"Wake me up, when Movember ends..." at least, that's what was sorta in my mind this year, borrowing from the GREEN DAY song that says "September" while swapping in "Movember." A "second year Mobro," I once more grew a mustache (or moustache for extra-hipster style) in an effort to help raise funds and awareness to combat men's health issues, with mental health of particular interest to me. This year, my campaign was generously-powered by Panasonic & Neutrogena, who partnered with me to draw attention to my cause. Through our #ShaveOff promotion, reader Lacey Burd scored a fantastic prize pack that included the PANASONIC ES-RT77-S Arc3 Wet/Dry Shaver and a full suite of shaving essentials from Neutrogena with a few other goodies thrown in. While it was all in good fun and got some people talking, this year's fundraising efforts largely fell flat, causing me to start questioning my approach for next year.
31 Days of Halloween: Product of Hate in THE UNHOLY MANIPULATOR - Official Selection of the 2014 Open Wound Horror Film FestWritten by James Zahn
There's a very slight chance that you might be having deja vu right now, as I did include the longform music video for PRODUCT OF HATE's THE UNHOLY MANIPULATOR in last year's 31 Days of Halloween. Reason it's back? I directed and edited the video, and it just became an Official Selection of the 2014 Open Wound Horror Film Festival, which means that those attending the Santa Fe Comic-Con next weekend will get a chance to see it on the big screen. When we filmed this, we'd always hoped that it would become something of a "perennial favorite" for each Halloween season, and that looks to be happening. After all, it's got some fairly horrific elements, and since I do run a family site, I wouldn't recommend this one for viewing around kids or at work (unless you work somewhere really cool).
September 17, 2004. That was the very last day that I worked for the late Musicland Group in their Sam Goody division. It was not a "small step," but a "giant leap" into the unknown, the second major risk I'd taken in the early 2000s - the type of dice roll you only take when you can, and for me, a chance I was only able to take thanks to the support of my wife - the same girl that encouraged me to take another drastic measure just a few years prior. The bottom of my "voluntary resignation" form read like this...
Tonight (Sept 10) at 9pm/8c on PBS, NOVA: VACCINES—CALLING THE SHOTS will air, an important documentary that focuses on one of the hot topics facing parents today: to vaccinate or not? My wife and I are 100% in favor of keeping our girls up-to-date on their vaccinations, though we have spread out some of them over a few visits due to the sheer amount needed. As a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent), I was given an advance look at the new NOVA documentary, and my stance is unchanged, but perhaps even more solidified. Parents - especially new parents - need to be informed, and in the modern era - years after mumps, whooping cough, measles and other infectious diseases have been eradicated, it's alarming to see them starting to make a return. Check out a preview of this new film below...
It has been said that those who are typically anti-authority often make the best leaders. In general, a leader finds it hard to follow, and may wind up being deemed "anti-authority," when in reality - they're just meant to lead the charge. Or, so I like to think - me, a 37-ish year-old man who may have been tagged the "anti" on more than a few occasions, and years later has sometimes become the "authority" that he once may have been perceived to be against. One has to have tact while plotting a rise... but when does this type of ying-yang behavior begin? Perhaps it's in kindergarten, and believe me when I tell you that kindergarteners have no tact.
As a parent, there's certain objects that become a part of your daily life - accessories that are always close at-hand to help nurture the creativity of your little ones. Things like crayons. And, when it comes to crayons, there is no brand more iconic than Crayola, who in 1903 launched what would become an Empire of fun with the release of their original box of eight wax crayons, then-sold for just 5 cents! In Easton, Pennsylvania stands the birthplace of Crayola - and in 2013 the former Crayola Factory was rebirthed as THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE - a 60,000 square-foot home of colorful adventure where kids of all ages can immerse themselves in a vibrant world of imaginative play. As part of our first Great American Road Trip series, my wife and I packed up the girls and headed for Pennsylvania, where THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE was a must-visit location...
The Rock Father takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to #SmackDownALS #StrikeOutALS #IceBucketChallengeWritten by James Zahn
Earlier this week, right after posting a video showing WWE COO Triple H participating in the "Ice Bucket Challenge," I told my wife - "It's coming. Someone will challenge me to do this." What I didn't expect is that it would be her sister - my sister-in-law, throwing down the challenge... a challenge that arrived this afternoon. To do this proper and help to raise funds and awareness for The ALS Association in their efforts to combat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) aka "Lou Gerhig's disease," I promptly ran over to Home Depot to grab a 5 gallon bucket, but also hit the ALSA website to make a cash donation - something I encourage you to do as well. I'll show you mine... but will you show me yours?
Well this comes out of left field, yet could be a home run. Yes, I'm feeling punny tonight, but after coaching a full season of Pee Wee Baseball this year, I'm still in a sorta ballpark vibe, and when news slid into Rock Father HQ about a partnership between KISS and Major League Baseball, you can bet I was interested. Epic Rights (rep for KISS) teamed with MLP licensee Liquid Blue for a new clothing line called PLAY BALL WITH KISS. The initial run of mashup t-shirts features the iconic band as players for a dozen MLB teams, all themed around the DRESSED TO KILL album art.
It's 4:26am as I type this - here, I sit in a Cleveland hotel room, thinking of my family and how I actually got here in the first place. I do what I do both for and because of my family. Little did I know that becoming a father would become a source of so much adventure (personal and professional), and that it would all make for the best gig in the world (being a Dad) - one filled with little side gigs like the one I'm on today. I'm in Ohio as a Brand Ambassador for Step2 - one of the biggest American toymakers there is - and it's all because of one special girl... and the two special girls that we created together. Fifteen years ago today... August 7, 1999, my wife and I were married. It was just two years prior that we'd gone on our first date - and a mere three months after that when we'd become engaged. Then, on August 7, 2009... our 10th Wedding Anniversary, I became "The Rock Father" when our first daughter, Adalyn, was born. Today, our first little girl turns five!
When we kicked-off our first-ever family road trip earlier this month, my wife and I did a fantastic job of keeping our destinations largely a secret from the little ones. In fact, they only knew of one stop (Chocolate World), and that's because Addie caught me looking at it on the computer prior to our journey. The centerpiece of our trip was kept well under-wraps, and keeping it a surprise until we entered the gates was completely worth it as the reactions were priceless. After spending the night in Philadelphia, the family and I headed for Langhorne, Pennsylvania - home of SESAME PLACE - the Nation's only theme park based entirely on SESAME STREET.
When I last paused my story, we'd arrived in Philadelphia on nearly no sleep after our drive from Chicago, but with two girls that were ready to roll. We'd stopped by the DoubleTree Philadelphia, but knowing how early we were, as expected, our room was not yet ready. Fueled only by coffee, we set out for Independence Hall and The Liberty Bell to jump right into that true Philly experience. Being a Sunday, we were ahead of the crowds, and managed to stop by Carpenter's Hall and the Betsy Ross house as well...
Around 30 years ago, my parents took my sister and I on a road trip to Washington, D.C. Along the way, we stopped at several locations in Pennsylvania, making memories that have lasted a lifetime. With our girls hitting two and five this year, my wife and I decided it was time for our first family vacation - and as such, it was to be a road trip. We plotted several potential courses, with the Philadelphia area set to be the focal point and ultimate destination for a couple of reasons. First off, we were going to finally take Sprout up on a long-standing offer to stop by the Comcast Center and see Chica at the Sunshine Barn during a visit to the set of THE SUNNY SIDE UP SHOW. Second, we wanted to head for Langhorne to visit SESAME PLACE. During our planning, we attempted to pack in as much as possible, with potential stops in Washington, D.C., New York City, West Virginia and Cincinnati on the chart. Instead, we strategically plotted our trip to be centralized in PA - visiting some iconic locations in Philly (but scrapping the Sprout visit), our big trip to SESAME PLACE, a visit to THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE in Easton, HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD in Hershey, and a swing back through Ohio to visit my friends at SMUCKER'S on our way back to Northern Illinois.