21st Century Dad
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News, Notes, Links for 11 January 2008

January 11th, 2009 . by 21st Century Dad

New Cell Phone

Sprint was offering a promotional deal so I was able to get an LG Rumor for free! The only string attached is my eternally indentured servitude to Sprint. The QWERTY keyboard is a nice upgrade. It better be. I sold my soul to Sprint once again for it. All it takes to stay connected to social media is the ability to send and receive text messages. Now my capabilities here have been improved dramatically.

My objective here is to maintain my presence on Facebook and Twitter via mobile phone while doing the bus thing. Busy Dad started his blog to pass the time commuting on the LA Metro. FB’ing and Tweeting on the go will free up time for other activities when I am sitting at the computer. Maybe I can update this blog more often. Maybe you can just catch up with me via Facebook and Twitter.

Ring Tones Are For Losers

I want to know why people balk at purchasing songs on iTunes or at Amazon for $0.99 but will pay up to $4 for a ringtone? The Amazon download is DRM-free, can be played at any time, and on any stereo system you have access to. With ringtones, you hear only part of the song out of a crappy little speaker when someone calls or text messages you.

Speak Up on Twitter About Your Woes

Cell phone carriers aren’t known for their top-notch customer service. I complained on Twitter about my recent experiences with Sprint. A Sprint rep on Twitter responded to me immediately and offered to help. I didn’t even have to pull out the big guns – “May I speak with your supervisor.”

More and more companies are on Twitter. They’re looking to keep their good names good by sending their sentinels out after us, er, I mean, they’re listening to us in the places we hang out online.

Alternative Transportation

My ride to work is on paternity leave. Looks like I’m taking the bus all week. I’m glad to have upgraded to mobile web access on my phone

A suburban setting is a tough place to live without a car. The landscape gets really sprawly as you go further west in Broward County. I am at the supermarket 2-3 times a week instead of making one big trip a week. Cargo capacity is limited when you’re on the bike.

Selling stuff on eBay presents a logistical challenge. There’s a limit to the number and overall bulk of packages I can haul at one time to the post office. When I first started selling on eBay 6 years ago, there were times when I chose to ride my bike instead of drive to the post office. I did it once before, so I know I can do it again.

Entre Card Users

I haven’t been active on Entre Card lately. I got a great boost in traffic when the blog was new and I found some great blogs. It’s one of the things I am choosing to let go of in the name of simplifying my life. Some of these bloggers have left Entre Card and some remain.

Without my active participation, I still accumulate credits. I already have a good stash I can give away to other Entre Card users. As I procrastinate on the task of running some sort of blog contest involving Entre Card credits, the credits continue to pile up. Look for some sort of giveaway or contest in the future. If you’ve left Entre Card, leave a comment and let me know what you did with your leftover credits.

The War Against Clutter

Getting the UHaul and taking a pile of books to McKay Used Books was phase 1 in the war on clutter. Phase 2 sees the use of eBay, craigslist, FreeCycle, Goodwill and word of mouth. Phase 3 is bulk trash day. I’m still a long way from reducing my belongings to what will fit inside a medium-sized SUV.

Perhaps foreclosure is like “the bomb” that ends the war. How appropos that I am looking to move to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Much of the work on the Manhattan Project took place in “The Secret City.”

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Happy 4th of July – Random Thoughts and Link Love

July 4th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad
American Flag

UDPATE: I’m on Twitter now. Scroll down and you’ll see the widget in my sidebar. Now I’m Web 1.85!

Summer is in full swing. I was reminded of that in a very blunt manner when the AC unit decided to die. Ed at Pro-Tech Air worked his magic and we have a functioning AC unit once again. Summer in Florida is BRUTAL!

Too Much for Twitter…

…but not enough to write a full-blown blog post about. And now, a Costco sized serving of Tweets? Twits? I dunno. I haven’t signed up yet. Sometimes I feel like I’m Web 1.8 and not fully Web 2.0. BUT, I’ve been online longer than most MySpace users have been alive. That counts for something, right? It makes me an über geek AND a dinosaur. I’m loving life in 2008. I’ve come a long way since my 300 baud modem.

Photos

Have you noticed that some photos I run with posts have photo credits and some don’t? I won’t assume anything. If there is no photo credit, I took it. Unless otherwise noted, all the content here is mine. If I do use someone else’s photo, I obtain it through legitimate means such as istockphoto.com or Flickr’s creative commons section. Please don’t steal images from the web. It’s all fun and games until Getty Images slaps you with a $5,000 fine for each infringement.

New Toilet Seat

The toilet seat in the 1/2 bath downstairs broke and became non-functional. I replaced it with The coolest toilet seat ever.

It features a slow-closing lid and seat, so it doesn’t slam down. The quick-release feature makes cleaning a breeze. I first saw the slow-close and quick release toilet seats at the Villeroy and Boch showroom in Dania Beach, FL. But alas, I cannot afford a Villeroy and Boch toilet right now.

By now, you’re muttering under your breath, “Skip to the end. Say MAN AND WIFE! MAN AND WIFE!” Or at least you’re saying the “skip to the end..” part. I know you’re thinking, “Has he lost his mind? He’s blogging about a toilet seat!”

State of the Blog

Yes, I’m back. Sort of. In order to manage other areas of my life, the blog is taking a less prominent role for now. I still visit my favorite blogs on a regular basis. Which brings me to…

Link Love

Please help Tyler choose a color scheme. The builder of Camelot is rebuilding Building Camelot. That’s a lot of building going on and quite a mouthful. I’m partial to the “under construction” color scheme.

Frugal Dad is on my short list of blogs I “gotta read every freakin’ day!” He really provoked a lot of brain cells into action with his post on Who is Responsible for Your Misery Index? Frugal Dad is also my top referrer among blogs. Thanks!

While we’re still on the frugal thing, Chelle at It Might Be Love gives us some great ideas on free things you can do with someone you love.

JoJo has collected a series of birth stories. Twilli’s birth story is pretty darn cool, but I missed the deadline for submitting it to Buddha Belle.

SurfJedi is a guy I wouldn’t mind hanging out with over a keg couple pints of Guinness. He shares a great recipe for a tri-tip marinade. And yes, one of the ingredients is Guinness.

Down to Earth Mama tells us a tale of suckling from a lion’s teat.

Chris, Dad of Divas, brings us a post about cats. Not only does this look like one of my cats, but the dude also looks like my father-in-law!

Happy Fourth of July.. Or should I say Fart of July?

I have to hand it to Gerry Phillips. He’s one talented guy. To mark this occasion, I bring you his rendition of John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.” He’s on pitch for the most part, sometimes sharp, but more often a little flatulent.

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State of the Blog Address for April 27th, 2008

April 27th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Upward Trend

Special Thanks To…

A combined effort between Frugal Dad, Parent Hacks, and StumbleUpon users helped drive a tremendous traffic surge to my recent post on How to Prepare for a Baby’s Arrival on a Budget. As a result of this one surge, regular daily traffic and RSS subscriptions are on an upward trend.

Geek Mom MashupHeather at Geek Mom Mashup was kind enough to provide a guest post last week. I enjoyed the entire process of asking, receiving, and doing the graphic illustration for it. I also got some fresh eyeballs on me. After moderating a few comments, I realized that I never actually made an official glossary entry (or a glossary for that matter) for “hapa.” A hapa is someone who is of partial Asian descent.

It’s also nice to see some unsolicited links from My Mama Drama and Found Not Lost. Thanks!

A Surge In Posting Frequency

Some of you may have noticed my posting frequency has increased lately. I even had time to help out Renee and write a post over there. 50 hours suddenly opened up in my schedule each week. The full time job turned out to be a temporary thing.

Embracing Journalism

David Hobby, photojournalist turned blogger, was the final boot-to-butt convergence that turned me into a blogger. I’ve become more of a photojournalist than I thought I would. It became obvious to me at the babywearing meeting. I took some photos, but I wish I took more photos and better photos.

I found a great ebook called Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive. It’s actually a great Web 2.0 primer. Journalism 2.0 and Web 2.0 are inextricably linked. Some might argue that they are one. There’s always something to learn. I’m up to about Web 1.76 now. I may never become a full 2.0 since I’m on instant messenger about 4 hours per year.

Download it. It’s totally worth reading if you’re a blogger, or just want to shore up on Web 2.0.

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State of the Blog Address for April 2008

April 6th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Longtime followers of my blog have noticed an ebb and flow in my posting schedule. Part of it can be attributed to taking a full-time job, most of it is due to the ongoing battle with entropy. Entropy sucks.

Fortunately, I am winning, but it’s a hard-fought battle when you are juggling the demands of working full time, maintaining side ventures and being a good dad.

Building a Better Blog

Right now, I do not feel I can post daily. My goal is to post 3 times a week. As I get a handle on better time management practices, the posting frequency will increase. I have more ideas than time right now. On days I do not post, I develop ideas for future posts and stay in touch with my fellow bloggers.

When I started this blog, I made a list of topics I planned to cover. My original intention of being a blog of general interest to fathers today has remained. What I have found is that some of the topics I wanted to cover are being covered so well by other bloggers focused on those areas.

Frugal Dad has been a daily hit ever since I discovered him. Being financially responsible raises the quality of life without falling into the trap of keeping up with the Joneses. Being frugal resonates with my inner MacGyver. I get to rely on ingenuity more than money to meet my needs.

From Mike – Here is the story of a father sharing custody of his two daughters and fighting his way out of debt. I will continue supporting him in any way I can. His heart is in the right place.

Brave New Leaf – The arrival of a baby spawns a green movement in many households. It’s a slow process here, but greener practices are actively being pursued. I ride my bike and use public transit whenever feasible.

Lee Doyle – This is an extreme circumstance. I am constantly encountering good men interested in being good fathers despite divorce or separation and the inequity of the laws surrounding custody and child support. In a bizarre twist, a good friend of mine is being penalized for overpaying child support one month!

Some of the topics I’ve covered include cooking, family photography, work-life balance, care and feeding of infants, and stepchild relations. I also post some personal diary type things. Sound off in the comments and let me know what you like, what you don’t care for, and what you want to see from me in the future.

Building a Better Dad

I started a full-time job after being a full-time work-at-home-dad. As a responsible family member, I have to continue improving on things. In my most recent shift, I improved the amount of money coming in, but I gave up proximity to home.

The ultimate setup would be to earn the money I need while working from home. Pay-per-click ads, donations, and affiliate sales serve that end.

In the mean time, I will keep my ear to the ground for a job opportunity that is a.) closer to home, b.) pays more money, c.) offers more job satisfaction, d.) provides all or some of the above.

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Dad Needs to be Financially Responsible Too

March 4th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad
money
Photo: Valentin Mosichev, iStockphoto.com

A 21st Century Dad must also be in charge of the family finances. I’m not saying it’s a man’s duty specifically, but if it does fall on you, you better be good at it. There’s a lot more on the line than your own well being.

Guys like J.D. at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Dad and Mike over at From Mike focus on personal finance. I enjoy writing about the variety of topics that a father today is interested in.

Where Does Your Money Go?

Years ago, I did a revealing exercise. I tracked every dollar I spent, down to the penny. It wasn’t hard to do. I ended up spending less because it meant having to write it down and tabulate it later. All of a sudden, that one dollar here and there for a soda ended up becoming $40 at the end of the month.

Track your spending for a month. You’ll find there’s a lot of fat you can cut out. You may be shocked at where your money goes. The Starbucks Latte is a favorite target of personal finance gurus. It may or may not be what’s sucking you dry. When you examine your spending, you will certainly find things to cut out.

Plans and Goals

It’s called “personal finance” for a reason. Everyone’s needs are different. Based on your spending analysis and your current needs, you will need to come up with a financial strategy for your family.

  • Do you need to save up to make a down payment on a new home?
  • Do you need to pay off debt?
  • Are you making a nice chunk of money but still living paycheck to paycheck?

Where to Go From Here

We didn’t learn much about personal finance in school. I spent many of my supposedly adult years being ignorant of money matters. My own education about money started with the exercise I described earlier and reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The book taught me a few things. The most important lesson I learned was that I knew very little!

A great place to start is the blogosphere. I let my personal finance education fall off a little bit… and yes, I’m feeling the burn. I’m a little sloppy right now. These bloggers have inspired me to revisit personal finance and tighten things up.

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