GeekDad Wayback Machine: Wisconsin Day Trip

One year ago, you were reading this by Russ Neumeier: Wisconsin Day-Trip – Wisconsin Maritime Museum The boys and I spent a day at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.  An historical, hands-on, GeekFamily-friendly exhibit in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  A place to see a World War II submarine, to learn about shipping on the Great Lakes, and where […]

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Treasure Hunting with Kids

Last month, I read a nice tribute to William F. Buckley’s passing, written by his son, Christopher. The article was mainly about their adventures sailing together – from the time he was a child until he was an adult. It was a wonderful collection of memories, but there was one that really jumped out at […]

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GeekDad Celebrates Ontario’s Family Day

Monday 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 […]

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Monterey Bay is a Great Place to Play

For those of you located anywhere in the general vicinity of northern California, I just can’t recommend enough taking the family on a short trip to the Monterey Bay peninsula. While not your typical geeky fare (this trip involved no robots, legos or computers), the 4-day outing we just took there was a huge hit […]

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Rise of the Machined

I can see the fear in your eyes every time I step up to the plate in Park Rec "D" league softball.  Your eyes check out the carbon fiber legs.  The gleam of titanium fittings forces an involuntary blink.  You know I’m a threat.  You know I will beat you.  If I were Oscar Pistorius. […]

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Homemade Sled

Good sleds are hard to find these days. Might be liability issues, since a fast sled can be dangerous for little kids. You can make a dangerous fast sled using an old pair of skis and a plastic tub “sled.”  Jeff Potter, chief blogger at on Out Your Backdoor wrote to me with instructions: My […]

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Disneyland Optimized

This past Saturday (January 5, 2008) we spent a day at Disneyland on the way to dropping our eldest daughter off at college. It was a first-time Disneyland visit for our son, who is 11, and the second for the rest of us. I detest waiting in lines, so I avoid theme parks, even, or […]

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When Left To Their Own Devices…

Okay….it’s (nearly) winter…in Wisconsin…and December has been very, very snowy so far. We’ve transitioned three of our kids to homeschooling.  In that transition, the kids have found they have a little bit of time in the afternoon when all of their schoolwork for the day is completed before their friends come home from the public […]

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Baseball Pitches Illustrated

If you’re interested in the physics of baseball or you just like data visualization (I’m guilty of both), definitely check out Baseball Pitches Illustrated, a beautifully-rendered set of infographics describing the speed and trajectory of a whole list of common pitches. [Lokesh Dhakar] picked twelve of the more common pitches: Fastballs: Four-seam, Two-seam, Cutter, Splitter, […]

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Olafur Eliasson’s Nerdy Art

More than once, the nerdy Icelandic/Danish artist Olafur Eliasson has donated 3 tons of white lego bricks to a community and had their kids construct cityscapes. The resulting art is beautiful. I much prefer fantasy constructions with Lego, to any reproduction of an existing thing, which most Lego building seems to be about.  These community […]

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Maker Faire Austin Photos

Phew! After one very full day at the Maker Faire in Austin, my boys and I are beat. It still feels like summer here in Austin, and the combination of the non-stop Maker action and the Texas heat has us all lying around like blobs at this point. But before I fall into my well-deserved […]

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Maker Faire Austin This Weekend

I’m here in Austin, Texas getting ready for this weekend’s Maker Faire at the Travis County Expo Center. If you’re anywhere in the vicinity of Austin and looking for some good, geeky family fun, I highly recommend checking out this event. There’s lots of posts on makezine.com about the preparations taking place, and a tangible […]

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Costume Crunch-Time

With 13 days to go until Halloween, it’s time to get serious. In my house, we’ve got three kids to get ready. The 11-year-old wants to be a hippie. Costume is pretty much done. Little buddy (almost 2) is going to stay home with mama. A costume may or may not materialize. That leaves my […]

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The Power of Poop and Skulls

(part of Blog Action Day) Sometimes it’s difficult to get the Geeklet thinking about the environment. He’s a city kid, born and raised near downtown San Diego, a place so artificial it takes an hour drive just to see a dozen trees at once. This (plus Geekdad influence) has produced a child more interested in […]

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Fast Kites from Tyvek House Wrap

It’s shocking how many different ways you can make a kite, and how many different materials you can use to build it. It is also shocking how destructive a strong wind can be to any form or material. Design is key for a kite’s success. The other day I met with a group of friends […]

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A Ceiling Fan For Your Tent

We wrapped up another successful camping season, ending things with a long weekend that featured rain and temperatures dropping to just a degree above freezing. A little cold for my wife’s tastes, but I’d rather be cold than hot when camping any day –cold is easily remedied with a roaring campfire, warm clothes and a […]

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Beach Fun: Sand Balls

For those folks headed to the beach this weekend with the offspring for the final hurrah of summer, I offer a fun alternative activity to the tried and true sandcastle: sand balls. Hikaru Dorodango, or "happy mud balls" have been covered before in the pages of Make. The technique works equally as well on the […]

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GeekDad-GeekKid Sailing Lessons

As a proponent of continuous learning, this year I decided to put my money where my mouth is and signed up for sailing lessons. On a whim, I signed up my 11-year-old stepdaughter as well. Growing up in the City of Lakes I had always dreamed of learning to sail, and this was my opportunity! […]

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Nature Geek: Animal Tracking

One of the most fun things to do when hiking with the geeklings is to search for and identify animal tracks. Not only is it sometimes a puzzle that requires some creative problem solving, it also fires the imagination as we try to determine what the creature was doing, what it was eating, or where […]

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Home-brew space shots

To take pictures from space you need 1) a small helium weather balloon, 2) digital camera with interval shots (CoolPix), 3) a small parachute, and a GPS tracker. The result (after a few tries) may look like this shot taken by some amateurs in Canada. It’s a shot from almost 120,000 feet, over 22 miles […]

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Whale Watching in Provincetown

We just arrived back in Canada after an action-packed two weeks (so much for “relaxing”) in Provincetown, on Cape Cod. One of the highlights of the trip that might be of interest to GeekDad readers was an afternoon excursion of whale watching. We’ve taken the kids to Marineland several times, but watching Dolphins, Orcas and […]

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Geocaching without GPS

Where’s Tucker? –He’s out looking for a geocache. We don’t have a GPS.–He says he doesn’t need one. He has Google maps. It’s not as hard as you might think go geocaching without any equipment other than an iPhone or even staring hard at a laptop before you go or, carbon watchers close your ears, […]

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Tabletop Biosphere: NJ Pond in a Jar

The geeklings and I finally ventured out to create the tabletop biosphere as featured in the recent issue of Make magazine, as well as their very recent "Weekend Projects" video podcast. It is too good not to try. After our spring outing and nature lesson, the big jar was begging for something better. This was […]

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Old School Geekdad: Red Cliff, Wisconsin

Our church recently sent 18 people to Red Cliff, Wisconsin on a week-long service project.  We went to serve the Red Cliff band of the Ojibwe people.  We stained decks, painted a house, installed a screen door, roofed a house, spruced-up their campsite, and helped with their meals-on-wheels program – but we got much, much […]

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Beating Beach Boredom

For over thirty years, my family has convened for an annual summer vacation at Topsail Island, off the North Carolina coast. This year, the young’uns–that’s to say, those in my generation–had brought young’uns of their own. Three couples were bringing nascent offspring to the beach for the first time. So, while we were learning that […]

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