Joel Willis or something you find in dirty diaper. We aren't sure.

Joel Willis

Joel is Executive Editor for The Dad and the Head of Gaming for The Dad Gaming. He is a proud and very tired father of two. He enjoys memes, spending time with his family, and making memes about spending time with his family. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. He is co-editor of The Dad Book and co-author of D is for Dad, the Dadisms calender, and The Dad Law.

The Dad Gaming Bootcamp: Super Smash Bros and The Art of Not Rage Quitting

(The Dad Gaming League)

(Expert advice from TDG Super Smash Bros Champ Ivan Bunag,  TDG Admin Rueben Qualls and Super Smash Bros Rage Quitter, Jared Warner)

There’s something different about Smash Bros from other fighting games. Most notable is that instead of damaging health and decreasing a life bar, you inflict damage that makes it easier to knock your opponent off the board. That makes for much more of a nail-biting finish to each round because you never know exactly when someone’s going to get sent flying into space. Also, as it happens, it causes losing a round to fill me with a deep and unprecedented fury as though a black hole has ripped a tear in the universe deep in my stomach.

Something about the combination of the bright light that engulfs you as you fall to your doom and the fact that I know freakin’ Jigglypuff is sitting there looking smug as my R.O.B -AN ADVANCED ROBOT WHO SHOULD NOT BE DEFEATED BY A MARSHMALLOW-  gets jettisoned into the ether…I just…ooooooooooooo it gets me worked up. So to help all the dads out there who are new to Smash, we put together this handy rage-avoidance guide to prepare you for our Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tournament!

First off, here’s how the event will go down. Sign up here. Then, on October 9, we’ll all pop a fresh pack of Planters Pop & Pour, and settle in for an elimination bracket. If we have enough signups, we’ll hold two of these. The top 16 – or 32 – will then be invited back for a Double Elimination Grand Final Showdown to secure ULTIMATE BRAGGING RIGHTS.  In order to play in this tournament, you will need Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a Switch console, Nintendo Online, and the determination of Bowser taking his opponent on a flying slam off-stage.  What you do NOT need is to be any good at the game. Just take it from me.

Sign up here, and now let’s learn to overcome our demons…

What is SSBU?

Super Smash Bros. is a fighting game at its core. As we talked about before, though, unlike arcade classics such as  “Boulevard Warriors” and “Fatal Konflict” the idea is to inflict a higher percentage of damage to your opponent, making it easier to throw them off the board and send me into a rage spiral. It’s kinda like a sumo wrestling match, but with Pikachu and Donkey Kong. 

Lingo

  • Stock – your “lives” in a match. Your starting stock can be altered in the game settings.
  • Blast Zone – The outside edges of each stage – your goal is to knock opponents into this, and you lose a stock when you touch it. Trust me, you’ll know. 
  • Normals or Tilts– the basic A-button attach. There are 4 variations based on also pressing on the direction pad. 
  • Specials – the Special  B-button attach. Again, 4 directional variations. These are character-specific moves, so experiment with these to find your “Mains” 
  • Smashes – 3 extra powerful attacks performed by pressing A, but with a hard/fast directional input.
  • Double Jump – all characters can perform a double jump while airborne, and some can even perform multiple jumps (Kirby and Jigglypuff have 5, the smushy jerks). You can use these to pull yourself back from the Blast Zones.
  • Rolling – This is a quick dash-move that makes you invincible for a brief second. It’s good for getting out of a tight fix. Press the directional button while holding the shield button at the same time. 
  • Recovery – The strategy I just described – trying to get back on the board from the Blast Zone so you don’t lose a stock. 
  • Edge Guard – attempting to prevent your opponent from recovering back to the stage. Usually standing on the edge yourself shooting or attacking them so they can’t quite land.
  • Knockback – the force and distance you travel when hit by an attack
  • Percent or Damage – how much damage you have taken on your current stock. As your percentage increases, so does your knockback, making it easier to send you flying into the Blast Zone. 

HOW TO NOT LOSE YOUR COOL

Because Smash is an otherwise straight-forward fighting game, the strategies here are pretty simple to learn but difficult to master.

Learn the “Neutral”  – AKA: Footsies
Have you ever watched any boxing or MMA fights and noticed that those guys don’t throw haymakers and power hits all the time? They only go for it when they are confident it will land. Spamming the slow but powerful hits is a good way to get KO’d quickly. Use quick “safe” moves to test their opponent; momentum can shift quickly in a Smash Bros. match, so sometimes reverting back to the neutral game may be the best choice.

Know Your Character
SSBU currently fields a roster of 74 characters that all handle differently and have different abilities. Knowing one inside and out is difficult enough, trying to generalize that can just dilute your abilities. This is why fight gamers like to have a “Main” – the character they rely on and know how to live in. Definitely play the field at first and be willing to try new things, but when it’s time for a tournament, you’ll want to play with a character you know like the back of your hand. 

Limit Your Rolls
While rolling is an essential tool for bobbing and weaving around a fight, doing it too much gets predictable, allowing your opponent to lay the smackdown on you. They also have diminishing returns, and gradually make you more vulnerable. It’s good to float like a butterfly, but you gotta learn the stinging/bee part, too.

Use Your Shield
Oh how I wish I knew about this the first twenty times I played Smash back in college. Many newer players keep their foot on the attack pedal, forgetting that the shield button even exists. Playing defense doesn’t have to mean losing ground. You need to look for openings, not just button-mash. The game is fast paced, but I promise you’ll do better if you stand your ground and get acclimated to that speed, rather than trying to just hail mary your way through. 

Don’t Burn Your Double Jump
Oh no! You got knocked off the stage! Don’t panic, you have a lot of resources you can use to help you recover, the best of which is your double jump! However, and this is a big instinct to learn to beat – if you use it too soon, but ar being edge guarded, or are just too far away, you’ll still fall into a KO.

Recover Low
If you are recovering – as in trying to get back on the board, not…like, recovering emotionally – it’s usually safer to drop below the stage and approach it from below. It’s harder and riskier for most opponents to edge guard against someone below the stage as opposed to above. 

Pop & Pour
Smash Bros is a fast-paced game, and the tide can change swiftly. Many an overconfident player has found themselves blasting out unexpectedly after reaching for a snack or a drink. Planters Pop & Pour are designed to give you a quick, one-handed snack fix so you don’t lose focus on what’s important. 

Don’t Spam Your Smashes
SSBU has a mechanic that reduces the effectiveness of subsequent uses of attacks. Sometimes it will be better to utilize the weaker attacks that are better at combo-ing, then following up with a quality smash more likely to send them into a blast zone.

Mix It Up and Adapt
Simply put, try to be as unpredictable as you can. If you start showing patterns, your opponent will likely pick up on those and hit you at your most vulnerable moments.

Practice, Practice, Practice!
There’s a training mode in the game, which is a great way to find your Main and get used to the moves and rhythm of the game. 

Watch The Pros
Join The Dad Gaming Smash Bros group and find resources to learn from the best! There are a ton of character-specific and tutorial videos online, and just watching people who are good at the game can help you play better! 

Okay, that’s enough to get you going. I can’t promise you’ll win every round without a lot of practice, but if I’d known these tips when I got started, I’d probably have much better blood pressure. Hop into some rounds with The Dad Gaming to get warmed up, stock up on some Pop & Pours, and then we’ll see you on October 9th!

This article and The Dad Gaming League are sponsored by Planters. Enjoy delicious snacks without gunking up your controller with Planters Pop and Pour

This post was sponsored by:
Planters

3 Things I’m Teaching My Daughter So She Can Do Anything

3 Things to Teach My Daughter
(Joel Willis)

“How do you know how to do this stuff?” My daughter asked as I was installing a new light switch in her room.

“I don’t know. I guess ’cause I’m old.” Groan. She hates when I make dad jokes about being old.

I told her that I taught myself over time, and I’d do my best to teach her all the things too.

I know it’s morbid but I immediately had this panicked thought, Oh no what if I end up dying young, and don’t get to teach her everything, and she has to live with this feeling that she’s missing out on some essential knowledge she needs but never got.

So I said, “But really, I only need to teach you 3 things…”

1. Confidence

I told her the most important thing she needs in order to learn to do something, is the confidence that she can figure it out.

My confidence in trying new things and getting the job done verges on naive at times. But I always think, “Hey, other people can do that so I can probably figure it out too.” If you don’t have some level of confidence like that, you’ll be too intimidated to ever even try to learn.

2. Hard work

Confidence alone is not enough. You need the tenacity, the followthrough, the perseverance to seek out the knowledge, try new things out, and DO THE WORK… even when (especially when) things get tough. And then, when it inevitably doesn’t go as you expected on the first try, you need the willingness to adapt, learn from your mistakes, and KEEP GOING.

You can’t assume everything is going to be easy, usually it’s not. But if you’re willing to work hard, you’ll figure it out eventually.

3. Pride

Celebrate your hard work and accomplishments. The feeling of fulfillment is what inspires you to build on the knowledge and experience you gained and propels you to take on the next tough thing.

There’s very little that feels better than stepping back and admiring a job well done. Such as seeing the look on your daughter’s face when she flicks on her fancy new cat light switch and sees the room fill with light just as her face lights up as well.

—–

“I’ll do my best to teach you everything I taught myself. But if you have confidence, work hard, and take pride in your accomplishments, you don’t need me or anyone else. You can teach yourself too.”

She looked up at me and said, “So you just watched videos on YouTube?”

“Yeah.”

YouTube helps too.

My Playtime Goal: Create A Lifelong Memory

This article is sponsored by Bitty Baby™ from American Girl

When I sit down to play with my daughter, my goal is to create a memory that she’ll keep for the rest of her life. Ambitious, I know! 

But it’s more aspirational than anything. Shoot for the moon and land among the stars; Shoot for a lifelong memory, and have a great time together. Or even just make my daughter laugh a little. It’s a win no matter the outcome.

I hate when people say you can’t be friends with your kids and instead you need to be a disciplinarian. I don’t feel the two things are mutually exclusive. My daughter is one of my favorite people in the world to hang out with; we have such a good time. Nobody makes me laugh harder. I’d consider her certainly to be one of my best friends. The thing is, she respects my discipline even more because of that dynamic. When she makes mistakes or needs guidance -as all kids do- she trusts me because our relationship is rooted in being friends. She knows I’m there for her as much as I’m there to look after her. It’s a great balance for us, really. So when we hang out, we have a blast. And not every time, but many times, I catch myself wondering, “When she’s older, will she think back and remember all the fun times she had with her dad?” I think she will.

She constantly says and does things that take me aback. It’s like looking into a mirror at a tiny female version of myself. We have such a similar sense of humor, for one thing.  Our playtimes are very much rooted in making each other laugh. One of our favorite pastimes is called Bitty Baby Impressions. It sounds like an avant-garde art project, but let me explain. Over the years she has accumulated quite the collection of Bitty Babies, from the people who make the American Girl dolls. She loved them as a little girl, and they still hold a special place for her now. Originally we’d play together and she would give each of her dolls their own character and personality. Normal kid stuff. But as she got older, and developed her own sense of humor, the game has…evolved.

To start, each of us selects one of her Bitty Babies at random. Then we each give our doll a name. Often it’s a ridiculous made-up name. But usually, we name the doll after someone we know. Her favorite thing to do is name her doll after me. What follows can only be described as an improv roast battle with the dolls! 

We voice the dolls and have them talk to each other. Undoubtedly we do ridiculous voices: crazy deep, or an obnoxious falsetto, or of course the classic cartoonish accents. If her doll represents me, she turns it into a caricature of me, exaggerating my mannerisms or things I say all the time. Relentlessly making fun of me. It’s HILARIOUS. To see her imagination come alive, and how that changes over the years is so enlightening into the kind of person she’s becoming. But it also showcases all the lessons she’s learned from me that really stick with it. We may be trying to make each other laugh, but it’s clear she’s learning how to listen, how to understand other people. Essentially: How to care. 

Sounds weird right? But it combines all the best parts of being a kid: toys, imagination, playtime with your dad, and hilariously sick burns. And since being a parent is the best job I’ve ever had, I take a little pride in seeing her emulate my parenting in different ways over the years.  And man, do we laugh and laugh. It’s the best. Last week we laughed so hard my wife came in to check on us to make sure we were okay. 

The laughs are the best, but the most priceless moments are when I catch her emulating my parenting in more sentimental ways. Sometimes, when she thinks I’m not looking, I’ll see her playing the game on her own, pretending to be me or her mom. But instead of making fun, she’s acting caring and empathetic and nurturing. Recreating moments when we bandaged her boo-boo or read to her at night. I’m not going to lie, it catches me off guard! As parents, we often feel we aren’t doing enough or we’re falling short of what we think we should be. But seeing my parenting through the eyes of my own child – seeing her version of me as some kind of dad superhero? Man, that gets me every time. I promise to do my best to not stray too far from that idealistic perception she has of fatherhood. And in doing so, I know she’ll be a great parent herself someday.

So at the end of that day, did I achieve my aspirational goal? Time will tell. But I hope if you ask my daughter when she’s 71 what she remembers about her dad, she’ll say that he gave her the same care and attention I watch her emulate today. And If I’m lucky she may even tell you about that one time 60 years ago when she used her Bitty Baby to make her dad laugh so hard he had tears in his eyes.  

Bitty Baby™ from American Girl helps dads and daughters discover a world of make-believe together while learning the importance of love and kindness.

Fortnite Bootcamp – Impress Your Kid Or At Least Not Embarrass Yourself

The Dad Gaming League’s first event is Fortnite, on August 21. Sign up now to reserve your spot on the Battle Bus.

The first gaming event we held was a custom Fortnite match in a private lobby of about 10 dads playing. People were randomly squaded up, everyone was laughing, getting along, even making friends. It reminded me of the old days playing Goldeneye with my buddies, except these were members of our internet community who didn’t know each other, and were 100s of miles apart. That spirit of comradery is what’s behind the whole The Dad Gaming community – giving dads a fun excuse to take a break, get away, and play games with cool people.

Epic snack-makers Planters knows this better than anyone, and they love the community spirit; so we squaded up to launch a full-fledged The Dad Gaming League. This monthly competition will champion that essence of fun and “anyone can play” spirit. (So you don’t have to be good to win a prize.)

However, if you’re brand new to Fortnite and you don’t want to embarrass yourself too hard -or if you’re pretty decent and looking for a couple of areas to work on- we’ve got you covered. Any dad’s path to leveling up starts here.

These tips start for the newbiest of newbs, and gradually get more advanced. Start at the beginning. Once your eyes start to glaze over, take a break, pop some Planters, and jump onto the Battle Bus. Because the best way to get better at any game is to lose A LOT.

QUICK OVERVIEW OF HOW FORTNITE WORKS

Fortnite is a quintessential Battle Royale game. This genre of game is that a large group of online players drop into the same world, called the map, and fight it out. When someone is eliminated, they’re done. So the number of players in the game continues to drop throughout the match. To keep it interesting, there is a storm that will damage you closing in on the island, making the play area smaller and smaller as time goes on.

You drop onto the island empty-handed, so you want to immediately find some weapons, powerups and other items to help you thrive and survive. Unfortunately, there are no Planters Pop and Pours on the Battle Island.

LINGO

There is a lot of shorthand dads use when squadded up. These terms were completely lost on me when I started and it made things very confusing. So if you’re starting fresh, here’s your first real advantage:

Battle Bus – This is your entry to the island. At the top of each round, you choose when to jump off the bus and parachute to where you want to land.

Circle – The playing area. This is where the storm hasn’t closed in yet, and it shrinks every few minutes or so.

Slurp – This is the neon blue health substance found in “pots” and scattered in lakes and rivers throughout the map. It heals you over time, not all at once.

Full Pot – This is a “Large Health” item. It’s a big blue jar of “Slurp.”

Mini -This is a “Small Health” item. It’s a small vial of Slurp.

AR – Just like in real life, this is what we call those bigass fast shooting guns.

Engage – Confront another player or team in battle. It’s a big map at first, so you don’t always have to fight. Engagement is a choice…for a time.

Final Circle – This is the endgame, when the storm has zeroed in extremely tight, and all remaining players are thrown together in sweet chaos.

Bot – This is an AI enemy who appears to be another player in the game, but is basically just a dummy to fill out the map and make you feel like you actually got some kills.

Skin – This is the term for how your character looks. You can buy or earn various skins that include character designs and costumes.

Default – This is what we call the basic no-investment character mold. If you log on for the first time and hit play without swapping anything, you’re playing as Default.

TACTICS

SURVIVE
Hide!  First things first, don’t get shot right away. Hang out on the Battle Bus a little bit and then when you do jump out, land where other people don’t usually tend to go right away. It’ll take a few rounds to learn all the locations, but if it looks like a big structure or base, it probably has a lot of items to snag….but a lot of other people will be interested in trying for them.

The first time I played Fortnite was at my wife’s friend’s house. There was a 10-year-old there who was nonstop talking crap to me about how I was a “noob” and he was better than me at Fortnite. I challenged him to see who could last the longest. He landed, got some eliminations, but finished 40 or so?

On the other hand, I strategically rode the Battle Bus as long as I could, dropped far away, and proceeded to sneak around, hiding at every place I could, always searching for predators.

Eventually, someone found me, engaged, and I was quickly eliminated. But I got 6th. (Now who’s the noob?) Usually, you’ll need to be pretty decent at offense to finish in the top ten. But I’ve found for beginners, the easiest way to finish top 25 is hiding. DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

WATCH THE STORM
Hang out on the outer reaches of the circle. Move-in as the storm gets smaller.

When you’re on the outside of the playing area, you don’t have to watch your back as much, because you know people will be less likely to sneak up behind you.

Watch the clock, though, and be ready to move. The circle doesn’t shrink automatically, but the Storm does move faster than you do.

STAY SNACKED UP
A single Battle Royale can last about 20 minutes. As any kid who has been asked to turn off their video game mid-game will tell you, you do not want to quit during a match. Keep snacks handy. Planters Pop and Pour is ideal here. It allows one-handed snack consumption and keeps the controller clean. I kind of think it was designed with dad gamers in mind.

DON’T BE SO QUICK TO ENGAGE
Learn the “Third Party” strategy. If you see multiple players or squads, let two groups fight it out and be the third party there to clean up at the end. This was called “pickin’ cherries” back in my Halo days, but what was dishonorable for the Master Chief is a sound strategy in Fortnite.

READY TO ENGAGE? LEARN TO ATTACK BY PLAYING TEAM RUMBLE
It takes lots of battles to learn the proper way to engage and how to be more accurate. Try playing the Team Rumble game mode to get a feel for combat. Battle Royale means once your out, you’re out. In Team Rumble, when you get eliminated you automatically respawn and you’re back in the action, giving you lots more experience at eliminating (and being eliminated). It’s not the most satisfying game mode, but it helps you learn.

LEARN THE WEAPONS, PERFECT YOUR LOADOUT
You’ll want a variety of weapon types, as well as healing items, but there are only so many item slots available. There’s also a color-coding system to how powerful each weapon is. In ascending order, they are: grey, green, blue, purple, orange.

JUMPING AS A DEFENSE MECHANISM
To avoid being sniped, some more advanced players jump all the time. They’ll jump across an open field like Mary freakin’ Poppins. I was always the type who’d rather not be so noticeable. But jumping is a great defense against attacks, especially close range. Start panicking? Start jumping. You may just make it out.

AMMO MANAGEMENT
I am a terrible shot. I can spray and spray and not land a single hit. So then when I have to reload and the opponent is engaging me, it can feel like a lifetime. One thing I started doing to help is I will take my favorite weapon choice, and put two of them right next to each other in my loadout. So if I empty one of them, instead of reloading, I just switch the other and keep firing. Essentially gives you double the ammo without reloading.

It is also possible to use this technique with Pop and Pour snack containers.

KEEP WATCHING AFTER YOU GET ELIMINATED
When you’re out, you’ll get to spectate the person who got ya. Keep watching and you might pick up on some strategies or tips. Sit back with your Pop and Pour, and watch it like a movie.

LEARN TO BUILD
You’ll notice this tip isn’t even in here until number 10. Dads notoriously don’t like Fortnite as much as other first-person shooters because of the building. A common joke is you fire a single shot and your opponent instantly has a five-star hotel. It can be frustrating when you don’t know how to do it. (Which is why we host a weekly no building event.) But you can use it to your advantage with very little effort. Simply learning to build a ramp will help you access much more loot, and it’s a simple two-button press. The same goes for building a vertical wall. If you can get used to quickly pressing those two buttons, you can throw one up as an opponent engages you. That simple wall will save a lot of damage and buy you some time.

And most importantly:

HAVE FUN, BOND WITH YOUR KID
I had a Nintendo as a kid and I loved it. But my dad never played video games with me. No big deal. But now, as a parent, the only reason I have a video game system is so I can play with my kids. It’s a bonding tool.

My son is super into Fortnite skins, while I proudly remain “a default.” But since he is so into them, I’ll gladly play with him to beat the season challenges and unlock new skins for him. We collaborate with each other as a team, we chat, we laugh, we have a blast.

Sure, he enjoys it now because he gets to unlock some new skins. I enjoy it because I’m spending quality time with my kid doing something he loves. I know it may sound far fetched to non-gamers, but I truly believe that when he is an adult, he’ll look back with fondness at the times his dad helped him beat Fortnite challenges to unlock skins. And those parent/kid moments, the unforgettable memories… that’s what it’s all about.

This article and The Dad Gaming League are sponsored by Planters. Enjoy delicious snacks without gunking up your controller with Planters Pop and Pour.

This post was sponsored by:
Planters

SIGN UP NOW FOR THE DAD GAMING LEAGUE

The Dad Gaming League Launch Announcement

Our days are filled with housework, work-work, and keeping one or more small humans happy and alive. We wouldn’t trade it for the world, but sometimes dads need a break.

This year, The Dad is teaming up with Planters to bring you the first-ever The Dad Gaming League–a season of big games, delicious snacks, and comfortably moderate stakes! Each month we’ll host a tournament of a fan-favorite game, hosted and live-streamed by The Dad. Sign up today!

MONEY, SWAG, AND SNACKS (OH MY)

We have over $5000 in prizes, but giveaways aren’t only for sweaty try-hards. We’re parents. We just want everyone to try their best and have a good time. We’ll randomly give away cash, cool swag, and Planters snacks to people who sign up, not just the elite gamers. Get eliminated first in a particularly embarrassing fashion? You get a prize! 

Most exciting of all? We’ve teamed up with Planters to create the first-ever official The Dad Gaming esports jersey. All Event winners will get these bad boys. And we’re giving them to 25 random people just for signing up!

The Dad Gaming League Jersey

Gaming and snacks go together like that video game plumber who dresses in red and his brother who dresses in green. So we’ll be dropping tons of epic Planters snack loot boxes. And while gaming, we’ll be throwin’ back some Planters Pop-and-Pours, designed with gamers in mind. These aerodynamic containers let you snag a delicious mouthful of Planters snacks while keeping your hands and controller free from salt and oil! 

Joel gaming with pop n pour

(Rules and restrictions apply. See for details.)

HOW TO PLAY

You can play in as many of the events as you want. After signing up, each month we’ll send you specifics for how to join each event.

SCHEDULE 

  • August 21 – Fortnite
  • September 18 – Mario Kart
  • October 9 – Rocket League
  • November 13 – Apex Legends
  • December 11 – Super Smash Bros
  • Week of December 28 – TBD Bonus Holiday Tournament

JOIN THE LEAGUE! 

BOOTCAMP

Interested in gaming, but worried about lookin’ like some sorta noob? Fear not! We’ve got you covered. Each month we’ll release a The Dad Gaming Bootcamp article outlining strategies and need-to-know terms relevant to each game, so you’ll have plenty of time to get up to speed. The Dad Gaming League is designed to level-up all dads together!

Nothing is better than sharing the controller, and some awesome snacks with the kids. 

So pull up a gaming chair, dim the lights, pop some Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts – maybe some Cheez Balls for your little squadmate, and get ready to game!

SQUAD UP

Fill out the form and join the squad! 

You can also join us to hang out and talk gaming, parenting, and gaming while parenting in our Facebook group. Or follow us for gaming content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Twitch.

Pick up the sticks, grab a Pop and Pour, and we’ll see you out there.

This article and The Dad Gaming League are sponsored by Planters. Enjoy delicious snacks without gunking up your controller with Planters Pop and Pour!  

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and 2 Coming To PlayStation, Xbox, and PC on September 4

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 2
(PlayStation)

What were you up to 20 years ago? My memory is a little hazy but if I had to guess I was slamming Bagel Bites, listening to Eminem, and playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater… all while putting off studying for my AP Calc exam. On September 4 I may just take a trip down memory lane (sans the AP Calc), since Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and 2 are being remastered and re-released for PlayStation 4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One, Xbox One X, and PC via the Epic Games Store.

The Birdman (who also happens to be a fan of The Dad) himself dropped the news on his Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Happy birthday to me! #THPS 🎮🛹

A post shared by Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) on

Returning for this hotly anticipated remaster is everything you loved about the original games. The S-K-A-T-E challenges:

(Activision)

All your favorite signature tricks, from Kareem Campbell’s Casper Slide to Bucky Lasek’s Fingerflip Airwalk to Tony Hawk’s elusive 900:

Despite a few licensing issues, a “vast majority” of history’s greatest video game soundtracks will be back for your kickflipping pleasure. As long as “Cyco Vision” by Suicidal Tendencies and Primus’ “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver” made the cut, we’re good. Also, “Superman” by Goldfinger. Chances are you remember every word to that and don’t even realize it.


And for the first time ever, THPS 1 & 2 will feature online capabilities, including various multiplayer modes and the option to share and download custom skate parks. It’s a dream come true for anyone who knew the sense of gratification that came with unlocking Roswell.

(Activision)

And if that wasn’t enough, today is Tony Hawk’s birthday! A very happy 52nd to the world’s oldest kid. To celebrate, enjoy this video of him driving around and commanding teen skaters to perform kickflips.

Did you know The Dad has a gaming community with leagues, events, and tournaments in 9 different games? It’s true. Pick up the sticks, squad up, and join the gaming club.

How to Stain Concrete Floors to Get an Awesome Finished Basement on the Cheap

AFTER: how to stain concrete floors - DIY home project for less

Finishing a basement is the ultimate (and often most expensive) dad home upgrade. It often involves 3 of my least favorite things: carpet, drop ceilings, and drywall. Literally truckloads of drywall. How can you call it a man cave if the “cave” walls are drywall?! It was time for a basement DIY. This one involving staining the concrete floors.

  1. Clean concrete with a degreaser. Mop with clean water. Dry.
  2. Apply Valspar tintable semi-transparent concrete stain (color: Onyx) using a sponge. 1-3 coats depending on how dark you want it.
  3. Apply Valspar Wet Look Sealer (high gloss finish).
  4. Enjoy!

Don’t you hate it when recipe posts don’t get right to the recipe? Me too. There, that’s the TL;DR concrete staining recipe. If you want the nitty-gritty, read on! (Seriously, read on, we know DIY dads need more detail than that!)

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

DIY Project— Stain Concrete Floors:

“That’s not really the kind of thing that I do,” was the response I got after asking 3 different professional painters if they could stain my concrete basement floors.

I normally hate paying people to do things at my house if I can avoid it. It’s not that I’m cheap; I just don’t like giving up control. I’m very dad-like in that way.

But when it came to staining my concrete basements floors? I had no idea how to do it. And I didn’t want to mess it up. So I consulted the experts. Maybe it was the people I asked, but the collective response was “Good luck buddy.”

This surprised me. Because every modern office building, or heck, even the floors of Lowes and Home Depot, are stained and textured concrete floors. It strikes me as a very practical, minimalist, and sleek-looking flooring solution.

But first, why stain your basement floors?

Over the years, I’ve had several small leaks in my unfinished basement. Small cracks around the window well, caulking issues around my front door, even a foundation issue that I paid decent money to fix. In all cases, if my basement had been traditionally “finished,” I’d have been screwed. Hidden moisture, mold, undetected foundation issues. No thank you. I’d rather have full visibility to these things.

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Also, I just like the look of concrete.

So I laid out my minimalist basement renovation plan. I’d leave the walls and floor bare concrete. I’d put up a single dividing drywall between the main space and the storage/furnace/water heater area. I’d put in basic recessed can lighting. And I’d paint the ceiling rafters black.

To make it pop, the floors needed some depth, texture, and finish. So it was STAINING TIME.

What the Experts Said:

The experts said it would be easiest to paint the floors. The risk would be chipping of paint over time. NIGHTMARE. They also suggested using an epoxy-based paint. It wouldn’t wear as much, but would be shiny and would turn the basement floor into a skating rink, especially with the slightest amount of moisture. When I asked about a stain, they seemed nervous. In hindsight, I think because it is a bit of an art, and it’s more of a skill-based practice. Not quite as easy as painting.

So with the experts decidedly NOT on my side, and my propensity to take on projects myself, my mission was clear. Stain my concrete basement floors or die tryin’.

Choosing Color and Technique:

  1. Trial run(s) to find your color. This is super important. Ideally, you have an inconspicuous place to test. Luckily I had a workshop with concrete floors that I could use for experiments. I bought some expensive Sherwin Williams stains. They did not have samples, and they only had a limited number of colors. My first passes looked very amateurish. I found that Lowe’s sold Valspar semi-transparent concrete stain. Not only was it significantly cheaper, but it was also tintable in many colors. I went with essentially black. I did a coat and was thrilled. I found the look I was after!
  2. Trial run(s) to perfect your technique. The thing about stain is that if you mess up, you can’t just go back over it as you can with paint. Each time you go back over it, it gets DARKER. So if you have a dark spot, and you want to “even it out,” you have to very carefully go over the spots AROUND it without going over the dark spot again. And dark spots are bound to happen, due to portions of the concrete absorbing the stain differently. So experiment with application techniques. My favorite was using a sponge. Get some stain on the sponge, and apply the stain by spreading it across the concrete. Then, to make it more consistent, use the sponge to dab over all of the spots where you applied. This avoids streaks and makes it look more natural. You could also use a cloth to apply, or a paint roller attached to a long stick. This helps preserve your creaky dadbod joints since sponging requires being on your hands and knees.

(Did not like these colors.)

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Valspar color options:

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Oh snap, I found the look I was after (Valspar ONYX)!

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Successful experiment (before and after):

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap
how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

It’s Go Time— Here are the Steps for How to Stain Concrete Floors:

  1. Prep the concrete. Get yourself a good degreaser. Apply with a mop. Do this at least 2 times. Then get a clean bucket of water and mop the floor 2-3 times to remove any excess degreaser. I actually used a wet shop vac to suck up excess moisture between mop rounds.
  2. Apply concrete stain. This is your trial work’s time to shine. Again, with stain, there are no do-overs. Each time you apply, it gets darker. So best to apply as light of coats as possible. I did my first coat with a paint roller. I rolled it on, and then literally smeared it around with the roller, making it an extremely thin coat. I did my 2nd coat with a sponge as described above. Then, I went back over with a sponge for a touch up third coat to even out any inconsistencies.
  3. Finish ‘er up. Stay with step 2 until you’re completely satisfied with the look. Like it? Love it? Ready to lock it in? Apply a concrete finish. I used Valspar Protective Sealer. Made it a little glossy, but not excessively so. This helps protect the floor and gives it a finish look. Will also make the concrete significantly less porous (less accepting of stain) so don’t do it until you’re happy.

Before:

Before: how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

After 1st Coat:

After 1st Coat: how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

After 2nd Coat:

After second coat: how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Finished Product:

After Finished Result: how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Once Complete:

After : how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

So the main thing is using the right semi-transparent concrete stain and experimenting to find the right application method that gets the look you want. I have a basement workshop so I was able to use that for practice to get the look right. Really important because you can’t go back once you start staining! It’ll just get darker.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have got some kids to crush in Mario Kart.

(If you’d rather watch someone else show you how to do the work, this Creto Seal video hits all of the basics.)

Best Products For How To DIY Stain Concrete

best products for staining concrete floors: H&C ConcreteReady Cleaner/Degreaser

H&C ConcreteReady Cleaner/Degreaser

Yes, we agree, cleaning is not fun under any circumstances. But don’t skip this important step for a staining concrete project, or your results will not be as good as they could be, and your wife will get to say, “I told you so.” Ugh.

Buy for $26 on Amazon

Best products for DIY staining concrete floors: Valspar Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain

Valspar Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain

Now for the fun part: Picking out the stain to use. This Valspar stain will work either indoors or outdoors, so after you finish staining the basement concrete, you can move on to outdoor projects, like your garage, patio, sidewalk, and driveway. (Hell, go nuts and stain the neighbor’s patio too. We’re guessing you’ll become so good at this, you won’t be able to stop.)

Buy for $29 on Ace Hardware

Best products for DYI staining concrete floors: Valspar Clear Acrylic Concrete Sealer

Valspar Clear Acrylic Concrete Sealer

Picking the right sealer gives your concrete staining project the perfect finishing touch, while also making it stronger and resistant to whatever your kids will spill on it. (Come to think of it, you may want two coats. The kids are experts at destroying things.)

Buy for $33 on Ace Hardware

best products for DIY staining concrete floors: Tidy Tools Industrial Grade Mop

Tidy Tools Industrial Grade Mop

Sure, you could use a cheap-ass mop to do this work. But it won’t give you the same results as an industrial grade mop.

And we all know that having a high quality mop on hand is something every dad should have. Not only is it tough enough to clean up after the kids and the dog, but it’ll last several years … which will provide plenty of time for the kids to become old enough that they can use the same mop to do the chores that you are sick of doing. (Almost brings a tear to your eye.)

Buy for $29 on Amazon

best products to DYI staining concrete floors: QEP X-Large Sponges

QEP X-Large Sponges

Sponges work well for doing the finishing touches on your concrete basement staining project, allowing for precise application of the stain.

Because this is a six-pack, you can throw away the staining sponge after you use it. Do not under any circumstances place that used sponge in the your wife’s favorite white porcelain sink, figuring you can use it for other things later … at least not unless you want to spend the night sleeping on your newly stained concrete floor rather than in your bed.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

bets products for DYI staining concrete floors: Bates Choice Paint Roller

Bates Choice Paint Roller

Paint rollers work well for applying the stain quickly and efficiently. This set ships with two rollers, so you’ll have a backup for applying a second color or if you royally screw up the first one.

We might also recommend adding a long wooden handle with a threaded metal tip that you can screw onto the paint roller. You won’t have to crawl on the floor or stoop over to apply the stain when you add the handle.

And honestly, after this job is finished, who couldn’t find a million uses for a long wooden handle? For example, no birthday party is complete without a wooden stick, a hanging pinata, dad’s private parts within striking distance, and someone who’s filming it all.

Buy for $15 on Amazon

best products for DIY staining concrete floors: Vannect Power Paint Sprayer

Vannect Power Paint Sprayer

It’s hard to believe we’ve gone this far without listing a power tool in our products required for staining concrete in a basement. Our bad.

Some people prefer to apply the stain with a paint sprayer. These things can get pretty messy, especially with stain instead of the thicker consistency of paint, so you may want to put plastic on the walls and other areas that need protection. But if you hate the idea of applying the stain by hand — or if you just have to use a power tool on any DIY project you tackle — this sprayer will do the trick.

Buy for $55 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

12 of Our Best Dad Jokes (Memes) From October

(The Dad)

Nothing is more dad than laughing at your own jokes. Here are our 12 personal favorites from October. (Actually as voted by you, based on Facebook engagement.)

1. It’s all about confidence

(The Dad)

2. A family tradition

(The Dad)

RELATEDInternet Memes For Children – Scary Mommy

3. The vibe is slightly different

(The Dad)

4. This game is impossible

(The Dad)

5. Sweet dreams, buddy

(The Dad)

6. Say what now

(The Dad)

7. Get yourself together, dude

(The Dad)

8. 🤔🤔🤔🤔

(The Dad)

9. Beats doing the dishes 🤷‍♂️

(The Dad)

10. Off the charts pain

(The Dad)

11. A framer

(The Dad)

12. 😏

(The Dad)

Parenting, Rad Dads, And The Bagel Bites Jingle: A Conversation With Tony Hawk

What were you up to 17 years ago? I was spending inordinate amounts of time eating Bagel Bites and playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 on Nintendo 64. I’d jump from rail to rail, park bench to car to building, constantly on the grind… not literally of course. I was a lazy college student.

The real Tony Hawk was out there grinding for real. And crashing through coffee tables. (This iconic commercial just celebrated its 17th birthday!)

In addition to being the most influential skateboarder ever, Tony is a prolific media and entrepreneurial powerhouse: video game producer, actor (60 IMDB credits, including Sharknado 5!), skateboard emoji adviser, and philanthropist, making a big difference in low-income communities with The Tony Hawk Foundation.

That’s cool, but has he ever turned a Nosebluntslide grind into a McTwist grab while eating a Bagel Bite? Probably. But whatever.

My friends and I idolized Tony growing up. Still do. And he’s been a follower of The Dad for quite some time. As a dad of 6 himself, he’s very much “part of the club.” So it was super cool to catch up with him by phone for a quick chat.


JOEL WILLIS, EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF THE DAD: What are you like as a dad? What is your parenting style? Has it changed or evolved over the years?

TONY HAWK: It’s definitely changed. I think I’ve learned to be more effective as I’ve gotten older and through experience. But I think that [all of my kids] are all different obviously. They all have different needs and different kind of attention that they want or require. It’s been fun to see them all develop their own interests. They all are very unique, and my approach is to be supportive of whatever it is they’re getting into.

If they really find their passion, I want them to explore and to have the resources to take it further. I think that’s probably how I’m most effective not just financially but in terms of really giving them the tools and giving them the confidence to go forward in something that maybe is untested. Because that’s exactly what I did as a kid. I started skating and it was the furthest thing from cool you could do. I just kept at it because I loved it. I didn’t know I was going to have any sort of career out of it, and I feel very fortunate that that’s what happened. But at the same time, I want them to have that same desire and passion in their life.

Totally. That’s great. I think anybody in any career or any pursuit can relate to that. I know I do. I used to work in IT, and I was there in what many would call a soul-crushing corporate job. I just like making people laugh and making memes and stuff, and now I get to do cool stuff like talk to you on the phone.

That’s exactly it. You never know where it’s going to take you, and if you embrace the challenges of it, you’ll go further than you ever imagined.

And I think that that lesson is so important for kids, the lesson of doing what you love, but also learning every aspect of it and being up for the challenge if things don’t go the way you expect, because those are probably the moments that are more defining and probably more important.

Exactly. Like that video with your daughter where you were helping her overcome her fear and go down the ramp on the board. So cool.

Oh, thank you. Yeah, I just set my phone in a cup that was nearby. Mostly because I knew that she would want to see it. I knew that if she did it, she was going to be excited about it and maybe not do it again, so I just wanted her to have documentation for herself. And then I thought it was such an interesting experience to see her have that doubt, but then have the confidence to really try it, and I was encouraging but I wasn’t trying to be overbearing or intrusive on her thought process.

So I felt like that was a fun thing to watch unfold, and that’s why I shared it with people.

I think the reason I loved it so much and related to it was your excitement. You were fired up. Amped up for her. Did she feel the same way?

She was very excited. She actually ran back up to do it again, because she didn’t want to lose that confidence that she had. I think that she thought she didn’t do it as well as she could have. So she ran back up and did it again. That particular ramp is actually at my office, so whenever she ends up at my office, her first go-to is to go up there to make sure that she can still do it.

With the Rad Dad Squad, I feel like a “rad dad” to me is when you’re able to get down on your kids’ level and play with them and do the things that they like to do, and love it just as much as they do because they do…

It gives them the self-confidence to keep doing it, and as long as you’re doing it and not being intrusive at the same time, that’s obviously a fine line. But the idea of this whole campaign with the rad dad squad is that we want to recognize those moments and those fathers that are really putting out that effort, and getting into what their kids are doing. Being silly, but also being engaged. I’m sure they do it to very little appreciation. So we want to recognize that.

I relate to that. That’s part of our goals at The Dad to recognize modern, involved dads who are going above and beyond and give them that recognition they may not get otherwise.

Right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NGUtX_RXq8

A little controversial here, but I want you to rate the Bagel Bites jingle in terms of musical artistry on a scale of 1 to 10.

You mean, “Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime?”

You got it.

I’m going to give it an 8, just in terms of memorization. And concise, or you know, impact. Effective impact. Because it’s not like you have to sing it all the way through to get there. It’s very to the point. I like that. It’s a concise message.

I consider it a commercial masterpiece. I ask this because in your commercial in 2002, the jingle was different. It was sort of like a hard rock remix. So I want to ask you if you were involved in that decision.

I was not directly involved in that decision, no. But I’m honored that my inclusion changed the vibe enough that I got my own signature version. Signature cover, let’s put it that way.

Yeah. The Tony Hawk remix of the Bagel Bites theme.

Yeah, the punk cover of the Bagel Bites jingle, absolutely. I brought that to the world.


Thanks for the chat, Tony.

If you’re a rad dad, you can chat with him too. 3 winners will be inducted into the Rad Dad Squad later in June and will get to hang with Tony on his skate ramp. Just post a video of your own rad dad moments using #RadDadSquad and #sweepstakes.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta get back to the grind.

Dad of the Month, April 2019: Mike McGowan

(Mike McGowan)

We are happy to announce The Dad of the Month for April 2019: Mike McGowan. Throughout his fatherhood journey, Mike has continuously stepped up in a big way to be a positive inspiration in his kids’ lives. Read about Mike in the nomination from his stepson:

“This is my stepdad. His name is Mike. He is the greatest man on the planet. He has been there for me since I was 12 years old.

My biological father was a drug addict and criminal, but my mom refused for me to be exposed to that. I grew up with my mom, grandma, and grandpa and they took good care of me, but I never had a dad to talk to. I was bullied and picked on constantly at school. I never stood up for myself and was often depressed.

The first time I met Mike, even though I was little, I told him to never hurt my mom’s feelings, and he obliged. He’s been in the picture ever since. I put that man through hell and he never gave up on me. I could have easily succumbed to addiction, but Mike treated me like his own son and kept me on the right path.

Before Mike met my mom he was married to a woman named Sue with 3 children from a previous relationship. Without hesitation he became a father to them. Sue and Mike also had a child together, my half-brother, Stephen. Mike and my brothers lost Sue to a grueling battle of cancer. All along, Mike was an unwavering pillar of love and support for everyone.

In 2013 our family tragically lost Stephen, Mike’s only biological son. Stephen was a soldier in the army. Even then, Mike remained our rock and everyone’s shoulder to lean on. That Christmas, my wife and I decided to legally change my name to McGowan to honor Mike, who is truly my father. We also changed my son’s name to McGowan, because Mike deserves to have his name carried on by the next generation. He is my superhero and I believe more than anything that he deserves this.”

To celebrate Mike’s tireless contributions to his family, we’re giving him $500 and special edition dad gear. Enjoy. Thank you for being a role model for your kids and for dads everywhere. We salute you.

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

Dad Hack For Dealing With Stray String Cheese Wrappers

You can try this at home. Printable version available here.

Dad of the Month, March 2019: Juan Bustamante

(Juan Bustamante)

We are happy to announce The Dad of the Month for March 2019: Juan Bustamante. A true pillar of fatherhood in both his family and in the community, we salute you, Juan. Read about Juan in the nomination from his family:

“Juan is a veteran of the United States Navy, serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He then joined the Los Angeles Police Department where he has been for over 10 years.

Juan is the perfect person for this type of recognition because he is not only an amazing role model in the community but he is also a father of 4 with another on the way! He has 16, 14, and 6-year-old daughters and a 4-year-old son with another baby boy on the way, due in May. Juan loves his children and goes above and beyond for them on a daily basis. He works nights and weekends to be able to be home early morning to help take the kids to school. Then he sleeps, picks them up, spends time with the family, and does it all over again.

When Juan isn’t patrolling the streets of South LA or with his family, he mentors children from the Watts area with a non-profit organization called Operation Progress. Juan loves giving back to the community because of his belief that all children deserve a father figure present to guide, protect, and teach them about things they typically wouldn’t be able to, given the geographic area they come from. Operation Progress opens many doors for these kids and Juan is there as a chaperone at every event.

The major obstacle Juan faces is battling his PTSD. Like many veterans, it’s an everyday struggle not just for him but for those of us closest to him. There are good days and bad days, but regardless he always takes care of his duties as a father and husband.

I am proud to be a part of his family and be personally impacted by all the good that he does.”

To celebrate Juan’s tireless contributions to his family and the community, we’re giving him $500 and special edition dad gear. Enjoy. And try to squeeze in a nap if you can. You deserve it, man!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

Baby Cheese Challenge Hot Take: Throw Cheese At Dads, Not Babies

(Joel Willis)

You may have noticed the latest absurd internet craze: throwing cheese at babies. Yes. For real.

Here at The Dad we’ve been asked to participate. But… c’mon.

Here’s the challenge we’d rather see: kids throwing cheese at dads.

Make it happen, internet.