Growing up as a kid in the 80s, I distinctly remember visiting the music lab at Beacon Hill Elementary School in Chicago Heights, Illinois, learning basic notes on the Recorder, and hoping to one day enter a bigger realm of music. I was big into two artists at the time - Michael Jackson and Huey Lewis and the News - and, maybe it was the artists, maybe it was just the times, but I really wanted to learn the Saxophone. It was offered as an option for the school's band program, but citing the expense, I was not allowed to scratch my musical itch until much later. I was 15 when I bought my first Guitar - an NJ Series B.C. Rich Warlock... the same one that currently hangs here in my office, just feet from where I'm typing these words right now. It was that guitar, purchased with my own money from working at the local Hy-Vee Grocery Store in Davenport, Iowa, that truly opened the door to my life-long musical journey, accompanying me to many gigs throughout the 1990s and beyond. Now, as parents, my wife and I have been eager to support The Rock Daughters™ in their musical exploration starting practically at birth. In a time when arts programs are increasingly cut from school budgets, we're fortunate to have them in our schools, and the folks at Music & Arts exist to support that - offering families a place to buy instruments with confidence and world class service. With the Holiday Season upon us, it's the perfect time to look toward the Music & Arts Holiday Gift Guide (featuring HALESTORM's LZZY HALE and GREAT BIG WORLD) to pick a great gift for the budding player in your family. What would THE ROCK FATHER buy? Here's a few picks that I'm going to include in my own Holiday Wish Guide this year... we're making musical memories every day, perhaps it's time to make some of your own...
I dodged a bullet this morning, figuratively speaking... but it could've turned literal. It's bothered me all day, as I really don't have a real answer of how I slid out of it.
Our family stayed at the Hyatt Place River North in Chicago last night - a special, semi-local getaway as part of a promotion that I've been working on with Chevrolet... a promotion that will bring some much-needed cheer to some families in-need this holiday season. Helping others is a large part of what I do, but that does not mean that I allow myself to be shaken down by the countless "homeless" thugs that have crept back into downtown Chicago - a societal blight that was largely eliminated under the leadership of Mayor Richard M. Daley, and one that has made a swift return under the reign of Rahm Emanuel. As a kid in the 80s, Chicago was often a big, scary city - a dirty, unfriendly place with danger lurking around every corner. As I grew into adulthood, the City changed - the place got cleaned up, and it became bright, lively and clean. You could walk around Downtown and feel safe. In 2015, safety is a memory. That became 100% clear to me this morning.
When you're thinking about children's Halloween costumes, a bicycle probably isn't even a remote thought for an accessory. I figure that aside from a few Pinterest-centric creatives that use a bike as the base for something else, it would be a longshot... but then the folks at Strider Bikes (the makers of the balance bike that taught Addie to ride!) sent over some ideas - complete with photos - that show that a bike could absolutely set a costume off. Check out these adorable Strider Bikes costume ideas as today's entry into my annual 31 Days of Halloween here at THE ROCK FATHER Magazine!
This October, there's something new and strange that's emerged - eagerly awaiting the chance to lurk in your home... especially, your child's bedroom. Chip the Robot and Zeke the Martian are joining Jax the Dreadful and Scarlett the Frightful as the Horribles - a new line of Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifiers that are available exclusively at Best Buy. For families looking for something more fun (and a little more spooky) than a traditional humidifier, these adorable character-shaped units each have a 1 gallon capacity to handle humidification for up to 250 sq. ft. - providing ultrasonic cool mist to reduce cold symptoms and nasal congestion for easy breathing. Each member of the Horribles also features Clean Control antimicrobial technology to ensure safe, clean operation. The Horribles by Crane USA are today's entry into 31 Days of Halloween, right here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine!
Sometimes you just have to wait for things, and even if the wait equals years, the payoff is pretty good. A prime example arrived today - the result of planning ahead, and keeping a t-shirt in a drawer for six years. Weird to think that slightly more than a half-decade ago, I was in the midst of a late-night diaper run to Walmart when I started browsing some clearance kids' clothes that had been squeezed-in near their Garden Center. There was one particular rack that caught my eye - t-shirts featuring comic book covers from the 1980s... the exact time that I became a comic book fan myself. Hanging on that rack was a single t-shirt in a size 6/7 that bore not only a favorite cover, but the exact cover of the first issue of John Byrne's THE MAN OF STEEL from 1986 - the very book that hooked me on DC Comics. For less than $2, I purchased said t-shirt, and have waited six years for today to arrive - the day that it finally fit Addie.
Until a neighbor mentioned it to me a couple of years ago, I had no idea that Mattel's American Girl had books to help girls with some of those more awkward things that can come when puberty arrives - a time I'm totally not looking forward to, if only because I've only experienced it first-hand as a guy, and now I have two girls. While I'll certainly do my best when the time comes, my wife will no doubt be interested in the news that just arrived today - American Girl has partnered again with pediatrician and New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Cara Natterson, on a new go-to guide for moms and daughters. The new three-book set, The Care & Keeping of Us: A Sharing Collection for Girls and Their Moms, provides the tools to get the conversation going on topics most top-of-mind for growing girls—from body basics, hygiene, and healthy habits to friends, social media, clothing, and more.