Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

4 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

Dear Jack,

Had you ever told me, “Daddy, I want to ride in a real monster truck,” I have a feeling I would have searched the entire state of Tennessee and the 8 other states it borders; only to possibly find some outrageously priced, yet tame version of riding in a monster truck.

Fortunately, this past weekend while “ridin’ low in that Corolla”, we just happened to stumble into a perfect situation.

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

While ironically attending the Spring Hill Ham Festival (I say ironically since you’re a vegetarian and I’m a vegan), we saw a sign for monster truck rides; only $5 per person.

(Plus, it was free admission and free parking!)

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

It was misting, overcast, and late in the day. There was no line and we were the only riders on that trip.

This video I made shows not only what it was like inside the monster truck, Predator, but also outside of it as well.

Seriously, this was no tame ride. Plus, we chose the best seats in the truck; right there at the edge of the bed.

I would have been terrified at your age to do something so intense.

You only showed one quick look of concern, at first; to be following by smiles and laughing for the rest of the ride.

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

Needless to say, we had a great time; in what might turn out to be a once in a lifetime experience.

And again, amazingly- it was just 10 bucks total for the 2 of us to ride!

While we were there, you also enjoyed climbing up and sliding down the “jumpy houses,” as well as getting to visit the petting zoo… or farm, I guess I should say.

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

You also asked to play one of the games.

Basically, you spun a big wheel in which all but 3 of the options were literally labeled “Free Pixy Stick,” while the remaining 3 were simply left blank.

Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

Going to the Spring Hill Ham Festival was such a great experience for us as father and son!

Lesson learned: Even if you don’t eat ham, go to the Ham Festival if you get the chance!



Dear Jack: We Rode in a Real Monster Truck at the Spring Hill Ham Festival!

People Finally Stopped Asking If We’re Going to Have Another Kid

People Finally Stopped Asking If We’re Going to Have Another Kid

The first question was, “When you are two going to get married?

Then, “When are you going to have a baby?”

After that, “When are you going to have another one?”

From the time our son was about 1 year-old, until he was about 3 and a half, that last question was in heavy rotation.

So then, being the family friendly daddy blogger that I am, I began addressing the fact that my wife and I could easily be the couple that only has one child.

The reality of the two of us working full time in a major city got in the way of the concept of us having many as 4 kids; something we had at one point talked about, years ago.

So I began explaining here on my blog that the two of us could truly be happy with just one child; even if that wasn’t normal.

However, my wife and I mutually realized recently, “It’s been a long time since anyone has asked us if we’re going to have another kid.”

Our son will turn 5 years-old next month. By this point, people have stopped even wondering if we will “have another one.”

(That’s a funny phrase to me; “have another one.” I think of those Russian nesting dolls, called Matryoshka dolls.)

Of course, I never said we wouldn’t have another child. I simply made it clear we would be happy and content with just one; if that’s how things ended up.

I guess to a lot of people that comes across as, “We’re not having any more kids.”

On the contrary, I’ve mentioned a couple of times already this year here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog that we’ve never been more open to the idea of expanding our family, as I prefer to say it; than we are now that we are financially settled and moved into our new house.

But still, people gave up and stop bothering to ask. After all, having over 5 years in between kids is a lot of time.

It all comes down to us, the parents, being ready on all fronts; plus, being physically able to conceive a child.

Most families can have kids 2 or 3 years apart, and that works for them, culturally: Having 2 in diapers at the same time.

Culturally, for our family, especially at this point, having a Kindergartner and an infant sounds more our speed… if that’s how things ended up.

Dear Jack: Webisode 21 of Jack-Man, “Vegan Bear Scare”

4 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack: Webisode 21 of Jack-Man, “Vegan Bear Scare”

Dear Jack,

We attempted to film webisodes 21 and 22 of Jack-Man on Saturday morning… but the cold, the light rain, and the realized need for a 3rd person to serve as cameraman and props holder got in the way of that.

Fortunately, your Pre-K teacher Ms. Aimee heard about what was going on and saved the day.

She came over on Sunday, when the weather was slightly better, and we filmed both webisodes back to back. There’s no way we could have done this without Ms. Aimee’s help:

In “Vegan Bear Scare”, we introduced the new character, Vegan Bear. Originally, I intended for him to be a gorilla, but the suit was too expensive.

By default, this is our Halloween episode, as I admit: Vegan Bear is by far the creepiest villain Jack-Man has ever encountered.

The theme song to Jack-Man states this about the series:

“Jack-Man knows just where to hit ‘em, when it comes to creepy villains.

He packs a punch and eats a healthy lunch.”

Perhaps this webisode capitalizes on that concept more than ever, with such a creepy villain and such a focus on healthy eating.

Vegan Bear explains where vegans get their protein and nutrients, from 6 sources:

Veggies, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.

Ultimately, “Vegan Bear Scare” is technically the 1st half of the story; as Webisode 22, “Tin Roof Rusted,” will immediately pick up where Webisode 21 left off.

But I decided to release them as 2 separate webisodes because of their unique content.

Here’s a piece of trivia about “Vegan Bear Scare”: it’s the only other webisode, besides Webisode 2, that doesn’t feature Green Meanie.

That’s in part because I wanted all the “villain focus” to be on Vegan Bear, not Green Meanie. The other reason is because Green Meanie shows up on the 2nd half of the story line, in Webisode 22.

I think “Vegan Bear Scare” turned out to be very exciting. However, the next one coming up, “Tin Roof Rusted” is… simply epic.



Dear Jack: Between Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”

4 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack: Between Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It"

Dear Jack,

In the past week, I have introduced you to two ideologically opposing pieces of legendary American entertainment:

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and the 1984 music video for Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.

It all started last Friday when you asked me to watch “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” on YouTube. You sat on my lap and we watched the 2 minute video.

I don’t know how, but the thumbnail for Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” popped up as a related video.

Despite their band’s appearance and style of music, this music video is actually clean. It’s technically less violent than the Power Rangers, as the antagonistic dad in the video willingly falls out of the window multiple times as the Twisted Sister bandmates simply walk towards him.

We’ve now watched it several times and we love the humor in it.

Over the weekend, we had dinner at your friend Isaac’s house. You and Isaac were so independent of your parents that you were in the playroom for about an hour and we barely heard anything out of either of you.

As dinner time approached, I made my way upstairs to the playroom to see you guys jumping and dancing around to the tunes of a lullaby machine.

Specifically, you two were spinning around with your arms out like the boy in the video as he transforms in the lead singer.

Isaac, who is 2 years younger than you, was learning this move from you.

Then, last night as our family was decided what we’d watch together before your bedtime, I suggested we try out Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Though it’s a staple for every ’80s kid’s childhood, I had never seen it until last night.

You were so happy when you realized you knew all the songs; as well as seeing Daniel Tiger in his younger days. (The episode we watched was from 1981; the year Mommy and me were born.)

This morning as I was getting ready, you chose to watch another episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

You expressed to me, “Daddy, I thought show was for grown-ups, but I like it!”

Yes, Mr. Rogers and Twisted Sister, in the same week.



There is No Cure for Male Baldness or a Receding Hairline

There is No Cure for Male Baldness or a Receding Hairline

There are companies lining up to take your money right now to “cure” your thinning hair and receding hairline. They are simply playing on your emotions as they are willing to sell you the idea of hope.

But first, think about this…

If there truly was a cure for male baldness, A) we would already know about it and wouldn’t be having this conversation, and B) there would no longer be a huge demand for the cure for male baldness.

However, my years of blogging and months of YouTubing have taught me this: Put the phrase “receding hairline” into the title, then watch the traffic come steadily and consistently.

So if I know that as a blogger and vlogger, just imagine how aware companies must be aware of the fact that millions of men across the world are, to some degree, preoccupied with the fact they didn’t win the gene lottery like John Stamos.

Instead of an actual cure, you have the option of dousing your head in chemicals that will, if you’re lucky, most keep you from losing your hair… as long as you use it.

Or you can pay thousands to have a surgery done, which often leaves scars on the back of your head. Even if it doesn’t, the older you get, the more hair you’re going to lose.

Then you end up being a 50 year-old man with unnatural looking patches of hair on your head.

It’s a desperate attempt to try to fight the inevitable: Most men on planet Earth lose their hair as they get older.

As I’ve mentioned before, the problem isn’t that most of us men gradually lose our hair as we get older.

The actual problem is that we perceive this to be an issue that actually affects our lives. It doesn’t.

Whether I still had the same hairline I did at age 17, or whether I had no option but to “go full Jason Statham”, I can’t see how my life would be any different.

Yes, I am married to a beautiful woman.

But the thing is, my looks were the last thing she noticed when we met and fell in love.

As men, we allow ourselves to believe that women are attracted to men the same way we are attracted to them.

However, it’s not our looks that they notice first.

They are looking for things like confidence, kindness, humor, creativity, and the ability to financially provide. Way down the list is your looks. And your hairline isn’t even at the top of the “looks” list itself.

If anything, a full head of hair affects your confidence, and that abundance of confidence itself makes us seem more interesting and attractive and successful.

But just as easily, you could be a confident man with the right haircut to compliment your receding hairline (that probably no one will even notice anyway) or you could be a guy who buzzes your head with a #1 or #2 guard.

So, back the beginning. Are you going to let people take your money in an attempt to “cure” your thinning hair and receding hairline?

Instead, I suggest your take my words to heart.

Your hair is only a big deal to you; not others.

In other words…

It’s all in your head, it’s not on it.

And anyone who would ever bring up the fact your hair isn’t as full and thick as Don Henley’s or Ronald Reagan’s obviously is insecure themselves; if they must focus on something so petty and insignificant.

Thanks for reading my blog. I will close by sharing some other relevant videos I have made on the subject.

Take This Parenting Survey for a Chance to Win a Money Gift Card, from Clark University

Take This Parenting Survey for a Chance to Win a Gift Card, from Clark University

There are currently four $50 gift cards, one $100 gift card, and one $200 gift card up for grabs, as undergraduate Kayla Landis at Clark University is currently working on her senior thesis which focuses on how other people, namely parents and adults, perceive parents whose children behave disruptively in public.

The study also addresses some topics such as childhood mental illness and disability.

Kayla has asked me to utilize my reach as a blogger to help her find parents who would be willing to take this online survey, in exchange for a chance to win one of these previously mentioned gift cards.

Winners of the raffle will be drawn after data collection has been completed. The tentative date for this is October 21st.

Kayla had stumbled upon Family Friendly Daddy Blog when she was searching for parenting blogs, particularly blogs written by fathers, as this is a demographic that she needs more participants from.

She told me she was struck by some of the posts on the site, including the “Dear Jack” segments and the conversations about identifying as a particular race/knowing how to identify yourself. This just stuck out to Kayla and she thought that perhaps someone who blogged about interesting topics like these might be interested in promoting herstudy.

Kayla found that when blog sites promote the survey on social media, she tends to get a lot of participant responses.

So, if you’re interested, click on this link below. If you complete the survey, you stand a chance of winning a gift card; plus, you’re helping out an undergraduate.

This is a study being conducted by Kayla Landis, an undergraduate student who is doing research with her adviser, Dr. Nicole Overstreet, in the Psychology Department at Clark University. This study focuses on how parents perceive other parents whose children behave disruptively in public spaces; mental illness and childhood disability are also addressed. The study should take no more than 30 minutes to complete. All participant responses will remain anonymous; however, participants may choose to provide their email address at the end of the study if they wish to be entered in a raffle for one of several Visa gift cards.  All email addresses will remain confidential.

The Perfect Men’s Hairstyle for a Receding Hairline/Video and Pictures

The Perfect Men’s Hairstyle for a Receding Hairline/Video and Pictures

I’ve poured dozens of hours of my time into my YouTube videos, but none of them compare to as this one:

It’s constantly getting new views as well as grateful and positive comments.

Yet I’ve never actually watched it myself! I just lazily made it one night before I even had video editing software.

So I figured if that many men are searching all day long to learn more about having to manage their receding hairline, maybe I should start making more videos and writing more blog posts about it.

Granted, my hairline isn’t too bad for a 34 year-old.

Plus, as I mentioned in a follow up video, men typically put too much pressure on themselves once they realize their hair is thinning and/or receding; since in reality, they’re aren’t really being judged on that aspects by others.

But, as I explained in my original video, I know certain techniques to “downplay” the fact my hairline isn’t quite what it was at age 17.

For example, I never comb by hair straight up or straight down.

I also never keep it at that awkward quarter of an inch length, as it reveals how much my hair has thinned on top. If I buzz my hair all over, I do either a #1 or #2 guard; never a #3 or #4.

Also, I always keep my hair a #2 on the sides and back (unless I buzz it with a #1 all over, obviously), which better proportions that fact my forehead is a little bigger now and that my hair is a little bit thinner on top.

It’s taken me 34 years to finally discover the perfect hairstyle for myself. My hope is that I can help other men in the process.

If you Google “men’s hairstyles”, you’re much more likely to come across pictures of trendy, counter-cultural, and/or high maintenance hairstyles that most average dudes like me cannot appreciate.

So I’m going to help you out. Just go to your barber and pull up this blog post, with the video I made below, and show it to whoever is about it cut your hair.

But first, here is why I feel this is the perfect men’s hairstyle for a receding hairline: A) low maintenance, B) masculine, C) aesthetically appealing.

All you need is a $2 can of Maury’s pomade and about 20 seconds each morning, and you’re good for the rest of the day with this haircut.

It’s short enough to where the wind can’t blow it out of place.

So here it is; give this below info to your barber, and/or pull up this video on your phone:

  1. Leave about an inch and a half on top. In the event your hair is beginning to thin on top like mine, this leaves enough hair to expose that fact.

  2. Fade it with the clippers from a #4 down to a #2 on the sides and back. Do a “lower fade” in the back further down the back of your head; as opposed to the style where the fade begins immediately below the crown.

  3. Let the fade begin higher up on your crown, so that the fade from your 1.5 inch hair to the #4 actually begins on top of your head instead of the side. That helps prevent your hair from “fanning out” to an annoying diamond shape on the sides. It also places the bulk on your longer hair in the middle and front of your head, giving your hair a fuller look without the high maintenance of hair at the back of your head.

  4. Texturize the hair on top; which helps give it the appearance of more body.

  5. Cut your sideburns halfway down the year; it gives just enough of a stylistic edge without looking like you’re a washed out wannabe rock star.

  6. Trim the eyebrows and hairline on the sides with clippers.

  7. After washing the hair, immediately dry it with a towel, then dip your pointer and middle finger into a can of Murray’s pomade. Apply a pea sized amount on to the middle of your hairline first, then use the rest the remainder to the hair on top.

If I did I decent job of describing this, and you did a decent job of showing your barber your smart phone so they could see these pictures and the video, and you had them read those 7 steps, your hair should look something like a masculine, post rock star, post military, Millennial businessman. Or maybe it’s sort of like a much shorter version of rapper Macklemore’s hairstyle.

Let me know if you have any questions. I’m here to help!

I’ll close with this other video I made about how I fix my hair in the morning: