GeekDad Celebrates Ontario’s Family Day

Geek Culture People

BattleshipBattleshipMonday was the first annual “Family Day” in Ontario, a long-overdue statutory holiday for February.  Canadian winters tend to be cold, snowy, overcast and generally on the dreary/bleak side, so a break to regenerate was welcomed by just about everyone I know.  Tempting as it may have been to kick back and put up our feet, or even do some housework (nah, that wasn’t really very tempting) we tried to keep with the official Family Day theme. 

We primed the pump a few days earlier with a trip to a Snow Tube run, figuring it would likely be an insane place on the holiday itself.  If you haven’t been on one of these things before, please let me assure you that an inner tube rocketing more or less out of control down an icy ski-hill bears no resemblance whatsoever to those "lazy river" inner tube rides you see at water parks.  It’s cold, wicked fast and guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping. Like so many sports and activities available in Canada, a helmet is recommended- not sure if that says something about the national character or not…. There’s a lot of physics at play here and you can work through the math with the kids if you’re so inclined; something to chat about while you’re being dragged back up the hill by the lift, perhaps.  Gravity, friction, mass, acceleration, it’s all good.  It was too cold for my camera, but here’s a clip someone posted on YouTube that gives a pretty good feel for the experience (including the spinning):

Family Day itself was a little more sedate, but no less enjoyable.  We started off with an extended round of Star Wars Electronic Battleship.  It was difficult to understand why the session was so extended, given the continual defections between Imperial and Alliance forces, but I guess no one brought the secret plans with them when switching sides…  Besides this version being Star Wars-themed, battleship has always been a great game to teach young kids the concepts of coordinates and spatial relationships.  Oh, and patience.  Wait a minute, that would have been my wife who had to practice patience.  A little Ratchet & Clank followed while lunch was being made, then it was time to venture into the cold and snow to walk the dogs.  The boys and I kicked out the jams on Rock Band before heading back to the games table for Nick Toons Trivial Pursuit.  When the kids finally hit the sack, I spent an hour or two scanning old family snapshots into iPhoto. 

A few observations: I have the hang of working a scanner, but my fake guitar playing needs some serious work and I obviously don’t watch enough kids’ cartoons these days.

I like Family Day and not just because it’s a day off work.  A government-sanctioned day to hang out with the kids and do fun stuff.  Everybody deserves one of those…

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