A movie, a book, a meal, and a mantra

This is not a fluffy collection of happy go lucky recommendations. I would not suggest some of these to those who are prone to the sads. These are things I enjoy, you may not. I mean, it is only four topics deep so just let a duck quack if you catch my drift.

Movie: The Sunset Limited

For those who love theatre or just great acting performances, this Cormac McCarthy written juggernaut is as introspective as it is thick. Samuel Jackson is the Preacher who has just saved the life of a suicidal Professor (played by Tommy Lee Jones) and as the characters names go, so does this unflinching gem. If you are in the mood for theological think piece on the status of existence and secular morality, then peel back your brain and dip it into this juicy sauce. You can find it on Crave and can sign up for a month for free.

Runner up: HBO’s The Newsroom (3 seasons). What can I say, I love me some journalistic nostalgia porn.

Book: World War Z

This is a bit of a cheat because I’m going to suggest the audiobook version. This currently topical (save for the animated dead) collection is an immersive ear worm. I wouldn’t call it background noise because the subject matter is so enthralling, but you can totally do some menial chores or rebuild your seawater desalinator while listening to Max Brooks’ (Mel’s kid) post zombie war first-person geographical history. Ok, yes, the stories are great and the style of the book is very original but I’m can hear you asking, “Trent, why should I listen to a great series of anthropologically fictitious yarns when I could just read the book?” Good point faceless individual. I will answer your question with a question, can you make your brain words sound like F. Murray Abraham, Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, Denise Crosby, Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Kal Penn, Becky Ann Baker, Simon Pegg, Jürgen Prochnow, Rob Reiner, Henry Rollins, Jeri Ryan, Martin Scorsese, Paul Sorvino, and John Turturro (amongst many others)? If yes, do you do birthday parties? If no, get your hands on the audio book.

Runner up: K is for Knifeball (gotta have a parent relevant portion somewhere in this post right?).

Meal: Spaghetti and meat sauce. Serves 4.

Meatballs are all the rage, I know ok? Get off my face about it. But my favourite comfort meal is as simple as falling off a very angry horse made out of fire.

Ingredients: 1 pound of meat (turkey/beef/chicken/veggie alternative). 1 can of tomato sauce. 1 can tomato paste. 4 cloves of garlic. 1 bell pepper. 2 stalks of celery. 1 small onion. 1 teaspoon salt. 1 teaspoon pepper. 2 tablespoons brown sugar. 4 servings worth of spaghetti (or seashell pasta if you are going to get fucking fancy).

Directions: Throw the meat and the diced garlic and diced onion into a pan and brown it all up. Then, throw the rest of the shit in there and smoosh it all together letting it simmer while you are cooking your pasta. Serve it with a side salad of your choice or eat it by itself like a barbarian (my fave). Put it into your face cave. Chew. Repeat.

Runner up: Mix two types of cereal together and pretend nobody has ever done it before. Talk openly about how astonishingly brilliant you are.

Mantra: The universe is indifferent so make the best of now because you are the only person who can do it for you.

Runner up: You are where you should be.

The UnDad Podcast EP 16: I think the Jedi have it all wrong

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There is some rampant nerdery as Darren Pleavin and I talk horror movies, horror feelings, invisible motorcycles, family horror, and some scary stuff that left us holding each other, cerebrally.

This episode is powered by ATB and sponsored by the Alberta Podcast Network.  Thank you to Andrew Paul and the Edmonton Community Foundation for the recording space and production help. Thanks to Caitlynn Legris for her recording and vocal talents for the new intro intro. Also, many thanks to the super talented Nathaniel Sutton (@defendtherhino) for the use of ‘Fugitive’ as a theme song. And hey, if you like this episode, you could always buy me a coffee.

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Buy Me A Coffee

Careport

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The Bean and Morgan the therapy dog.

Prologue:

I try to stay away from ‘sponsored stories’ on this site. I want to be able to say what I want without having to worry about anyone’s ‘guidelines’ or ’emotions’ or ‘why do you swear so much’ malarkey.

But, when the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) contacted me, I did not feel the same way. I recently had to fly back to Ontario (with Little Hell/ the Bean) for a funeral and the EIA made the whole process of getting a toddler on a plane super easy. Enjoyable even.

Example: At one point the Bean was having a meltdown because I wouldn’t let him pull out all the drawers at a jewelry kiosk, when an EIA staff member in an airport golf cart pulled up and asked him if he’d like to find a play area with her. After she told him I could also come, he was totally in. She drove us to the play area (he was in the front, I was in the back) and she really made our wait an easy one. She pointed out things as we drove. She asked him where he was going. They talked about planes and trains (at 2, he loves trains).

She got it. I feel EIA gets it (for me at least).

There are other reasons, but I’ll get on with the friggin’ story already.

The friggin’ story already:

“Good afternoon, Edmonton International Airport (EIA) would like to invite you, as a mommy blogger, to experience EIA in a unique way,” the email said.

So, I did the whole excursion dressed as my wife. It. Was. Fabulous. I ate all the chocolate. End of story. Thank you for coming out. You have just been patted on the bum.

Jokes.

After confirming that as a dad I could still be involved, and discussing with my wife, we decided to take part: Elizabeth, the Bean, our newest family member (Bean Lite) and I. Our assignment? shopping!

Fact: when you have a two week old strapped to your chest, everything is easier, even airport security. Or…maybe because we have flown with a kid so often we were used to it? Either way, they were very kind to us.They were kind even when swabbing the Bean’s hands for contraband and he was so proud. Also, the valet parkingservice was rad. Simple to use and very helpful. Basically, it is like having a home base.  The only challenge was  when the baby was spotted, the staff only wanted to focus on the infant, rather than me. They still paid extra attention to both kids, even after my spontaneous mime bit and my poem about erotic sneezes. But hey, can’t win them all.

A gaggle of Gretzkys
A gaggle of Gretzkys

Highlights:

The Great Tower of Gretzky.  The staff at Indigo have mad stacking skills.

All men’s bathrooms having a change table or area to change an infant in.  Doesn’t seem impressive? Apparently you are not a frequenter of ill equipped men’s washrooms like this guy.

No pushy sales driven staff (if there were, they hid it well).

The view (the architecture and layout of the thoroughfare).

The staff and their ability to solve problems.

The selection (we bought gifts for 5 kids aged 2 to 9)  and my sister-in-law, and prices..

Therapy dog.

Low-lights:

Not really a low, but, we weren’t there for travel. Next time.

Conclusion:

I feel a bit sheepish as I knew I was going to enjoy myself no matter what happened. I knew it was an ‘experience’. I knew what was expected of me. Truthfully, I got to spend time with my family and meet new people in a unique setting.

Oh yeah, and we got a cookie. That shit rocked.

They get it
One of our hosts and the Bean. They get it.

 

Itchy trigger Fringer

There has been quite an extended bit of radio silence here at the Undad for 2.5 reasons. I’m in 2.5 shows in the Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival.

Why would I do that you ask? Simple answer: sheer staggering stupidity. Real answer: I like to keep busy, and before E and I knew Bean number 2 was on the way I agreed to do two shows. Then with my friend and emotional mentor Christian contracting meningitis, I wanted to do something for the man who does so much for me (I would like to add that he is currently kicking meningitis’ ass), thus the .5.

To summarize:

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2UP: Second Player

Mostly Water Theatre got the band back together for this awesome ride 2UP: Second Player: “Mostly Water is back for their first fringe in five years with a new sketch show, blending stage, song and video into a hilarious, soupy pile of goodness.

From the makers of ***** fringe hits 1UP and 15 Minutes, 2UP: Second Player explores the gamification of life and the past and present games that fill up our heart-meters.

We’ve pulled out all the stops for this baby with fine sketch, music, animation, marionettes and an epic continuation of our popular Oilers Lost viral hit.”

 

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What the picture says.

I’m in this whimsical journey of two singing priests The Heaven’s Gates Singers: “When Father Bob and Father Delgheti hire Stu Middleman to manage their singing career, they find themselves performing at the oddest places you would never expect to see two singing priest. Regardless of where Stu sends them one thing is constant… the show must go on.”

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Deleted Scenes

And I’m hosting (and writing a bulk of the scenes) for this Zyp fundraiser called Deleted Scenes: “Deleted Scenes is a live, reader’s theatre version of scenes that just didn’t make it into various popular television shows and movies (basically, we made them up). Come and laugh and drink beer and laugh at us while we read through these ridiculous scenes. Alf, Game of Thrones, Golden Girls, Star Trek TNG, Reading Rainbow…etc.

Want to help? Sure, that can happen. We will need people to read. If you don’t want to read, and want to write some scenes, that would work too. If you want to help facilitate the night, that’s cool too. Samara von Rad or myself will be there every night to tell you what to do.

EXCLAIMER: It is a bar, so 18 plus only. Also, there will be swearing in the scenes. Also, weirdness. Swearing and weirdness. Consider yourself titillated/warned.

If you are interested in helping in any way, fire an email to trentwilkie@gmail.com.”

During my Tour du Dumb, Elizabeth has been holding down the fort. All while having a nasty a chest cold, coughing fits and oh yeah, she’s super pregnant. She is so pregnant that her belly should have a cape.

So yeah. Stay tuned. I’ll try not to stay stupid.

Fatherview with Richard Bohn

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Richard in all his opulent glory.

I met Richard exactly one hundred years ago at a Rapid Fire Theatre improv course. The class, taught by a conscientiousness Donovan Workun, was very insightful. Richard was a funny down to earth guy and I appreciated that. After the course was over we all promised to keep in touch and so forth and so on. Through Facebook I was able to keep this promise with Richard.

Richard is a videographer for City TV. I recently ran into him at the John Jensen Nature Centre while he was filming some segments with Bridget Ryan and Little Hell was running amok. Last I heard from Richard, before our chance encounter, was that he was writing a fun blog about fatherhood called The World of Dadcraft. He hasn’t updated it in a bit, but with his last entry happening a year ago on my birthday I’ll cal this entry serendipitous at least.

Richard is the father to two awesome little n00bs and was nice enough to answer a few questions.

UnDad: “For as long as you can remember, did you always want to be a father?”

Richard Bohn: “Before I met my wife, I had basically resigned myself to being single forever. I had friends and family who were having children, and was totally happy being Uncle Richard to all of the little rugrats. There was some hope deep in my heart that one day I would have children of my own, but until then, all my nieces and nephews would be my pretend kids.

UnDad: “Has it changed how you see the world?”

RB: “I have alway had a bit of a goofy side, and having kids allows me to keep in touch with that part of my personality. I will always admit that I can be responsible, but I will never be

Little Richard with Bridget Ryan. Rumour has it that mini Richard had his hands in his pants the whole interview. He most surely takes after his father.
Little Richard with Bridget Ryan. Rumour has it that mini Richard had his hands in his pants the whole interview. He most surely takes after his father.

mature. Having said that, I sometimes feel like I’m a secret service agent guarding the president. My head is always on a swivel spotting potential dangers and opportunities for disaster. I feel like my biggest job is to just keep both kids as safe as possible without turning them into bubble people, and also balancing the fun factor without breaking limbs. There’s also the cliched saying that as a parent, we get to re-experience the world through a new fresh of eyes, and that’s completely and unequivocally true. It is amazing to me that something as simple as the first ladybug of spring can elicit such emotion.”

UnDad: “What is one of the biggest surprises you’ve come across?”

RB: “I am in awe every day at how much my kids are changing. Some mornings when I gather my daughter up for a diaper change and bottle, she will surprise me with a new facial expression, a new look, a new action. My son will tell me something new that he learned, or about something he saw. It feels like time is rapidly advancing day by day, but I don’t feel the passage of it. I think one morning I’m going to wake up and my kids will be 18 and 14 and I will have no recollection of when the hell that happened.”

UnDad: “Do you have an anecdote that (sort of) sums up your dad experience thus far?”

RB: “The other day, my son and I were watching Transformers. At one point in my life, I could have told you all their names and what vehicle they transformed into, but I have long since lost that knowledge. On this day, (my son) really really needed to know who everyone is. After exhausting my limited transformer name supply, I added to turn to the periodic table of elements to stave off the continued barrage of questions every time a new guy came on screen. Yeah, I’m never going to have all the answers. I’m never going to be right all the time. I’m pretty sure that I’m just faking it till I make it. As long as my kids grow up to be good people, all the Autobots will be named after noble gases and household appliances.”

UnDad: “What advice would you give other dads?”

Right fresh dadding.
Right fresh dadding.

RB: “I touched on this earlier, but the pace but which of children grow and change is staggering, and I’ve definitely noticed it more with my daughter. Knowing that she will likely be the last child for my wife and I has given me pause, and the fact that every day she will never be as little as she is at this moment. My son will eventually not want to play Hot Wheels with me.

“We all know that there is no magic formula to being a parent. My only advice from what I’ve learned in my relatively short time being a dad is to just be in the moment. Worry about the things you can control, and don’t sweat the things out of your sphere of influence. Be patient, breathe, and enjoy being the coolest person in your kids life (for a few years, anyway).

Undad: “Anything else you’d like to add?”

RB: “Being a dad will forever be the best thing in my life, and I am grateful for the chance to share my thoughts.”

Quality of life

Photo by dbphotographics.ca
Photo by dbphotographics.ca

I consider myself a writer. Sometimes I use the word journalist. Sometimes playwright. Other times sketch comedian. I’ve been called a blogger. I try not to use blogger, although that is what I’m doing right now.

I’m telling you this because I’ve hit a wall. Not writers block or anything like that. I’ve hit a wall where my personal health has declined to the point that I’m very aware of it.

Sure, there have been exterior influences. Funerals, loved ones being sick, having a vast distance from my family…that stuff.

Since I married the most inspiring woman I’ve ever met, and we had the most magical being, I’ve lost sight of what makes me me.

I’ve gained close to thirty pounds. I get, maybe four hours sleep a night. I’m emotional and unpredictable. I try to be a good dad, which I think I am doing. I try to be a good husband, which I’m still referring to the manual. And within all this, I try to fit in my personal therapy: writing.

You see, I don’t do this because I consider it an art form (although I do). I don’t do it as a way to make money (although I do). I don’t do it to connect with society (although I do). I do it because it is a way of staking my existential claim. I put a flag down. I’ve put many flags down. I make myself real.

In the morning, for about 10 minutes before Elizabeth goes to work, I’m a husband and a father. When Elizabeth leaves, I’m a father. This goes on for 10 to 14 hours. Then I’m a husband again. A tired, confused husband. And father.

Then when family is in bed, say around 8 or 9 or 10, I become the writer. I become my own personal therapist. I become the best and worst writer I’ve ever known. I exist in the opulent sphere of self creation sliding between empowerment and doubt. Then I go to bed at about 2 or 3 and the machine starts all over again.

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Hark, there be metaphors.

As a stay-at-home father I’ve chosen this life. I have idiotically put myself in this position. I’ve ignored help. I feel that I’ve put myself and my health in the back seat. I’ve pushed myself out behind the chemical shed. I’ve become secondary to my own needs. What I’m realizing now, as so many parents and individuals and monks and animals have realized, I’m better when I’m at my best. When I’m at my best is when I’m healthy. This is something I need to remedy.

I would like to add that I’ve made the decisions that lead to this point. Elizabeth and I have talked about, on several occasions, about ways to alleviate this pressure. We talked about child care and shifting schedules…workable solutions to which I said, “No I got this. I got this good.” What I didn’t realize what the impact it would have on me. It’s akin to pushing someone out of the way of a transport truck then looking at it as I stupidly stand in the middle of the road saying, “Oh hey, a transport truck”.

This is where I contacted Michael at Overhaul Fitness. I gave Michael the pitch: I’m a stay-at-home dad. I don’t have time. I love my son and wife. I want my life to be better. Yadda yadda.

Within days I was in a coffee shop talking to Michael as the Bean ran amuck. He talked through a series of examples, realized what I needed and how he could offer it. Michael came to my house, walked me though a series of workouts. Using Michael’s Trainerize app, I can work out everyday whenever I want. And, Michael is only a text away. I’ve been doing it for a week. I need to keep doing it.

It is a step. A step that enhances my quality of life. And therefore helps those I love and I love them so very very much.

But ultimately it is a selfish choice. I want to be around my wife and son for as long as I can because they offer me an incalculable amount of positives.

This session is now over.

 

Got my hair did

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BEHOLD: Before.

Since my wife and I had a child, there are a few things I’ve had to give up:

I’ve had to give up eating a meal without being screamed at in gibberish.

I’ve had to give up watching a movie without having my genitals bitten (it’s a long story).

I’ve had to give up going to the washroom without being heckled.

Also, I’ve had to give up a good 70% of my ideals. Most of them having to do with artistic integrity.,

Another thing lost in the void is my personal hygiene.

Ok, I still brush my teeth and can occasionally sneak in a shower before Little Hell cataclysms the house, but I haven’t been able to get my hair cut for a while.

My hair, which my wife openly proclaims makes me look homeless, has always been something of an afterthought in my life. I call it ‘frontier bath house’ chic she calls it ‘something died in an old tire’ chic.

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Kari made me beautiful. And she cut my hair real good.

There were times back in my heyday when I would cut my own hair as I bathed in streams. I didn’t have access to laundry facilities, so I’d just wear all my clothes into the lake and cover myself in biodegradable soap. Anyway, it was simpler then. I was simpler.

Things are different now.

Then I was contacted by Pamper and Play.

They said they would cut my hair and keep my kid alive, and so I jumped at the chance. I didn’t need anything fancy. I didn’t need much at all. Just a guarantee that nobody would cut my ear off (true story) and that my son wouldn’t end up with any new scars.

My wife and some of her workmates thought it funny at first. Me, going to a fancy place to get my hair did. Will I discover my inner metro sexual? Will I get frosted tips? Will I get a spiderweb shaved into the side of my skull?

I kept it simple stupid. I just got a haircut. I could have had a massage. I could have even had had a pedicure or a hot shave, but I didn’t. Next time maybe…

I got some really good green tea, a nice chocolate treat and some great hand cream that I was warned not to eat. And it was nice to know that while I was focused on myself for 40 minutes, the Bean was elsewhere with others having fun.

There aren’t a lot of these businesses.

As a side note, I was asked to go on Dinner Television as part of a parenting panel later that day. As I walked towards the set I met my other panelists. Lo and behold Natasha Chiam and I had similar haircuts, just at different angles. I’d love to show you actual footage of the panel but for some reason our bit is the only video on the Dinner Television site that isn’t working. Let me assure you, Eudemus would offer us high fives.

I love my station in life, but every once in a while I want to pretend like I only need to care about about myself.