Connecting With Chloe - Through Action Figures

Many of you who read this blog and follow me on various social media outlets know that I have a 9 year old daughter named Chloe.  Technically, she is my stepdaughter, but in my heart I consider her as if she were my biological daughter.  Over the last 4 years, I've had to learn what it means to be a father (most of the time by what not to do) and find ways to connect with this precious child.  One of the big ways that I have done this is by introducing her to some of my geeky habits.  Over a few posts to be sprinkled throughout the next month or so, I am going to share with you how I've managed to do so.  Most of these were mentioned in my "9 geekiest moments with the Cloverfield" post a few months back, but I want to expand and talk about many of those topics with a bit more depth.  This week, I want to start with something that's become almost a holiday with us: Action Figure Fridays.

One of the many perks of my day job is that I have every other Friday off.  On one of these Fridays a couple of years ago, I decided to surprise Chloe and pick her up from school.  My plan was simply to take her to get milkshakes and spend some quality time together.  On the way there, I was listening to a podcast talking about the most recent toy fair, including the action figures that were presented.  This stuck in my brain as I picked up Chloe and took her to Chick-Fil-A; where we sat down and enjoyed our milkshakes.

Looking over and seeing the Target in the same shopping center, I asked Chloe if she wanted to go take a look at some of the toys at Target.  I told her that I would buy her a doll of her choosing and that I would pick out an action figure for myself.  Not surprisingly, she was all for this plan.  We went to Target and she quickly found a Barbie doll that she wanted.  So we walked over to the action figures and I looked through the Marvel figures that were available.  After awhile, I picked one for myself and we started to walk away.  Suddenly, Chloe stopped me and led me back to the Barbie aisle and set her doll back.

"I have a lot of Barbies," she said, "I want to get an action figure!"

I was touched.  So, we went back and she picked out an action figure for herself.  Then, we went home and opened them together.  We had so much fun that we decided that we wanted to make it a regular occurrence. So we began calling my Fridays off "Action Figure Fridays".  I would pick her up from school, and then we would head to a store for some action figures.  Eventually, we switched from going to shops like Walmart and Target to going to the comic book store to get some of the nicer DC Direct figures.  This worked to my advantage, as I could also pick up my comic books at the same time.  Many of the figures that we picked up during this time we would unbox in front of my webcams and talk about them.  You can still watch all of them over at my YouTube channel.

The regular trips to the comic book shop held for a good long while, but as it got closer to my wedding, money started becoming an issue.  I stopped reading comics regularly and we cut back from buying the expensive action figures.  Nowadays, I still pick her up every other Friday, but what we end up shopping for isn't limited to just action figures.  Some days we will buy some LEGO sets, a couple of times we've gotten Skylanders figures, and on one of the more recent Fridays we bought Magic the Gathering booster packs.  To Chloe, it doesn't really matter what we go get, I think she just enjoys the time we spend together, which works for me too.

So for any other dads or future dads that happen to be geeks: if you want a way to share some of those interests with your kids, find a way to incorporate it into stuff they already like.  Chloe loves going shopping (when it's for her), so by getting her various superhero toys/video games/etc, its has had the side effect of getting her more interested in those things.

Do you have any cool suggestions for things to do with little geeks in training?  Leave them in the comments or send me an email at chris@ocdcast.com.

How The Internet Failed Me On Black Friday

That's right, last Friday I put my faith in the internet and it let me down.  Find out how after the jump.  

 

Like many people, Ashley & I spent my Thursday night/Friday morning out and about trying to score some good deals on some Christmas presents.  For those of you who say we should have been at home with my family, I'll have you know that my parents were out shopping with us too.  We didn't have a gigantic list of stuff to get, but we had a few deals that we were aiming to get.

For the first few weeks of November, I had been keeping an eye on my favorite Black Friday deals site - http://bfads.net.  Every year I check their site looking to see what great deals there are - mainly on video games.  Last year, they introduced an iPhone app as well, and updated it for this year as well.  Just like last year, I downloaded the app and used it to try and plan out my Black Friday.  The app is great, because I can just search for an item that I was trying to buy, and the app will bring up all the stores with that item on sale.

I wont say all of what I was trying to get, in case those persons end up reading this blog, but one of the things I was looking forward to getting for myself was a 1600 Microsoft points card, which is normally $20, for only $10!  Chloe recently brought home a very good report card, which means that I have to buy her a video game (its a deal I worked out with her awhile ago).  Since she's really into Minecraft, I figured that I would buy her Minecraft on the Xbox 360, what with the split screen multiplayer and all.

So when all the Black Friday ads came with the Thanksgiving newspapers, I searched through them with my parents and Ashley looking for any new deals or other deals that I may have missed.  I didn't bother double-checking the Target ad for the Microsoft Points card because it was a tertiary item that I was buying for myself.  So that night I waited in line and got into Target and managed to get all the other items I was looking for in addition to the Microsoft Points card.

When I got up to the register, I swiped my card without thinking and grabbed my stuff and got my butt out of the store as soon as I could manage.  However, on the way to the car, I got the notion that the amount was higher than it should have been.  Upon reaching the car, I inspected my receipt to find out that the Microsoft Points card was NOT discounted like it should have been.  I was confused because the target ad did not have the listing, but the BFads app showed it as being on sale.  It wasn't until I clicked on the listing that I saw that Target changed the sale from being the 1600 Microsoft Points card to the 3 month Xbox Live card (also for $10).

Ugh!  I was mildly annoyed, but I needed to get the card anyways, so I wasn't completely heartbroken.  So maybe in the end it wasn't so much that the internet let me down, but that I should have double checked the sales ads to make sure that all the deals I had planned for were still there.  I'll say this at least - I won't make that mistake again next year!

What about you?  Did you get anything awesome/geeky/nerdy/etc on Black Friday?