Dear Holly: You Love to Perform Concerts, Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

2 years, 4 months.

Dear Holly,

For a solid three weeks now, you have been filling any quiet space with an eternal loop of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Because it happens to have the same exact melody as “The ABC Song”, you often interchange the lyrics.

Not to mention, you pronounce “twinkle” as twunkle.

You weren’t shy one bit when I decided to press record on my camera, so I could show Mommy your performance, once she got back from the grocery store.

Perhaps this is the beginning of your singing career…

Love,

Daddy

 

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Behind the Music: My New Original Song about Emotional Intelligence, “Maybe It’s a Dream” by Nick Shell

It might be easy to forget at this point in my life, but when I moved to Nashville back on September 11th, 2005, it was because I wanted to build a career in music; as I have been singing, writing songs, and playing the guitar for over two decades.

However, my focus changed about a year and a half after I moved to Nashville, when I met my wife. Two kids and a decade later, the music thing has been on hiatus.

But this week, I decided to finally record a song I’ve been working on for four years.

It’s called “Maybe It’s a Dream”. The song is about the journey of emotionally intelligence; what it’s like living in the paradox of now understanding how it’s a conscious decision to realize that other people only affect my emotions if I give them permission; and that once I began taking control over that part of my life and I unplugged from that master of puppets system, it made me feel both more alive, yet more isolated from the world.

When I started writing the song, I was 32 years old; I just beginning to learn about emotional intelligence. Now, less than a month away from turning 37, I feel like I am becoming on expert on focusing on what I can control, not on what I can not: including other people.

The opening line of the song, “I am a skeleton with meat on my bones”, is my way of acknowledging the ability to separate others’ perception of who they think I am, versus my own perception of who I think I am. In reality, my identity is somewhere in between.

Later on in the song, I admit, “My perspective of reality will die with me.”

We live in somewhat of an illusion of who we think we are, and we struggle to not worry about what other people think about us; yet in reality, how others collectively perceive us ultimately is part of who we actually are.

So it’s even more groundbreaking of a concept when a person chooses to control their own emotions exclusively; not giving permission to others to “hurt” their feelings or offend them.

This leads to a sense of a confused state of being for a guy like me: “Maybe it’s a dream. Is this even real?”

In other words, if I can control so much of my life now that I understand only I control the breaker switch of my own emotions, life starts to feel a little bit like I’m part of some grand scheme of a social experiment. Maybe this is my version of The Truman Show.

I hope you enjoy my song and I hope you can personally relate to it in some way. It is truly an extension of my identity. To understand who I am (or at least who I think I am) is to understand this song.

Kids’ Show: Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest- Webisodes 7-11

Kids’ Show: Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest- Webisodes 7-11

In my free time this past weekend, I was editing and publishing the newest 5 webisodes of my kids’ show. That wraps up the total of 8 of them that I filmed over Christmas weekend with my dad and brother-in-law.

Now with nearly a dozen webisodes, I feel I have enough collection of material to submit to the major networks, as I mentioned previously.

After watching the finished product with my son this weekend, I am confident that children will really be engaged by Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. At this point, it’s just a matter of being able to expose kids to my show.

Here’s an overview of what this newest batch of webisodes is about:

Webisode 7: Paulie the Puppy– When Uncle Nick decides to hike a new trail, it leads him to an empty old building and a mysterious barking sound.

Webisode 8: Pokey the Pot-Bellied Pig– Uncle Nick must figure out a way to cross the river to save the little pot-bellied pig who is stuck on the other side.

Webisode 9: Ralph the Red Panda– While hiking later in the evening, Uncle Nick discovers a rare animal as it begins getting dark outside.

Webisode 10: Slither the Snake– Freddie the Fox gets trapped by a hungry snake at the top of a large rock. It’s Uncle Nick to the rescue!

Webisode 11: Barry the Bear– When a scary-looking bear is soon in the Enchanted Forest, Uncle Nick decides to investigate; leading to a lesson about not judging a bear by his cover.

Barry the Bear was first introduced 4 months ago in my other series, Jack-Man:

There are elements in Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest that are unique to the field of children’s entertainment. In the likeness of a real uncle, I begin each show by trying to guess what color the viewer is thinking of, which is by default educational.

Next, I engage their curiosity by introducing them to a different, old trinket of mine. In other words, each webisode is infused with a touch of ongoing mystery.

Before heading outside for the adventure segment, I sing a few catchy (original) jingles to get the viewers excited about going outside in the cold.

Thanks for supporting Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. My plan is to film at least 11 more webisodes; some of which will feature both the back story of Barry the Bear, as well as his adaptation as a newcomer to the forest.

I Write Jingles for Toyota (Along with Philips Norelco & Monterey Bay Aquarium)

It’s true. I do indeed write jingles for Toyota.

I Write Jingles for Toyota

Perhaps my inspiration is Phoebe Buffay of Friends when her song “Smelly Cat” was bought out by a major cat food brand.

In the age of YouTube, what can stop me from using my own time and talent to write and record jingles for free, and then promote them on my blog and YouTube channel?

Who knows, maybe I can eventually become a jingle writer full time? I’m making a habit of self-appointing myself as “jingle writer” for Toyota, as well as other brands.

I’ll show you what I mean…

Three weeks ago, our family was sent a 2015 Toyota Corolla to review here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog. One of the things I decided to do with it was to shoot a “homemade commercial”.

So I wrote “Down Low in a Corolla”:

Can’t ya see that we’re Corollin’?

Down low in a Corolla

Gotta keep that family flowin’

Down low in a Corolla

Can you keep up with us?

We’re no Kardashians

But we can lay it down if you can pick it up

Jammin’ to grooves of Walk the Moon

Kids’ car seat in the back

Before that, I recently wrote “Family in a Camry” while we reviewed the 2015 Toyota Camry:

I got my family in a Camry

And we’re happy campers trippin’ to your town

Here we go!

This same video also features the jingle I wrote for Monterey Bay Aquarium:

Hey, hey! It’s Monterey Bay Aquarium

Hey, hey! It’s an underwater adventure

I immediately afterwards wrote a jingle for the 2015 Toyota Avalon:

Come along, in an Avalon, we’re gonna make it great!

In July, Scion (which is part of the Toyota family) sent me to Grand Rapids, Michigan to check out their new Scion iM and IA. Here’s that jingle:

I’ve got my eye on Scion

Try on Scion

Experience what Millennials already know

The first Toyota jingle I wrote was back in May, when my son and I made a homemade commercial for the Toyota Sienna, which doubled as a trailer for our Jack-Man series.

Jack-Man rides in a Toyota Sienna minivan

His getaway car is driven by his dad

I also wrote a jingle for Philips Norelco:

In your face, 9700

In your face, you’ll be glad you found it

It cleans itself like a smart razor should

The percentage display shows the charge is still good

In your face, Philips Norelco

In your face!

We’ll see where this takes me. I enjoy writing and recording jingles for companies, for fun and for free.

You never know when it may get the right person’s attention.

I Write Jingles for Toyota

dad from day one: The Due Date

Forty weeks.

Don’t ask me how, but all week my wife and I have had the theme song to the ‘80’s sitcom Mr. Belvedere stuck in our heads.  In the mindset of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”, we downloaded the song as our ringtones for when we call each other.  That has caused me to revisit some of my most favorite theme songs from these sitcoms that served as the backdrop of my childhood.  A very interesting trait that many of these TV shows had in common with each other (and accordingly, the lyrics to their theme songs) is that premise was that an outsider moved into the household, therefore throwing normalcy out of whack.  Which totally relates to what’s going through my head right now about our upcoming new addition, a baby boy. (In order to qualify, the sitcom had to actually start in the 1980’s; Diff’rent Strokes, Mork and Mindy, and The Facts of Life don’t qualify since since they premiered in the ’70’s.)

For example, here’s a sitcom that had it all, yet could have only existed in the 1980’s: An all-American family, laugh tracks, and an Alien puppet. Of course, I’m referring to Alf. While the song had no words (instead it sounded like what would happen if you pressed the “demo” button on a $200 Casio keyboard in 1988), the thought of a little creature running around the floor chasing cats loosely translates having a baby boy. For Family Matters, the intended outsider was Estelle Winslow who moved in with her son Carl’s family, though unexpectedly the true outsider instead became Steve Urkle (intended only as a guest star) instead a few episodes into the first season.

In Mr. Belvedere, a British butler moves in with an American family living in Philadelphia: “Sometimes things get turned around and no one’s spared… There’s a change in the status quo.  Preparing for our new arrival.  We might just live the good life yet…”


Another prime example is from one of my favorite sitcoms ever, which happens to have my favorite TV show theme song ever.  In Perfect Strangers, city slicker Larry Appleton is thrown for a curve when his distant cousin Balki moves from his mysterious Mediterranean village to live with Larry in Chicago: “Sometimes the world looks perfect- nothing to rearrange.  Sometimes you just get a feeling that you need some kind of change…”


In Full House, it was  Joey and Uncle Jesse who mixed things up by moving in with the Tanner family: “What ever happened to predictability?”

There was CBS’s version of Diff’rent Strokes: Webster.  As a kid, I actually liked Webster more than Arnold: “Til there was you…”


The next two sitcoms both premiered in 1984 and featured an Italian-American who moved into the household as a “manny”. Who’s the Boss? contains my 2nd favorite theme song ever and often caused me to believe that Tony Danza was my uncle: “You might awaken to a brand new life around the bend…”


Even though I never watched it, I know it was a big deal to a lot of people- Charles in Charge: “New boy in the neighborhood…”


You’re welcome… for being led into a world of nostalgia.  It’s pretty much a fact that you’ll be struggling to get one of those songs out of your head for the rest of the day.  So being such a sentimental guy as I am, I’ve been thinking about the current events that are going on right now.  That way I can tell Jack what was going on around the time he was born:

Interestingly, on November 5th, the movie Due Date hit theatres.  Daylight Savings was two days later; meaning that when it’s that time again to set back the clocks every year, it will almost be time for Jack’s birthday.  Conan O’Brien’s new show premiered this week (November 8th) and sure enough on last night’s episode during the monologue Conan pointed out that it was exactly nine months ago that his gig at The Tonight Show ended; so if because two people felt sad for Conan losing his job they decided to “get frisky” to be happy again, their child would be born this week.  Good call.

It will also be pretty neat that I will be able to show Jack the November 2010 issue of American Baby, in which in his birth was anticipated.  He is not making his debut unannounced; that’s for sure.  Today, November 11th, is not only Jack’s due date but it’s also my dad’s birthday, whose name is also Jack.  So even though he won’t have the same exact birthday as my dad, their birthdays will always be close.

Of all the pregnancy advice I’ve been given, the one thing no one warned me about is this: For first time moms, it’s normal and expected to not delivery until a full week after the due date.  So if you or your wife are approaching your due date, don’t do like I did and get all psyched, thinking the water is going to break at any moment.  Because then everyone is constantly asking for and expecting baby news, but sure enough, the baby is unaware of his due date.  He’s coming out when he’s good and ready.

I have to remind myself that my baby is not a Hot Pocket, with an exact predetermined time of two minutes in the microwave.  In fact, that would be pretty weird if he truly was born right near the due date.  We went to the doctor today.  Thank God, Baby Jack has still got a strong heartbeat and is in a good position.  He’s turned the correct way and everything.  But as far as when he gets here, I’m sure it will be the moment that I (and everyone else) least expects it.  He’s a sneaky little guy.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com




Readers’ Expectations 8: The Biological Chicken, Sweaty Dexter, and Tyler Perry with a Hickey

Sometimes I feel like Dear Abby, except that the questions and comments people type into search engines to get to Scenic Route Snapshots are a bit on the incoherent side.  Here’s the newest batch:

“I haven’t failed; I’ve had 10,000 ideas”- Right.  You’ve had 10,000 bad ideas.  Or another way of looking at it is this: The glass is half full.  Yeah, full of bad ideas!  Zing!  Next…

“biological chicken”- We live in a time where most chickens are no longer biological.  Ever since the Droid Empire took over our planet, most of our food is simply projected figments of our imagination, linked in to the Droid scanners.  Even still, tastes like chicken.

“They’re always sweaty in Dexter”- That’s because the show takes place in Miami.  Similarly, they’re also always sweaty in most reality dating shows on VH1, but that’s for a different reason.

“bacon egg sandwich, grapes, chocolate”- What are you, a ten year-old boy?  Does your mommy know you’re playing on the Internet?  Admittedly, I could see how that could make for mouth-watering breakfast on the right kind of morning.

“beer scripture fellowship”- Jesus and His disciples drank wine.  But that was so like 2,000 years ago.  It’s time for Christian men in Bible studies to switch to beer.  Nothing like reading through Habakkuk with a Heineken in hand, I always say.  Fat Tire and Phillipians, anyone?

“what to do to bad people”- Sarcastic remarks and physical injury only fuel the fire, so I’ve learned from the past.  My new thing is to sincerely pray that they enter into an authentic relationship with Jesus as their Savior.  Then they may end up on my side and fight Satan with their negative vibes.  It’s a win-win.

“how to compliment a classic song”- Man, that’s a tough one.  Just a shot in the dark, but you could try this: “Hey it’s ‘More Than a Feeling’ by Boston…  I love this song!  This song rocks!”  Change the title of the song and the name of the band as needed.

“Can black people get hickeys?”- Good question, but I’ve got a better one: Can black people “get” camping or Monty Python movies?  Even better question: Can white people “get” stomping or Tyler Perry movies?

The Blog Sniper (or, The Classic Case of the Compliment Intertwined with Condescending Criticism)

Um… thanks?

I’m convinced there are certain people in the world who truly can not (or will not) simply compliment another person- they feel they are doing the person a favor by also incorporating some sort of condescending criticism which picks at a minor detail to negate the positive vibes of the compliment itself.  Sort of like the way certain people can not (or will not) truly apologize, by saying something lame like this: “Well if I did something to hurt your feelings I’m sorry…”  That kind of apology translates as “I’m sorry you’re such a baby and sorry that you’re trying to make me look like the bad guy.”

Just last week when I published What Not to Say If You Want People to Like You 101, one of the points I touched on was “Knowing How to Actually Compliment Someone”.  Then ironically yesterday a random stranger acted out exactly what I had just mocked a few days before.  Click here (healthnutshell: Ketchup Vs. Mustard) to read a post I wrote which contrasts the types of food that ketchup and mustard are generally paired with.

In case you didn’t click on the link and haven’t read the comment I’m referring to, here it is again: Bahaha… you make a good point, but I doubt that by avoiding ketchup, you have succeeded in eating healthily. XD This is good stuff to know, but I also feel that it is a little fanatical. Thanks for the information, though!”

Here’s a breakdown of that comment:

“Bahaha”- A condescending laugh which translates as “that’s ridiculous”.

“You make a good point.”- An honest compliment.

“But I doubt that by avoiding ketchup, you have succeeded in eating healthily.” – A correction of my quirky lifestyle.  Totally missing the point, since I didn’t write the post in a tone of absolutes: “Because ketchup, in most cases, is paired with unhealthy foods that are either processed or fried.” Throughout the post I downgrade ketchup, yes, but I never say I refuse to eat it or that I don’t ever eat it.  Nor did I say that I am trying to eat healthy by simply avoiding ketchup.  Instead, I said: “So my general rule of thumb is, I stay away from foods that are enhanced by ketchup.”

“XD”- A slang symbol meaning “big smile”, an attempt to lighten the mood back.

“This is good stuff to know…” Another compliment.

“But I also feel it is a little fanatical.” – A call to put me on the defense.  Really?  I’m a fanatic just because I made an observation that typically ketchup is a condiment for less healthy foods, namely processed and fried?

“Thanks for the information…”– A expression of gratefulness.

“…though.”- In other words, “Thanks for the info, despite how laughable most of it was.”

Looking through each line of the comment, it is interesting the way this reader used the pattern “negative, positive, negative, positive…”  In fact, this may be the most perfect example I’ve ever seen of the classic case of the compliment intertwined with criticism.  That takes talent.

I literally laughed out loud when I read the comment.  Because it’s so tacky.  I think, “Make up your mind, either insult me, or compliment me, but don’t do both at the same time.  Commit.”  I totally respect someone’s opinion if they truly disagree with mine and don’t have a subtle motive to undermine my efforts.  But they have to be cool about it.  Etiquette still exists.

Otherwise, like in this case, it just becomes a joke to me.

But it’s evident from that comment that the person probably makes a daily habit of correcting everyone else, likely with a sarcastic tone, in an subconscious effort to feel in control.  Similar to the case of Some People Like Being Offended and/or Taking Advantage…

Be excellent to each other.

This event also reminds me of an excerpt of Christian Lander’s book, Stuff White People Like.  He is explaining that some white people let a little bit of positive feedback go to their heads too easily and that it eventually can get out of hand.  Therefore, he gives this advice to prevent that from happening:

“Do not dole out your praise like pinata candy… it is best to tease them with little bits of praise, balanced with a few barbs: ‘I have to hand it to you for putting KRS-One on that party mix.  I mean, you went with a pretty well-known song, but still, good job'”.

It’s just funny that in the Internet world it’s somehow more acceptable to go around criticizing people for the sake of trying to sound smarter than someone else who was creative enough to invent.  But I guess with the wave of online writers come just as many online critics.  And my guess is that the critics aren’t themselves inventing any original content- just looking to start a sophisticated food fight about ketchup and mustard.

I say let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no”.  And when possible, find ways to truly compliment people, not find perceived fault in their creativity.  There’s not enough of sincere complimenting going on in the world.  Especially when “compliments intertwined with condescending criticism” are so popular.

Sammy sings praises, not pious put-downs.