Going Dark

Given a number of recent events. I will be postponing any social projects and/or media. That also includes my website/blog http://www.nerdylifeofmine.com and the podcasts that I am currently involved with, long with any Wizard World events. I have a custody trial date coming up in a few days and this needs my FULL attention. This has been a long battle, going on for a few years now and I hope this will be the end. This has been pushed back several times and some of it was out of my control, do to COVID-19.

For those who know me personally, will know how to get a hold of me if needed. For those who do not, you can use my email at vmroberts1021@gmail.com. This has been a source of much stress, heartache and headaches. I need to do what is right by my family and what is right by my kids. I am grateful for all those you have helped and for the simple act of listening to me vent. I am tired of the lies and the mental/emotional games that are afflicted on my kids and they deserve better. Hopefully by next month we have some ground/official rules in place and life will return to normal.

So till things are finished, I will remain absent from here.

Life In 2020

What is funny… I had all these ideas on what talk about and write out. But once I got to the title of these post, just looking at the 2020.. Made my mind go blank, and this overwhelming stress began to creep in. Trying rather hard to look at the positive events that did happen in this year. This has been a long year slow, dreadful year. I remember in the beginning of 2020 things were looking up, I got promoted the year before and money was no longer a issue. We had made an number of plans for the year, started to save for things. Even at one point we were looking at get a house. Kids were doing good in school and healthy.

But that changed towards the end of January and all of February. I remember when we first hear about COVID-19 was at work. At the time it was mostly in Asia and we didn’t really worry to much about it. Then we heard the news of it hitting the UK hard. I remember we had a meeting about what to do if COVID came here. While some were in denial and some tried to throw out some ideas. It all turned out to be folly. Come March we shut down the restaurant for a few weeks to see how things go. Those few weeks turn to months and I found myself out of a job. After about a month of digging into the savings, I was finally approved for unemployment. Even with that , sadly money was a issue again. School shut down and the kids and myself found ourselves stuck at home. Not being able to travel or see some love ones. We tried to make the best of what we can.

I know in the past I have made some post about the kids and a few of the events going on. But I have to say I was rather shocked on how well the kids handled it all. My oldest would video chat or text with her friends, lots of crafts haha. My youngest he would video chat and was still able to play with his friends over a number of video games. At least over the summer things lighten up just a little to where they were able to have a friend over or a sleep over. But that too was short lived. We soon found ourselves sticking to our inner circle of family and friends. People who we knew that kept things clean and followed the CDC guidelines .

Then the Oregon fires hit..

My parents and siblings lived in Talent, Oregon. That whole town was leveled by fire. I remember the phone call I got from my Mom and sister, telling me that they were being evacuated and saying that the house was gone. That all the other homes were on fire around as well. After a few hours of hearing nothing from them and realizing that everything in their is gone was a hard pill to swallow. Once I did hear back, I picked up my sister to stay with us for a few days. So our parents could figure out what they needed to do. While this was going on, the kids other set of grandparents were having health problems and were able to have people over anymore do to being high risk of COVID. So the kids were not about to see any family most of the summer. We did get to have one get together on the fourth of July with my side of the family. Even made plans for Thanksgiving with them, sadly that turned out to be a pipe dream.

Some good news came from the fires, that my parents home was saved. The firefighters were able to save the house with some damage. But that was the beginning of a longer journey for them to get back into the house. Sadly some of my old friends weren’t so lucky and lost everything. So for the next month or so I was watching all the channels and keeping up to date on where the fires were. Because we were now in the circle of burning neighboring towns and everything was covered in ash. Sky was red and dark…

Then the rains came and all but stopped the fires. On the heels of that, we were going into the new school years and school was shut down. They were now at home learning and had to set them for that. So now I am at home worrying about money, keeping the house in order, making sure the kids have what they need, part time teacher/tech support and Dad.. At some point in all this craziness, my Mom got COVID from someone at work and she had to stay away from everyone. So after a number of tests and a couple of weeks, she is now doing better. But at this point we are all quarantine and can’t do anything.

Still out of a job and getting unemployment, luckily my girlfriend still had her job going. Otherwise I think we would have been in some trouble. So Halloween was shot, we just bought a bunch of candy and watched horror movies. Thanksgiving was now a small group of family and we still had Christmas to get to.

Now comes a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for awhile now. But I had to wait to I got the okay from my lawyer. Some of my close friends and family know I have been in a rather interesting custody battle. So while all this events were happening in 2020, I was fighting for my kids. I sadly can’t get into much detail.. But it as been a cause for much stress, headaches, tears and worry. To be truthful this legal battle should have been over with months and months ago. But with someone postponing and COVID, the court date kept getting pushed back. Hopefully this will come to a end this year. I know the kids want this to be done with. I know I want this done with, the families want this done with. The fact is too, I have been dealing with for years, it wasn’t till 2018 where I finally got legal help. Needless to say I have a better understanding of the laws now and beyond grateful for the help they have given me.

So now we are at the end of the year now. We were able to get a number of gifts for the kids and family. Also for the past year I have been planning on proposing to my girlfriend. I’ve talked with my kids about it, to see how they feel about. I think there were a at least 5 different conversations about it over the year. Both of were rather excited about the idea and happy. This is something that was important to me and I wanted to make sure the kids didn’t have any problems with it. Specially with everything going on.. So after talking with my girlfriend’s parents about it, they were more than happy to give their blessing. Aside note, my girlfriend and I had talked around October. Saying that we weren’t going to get each other gifts this year and save that money for a trip or something down the road. To mostly focus on the kids and family members. I had gotten the ring before hand hahaha. So this was going to be a shock to her. On Christmas Eve after all the gifts were open, I proposed to my girlfriend(now fiancee). Luckily my oldest got it on video hahaha.

So 2020 ended on a high note, at least for myself. While I am looking forward to 2021, I am not holding my breath for things to get better. We are trying to plan a wedding and yet make back up plans in case those plans don’t work. School is still currently at home,…. So I will end this post with one of my favorite quotes by Gandalf:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Books, Books and More Books

So we started moving everything around this week. Kids are getting their room to the way they want them. We got new blinds up, and they ac installed, built a new bookshelf. Built a desk, cat tree and the living room is a mess hahaha. Hopefully everything will be done by the weekend. I’m starting to rethink in the amount of books I have.. Maybe a donation time?

This is part one of the books. I have maybe 4 more parts of books.

School Has Started

Well if schools are going to be online for awhile. We are going to do this right! After a month and a few weeks of planning, talking with teachers. We got everything the kids need and a schedule that works. I’ll be there every step of the way and making sure they are on task. Already did this last year when things took a turn with Covid-19. Nice part this go around, the teachers are available from 8am to 3pm, Monday-Friday and a little bit more organized. I am lucky to have family around me willing to help if needed.
I know a lot of people are not happy with what is going on. Believe me, I’m not thrilled about it as well. But with the way things are going in 2020 and mostly likely into 2021. It’s our job as parents to make sure the kids have everything they need, now more than ever. To create an environment of normalcy, to encourage their passions and their imaginations. To make them feel safe and comfortable. Not to drag down or make them feel worried or stressed. For the first time this year I feel hopeful in something. Everything I do is for my kids and what they need in life. With this year, we have grow so close together and over come many obstacles along the way. I really think this is going to be a good school year. Yes it’s going to be a lot of work, patience and understanding. Plan and improvise. But that is life now, that is one thing 2020 has shown us as humans. We can adapt and improvise.
So here is to a good school year! SKOL!!

Story Time: Wizard World Comic Con

So this story time take place at Wizard World Portland Comic Con. I believe this is the Feb. 2019 event.. Before the dark times… Now I would like to state this story also shows how great the staff is at Wizard World and the people are a whole.

So just about every year I am hired to do media coverage for the Portland Wizard World Comic Con. The last couple of times I was about to bring my kids along and show them a great time. This last convention and like always I go over the maps with the kids. Where to meet up if we get lost or who should we talk to if we do become lost.

We had been there for a couple of hours already and I had finished with a interview. we were going to take a small break and look around the merchandise and comics. Me and my son were looking at the swords and Funko. At which point my daughter asked me to come over and look at something she wanted. It really wasn’t that far, just right around the corner of the stall. I told my son to follow me and stay close.

Once my daughter and I were done paying for her loot. I looked over to see my son wasn’t there. I wanted back to where we were and he was there. with a small amount of panic, I started walking over to the walls to see if I can find a staff member, this is also where I told the kids to go if something like this happened. It’s away from everyone.

As soon as I turn the corner I see one of the staff ladies walking with my son to the last known where we here. I walked over and see that my son was crying a little bit and worried. The staff member told me what happened. Seems that my son answered me, but really wasn’t watching where I was going. As he was locked in on the swords. When he realized that we where not around anymore, he started walking to the wall and was trying to find a staff member. But he found Deadpool instead and asked he could help him find someone. From there they found the current staff member.

She said he was smart and brave in the way he acted. After a few laughs we said thank you, but not right before we got a picture with Deadpool haha.

Over all it was really good convention and the Wizard World staff was amazing and super helpful. I don’t think they get enough coverage or talked about in most conventions, as most of the spot lights are on the artists and movie icons. I can’t wait for 2021 comic con!

Life Update & Soapbox Rant

“Stupidity is an elemental force for which no earthquake is a match.”-Karl Kraus

I know I haven’t been to active on here as much as normal. Believe me I want to write about certain topics. But do to the advisement of my lawyer, at least for the time being…. I should not…. What I can say is that I’ve been going through a rather LONG custody case for my two kids. With the COVID-19 going on, it’s taken even longer. So with out naming people or relations, I will try and continue with this post.

*spaces out on keyboard* Ugh… I really want to write about this.. But I can’t…

What I can say is… My kids are happy and health. While with the current events are less than ideal, we’ve made do with what we can. In the beginning of all this, the kids and I worked together on their school work. I have to say that was a crash course for me haha, I haven’t had to do algebra in YEARS! But we did it and they finished the school year. Summer has been interesting to say the least. I felt bad for the kids, not being able to see their friends or other family members in the start of summer. They are rather resourceful and found ways to have communication between friends. Towards the end of July we were able to have a small family visit or overnights with Grandma & Grandpa. We even made a few trips to the river & beach.

But with August coming to an end and school is now going to be starting up soon. It’s interesting to see how the local school systems are trying to work out a system. Right now it looks like we are going a online/at home schooling mode again. At least the teachers are going be more active and have set hours through out the day. I know last time my brother(who is a teacher) helped me & the kids with a lot of things. They say in October they are to have a meeting and see where things are at with the COVID-19. To see if going back into the classroom is even an option.

For the last few months I have become a stay at home Father and I have to stay it’s a little weird hahaha. Yet I’m glad things worked out the way it did, I’m able to be here with the kids and make sure they are on track, do their chores or just help them out if needed. Ugh.. I really wish I can write about some of the events that going on. It’s kinda eating at me and is beyond frustrating. I am thankful for the people around me who are helping me work through all this.

Having this time with my kids has shown me on how much they have changed. How their personalities and style have grown. It tripped me out the other day, having a full on conversation with my oldest about that is happening in the world. Realizing that they aren’t babies anymore. Also making me realized I’m getting old hahaha.

This has also made me look at things in a different way. Like with this blog for example.. I do fell I kinda lost my way with the blog and I’m not to sure where it’s going. I’ve had this blog for over 10 years and I originally started it as a venting stage or help single parents with tips and tricks. As well as share in my nerdy fandoms and that evolved into working for Wizard World Comic Con on media coverage, writing reviews on tech gadgets, book reviews, having interviews with icons. This also took me down the path of podcasting and getting into radio. I would have never thought in a million years that this little website would open so many doors for me.

Maybe I do need to change things up a bit on here, just not sure where..? Right now I have two topics that going on, the Unboxing and Middle Earth Challenge. I think another problem I have is I stuck in what I call micro blog, A.K.A. Twitter. I know for sure that has messed things up for my blog. It’s just so easy to fire off a few lines and have conversations with people and/or share things. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestion that would help? I feel like I hit a road block here.

At any rate, thank you for taking the time and reading though this mess hahaha.

-Jason Roberts

Distance learning Is Over.. For now..?

So the other day my little ones finally finished school. With COVID-19 going on, the way of life has changed in number of ways. It started with the with the kids with no school and “Distance Learning” was put into place.  With that going on, I had to make a learning plan for both of my kids that would equal their grade level of education. Plus at the time maintain my normal work schedule. But that was about to change as well, because the following month I was out of work do to COVID-19(I’m a Sous Chef and restaurants took the hardest hit) . Now with the added stress of financial adulting to recover the lost income.

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The up side was, I was able to put all my focus on the kids and their learning plans. It was till after the second week, the public school system finally sent out work books for both kids and was able to work with the teachers for daily assignments. While my youngest was easier to set up, because he only had one teacher. My oldest proved to be a little more difficult at first, do to having multiple teachers and subjects. But once we got Google classroom set up for both kids and they were to video chat with their teachers, things became easier. After 3 months of hard work and we finally made to the end of the school year. I am happy to say that Jackson is now moving to the 6th and Lilly is now moving to the 8th grade!!

I really didn’t see the school year or normal everyday life to be like this. Even tho the kids made it the finish line, there seems to be an element of sadness. Not being with their friends and/or classmates at this time. The kids having to maintain friendships have changed as well. As some parents don’t want others to come or they don’t want to travel. Plus not having some parks or shops closed because of COVID-19 as really put a handicap on their normal life. While things are starting to SLOWLY re-open. It’s interesting to me to see how they have managed to keep their friendships going.  My oldest does a lot of face-time with her friends. They read and act things out, they do art project with each other. Even make video edits back and forth. My youngest has done the same thing as well. Being able to link his face-time and play video games or talk about movies.

When the need to get away from technology we started up a garden in the backyard and they both have a plant that they need to take care of. We managed to go to the beach not that long ago and it was fun to watch them go nuts and run from one place to another lol. But school is now currently done! The following school year is unknown if  it will start off with “Distance Learning ” and then go into normal classroom/school environment. Or start up as normal, the email that was sent from the local school system here, said they did not know at this time. Not till August they will know more and inform everyone. Till then we can relax and enjoy what we can. We do have some family events coming up and some small BBQ, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with 4th of July or other holidays.

But they did it! They finished school and I couldn’t be more happy for them. Some much hard work and personal development over these few months. I think they are amazing, well I am their Father. I think that regardless hahaha.

5 Books That Every Parent Should Read with Their Kids

Star Trek and Star Wars Book Challenges are fascinating dive into some of our favorite universes, but just because you’re busy reading them doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy sharing some (hopefully nerdy) reading time with your family. Reading with your child is one of the most important things you can do as a parent to promote literacy, cultivate a love of learning, and nurture bonding. Here are five tried and true books aimed at a wide range of age levels that are exceptional choices for parent-child read-aloud:

WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS BY SHEL SILVERSTEIN: This traditional collection of children’s poems is the ideal book to introduce children to the beautiful world of poetry. By combining profound stories with fanciful characters and humor, Silverstein has created a beloved masterpiece partnered with imaginative illustrations.

HARRY POTTER BY (Series) J.K. ROWLING: This venerable series of fantasy novels is a favorite with kids and adults alike, making it the perfect choice for a parent-child read-aloud. Although the books can look daunting at first glance, try not to let the high word count deter you. The entire series has won critical acclaim and garnered much commercial success by combining the fantasy world of witchcraft with a myriad of vulnerable coming of age themes.

WONDER BY R.J. PALACIO: Although not as high as the Harry Potter word count, Wonder still provides a challenging read for tween kids. This award-winning children’s novel follows the story of the precocious Auggie Pullman, a fifth-grade boy living with a disfigured face. Up until this school year, Auggie had been homeschooled due to his medical condition and the hardships it causes him. The heartwarming book centers around Auggie’s launch into a mainstream school and how he deals with the emotional and social stresses that come along with this transition.

READY PLAYER ONE BY ERNEST CLINE: This book has been hailed as a nerdy favorite, so if you want to share some of your nerdy childhood with your kids, then you should definitely take a look at “Ready Player One”. Set in 2044, this young adult novel will unite both kids and their parents as they explore a fantastical world together. “Ready Player One” appeals to science fiction fans as well as gamers and those just looking for a fast-paced adventure. This is an ideal book for the teenage age group.

CHARLOTTE’S WEB BY E.B. WHITE: This classic children’s novel has stood the test of time, as evidenced by its legions of fans from all generations. The beloved book uses a simple story in a farm setting to explore themes of death, innocence, and coming of age.

And additionally, though this might take some work, you can take it up a notch and write your own stories for your children. This is a great creative exercise and a great opportunity to see what you find valuable for children to learn. Just make sure to keep the word count reasonable for their age, which varies quite a bit. If your kid is around 8-10 years old, you can count that a story from 20,000 to 25,000 words. Be sure to use a word counter as you finish chapter after chapter, and have some friends ready for feedback.

An alternative to this, if both you and your child are particularly patient and creative, is to both work together to write a story (illustration books can be really fun with this ideas). This can be highly imaginative exercise for both you and your child.

All five of these books will spark your child’s imagination and provide the opportunity for you to bond with your child in both an educational and nurturing manner.

References:

http://www.writing-world.com/children/backes1.shtml

https://wordcounter.io

https://www.book2mykids.com/b2mk/Default.aspx?appname=Store&tabname=Home&

https://takelessons.com/blog/creative-writing-books-for-kids

 

Life & It’s Crossroads

Ever get to the point where your not to sure where you are going? 

Maybe I’m being impatient and wanting things to change for the better. Don’t get me wrong, I like where things are at and how my life is going so far. Given everything that has happen in the last two years. But sometimes I feel stuck in this loop that’s always repeating. 

I think that is one of the main reasons why I started this blog in the first place. Plus with podcasting again now, that adds another escape. I use to do a lot of paintings and/or drawing, but I find myself turned off by it. I think it was mostly cause by other people’s thoughts about my art. Or it became what the other person wanted, I got use to doing pictures for other people or changing my style because what I was painting bothered them.. I wasn’t doing it for me anymore… Infact I haven’t painted anything for myself in years. Maybe I should try and change that. I miss doing art shows and getting together with other artist and talking shop.

I know I started writing a book about a year and half ago. I think it only 25% done and I hit a wall. I have the idea where the book is going to go, as well as the subject matter. I mean it’s mostly stories from my life, it’s just shockingly hard to get down on paper. I think the problem I’m running into, is that I’m worried about people might think about it. Altho I’m at the point where I really don’t care anymore haha. Been judged on my past for so long, guess I got a little punchy. My history is what is it and I don’t regret one things at all.

When it is all said and done. I am happy, I have a job, a roof over my head and a wonderful girlfriend. Plus I have two health kids that cause grey hair and drive me up the wall at times hahaha.

The Dark Knight.. Gobble Gobble

We need your help! Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and we need to
help save the turkeys from becoming dmner! By creating a disguise, you
might help your Turkey make it past Thanksgiving!

Your mission, if you choose to accept it… Think of a creative way to
disguise your feathered friend. You may use any materials you choose
to accomplish your task.

So this was my son’s homework for the…

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