Things have been quiet here lately due to a tryout I’ve been doing with the Boston Globe to write the paper’s “Brainiac” ideas blog. For the last two weeks I’ve been contributing posts over there on everything from a 90-year-old mathematician who has toiled at a proof for 50 years, to a pair of headphones that makes you sit still while you listen, to the use of unarmed drones to fight rhino poachers.
I’ve enjoyed the writing and on Friday I was offered the job! I’ll be contributing twice daily posts to the Brainiac blog, with the best of those posts running as a column in the Sunday Ideas section. Currently I’m stuffing my RSS reader with websites to mine for story ideas, and I’ll repeat here a call I expect to be making nonstop in the coming weeks: Please send me names of any blogs or websites you enjoy (anything trafficking in news, ideas, interesting stories, in the arts, sciences, humanities) and keep me in mind next time you come across a good story (or are a part of one!).
Getting the Brainiac job made for a great weekend and then this morning, more good news: Growing Sideways has debuted on Babble’s annual list of the Top-50 Dad Blogs. We come in at #49 which I actually think is ideal: lots of room to move up, plus motivation to write well and not get dropped from the list next year. And I really like their description of the blog: “On his Growing Sideways blog, the freelance writer, who lives with his wife and two young sons in Ann Arbor, Michigan, excels at taking a typical moment from family life and coaxing many possible meanings from it, chewing it over and viewing it from different perspectives.”
I don’t expect the Brainiac job to get in the way of posting on Growing Sideways, especially once I get my feet under me. And in that spirit, a few words about Jay.
He has been obsessed with pirates going back at least a month. It stems from a video rented from the library and watched nearly daily (until we traced that video to Jay’s newfound fear of the dark and swapped it out for more Blues Clues).
The first thing Jay learned about pirates is that they’re bad. For a week straight in mid-November he asked me, over and over again, usually while I was trying to get his toothbrush into his mouth, “What else is mean about pirates?” I always answered with things like, “Pirates don’t brush their teeth” and “Pirates aren’t very nice to their brothers” and “Pirates never say please.”
Of course, that backfired when two weeks later Jay announced, “I am a pirate.” I’ve tried to walk back some of the things I’ve told him- “Actually, pirates love putting their pajamas on”- but he’s not having it. The best we’ve been able to do is form a pirate family that includes Jay, Wally, and Caroline. Among this group of pirate kin, Caroline has managed to convince Jay that traits like loyalty and following directions are important.
I, however, have been cast alternately as “the police,” “a bandit,” or part of “another pirate family” which means I get challenged with a wooden-block-cum-sword and chased away every time I try to approach the playroom. All told, I don’t mind it so much.