Is a Hearse the Geekiest Vehicle?

I don’t normally find myself thinking about these things, but while closing out the beach at Port Stanley last weekend (here in Ontario the beach season is short but sweet — even the potted palm trees have been carted off to a greenhouse already), we drove past this hearse done up as the Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1 wheels. It’s a bit newer than the ’59 Caddie used in the Ghostbusters movies and not exactly true to the original in terms of badging and accessories, but my kids immediately knew what it’s supposed to be — props to the Shriners (the fez on the ghost decal gives that one away).

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Ridge view on Algonquin Park Track and Tower trail

Getting the Kids Active: Hiking in Algonquin Provincial Park

One of the reasons I’m such a fan of camping is that it gets the kids outdoors for a few weeks every summer. I’m under no illusion that this has the effect of cutting out the screens altogether (even with a week in a no electricity site, the Nintendos and iPads put in frequent appearances), but it does help to reduce the reliance on electronics for entertainment and fosters an appreciation for the outdoors. My wife and I were avid hikers in our pre-kid days, but the arrival of little ones (and their lack of endurance) has curtailed that for the past decade and a bit. With my youngest kids now at 10 years-old this year, we decided to push the boundaries a little and undertake a fairly serious hike, the 4.75 mile Track and Tower trail in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park. Here’s how it turned out.

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Beech Bark Disease at Killbear Provincial Park

Camping at Killbear: Witnessing the Ugly Results of an Invasive Species in Action

I’m in the midst of my family’s annual summer camping trips. We’re in Arrowhead Provincial Park near Huntsville, Ontario (Canada) at the moment, having spent our first week with friends and their families in Killbear Provincial Park (near Parry Sound Ontario). We’ve been meeting together en masse in Killbear for years, always staying in the same group of sites. But this time something was very different. As we pulled into the park, we began to notice campsites that had been thinned out. As we approached our usual areas, the thinning had progressed to near clear cutting on some sites. What used to be a healthy canopy of mature trees, was reduced in some spots to dozens of stumps, rotting logs, sand and undergrowth beneath blazing sun. What had happened? Beech Bark Disease had taken hold resulting in the loss of thousands of Beech trees.

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Palomino Blackwing: An Iconic Pencil Revived and Reviewed

You can once again buy Blackwings, the pencils that Chuck Jones used to draw Bugs Bunny and other classic Looney Tunes characters. But instead of forking over $40 a pop on eBay, you can pick up a 12-pack on Amazon for $22.95, a considerably more affordable price. My mother-in-law is an artist, so when Palomino sent samples of the Blackwing and Blackwing 602 (a firmer pencil aimed at writers who — unlike me — are not surgically attached to a keyboard), I knew where to turn for testing.

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GeekDad at INplay 2010

INplay 2010 is a two day conference starting tomorrow in Toronto, Ontario that’s focused on the art and business of kids interactivity. Among the keynotes and speakers are the Executive Produce and Co-Creator of Yo Gabba Gabba! and representatives from …

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