Note: An earlier version of this post was previously published as a guest blog for gDiapers as part of their "It Takes Guts" Father's Day promotion back in June.
When I became a Father for the first time back in 2009 (on our 10th Wedding Anniversary!), I entered into the job without much by way of expectation. I was excited to be a Dad, but there wasn’t any real or definitive outlook for how the experience would actually be. I didn’t enter into Fatherhood with the “fear” that some seem to put forth, nor did I have any grand plans for how those first days would be. Sure, there was preparation (and a lot of nesting), but I steered clear of the parenting books, and somehow managed to miss the fact that “Parent Blogging” was even a thing.
What I’m saying, is that my wife and I entered into parenthood by winging it. Actually, she was probably better-prepared than I.
It's November 1st, and for the first time-ever, it's MOVEMBER 1st here at Rock Father HQ. Yes, you read that correctly - I am participating in Movember this year - my first-ever excursion into the world of being a MO BRO. Indeed, I do despise mustaches on baby products (and in most non-facial uses), and I once declared that "Hipsters and Movember Killed the Mustache Movement." My attitude has changed, and while I often tend to buck trends, why I previously chose not to participate in Movember is unimportant at this point. What's important is why I've chosen to support it.
Here we are... Day 31 of 31 Days of Halloween 2013 here on The Rock Father - Halloween Day! There's a lot of "threes" involved in this one, with Halloween falling on the date of my third-ever Throwback Thursday since picking up that torch earlier this month. For the Grand Finale of 2013, I'm spinning things back three decades, to this exact date 30 years ago. October 31, 1983. STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI had just been released the previous May, the third film in what would later become known as the original STAR WARS TRILOGY. It was that Halloween that I would first don my Ben Cooper Darth Vader Halloween Costume, taking to the streets as Lord Vader... wielding a green, Luke Skywalker lightsaber. Not film-accurate, but I worked with what I had.
As I sat down to write this entry, I happened to notice that it was exactly one year ago today, for 31 Days of Halloween 2012, that I'd written about the same thing. While Halloween isn't officially here until Thursday, Trick-or-Treating here took place yesterday, on a Sunday afternoon, and in broad daylight. This is still weird to me, and I can only equate it with doing Christmas morning presents on December 21. It will never feel right.
I've said it before, and I find myself saying it again, if only for the new friends that are just finding THE ROCK FATHER and have no knowledge of my past: In a lot of ways, my teen years were like an early-1990s version of ALMOST FAMOUS. But, instead of it being Cameron Crowe hanging with LED ZEPPELIN and THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND and writing about the experience for ROLLING STONE, it was me hanging with bands like FAITH NO MORE and STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and writing about the experience for regional print 'zines like Oil, Slowfish, and The River Cities' Reader. Thing is, I also had a cable access show. The simply-titled "ZTV" ran for 40+ episodes from it's homebase in the Quad Cities from 1992-1994. One such adventure? A 16-year-old me going one-on-one with Dave Mustaine of MEGADETH in January of 1993. Yes, I had a mullet and a Vic Rattlehead shirt. And it was awesome.
It is my duty to warn you that the video that I am about to share is most certainly not-family-friendly, and also probably not-safe-for-work, unless you work somewhere really cool. What just happened is that GWAR frontman Oderus Urungus (who may have Dave Brockie in his belly) recently sat down at the offices of Loudwire in Manhattan for a reading of Margaret Wise Brown's classic children's book, GOODNIGHT MOON. Now, being that this site is called "The Rock Father," you should understand the significance of why I'm posting this... It's the singer of GWAR reading a book that I, as a parent, have read to my children countless times. If you've read it, and understand the mighty power of GWAR, you will appreciate this video. If you do not understand the metal majesty of Anarctica's finest band, I urge you to read a different article, right now (this one is good). You have been warned.
If you're reading this, it is my duty to make it known that you are reading a historic blog. Despite it being a common feature throughout the vast realm of cyberspace, I have never done a "Throwback Thursday." This is my first... and it's about that time when I went to PRISON. Actually, if we're being honest, I should admit that I've been to prison more than once.
Doing a site that's largely family-friendly (sans the "For Grownups" section), it's always weird to think that I have a whole body of work that I can't share with my kids. Not yet, anyway. Between the music, films, videos, and comics I've done in the past, there's actually not really anything that's kid-friendly (again, not yet), but most of it came before I became I parent. Most, but not all. I give you PRODUCT OF HATE - THE UNHOLY MANIPULATOR (IMDb) a long-form music video that I directed and edited... a video that was released for Halloween 2012, but never properly featured here on The Rock Father. I should warn you, it's NSFW (not-safe-for-work), unless you happen to work somewhere really cool. It's Day 15 of 31 Days of Halloween 2013, and I'm going to show you the video and tell you a story...
Having only been a parent for just over four years, it's weird to already feel nostalgic about something that happened just a few years ago - October 3, 2010. On that day, we'd taken Addie (then just over a year old) to her first "Pumpkin Patch" experience, at a small place in Lake Villa, Illinois, called Susanna Farms. For Day 13 of 31 Days of Halloween 2013, I'm featuring the family-owned farm in Chicago's Far Northern Suburbs through the eyes of a Dad who recently returned with both of his daughters... Addie (now 4), and Finn (1). While this wasn't Little Finley's first Pumpkin Patch (we did that last year), it was the first time that both girls were big enough to roam the fields together... and the first time that we went with Grandma.
"You dress like you're 15."
The first time I recall hearing my wife say that, I'd just purchased a pair of Ken Block signature edition DC Shoes from PacSun (pictured below), and a long, green wallet chain from Hot Topic. That was probably about two years ago. I'll be 37 in just a few weeks, and I still have the shoes, but the wallet chain is a memory. If my wife has a gripe with me, it's definitely about the way I dress. She'd like me to class it up a bit, and there's a few times I've tried.
Back in April, as both the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox got their seasons underway, I blogged about baseball here on The Rock Father. In that entry, I affirmed my allegiance to the South Side ('Sox), while noting that I'd never seen a game on the North (Cubs). I also promised my oldest daughter that we would one day see a game in a place like we saw on tv, and this past Sunday, that promise became a reality. It was a "first" for the entire family... my daughters' first ballgame, and for my wife and I, our first game in Wrigley Field. We'd taken the kids to see the Chicago Cubs.
To say that baseball was a big part of my life growing up would be understating reality. Tee-Ball and Little League in South Suburban Park Forest, followed by Pony League in Crete, and later Colt League in Davenport, Iowa - I played a ton of ball before hanging up the cleats after my junior year of high school.
It was in those early days, though - during Tee-Ball and Little League - that my interest in Chicago's professional teams really took hold.