Left Coast By Design

Do You Sing?

Hey kid. It’s me. Dad. The big guy. Eventually the guy you’ll call old man. Maybe ancient. Yeah, that concerns me a bit because I still think I’m 19 even though I’ll be 39 in just over a month. But it’s just a number, right?

So how have you been? The doctor seems to think you’re doing pretty darn well.

Your Mom has been a bit tired lately and tells me that carrying you around is hard work. I’ll have to take her word for it for the time being. We’ll revisit this in a few months.

And I’m still pretty darn excited. Sure I still have so many unanswered questions, but I figure out we can wing it together and hope that things all work out. I’ve been told you don’t come with an instruction manual. I think this something you can work on with future generations when you’re solve all the world’s problems.

Hand in Hand
Oh. Something else you should know. You’re a girl. At least according to the doctor. Are you excited about that? You probably already knew. Well your Mom & I are super stoked.

Prior to learning this, I was always asked if I had a preference and my answer was always the same. Girl or boy, all that is important to me is that he or she is healthy. And that’s true.

Yet as a girl, you’ll get to be my princess. I think I’ll do well with a princess in tow. We’ll get to do all sorts of cool stuff together. Girl stuff. Boy stuff. All the stuff.

Do you like to sing? I’ve been known to belt out the odd tune, so I hope you will. Ask your Mom if you want. I’ve been practicing. I almost know all the lyrics to Let It Go. And I’ve been working all the Disney tunes into my repertoire.

And we can do stuff like this:

We’ll probably not record it and become YouTube sensations, but our own jam session in the car will be lit. Can I still use that word? Lit? You’ll have to keep me in check once you start using words yourself.

Don’t you worry though. If that’s not your jam, then I’ll be the only one to sing. And we can do what it is you want to do. Play sports? Definitely. Be a nerd? Of course. Get dirty? I hope so! Or tea. We can do tea. And we can invite all the dolls if we have to.

I just don’t want to sit next to Quatchi. He & I are not seeing eye-to-eye right now.

A Note to My Baby

In about five months, you’ll be arriving to much fanfare. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I know that your Mom & I are super excited, so that’s what counts in my book. Your grandparents are already quite stoked, so you’re probably not going to have much down time once you get here. And lets not forget the rest of our family or friends who can’t be more happy for us too.

Heck, these are already exciting times and we haven’t reached the midway point to your arrival.

I’ve seen your first few pictures and considering how fun you’ve made things for the ultrasound technician, can’t wait until you keep us on our toes. And your heartbeat has come through loud & clear. That was the moment when everything became so clear to me that you’re on your way.

Each day closer we get to your arrival is another moment of happiness that will cherish. And once you’re here, we’ll get to make many more of those moments together and that makes me even more elated.

Baby Holding a Finger
I also find that as every day passes, I also find myself asking so many questions.

Will I do everything right? I’m pretty sure I won’t. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but you’re going to be a new experience for me & I’m the type to learn by doing. I’ll guarantee you I’ll try my hardest and learn from any mistakes I make.

Will I be a good father? I hope I am. It likely means I’ll need to remember to be the grownup in our relationship, yet this is another area that I don’t have too much experience in. Fortunately for you, I’ve been acting as a Good Times Uncle to your two cousins so I’m hoping I’ve learned something along the way.

There are so many questions. Will you have everything you’ll need? Will I know what to do when things happen? Will I know how to cheer you up when you’re sad?

Will I be able to provide you everything you’ll need to be happy & successful in life?

The good thing is I have a few more months to figure some of these things out. And once you’re here, maybe you’ll be able to help me out too. Sure, the first bit might be a little touch & go while you figure me out, but I really hope we make a good team. And we’ll have your Mom here too! She’s already got lots of experience taking care of me, so we can call on her expertise as needed.

I guess it’s time I let you get back to the whole growing thing. I’m told you used to be the size of an avocado and now you’re more like a grapefruit. I’m thinking you’ll be a different form of produce next week. You sure have changed how I look fruit & vegetables in the grocery store.

Rest assured I’ll keep in touch. I’ll probably have more questions for you. Don’t worry about having any of the answers. We’ll figure them out together.

Our Starbucks Themed Baby Announcement

My Thoughts on Pokemon Go

Pokémon GO, an augmented reality game based on the ’90s cartoon that launched a few weeks back for those living the blissfully free life, has taken the world by storm. The premise is simple – you use your phone to find Pokémon while exploring the world around you:

Get on your feet and step outside to find and catch wild Pokémon. Explore cities and towns where you live – and even around the globe – to capture as many Pokémon as you can. As you walk through the real world, your smart phone will vibrate to let you know you’re near a Pokémon. Niantic, Inc.

On top of catching Pokémon, you visit PokéStops and PokéGyms during your journey, many of which are tied to landmarks, art installations and parks. From the highest of levels, simply an app to get people outside and exploring.

As someone who’s been following the phenomena since it first appeared as a beta many months ago, I’ve been intrigued how passionate people have become both for and against the app.

There are those who share how the app has gotten them outside exploring their city and getting exercise while they do it. Or the story of the Mom who is overjoyed that Pokémon GO has enabled her autistic son to interact with people and break from routine. These are just a few positive stories.

Pokemon GO in the Park

Courtesy of Roger Lew

I would also be remiss if I didn’t include the darker side, where people have been robbed, let the app distract them while behind the wheel, or even trespassed. For every positive story or experience, there is equally a negative one.

When Pokémon GO officially launched in Canada this past weekend, I already decided I was going to check the app out and experience for myself first-hand. Beyond the benefits that many others have shared, I had a personal interest and curiousity in how gamified augmented reality could have a relationship to adult learning (gamification is proven to assist in experiential adult learning).

I wandered around my neighbourhood, catching Pokémon as they “appeared” in the bushes and reeds of the lagoons in my back yard. I also stopped at the different PokéStops along the way to catch my loot. I spent the better part of an hour wandering my neighbourhood, enjoying the hot summer afternoon, and simply experiencing Steveston with some app time in between.

I enjoyed the time spent. It was a positive experience for me.

I wasn’t so engrossed in my phone that I let it dictate every second. I simply put the phone down and walked to where I wanted to visit next, appreciating the outdoors for what it is. Did I see others who had the phone in front of them? I sure did. I think they’re doing it wrong. In fact, any time I pulled my phone up I made sure to step aside and stop walking.

I mentioned this to my wife. I thought she might be interested in the app and thought we could go catch Pokémon together.

You see, my good friend Clay has a differing opinion on Pokémon GO (as expressed in his Clay’s Corner video series). He’s determined the app and phenomena to be of no interest to him. And that’s perfectly fine in my books – while Clay expresses his opinion, he concedes there are both positive & negatives to the overall experience. It’s just simply not for him.

Yet that tweet I linked above set off a firestorm of people declaring both the pros and cons of what some saw as a mechanism to combat obesity in our technological age or a new way to meet people beyond the world of social media. A few people expressed their opinion as fact and discounted a dissenting opinion as being fantasy.

Others suggested that our society should be ashamed of itself and instead of engrossing ourselves so much more in technology, we should simply appreciate the outdoors by… get this… being outdoors. They were the light within the darkness.

As someone who had a positive first experience with the app, it irritated me somewhat that people felt the need to tell me what I was doing was wrong. Whether it was someone telling me that I shouldn’t act so childish or another who told me to hand in my man card (sorry, but I lost that card a long time ago), I kept asking why it mattered to them what I did? It might be of interest to note, similar comments were made when I first began to use Twitter.

It also got me thinking – have we reached a point where we are asking the same questions our parents asked each other when they were our age? How about their parents before them? Technology has rapidly changed society ever since the Industrial Revolution, and while we look back at those times – be it the 18th century or the 1980s – as a golden age, how did those older than us feel at the time?

What’s true about all of this is that today is different from yesterday and tomorrow is going to be even more different from today. We may not like where the world is headed. We may not appreciate an app like Pokémon GO and the impact it has on society. Alternatively, we may embrace what we see in front of us and look for the positives that do exist next to the negatives. We may catch them all or simply wish they were never needed catching in the first place.

I guess the moral of this story is that we are all right as much as we are all wrong. The only reality is that we all have an opinion that we are entitled to, yet don’t have the right to impose it on others.

I simply want to be the very best, like no one ever was.

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