125ntntIf it were say, 1985, and I were out at the mall Christmas shopping after catching a matinee screening of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, it's very likely that I would've heard something with a vibe similar to "The List" at some point in my travels. But this isn't '85, it's 2013... but that doesn't matter, because Portland-based NTNT (Ninja Turtle Ninja Tiger) has released "The List" as a holiday-flavored single that's being made available as a gift for you. Yes, just for you. Stream it below...

Earlier tonight, while having dinner at Infields beneath Macy's on State Street in Chicago, my brother-in-law's girlfriend asked me about my family, and if there were any real "Chicago traditions" that we kept going. Honestly, my answer was "no." As a whole, there really haven't been any longstanding traditions rooted in Chicago for us, despite how much I talk up my love for the city here on The Rock Father. The reality is that when it comes to tradition, the ones we have are the ones that my wife and I have been establishing, and those are the ones that will matter most for our daughters. The big one, is our trip to visit Santa Claus... who we actually visit twice. The first time is always at Bass Pro Shops on Thanksgiving night, and the second (the really big event) is when we visit him in Santaland at Macy's. Last night, our 2013 sit-down took place.

Published in James' Journal

Sleddin HillThey have a tradition of releasing a metal version of a classic Holiday song each Christmas, and last year, AUGUST BURNS RED brought them all together for a full album called SLEDDIN' HILL: A HOLIDAY ALBUM. So what did they do for 2013? They've reissued they album digitally with an all-new track, "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" (available on iTunes and Amazon) from THE NUTCRACKER... and it's fantastic. Stream the new song below, and speaking of The Nutcracker, stay tuned to The Rock Father for my review of The Joffrey Ballet's 2013 performance of this Holiday Classic in Chicago...

It's December 10, and already, I'm exhausted. Regardless of the fact that I love the Holiday season, what I don't love is the amount of running around and what feels like a mad scramble, despite all the preparation. With it getting dark at 4pm, my wife working long hours (sometimes not home until 8), and the cold temperatures (it's 13 degrees as I write this), the days just feel shorter as it is, and I'm always looking for ways to ease the stress, expedite the process of certain things, and keep those warm feelings going... sometimes while multi-tasking. It's not always easy when I'm doing the balancing act between working at home and taking care of my two little girls, but it can be done. If there's one month where I could use some help making family size meals a little quicker, it's December.

Published in Food and Drink

THE RASKINS (twin brothers Logan and Roger) were born and raised in New York City in a musical household. Now, having left their East Coast home for Los Angeles, the duo are prepping their self-titled debut album for Spring 2014. In the meantime, they've served up a free single for the holidays with their version of "The Little Drummer Boy." Grab the download via the Reverbnation widget below, then check out their official website for more.

THE ROCK FATHERThere has never been another time when I could say that I've been "excited about chocolate." Sure, I like my peanut butter cups on occasion, but it wasn't until a couple of months ago when I discovered Wild Ophelia that I really became interested in the chocolate that I was about to eat or share with my children. Created right here in Chicago by noted Chocolatier Katrina Markoff of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Wild Ophelia is "an American roadtrip through chocolate" that connects the American farmers' movement with chocolate through the sourcing of all natural, often organic ingredients. Their new line of extraordinary flavors and a surprising connection to THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE lands Wild Ophelia firmly in my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide here on The Rock Father.

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