April 01, 2011

Friday Fun (v. 2.1)—Otis & the Zen of Tiny Hats

After a long faux-hiatus, Friday Fun randomly returns as I finally have some interesting sites to recommend. Also, I've decided that I need to get back in the regular blogging groove now that I've settled into the new work gig, and what better way to stretch the fingers for a warm-up post than a good ol' fashioned link dump?

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First off is a great new radio show and podcast, Zen Parenting. Despite my philosophy and religion degree, my lack of kids probably puts me a bit outside the target audience for this show; likely in a different galaxy, to be honest. But, I learned about the show because a couple of months ago, an old college buddy started spamming me every week about the release of each new episode. Eventually, curiosity won out, and I tuned in, only to discover that my college buddy and his lovely wife were the co-hosts! (Perhaps if I'd actually read those emails I might have known this factoid in advance, but who has time when there are so many emails from people who need my help moving their money into the country?).

Each week on Zen Parenting, Todd and Cathy Adams spend roughly a half hour discussing issues and situations they have encountered while raising their three young daughters, using a mix of humor, frank debate, and Todd's Yoda impersonation. Cathy is a sweet, smart lady with degrees in elementary education and social work. Cathy also is a special person to handle Todd and three kids all at once, while keeping a sense of humor. Speaking of Todd, he has already made a guest appearance here at crAAKKer, but a little more background is in order. Todd was a good friend in college, kind of the uber-guy's guy, always into sports, drinking, and flirting with women.* Todd is one of the friendliest and most self-confident guys I know, able to work a room of strangers like they were lifelong friends, never afraid of looking like an idiot if he wanted to do something that seemed potentially entertaining. Although his profile on the Zen Parenting website claims that Todd is a logical guy (which is true), it sells him short of his best quality—his heart. Todd values friendships, and works to keep them strong. He also has helped found and operate a great charity with some of his friends—Santa's Cause, devoted to providing holiday gifts to underprivileged children in the Chicago area. So yeah, great guy. Great radio show. Check it out.

* A classic Todd story occurred over Labor Day 1998 (date approximated by fact that the weekend involved began with an apartment rooftop party that featured Will Smith's Gettin' Jiggy Wit It on heavy rotation in the host's party mix). Santa Claus and I had decided we needed a dose of Todd to liven up our young professional workaholic lives, so we trekked to Chicago. Most of the weekend is a hazy blur; thankfully the statute of limitations has almost certainly run on most any minor infractions we may have committed. Let's just say that on Saturday night, we started with shots while playing bocce ball as a pregame to Todd's challenge for us: "We're going to drink 'til we can't see!"

After getting the whirlwind tour of Todd's favorite Chicago watering holes, and running into several dozen of his friends, we finally found ourselves in a dive bar on Rush Street around 3:00 a.m., doing shots and playing Golden Tee with a friendly guy, who turned out to be a pimp who would take periodic breaks from the game to transact business (not with anyone in our group!). It just didn't seem appropriate (or smart) to complain about how he was holding up the game repeatedly; after all, he was at the office. At bar close, we crammed into a taxi and headed to the infamous Weiner's Circle for Chicago-style hot dogs and cheese fries, served with a healthy dose of rather vulgar verbal abuse (if you haven't been to Chicago, you have to see these videos, or the Showtime or Travel Channel specials, to understand the ... vibe).

In any event, to my handful of lady readers, Todd and Santa are proof that if you find a guy with a good heart, it is entirely possible to train him to be a loving husband and devoted father. However, they will need the occasional weekend with the boys, perhaps even a 40th birthday trip to Vegas (Mrs. Claus, I promise to take good care of Santa!).

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I know I've plugged Otis the Great & Wonderful before (still without question the best blogger in all the Carolinas, and likely throughout the erstwhile Confederacy), but his post earlier this week about a Saturday morning with his son fit right in with the parenting theme o' the week:
We went to Home Depot together and walked among gods on a Saturday morning. They were immortal more-than-men who would destroy things and build new things all in the same day. They were gods of their own homes, no matter whether those homes were built on wheels or foundations or gold bouillon. The people around us would buy socket wrenches and boards, 400-grit sandpaper and wood filler, electrical wire and chicken wire.

We bought earplugs.

Now, I happen to be a pretty good technical writer, but Otis' writing is so freakin' lyrical, it's almost poetry. I have to admit that there are moments when I read his stuff that I want to eat his brain zombie-style to absorb his writing abilities. Sadly, science is still a few years from making that possible. In the meantime, please enjoy Rapid Eye Reality.

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Since you've been good and patient readers, here's the tiny hat video I promised (hat tip to towleroad.com). Also, as a teaser for the imminent release of the official IMOP-VI trip report, there will be a tiny hat featured in our hijinks. Stay tuned true believers!

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