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CBC Canada Writes Feature: The Urban Daddy. Bringing the modern dad to the blogosphere


While away on vacation with the family, this article was posted on the CBC website, under the Canada Writes section. It was written by Jennifer Warren, who is an amazing writer and she took my words, my thoughts and my ramblings and turned them into gold. For that I will always be grateful.

The link to the original article is right here; http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/2014/08/bringing-the-modern-dad-to-the-blogosphere.html

The article on me, The Urban Daddy, and my business, inTAXicating Tax Services and is below;

“Bringing the Modern Dad to the Blogosphere:

By day, Warren Orlans is a mild-mannered tax consultant, shoehorning in time to be a hands-on dad to his three young children and to helm an impressive backyard vegetable garden. But by night (10 p.m. to 2 a.m., to be exact) he morphs into The Urban Daddy, blogging on everything from why a child whose age is less than your shoe size feels the constant need to correct you to the parenting situation that leads you to eat a nibbled, warm banana.

As part of our Canada Blogs series on great Canadian blogs, we chatted with Warren about handling your private blog going public, falling asleep mid-post and why daddy bloggers may be coming out of the woodwork.

Warren Orlans, aka, The Urban Daddy with children

When and why did you start The Urban Daddy?

I started The Urban Daddy in 2004, just before my first son was born. I wanted to keep a diary of my wife’s pregnancy, what it was like being a father for the first time, and other related, or non-related, events that caught my attention at that time. The blog was kept private for four years until a colleague caught wind of it and it became very public.

I also started writing The Urban Daddy to work on my grammar and punctuation, which were not strong points for me in school. I have come a LONG way from my earlier posts, and the few who followed me from post #1 through post #1,000 have commented on the huge difference in my writing.

You’re a very hands-on dad. What kinds of reactions do you get from people about this? Do you find there’s still some bias towards dads being so involved in parenting?

I am as hands on as I can be because I love being a dad, and I want to spend more time with my kids than my father was able to. I know life can be very short—my dad passed away at the age of 62, so he was at our wedding but did not get to see any of my children. I do not want my children to not have had the opportunity to know me, to learn from me and to be taught some of the wonderful traits that were passed on to my from my mother: respect, consequences of actions, and that others are entitled to their own opinions and sometimes it’s best to listen, smile and not say anything.

I also see many other dads hanging around their kids’ classes, at least in my community. I see it more and more. I don’t judge those who can or cannot be there—we all have choices to make—and I do not feel that there are people judging me for being there as often as I am. Or maybe I just convince myself that anyone judging me must be thinking how successful I am that I have the free time to participate in my kids’ lives so much.


There are a lot of “mommy” blogs out there, but not so many “daddy” blogs. Why do you think this is?

I usually do not mention my blogging because I long felt that I was a “fraud” by blogging standards, being a “daddy blogger.” Early on I was at a gathering with a bunch of friends (all new dads as well) and one father said, “I think people who blog are narcissistic and do so only to brag about themselves.” From that point on, I kept it to myself.

Nowadays, especially after being featured in The Globe and Mail and Canadian Living, I don’t hide anything. It’s what I like to do no matter what anyone thinks.

I do have mothers coming up to me and asking me if I blog, and the reaction from them is usually one of surprise and support. I get a lot of positive feedback from mothers and from involved dads, who by choice or necessity are more involved than dads who leave for work before their kids wake up and who return home after the kids are in bed.

You tell a lot of personal stories about your wife and family. Where do you draw the line in what you do and don’t write about?

When my blog was hidden, I had no boundaries, until one day a colleague at the government asked a very personal question that they would have only known to ask through my blog. From that point on, I treat each and every post as if it were very public and I think about how my kids would feel as adults reading it. Would they want me talking about embarrassing things, or just telling stories and highlighting milestones?

How does your family feel about your blog?

My family likes the blogging—some more than others—because I relay stories about my children that I’ve sometimes forgotten to tell them. I also do not air dirty laundry on my blog, so there are very few posts where I am venting about my family.

I think they are amazed at the attention The Urban Daddy has been getting over the past few years more than anything. I have never seen myself as a writer, and I appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read and comment on posts because there are so many other things they could be doing, but they are reading my ramblings, and I appreciate it.

You have another blog, inTAXicating. What’s the story of this blog?

InTAXicating came to me while I was working in the government and learning about how the Internet would help the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) collect money and educate taxpayers. As I progressed through collections, I was a Resource Officer for five years and that role was very technical, requiring me to understand and interpret the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act. In order to get the level of understanding of legislation, I started re-writing the text into “English” and posting that on my blog.

Warren face 2012

 

So you have a day job, two blogs, and three kids. How exactly do you find time for all of this?

I don’t. Having my own business has made blogging as The Urban Daddy very difficult, and I have almost 200 posts sitting in my draft folder, in need of a good review. Prior to that I would generally blog from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and I would schedule my posts to come out during the course of the week. When my first son was born, I was doing my MBA online and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. was my time to work once everyone went to sleep, so I maintained that time as my time to get posts written.

Now I find I have so much work to do for my business that I spend time working on that instead of the blogging. But it changes, and sometimes I get extra time to bang out a post or two.

I’ve started going back to edit old posts, and I’ve found some where I clearly fell asleep in the middle of typing but posted them anyway. It’s a great reminder of my exhaustion back then.

What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers?

Do not get discouraged and do not write for others. Write for yourself first and try not to fret when only one or two readers come by your blog in a day, week or month. It takes time to build up a following. Reply to comments, follow other blogs, read them if you have the time and figure out what you want from your blog.

If you want to win awards, get hundreds of thousands of followers and use it to step up to a more prolific role, then stick to a topic or theme and write about it, and it only.

If you want your blog to be a journal to look at as your kids get older or to record things you might need, then write for the love of writing. If more comes of it, just say thank you and continue doing what you love doing.

All images courtesy of Warren Orlans and The Urban Daddy.”

•Check out The Urban Daddy »

Visit inTAXicating Blog

Head over to the CBC Canada Writes Site to discover more great Canadian blogs »  Please.

Dimensions-178

Canada’s Wonderland: DIMENSIONS – a Cirque Experience Preview.


An Urban Daddy exclusive peek into Canada Wonderland’s new show, DIMENSIONS – A Cirque Experience by Senior Event Correspondent Ryan Starkman.

 

Here I am reporting from Canada’s Wonderland on June 20th, 2014. A beautiful sunny day has us readying for a bit of a cool down and we are awaiting entrance into the Wonderland Theatre for a sneak preview of DIMENSIONS – A Cirque Experience.

Having just met Jill Aitchison (Digital Community & Events Specialist at Canada’s Wonderland), we were warmly greeted and entered the cozy 800 seat Wonderland theatre excited and ready to be entertained.

First come first serve seating gave us, the early birds, a chance to catch the worm so to speak. Sightlines from the middle two sections are good. As you move to the left or right flanks of the theatre, the angles are noticeable but still appropriate enough to view.

The theatre only runs 19 rows deep so you’re never really too far back and the first 3 rows have your eye level just below the stage. We decided to sit in the 4th row right off the centre aisle. About 20 minutes prior to showtime, a pair of theatrical veterans entertained the audience in Cirque-like fashion. For those that don’t know what this means, it just means you want to be seated by the time the pre-show begins.

Without introducing any spoilers as to the various acts, this is a fantastic 25 minute performance and the perfect way to break away from the bustle of the outside theme park. Having seen just about every show Wonderland has to offer the past 20+ something years, this ranks right up as one of the best.

The show keeps you entertained from start to finish with not a weak act in the bunch. Some comedic interludes help lighten this high energy performance. The skilled acrobats and performers are world class with the majority coming from Canada.

About 25% of the cast come from outside Canadian borders hailing from countries around the world including the United States and Cambodia.

The production company behind DIMENSIONS is Les Productions Haut-vol which stems from the collaborative efforts of Quebec natives Joel Norton and Hugues Aubrey. This masterful pair have an extensive background in performance and have brought to Canada’s Wonderland an amazing program.

Prior to the show beginning, I asked my 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter if they were excited to see the show. The nod of approval was given. Upon its conclusion, my son wanted to see it immediately again, especially one act in particular he thought was really cool. My daughter was nervous for the performers as some of the acts were quite thrilling but said she wanted to come back another day.

And the best part about that comment is with us being season pass holders, we definitely would.

In terms of ways to spend your time at Canada’s Wonderland, this show should rank as one of the best in terms of time invested vs. entertainment value. Having been to the park since 1981 and waiting in lines for rides, some longer than I ever want to think about again, DIMENSIONS will not disappoint. You get a Cirque Experience for 30 minutes that costs nothing more than your time.

This is a no brainer if you like that type of thing and just another way that Canada’s Wonderland is bringing new DIMENSIONS to overall park entertainment.

I Am A Stupid Idiot!


Daddy is a stupid idiotI m a stupid Idiot.  My 4-year-old daughter Boo, just told me this after smacking me on my backside.  I just have 2 questions… 1) How did she find out, and 2) What took her so long?!?

This is a recap of how it all came to be:

My daughter loves hiding! Loves it so much that when we announce that she should come out of hiding or there will be consequences (meaningful ones) she ignores it and stays in hiding and does so very quietly.

Her brother even helps her remain hidden, trying to throw us off the trail by announcing that he “swears” he has “no idea where she is.”

This morning instead of eating her breakfast, or helping me make their lunches and emptying the dishwasher, she hid.  This time it only took me 5-minutes to track her down through her giggles, but instead of finding her and playing her game, I announced that she had until the count of 5 to come out of her hiding spot otherwise, there would be meaningful consequences, that her and her enabling brother would have to make the rest of her lunch or she would go to school without one.

Meaningful consequence, right?

But she stayed hidden behind the door in our bathroom.

I thought for about 10 seconds about leaning on the door and squishing her until she gave up her hiding spot, but I was annoyed and frustrated, so I reached around the door and yanked her out.  Not being one of the boys she obviously did not appreciate this sudden end to her game and after protesting, she smacked me on the bum and said: “You’re a stupid idiot!”

I ignored her and was on my way back to the kitchen when she repeated it, a little less sure of herself, and with her mother looking her right in the eyes; “You’re a stupid idiot.”

Clearly my boys are teaching her all the good words, eh?

 

I walked into the kitchen and both boys looked at me open-eyed and silently.

I said to them as calm as I could; We don’t call people names because it is mean and we could hurt their feelings.”

They did not answer.  They knew that for the first time in her little life, she crossed the line.

 

What took her so long?  Is this what I can look forward to with girls?

2014 Toronto Modern Home Tour Rolls Back Into Town, June 7th, 2014 + Giveaway


Have you ever seen a brand new home that was different and you knew that you had to get inside and check it out?  I know I have, and that was the main reason why I posted some information last year on the Modern Home Tour when it came to Toronto, and offered tickets to my readership.

The show is back in town, information can be found here; http://modernhometours.com/event/toronto/ and I have a complimentary wristband for someone (+1) to attend the event.

The Modern Home Tours give people a chance to explore and view some of the greatest examples of modern architecture right in their own city via self-guided driving tour, while local architects get a day in the spotlight.

Six homes throughout Toronto have been accepted and confirmed for the tour. They include:

• Artist Charles Pachter’s home, studio, and galleries –Pachter Hall and Moose Factory– in Toronto’s Chinatown district. The home and studio buildings were designed by Teeple Architects and built in 2005, and have won the Ontario Association of Architects Award of Excellence, a Plachta Award, and the Design Exchange Award.

• The “Driveway House,” designed by Spaces by Rohan, which is a small home in Little Portugal built entirely in a space that was previously a driveway for two cars that features radiant floors, interior walls of glass, roof-top cedar deck/patio, and 95% LED-based lighting inside.

• A new three-story, single-family house, designed by Weiss Architecture & Urbanism Limited and built on a typical long and narrow Victorian lot near Dovercourt Park, that presents a solid and stately front façade utilizing traditional Toronto red masonry, but impresses visitors with its surprisingly light and airy interior.

• A modern renovation and addition, by LineBox Studio, to an existing residence in Swansea originally built in the 1920’s that focuses on maintaining a balance between old and new, while adopting a green building design in sustainable matter

• One of Toronto’s “Tiny Town” mini-homes (just 566 sq. ft.), designed by LineBox Studio, that embodies a “hard loft” style with an industrial aesthetic and flexible floor plan, which creates an open and spacious feel in the home, despite the small footprint.

• The “Linear House” in the East York neighbourhood, designed by Nano Design Build Inc., that is considered to be the epitome of super-modern geometric linear design, featuring continuous, clean lines that define the space throughout, creating harmony, flow and balance.

In addition to the homes featured on the tour, attendees can visit the tour’s designated ‘rest stop’: the STACKLAB showroom (http://stacklab.ca), a Toronto-based multidisciplinary design and fabrication studio, led by Jeff Forrest. Complimentary refreshments will be served and tourgoers can browse some astounding examples of modern furniture.

Art City in St. James Town (http://artcitytoronto.ca/v2) has joined the tour as the local non-profit partner. They will help staff the event and use the tour as a fundraising vehicle.

Full details for the tour, plus an always-current roster of homes with photos and details can be found here on the event page: http://modernhometours.com/event/toronto.

If you want to be in the running for a wristband, please like and share this post on a blog, through Facebook or Twitter and you can use the blog URL, or my Facebook page or Twitter page to share.

Act fast, as the event is this weekend!

I Love it when Children Blog! Introducing the Kids Food Fanatic.


My 9-year-old son’s friend told me today that he is a “food blogger”.  The mastermind behind Kids Food Fanatic, a blog aimed at giving a kids view of restaurants to other kids.  The blog takes into account the food, décor and some other interesting factors.

“Really? Awesome!” was my reply.

So while him and my son were hanging out at our place on a play-date, I decided to check out his blog.  I was immediately impressed, so I decided to interview him for The Urban Daddy (TUD), to help him get more readers and more comments and so he will be hooked on blogging like so many of us have become.  His blog is called Fun Food Fanatic, and he is the Kid Food Fanatic (KFF).

Here is the interview:

TUD: “Why do you blog?  What got your started?”

KFF: “I love rating food, and I want kids to have the feeling they can make good choices about restaurants they want to go to and they know the food there is a great, and kid-friendly”.

TUD: “What was the best restaurant experience you have had so far?”

KFF: “The Works! Then Boston Pizza“.

TUD: “What did you like about them?”

KFF: “The atmosphere. It was very funny. The food was also rock solid delicious. Did you get that?  Rock Solid Delicious.  It was burger galore at the Works.”

TUD: “How do you decide where you go next?”

KFF: “I don’t decide. I grab my notebook and write about where we go as a family.”

TUD: “Have you been to places you hated?”

KFF: “No, not yet”.

TUD: “What is your favourite type of restaurant / food?”

KFF: “I like restaurants with good burgers which have good, fast service. I also like restaurants with creative decorations I can look at while eating.”

TUD: “What if you went to a restaurant and the food was terrible. Would you post that?”

KFF: “I would tell them why I thought the food was terrible. I would say something like, “nice try” and “please do not make that mistake again” and then I would blog it because kids have to know this.”

Big thank you to the Kids Food Fanatic.

His blog can be found here;

or here if you prefer to paste and click on your own.

Please pay him a visit and welcome him to the blogosphere.