Dad Lights Up Over His New Sneakers

The Dad Of The Month, November 2020: John Kay

(Photos courtesy of Heather Kay)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for November 2020: John Kay. Since becoming a dad, John has exhibited a tangible excitement for fatherhood and a willingness to go above and beyond, even during a worldwide pandemic. His wife, Heather, couldn’t help gushing about him in her nomination:

“A good dad is hard to come by – John is the glue that holds it all together. He’s a one-of-a-kind dad. He was born for this. He embodies what every young boy needs in a father.

“We have a 2.5-year-old son named Hudson, who, thanks to his Dada, knows how to use mustard as a binder for meats when they BBQ on the Traeger. Hudson loves to read along to the book ‘Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada’ by Jimmy Fallon thanks to John’s wonderful impressions of animals! (Hudson’s dad also does a very good impression of Grover from Sesame Street.)

“John has worked throughout the pandemic. He manages transportation services and has been essential on the front lines, ensuring the public gets the goods they need. He comes home every day to help around the house, help with dinner, or pick up anything that’s needed. He volunteers to bathe our son every night and read him goodnight stories.

“He’s also a wrestling coach for a local high school and has taught our young son how to wrestle – he’s very good at it! The day we brought Hudson home from the hospital, John put pool noodles around every single hard surface in our home to make sure our new baby was totally safe! Looking back, it’s funny because now they wrestle and play WWE all the time!

“John has taken Hudson to every sporting event (pre-covid) and has also waited in lines for VIP meet and greets so that our son can meet famous hockey and baseball players! He’s is a wonderful dad and does it all with a smile on his face. He’s an excellent role model for our son and I am forever grateful that Hudson gets to have such an awesome father like John!”

To honor John and exuberance for fatherhood despite an incredibly difficult year, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. John’s unfailing optimism, creativity, and excitement for life are exceptional attributes that we should all strive for. Cheers!

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

Pauly Shore Lobbies Hard for Encino Man 2

Encino Man 2
(Instagram/paulyshore)

Oh, you think you’re sick of remakes and reboots and sequels and prequels now? Just you wait. With a new streaming service popping up every few weeks, the need for content is neverending, and the easiest way for studios to churn stuff out is to work from existing material.

A lot of the best stuff has already been mined, so they’re gonna have to start digging deeper. Get ready for the Pauly Shore Extended Universe!

I’m joking, mostly. But The Weasel isn’t!

Pauly Shore was like the stoner version of Ernest. A one-note doofus who made enough people laugh that he was able to headline a collection of terrible movies. The movie that launched him was Encino Man, in which he co-starred with Brendan Fraser and everyone’s favorite Goonie, Sean Astin.

The trio has remained friends since they filmed the movie in 1992, and now Pauly is attempting to bring them all back for a sequel to the movie about an unfrozen caveman chilling out in southern California.

According to Movie Web the Weasel has hit sights set on an Encino Man 2 for Disney+. And his friends may be down as well.

At least, according to Shore’s IG account, where he’s been trying to drum up support.

 

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He’s posted several times:

 

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He’s trying to time it for a release during the movie’s 30th anniversary, and you have to admire his ambition. Or not. He’s pretty annoying.

No word yet on whether Disney+ will bite, but they’re already rebooting the Mighty Ducks and Honey I Shrunk the Kids, so they’re not afraid to go back to the well.

Couple Uses Non-Refundable Wedding Deposit to Feed Hundreds on Thanksgiving

Wedding Deposit Feeds Hungry
(IG/Thresholdschicago)

Even those lucky enough to avoid COVID have still felt the effects of the global pandemic that’s ruined lives, livelihoods, and a year of people’s lives. Manage to stay healthy? That’s great!  But there’s still a wracked economy, funerals on Zoom, classes on Zoom, everything on Zoom. And like much in life, you can’t control what happens, you can only control how you respond. That’s the mentality one Illinois couple took after COVID scrapped the plans for their wedding. Instead, they decided to use the non-refundable catering deposit to buy 200 Thanksgiving dinners for people in need.

That’s been one of the inspiring aspects of all of this, how normal people respond to these extraordinary circumstances. Sure, celebrities can make grandiose donations to buy entire hospitals full of PPE (thank you celebrities, we need that!), but it’s even more touching when every day folks roll up their sleeves and do what they can to help each other through this hellscape. Stories like this, or the guy who had to say goodbye to his dad over Facetime, so he helped provide dozens of iPads to hospitals so others could connect with loved ones.

In this case, Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis were supposed to be married in the fall. And they were! It was just in city hall, and not the grand wedding they had in mind when they got engaged. But they still had a $5,000 nonrefundable catering deposit to consider, so they put it to good use. They purchased 200 Thanksgiving dinners for clients of a mental health nonprofit.

Emily works for the nonprofit and wanted to help replace the organization’s yearly communal Thanksgiving dinner that had to be scrapped (also COVID).

 

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“In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn’t the worst thing that could happen,” she said to Good Morning America. “We’re happy to be married, and we’re so happy that we could help Thresholds’ clients feel the connection of a Thanksgiving meal as a result of the wedding cancellation.”

The catering staff boxed up the meals, which the nonprofit staff delivered to the homes of patients. The CEO said the donation was an incredible example of ‘the generosity and creativity the pandemic has inspired in so many.’

“I know that Emily’s act of kindness will inspire others to do the same and build love and connection in a difficult time, in any way we can,” he said.

The Rock Releases Holiday Line of Boozy Ice Cream to Get You Through 2020

The Rock's Boozy Ice Cream
(Instagram/therock)

We may be spending more of the holiday season at home than we’re used to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the flavors of the season. The Rock is helping us through the lockdown holidays, with the release of new flavors of his boozy ice cream. This product has all the stuff we like; booze, ice cream, and The Rock’s endorsement.

Dwayne Johnson, part-time XFL owner, part-time Dwanta Claus, broke the news on Instagram, where gives an in-depth breakdown of each new flavor. The special line was created by Salt and Straw, of which Johnson is a part-owner. The crown jewel is  Dwanta’s Teremana Spiked Eggnog ice cream, which is made with his own tequila.

 

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The spiked eggnog ice cream is available on its own or as part of the “Dwanta Claus Naughty and Nice and Spiked” pint five-pack. The other flavors include double fold vanilla and chocolate brownie, a decadent chocolate chip cookie dough, caramel fudge, and whiskey combo, and a brownie, raspberry jam, and red glace cherry combo.

“Dwanta Claus is back to spread delicious holiday cheer with my friends at Salt & Straw and it’s getting boozy,” Johnson said in the press release. “We had some fun creating the new tequila infused flavor and we are honored to support the incredible work done at the World Central Kitchen.”

They are donating money from each spiked eggnog pint to the foundation working to end hunger and poverty. So you get boozy ice cream and you get to feel good about making a difference with your desserts.

“May your cheat meals be merry, spiked and bright this holiday season,” he said. I think cheat meals are what we call “meals” because the whole holiday season is one giant cheat meal.

You can buy the entire line here, and put some dang joy into your 2020 Christmas.

The Dad Gaming Bootcamp: Apex Legends

a man and his son cheer in excitement while playing a video game.

This post was written by The Dad writer Matt Fisher.

Gaming Dads walk that fine line between accepting the mantle of adulthood and goofing around on the internet with their friends. This is why so many of us are drawn to the world’s second-favorite battle royale shooter, Apex Legends. It’s the fancy French mustard of free-to-play mayhem- where Fortnite has cabin building and people running around in horse costumes; Apex Legends has an impenetrable system of guns and attachments and playable characters who are mostly evil scientists or psychotic robots. Where Fortnite has weird Day-Glo environments and surprise Travis Scott concerts, Apex Legends has, well, weird Day-Glo environments and ten-story-tall dinosaur dogs. What can I say? Weird Day-Glo environments are fun.

The Dad Gaming League is hosting an Apex Tournament on December 11th, which I highly recommend to Apex Legends Dads everywhere. (Editor’s Note: While Apex is cross-platform, this event is for PC players only, and you can sign up here.) Now, the first rule of The Dad Gaming League is that you do not need to be very good at video games to take part in The Dad Gaming League, and Apex Legends is an especially fun game to be mediocre at. So grab a fresh case of Planters Pop n’ Pour because this one’s gonna be sweaty!  

The learning curve is a little tougher than most free-to-play games, so we’ve laid out a quick course in the basics below to get you over the hump and shooting your way to the top of the pack. Our advice is laid out from most general to most specific, but remember- Apex Legends is at its heart, a twitchy FPS shooter, so there’s no substitute for getting into the arena and getting a feel for the mechanics. So soak up a few tips here and fire up the old entertainment center, and we’ll meet you in the robot-corpse-strewn fields of King’s Canyon.

This Is How We Do It – The Basics

The year is apparently 2733, and since this is a battle royale shooter, you are jumping out of an airplane onto a giant island with sixty other souls to pick up armor and guns and use them to become the Apex Champion – the last player left alive. There are three island maps currently in the game’s rotation, each filled with mountains, valleys, and derelict buildings. In the standard game mode, you drop in a team of three, and working together with your teammates will mean the difference between instant death and death that’s like five or ten minutes away. As the combatants scramble around and fight, a shrinking concentric circle forces everyone to fight in closer and closer quarters until only one team remains.

Apex Legends has a very complex system of skins, emotes, and assorted doo-dads that, along with the completely nonsensical lore and character backstories, we will ignore here. If you’re the hoarding type, there are Legend Tokens, Apex Coins, gun charms, holo-sprays, personalized tomahawks, badges, stat trackers, kill quips, finishing moves, and much, much more. None of which actually affect gameplay, so we’re setting them aside. If you become a true Apex-head, there’s a universe of ludicrous sci-fi backstory and obsessive collecting for you to explore, but in the meantime, we’ve got heads to click on.

Me, Myself, and I – Picking Your Legend

One of the best aspects of Apex Legends is the character system. It incorporates elements of team-based FPS games where you play as a character with a unique set of special powers. In Apex Legends, the system is subtle; your powers will definitely affect the way you play and contribute to the team, but no matter which Legend you choose, 75% of what you’ll do, especially early as a player, is running and gunning. This makes it easy and fun to experiment with different Legends to see whose powers best accentuate your play-style. One character can set up shields; one can toss around poison traps, etc. 

For new players, the best options are the ones whose powers can create a lot of value for the squad without the development of new, specialized skills. Take a spin with Lifeline, who can heal her teammates, or Bloodhound, who can emit radar pings to locate nearby enemies. A little further up the skill tree are Pathfinder, the robot who can sling around with a grappling hook, and Crypto, who has a remote camera drone that he can send around the map. 

Jump Around – Dropping In

This being a battle royale shooter, a round of Apex Legends begins with you and your squad jumping out of a plane onto the island map. Choosing how and where you land will color your whole play experience. Very generally, there are two schools of thought here. A good philosophy for beginners is to try to drop somewhere out of the way, where few other people are headed, and you’ll have a minute or two to get your bearings and gear up before you’re face-to-face with other players. Whatever you do, land near your teammates and be ready to back them up as soon as you all hit the ground. 

Here’s a pro-tip, though: glide to the ground right next to your teammates, but break off just before you land so that you’re within easy reach of the squad, but not directly shoulder to shoulder. The first thing you and the team will do is to begin rooting around for guns and armor, and by creating a little bit of separation, you ensure that you and your squad won’t all be rooting around in the exact same containers and loot piles. There’s such a thing as etiquette, even in 2377.

The other philosophy, favored by thrill-seekers everywhere, is to “hot-drop,” or to intentionally drop into a loot-rich area that will be crowded with fighters right from the get-go. Look for light beacons shining into the sky or just follow the smoke trails of other players as they drop to the map. 

This creates an entirely different style of play: a frantic scramble of running around, looting, punching, and shooting that will either leave you well-equipped and with a kill or two under your belt, or more likely dead and gone a minute into your game. For dads on a time crunch, the hot drop is often a fun option- ensuring that you’ll see some action even in a very short game. Otherwise, you may find yourself creeping around the map, trying to find a shootout for ten minutes while your family waits in the driveway, only to get sniped out of the blue after a long and excitement-free round.

If I Had No Loot – The Gear Of Apex Legends

The only way to hold your own in Apex Legends is to gear up, and the game distinguishes itself on the breadth and complexity of the stuff you need to acquire to stay alive. Initially, you’ll pick up everything you need right off the ground or from conspicuous containers strewn all around the map. As the game progresses, though, the only way to acquire higher-level gear is to take down other players and loot the gear that they leave behind.

First are the wearable elements: armor, helmets, and backpacks. Armor and helmets will increase the amount of damage you can take in a gunfight, and backpacks increase the number of shield batteries, first-aid kits, and grenades you can carry. These items (along with gun attachments) are color-coded by quality: you’ll want to move from white to blue to purple to gold as you play through the round. 

Then, of course, there are guns. Apex Legends Season 7 features 24 weapons, each with unique damage, stats, and attachments. Players can carry two guns at a time. You’ll gain expertise with the weapon system over time, but everything is color-coded to keep things comprehensible, even for new players. Thus, when you pick up a shotgun, the onscreen icon is red, and shotgun ammo boxes in the world are red as well. Same for pistols and SMGs (brown), energy weapons (green), etc.

A good baseline strategy is to prepare yourself for ranged firefights as well as close-up scraps. I like to grab a shotgun for up-close work and keep something with a better scope for finding enemies further away. 

Speaking of scopes, there is a whole ecosystem of gun attachments (barrel stabilizers, extended magazines, etc.) that can mean the difference between life and death in a hectic firefight. As with so much in Apex Legends, there’s a lot here that will reward players who want to pore over the stats, but there are pretty clear onscreen guideposts to help non-experts make smart decisions. One thing to look for- when you put your crosshairs over any kind of gear, a big explanatory text box appears. For gun attachments, another box below this one will appear if the attachment works with one of the guns you’re holding, making it easy to see if you need the attachment or already have a better one equipped. Get used to looking for this bottom box to make it easier to scan over gear for what you want to snag. And remember, just as with armor, gold beats purple which beats blue which beats white.

Let Me Clear My Throat – Comms

Teamwork will give you the edge in Apex Legends, which makes communication paramount. The most fun way to play is with friends on headsets, but even if you’re solo queuing, take the time to get on mic. Especially as you start out, more experienced players will be happy that they’re paired with someone who’s paying attention, and hashing out strategy while it happens is a great way to gain expertise. 

That said, Apex Legends also has a best-in-class ping system for communicating with teammates without speaking. The right shoulder button (or center mouse button) pings whatever your crosshair is pointing at, highlighting it for all your teammates. You can use this system to suggest gear that your teammates might want to grab, point out open doors and containers that indicate nearby enemies, suggest locations to move towards, and of course to shout when you see the bad guys. Ping early and often, because the best way to win firefights is to have your whole squad shooting in the same direction.

Mama Said Knock You Out – Dying In Apex Legends

When the bullets start to fly, you will inevitably catch more than a few of them. The mechanics around dying and resurrecting teammates are unique to Apex Legends and worth understanding right from the get-go. 

If an enemy manages to bring down all of your shields and all of your health, you’ll be “knocked down,” leaving you technically alive but unable to shoot at anyone. You will be able to crawl around, hide behind your knockdown shield (another color-coded bit of gear to pick up in your travels), and frantically ping at the enemy standing over you while your teammates come to save the day. If they can get to you, you can be revived on the spot, with minimal health but all your gear intact. Because a knocked-down enemy is harmless, it’s often smart strategy to leave a knocked-down player alive to draw their teammates in on a doomed rescue mission.

If you lay a bit more damage onto a knocked-down player (or carry out one of your fancy finishing moves), they become really, very nearly dead. All of their gear becomes lootable, and their teammates must pick up their “beacon” and carry it to a respawn location where they can call for another ship to drop the teammate out of the sky, now stripped of gear and guns. This is a long, labor-intensive process visible for a half-mile in every direction that will generally get the whole team ambushed and killed, so it’s pretty common for even good-hearted teammates to let you rest in peace.

Don’t Sweat The Technique – Use A Little Strategy

As described above, Apex Legends gameplay can be incredibly deep if you put in the time, but Respawn has built-in plenty of guide rails to keep even newer players in the hunt. The way to distinguish yourself and reach a Top Ten finish is to use your head. 

The baseline proposition of battle in Apex Legends is that you’ll win firefights where you have a numerical and strategic advantage. In all other cases, you’re leaving yourself in the hands of fate. Until you become very skilled with the controls and weapons, for instance, one-on-one fights will be a mess of jumping around in a circle and panic firing where your survival odds are very low. You should always be looking for situations where your squad is synced up and get the drop on enemies, arranging 2v1 and 3v1 fights. 

The best way to do this is by placing some value on simply staying alive. Call Of Duty-style shooters with infinite respawns have led a generation of gamers to place more value on bravery than smarts. But remember- in Apex Legends, you’ve only got one precious life per round. Keep your head on a swivel and use that one life well. While other players are rushing around killing each other, you’re moving up the leaderboard just by standing there. 

It’s easy to get keyed up in a battle royale game and let adrenaline carry you forward blindly to your doom. Think carefully about what you’re trying to accomplish in any given moment and move deliberately from place to place. Have a specific strategic goal in mind and an eye out for nearby enemies.

For instance, at the outset, it’s well worth your time and attention to search around for good gear. Once you’re in the blues and purples, though, and you’ve found the best gear that’s just lying around, staring into dumpsters leaves you at a tactical disadvantage, so it’s time to switch your attention from shopping to fighting. I can’t count the number of times that my squad has fully looted our landing zone and moved to an adjacent area in search of a firefight. When no one immediately presents themselves, we blindly start opening containers again just in time to get jumped.

Move deliberately, keep a low profile, and stay on the hunt for stray enemies and squads who aren’t keeping a lookout. To me, this is the real value that differentiates Apex Legends from Fortnite and the rest- even for new players, it’s very good at creating situations where you can use your noodle a bit and act as an operator. It activates that same dorky Dad gene that makes you raise a silent fist like a Marine on recon when you need the family to stop at the cereal display in the supermarket. And there’s no better crew for dorky video game heroics than the Dad Gaming squad. Make sure to register for the December 11th event, lay in get your Pop ‘n Pour in-reach, and we’ll see you on the dropship.

Super Nintendo World Is Opening in February and the First Look Is Next Level

First Look Super Nintendo World
(Youtube/IGN)

Last month, Universal Studios gave us a pre-first-look into the highly-anticipated Super Nintendo World. Universal Studios Japan presented us with some incredible visuals, including renderings of a Mario Cafe & Store along with some other teaser photos. This week, the moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived – Universal released a slew of new details and a true first look inside the real-life Super Nintendo World. Yes, it’s in Japan, but this will whet our appetites for when we finally get a Super Nintendo World USA in 2021.

The park was set to open this year, but after several delays, Super Nintendo World in Osaka is set to open its doors on February 4. The teaser clip boasts, “The world’s first interactive Mario Kart theme park ride will immerse guests into the universe of Nintendo.”

Inside Bowser’s castle, guests pass an enormous statue of the grumpy villain we love to hate before strapping themselves into some real-life Mario Karts. The interactive ride called “Koopa’s Challenge” is complete with Mario-themed AR helmets for a fully-immersive experience, along with some element of competition (but please leave your banana peels at home).

“Guests will race through the Mushroom Kingdom, steering their way around the track, throwing shells at Koopa Lane, racing alongside Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach,” Thomas Geraghty, Executive producer of Universal Creative said at a press conference.

The theme park will contain several other exciting attractions, including Yoshi’s Adventure and Peach’s Castle. Even a Donkey Kong ride is set to open within the park, checking off another important box on our list of childhood favorites. Restaurants, stores, and decor are all modeled around iconic elements of Nintendo’s most beloved games, making this an immersive experience we can’t wait to explore.

Universal Studios Japan has been operating at 50% capacity due to COVID, and it appears as though Super Nintendo World will function similarly. Rides and attractions will be sanitized between each use to ensure guests’ safety.

Watch the teaser video below, and start practicing your shell-throwing for your inevitable visit to this Super Nintendo wonderland.

Thor Is Becoming Hulk for Biopic, Hulkster Approves

Hemsworth becoming Hulk
(Instagram/chrishemsworth)

The last time we saw Chris Hemsworth in a flick,  he was looking ripped while attempting to rescue a kid on Netflix. The time before that, however, he was playing Fat Thor in Avengers Endgame, and it was a riot. The affable action star proved he was game for anything, not just flexing his muscles and wielding enormous weapons.

He’s gonna need all those chops and all of his charisma for his next big role, as wrestling icon Hulk Hogan.

Hemsworth seems more than up to the task, especially when it comes to putting on the extra muscles necessary to run all over you.

The once and future Thor shared a photo of himself training to play Hogan in the forthcoming biopic, and it looks like he’s well on his way to having the 24″ pythons the WWE star was famous for.

 

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Hemsworth spoke to Total Film about his preparation for the movie.

“This movie is going to be a really fun project,” Hemsworth said. “As you can imagine, the preparation for the role will be insanely physical. I will have to put on more size than I ever have before, even more than I put on for Thor. There is the accent as well as the physicality and the attitude.”

Hogan himself seems impressed, posting on Instagram that Hemsworth is both buff enough – and good-looking enough – to step into his enormous shoes.

Not much is known about the project, aside from Hemsworth’s involvement. Hopefully, it will be as fun and outrageous as the Hulkster’s antics in the 80s. And they’d better include Thunderlips!

Wrestler With Cerebral Palsy Gets A Pin

Black Mirror Creator Making 2020 Mockumentary With Hugh Grant

Black Mirror Mockumentary Netflix
(Netflix)

2020 has been insane, and unlike any year we’ve ever experienced. If we saw all of this stuff in a movie, we’d probably consider it science-fiction. In fact, on Twitter, many people have cracked that 2020 is an episode of Black Mirror.

It isn’t. But it may soon be. Sort of.

Charlie Brooker is the man behind the dystopian nightmares of the Black Mirror series, and apparently, he plans to make this year from hell his next project, starring Hugh Grant.

Grant, who is currently in the news for his role on HBO limited series The Undoing, gave an interview earlier this year to New York Magazine in which he spilled the beans on Brooker’s idea.

“Charlie Brooker has written a mockumentary about 2020. It’s for Netflix,” Grant said, indicating that his role will be as “an historian who’s being interviewed about the year. I’m pretty repellent, actually! And you’ll like my wig.”

Netflix makes sense, as that’s where Black Mirror has been living, after starting out on the BBC. And 2020 should make good fodder for a mockumentary, although mockumentaries are usually comedic in nature (see Spinal Tap or Best in Show or What We Do in the Shadows), and there haven’t been too many laughs in Black Mirror. Or in 2020.

Maybe this is just what we need, though. Someone to look back on this nightmarish year and poke some fun at it. Hopefully, by the time Netflix drops this movie, we’ll be far enough past the pandemic and the election and the wildfires and the Loch Ness Monster and Vin Diesel’s music to enjoy a good laugh about it all.