It’s Not Me, It’s You: Cutting the Cord

cord-cutting

Relationships are complicated. Think back on the relationships you’ve formed over the years. No matter if it’s a marriage or simply dating, or even a friendship, relationships take work.

I’ve been in a relationship for almost 15 years. When it first started it was wonderful. It was everything I could have ever imagined. It was the first thing I thought about in the morning and the last thing I thought about before falling asleep at night. We went everywhere and did everything together. We traveled the world learning about other cultures, went to sporting events rooting on our favorite teams, and lost ourselves in movies and TV programs galore. We were perfect together. But over time, this once beautiful relationship started to become increasingly complicated and felt as though we started to grow apart.

What was once simple and fun, has become dull and boring. All the new and exciting discoveries that once were, have seemingly disappeared, instead being replaced by feelings of distance, and at times feeling like we’re only together for financial reasons. I no longer feel loved or cared for, but rather I feel taken advantage of, even stuck like I’m in some sort of contract.

Well, enough is enough. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to feel as though I have some say or some choices in a relationship. And for that to happen I have to break free from this relationship. It will be hard at first, but I know the key to my happiness is to no longer be part of a relationship where I have not felt respected for a long time, and instead feel limited and ignored.

That’s why I’m leaving you,Cable TV:

Dear Cable,

We’ve been together for a long time, and had some great times together, but I am starting to feel this relationship no longer works. And before you ask, it’s not me, it’s totally you.

Over the years you’ve become a shell of what you once were. Sure, you offer a ton more channels than you did when we first met, but really, how many more reality shows do I need? How much more of the same tired programs  am I supposed to watch? It’s getting old.

And let’s be honest, you’re not interested in me anymore,or even my happiness. You’re only about the money. Everyone knows the quality shows are on channels like HBO or Showtime now. So what do you do? You charge an arm and a leg to get those channels. You used to be the only game in town, and that’s why you could demand more money from me for your affection. Well guess what, those days are over.

You’re no longer the belle of the ball. Streaming and stand alone services have arrived at the party, and you know what, they look pretty cute to me.

I will always remember the fond times we had. Heck, we grew up together. You were always there for me, but we’ve both changed so much over the years, and in your case, not for the better.

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Cable, in my opinion, has become an outdated model for family entertainment. What was once an exciting option (the only option I might add) has become over-saturated as the channel options have grown into the hundreds, and swelled even more with the arrival of HD channels. Programming has become dull and repetitive, and while this is not 100% the fault of the cable companies, they have seen how the public’s preference is shifting towards original content on the pay channels (i.e. HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz etc.) and have continually increased their rates.

The same can be said for their package structure when you first sign up. Cable companies know now that most homes will require internet, and that people are more and more streaming their entertainment through the internet. Because of this, they force customers to bundle services together  (i.e. phone, cable and internet), even if you don’t require services like the a land-line, or pay a higher price for less service. This way they can force you to get cable under the claim of saving money.

As new services arrive and evolve like Apple TV, Netflix original content, Hulu Plus, and the newest arrival in January of 2015 Sling TV, customers, especially of the Millennial generation are more and more making the decision to cut the cord and ditch cable altogether. Even channels such as HBO see how the tides are turning in what customers want, and that’s why they have announced they too will be launching their own stand alone streaming service (HBO NOW) that will no longer require customers to have a cable subscription.

Don’t believe me, just look at the numbers. In a recent poll done of 300 Millennial subscribers on the Field Agent app, the numbers tell the truth:

  • 74% access TV content through subscription web-streaming services like Netflix.
  • 99% of Millennials want to be able to pick the TV channels they subscribe to
  • 39% of Millennials have completely quit paying for cable and satellite services (cord-cutters)
  • 84% are cutting the cord because of the better value and lower cost
  • 79% agree that “There is still a lot of content I would like to watch that is not easily available through streaming services and other non-traditional platforms.”
  • 71% are likely to subscribe to Sling TV

Well cable companies, there are the numbers. People want choice. But more importantly, it looks like people no longer want to be stuck with you. That includes me.

Disclaimer: I am being compensated by Field Agent for this post. Regardless, all opinions are mine own. Field Agent was the first company to combine the power of crowdsourcing with mobile technology to deliver real-time information and insights.

Get your free whitepaper on the topic of cord-cutting by visiting this link (http://info.fieldagent.net/cord-cutting-download)

I Know Funny People Dammit: I STILL Just Want to Pee Alone Book Review

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Despite the opinions recently expressed by others (see: my son and wife) that I’ve shared on my Facebook page, I *AM* funny, AND, I *know* a lot of funny people dammit!

Last summer I attended a blog conference (my first) called BlogU. When I first discovered the conference, I was weary of attending because it totally felt like it was made only for women, and *yes* while they did say men were welcome, I couldn’t help but feel like I wouldn’t fit in very well.

My Wife nagged convinced me that I should give it a shot and not be so nervous. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen, nobody wants to talk to me but I end up learning a bunch of cool stuff for my blog? So, I set my nerves aside and signed up. My fears could not have been any further from reality.

The second I nervously introduced myself on the conference Facebook page I was flooded with welcomes and excitement about having a guy in the group. I spent the next month talking with all the attendees online, joining in twitter parties, and reading/sharing blogs of so many talented writers.

I have to admit, I was also a little star-struck as many of the ladies who would be working as staff/teachers at the upcoming conference were some really popular bloggers and published authors; many I had been following  and reading for years. One such author was the hilarious Jen Mann from the wildly popular blog People I Want to Punch in the Throat.

Being a fresh-faced rookie into the writing world I committed to staying unseen throughout the entire weekend, absorbing as much knowledge as I could, then slinking out on Sunday to head home. The ladies would have none of that.

Any ideas I had of staying unknown and hidden were dashed at the opening keynote panel when the same Jen Mann was speaking about putting yourself out there, and not being afraid to be heard. She was talking about she loves to hear fresh new voices, and how her anthologies have served to help writers get their name out there; get over the nerves of submitting, because showing anyone, let alone the world, something you’ve written can be terrifying. She stopped mid-speech and said the following:

“….wait, Isn’t there a guy here? I see over 200 bright, talented women, but I was told we were going to be joined by one brave soul….(everyone turned and looked right at me in the audience)…oh, there you are. You’re quite brave. I hope you submit something to me some day.”

That one moment changed my entire weekend. I went from fully encased in a shell of shyness, to open and engaging, and because of that I met so many awesome writers; many who have become close friends and confidants.

I tell this little story because Jen Mann is at it again. Today her third anthology in the “I Just Wanna…” series dropped, and it once again is giving an opportunity to some very talented writers to have their voices heard; many of them are my pals!

I was honored to be asked to read an advanced copy of the book, and let me tell you what; if you enjoyed I Just Want to Pee Alone (recently named to the New York Times Best Sellers list) or I Just Want to Be Alone, you are going to going to absolutely love I STILL Just Want to Pee Alone. This book had me laughing cover to cover, and not the normal kind of laughing. It was more along the lines of that awkward laugh you do when you think you’re alone, but when you realize you’re in public you look around to see who is looking at you.

And since I have already read this funny book, I thought it would only be fair to give away my copy to one of my awesome fans., because I just want to spread the laughter.

So if you’re interested in winning my copy of the new I STILL Want to Pee Alone email me at papadoespreach@gmail.com (because I’m low-rent and can’t do giveaways on my blog just yet) with “Book Give Away” in the title. Tell me why you really want this book, tell me a funny story, tell me about how much your kids have sucked away your fun time so this book would make your life. I’ll put all the names in a hat (seriously, I’m low rent people) and have the Wife pick a winner. Maybe I’ll even feature your story on my blog (with your permission of course). Winner will be announced Friday 4/3/15.

Don’t worry though, if you’re not into the whole submitting for a prize thing, you can always head over to Amazon (click here to purchase)  and pick up a copy for yourself.

This is a seriously funny book. Below is a list of all the authors in the book and their websites:

Bethany Kriger Thies of Bad Parenting Moments
Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Start By Saying
Alyson Herzig of The Shitastrophy
JD Bailey of Honest Mom
Kathryn Leehane of Foxy Wine Pocket
Suzanne Fleet of Toulouse and Tonic
Nicole Leigh Shaw of Nicole Leigh Shaw, Tyop Aretist
Meredith Spidel of The Mom of the Year
Rebecca Gallagher of Frugalista Blog
Rita Templeton of Fighting off Frumpy
Darcy Perdu of So Then Stories
Christine Burke of Keeper of The Fruit Loops
Amy Flory of Funny Is Family
Robyn Welling of Hollow Tree Ventures
Sarah del Rio of est. 1975
Amanda Mushro of Questionable Choices in Parenting
Jennifer Hicks of Real Life Parenting
Courtney Fitzgerald of Our Small Moments
Lola Lolita of Sammiches and Psych Meds
Victoria Fedden of Wide Lawns and Narrow Minds
Keesha Beckford of Mom’s New Stage
Stacia Ellermeier of Dried-on Milk
Meredith Bland of Pile of Babies
Harmony Hobbs of Modern Mommy Madness
Janel Mills of 649.133: Girls, the Care and Maintenance Of
Kim Forde of The Fordeville Diaries
Stacey Gill of One Funny Motha
Beth Caldwell of The Cult of Perfect Motherhood
Sarah Cottrell of Housewife Plus
Michelle Back of Mommy Back Talk
Tracy Sano of Tracy on the Rocks
Linda Roy of elleroy was here
Michelle Poston Combs of Rubber Shoes In Hell
Susan Lee Maccarelli of Pecked To Death By Chickens
Vicki Lesage of Life, Love, and Sarcasm in Paris
Kris Amels of Why, Mommy?
Mackenzie Cheeseman of Is there cheese in it?
Tracy DeBlois of Orange & Silver

Ashley Brown Allen of Big Top Family

No Idea What I’m Doing Guest Post: Why I tell my wife she’s beautiful everyday

Today I am so honored to be guest hosting one of my favorite bloggers; Clint Edwards from the awesome No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog. When I first got into the parent-blogging game Clint’s blog was one of the first place I stumbled across.

Clint and I come from very similar backgrounds (growing up without our fathers in the picture, and then becoming fathers ourselves), which really helped knowing there were other dads out there who didn’t have dads themselves, but weren’t letting that stop them from trying to make a difference. His writing helped me through rough times, especially the first year of little Ferris’ life.

Clint’s writing has been featured in such places as Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, Good Morning America and the New York Times, just to name a few. He has written so many great articles; far too many to even try and choose some to link to, so instead I will say this, please head to his blog and follow him (like I do), or connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Clint

My wife was complaining about the size of her breasts again. “They are so small,” she said. “I look like a little girl.”

She was changing into her pajamas. I was sitting on the edge of the bed reading from the tablet.

“I like them,” I said. “I think you’re beautiful.” I said it with sincerity. I always do. And yet, she always argues with me. She usually shoots down my complements as something I’m obligated to say.

“I can look like a little girl and still be beautiful,” She said. She had her hands on her hips now. “What I want is to look like a woman.”

Mel is petite. She stands just over five feet, and weighs just over 100 pounds. Small breasts, small hips, small hands. I think she has always been self-conscious about her size. When I took Mel home to meet my mother she asked if I’d checked her ID. When Mel first had a baby, strangers often asked if Tristan was her younger brother. She gets mistaken for younger, less mature, and I think that makes her feel like she is not taken seriously. And somehow this has translated into her self-esteem, and her understanding of her own beauty.

These feelings of being small, too young, and inadequate, started long before we met, and the world seems to constantly be reaffirming them through magazines, TV ads, and snarky comments. As a woman, she is bombarded by images of tall, lean, and full-breasted women that have been air brushed to perfection, as if this is the norm. As if this is what a woman must look like, and I can only assume that she looks at herself compared to these unachievable things and feels inadequate. The truly sad part is that the women on magazines are shown in one dimension. They don’t show who they are as a person, only their bodies.

If Photoshop could capture how much Mel loves her children, how dedicated she is to her family, the fact that she is a full-time mom, and a part-time student, and kicking ass at both, all the sacrifices she’s made for our family, she would be on the cover of every magazine, because this is the really sexy stuff. A flat stomach and large breasts just look good on paper.

But the fact is, I can’t change how the media sexualizes women. It’s not within my circle of influence. But here’s what I do know. I know that my wife is beautiful. I know that her hips give me chills, and that even after 10 years of marriage, I still get nervous when I kiss her. I feel warmth in my heart when she holds me. I long for her. I think she is a great mother and the most supportive and life-changing person I have ever encountered. So I tell her that she is beautiful everyday. Most days I tell her several times a day. I send her text messages. When she calls, I say, “Hello, pretty person.” I bring her flowers at least once a month, more if I can afford it.

I don’t know if my constant reassurance of her beauty is having an impact or not. Perhaps I say it too much. Perhaps it has become ubiquitous after ten years, the backdrop of her life. But what I do know is that it helps me to feel like I’m doing something. I can’t change the world. I can’t change the way companies market their products. I can’t change who is cast in what TV show, or movies, or how much a woman’s image on the cover of a magazine is altered. But what I can do is remind my wife, everyday, that I am blown away by how lucky I am to have someone so beautiful in body, mind, and spirit.

I was in bed now. Mel was dressed in her pajamas, standing next to me. I was going to bed early so I could get up and write the next morning. She leaned down to kiss me and I said, “You are the most beautiful person I know.”

She gave me a half smile and said, “Thanks.”

“Don’t worry,” I said. “ I will remind you about it tomorrow.”

Mel laughed and said, “I know.”

“Good,” I said.

Then she turned out the light.

 

A Tribute to a Man I Never Met: Oren Miller

Oren

Last weekend the city of San Francisco’s population of forward thinking men grew by an exponential amount.The reason, the 4th annual convening of Dad 2.0; a conference where dads (and some moms) who blog meet to talk on all things dads.

I’m not the most outgoing person in the world, and much of the life of the party-ness I once had in my high school and young adult years is now replaced with shyness, anxiety, and quiet fear of rejection, which usually manifests itself with me standing alone in large gatherings, simply watching others talk and interact. Basically I have a black belt in people watching…that sounded way creepier than I intended.

So attending a conference with hundreds of outgoing and boisterous dudes made total sense to me. Luckily one of the really cool things about the Dad Blogger group I’m a part of on Facebook (which easily made up 99% of the conference attendees) is that you won’t be allowed to be shy for too long. Whenever I found myself doing my usual wallflower routine, someone would either pull me into a conversation or walk up and start one with me.

It was an amazing 3 days spent with a lot of great people. But even with all the fun I had, and people I met, I returned home with not a clue what to write about. Much like last year when I attended my first conference as a blogger (BlogU14), I was in such a haze when I returned that I could not for the life of me focus on what to write about.  That is until last night.

A man I never met, and only know through stories I’ve read, conversations overheard at Dad 2.0, and 1 Facebook PM saying, “Welcome to the group” upon my inclusion into the Dad Bloggers group, passed away last night losing his battle with stage 4 lung cancer.

Oren Miller, A Blogger and a Father, had this amazing idea several years back that seemed so crazy that it might just work. His idea, start a group for men, for bloggers, for fathers. The group would be a meeting place, cyber-speakeasy, where fathers could hang out, talk, vent, joke around, but above all else, support one another.

Oren was the undeniable leader of the Dad Blogger group. Even though he would have never accepted that title, it was clear by the esteem everyone holds him in that we would follow him anywhere. This year at Dad 2.0, while fun was being had all around, I could not help but feel the uneasiness in the air whenever someone talked about Oren.

While this was my first time attending a Dad 2.0 conference, it felt like something was missing, and clearly that something was Oren. It was evident in a lot of the men in attendance, just behind the smiles and laughs, tears were being held at bay by the smallest thread. The proverbial elephant in the room; no one knew how long Oren would be with us.

Unfortunately, the day after we all returned home from celebrating, the picture of how long we, and the rest of the world had with Oren become a lot more clear. In a rare moment, Oren reached out and posted to the group last Monday that he had run out of treatment options, and as he put it, his time had come. Of course we all knew what this meant. With stage 4 lung cancer it could at best be a month or two left, more likely weeks.  As it turns out, it was only days. Oren Miller passed on from this life on Saturday February 28, 2015. He was 42 years old.

Many now mourn the loss of a great man; a man who was the creator, the father if you will, of the very place we fathers gather on a daily basis.

One memory keeps kicking around in my head since learning of Oren’s passing, and I can’t seem to shake it. On the final day of Dad 2.0 it was announced that they would be renaming the annual scholarship fund (this helps dads who can’t afford to purchase a ticket on their own) to the Oren Miller Scholarship Fund. Then the final surprise of the night, the announcement of Dad 2.016 would be in Washington DC. I was excited beyond words. Not only because it would be in my own backyard next year, but just for a moment I forgot about reality and thought, “Maybe Oren will be well enough to attend next year. Baltimore is only 30 min away.”

How naive of me.

They don’t call cancer the heavy-weight champ for nothing. It rarely loses. And we were reminded of that fact this week.

From everything I have read about Oren he was even more humble than he was nice. He never wanted this Dad Blogger group to be about him. He wanted it to be about us. The men who started it with him, the men who have now joined, and the men still out there looking for a place to call home.  But that’s the thing about great men; whether they want it to or not, it will always become about them because they inspire us, lead us, show us how to be better, and at the end of the day that is how legacies are born, and Oren Miller’s legacy will live on forever.

The name Oren Miller will never be forgotten; the Dad Blogger Group and Dad 2.0 Scholarship Fund will make sure of that. And if there is one beautiful thing about the internet (in this case), it’s that everything that is put on it will live forever. That means we will always have Oren’s writings (and his wife Beth’s as well) to reflect on, and learn from.

But for now we grieve. Many of my fellow Dad Bloggers have expressed ways they will honor the memory of Oren (there have been talks of tattoos and namings of unborn children). For me, I will honor Oren by investing in the very reason he started our group for; being a better dad. I’m not saying I’m not a good dad, but I can be better; we can always be better, and Oren knew that. For one, I can be more patient and be in the moment. As Oren discussed many times, this is the only life we get, so why waste it being upset.

Oren, we never met, and I never was able to tell you this, but thank you for including me in the Dad Blogger Group. Thank you for starting the group. Thank you for all you gave to us. You have changed all our lives for the better. We all know you never wanted all this to be about you, but you will be missed by thousands of people; not many in life can ever say that. Your body may be gone, but your soul will live on forever. Peace to you.

 

 

 

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