How Much Poison Is Acceptable In Our Technology?


If you’ve been paying attention to the news recently you would have heard about the dangers of putting your cell phone up to your ear, in your pocket or in your bra.

In Canada, the amount of radiation is significant that the Canadian government believes there should be a warning on the packages of cell phone to warn Canadians, well, not to use them as phones…

How Much Poison Is Acceptable in Our Technology?

via Ash Huang: How Much Poison Is Acceptable in Our Technology? — Design.blog

The Urban Daddy has Been Nominated for the 2013 Canadian Blog Awards!


Hey!Canadian Blog Awards badge

I’ve been nominated for the 2013 Canadian Blog Awards in the Best Family Blog category and there is a LOT of great competition.

If you have a few, ahem, spare minutes, could you please head over to the page and vote for me. Voting closes February 22, 2014.

As uncomfortable as I am asking, I’m doing so anyways.

The site can be found here;  http://cdnba.wordpress.com/

I also took some time to check out many of the other sites in almost all of the categories and I voted for the ones I thought were the best.  Recognizing others feels great!

The Urban Daddy’s 1000th Blog Post!!


Looks like we have reason to celebrate today as this is our 1000th blog post on The Urban Daddy.

1000th blog post

Coming up on 10 years and with over 150,000 views on this URL (I had a whole bunch more on my previous URL www.urbandaddy.blogger.ca) I want to say thank you to the many people who have made this blog possible through their actions, comments, or for just being who they are.

The main topics I have come to love to talk about here – aside from being a Dad – include politics, coffee, sports, the live-in caregiver program (nannies), government funding of IVF, government in general, stupidity and common sense and a lot of tax.

When I first started writing, 10 views a week was fantastic, but as the hits climbed, so did the pressure to produce content that made sense, that was edited and had no spelling mistakes.   I am far from a journalism major, so one of the reasons for blogging was practice writing sentences which made sense and to work on my spelling.   I knew early on that I could count on my sister to send me an email when there were spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, which she did A LOT, before I realized WordPress hasa kick-ass spell checker.  Thanks Sis.

So as The Urban Daddy began receiving nominations for year-end blogging awards, I came to realize how important Daddy Blogs are in cyber space however I chose to stay out of the limelight, using this blog instead as a forum to capture my parenting successes and failures as well as tracking my children’s progress and achievements.  While I like the concept of fame and fortune, deep down inside, I’ve always been reserved and would much rather others get the spotlight.  I can stand in the back and smile.

I’m the guy who values an assist as much as a goal in play and in work.

Professionally, after 17-years of working for others, I started my own business this past April – something I realized I should have been doing years ago.  I saw, experienced, and was frustrated by, so much in the workforce as I’m sure you have too, and keeping your mouth shut is always easier in theory than in practice.  If I see something wrong, I have to speak up, and I was certain that one day it was going to cost me my job.  It wasn’t until I realized my love and knowledge of taxation, of all things, that it was my true calling and I could help people and earn a living.  Now I get to do that AND spend valuable time with my wife and children.  Something I have come to see as being a very short window, sadly.

Back to the blogging… In 1000 posts I have said some nice things – a lot of nice things – but I have also said some dumb things and for those I have always apologized.  I’m a big fan of karma and if I piss somebody of, then I’m no better than they are.

To that point, I’ve been called a LOT of things, for a lot of interesting people.  I’ve been called stupid for my right-wing political views (always from anonymous posters, mind you) and I’ve been threatened.  I have had my blog hacked, email hacked and Twitter accounts taken over by aliens.  I have received hate mail, had my Facebook page cloned and hate messages sent from it to all my friends… More than once.  It reminded me of working in the government when people would send me hate mail which was written in gold glitter or included with the envelope would be a mysterious white powder.

It’s the price one pays for being open and for having an opinion and making it public.

Yes, I have pulled back a lot of the personal information on myself and my family as a result, and I do not post pictures of them, but I find it reduces my credibility in the parent blogging community to hide behind cute names.  I’m okay with that.

I’ve been on the radio, on TV, asked to start my own cable show and in the newspaper now more times that I could imagine.  My son once told his teacher that at parent-teacher interviews she should call me “The Urban Daddy”.  Others do.

I have also had the pleasure of being confused for urbandaddy.com, a much larger website out of New York which promotes the trendiest events and social items for the have or pretend to have community.  As a result I get my fair share of product pitches from very large corporations – and I’ve been offered to be flown around the world to attend events.  Obviously, I reject them all, and direct them to the right place.  I have no interest in being away from the family for something like that.  If I promote or recommend a product or service it is because I use it, and would use it.

I don’t know on a daily basis what I am going to post or even if I am going to post.

It is because of that, why I appreciate each view, comment, like and re-tweet through this blog, and my Facebook, Twitter, Google + and email more than any of you could possibly imagine.  I follow each and every blogger than stops by and let’s me know they have stopped by.

I hope to again one day find the perfect balance between the person who writes this blog and person who saves peoples lives by solving their tax problems and setting them back on track, but until that time comes, I’m going to have to continue to post when I can, about whatever pops into my mind.

And thank you once again for coming by and for supporting this blog.  If I ever get to 2000 posts, I’ll have a giant party and you’re invited.  🙂

Thursday Thirteen: The Urban Daddy Answers His Mail. 13 of them.


Something a little new today.

My Thursday Thirteen this week is going to cover the 13 most commonly asked emails that I have received at realurbandaddy@gmail.com.  I do get a LOT of email and if I had the time, I would love to be able to reply to all of it, and it does take me some time to reply, but I have some left over messages all along the same theme, which I am going to answer here.

Sit tight, get your pen and paper ready – or a Dictaphone if  you have one or even know what it is – and let’s get ready to learn how to reply to tough, challenging emails.  Urban Daddy style.

Thursday Thirteen Autumn

13. Why don’t you blog so much anymore?

Great and most common question.  I do blog as much as before, however, now that I have my own business, a lot of my posts are headed there.  The rest of the post for The Urban Daddy are sitting in my drafts folder.  There is something like 113 of them in there.

Another problem is that as my readership increases I feel some responsibility to actually make sense in my posts.  Gone are the days of 10 readers per day and me writing posts at 1am.  Now I write, edit, review, fact-check, edit then save to drafts.

I’m going to write more… I promise.

You can also find some of my thoughts when I’m too lazy to blog them over at my Facebook page; www.facebook.com/TheUrbanDaddy or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/realurbandaddy.  I’m on Tumblr, Google Plus, Pinterest… Everywhere, but those are the main 3.  Please “like” me and add me where possible.  I always add back.

12. Are you affiliated with that big Urban Daddy website in the US?

Nope.  They did ask me, however, to kindly hand over my social media sites which are in the name “Urban Daddy”.  I politely declined since I was blogging as Urban Daddy before they came to be.  So I asked them kindly to hand over ownership of all their social media sites to me.  I never heard back, lol, but soon thereafter all the URLs which were close to mine were scooped up.

Point taken.

I also get a LOT of pitches and product-testing requests but I politely turn them down if they are not something I would not use, or if they are not going to directly benefit you guys – my readership – but I love to get them from local (Canadian) companies because it’s easy for me to toss something onto my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheUrbanDaddy) if you have not gone there, go there now and like me.  Please.

11. Why do blog about coffee?

Ohhh.  I love coffee.  But I’m more than just a medium roast kind of guy.  I like adventure, and something different so I’m big into the flavours.  I actually used to test the new flavours at Java Joe’s near my office – a treat for me – which is where I fell in love with Blueberry coffee.  Blueberry coffee, if you didn’t know is huge on the East coast of Canada and in the US, but for some reason has not hit the mainstream here in TO as of yet.

Blueberry is way better than, for example, Raspberry Chocolate coffee, and light-years better than Irish Cream or boring Vanilla Hazelnut.

So now where can you buy this coffee you ask…

Well since you all cannot come over to my house, you will be thrilled to learn that there is an amazing Canadian company called Java Works Coffee(http://www.javaworkscoffee.ca/) , out of Mississauga, Ontario, and they sell coffee and teas to restaurants, offices and – yay – customers through their factory outlet.  So on Friday I dropped in to this store and was blown away with the selection, the staff and the smell when you first walk into the door.  WOW.

I left with some teas and 1lb bags of the following coffees;

  • Blueberry Bliss
  • French Toast
  • Cinnamon Apple Spice
  • Mint Chocolate Chip

After testing them all I can say that each one is better than the next.

10. Do you really like Wrestling?

Yes.  Like it a lot.  And yes, I know it is fake.  I’ve been watching this male soap opera since I was a boy (which is a really long time ago!)  If you gotta problem with that, come see my and I’ll put you in a headlock, then powerbomb you.  🙂

9. The best Daddy blogs usually are written by Stay at Home Dads (SAHD). Why?

Funny.  I’ve always felt that the SAHM (Stay at home Mom) blogs are the best, and clearly the Dads are right up there now because they are there with the kids and doing the things that many of us do on a daily basis.  I have always said that I felt no one wants to read a blog about kids from a parent who works full-time unless they are able to spend enough time with the kids, or capture a moment, which will make good print.  I just wish I had more time to read these great blogs…

8. Would you consider yourself a parent expert? Why or why not?

I would and only because I have 3 children and after changing many diapers, and being there for feedings, changings, programs, school, school events, I can honestly say that I sacrificed my career to spend time with my kids and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

7. Where in the world are you?

I’m everywhere!  LOL.  No really.  I’m in Toronto, Ontario. Canada.  A very large, beautiful city in the best country in the world.

6. How Conservative are your views?

Fiscally conservative – Very.

A lot of my other views tend to learn more towards the centre from the left side.  So I feel people should work for their money, and if they use that money to buy things for themselves, others do not have the right to steal from them, however if people are unable to work – really unable to work, that they should be a social network to allow them to live above the poverty line and be able to contribute to society in whatever ways they can,

5. I see you post a lot about IVF. Is it because you used it?

Actually no.  We were fortunate enough to not need IVF, however from a moral and financial perspective, I feel that governments should fund IVF treatments for those families who want it.  The savings to our tax system would be huge and it’s a really nice thing for governments to do while trying to figure out why infertility is on the rise.

4.  What are some other great blogs you can recommend?

I have actually been meaning to prepare a Friday blog post called the “Friday Follow Five” and use that to go to a favourite blog I follow, then read the first post, and use either the comments on that post or the blogroll on the side to go to another blog, then do the same until I have read and summarized 5 posts and provided details in the post.  In the meantime, please visit the blogs in my blogroll.  They’re amazing.

3.  How long have you been blogging and how long will it take me to get readers?

Well, I’ve been blogging since 2004 and to be honest, make sure you do it for love and not for getting famous because it takes a LOT of TLC to get a blog off the ground.  Essentially, you need to not use my blog as the model, because you need to post frequently, read and comment on other blogs often, build relationships with your readers, and write things others want to read.  Having a pretty blog, and nice title, and the proper length articles is also important…

Good luck!

2.  Your posts are too long.  Some are really off-topic.  Why do you do that?

LOL.  I get this a lot.

They are not off-topic for people who come here randomly looking for specific topics.  I do, however, agree that I am long-winded and I try to fix it, but I just can’t.  I talk this way too.  I have to build up the back-story before I get to the point.

Knowing that I blog under the title “The Urban Daddy” as a Dad in urban-Toronto, would you believe that my most popular post ever has to do with the Secret Menu at Starbucks, followed closely by my evaluation of the Canadian Live-In Caregiver Program.

So as I approach 1000 posts, I can honestly say that I get a LOT of views from the Philippines after Canada and the US.  I would NEVER have expected that back on 2004 when I had 10 views a week.

1.  Why are you still blogging?

I don’t really know.  I think I would feel lost without it and when I look back and see my earlier posts I am amazed at some of the things I have gone through since I had kids.  More importantly, and the real reason to keep it going is because as my kids get older (my oldest is 8-years-old) and they start to ask questions or look for stories about when they were young, I know I can pull up a post and let them read the details.  It’s always a good laugh.

Stanford’s Who’s Who 2013 Canadian Edition: I’m in there… Or am I?


I received a call on my business line the other day from a young man with a fairly heavy New York accent who called to congratulate me for being recognized for my contributions and to welcome me to the 2013 Stanford’s Who’s Who – Canadian Edition.

For those of you unfamiliar with this organization, Stanford Who’s Who, is an “elite organization of selected executives, professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world who’s members are hand selected from across the globe and invitation is granted only to those individuals who have demonstrated leadership and achievement in their occupation, industry, or profession.”

I got that from their Linkedin page.

After explaining to me a little about the organization and boosting up my confidence, he then needed to cross-reference information from me, which to be honest seemed like he was gathering information he should have known if I was really “one of Canada’s most influential people”, as he claimed.

“You should have done your homework” I thought to myself.

“I just need to verify this information for your biography” he quickly said as if he were reading my mind.

Then the questions started, and as I was answering them, a whole bunch of things entered my mind;

1) Who are Stanford’s Who’s Who? Certainly not part of Stanford University otherwise they would have mentioned that right away one would think, and the phone number would have identified that.

2) What specifically are they calling in regards to? Am I being recognized for my Blogging? Tax expertise? 20+ year Ball hockey career? Coffee expertise? For having a MBA? Really I’ll take any of those but should he have identified this right away so I don’t have to ramble!

3) How much is this going to cost me, because if there is a huge fee, I’m out. I started my own business 2 weeks ago so I need to be even more fiscally responsible over the next couple of months as my practice grows.

and so he continued… Pumping up my ego and making it seem like they were waiting to make contact with me for the publication.

There are some 100,000 people world wide in this publication, so it’s not as prestigious as they led me to believe right away, but heck, I can share the spotlight with these folks, right?

Then he said the magical words to me; “Well, based on the information you have just confirmed with me I would say you are definitely someone that will continue to have a large impact in your field and we would like to welcome you to the 2013 Stanford Who’s Who Canadian Section”.

As well as networking opportunities with tens of thousands of “like-minded people”, I just need you to decide between the Platinum and Gold packages, the first being $899 for five years and the second being $699 for five years.”

“I see,” I said, pausing ever so slightly so he would not think that I just dropped the phone. “Canadian or US dollars” I asked.

He paused… much too long for my liking.

“US Dollas” he replied.

“Oh” I replied, now looking at my watch and realizing that I had 15 minutes to get to a client who was 15 minutes away.

“Is it the money?” he asked.

“No, it’s not that at all” I replied. “I’m an influencer… You said so yourself. Money is not the problem, but time is. I’m scheduled to meet a client in 15 minutes and I have to leave now. Can we talk later today?” I asked.

“Does it seem expensive?” he said. “We need your decision today so we can meet our print deadline.”

“Um …” I said. “If I’m holding up the print deadline then either you waited too long to contact me, or I’ll have to wait and be in next year’s edition. I mentioned that I just opened my own practice and I’m going to be late for a client meeting if we continue. Can we speak later on? Is there a number I can reach you at?”

“I’ll tell you what we’ll do. I’m going to take the price down to $599 for the Gold membership AND you can upgrade to a Premium for free after three years if you choose to. But you can’t tell ANYONE about this deal we’re making.”

“Sure,” I said. “And I have my credit card in my hand, but I am pressed for time and will not be making any decision which requires me to give a credit card over the phone in 15 minutes because you are pressed for time. I have a client meeting to attend to and either we are able to touch base later or I’ll have to opt of of this version. Which will it be?”

“I’ll need an address to send your paperwork to,” he said. “Can you give me that? There’s some stuff you need to sign.”

“I’m sorry, I just don’t have the time right now…”

Click.

And so the conversation ended. They hung up on me. Can you imagine? I’m an influencer. I’m a somebody. Or in reality, I’m just like everyone else looking for an edge over our competitors and peers and clicked through an ad on LinkedIn prompting the flattering phone sales pitch.

Would I ever give my credit card over the phone? No.

Would I sign up for something that seemed too good to be true without reading the fine print? No.

Would I want to be recognized for something special, sure, who wouldn’t but there is a price I would be wiling to pay and it would have to be something legitimate where they want me to read the fine print before taking my money. Once the hard sell starts, I walk away, and so should you.

Have you heard of Stanford’s who’s who? Have you bitten on their offer?