Tag Archives: cbc

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.

A Dangerous Precedent Has Been Set Here in the City of Toronto


A dangerous precedent has been set here in Toronto with regard to the investigations into the personal affairs of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

The Mayor has done a lot of suspicious, dangerous and illegal things in his life and they are all coming back to haunt him right now, but the worst thing he may have done, was to have started a feud with the Toronto Star newspaper.

I asked a senior member of the CBC if there was a bias against the Mayor and the response I received was a clear and immediate “NO”, but I cannot help but think that is not completely true, so I posed the following question;

“If Rob Ford loses the next election, and a left-leaning politician is elected Mayor, would a Toronto Star reporter stand on cinder blocks behind his/her house and snap pictures of the family?”

I doubt it.

“Would the media wire tap the phones, and follow the Mayor, snapping pictures of him/her in their car, in a fast food restaurant, or at public events?”

Doubt it.

What if the Mayor was a female and she was heavy? Would NOW Magazine put her face on the body of a large naked woman and post it across the front cover?”

Still doubt it.

And my final questions to the few people in our house was this;

“If former Mayor, David Miller was caught in conflict of interest after stating that he was stepping down from Mayor (but not yet stepped down) would the Toronto media make a fuss?”

I got a response to that last question that “no” if the Mayor was caught doing something in conflict of interest it didn’t matter because it was not a drug habit, or being drunk at public events… It was just a conflict of interest.

“But didn’t lawyer Clayton Ruby not try to get the Mayor thrown out of office for conflict of interest over $300?” I pressed.

“Well. he didn’t get turfed from office, right?” was the response I received.

But someone tried to, and that Is part of my point. No one tried to do the same to Miller. Multiple people tried to do it to Ford.

And what about the HUGE issue that people take with Ford’s alleged drug habit – that he might be supporting the drug trade through his meetings with Alesandro Lisi.

“That’s the worst possible thing he has done!” was what someone told me.

So if you want Ford removed from office because he may have paid a drug dealer for drugs, how do you feel about the Toronto Star which admitted to have paid $5,000 for a video of Ford having a temper tantrum. The person who had the video, Mohammed Faria, also tried to broker a deal for the “crack” video of Ford for $100,000 from the Star and $200,000 from website Gawker.

Faria also was arrested in Toronto Police raid Project Traveller and charged for having a gun in his apartment along with his mother and sister.

Would that not be a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

I just cannot see the Toronto Star going to the same lengths to investigate Karen Stintz, Olivia Chow, John Tory or Adam Vaughan.

People in the media feel otherwise…

After this slippery slope, the Star, NOW magazine and other media outlets had better start digging and put up more of a fight than they did getting to the bottom of the billion dollars of taxpayer money that previous Mayoral candidate George Smitherman wasted while Minister of Health for the provincial Liberal government.

Either downtown Toronto was okay with this style of spending or this issue was swept under the carpet over and over again so as to keep their preferred candidate from being out of the race right away.

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but it looks really suspicious to me.

I’ll guess we will wait and see what happens going forward now that Karen Stintz has declared her intention to run for Mayor in 2014, and Olivia Chow already using her Federal office staff to begin her campaigning for Mayor (another conflict of interest being ignored it would seem) and John Tory not too far behind.

My sources tell me that Mayor Ford is set to announce that he is taking a leave of absence from his position for a month to enter rehab. The CBC thinks he’ll step aside for 2 weeks. We both feel if he does this he is guaranteed to remain Mayor of Toronto past 2014.

There will come a time when the Toronto media goes too far in their singling out of Ford and right or wrong, it will result in him being Mayor for as long as he wants.

Interesting times ahead!

#DrunkenStupor

If being left-handed is now fully accepted by society, why is being right-wing politically still frowned up?


Hi.

I am not just an urban daddy, I am “the” urban daddy. The one you enjoy reading about in private because you never comment, and hopefully one day we’ll get a chance to see me in person so I can thank you for the continued support and so you can see that I’m a pretty cool guy. I’m a husband and a father. I have opinions and I try to make my point(s) known without upsetting people. Truth be told, I detest confrontation. 

I’m also left-handed.

Growing up, being left-handed was… different. I couldn’t get anyone to teach me to tie my shoe laces until I was almost 7. I hold my pen / pencil oddly and I can throw a baseball with pinpoint accuracy.  I’m about as much of a lefty as one can be.  My left leg is my dominant leg, I use my right eye to look through holes even though I need to use my right hand to operate my mouse or a joystick from one of those old style video game machines.

When in University I embraced my left-ness and set up a club there for left-handed students. Received official club status, an office, some funding and we had a cause.  Did you know the left-handed seats are on the far left side of most lecture halls. Too bad if you want to sit in the middle or in the front, because if you do, you have to contort yourself awkwardly and write across your body.

Over the years, however, we, as lefties have adapted. We have become accustomed to using your right-handed scissors and we have gotten used to opening doors with our right hands. You wonder why lefties are more injury prone… That’s why.  We’re constantly going against the norms numerous times a day, each and every day.

So what’s up with the stigma of being right-wing in my political views???

That is still taboo… VERY taboo, actually.

Support Prime Minister Stephen Harper, or Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, and you’re seen as satan. I suspect, folks on the left look at us as being far right extremists, who deny women their basic rights, hate homosexuals and want to send immigrants back to their “homes”. but that line of thought is as outdated at the one saying left-handedness is akin to being a devil worshipper.

Do I assume all left-wing supporters love unions… Well, yes, actually I do. You do, don’t you?

My view to the right has always been purely market driven. Business and wealth begets more wealth, and if you want to be wealthy – the American dream – you need to earn it! Educate yourself, create something, or earn it working one job, 2 jobs… Whatever it takes. No one is going to give it to you, so don’t expect it.  No jobs for life here.

As for the typical left-wing propaganda that right-wing political views favour “traditional” marriage, do not agree with homosexuality, or are pro-life only, etc. Who are I, to tell someone who they can or cannot marry and who they can and cannot love. Who created the concept of marriage anyways?!? and why do we all need to follow it?  When I wake up in the morning I look at my family and myself and I’m way to busy to care about what others do, a sentiment among my fellow right-wing supporters. 

So what I’m getting at, is that the view that every right-wing person is an extremist, hating on others, is outdated. It should be okay to have views that lean this way, much as we, as Canadians, have tolerated the left-wing view only life to become the norm. Professors in Universities, unions, CBC and the Toronto Star. All these media sources lean very far to the left and detest those on the right not for what is being discussed but for the fact the views are not left-wing.

I worked in a union for over 10 years. I get it. I see the way unions work – not the people themselves, but the big union machine, the way they get out the message, the us vs them mentality. I see the way the unions tried to hijack the Occupy movement in order to stay relevent. I see their threats to strike, to hold the city hostage to keep their way of thinking as if it’s the only one.  I’m a firm believer that union support and union backing turns workers in non-workers for fear that they work too hard and give their “brothers and sisters” a bad name.  It’s true, and it’s garbage.

Recently I came across some blogs based on local Toronto politics and as much as I enjoy reading them, I found the majority of the posts annoyed the crap out of me. Rob Ford this, Rob Ford that… He’s cutting stuff. He was going to cut stuff… He’s a liar… He’s fat… and so it goes on. This group talks about how easy it is to run a City the size of Toronto (errr, 7th largest City in North America, folks!) and they refer back to how gret David Miller was. When I mention how horrible I thought Miller was for Toronto, they gasp and look at me like… Like I’m left-handed and it’s 35 years ago.  Like I am asking for a left-handed desk in the front or middle of the lecture hall.

The war in Toronto against the unions is not a war on socialism and it comes as no surprise to those on the right that it was gearing up this way.  We saw it in Greece and we see it happening all over the world where someone has to pay for the benefits being handed out to the citizens and with government debts and deficits growing faster and faster, instead of foregoing those benefits there is some expectation that the “rich” or the businesses will come to the rescue with their hard-earned money.

In this case, I’m not asking all left-wing take-from-the-rich-and-give-to-the-poor sympathizers to agree that this option is no longer feasible but I am asking for them to come to the table and acknowledge this is actually a problem.  I would be curious to see what they feel is the answer.

You see when I stood in the middle of the University with a petition asking for some left-handed seats to be sprinkled in the midst of the sea of right-handed seats I received full-support from almost all left-handed students and upon explaining the issue – which almost all right-handed students were not aware of – I received a ton of support from them too.  All in all, over a week, I presented over 1200 signatures.

I think the right-handed students were shocked to believe that us lefties were cast to the side and not given any choices.  Much in the same way Toronto has allowed its views on politics to be governed by the left too much, not even considering that there is a view on the right.

So I take to my soapbox again, not with the view to change the world, but just to make Torontonians aware that the news in Toronto is VERY slanted to the left and as such don’t always believe what you read.  Keep an open mind…

Too Green for the CBC?


I found out this week that we are too Green for the CBC.  That made me sad.  I was hoping to be a little too green for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation but it turns out after many phone and email discussions that we are just too green for them.

Damn.

So what exactly does that mean?

Well, let’s go back a couple days to a tweet I saw on twitter coming from the CBC.  Turns out they were looking for a family to go totally green (read: environmentally friendly, not Kermit the Frog green) for a week or so, while the Copenhagen Conference was going on.  The intent was to show how green or not green the average Canadian family is, and to show ways to make them even more green – in light of these most important talks on the future of the planet.

Upon seeing the post I replied / applied.

And so the discussions began.

Thinking we were not green enough, and knowing we had a brand new baby, I figured we’d be a shoe-in for the TV spot.

But then after a couple days of discussing my family; our committment to recycling, hybrid vehicle, turning the thermostat down at night, running the dishwasher after 10pm when the rates are cheaper, hanging our clothes to dry, looking for local produce first or produce with less packaging, carpooling our kids to and from school, and in a previous life taking public transit to and from work or walking.  Also, bringing our own cloth bags everywhere, re-using and reducing before recycling and all that stuff, it was determined we are too green for this spot.

Damn again.  My kids would have been so cute on TV.

At least we know we are reducing our carbon footprint.

Now I don’t have to worry about getting the house clean for TV, I can go back to looking into a tankless water heater and sealing any leaky windows and doors.

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