21st Century Dad
One Dad's Thoughts, Ideas, and Feelings.
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News, Notes, Links for 1 March 2009

March 1st, 2009 . by 21st Century Dad

Mom and dad bloggers can get away with disappearing for weeks at a time. I’m anxiously awaiting updates from some of my favorite moms and dads in the blogosphere. Where are you?!?!?!

21st Century Dad is moving in a new direction which is following the course correction my life has taken. I will continue to write about topics of interest to all dads in addition to garnering fellowship with divorced and separated dads. An article about time management is coming up very soon. I didn’t want to spring that on you in the midst of the CTRL-ALT-DEL stuff without an introduction.

Seitan Worshiper

Seitan Philly Cheesesteak

Seitan steak'n'cheese sandwich

As some of you know, I’ve been exploring vegetarianism and veganism lately. I made my own seitan for the first time last night. It’s incredibly fun and easy to make. An investment of just under $4 yields 3 pounds. How much meat can you buy for $4, or what kind of meat is available for $1.33/pound?

Seitan allows me to enjoy the gooey goodness of a “steak” and cheese sandwich. Thanks to Vegan Dad for the recipe.

My experimentation with tofu and now seitan will keep me busy in the kitchen for a long time. My mind is already racing with the possibilities.

Dad Blogs

Dad Blogs

My philosophy is to put more effort into fewer social media sites than spread myself too thin. You can stay very busy just working Facebook. Despite this, Dad Blogs has earned a bookmark in my browser.

As a social networking site, it has all the features you would want to use. My favorite feature of Dad Blogs is the Instant Chat. It’s like having our own private little Twitter.

Joe Schatz (you may know him as Joeprah) and Pete Janelle created this social networking site for dads and dad bloggers. It’s not a total sausage-fest. A few super-cool moms move the male/female ratio closer to that of any college with the word “Polytechnic” in its name.

You don’t need to have a blog to join.

New Friends

And now for some overdue link love. You may notice some of these as recent additions to the blogroll.

Money Smart Marriage – JW shares his insights on personal finance from a family point of view. Lots of good stuff here. Frugal date ideas aren’t just for husbands and wives. Dads paying child support feel the pinch too.

Open seven days a week. Closed Sundays. – Generation-X Christian woman, and a single mother of a wonderful little princess. I love her sense of humor. “I’m going to live forever or die trying!!!” HAHAHAH.  She also knows about proper care and maintenance of automobiles.

Savvy Stepmom – I thought back to when I was 24 and all the 24 year olds I’ve known since. Few are as savvy with money or as resourceful. This woman drives a car that doesn’t have a functioning reverse gear and gets by just fine.

The Broward County Transit Diet

Broward County Transit - Clean Air Hybrid

Clean Air Hybrid

The popular perception in South Florida is that a car is a necessity. I’ve been doing OK with the bus and my bike. I take full advantage of Google Maps and Google Transit to plan my outings. One day, I ran errands all day and made it to a 7pm movie downtown, all without a car. I’ve lost 10 pounds after losing 3000 lbs back in July. The crunchy green part of my heart sings whenever I see the “Clean Air Hybrid” buses that BCT operates. Their buses run on a biodiesel too.

The increased physical activity has also helped my overall mood too. I don’t want to think about where I’d be without exercise, good nutrition, and medication.

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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Downsizing to 1 Car

September 10th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Illustration: Elliott Kim

One month ago, we made a family decision to downsize to one vehicle. We took inventory of our needs and our expenses, and it made sense to get rid of one car. I am glad to be free of life’s most inconvenient convenience.

We’re not disadvantaged with the lack of one car due to our circumstances. One parent stays at home with the baby and home-schools the older child. I’ve learned how to use public transit and I ride my bike whenever I can.

The prevailing attitude in South Florida is that a car is a necessity. The lack of a car would be a hindrance. I have not felt that hindrance. Did I miss the meeting? Did I not get that email? I’m supposed to feel stuck! Why has an overwhelming sense of liberation come over me?

  • I’m not a believer in multi-tasking, but this is as close as it gets. I’m getting recreation, exercise, and transportation at the same time.
  • Riding the bus gives me opportunities unavailable to me if I’m driving. Try reading or watching a video podcast while driving. Oh wait, this is South Florida. I wouldn’t be surprised if people did just that.
  • Riding the bus insulates me from the bad drivers. Everyone thinks the drivers in their city are the worst. South Florida drivers really are among the worst in the nation.
  • Riding my bike is a much more intimate interaction with the aforementioned bad drivers. I choose my bike routes accordingly. I’ve discovered some great scenery because I’ve had to find alternates to major thoroughfares.
  • I eliminated $600 of monthly expenditures.

My current work situation allows me to carpool with a friend of mine. Beer is cheaper than gas now, so I buy him a 12-pack once a week, and I even get to drink 2 or 3 of them.

Sarah Palin is keeping all you fact checkers very busy, so I’m going to save you some time. A 12-pack of Heineken works out to be about $9.70/gallon. Okay, so in Europe, I’d be right. However, the amount of gas I’d burn in one week commuting costs significantly more than the beer used to fuel our friendship.

The point is, (I find myself saying this a LOT to the resident teenager) there are alternatives to the automobile. My bitter and contested divorce from conventional wisdom has allowed me to explore the options I am currently using.

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Teaching Teens How To Use Public Transit

May 12th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Riding The BusPublic transit provides relief from high gas prices. It also gives mom and dad’s taxi service a break. I’ve always lobbied for Au-Teen to learn how to ride the bus, and now he’s on board.

The usual response was a look of indifference. This is the default smokescreen for adolescent insecurities. What he doesn’t understand is, I’m not here to exploit the insecurities for a cheap ego boost. My goal is to help him overcome them. He doesn’t always like my methods. Depending on the circumstances, I have R. Lee Ermey, Wayne Dyer, Mr. Miyagi, or any combination of the 3 rain down on his ass.

Learning how to read the route map and timetables would address some developmental needs. An understanding of time is one of those needs. I thought I had the perfect package to wrap this lesson in.

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21 Days And Counting on the Same Tank of Gas

May 6th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Public TransitThe last time I filled up my tank was April 15th. It was so long ago, I had to dig in my bank statement to find out. I spent $37.02. That tank of gas would cost me $43 $45 today. That’s why I have been riding my bike and using public transit.

I admit, my results are skewed. I was without the full-time employment portion of my income strategy for 2 weeks. My current gig gets me out the door at a reasonable hour and guarantees that I can leave work promptly at the “official” end of office hours.

I’m pretty handy with the most of the Adobe Creative Suite (hint hint hint to anyone looking for freelance graphic designers). PDFs of the bus timetables and maps can be easily sliced up, organized in iPhoto, and imported to my iPod. An essential piece of public transit warrior gear can become even more useful.

Reducing one’s reliance on an expensive resource is always a smart move. Commuting by car would represent a monthly fuel cost of $64. That’s not inclusive of the total cost of driving or the personal driving that I do. I am clearly coming out ahead by riding the bus. Reducing my gas consumption to 1 tank of gas per month is a realistic goal. Taking the bus to work costs me $40/month.

Driving less also translates into higher resale or trade-in value on my car when it’s time to phase it out.

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