My procrastination means that Mini Hornit is the entire BusyDad Gift Guide

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A few months ago, I got a pitch for a cool kids' gadget. It's called the Mini Hornit, and it's a bicycle horn/light that makes a bunch of different sounds and lights. I usually would have passed on it, but all the kids had coincidentally acquired new bikes this year, so I sent an email back that said something along the lines of "this is really cool, but unless you can send me five, there will be bickering." That usually thwarts my having to open this blog and put words in it. But not this time. They sent me five. Man! Foiled by generosity.

So here I am, months later. I've procrastinated long enough, but in fairness to me, this is so much better than a random October post. Nobody buys reasonably priced gadgets that fit in stockings in October. And although you'd like to think that you've done that by mid December, I'll just wink at you and tell you about the discount code "busydad" that will get you 10% off your order. No, I don't make any money off these (or this post, for that matter). I'm just a nice guy, with kids who have bikes, who happens to write slow. 

You can say that by default, this Mini Hornit post is my holiday gift guide. Who needs choices at this time of year? We simply want to be done. Just watch this video, because I came up with a ton more uses for this than simply putting it on your kid's bike. However, I take no responsibility for the usefulness of these hacks, or if you get sued by the Dukes Of Hazzard. Don't even try to understand that last sentence, per usual.

So Merry Christmas, etc. Happy New Year and good luck! Remember, use the discount code busydad for 10% off your order. This is a fun gift, even if you don't use it to snack shame your kids. 

Works like magic, but the goodness is real: #7billionliters campaign

First, I would like to acknowledge that Fury turned 12 a couple days ago. Happy birthday, son! I started this blog when he was five. I have been blogging for an entire dog year, and Fury has been a very patient video sidekick. To celebrate, I am working on a highlight reel of his best video moments, but that won't be done until the weekend. You're getting this important post instead, for now.

As you may know, I keep a separation of church and state on my blog. I seldom cover my clients' stuff on this blog. But I also know that 9 out of 10 churches and states agree that clean water for children in third world countries is a good thing. So Mr. Presipope, do the honors...

Proctor & Gamble has been providing clean water to kids for some time now. This year, they hit the milestone of delivering their 7 billionth liter. To celebrate, they are donating an additional liter from now until April 22 every time someone uses the hashtag #7billionliters on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. 

How did they do this? With the help of a simple magic packet -- one that I coerced them into giving me so I could spend the afternoon drinking dirty creek water and getting away with it. Of course I made a video of it. I drank dirty creek water and I'm alive and hydrated!

So check this out, be amazed at science, and help get more liters of clean water to kids by using the hashtag #7billionliters as MUCH AS YOU WANT from now until April 22 to donate additional liters of water.

Do it for Fury's birthday! 

You might be suffering from this fake disease, so watch my fake ad

Cell Displacia is no laughing matter. In fact, with 80 million victims each year in the US alone, you or someone you love may be suffering from it right now. So consider the ad below more of a PSA than an advertisement. Actually, the FTC requires that you consider it sponsored content for Asurion (the folks who have found a way to alleviate the symptoms of Cell Displacia by replacing your mobile device) . May I suggest that you just consider it another opportunity for me to do things like juggle flaming cell phones, wear duct tape underwear, jump off cars on a skateboard and generally put myself in harm's way for your amusement? Because that one makes the most sense. 

The bleak reality of a lost cell phone

Disclosure: I found overly sad music for the video, so it's not as armageddony as the soundtrack might lead you to believe. But it is a major pain to lose or break your phone. Also, no children were (permanently) hurt during the filming of this video. And yes that was a real machete, but it was really dull. Also, I almost didn't do this sponsored post because I thought "is cell phone insurance that relevant to me?" and then I remembered that this is Shannon's phone:

And while I was trying to think up an idea for this video, I removed the cover on my phone to wipe some grit off. Turns out it wasn't grit, it was phone shards.

Since I could not take a picture of my own phone, I asked Brendan to snap the above picture for me, at which point I noticed his phone:

In case cracked phones are getting a little old for you, here's our latest exhibit of relevance from the other day:

We are well qualified to represent that sample of the cell phone using population for whom cell phone insurance provided by Asurion would be a smart decision for us, and nothing but regret for Asurion. But that's not what I'm here for. I'm here to show you a video that we made to illustrate what a drag it is to lose your cell phone

The following is optional, but interesting. Here's some surprising facts I learned about this topic while working with Asurion on this project:

  • $5 billion worth of cell phones are lost or stolen every year. $400 of that is sitting at the bottom of a reservoir in Southern CA. Yeah, that was me. And yes, Asurion replaced it way before they approached me for this.
  • If you have one of the popular cell phones, just know that your chances of it being stolen or lost is 35% higher. Lost probably should be in quotes here.
  • Cell phone theft makes up more than 30% of robberies in major cities. I'm going to add that cell phones likely prevented robberies in the old days. I had a girlfriend whose brother came home one day in 1995 with his 20 lb cell phone (and most of his clothing) bloodied. He used it to knock a rival gang member out. No, there's no app for that.
  • 40% of Americans would rather get in a fight with their best friend than lose their cell phone. What if your best friend steals your phone? That's Jesse Pinkman level messed up for life, yo.

Until next time, keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and your cell phone insured. 

This post was sponsored by Asurion, and I hope not at all to their chagrin. 

Some Christmas cheer and a bonus song

Am I allowed to say that my daughter is the cutest thing in the entire world? I offer this as exhibit A.

And here's a bonus exhibit. Because a 2-year-old singing "Call Me Maybe" is too good to just keep to yourself.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, happy weekend, happy it's-not-the-end-of-the-word, festivus and anything else you celebrate, because it's about the ones you love, and those who love you back. 

It's baby parkour time!

When I was in kindergarten, I jumped off the jungle gym at school and landed on my head, necessitating the only stitches I have ever gotten. My parkour career ended before the sport was even invented. What is parkour? It's the craziest, coolest, break-all-the-bones-in-your-bodiest urban jungle gym sport ever. And Lessi loves it. Of course, I have modified it slightly for our purposes (as well as child protective services).

We call it Baby Parkour, and of course I made a video of us engaging in this new version that I hope will sweep backyards and playgrounds all over the country.

I do these things because I take my role as a Play Ambassador for Let's Play very seriously. Let's Play is a partnership between Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and the non-profit KaBOOM that provides grants to communities to build or fix up playgrounds. When I was a kid, my life revolved around playgrounds, and so should every kid's, regardless of where they live.

In addition to providing playgrounds, Let's Play is committed to simply making sure that families get out there and PLAY. We're not talking math homework. We're not talking vacuuming the house. We're not talking eating our vegetables. We're not talking the proletarian struggle against bourgeoisie. We're talking good old-fashioned, down and dirty outdoor play. Not a difficult cause to be down for.

And since today is the one-year anniversary of Let's Play, all I'm asking you to do is go to their Facebook Page and take the "Let's Play Pledge" to spend 60 more minutes per week activley playing with your kids. That's it. I'm sure your kids think that's a killer idea. While you're there, you can also apply for a grant to fix up or build a playground in your neighborhood (they will give out $3 million in playground grants this year).

It's good + good + good. You know what else is wicked good? My Baby Parkour video on LetsPlay.com.

Check it out and join the LetsPlay.com community while you're at it. We're all about play. There is no better common denominator for "things we all like." Well, that I can write on this blog anyway.

Bugs are food, not friends

I had this whole long intro written for this video, but I decided to scrap it. One simply cannot introduce a video of himself sampling a bug platter with any degree of eloquence or justification. This was filmed when MrLady and I attended a China-North America business summit in Harbin, China this past September. Well, this, was filmed at a beer garden while off the clock. They serve normal food at the summit.

Me with a stickblender, singing Johnny Cash

I can tell you one thing: if anyone ever does a Google search for kitchen appliances and Johnny Cash, I can rest assured that my blog will rank prominently.

You deserve some background. Kenmore has invited me to their Kenmore Live Studio in Chicago this coming weekend for a Blogger Summit to check out some of their latest innovations for the home. As part of this, they're giving the good citizens of the internet (remember when the term was netizens? wow, what was your AOL address back then?) a chance to win Kenmore gift cards ($25, $50 and $100) for submitting innovative ways to use everyday appliances to complete day-to-day chores. In their words, "what is your most unusual, yet practical, use of a common household appliance?"

Need a bad example? Watch this video. I think I scored ok on the innovation front, but pretty much failed in the "yet practical" department.

No matter... all the more chances for you to win. There are only a few rules:

  1. Submission must be in video form. For now, just upload to YouTube or something and post your link in the comments. If you're chosen for the next round, you will need the original file handy (preferably in Quicktime).
  2. Unless the appliance is Kenmore, make sure the brand isn't visible (tape works wonders).
  3. Submit it here by Wednesday, Jan 18 by 6pm PST.
  4. This is for US residents only (sorry Canada, you know I totally dig you still!)

Psst... I think you have a really good chance of winning. This is a short turnaround contest, which means fewer entries than you probably think. Turn that camera on and submit something, anything! Go! Go! Go!

But does it pass the Tiger Dad test?

Sometime last fall, Brainy Baby asked if I wanted to try their latest flashcard/DVD/Book set, the 123s Counting Collection. I couldn't really say no. Because that would be like saying "no, I don't want my baby to be smarter." At least to me it does. Well played, Brainy Baby.

We tried them out this weekend. Tiger dad style. I never said this would be a cakewalk, Brainy Baby.

By the way, Brainy Baby wants to help you make your baby smarter, too. Just leave a comment complimenting my baby's acting debut and I'll enter you in the drawing. I'll give you until Friday, Jan 13, 5pm PST.

BusyDad's #Movember 'stache 11/1/11 - 11/30/11 RIP #NorelcoDads

We are gathered here today to pay respects to a vailiant spirit. One who defied all odds by simply existing. Who struggled tirelessly in the face of opposition, doubt and ridicule. It was a scrappy little spirit, my Movember moustache, and as the saying goes, it's not the follicles in the fight, it's the fight in the follicles. And micron for micron, my little moustache was the baddest of the bad.

And it made me bad by extension. Little kids, like my daughter would pull on it. Didn't pirates pull their beards before battle? Yeah, my daughter thought I was a pirate. My co-worker once asked me "Jim, are you growing something or are you too busy to shave?" That right, I'm too busy being a badass to shave. No one in my Muay Thai gym even noticed my facial hair. Why? Because they are ALL badasses and, you see, it just looked par for the course. When my coach finally did notice it, he straight-up said "that's badass." No ambiguity there.

However, the baddest thing my moustache ever did was join forces with 50+ other dads on the Movember Dad 2.0 team to raise over $12,000 to fight men's cancer. It's the fight in the follicles indeed. In fact, the collective follicles on my team made such a stir that Norelco decided to match our contribution and send us all electric razors to to mark the end of this epic month (my moustache told me to tell you all opinions on the video below are my own, because it was not only badass, it was also a legally compliant one).

Since the last day of Movember fell in the middle of a business trip to San Francisco, I got my razors Fed-Ex'd to the hotel. I wish I could have provided a more glorious venue for the ceremonial shaving of my courageous moustache, but sometimes when all you've got is a hotel sink, you make the best of it. You also make your business partner participate in your silly video. Again.

If seeing manly men shaving is your cup of tea, check out all of the Movember Dad 2.0 crew doing their thing on Norelco's Stache-Tacular Shave-Off site.

Oh, by the way, there's a nice $30 rebate on the SensoTouch 3D razor I used in the video here.

SAHD for a day

I love being a working dad because, as much as I enjoy spending time with the kids, at least I can handle everything my boss throws at me. That eight hours a day of perceived control does wonders. It's really amazing what Microsoft Office has been able to achieve in the area of sanity preservation. Of course, the real world cannot be parsed into spreadsheet cells and Powerpoint slides, and sometimes it throws you a curve by handing you a feverish baby. Oh well, at least you can spend all day in your PJs:

Now I may be on the Vicks Blogger Brigade, and I might know a thing or two about making fluey sick babies feel better, but no I won't make house calls to watch Yo Gabba Gabba with you if you're feeling under the weather. What I will do, however, is go to Vick's "Feel Better Friend" Facebook app to make you a nice giftbox. I'll give you a virtual teddy bear, embed funny videos of me doing ridiculous things and write you a nice "get well" message -- all from the comfort of my germ-free office. It's simple to do, and will make your sick friends feel better (the coolest thing about this app is that it actually finds your sick friends for you). Sharing (on Facebook) is caring, people.

Gettin' Funky with Pork

Earlier in the week, I promised you a really good pork recipe. Without further ado, and with sincere apologies to Kid n' Play, I present you with my video on how to put the partay into rack of pork.

Actually, I take it back. A little bit of ado is in order.

October is National Pork Month, and TheMotherhood, the National Pork Board and Costco entrusted me to enlighten you with an original recipe that turns a plain old rack of pork into something that will get the party started. Quickly.

While I'm confident that my recipe (Asian Pork Sliders) brings the noise, there are a ton more recipes over on the Pork: Be Inspired page, if you're so inclined. However, if you trust in my ability to take fire to meats for the betterment of humankind, then just watch this:

And for your reference, here are the recipes that go along with the above:

Asian Pork Sliders

My philosophy with parties is that you can only have fun when you use your fingers. So I took my rack of pork and combined it with some really tasty components to make the ultimate party finger food: sliders.

Here are the recipes for each part:

Asian Spiced Pork


  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground star anise
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • Zest of 1/2 an orange

Rub all over meat. Stick in oven at 350 degrees for 20 min per pound.

Asian Slaw

  • 1 head green cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1/2 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 bunch scallion
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil 
  • 1 cup rice vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Toasted Sesame (as much or as little as you like)

Combine all the vegetable ingredients into a mixing bowl. Pour everything else (except for the sesame seeds) into a tupperware and shake. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss to combine. Add sesame seeds.

Steamed Buns

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp yeast (and a little more)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp bacon fat
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  1. Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water. Set aside for 5-10 min.
  2. Add flour into a standing mixer or food processor with a dough blade.
  3. Turn the processor on and drizzle the yeast mixture into the flour slowly. It's not going to look like enough water, but trust me, it will become a ball of dough before too long.
  4. Once it becomes a ball, remove it.
  5. Rub the bacon fat on the bottom of a mixing bowl, and then put the dough into the bowl.
  6. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and place somewhere warm-ish for about 90 min.
  7. After 90 min, take the dough out of the bowl pound it out into a circle. Add the baking powder and knead for about 3 min.
  8. Split the dough into two halves and roll each into a rectangle. Roll the rectangle like a cigar.
  9. Cut the cigar into about 6-8 pieces.
  10. Place each piece onto a square of parchement paper, then into a steamer (preferably an old school bamboo steamer).
  11. Cook 6-8 min.

Once all three components have been made, just cut the bun in half, add pork, add slaw and serve. Celebratory dancing optional.

OH, I almost forgot! I'm giving away a pork gift pack that includes good pork-related goodies and a $25 Costco gift card. Just tell me how you like to cook your pork and you'll be automatically entered into my drawing. I'm all about low hurdles.

Bruce Lee, made practical

Hi there... if you regularly read this blog, then here's more of the same: a random video that I made.

If you're here because of something to do with Blogher (either you saw that this post was honored as one of Blogher's Voices of the Year in the Life category, or you met me at the conference in 4 days - yes I am talking about the past in the future kind of like that long time ago in a galaxy far far away stuff - and remembered the URL of my blog even though I didn't give you a business card - but it's not because you weren't worthy, it's because I didn't have any made - and that's not because I think I'm so popular that you should know me by sight - it's because I'm Asian and is it too much to ask that you be able to discern ONE Asian guy out of, what, 3 Asian dad bloggers in the world? - no, that was unfair to put you on the defensive, I'm simply lazy), I figured I should have a post up that's not over a month old. Also, I felt it should be a post that represents me.

So this is the best I could do. I spoofed my hero, Bruce Lee. To spoof is to love.

Blyzzdizzaym

I attended the Blissdom conference last week, and it was awesome. I did things that I can't ever do when my wife is around. Like fall sleep with my shoes on. Oh yes I did. P. Diddy where you at? You better sign this bad boy. 

Let's put this east coast west coast beef aside. It's all about the Lisa Leonard Blissdom bling, baby. Also the friendship bracelet kit that Marie gave me. (photo courtesy of MomoFali's Flickr)

I was invited to Blissdom to present a session, and I will get to that later. First, the real reason I love going to blog conferences:

Being silly and responsibly inebriated with friends, as model parents who set a good example even when their kids are thousands of miles away often do:

Errbody in the garden gettin tipsy: Lotus, me, Mishi, Aimee and Momo (photo courtesy of Secret Agent Mama's Flickr)

Goofy Goobers: me, Heather, Karen, Momo, Maile, Allison, Rachel, and Lotus... up in da club (photo courtesy of Secret Agent Mama's Flickr)

Indulging my Asian Karaoke Gene by singing... a Toby Keith song (and defining irony better than Webster ever could).

Kelly and Julie ask Who's Your Daddy... Blogger (photo courtesy of Secret Agent Mama's Flickr)

Indulging in indulgence.

Filling myself with heart, spirit and pressurized dairy product (photo courtesy of Secret Agent Mama's Flickr)

Losing my bid for Mayor.

I should have just used Foursquare (photo courtesy of Secret Agent Mama's Flickr)

While all of the above was fun and games, the reason I went to Blissdom was that I was invited to speak. It all happened so suddenly. One day I was casually emailing with Megan (who did a bang up job soliciting and choosing the conference sessions) about topics that I would hypothetically take vacation days off work and fly to Nashville to go see, and the next moment, I found myself on a plane headed to Nashville, feverishly finishing a PowerPoint regarding a topic I hypothetically would take vacation days to go see, minus 2 vacation days.

And then it was showtime.

The conversation between my homette Rachel and me probably went something like "knock 'em dead Jim!" "I think I forgot to pee." (photo courtesy of Heather Durdil's Flickr)

The session itself was entitled "Innovative Writing Techniques." So of course I opened it up with a slide of double rainbows, unicorns, bacon, the Death Star and ninjas, proving that I never forgot the first rule of math club: find the common denominator.

Because even ninjas can't carry a room for 90 minutes, I'm glad I had the help of my very talented, highly professional, all-around awesome co-presenters Mrs Flinger and Amy Turn Sharp. They talked about writing prompts, finding your voice and a whole lot of other compelling, relevant subjects, while I yelled at the computer.

I got your RAM right here!! (photo courtesy of Heather Durdil's Flickr)

When I got the PowerPoint presentation to work again, I spoke on the topic of the importance of medium. Essentially, my thesis was how you tell a story is often just as important as what you tell. And to illustrate that, I took a very common saying, "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog," and showcased some interesting ways I would go about telling that tale.

And now, for the first time on national internet, are the videos and other randomness that were previously available ONLY to session attendees.

But first, a word from our sponsor:

Well, Huggies Little Movers diapers isn't technically my sponsor, but they are paying me in caaash money and diapers to blog  about my diaper experiences on their website High Chair Critics (click through to my intro post - even if you don't read it, there is an ultra cute pic of Fury and Lessi kicking it old school). They were looking for a dad who has trouble keeping up with life to represent them in their "Too Fast, Keep Up" campaign, and considering I can only blog like once a month, I was a shoo-in. I said yes because the opinions and the absurdity are all mine. Also, if one of you wins some of their $5 million in prizes and points (contest codes inside of every pack of Little Movers diapers), I will have done something useful in this life.

And now, the back to our scheduled post...

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
A study in ways to "write" things when you are too lazy to actually write

Make a list:

Make a haiku (nothing beats a 17 syllable commitment):

Write an opinion piece:

Get scientific on it, a la Mythbusters:

Piggyback on the most viral video of the year:

Get your friends involved:

When the smoke cleared, and the sessions were done, and the flashmobs were danced (yes I was in that), and the drink tickets were spent, and the sponsor booths were dismantled, all we were left with was what we came for in the first place: our homies.

Flash-Loitering: Jana, Rachel,  Me and Momo (photo courtesy of Secret Agent Mama's Flickr)

To my OG friends from back in the day, like Rachel, Momo, Mishi, Lotus, VDog, Jenny and Kim...

To friends I have picked up along the way, like Julie, Amy, Becky, Kelly, Leah...

To friends I looked forward to meeting in person for the first time and was so glad I did, like Aimee, Karen and Jana...

To new friends I just met, like Heather, Kelli and Emily...

To my comrades in the session trenches, Amy and Leslie...

To the friend I owed a Guinness to for a year, Kat...

... and of course to anyone at Blissdom who went out of their way to say hi and didn't make me feel like the creepy dude at the women's conference.

Thank you for laughing with me (and at me, when appropriate), singing with me, shakin wit me, drinkin with me, chillin with me, and generally making me feel at home, despite our chromosomal differences. Admittedly, it's a difficult line to walk as a male blogger in a female world. But when you have close friends who can accept you as one of the group, but still make you feel like a guy's guy (these shirt buttons are snaps, ladies!), it's blissfully the best of both worlds.

But just in case, I kept the toilet seat up the entire time.

Dexter cooks. With Kikkoman.

The other day, I recieved a huge box from Kikkoman. You may know them as the soy sauce people. You're right. They do indeed make the best soy sauce this side of the Great Wall. What I didn't realize was that Kikkoman soy sauce makes an excellent brining solution for your holiday turkey too. What a killer concept!

Which naturally led me to think, "how would Dexter cook Thanksgiving dinner?" Ok, I'll be honest, pretty much anything prompts me to think "what would Dexter do?" because I'm a little bit obsessed over that show. Case in point? I made a video that answers my first question:

Speaking of meals to kill for, I did a little experimenting with some of the other items that came in my Kikkoman goodie box. Did you know that Kikkoman makes the best tempura batter mix and Panko bread crumbs, hands down? Totally makes you realize that buying that deep fryer was less an impulse buy, than a manifestation of destiny. Both of these recipes I made up put a new twist on some Thanksgiving staples:

Loaded Mashed Potato Patties

Every Thanksgiving spread needs mashed potatoes. This version makes them portable. And incorporates all the good stuff from another potato favorite: the loaded mashed potato.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 2 eggs, beaten separately (you know, because each one deserves your full wrath)
  • 8 slices of cooked bacon, give or take 50 (hey, I get it. It's bacon.). Chopped.
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • Some flour in a bowl - I didn't measure. That's why I write here and not on Food Network.
  • Some Kikkoman Panko breadcrumbs in a bowl - again, if you have a whole box, just add more as you need it. I'm not going to micromanage your cooking.
  • A deep fryer, or a pan with oil in it.

Throw the potatoes, ONE egg, bacon and chives in a mixing bowl. Take your hand and mash it all up good. Don't wimp out on me. Get visceral with your cooking. It's very satisfying, trust me. The following should be in bowls, lined up in a path toward your fryer or pan in the following order:

Cheese, flour, one beaten egg, Panko bread crumbs.

Take a small handful of the potato mixture and form a small pattie. Grab some cheese and place it in the middle. Grab more mixture and mash it on top, so now you have a pattie with cheese in the middle.

Dip the pattie in flour. Then egg. Then the Panko breadcrumbs. Then fry until golden brown.

Tempura Apples

Remember the old school McDonald's apple pies? How they were cinnamony and fried? I sure miss those. These are my attempt at finding a substitute. And they're pretty damn good. Desperation is the mother of invention.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Fuji apples
  • Cinnamon sugar (just mix a bunch of sugar with a bunch of cinnamon)
  • Kikkoman Tempura batter (mix up one serving; instructions on box)
  • A deep fryer, or equivalent
  • Caramel sauce

Slice up the apples and put them in a mixing bowl. Pour some cinnamon sugar on top and toss it. Let it sit for a few minutes while you mix up the batter.

Dip the apple slices in the batter and then drop them in the oil. Then after they are done, let them cool off for a bit. Sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on those bad boys and drizzle melted caramel on top. You can also top that with a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead. Or in addition. Awesome plus awesome is always more awesome. 

Want your own goodie box full of Kikkoman products and nifty swag? I'm giving one away. Just leave me a comment and I'll pick sometime this weekend. Maybe Sunday? Whatever. This isn't Food Network.

Shreddin' with Razor

Note: I'm giving away a ton of stuff this month. If you are new to this blog, I don't often do this. If you are a repeat reader, wow. Just wow. You're still here. Hey, we're creeping up on the holiday season and that means there are a ton of companies out there who want to get your attention. Which makes me the gatekeeper of cool. If the product makes it here onto these pages, that means I deem it awesome. And most likely it'll come with a giveaway. I get free stuff, you get free stuff. I got your back and stuff.

Last month, Fury and I were invited on a play date thrown by Razor USA. You may know them as the guys who brought you the Razor Scooter. If you don't know what I am talking about, you are one of the 8% who possess zero brand recognition for the product, which means you probably wear a tin foil hat to keep the aliens away. And live in a bunker.

Razor took over a local park and we spent the day trying out their latest products:

This is the E100 motorized scooter. All of the scooter, none of the effort! Hey, it could be worse. He could be watching Netflix.

This is the GroundForce Drifter. All the street racing goodness of The Fast and the Furious, without all the pesky car decals. Here's the trouble with this thing: it totally rocks. This becomes a problem when your kid cannot stop asking Santa Claus for it. And you have to make up excuses about how elf unions operate and how they called for a strike in the motorized products division due to protests over shipping 30,000 North Pole elves' jobs to China.

Isn't he... pretty in pink. This Sweet Pea is the "closest thing to a motorcycle I ever rode, dad!!" So frilly handlebars be damned, full throttle ahead.

During lunch, Fury made sure to touch base with Razor USA founder and President Carlton Calvin. This is where Fury informed him that if you turn the RipRider 360 too sharply, the wheel rubs your calf. If I see a RipRider with a longer front fork next season, Fury will expect a developer's credit. Or at least a GroundForce Drifter.

That there is a Team Razor rider evoking panic reactions that made it totally obvious the audience was full of parents.

What did I spend my time doing? Mastering the RipStik. This is a skateboard-like contraption that sits on 2 caster wheels and resembles something an intelligent 38 yr old man should simply admire from afar if he valued his tailbone at all. If I learned anything at all that afternoon, it's that intelligence is overrated, and it's best to ride next to soft patches of grass.

Razor sent Fury and me a RipStik and RipRider 360 after the event because it's awesome watching a grown man eat pavement while his son rides along next to him. But you know what? This old guy still has some shred left in him. Check out our video test drive below.

Also, I've saved the best for last. You can actually win a RipStik or RipRider360 right here simply by leaving a comment below (and letting me know which drawing you'd like to be entered in. I won't sweat you if you say "both."). I will draw 2 winners Wednesday the 17th at 9pm PST. Just don't leave a lame as comment like "Enter me in the contest." Because I totally won't.

Because we never turn down Star Wars reviews

Tis the season for holiday product reviews! But don't worry, I only review things if I can make the review entertaining (loosely defined), or if it's Star Wars related. Whew, now the pressure's off if you hate this video. I love making my own rules.

Today, Fury and I review two Star Wars things:

Millennium Falcon: A 3-D Owner's Guide

Roomates Peel & Stick Clone Wars Wall Decals

Go ahead, click the links. I don't earn any money off them. And as long as we're in a disclosing kind of mood, I make no money off this review. I did get free product though. But really, if you count the fact that I spent my entire Sunday filiming and editing for a free book and some stickers, it proves that I just work for your admiration, and nothing more. Actually, I thought it was a really good lesson for my kid, too. I couldn't take him to the park today because we had to shoot. When he got all whiny about it, I said "Nothing in life is free, kid. You like getting all this free stuff? You have to work for it. Now go sit in that cockpit and kick this thing into hyperspace." Yes, there is a real Millennium Falcon cockpit in this video. Now will you please just watch it already?

Oh, for your troubles, I've arranged a couple giveaways, too. Leave me a comment and I'll put you in a drawing for Thursday 9pm PST. You could win one of three (3) Millennium Falcon books or a prize pack of giant Clone Wars wall decals.

Good enough?

Yay for Community

In my younger days, discussion forums were like the Thunderdome. They were a place where keyboard warriors like me could go and pwn other members, put them down with witty insults, and vie for the title of last man standing atop a pile of vanquished LOLcat, Oh Snap, You're Doing it Wrong, Pwned and other clever Photoshopped masterpieces created in mom's basements across the world.

In my old(er) age, I've come to realize that the internet is more than that. Discussion forums can actually be useful. And perusing Pwned pics for this post still offers hours of entertainment. I also never get to the point until the middle of the second paragraph...

Or the beginning of the third. What I'm trying to say is that I've been selected to be a community leader in BlogFrog's SoCal Family Connection online community. First, what is BlogFrog? Let me explain in my own words (I never use provided text, and I never learn my lesson...):

BlogFrog is a site where members can sign up and start or participate in forum-style discussions within "communities" that members start. But at the same time, it helps build a following for your other projects because your profile page provides more than just "OnlineStudBoy72" and an avatar. It provides a feed of your blog posts, tweets and other activities too.

Recently, BlogFrog kicked off its own house-community, called SoCalFamily Connection, sponsored by Screamin' Daily Deals. Why did I agree to do this?

  • My work blocked Twitter and I need a place I can go be mundane.
  • I haven't yet mastered the #$%# Swype function on my droid so I avoid tweeting from my phone.
  • When people call me leader, well, let's just say I like it. A lot.
  • As much as I call myself a Bostonian, I live in SoCal and should take steps to embrace it.
  • Peer pressure. I'm a sucka.
  • Screamin' Daily Deals is a great partner. They are NOT influencing the discussions in any way. But they collect awesome discounts and donate part of the proceeds to schools. Of your choice. Win.

Also, I just got a new HD video camera and I like doing videos. And the other leaders asked me to do a video. Again, peer pressure, sucka, cherish admiration, the whole deal... Here's a silent movie I put together that asks: What would parenting look like if we had no communities to turn to?

So, whether you're from SoCal or not (the topics encompass many general parenting discussions too), join me, along with my fellow community leaders, for some insightful, useful and entertaining grown-up discussions. I promise to only post pwned pics once a week...

SoCal Family Connection Team:

  1. Heather from The Spohrs Are Multiplying
  2. Kelly from Just Spotted and According to Kelly
  3. Sugar Jones from Sugar in the Raw
  4. Angry Julie from Angry Julie Monday
  5. Maegan from ... love Maegan
  6. Megan from Screamin' Daily Deals

Disclosure: legalese... blah blah... I was compensated for being a community leader... blah blah... I think they were all virgins...blah blah... do not operate heavy machinery while using BlogFrog... blah blah... may experience loss of appetite... blah blah... always consult your doctor before posting a LOLCat... blah blah... except Hawaii and Alaska...blah blah... member FDIC.

But In A Totally Manly Way

As dad bloggers, we men are far outnumbered in the parent blogging world. To survive, we rely on our wits, our ability to speak intelligently about breast feeding, and Swiss Army Knife skills. Also, plenty of love, as Backpacking Dad and I demonstrate below:

Our apologies to Scrubs, and parent bloggers everywhere.

(awesome closing photo shot by Secret Agent Mama)