Archive for the ‘Good Cause’ Category

An Awkward Post About Balls

basketball“Why don’t you say something, Coach?”

The players all looked at me, ready to hang on my every word. They had no idea that I had never given a halftime talk before. They only knew that we were in the locker room of my old junior high school, and that I had a whistle around my neck.

They didn’t know that I had never played basketball for my school—or any sport, for any school. In fact, the closest I ever came was two glorious weeks on the track team.

My friends and I were asked to turn in our uniforms after we missed a meet. We had been in the locker room seeing who could spin a discus the longest and impressing each other with our favorite celebrity impersonations. I was right in the middle of my Doug Henning when the coach came in and told us to wait on the bus. Needless to say, I was not a jock, and it would only be a matter of weeks before I took center stage in the school production of whatever it was and never looked back.

I glanced at the head coach to make sure I had heard him correctly. He nodded and I took a breath. The floor was mine.

“I grew up here,” I said. “I’ve known their head coach my entire life.

“This was my gym. I went to my first dance here. I kissed a girl somewhere around the free throw line. It wasn’t that long ago that I was you, and moments like this would last forever. Every game was the big game.”

The room was quiet and the boys were anxious. I had no idea where I was going with this, and the other coaches knew it.

I proceeded to have an incredibly awkward one-sided conversation with a room full of teenage boys about things that had nothing to do with basketball. I painted a picture of my own (also) awkward youth and appealed to whatever sympathies their parents had planted in them. It may have been the worst halftime speech ever given, and by the time it ended I was sweating far more than the players.

We lost the game, and I was never asked to give another pep talk the rest of the season.

I was, admittedly, embarrassed—not because of the game, but because I had used their moment as some sort of therapy session I never knew I needed. I feared that I had lost whatever respect they may have had for me.


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So Fresh, So Clean

Today is December 1, 2011 and according to the Mayans, the mustache has ended. This is good news.

Mustaches and my face do not get along. In fact, the only thing that looks worse on my face is a fist (or whatever dirty joke you just came up with). I actually wrote a musical about the experience of growing a mustache for charity and how torn I was about the process. On one lip, I was thrilled to raise money and awareness for Movember and the fight against prostate and testicular cancers — our Dad2.0 team raised over $19,000, and the good people at Philips Norelco are matching $15,000 of that thanks to a series of shaving videos that many of us have made. I would also like to add that Baby Showers for Guys is donating $500 to the team (which includes many of the DadCentric guys!) in the name of their contest winner (which appears to be me!). That’s roughly $35,000 to cancer research just by not shaving. If only all good causes were this lazy, we could find cures for everything!

But the bottom lip is, I look like a real creep with a mustache. Even more than usual.

My wife hated it. It put her on edge and made her meaner than normal. She just assumed I had nothing nice to say.

My kids hated it. They said that it was sharp and itchy. They had no idea.

Society hated it. I couldn’t walk across the school parking lot without people throwing cabbage and pitchforks at me. In other news, my cabbage and pitchfork resale business is doing great.

You’ll catch part of the aforementioned abandoned musical in the clip below. The line was, “I look like I live in my mother’s basement, but that will soon change with this product placement.” And then the Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D (Model 1250XCC), the Jet Clean system, and the Vacuum Stubble and Beard Trimmer would all get up and dance. It just wasn’t in the budget.

Here is the shaving video I made for Philips Norelco:

I will never shave the second mustache. That one isn’t creepy at all.

And now, a rare photo of me without facial hair:

I must admit, I swore off electric razors a long time ago, but the Norelco worked like a champ. It’s nice to work with products you can believe in. I’m looking at you, my phone service provider.

In case you are concerned that my freshly-shorn lip may catch cold this winter, don’t worry, I’m growing a dogstache. It’s really quite warm:

Thank you to all that participated, donated and restrained themselves from calling the authorities during the Movember campaign. Here’s to hitting cancer where it taint, once and for all.

Disclosure: The Philips Norelco products mentioned in this post were provided for free in exchange for the shaving video embedded above. I would like to thank Philips Norelco for the shaving system and their generous contribution to our Movember team.


California Dreamin’

I was fairly stationary as a child. I lived in the same house until college. Then I lived in the same area for another ten years. I was never more than 40 minutes away from anyone, friend, family or foe. Not that I had any foes, but I did have a love for alliteration.

I met my wife, and on a whim we hit the road. Once the moving started we couldn’t stop — kind of like dancing, except with less alcohol. My wife and I dropped pins all over the left side of the map. We were up, down and then up again. We had U-Haul on speed dial. Our last stop found us just outside of Seattle.

There are things here that we love. There are friendly people, incredible neighbors, wonderful summers, scenic beauty in every direction, fantastic schools and a sense of community that I haven’t known since my childhood. We live in a quaint town where roots are deep and well-watered. It is a perfect setting in which to raise a family.

But there are things that are dark and press against us, and the silver lining has become harder and harder to find within them. The clouds stretch from the sea to the summer, and their constant soaking leaves a layer of cold tucked tight between skin and bone. There will never be enough logs upon the fire.

Seasonal affective disorder comes and goes, literally with the seasons, but with each ebb it grows slower, and every flow seems more fond of shadows than sunlight.  Sadness grows like mold in the corners of our happy household.

The children do not go through bouts of depression, but rather sit beside them and grow restless and frustrated. They do not want to go outside into the cold and the rain, but they would enjoy it if we took them there.  The trips are few and far between. The children suffer secondhand, which is full of shame and lacking in justice.

We have tried to compensate with manufactured light, an overextended calendar and daily supplements, but all it has done is make us face the truth. It is time to pay heed to Harry Nilsson and go where the weather suits our clothes. It is time for sailing on a summer breeze.

Come June, when we are done with school and leases, we will follow our footsteps back to the sands of California. There is where opportunity awaits, and with it a warmth to bask in. Our running is equal parts to and from.

The leaving is bittersweet, and it packs a heavy heart, but the journey should find us nearly healed and the arrival somewhat lighter.

The ocean stretches from July to forever. We are the stones that skip across it.


Said the Mustache, “I’ll be gone til Movember.”

Day 30: The Sneeze

It has been a long and awkward ride, and this will not be hitting my pillow.

In Soviet Russia the pillow hit you.

Thank you for supporting the DadCentric Movember team (as seen on Facebook). Every bit helps, and it’s not too late to donate to the cause.

We’ll leave a light on for you.

Also, visit DadCentric for all your holiday needs (actual needs may vary).


The Wednesday Review! Contents Include Tidbits & News!

Hello, and welcome to a new feature which I’ll most likely only do once, the Wednesday Review! The Wednesday Review is where I review some products that were sent to me for said reviewing. I have a whole policy on this, which you can find here, but mark me, I don’t review something unless I like it. If I don’t like it then I wrap the item in newspaper and pass it off as a gift to one of my backup friends on their respective birthday and/or religious holiday. Unless it really sucks, then I’ll tell you all about it, because that’s my obligation to you, the reader.

If you read the fine print on the side of the box you will also undoubtedly be aware that this first, and possibly only, edition of the Wednesday Review! also includes tidbits and news! Contents may have shifted, but probably not.

First the tidbits and the news. I’m not really sure how to tell them apart, so tidbits and news will be lumped together for your reading enjoyment:

  • I got a new job! Actually, I got more than one, but only one is live and it’s a big deal (especially to my previously starving children). I’m now on staff over at BabyCenter as part of their FameBaby site. As a matter of fact, I just welcomed myself. In public.
  • You may recall me talking about my friend Troy Olsen and his new single.  Well, he’s doing great. Since my post, but not because of my post, he has been featured on iTunes twice. He’s also been all over some country charts and his Summer Thing video is popular on CMT.
  • The lovely Dan Hughes and his band of merry men and women are currently underway on their epic walk for a cause. The Hadrian’s Walk is an amazing undertaking and I’m truly sorry that my finances prevented me from being a part of it.  Yes, I know, we’re taking the family to Walt Disney World this summer, but a) the total cost of airfare, park tickets and accommodations for the four of us going to WDW is less than the airfare alone would have been for the two of us to fly to England, and b) holy crap, this vacation is biting me in the ass.
  • Adventure Time With Finn and Jake is freaking killing me. It’s probably not good for kids, as they talk about death, kidnapping, farts and being sexy, but I let mine watch it anyway. They can’t hear anything over my laughter.
  • I sell wine! Well, not me personally (although I used to sell wine personally at Cost Plus World Market many moons ago), but rather the Clever Girls Collective, of which I am a member — this despite my being neither clever or a girl, but I am collective and WINE!  There are deals and grapes and fancy descriptions and if you buy 3 bottles the shipping is FREE! Yes, free.

In closing (of this part), I have super, big and awesome things in the works that I can’t expand on at the moment because super, big awesome things didn’t fit in the title of this post, however, trust me, they are all that and more and I’ll be spilling as soon as possible, or as the kids say, ASAP.

This is turning out to be a really long post.

Okay, reviews! Reviews of stuff that I received for the sole purpose of reviewing! But only the things I like! Yes! You’ll see the crap I didn’t like on your birthday. Wrapped in newspaper.

Games from Hasbro: True story, until a few months ago we had a version of Chutes and Ladders that featured Dora the Explorer. The kids loved it and then subsequently broke it through a series of high kicks. We never had a version of Operation, but the neighbors did and the kids called it Surgery and it was good.

Enter the good people at Hasbro. They sent me two (2) games to review, a Toy Story 3 (and here’s my thought-provoking review of the film, free of charge) version of Chutes and Ladders and an Operation game that features Shrek. Needless to say, they’re a big hit.

The ladders go up, the chutes go down and everyone has a friend in me.  Also, Shrek has eaten things that would make the dog blush.

Please note, while I did not receive it there is also a Toy Story 3 edition of Connect 4, which can only mean one thing: sequel!

Okay, this is the part where you’re going to think I’m just angling for Hasbro to send me their entire Star Wars line (which would be awesome), but it’s the truth. Can you handle the truth? My kids freaking love these games, and here’s the weird part, we play them together as a family and we all have fun and there is NO TELEVISION REQUIRED, but sometimes we keep it on to watch the Daily Show.

Take that, video games and sexting!

And now for something completely different.

Man-bathing from Dove: No, they didn’t send me an actual man bathing, rather they inspired me to be one. Dove sent me a collection of their new (and first!) product line made exclusively for men: MEN+CARE.  To be clear, this is for men only, and if my wife is reading this she should consider herself warned. MEN+CARE has been known to grow hair on test animals. Of course those test animals were hairy men, but still, it could happen.

Perhaps you’re familiar with their “Wakey, Wakey” ad. Please note, there is no implication whatsoever that “wakey, wakey” should be followed by “hands off snaky.” You see, Dove is trying to market to men, not break them.

The items sent to me include the Active Clean shower tool, which is dual sided in case you’re entertaining, or even if you’re kind of boring. This isn’t your wife’s shower tool.  Insert crude joke here.

They also sent me Body and Face Wash as well as the Body and Face Bar. If you’re so dense as to have to ask the difference between the two, the wash has MICRO MOISTURE, duh. How the hell did you read this far? I swear.

The point is, the MEN+CARE line is made for men and it cleans deep and smells good. For the first time in years I can walk out of the shower not smelling like caramel butter and coconut mango. The guys in the locker room are ecstatic.

In fact, I just used it. Lean in and take a whiff. That’s man clean, baby.

And so, four hours into this post and I still have items left to discuss.  I think that I’ve guaranteed the return of the Wednesday Review! Or maybe not.  I like to keep you on your toes (and reaching for the stars).

Thanks for playing.

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