in the event of a tie.

Currently, there is only one contest that seems heated enough to potentially require an overtime period.  As I write this, Chewbacca is one vote behind Riker and the crew from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Should you have money riding on that matchup, you will want to get to our Facebook page and sway the odds in your favor.  More importantly, you should really check out this link.

Good luck to all and here's to what looks to be a great final round.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hungry for Entertainment?

The Hunger Games is out in theaters today and there is a great deal of chatter about it to say the least.  Fans of the books have been excited for weeks, counting down the days to its release.  Hollywood insiders are speculating this series will be far more popular than the Twilight movies and possibly on par with the Harry Potter films (go ahead and note my juxtaposition of the terms "movie" and "film" in that last sentence because it was intentional).

The Hunger Games books have action, suspense, drama, humor, violence and romance.  This is one of the reasons why they appeal to youth and adults.  What's not to like?

But this has also led to a number of people suggesting that the trend of adults fawning over young adult fiction indicates we, as a society, are becoming dumber.  What's next, wonders this critic, a dramatic film trilogy based on the Hardy Boys?  Perhaps adults will start buying chunky board books with soft, touchable bunny tails on the pages that they can stroke between their thumb and forefinger.  Maybe the next big movie-based-on-a-book that adults will be anticipating will be James Cameron's big budget production of The Velveteen Rabbit (spoiler alert: I hear the stuffed rabbit makes the kid really regret tossing him aside).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Third Person Thursday: The Tale of Buck & Turkey

One day, while walking through the forest on his way to the nearby creek, Buck happened upon Turkey and his family.

“Good day to you, my fine feathered friend,” spoke Buck with a tip of his antlers.

“And a good day to you,” said Turkey, proudly puffing out his chest and fanning his tail feathers.

“Are you headed to the creek?” asked Buck.

“I am indeed, and my family with me.”  With the wave of an extended wing, he presented the rest of his group.  “My mate has never been fatter and healthier.  My two sons and daughter have become fully-grown this season.  We journey to the creek to gather berries for the upcoming winter together.”

Then, Turkey craned his neck to look past Buck curiously.

“Pardon me for asking,” Turkey continued, “but why is it that you do not walk along a beaten path?  And why is it that your own family has not made the journey with you?”

Third Person Thursday in a New Location

Third Person Thursday has been a fine tradition here at Transformer Generation Dad of which I am quite proud since its early days of bloghood.  Not every Thursday has been graced with a new work of fiction, but a good percentage of them have.

While I plan to continue providing my readers with such entertainment at this blog for a long time to come, I am proud to announce that a short story of mine can currently be read elsewhere.  I recently submitted a western story to the Yahoo Contributor Network and it was accepted and published there.  In an effort to continue continue providing you with a dose of fiction every Thursday, I encourage you to take a look at the story, entitled The Weight.

I hope you enjoy it.  I am also working on a quick story that I hope I might be able to post later today, but if it needs to wait until next week, at least I'll sleep better knowing I've provided you with some entertainment to carry you through your Third Person Thursday.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Up with the Sickness

A lot of people enjoy falling asleep to music.  Still others fall asleep to the television.  I know I have been lulled into a trance by the occasional soft glow of an infomercial in the wee hours a time or two.  I am also one of the many in this world who are soothed by the sound of a steady rainfall.  I find such a natural sleep soundtrack particularly relaxing.

I have yet to meet anyone who enjoys being whisked off to dreamland to the musical accompaniment of multiple children coughing incessantly.

I used to think that the worst sound to try and fall asleep to was chirping birds.  In my semi-youth, before I had become a father, I would return home after a long night out and be reminded that I had been out a bit too long by the judgmental song of that single robin that always seem to perch right outside my bedroom window.  No amount of pressure applied to the pillows over my ears could keep out its piercing call, which I am pretty sure could be translated to mean, “You know, some people have to work in the morning.”

There's Stuff Below the Geek Tournament Games. They're Called Weekly Features & I Used to Change Them Regularly.

Our Geek Tournament has provided me with constant amusement since it began.  It has also provided me with a constant excuse for not being as productive as I should be regarding other matters.  Alas, the time has arrived (and has already claimed its luggage and has been waiting at curbside pick-up for a few days now) to refresh our weekly features.

Since I'm tournament obsessed, let's begin with our top five list which consists of my favorite team nicknames from this year's NCAA tourney.  Bulldogs are boring, wildcats are worn out and tigers are trite.  I like the following more unique names best...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Round 3

Sometimes your kids get sick unexpectedly.  Then, something you looked forward to and took very seriously can be completely forgotten because, after tending to coughs and sniffles and warnings of, "I think I'm gonna puke," (that, thankfully, never came to pass) all you wanted to do was crawl into bed and catch up on sleep.

So it went with the new round of the Geek Tournament.  But, after accidentally sleeping in longer than I anticipated, round 3 of our Geek Tournament has been posted and there are some absolute juggernaut match-ups as it is each bracket's semifinal round.

Only one captain of a Starship Enterprise will reach their bracket final.  Is the western feel of the Firefly universe enough to defeat all of space and time, as visited in Doctor Who?  Han Solo will finally square off against his suspenders-in-lieu-of-vest wearing counterpart, Mal Reynolds.  Which hairy-faced crew member will make it to their bracket final, Chewbacca or Riker?

There is a great deal at stake in the bracket semifinals.  These contests will be available to vote on until next Sunday night at midnight, so be sure to cast you vote today.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Boys of Summer

Leaves are budding on the trees.  The voices of children can be heard frolicking outside.  Tiny black ants are being massacred by the dozens around the perimeter of my home as they make their futile attempts at invasion.

What does this all mean?  Spring is in the air, which, in turn, means baseball season is upon us.  You may be the type of person who enjoys watching spoiled millionaires spit and grab their crotches in public, and I will not deny you that guilty pleasure.  However, it is not MLB Spring Training of which I speak, but something infinitely more important: Little League!

Almost There...

The second round of our Geek Tournament is nearing its conclusion.  Both Geek Dad and Mental Floss have picked up word of our tournament and posted links on their sites, which I greatly appreciate.  This has made the voting pool a rich and diverse sampling of geeks from around the world if the Google stats I'm looking at are to be trusted.

The reaction to the match-ups this year has been decidedly positive.  Most everyone has commented that it has been a lot of fun.  I have received no threats, no rude emails and no accusations of bias.  The only real criticism came from a comment on the rules post that I placed "Doctor Who" in the captain bracket instead of "The Doctor."  Touche.

As for this round's contests, there have been some interesting developments.  I have watched Mal Reynolds pull away from Leela in a game that was closer than I had expected it would be through the first few days.  You have, for the most part, decided that the western feel of the Firefly universe makes it more attractive than the 60's vision of the future from the original Star Trek despite the corrupt government's use of human guinea pigs.  The Millennium Falcon and Chewbacca continue their dominance and the game between Han Solo and the Doctor (happy, reader?) has not been quite as close as I would have anticipated.

Come Sunday night, at midnight, each bracket will be reduced to four competitors.  The new round will be posted early Monday morning and the voting, I'm sure, will become even more heated.  Be sure to come back and cast your vote.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Third Person Thursday Throwback Edition: The True Legend of St. Patrick

Patrick couldn’t believe that his friends were capable of making such a blunder.

They had watched this planet for hundreds of years and picked their destination carefully. The climate on the small island held enough moisture year round to keep their species comfortable. The cloud cover it routinely provided allowed their starships ample opportunities to sneak down to the surface to drop them off. Even the natural disposition of the people inhabiting the island seemed optimal for masking the discovery of one of their kind with a well-told folk tale. The sobriety of the witness could be called into question and it would live on forever in what everyone would believe to be nothing but a story.

Having chosen so carefully, it was shockingly disappointing to Patrick that when he notified his people it was time to meet, he discovered they had chosen to take the form of a non-native species. They had also sent more subjects to the surface than they had originally agreed upon.

Patrick had hoped to stand amongst a small flock of sheep or a gathering of swans and speak to them casually about the goings on of their home planet.  Even a few dozen canines would have been acceptable.  He knew it would be far more difficult, however, to explain to the townspeople why several thousand snakes were now slithering up the hillside to greet him.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day

March 14th is a special, geeky day meant to celebrate the number pi (3/14, 3.14, get it?).  How could we properly quantify the beauty of a circle without it?  It keeps us grounded by framing the insignificance of our daily troubles with its never-ending decimal places.

So go out and hug 3.14 friends today.  Reach out with a phone call to the person who has been the most (mathematically) constant in your life.  Eat a pie, be it one for dessert or a pizza or pot pie for dinner.  And join me in shouting out for the glory that is pi the appropriate number of times.

Hip, hip, hooray!

Hip, hip, hooray!

Hip, hip, hooray!


(That should be approximately 3.1415926535 times)

Monday, March 12, 2012

That Other Tournament

I have a confession.  The concept of a tournament during the month of March is not something I came up with on my own.  Don't tell anyone.

Sure, Transformer Generation Dad's Geek Tournament might be the best bracket-style contest going on this month, but the inspiration behind it is one of my favorite sporting events every year, the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Tournament.  Thus, I feel an obligation to discus my predictions for that tournament this month too.

For anyone hoping to fill out a better bracket than me, I have posted mine on Google Documents and you can challenge me here.  However, no super cool sponsor like Cobra Electronics wanted anything to do with my predictions on the tournament (and I can't really blame them) so the only thing you will win by defeating me is bragging rights.

Of course, should you decide to pit your basketball prowess against someone of more importance, President Obama is running his own contest which you can participate in here.  Of course, he's not offering you anything but bragging right for beating him either, so on that front he and I are even.  Of course, he's also sending you directly to a form to donate to his campaign fund as soon as you complete your bracket while I'm not asking you for any money.  Of course, I would not be so presumptuous as to suggest that makes my challenge more American.  I will, however, graciously accept any comments by readers to suggest that might be the case...of course.

However you choose to participate in it, celebrate it or watch it, enjoy the tournament and good luck with your brackets.

Round 2

The first round of the 2012 Geek Tournament is officially over and the second round has officially begun.  Congratulations to all the victors and condolences to those who lost.

I noted some interesting developments from the first round.  Star Wars, both Star Trek Series and Firefly ran the table in every bracket.  Han Solo and his iconic ship were the only two competitors to log shut out wins.  Most impressive.

Also, it has become apparent that Transformer Generation Dad readers would not mind living in a universe where they were under constant threat of attack, imprisonment or having their planet blown to smithereens.  Maybe it's an indication that you all perform best under pressure.

Anyway, the second round of voting ends Sunday, March 18th at 11:59 PM CST.  Vote early and visit often.  Reference the official rules or the key if you need them.  Thanks again for stopping by and we hope to be read by you again soon.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

One Down...Almost

The first round of our Geek Tournament will end late tonight and the second round should be posted early tomorrow morning.  Be sure to check back here to vote all this week.  Also, a few close games have been posted on our Facebook page, so go skew that vote in your favor.

I have a busy day ahead of me, so I apologize for my brevity, but tomorrow will hold all sorts of congratulations for the victors, a changing of the weekly features and maybe some other posts...if you're lucky.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Welcome to the Thunderdome...on Facebook

The first round of our Geek Tournament nears completion.  As the contestants fight to the death, some of the voting is very close.  While close games were anticipated, I realize that I never bothered to share with you the process by which we will determine the winner in the event of a tie.  It is an overtime period of sorts.

The first round of voting officially ends Sunday night, March 11th at 11:59 CST.  Should the score of any given match be close enough to warrant concern over a tie, that particular match-up will be featured on the Transformer Generation Dad Facebook page on Sunday.  Comments left below that post will be considered overtime points for that contestant.  Then, if the final voting does in fact end up in a tie, those comments will be tallied and the one with the most Facebook comments proclaimed the victor.  This process will be the same for potential ties in every round.

Yes, the overtime voting will occur simultaneously with the final hours of regulation voting.  I understand this is strange, but necessary to keep the tournament on schedule.  So, if you see one of your favorites in a dead heat, get over to our Facebook page on the Sunday voting is to end and watch for a post allowing you to help push it through.

Thanks for your time.  Game on!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Third Person Thursday: A Father's Duty

He didn’t need to see what it was that made the sound of steel against concrete.  He recognized it immediately and shouted, “Grenade!”

He dove behind a demolished taxi just before the explosion.  Fragments of metal and bullets flew around him from all sides of the burned-out vehicle that provided shielding.  Upon realizing none of it hit him, he took a quick sigh of relief.  Then he heard it.

“I’m hit!”

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

TGD Movie Review: The Lorax

Monday night is not a popular movie night.  This is precisely why I ventured out in the limited crowd with my family to the theater to enjoyed the latest Dr. Seuss on the big screen project, The Lorax.

Regular readers know that I'm against preachiness in general.  To be sure, this was one of Seuss's most preachy books.  That said, it's one of my favorites to this day.  While it is easy to see that the message is about the environment, it can also be about any issue one cares about.  The time tested quote, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not," is not just about saving the trees, but effecting change at any level and empowering the individual to care enough about what they believe to stand up for it.

But enough about the book.  Let's see if the movie held up its end of the bargain.

I Like Springsteen & I Know It

Bruce Springsteen's latest album, Wrecking Ball, was released yesterday.  As a big Springsteen fan, I encourage other geeks out there to be as well.  Why?  I argue that The Boss is a geek.  Maybe not when it comes to science, video games or the fantasy realm, but in regards to music, definitely.  Springsteen lives and breathes music.  He is insanely obsessed with it and even addresses the fact that others wondered why he spent so much time on it in some of his early songs.  ("I know you're daddy, he don't like me 'cause I play in a rock 'n roll band.")  With compulsion as a definite requirement for geekhood, Springsteen qualifies as a music geek in my opinion.

Another reason to be a fan, Springsteen was good natured and funny enough to team up with another nerd (the socially awkward Jimmy Fallon who somehow got his own late night talk show, is exceeding expectations and continues to surprise people with various talents) and poke fun at himself and his music by creating a serious-sounding parody of LMFAO's I'm Sexy & I Know It.   For anyone who has not had the pleasure of viewing this yet, take a look and argue with me then that these two and not geeks, or at least nerds...

And who knew that Fallon did such a superb Neil Young impersonation?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's On!

It's opening day of the 2012 Geek Tournament!  Which captain should pilot which ship?  Which crew should stand loyally at their side?  In which universe should this all take place?  The time to decide is now.  Only you can influence the ultimate outcome in the hopes of achieving optimal awesomeness!

A whole mess of games are posted in our left hand column.  There are 32 total so please be patient and vote on them all.  I know that makes for a lot of scrolling and whichever finger you use may require some icing afterward (thumb for mobile users, index finger for those on computers or pinky for those who lost all their other digits in a horrible, fiery accident), but the influence you have upon the final result will be worth it, I guarantee it (legal notice: that was a hollow guarantee).

The final tally for this round will be taken on Sunday morning and the following round posted then.  If you want your own bracket with which to score at home (and who doesn't?!), the text just under our banner offers them to you in both PDF and spreadsheet format.  We will still be accepting brackets until midnight CST tonight so all you dirty, rotten, cheating cheaters who seek every opportunity to get one over on your fellow man can technically submit a bracket after the first few hours of voting have already passed.  Don't worry, I guarantee I won't judge you for it (legal notice: that was a hollow guarantee).

Reference materials to help you decipher any confusing bits are still available including the rules and a key.  Isn't that the sign of a well organized tournament, the organizer's anticipation that something about it is bound to confuse the hell out of you?  Well, if it is, we've got that covered.  We take pride in the fact that this may be the most mind-bendingly confusing tournament out there.

But don't take my word for it.  Plunge headlong into the left hand column and click away on those little bubbles to select your favorites.  Tell your friends and check back often.  We look forward to you visiting us here at Transformer Generation Dad throughout the duration of the tournament and beyond.  We like making new friends.

We are friends, right?

Too soon?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Oh Snow!

I am irrationally superstitious regarding the effect that my actions have upon entirely unrelated future events.

To this day, I blame a close friend for the Cubs’ downfall in the 2003 NLCS because he stepped away from the tiny television screen we were glued to as the foul ball was touched by a certain fan.  I apparently thought that his laser focused gaze would have traveled through said screen and into the stadium where it would have created a mentally generated force field keeping the ball from being touched and allowing Moises Alou to catch it for the out.

Similarly, I blame my fellow Bears fans for the Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl victory in February of 2011.  While attending the Divisional Playoff game against Seattle a week before meeting up with Green Bay in the NFC Championship, when the game was obviously in hand, many in attendance began chanting, “Green Bay sucks!”  Despite my avid protests over the bad juju it would most certainly create, my lone voice of reason was not enough to turn the tide of 30,000+ screaming fans and the chant repeated itself throughout the rest of the game.  Although my head knows better, in my heart I still believe that Jay Cutler’s injury, the Bears’ loss in the following week and the Packers’ eventual Super Bowl win was a direct result of the damaged karma on that day.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Let Us Celebrate the Work of Theodore Geisel

Everybody is writing today about Dr. Seuss, and with good reason.  Today would have been the famed and well-respected author's 108th birthday.  Kids have been reading his stories, creating arts and crafts projects and eating green eggs and ham at schools around the world today in his honor.

Nearly everyone I have spoken to who either is or at one point was a child (which is damn near everyone) has some fond memory of Dr. Seuss's stories.  The first Dr. Seuss book I read (or rather had read to me) was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  My parents were forced to read it to me regularly.  I, like most children, instantly became hooked by the unique style.  Soon afterward, much to my father's chagrin, I discovered On Beyond Zebra and its prolific made up vocabulary.  I got the biggest kick out of the fact that my dad had read me the story a thousand times and still could not pronounce everything right.  When my sons were younger and wanted bedtime stories, I often challenged myself to try and get through the book without a mistake.  I have yet to do so.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Third Person Thursday: The Avengers Project

“What are you watching, dad?”

He abruptly paused, leaving the bright green banner leading into the preview across his screen.  “Just a movie preview,” he answered.  “It’s for The Avengers.”

The rebellion against his geekiness had begun over the past year.  Action figures his sons once begged to remove from his shelf and play with had been deemed lame.  The string of Marvel films he had insisted they attend on opening day left his boys whining and hoping for the end to arrive.  He left comic books out purposely to find them untouched several days later.

Thus, when his boys appeared behind his desk chair while his eyes had been riveted to the screen, all he could think was that he didn’t want to hear it.  He waited for them to shrug their shoulders and leave the room.  He braced himself to hear the critical comments as they walked away, something like, “I hope he doesn’t make us go see that,” or, “Captain America doesn’t even have any powers,” though hopefully not, “They totally should have put Ghost Rider in the Avengers.”

Instead, they stood there in silence, staring at him.  “Are you gonna play it?”

Now it was his turn to stare for a minute.  “Um…I guess so.  You guys want to see it?”