Wait . . . Dad?


Is it hard to make these blocks?

It's not hard, its just time consuming.

Its just time consuming.


How long do you think its going to take to make all of them?

Well, we're going to finish this one and then I'm going to go write, and then we can work on them some more until soccer practice and then when we get home we can work on them some more.

Wait . . . Dad?


How long is it going to take you to write?

I don't know. Sometimes it takes me awhile to have an idea, sometimes I have too many ideas, and sometimes it all just comes together quickly. Could be an hour, could be two, could be three. Aren't you supposed to be in school right now?

It's Veteran's Day.


Wait . . . Dad?

Uh huh?

What chapter are you on?


That's a long time to just be at chapter two.

Well, I don't just work on that project, I have music to work on, pictures to take, I write a blog which is kinda like a diary for other people to read, I have to play with you, I have to play with mommy, I have a fantasy football team to manage, I have to make sure you are fed and have your soccer shoes ready and I have to rest.


And I have to feed you.

Wait . . . Dad?


Can we make just one more before you go write?

Yes, yes we can.

Sometime during the weekend, Calvin had discovered someone on YouTube playing with actual Minecraft blocks.

Now if you don't already know what Minecraft is, you're not alone, you're just really really old.

Minecraft is a video game.

Sort of.

Essentially, you play a character made of blocks.

In a world made of blocks.

And you mine things.

And the more things you mine, the more things you can craft with the materials that you mine.

You find a stick, you find another stick, and another. You find a block of iron. With three sticks and a block of iron you can craft and iron pick ax with which to dig deeper than just the wooden one that you started out with.

You can find and craft all kinds of things. Hoes, pick-axes, swords, iron, steel, diamonds.

But there is an unwritten rule that you should never waste a diamond on a hoe.

True dat.

And as night draws near, Creepers come out to get you.

They are scary green block kamikaze monsters that race up to you and explode, killing you and destroying your stuff.

You can thwart them by building a house for yourself out of wood and stone and whatever else.

There is no end to the game.

You mine, you craft, you build, you try not to let a creeper explode near you.

And the game is open sourced, which means that anyone with some programming knowledge can add things to the game. Like chickens and TNT and entire continents to explore.

You can play alone or you can play online with friends.

You can have battles or you can switch it to peaceful mode where even the Creepers won't bother you. You can play it on every platform there is, computer, X-Box, iPad, iPhone, nap time,  and DS.

It's a digital playground and it's huge.

I don't remember when Calvin got into it, but it's fascinating watching an eight year old develop a mastery that is way beyond the scope of my understanding.

And the bigger it gets, the more things there are to master.

Which is where the YouTubes come in.

Somebody decides the place needs sheep and suddenly every fan boy with an online connection is learning how to craft the perfect knife so that the sheep can be shorn and wool sweaters can be knit for christmas.

So, as I said before, Calvin found a kid on YouTube playing with actual blocks designed to look like blocks from Minecraft.

But he couldn't find out where to buy them online.

Except the ones made by Lego, and those weren't the ones from the video and they were too expensive anyway.

He very conscience of how much things cost.

We're going to do just fine as poor people.

So he waited all morning for me to get up so that I can figure out how to get those blocks.

And it turns out that there is an entire sub-craft of making real mine craft blocks out of PDF's, glue, tooth picks, and an exacto-knife. And then playing with those blocks like they were Legos and action figures.

It's called Minecraft PaperCraft.

And it's huge.

A video of a kid just playing with these blocks has over 125,000 views.

To put that in perspective, my video for "Only Hope" off of the new album has 160 views.

I am clearly, clearly in the wrong business.

No matter, I'll get where I need to go.

Anyway, now, because I wish to stay true to my "Best Dad Ever" coffee mug, I have to spend an hour or three crafting a whole bunch of paper cubes so that my son can play with them for a few minutes.

I tried to convince him that we could print up the PDF's, cut them out and then glue them onto real wooded cubes (blocks) which would save me at least an hour, but he would have none of it.


But it wasn't a total loss, I did force him to learn how to use the exacto-knife, which made hime very nervous, and would have made his mother even more nervous had I not waited till she took a nap.

He was certain he was gonna kill himself.

I told him that if he did indeed cut himself, it would be at least a few years before he bled out, so not to worry.

I wanted to get to the point where he could cut them out and I could do the gluing, but he wasn't ready for that level of commitment.

So we made two diamond blocks,

and two TNT blocks,

and one stone block,

and then it was time for me to write.

It always feels a bit weird to me to be putting my life on hold in order to write about that life.

I remember once yelling at Calvin to stop pestering me to play catch while I was in the middle of a blog about how much fun it is to play catch with my son, a story I've told before, but it resonates.

I just came back from a music conference, where I was pleased as punch to attend, but it wasn't much different from any other business conference. Define your product. Package that product. Sell your product.

Which doesn't come as any shock unless you haven't been paying attention to anything ever.

The other bit was sacrifice.

House wives don't have hit records.

Pop stars don't have personal lives.

I wasn't, and still am not, willing to give up either, so the only solution is to combine them. And in order to do that, you have to separate them and filter them through one another and forgive yourself for not being brilliant at both.

Calvin walks in and asks me when I'm going to be done.

"I don't know." I tell him honestly.

Joann walks in and tells me that I was supposed to wake her up.

"I don't remember that at all." I tell her honestly.

She laughs with her mouth, but her eyes are deciding which part of my spine to plunge a fork in.

Calvin comes back in and asks me how long until I can come back.

"I really don't know, but it takes longer every time you ask."

"Kay" and races back out again.

I realize I have to shower at some point.

Or I could wait till tomorrow.

Point is, God Bless America, God Bless our Veterans. Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose, Be kind and rewind, and don't waste your diamonds on a hoe.

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