When I was 17, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. The good news is my epilepsy is controlled by medicine (unlike some people who suffer from this disorder). The bad news is I have epilepsy- a random, rare version caused by sleep deprivation and extended periods of reading.
When I was 17, there were no online resources to go to find out more information. In the early-mid-90’s, there was barely an “online” at all. Your lucky friend may have had AOL, but you were not likely to use it to research seizure disorders. Instead, you were probably on it to find out when your favorite band was at the Tweeter Center. Thankfully, today we have websites like TalkAbout It.org.
TalkAboutIt.org is a website and 501(c)3 charity created by actor Greg Grunberg - known for his role on Heroes. The goal of the website and the Talk About It organization is to “end the misperceptions and misunderstanding about epilepsy and seizure disorders.” Greg was inspired to create this website after his eldest son was diagnosed with epilepsy and he wanted to help end the stigma around epilepsy while working to find a cure.
The website works as virtual subway with a map directing you to train stops for non-epileptics and epileptics alike, with the ultimate goal of getting people to talk about the condition. Each stop features an introduction by Greg’s celebrity friends like Kristen Bell, Jennifer Garner, John Mayer, Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine, usually followed by a video of Greg interviewing doctors or actual people living with epilepsy. In the videos, Greg broaches topics like dating, bullying, employment, telling your friends & family – things people may not be comfortable talking about with their Doctor.
And if you are worried you or your children are getting medical advice from celebrities, don’t fear. Their bits were scripted and expert advice was provided by the Epilepsy Foundation, the “national voluntary health organization dedicated to helping the over three million Americans with epilepsy.”
Talk About It.org also collects donations to raise money for epilepsy and has an active social network tied into the site.
Greg Grunberg directs Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) on the set of TalkAboutIt.org
If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you may know our tendency for sharing and over-sharing the work of Philly-based artist and illustrator Dave Perillo. Like me, Dave has a love for all things pop culture and pop art, including well-known and cult artists like Jim Flora, Charles Schultz, Jim Henson, Mike Allred,andTim Biskup. Unlike me, Dave has actual artistic talent and has used it to create some amazing illustrated tributes to some of the entertainment properties we love as children of the 80’s (The Goonies, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Thundercats), watch as adults (Moonrise Kingdom,Breaking Bad), and, most relevant to this blog, enjoy with our kids.
If you are looking for some art to decorate your children’s room (or your office), Dave’s Etsy shop is a great place to start. From fairy tales to Pixar films, he offers a broad spectrum of illustrated work for parents who want to pay tribute to their children’s favorites without just sticking up a poster.
Do yourself a favor, and check out Dave Perillo’s blog and Etsy shop as soon as possible. I have included some samples of his work below for you to appreciate.
All images are created, designed and illustrated by Dave Perillo.
Boo! Halloween season continues at Nugget Island as we present our special YouTube playlist of non-stop Halloween goodness for the kiddos. Tune in via your smart TV, set-top box or old-fashioned laptop for classic clips from Disney, kindie music videos, and much more. Click here to get access to it on YouTube or watch below.
Ready to refresh your family playlists? Here are some albums sent to us for review that we have been listening to on the road, during dinner and at our mandatory family dance parties.
In the Twang of Thangs
Boxtop Jenkins brings in some marquee names and a mix of bluegrass, country, rock and folk for their excellent debut release, You’re Happier When You’re Happy. “Wag More” takes the now-classic bumper sticker and turns it into a bluegrass jam with an assist from the Indigo Girls. Boxtop also likes to get their rockabilly on with the dental health lesson “The Crocodile (Wouldn’t Brush His Teeth)” and Halloween tunes “Getting Down on Halloween” and “Rattlin’ Rattlin’ Bones.”
Full of down-home nonsensical tunes (and I mean that in the best way possible), the Coloma, Michigan-based Deep Fried Pickle Project uses harmonicas, banjos and even kazoos on Green and Bumpy to create a unique Americana kindie style while singing about pickle juice, gross “boogers” and the dangers of jumping over a fence at a zoo.
New York-based Astrograss has been making “newgrass” music since 2003, creating twangy tunes for both adults and kids. Their newest family album, The Colored Pencil Factory, features original tunes like the beautiful title track and the manic “Freak Out” as well as foot-stomping classic takes on standards like “Shortenin’ Bread.”
Kindie Goes Pop
True to their name, The Harmonica Pocket’sApple Appleis filled with acoustic, harmonica-filled eco-pop songs that range from the silly-with-a message “Diaper Man” to the educational “I’m Gonna Count” to the goofy Caspar Babypants-cameo tune “Monkey Love.” Added bonus: all of the songs are produced in a solar-powered studio.
Shira from Shira & Friends is known for her music and movement classes held throughout New York City. Her talent for getting kids to get up and move is clear in her 5-track EP, When You’re a Kid. This debut album is full of energetic and interactive kid’s tunes perfect for music and movements parties, playdates and playspaces. Musical proof that Laurie Berkner is not the only game in town!
For parents who have been forced to retire their Doc Martins and mohawks, Kepi Ghoulie’sKepi for Kids is your go-to album. Also known as the frontman for cult band The Groovie Ghoulies, his punk rock rock vocals fit surprisingly well over acoustic rock songs. Kepi’s album takes place in the fictional world of Kepiland and features infectious dance-along songs like “Spazz Out”, tender lullabies like “Moonbeam” and the anthem-for-all “A Little Bit Weird.”
AlthoughKinderAngst is represented by a team of fictional puppet characters from “Alphabet City,” the album was actually created by the multi-talented Palmyra Delran and Rachelle Garnie. Whether or not puppet characters are your thing, KinderAngst will win you over with its genre-hopping, Debbie Harry cameo, punk rock attitude and complete lack of filler tracks.
Indie Rockers In The House
Big Bang Boomhas a jam band and indie rock sound that will appeal to college radio lovers of yore – and their kids, too. Because I Said So is infused with sun-soaked melodies and kid-friendly topics like long car rides, learning to ride a bike and loving your hippie mom. Big Bang Boom also features the recognizable vocals of Chuck Folds – younger brother and sound-a-like of Ben Folds.
After the success of his single “I Think I’m a Bunny,” Todd McHatton dedicates a whole album to his purple monster in Todd McHatton Presents Marvy Monstone’s Mysterious Fun Time Dream Band. While that means less of Todd’s indie rock vocals for us parents, no Marvy is enough Marvy for the kiddos. Expect them to delight in tunes like the story-song “The Plan with The Crystal & The Bear” and the sing-along-ready ”Here’s The Thing” – all over the sound of Todd’s well-crafted piano pop.
LA-based Ozomatli have garnered a dedicated following over the past 17 years with their bilingual mash up of rap, electronica, rock, hip-hop, meringue and more. Finding a steady home on cutting edge adult stations like KCRW, Ozomatli are ready to do the same on children’s radio. OzoKidz features the same genre mashups as their adult albums, but grown-up issues like gang violence and Hurricane Katrina are pushed aside to celebrate kid-friendly topics like birthdays, skateboards and balloons. Our current favorite is “Moose on the Loose,” a feverish dance number on par with any Top 40 club-banger out there. “Sun and Moon” is a synthy educational lesson that could have been pulled straight from Yo Gabba Gabba. This is sure to go down as classic children’s music, and inspire skeptical listeners to approach the genre.
Elska’sMiddle of Nowherealbum is a refreshing and groundbreaking new concept in family music. Elska is a fictional character created by singer/actress Shelley Wollert and producer Allen Farmelo. “Elska” lives on an Artic Island with friends like writer Winter Bear, sidekick Goobler, and engineer creature The Nunni. It is too easy to refer to Elska as Bjork-for-kids, with her minimalistic blips and glitches sound, but Shelley and Allen are also bringing the characters to life as a multimedia project. This includes live shows and a series of live action/animated music videos shot in Iceland. Check out Elska’s music video below and happy listening!
This weekend is here, and if you have some car travel or down time ahead, I have the perfect new app for you and your family. Boston-based, Emmy-nominated studio CloudKid has officially launched their first game for the iOS platform,Negative Nimbus. Those familiar with the work of CloudKid (“Fizzy’s Lunch Lab”) should expect the same candy-colored, bold and innovative design – priced at only $.99.
Already awarded “best visual and design” at the Boston Festival of Indie Games, “Negative Nimbus” focuses on a lovable and grouchy rain-cloud as he makes his way through the brightly colored Sunnyland. Players tap, swipe and pinch their way through different levels, trying to water flowers while avoiding the quirky characters that populate the sunshiny land CloudKid has created. The game includes unlockable achievements to keep players engaged, including comics, accessories and badges.
The visuals in this app truly speak for themselves, with a few samples below.
Negative Nimbus is available for the iPad and will hit the iPhone in November 2012.