Dear Jack: You’ll Be Turning 8 Years Old Next Month!

7 years, 10 months.

Now that it’s October, it occurred to me: You’ll be turning 8 next month!

Just like for your 5th birthday, you have chosen a family road trip to Destin, Florida; instead of a birthday party.

Considering that we’ll be staying for free using hotel points and that Chevy will be sending us a Suburban filled with a full tank of gas, we’ll actually be able to have a pretty amazing road trip cheaper than it would cost to throw you a birthday party around here in Nashville.

I think you’re making a very smart decision. Why have a party when you can have a road trip with the fam?

 

Dear Jack,

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Jack: One Day I Want to Drive Our Family Back Across the Florida Keys

5 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack: One Day I Want to Drive Our Family Back Across the Florida Keys

Dear Jack,

Four years ago this month, two major things happened: 1) Our family became (and has remained) vegetarians. 2)  Our family was recruited by Chevy to drive across the Florida Keys in a Chevy Volt, beginning in Naples.

At the time, you were barely a year old; so while Mommy and I had a wonderful time, you don’t remember it at all.

Now at age 5, you are the age to where I believe you would be able to truly be able to appreciate and remember such a fun trip.

We spent our first night in Naples, which might be my favorite American beach yet. That’s the first time we ever saw dolphins in the wild. We collected seashells that first morning; those shells remain in our home 4 years later.

From there, we drove through the Everglades and then to the Keys.

It was such a dreamlike experience to be literally driving in the middle of the ocean, driving on a series of bridges connecting islands off the Florida coast.

But on both sides of the narrow roads, all we saw was ocean.

And I remember how Chevy put our family up in this really cool, historic house. You would love it now!

If our family were to revisit that trip, it wouldn’t simply be better just because you’re older now. There’s also the fact I have better camera equipment, as well as the skills and ability to make more artistic photo collages and well as music-laden videos to put on YouTube… like these two:

I don’t know when we can do this trip again, but at some point, I would love to make it happen.

Our family has made two different trips to Florida this year; back in June to Pensacola, then to Destin for your birthday in November.

My inner Jimmy Buffet is starting to reveal itself; it’s only enhanced because I tend to leave Sirius XM on Channel 24: Margaritaville.

As for now, these few pictures I took from 4 years ago serve as bookmarks of that trip, as well as inspirational images for us to get back to Key West.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: One Day I Want to Drive Our Family Back Across the Florida Keys

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Vehicle Lineup

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Lineup

Next month makes 4 years since my family has been involved with Chevrolet. Back in December 2011, we drove a Chevy Volt from Naples to Key West, Florida. They’ve flown me up to Detroit a few times as well. And this past summer, they let us drive a 2015 Colorado to go see our nephew graduate boot camp in Montgomery, Alabama.

This week Chevy invited me to the Nashville Auto Show, to check out their new 2016 vehicles. I particular enjoyed getting to sit in the 2016 Corvette… but what guy wouldn’t?

I’ll be going there with my son tomorrow so he can see all the cars. But as for today, I had the whole place to myself.

With the way Nashville traffic works, I knew that if I didn’t leave super early, I’d get there fairly late. So I was able to take pictures of the vehicles, in order to share them with anyone out there on the Internet who is such a Chevy fan they wanted to catch a peak of the new line-up.

So here’s your sneak peak:

2016 Corvette

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Lineup

2016 Corvette

2016 Chevy Silverado

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Lineup

2016 Chevy Malibu LT

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Lineup

2016 Chevy Impala 

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Lineup

2016 Chevy Spark

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2016 Chevy Sonic

2016 Corvette

2016 Chevy Volt

2016 Corvette

2016 Chevy Traverse LTZ

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Vehicle Lineup

2016 Chevy Equinox LTZ

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Vehicle Lineup

2016 Chevy Malibu 2.0 Tc12

2016 Chevy Camaro

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Vehicle Lineup

2016 Chevy Colorado

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Vehicle Lineup

2016 Chevy City Express

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Vehicle Lineup

2016 Chevy Tahoe

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Vehicle Lineup

2016 Chevy Silverado

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Vehicle Lineup

2016 Chevy Suburban

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Vehicle Lineup

Thanks for taking a look at all these pictures I took of the 2016 Chevy lineup. Time (and statistics) will tell whether a post like this does well.

I just thought it might be a decent place for car enthusiasts to be able to catch some glimpses of the new Chevy lineup all in one place.

After seeing the City Express, it makes me sort of wish Chevy would turn this into a family friendly vehicle; kind of like a cross behind a small SUV and an updated minivan. That’s basically what it seems to me anyway; and I like it.

Nashville Auto Show 2015: Pictures of the 2016 Chevrolet Lineup

Dear Jack: Green Meanie’s Protein Conspiracy

4 years, 8 months. 

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

Dear Jack,

As of today, you are officially 4 years and 8 months old. At this point, you’re basically 5 as far as I’m concerned. But it’s not official until we’re celebrating in Destin, Florida; as we plan to do for your actual 5th birthday… still 4 months away.

This week I finally got to publish, “2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip,” which tells the whole story (with dozens of pictures and several custom videos I made) of us driving down to Montgomery to see your cousin Matt graduate boot camp and to celebrate your cousin Calla’s 4th birthday in Fort Payne, where I’m from.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

(The pictures you see here are taken from that story.)

For the past several weeks, I’ve been sharing our newest Jack-Man webisodes with you in my letters.  (We’ve made 17 Jack-Man webisodes so far!) However, I’ve decided that you and I shall take a break from them for a while.

One reason is simply because it’s so hot outside right now. With my Green Meanie costume, it’s already hot enough, but then to be running around in the sun for an hour or more at a time with you… I say it’s just too much right now.

Another reason we’re taking a Jack-Man break for right now is to test out a theory: that perhaps I can get just as many hits on YouTube by playing as my Green Meanie character to make informative videos, which require much less editing on my part.

For example, each Jack-Man video is about 3 and a half minutes long, but requires at least one hour of editing for each of those minutes.

But I can shoot a Green Meanie video in about 3 minutes and it only takes 20 minutes to edit.

Therefore, I’ve now published 3 of these Green Meanie videos in the past week. First I did one where Green Meanie shares his “Vegan Protein Smoothie” with everyone by demonstrating with a blender.

Then yesterday I made one where Green Meanie explains what he calls “The Protein Conspiracy.” He points out that most Americans believe we are in serious danger of not consuming enough protein, when in reality, we’re consuming too much protein, which leads to cancer and disease.

He goes on to point out that, ironically, most people assume vegans (like Green Meanie) don’t get enough protein. Green Meanie responds by using himself as a living, human experiment.

Since he hasn’t consumed any meat, dairy, or eggs in over 2 years (and no meat a year before that), he in theory should be just skin and bones; lacking so much protein.

Green Meanie then simply explains the 6 sources of his daily protein:

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

So we’ll see how the free market accepts my Green Meanie character’s videos. You never know what might happen as a resort of something so silly yet deliberately educational and entertaining…

Love,

Daddy

P.S.

At the same time, I am very excited that last week, Health & Medicine Magazine reached out to me regarding my “Vegan Life” page here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog.

They have offered me a one-page space in theirmagazine, where I can share my thoughts, recipes, experience, photos and the most popular posts I have.

Health & Medicine Magazine is a high quality healthy lifestyle print publication that will be distributed free of charge for our readers throughout Florida. They wish to inspire many more people to join the healthy life and are working on securing funding via the Kickstarter platform.

In Florida, there are not such healthy free publications. So Health & Medicine Magazine plans to fill that void with their beautiful, quality publication promoting healthy lifestyle (fitness, yoga, healthy food, actual trends in health, nutrition, beauty etc).

Their magazine is completely free of charge to its readers.

Anyone can visit their Kickstarter page to catch a glimpse of what their magazine looks like and is all about: http://kck.st/1SZZqgm

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

Three weeks ago, our family was able to drive a brand-new 2015 Chevy Colorado crew cab from our home near Nashville (TN) to Montgomery (AL) as we supported our nephew Matt graduated Air Force boot camp.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

Though he’s from Sacramento (CA) where my wife is from, Matt’s boot camp was coincidentally assigned in Montgomery, which is in driving distance (about 4 hours) from where we live.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

When Chevrolet found out we were going to be the only family members able to see Matt graduate, as the rest of his family is on the west coast, they jumped at the chance to provide a vehicle to help us make the journey.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

Chevrolet is a big supporter of our military, providing discounts to Active Duty members, reserves, veterans within one year of discharge – including spouses of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard. The discount can be combined with most current incentives. Here’s a link to Chevy’s site for more on their military discount.

I have to point out that the general public was thoroughly impressed by the mere sight of the 2015 Chevy Colorado. During the week I drove it, I had people approaching me asking about it.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

Here’s my walk-around video I made:

When you see the truck in person, it’s hard to look away. And not simply because it was yellow; but because it’s very clear this is a tough truck.

I filmed my son’s and wife’s first reaction to it when I pulled in the driveway. I promise I didn’t prompt them to say anything; I just let the camera roll. Their reactions are completely sincere.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

On the way to our hotel near Maxwell Air Force Base there in Montgomery, we stopped at Mellow Mushroom to have dinner with our son’s good friend, Sophie, who coincidentally moved away last year from Nashville to Montgomery.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

The next morning we attended our nephew Matt’s boot camp graduation. He happened to be at the end of the parade, holding a rifle, next the flag bearers, so I got a good shot of him for my video.

Afterwards, we had some time to hang out there on the base and catch up with him. The Chevy Colorado provided a much needed break from the heat outside, leading up until it was time to eat lunch there at the base.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

But first, Matt gave us a tour of Maxwell, showing us on the jets, which my son was impressed to see.

Eventually, we had to say goodbye to Matt; though we should be seeing him again when we make our annual trip to Sacramento, next month.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

It goes without saying we are more than proud to see Matt began a career that involves serving in our military. He has what it takes!

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

The road trip wasn’t complete without a trip back to my hometown in Fort Payne (AL), on the way back to Nashville.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

Our niece Calla had her 4th birthday party! So to make things even more fun, our family shot a couple Jack-Man webisodes.

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

By the way, Jack-Man is a web series that my son Jack and I do, in which he is the superhero and I am the arch nemesis. For webisodes 14 and 15, the 2015 Chevy Colorado serves as part of the plot device.

So it’s apparent we had a wonderful road trip. We look forward to reviewing more Chevy vehicles in the future!

And now I will close with my video which features the events mentioned above:

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

2015 Chevy Colorado Maxwell Air Force Base Road Trip

2015 Chevy Colorado provided courtesy of Chevrolet for promotional purposes.

Dear Jack: Webisode 14 & 15 of Jack-Man, Featuring 2015 Chevy Colorado

4 years, 7 months.

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Dear Jack,

This past weekend we took a 3 day weekend to Alabama; not only for your cousin Calla’s 4th birthday party, but also to see your cousin Matt graduate Air Force boot camp in Montgomery; while we were there, we also got to hang out with your friend Sophie and her family at Mellow Mushroom.

We were able to drive a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pick-up trick to review.  So I decided to feature it prominently in our newest couple of webisodes of Jack-Man…

In Webisode 14: “Shadetree Mechanic,” Green Meanie tries to sabotage Jack-Man’s chances of going to Super Calla’s 4th birthday party by taking a wrench to the Chevy Colorado.

It features my new song, “How’s It Feel To Be The Bad Guy?” which is the 1st song I’ve ever done that features Mommy singing too:

How’s it feel to be the bad guy?

How’s it feel to be so mean?

When all your best friends are all enemies?

Did you wake up on the wrong side

Of the cot maybe under a rock?

Do you need a hug?

Maybe you should change your approach? Change your approach

And in Webisode 15: “Birthday Party Crashers”, after Green Meanie sneakily hitches a ride in the back of the Chevy Colorado, he meets up with The Juggler (your uncle Andrew), then recruits The Street Sweeper (your Papa) to help crash Super Calla’s 4th birthday party.

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The new song featured in it is “Blow Your House Down.”

I’m gonna blow your house down

Feel my minty breath flowing through your hair

I’m gonna blow your house down

You can call the law but I don’t care

Uh-oh, I want to know what you believe in

Will you believe if you don’t see it?

Like the wind that blows so freely

From my lungs unto your ceiling

Uh-oh, I am not the wind beneath your wings

But I’m the storm with scary lightning

You’re not in Kansas anymore

I am knocking down your door

We also filmed 2 other Jack-Man webisodes as well. I can’t wait to edit them. It takes me at least 3 hours for every Jack-Man webisode I make!

Webisode 16 is about organic, non-GMO produce at Nonna and Papa’s garden, and 17 is a cool chase episode in the woods, leading to a huge rock. I’m really exciting to share them!

I’ll also be writing more about our visit to see your cousin Matt graduate boot camp, after I get a chance to put some videos together for that.

And… this weekend is exciting for Mommy and me because Sunday makes 7 years she and I have been married.

Love,

Daddy

Behind The Scenes Of My Featured Story On FastLane, General Motors’ Webpage

Back during Columbus Day weekend, our family took an adventurous and somewhat whimsical road trip to the glorious city of Asheville, North Carolina.

Sky Top Orchard In Asheville, NC: Family Friendly Review

I published several stories on the event here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog, as we were reviewing a 4G LTE equipped 2014 Buick LaCrosse in the midst of it:

Dear Jack: Your Drawing Of A Freak Wearing A Backpack

The New (and Younger) Buick, Equipped with 4G and OnStar

Syncing To 4G and Using OnStar Remote Link App On GM Vehicles

Dear Jack: There’s Nothin’ Like Riding Through A Tunnel In The Car

Vegan Friendly Review Of Asheville, North Carolina

Our Visit to the Buchi Headquarters And Avonlea Learning Community

Sky Top Orchard In Asheville, NC: Family Friendly Review

Dear Jack: Our Visit To The Ghost And Skeleton Museum

Typically when I review a car, I publish a story that specifically features the vehicle. This time around, though… I didn’t.

Sky Top Orchard In Asheville, NC: Family Friendly Review

That’s because General Motors asked me to write that post exclusively for their website: FastLane.

Therefore, I now invite you to see the story right now:

Nashville to Asheville in an OnStar 4G LTE-Equipped Buick LaCrosse

It is an honor to be featured as a guest writer on General Motors publications page. I’ve mentioned before, I only endorse companies and products I believe in.

Sky Top Orchard In Asheville, NC: Family Friendly Review

In fact, I’ve now turned down several hundreds of dollars to endorse brands I would be ashamed to associate with.

However, I have a lot of respect for General Motors.

Three years ago, I was able to do my very first car review thanks to them, when our family drove the electric Chevy Volt from Naples to Key West. (See 7 Reasons This Dad Wants A Chevy Volt and  My Son The Beach Bum… Not Really!)

They have also flown me to their headquarters in Detroit twice now to see how they make and test their vehicles. (See Rise Of The Dadmobile: The Chevy Traverse and GM Sees Beyond Stereotypes.)

Our Visit to the Buchi Headquarters And Avonlea Learning Center

I especially enjoyed my trip there last year when I visited the OnStar headquarters and was able to see a different, more inspiring side of Detroit; not the side you see on the TV. (See Born And Raise In South Detroit… Or I Just Drove Around There and Say Nice Things About Detroit.)

Not to mention, I have now reviewed several of their vehicles here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog:

2015 Buick LaCrosse (4G Equipped): Labor Day Weekend Family Friendly Review

2014 Cadillac Escalade: Family Friendly Review

2011 Chevy Volt: 7 Reasons This Dad Wants A Chevy Volt

Dear Jack: There’s Nothin’ Like Riding Through A Tunnel In The Car

Regarding my new story on their website, I was able to feature their innovative implementation of 4G LTE on their vehicles.

As always, thanks for reading Family Friendly Daddy Blog; but as for now, let me redirect you to General Motors’ Fast Lane website again:

Nashville to Asheville in an OnStar 4G LTE-Equipped Buick LaCrosse

2015 Buick LaCrosse Asheville,NC