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Friday, June 29th, 2012
If you’re reading this, then I assume you’re aware of The Dadabase‘s new facelift. That’s right. I’ve “had some work done.”
You’ve probably noticed the new logo, the quicker load time of the web page, the easier-to-read font, and sleeker overall look. But that’s just the surface of the updated Dadabase.
Because more importantly, navigation is easier than ever now; so is your ability to share a Dadabase article if you feel so inclined.
Or maybe you just want to subscribe to this blog and be instantly notified whenever I publish a new post.
Well, Christmas/Hanukah has come early this year. Because you can do all those things. Let me steer you through it.
Look at the top of this (and every) actual blog post. You see an option to instantly “like” it on Facebook, publicly recommend it on Google, share it on Facebook, Tweet it, or even directly email it with ease. Try it out right now if you wish.
Now look to the right side of the screen. It says “Search This Blog.” Was there a time a while back when you remember me writing about circumcision or Cheers or Smurfs and want to revisit that exact post?
Now you can. Type in any random word you can think of, and there’s a good chance I’ve written about it in my now 400+ Dadabase articles.
Try me. See if I haven’t mentioned the Dharma Initiative or gay marriage yet. I dare you.
There’s an option to pull up my articles from a certain category, too. Feeling nostalgic? There’s a category for that. Deep thoughts? Got ‘em.
Okay, now you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m a little bit obsessed with time travel. If you share my same lust for going back in time, I have something to fill that void in your life: An “Archives” option.
You can click the month and year you want; going all the way back to April 2010 when The Dadabase was first launched with the announcement of my wife being pregnant.
Keep in mind that since I always tell how old Jack is (or how far along Jill was in her pregnancy) at the top of each article, you can figure out what was going on here at that time.
Right now in June/July 2012, Jack is 19 months. If your kid is 9 months old, do the math. Then click on the right month and year and there you have it.
Maybe I have already been there, done that, and got the Bedazzled sweatshirt. Find out if I am able to enlighten you with my past experiences as a parent.
And if you feel the need to further inflate my ego, there’s conveniently a section called “Follow Nick Shell.”
Go to straight to The Dadabase’s Facebook page. Or Twitter page. Or subscribe to The Dadabase. Or email me directly.
I just realized how easy I’ve made it for you to stalk me right now. Oops.
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Thursday, May 24th, 2012
A year and a half.
It was a year ago yesterday that The Dadabase officially premiered on Parents.com with “Welcome To The Dadabase.”
Today, I want to share some advice with any mom or dad out there who is considering, or at least curious about, starting their very own mommy or daddy blog.
If you’re wanting to start blogging about your kid mainly just to share with friends and family, then I simply recommend going to WordPress.com and get to typin’. That’s all the advice you need from me.
But if you are like I was back in April 2010, recently having found out I was going to be a parent and wanting to be the best darn baby blogger I could be with hopes of “going pro,” then this article is perfect for you.
Here are my top 7 tips on how to start a baby blog:
1. Be both personal and international. You want to engage two different types of necessary readers: Friendly Followers-family and friends who read your stuff because they love you and your cute kid. And Cosmic Crashers- people who don’t care who you are but want to learn about some buzzing new topic you’re covering in the world of parenting.
2. Be different. Before I started my blog, I was determined to find my “schtick.” I wanted to be the first ever daddy blogger who documented his thoughts from the moment he went public with the pregnancy, on a weekly basis.
Even now, I don’t know of any other dad who has done this. You can go back for over two years and find between one and seven blog posts each week about my son and my thoughts as a dad. What’s your schtick?
3. Be willing to be wrong. I am constantly wrong when it comes to my opinions and viewpoints regarding all those polarizing, controversial parenting topics from circumcision to raising a vegetarian child.
Not only am I wrong at least half the time, I’m totally cool with it. I don’t mind being crucified one day and praised the next. I am both the good and the bad guy.
4. Be consistent. Can you commit to writing at least one blog post per week? If not, stop reading now because this isn’t for you.
Just like with advertising, your work needs to be omnipresent. And just like with the news, it needs to be fresh.
5. Be egotistical. Speak with authority. Assume your story is interesting, then prove it. Ever heard of what’s called “the blogger’s ego?” Well, I depend on it.
6. Be weird. In the midst of sharing the chronologically predictable advancements your child experiences each week, make each event special by pointing out the strangest aspect about your kid learning to eat solid foods or learning to walk. “Quirky” sells.
7. Be named well. You have to come up with a really cool name for your blog; one that represents you well. Consider your kid’s name or your last name or something people won’t be able to forget.
Good luck and may the force be with you.
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baby blog, blog, blogging, culture, daddy blog, mommy blog, Star Wars | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Must Read, People, Storytelling, The Dadabase, Writing
Saturday, March 17th, 2012
Since my first daddy blog post on April 13, 2010, my wife Jill has been highly visible yet never heard; other than in short one-sentence quotes in my stories. Well, after nearly two years, that is going to change.
Today, I am handing the mic (actually the Mac) to the feminine side of The Dadabase.
After all, it’s basically because of her that my blog (on WordPress at the time) was eventually picked up by Parents.com. Jill sent an email to American Baby magazine about my daddy blog “Dad From Day One” a few months after I started it; then they decided to feature my blog in their October 2010 issue; which randomly is the cover featured at the top right side of this screen, underneath the header Family Fun.
That started a short chain of events leading me to this point. But not only do I have my wife to thank for getting me this kind of exposure; she also serves as my daily editor.
Anything too stupid, aimless, or chauvinistic-sounding; she either helps me decide to redirect it or nix it all together.
Without her, The Dadabase would be a bit different. (In fact, it would simply be “Dadabase.” She suggested the “the.”)
Now, let’s do a little interview.
If this blog were The Mommybase, how would the tone and topic material
differ as you cover your version of parenting Jack?
My version of The Mommybase and parenting would emphasize my realistic
perspective of it, whereas I see The Dadabase as your positively
optimistic and often abstract perspective. Parenting is one of the
most difficult journeys I have been on in my life– it changes you so
much in ways you’d never know until you had the opportunity to parent
It’s just like when we used to laugh about how other parents
would give us advise when I was pregnant and we’d think, “Sure, that’s
not gonna happen to us,” and then a few months down the road, it did!
I think The Mommybase would also serve as a place where mommies could
find answers to those everyday questions like, what should I be
feeding my 12 month old and do cloth diapers really work? It would be
a place for mommies to relate to one another in the loving moments, as
well as the frustrating ones (because we all know that comes with the
What has being exposed to my daily articles on fatherhood taught you
about the mind of a dad?
That dads love their children just as mommies do and have a high
regard for caring for and nurturing them the best way they know how.
Granted, the best way they know how is often coming up with bizarre
antics to entertain them! Daddies sincerely want to help, but may not
know how and just need some gentle guidance from a patient mommy to
make the household peaceful.
You have the last word. What do you want people to know about you as a mom?
I love my little boy with all of my heart and thank God for his
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presence in our lives. I’m not always going to do or say the right
thing and I completely acknowledge that, but I’m learning as he grows
and I would just hope that others saw me as a good mommy to him.
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
As a “daddy blogger” who sketches out writing topics on a nearly hourly basis, I am constantly trying to predict which topics are not only interesting enough to me, but also the ones that will resonate with the people I don’t even know.
Since my daddy blog, dad from day one, was picked up by Parents.com in May 2011 and rebooted as The Dadabase, I have been keeping a close eye on which posts became the most popular.
Ultimately, I am always “taking requests” based on what topics people tend to enjoy reading about.
Specifically, I know now that any time I mention a TV show title or the word “vegetarian” or I do some kind of countdown or list, more people are likely to read. But what else attracts readers here? Let’s find out right now, together.
#1 The Half Abortion: Only Keeping One Twin- No matter how passionate your stance on abortion, there’s definitely something unnerving about finding out you are a twin, but that your sibling was selectively aborted while you were chosen to survive.
#2 The Three Types of 30 Year Old Parents- Thirty is the new 23. I admit in this one that while I got to see more of the world in my 20′s, I am a less mature first time dad at age 30.
#3 Positively Communicating to My Seven Month Old Son- I realized my ability to truly polarize an audience when I suggested it’s uncool to jokingly offer to give your kids away to strangers. There is a 100% chance you’ll either totally love or hate this one- no in between.
#4 Gradually, Not Instantly, Falling in Love with My Son- And I believed I was weird to think this way. I love it when random strangers help make me think I’m actually normal.
#5 5 Reasons This Dad Despises MTV’s 16 and Pregnant- I could have easily given more reasons, but I try to keep my articles in the neighborhood of only 400 words. Hmm… maybe I should do a sequel?
#6 The Positive Re-branding of Fatherhood- Sure, the sitcoms of the Nineties will always hold a special place in my heart; especially thanks to their enchanting theme songs. However, there was a major downside to them- the way most of them portrayed fathers.
#7 6 Things This Dad Got Wrong During Pregnancy- Despite the fact that’s it’s sort of my job to act like I know what I’m talking about as a writer, I’m often wrong. In fact, here’s looking back at 6 particular times I missed it.
#8 7 Things This Dad Stopped Caring About- I guess sometimes in life, lowered standards are excused; especially in the name of parenthood.
#9 How Not to Be “That Mom” or “That Dad”- In order to make sure you don’t become a stereotype, you have to be able to recognize one. Takes not being one to know one, right?
#10 Little Boys Live in Their Own Little World- To be perfectly honest, I’m not exactly sure why this one made it to the Top 10; unless it’s because people get to see me back in 1991, wearing neon green suspenders? Probably not.
Tune in a year from now when I review the Top 10 of 2012. No, wait- actually, come back before that, like tomorrow.
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16 and Pregnant, 2011, abortion, blogging, parenthood, vegetarian | Categories:
Must Read, Nostalgia, Recaps, Storytelling, The Dadabase, Writing
Friday, October 21st, 2011
A few days ago at a tour of the GM (Chevy) headquarters in Detroit, I met a fellow “daddy blogger” who runs a website on fatherhood called 8BitDad. I told him how last week I interviewed myself for the first of my new series, Interviews with Non-Famous People, and was currently looking for more dads to feature in it. (In order to be considered the least bit famous, you have to have a Wikipedia entry written about you.)
Zach Rosenberg, the Co-Creator and Editor-in-Chief of 8BitDad, was game for being the 2nd person to be interviewed for my series. (I’m in bold italics, he’s not.) Here’s what went down:
How is your daddy blog, 8 Bit Dad, different from mine?
I think the main difference is that you run an actual blog – that is, a “web-log” – a journal of events. 8BitDad is closer to a culture-site. So, where yours is deeply personal about your own family, ours isn’t – but is deeply personal matter. In a sense – and this is of course not an insult – if someone wasn’t interested in hearing about you, particularly, you lose them as a reader. Generally, I just lose readers for making bad jokes and ruffling feathers around moms and dads.
Does the term “daddy blog” annoy you?
It does – I don’t like “blog” in general. But there’s a distinction – not all fatherhood (and motherhood) sites are blogs. 8BitDad, not a blog. Parents.com, not a blog. But Parents.com has bloggers who blog on their particular wing of the site. I don’t necessarily like being “lumped in” as a daddy-blogger because I’d like to think of myself as more of a journalist, but let’s be honest – I’m not really beating the street the same way I used to when I worked for a newspaper, and as far as being lumped-in, what a great set of guys to have as company. All of the “dad-bloggers” I’ve talked to have been awesome.
Though I have my assumptions, tell me exactly how you came up with the name of your blog. (I will need you to use the word “stellar” in your answer.)
Well, my friend Bryan Ferguson and I were talking about starting some kind of fatherhood site one night while talking smack about a couple baby products. We thought “man, we’ve got to get this attitude up on the internet.” So we had our goal – a stellar, fatherly attitude. But what to call it? We both liked that nostalgic idea of the Nintendo as being the icon of “our generation”, but knew we couldn’t be something like NESDad or Nintendad. We had maybe three names we liked at the end of the night and when I woke up the next morning, Bryan texted me “I took the plunge and registered 8BitDad.com” so we ran with it.
In an effort to mock the trend of using 3 one word sentences (Just. Like. This.), please describe your blog accordingly. Just. Three. Words.
Paternity. In. Pixels.
Recently you published a post criticizing Parents.com. For those who didn’t instantly click the hyperlink in the sentence above just now, explain what your beef is with the website that is ironically hosting this interview.
I know, right? Talk about some form of irony, or coincidence, if you’ve got a degree in English and know that it’s not really irony. Well, I’ve got a beef with most “parenthood” sites. In a nutshell, parenting websites are typically very mom-oriented, even if they use the words “and dads” from time to time. They’ve got largely female staffs, primarily female bloggers, and, if you’re into chicken-or-egg debates, primarily female readers.
Fathers do still visit parenting sites like Parents.com but it’s tough to feel like part of the community when it’s all mom-this, mom-that. I love moms and I respect all the things they do – but Parenting sites need to also consider fathers – and that’s where my specific beef came in: I get Parents.com e-mails, and they use banners like the one I showed on 8BitDad – emblazoned with things like “Free Stuff for Mom & Baby.” Well, I’m neither mom nor baby. I’m a parent, which is why I was on Parents.com.
I’m a father – a proud one, and I don’t want to sift through mom-stuff to find something that applies to me. I mean, hey, you don’t need to really answer this, but as a father, doesn’t it irk you that right above your bio is a link to “Mom Tools” and “Win”? Where’s “Dad Tools”? You know why it’s not there? Because ask anyone else on your editorial staff why “Dad Tools” is missing and I guarantee they’ll ask “what tools do dads need? They’re not carrying a baby.”
The perception is that dads don’t need anything, and if it were offered, they wouldn’t take it. I’m not trying to knock moms down, I just want equal representation in a place that’s named after the genderless reference to kid-having folk.
What has been your biggest challenge so far as a dad?
My biggest challenges have been walking-the-walk, so to speak. I do a lot of talk on my site about patience, but patience with a baby, toddler and youngin’ is tough. Sometimes, you just don’t know what to do. And I’ve always had a rule – whatever I want to do/say right after my kid makes me hit the roof is exactly what I don’t do. I take time to think, relax and be consistent. Any fight you have with a 2 year old is a losing one. If you’re fighting with a kid that has no sense of reality and logic, you lose. That’s a tough nut to crack. So staying patient and being the adult, when all you want to do is yell back, that’s the toughest.
What is the weirdest thing about your parenting style?
Probably my commitment to my kid’s health. You look at me and think “alright, he’s a 300-pounder, his kid’s got to have bacon grease for blood.” But it’s not like that at all. We make all our kid’s food fresh and healthy. He gets peas and carrots on his pizza, made with thin, homemade dough and homemade sauce.
He doesn’t drink juice – I’m one of those weirdos. So he gets milk in the morning and night, and water all day. Kid loves water. He’s on the right track. And shhh, don’t tell him, but when my wife and I indulge in fast food, we make him that at-home-healthier-equivalent and wrap it in one of the fast food wrappers so he thinks he’s getting a treat too.
Poor kid will think Taco Bell burritos have peas, corn, carrots and broccoli in them until he’s old enough to drive there himself and buy one. I mean, really. I may have hit the hamburger buffet a little too much in life myself, but my kid doesn’t know good from bad – so I need to teach him good eating so by the time he’s a teenager, he’ll have the foundation for healthy living.
What is your favorite quirk about your child’s personality so far?
He’s picked up my wife’s and my speech patterns and phrases. So if we go out to dinner, he will ask a waitress for a glass of water, and use “please” and “thank you.” You don’t expect it from a 2 year old. And I know being polite isn’t a quirk, but it just sounds so funny. You don’t expect toddlers to be polite. They’re pretty unsavory people, so when they say “thank you” or “I love you” unsolicited, they sound quirky.
Is your dad a rabbi or does he just play one on TV?
Both. He played one on Diagnosis Murder, that old TV show with Dick Van Dyke. Sometime later, he finished his rabbinical school and was a real one. He usually played judges, jerk doctors and sweater-wearing fathers, but never decided to become one of those. I mean, we live in Los Angeles – no need for sweaters there.
What is your favorite (8 bit) regular Nintendo game? Your answer must serve as a metaphor for fatherhood, in some way.
I always go with the underdog, Metroid. Large, free-roaming world, ominous music, deep weapons system for the time, multiple endings, secret codes (including one that wasn’t unveiled until recently!), and a surprise female lead. Hmmm…not sure I can come up with a fatherhood metaphor for that one since it was “Mother” Brain and a woman protagonist. Maybe…uhhh, that’s what happens when there’s no fathers around? *snicker*
I could, for the record, be persuaded to say MegaMan 2 solely for the music.
I’m sorry; you’re wrong. The correct answer was Super Mario Bros. 2. It serves as a metaphor for fatherhood because it teaches kids to eat vegetables. Actually, it teaches kids to pick up vegetables and kill their enemies with them. I guess you’re right, Zach Rosenburg.
See bro? Also, I’m sticking with my answer, even thought my metaphor is weak.
You have the last word, 8 Bit Dad.
I may sound like I’m militantly pro-dad and anti-mom. I’m not. I’m against the splitting up of moms and dads. From time to time I enjoy a good joke but not at the others’ expense. The Father’s Movement was born out of the Women’s Movement; when women started going to work, someone had to stay home with the baby. So – that became fathers. But there’s still a lot of leftover law and not-on-the-internet legislation and perception changes that need to happen for fathers to get their fair dues.
We’re slowly being regarded as legitimate parents – but the laws are far behind. So, although us fatherhood writers have a lot of fun pissing and moaning about simple stuff on the internet, there’s more important work to be done out in the world. Check out the National Fatherhood Initiative or Fathers & Families to see what kind of laws are being made (and which ones need help) if you really want to give father’s a boost! Also, thanks man – always good talking to another father. Power to the Paternal!
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Zach Rosenberg’s Bio:
Zach grew up under a nearby orange tree in California’s San Fernando Valley. He has worked at publications such as Filter Magazine, Geek Monthly Magazine, UNleashed Magazine, WYWS Magazine,The Los Angeles Sentinel (“the largest Black-owned newspaper on the West Coast”), and also worked on His Side with Glenn Sacks (“The largest mens’ and fathers’ issues radio show in America” in 2001).
His son was born in January 2009.
blogging, blogs, daddy blog, fatherhood, interview, journalism, old school, rabbi, sexism | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Home Life, Nostalgia, People, Storytelling