This news has already gone out on other faster, more annoying social networking platforms, but it needs a mention here as well: this is my son Eli, born on Wednesday.

He is beautiful and awesome. His mother is a rock star. His big sister is giving him the benefit of the doubt for now.

Cigars all round.

[Edit: Comments page fixed. Not that I’m fishing–we’ve already been inundated by good words and well wishes. Thanks, all!]


How I’ll Spend My Summer Vacation

OR, why one ought not expect the frequency of posts around here to increase.

I’ve dropped cryptic hints here and there, but I can now announce three happy chunks of news, each one about a fun and challenging project that will be occupying me for the next few months, possibly years, and in one case probably decades.

First: Bill Turkel and I, along with Brock University’s Kevin Kee and some great collaborators, have been awarded a generous grant for a project entitled “History at Play: Augmented Reality Gaming and the Ubiquitous Past.” The grant comes from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) as part of their Image, Text, Sound, and Technology (ITST) initiative. Basically, we will be using games and gaming models to teach some Canadian and American history and to promote public heritage sites. I’d love to say more about the cool stuff we are planning, but I am mindful of Bill’s injunction to at least cut a demo before posing with a guitar. So this summer we’ll be cutting our demo. I’ve sometimes been reluctant to cross the streams of my history day job and my gaming hobby, but I feel like this is a project I was built to do.

Second: In the fall, my family and I will be heading to Salt Lake City, where I’ll be a visiting professor for one semester at the University of Utah. I’m going to be cross-appointed in the History and Communication Departments. (We’ll be back in London come January.) I’ll be teaching one graduate seminar in Media History, but mostly I’ll be there to build on and extend the conversations that began at the terrific Frontiers of New Media Symposium in September 2007. I just got back from another visit there, and every time I am bowled over by the gracious hospitality of the folks at the U and the stunning natural beauty of the place.

But our biggest, best, and scariest news is this: a new baby! And soon, too. The due date is in early to mid May. Lisa is looking and doing great; the Arrival is kicking up a storm; the Ukelele is cautiously pessimistic about becoming a big sister. Cramming all this good news into one post, I feel I should touch wood or throw salt over my shoulder or something. Not because I expect something bad to happen, just so that the universe knows that I know what a lucky guy I am. And I do.

p.s. Speaking of gratitude, Happy Passover.


Damn Right Your Dad Drank It

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
–Mark Twain

Does this (via my college chum Joey “Accordion Guy” DeVilla) count as found history?

Faux-retro Canadian Club Ad
(Click thru for larger version.)

It’s a clever ad in a lad-magazine way. They’ve done a nice job with the retro look, and they play right to the “gee, maybe my Dad was cool” realization I and so many of my buddies have been going through as we age. Of course, if you’re sorry you missed out on unabashed Kennedy-era sexism, they also play to that too. (Why no distaff version: “Your Dad Wasn’t Your Mom’s First”?)

The sequel to the ad, Your Dad Wasn’t A Metrosexual, doesn’t work for me. Real or not–I’m assured in comments that all the photos used in the campaign are genuine pics from the 60s and 70s we seem to have confirmation now that these pictures are recreations, not originals, which is what I had assumed all along–the guys in the main picture look like 21st-century frat boys in Abercrombie & Fitch. My own Dad might have dressed like the guy in the first ad to go to a party, but there’s no way he ever wore a powder-blue cardigan to go fishing. Plus it’s pretty bold for the men’s lifestyle-magazine-industrial complex to take shots at “metrosexuals”–the very pseudo-phenomenon they created just a few years back to sell crap like men’s moisturizer, hair gel, and, yes, whisky cocktails.

What I want to see now is an ad where the retro Dads are awake and bleary-eyed at 4 am, pacing the wood panelled rec room with squalling babies, up to their necks in dirty diapers: “Your Dad Drank It… Because You Cried.”