Happy Anniversary Sesame Street. Here’s the perfect cake to celebrate

sesame cakeAs Google shows today, it’s the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street, making Big Bird more like an Old Bird now. But it brought back a memory of something – the best Sesame Street cake ever spotted. And perhaps – if we all band together – we can get the recipe off the girl that made it.

Cake Excellence in Scotland

sesame cake

That was made by the slightly wonderful Anne McLuckie of Edinburgh PR firm Holyrood Partnership where I spent some time consulting on digital media matters with Contently Managed – but one thing Anne would never reveal was the recipe behind the sugar rush that was her great cakes.

Buuuuut, her boss Scott Douglas is a great believer in the power of social media, so perhaps if we all send them an email asking for the Cookie Monster Sesame Street Cake recipe, he’ll put the recipe up on his blog. If you want the recipe to the best legal sugar rush you’ll have this year (or want to talk about his new podcast or need some PR and don’t fancy using the Contently Managed team) then drop him an email here or use this contact form.

Dear Daughter 4/11/09 – Well you aren’t going blind

Well you did the eyetest and passed with 20-20 (or 6-9 as they apparently do in the UK, according to the optician), but the best hoot came from after you got the eyedrops put in and it left you with pupils that were wild! It looked as if you had taken LSD or acid with the wide-eyed pupils.

Anyway, you’re still sitting at least 5ft from the TV from now on – and watching it less too.

Anyway, I need to go and find your school socks. I never realised that the sock monster preyed on whole families (of course I beat the odds there by getting you to just buy me 21 pairs of the same black socks on a bi-annual basis), so I’m off to sock-hunting (and while I’m doing it I’ll change the lyrics of ‘Going on a Bear Hunt‘ to Sock Hunt.)

Dear Daughter 3/11/09 – Eyesight test time

As per the previous Dear Daughter posting, got you an eyesight test but if you can tell me in the morning that you can read this OK without squinting or struggling to make the words out then we’ll cancel.*

ps, sorry about crashing in beside you, but you always say you want more cuddles. And besides, blame your sidekick-to-be. Permission to bully has been granted.

* wonder if this gag will work in RSS readers…

Dear Bump 3/11/09 – you take those hormoans back right now

Dear see-you-in-May Bump, whatever one is releasing into your mother’s bloodstream just now could you stop? She’s being a tad grumpy and I’m crashing with your sister tonight because of it – if I thought the womb had room, I’d come in and annoy you.

For this, you’re getting called Zanzibar. Or couch, ‘cos that’s certainly what I associate you with mostly at the moment.

Dear Daughter 2/11/09 – Missing the point of Halloween

Dear Daughter, it’s way too early in the morning, so I’m going to introduce you to the concept of bullet points:

  • There’s concern over your eyesight after your mum spotted you squinting at reading materials. If your eyesight is throwing in the towel, expect war over how close you sit to the TV and how much of it you watch

  • And I know you think glasses and contact lenses are cool/fun. They’re not and bad eyesight can seriously screw up your life: did you see who your mum married?
  • Halloween was a hoot with you, though I stress to add that a) if you go out as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz ever again, you carry Toto. If I had to look after that mutt for one more minute I was reporting you to the RSPCA for (fake) dog neglect and b) on Halloween you can take sweets from people, it’s the one night ‘no thank you I haven’t had my dinner’ is not the appropriate response.
  • And don’t start me on you getting to wear mascara and lipstick – even if Dorothy did have them on in the film. You don’t see me dropping houses on the witches that you know “just because it happened in the film” do you?

Dear Bump 2/11/09 – No Poppy for you

Dear Bump, as it gets tedious writing about your mum heaving and your pic made the global appearance via Twitter (cute nose, big head, not at all camera shy, legs, toes and fingers all present), there’s not much to say about you just now, you crazy developing ball of cells you.

Apart from one thing – and if you knew morse code I would pass this on – you won’t be called Poppy. I quite liked it when the name popped into my head – I still do – but it’s been pointed out that it’s more of a kid’s name than an adult name. I dunno, I think it sounds quite quirky and happy, eccentric and bohemian, things I would love you to be.

But it’s not to be. One thing is for sure though: would really suck for your name if you’re a boy (and more on the bets over that issue another night).

Of course, at least we haven’t gone down the path of what we did with your big sister…not yet anyway.

Dear Daughter 28/10/2009 – What do you call a bunch of Dorothies?

Dear Daughter,

Well you’ve just no luck have you? Most girls – IIRC – get to the age of 16 before going to a bash or a party and discovering they have the same outfit as someone else.

You? Age 5. Place: School Halloween Disco.

Not one, not two, but THREE Dorothies from the Wizard of Oz (and two of you with the same outfit from the same shop). I mean what do you call the plural of a Dorothy? Dorotheees? Dorothi? Bunch of table cloth dresses? Actually what’s the collective noun as well? An Ozful of Dorothies? (next year you can all go as munchkins or the crazy monkeys – you’re all the right height for that and it doesn’t matter if you match).

Of course it wasn’t until you came back that I discovered you had mascara and lipstick on – and got a tattoo when out. I think all that was missing was you having a hangover and a boy’s phone number…That reminds me I didn’t actually check your wee Toto basket…

The double whammy was that we had a beast of a spider on the bathroom wall and you missed that as well. But I took a pic for you as I know you like these things.


Pictures as always taken with the iPhone 3GS

And another pic I noticed after you had gone to bed was what you had posted outside your mum’s room:


I know you aren’t meant to put stickers on the wall (and in fact I think this is the first time you ever have) but you can get a pass for that one. Don’t think you’re getting the iPod Touch that you’ve started asking everyone for though. You can play the games on mine.

And no, you can’t have driving lessons either.

Dear Bump: 28/10/2009 All Quiet on the Uterine Front

Dear Bump,

You’ve been quiet the last few days and your mum has even managed to keep the last few meals down (God bless pasta bakes) though the bedroom windows remain open, freezing me to death (still at least it gets me off the couch).

But I hope you’re looking your best tomorrow and you’ve combed your genes and forming veins to look good because you’re getting your second scan complete with pic and so on. I think your sis had four pics taken off her (I always said I was shocked her first words weren’t ‘”bloody papparazzi” or that along with the afterbirth there was a note for the Press Complaints Commission moaning about intrusion) so let’s see if we can beat that.

In the meantime just keep doing that cell dividing and growing thing. And hope you’re enjoying the pasta.

And yes, even though it’s way too early, I know for a fact I’ll ask “do you know what sex it is?” because Dads do that. And it’s never too early to start scaring boys away.

Dear Bump 26/10/2009

Good little developing thingy. Not only are you now, according to the little iPhone app I have, made it as far as the size of a peach, you also let your mum keep a full dinner down – and seconds.

For that have an extra gulp of amniotic fluid or whatever it is you do in there to chill when you aren’t too busy dividing cells and stuff.

(or perhaps I’m just a damn good cook. Anyway, like your big sister, mum can now expect pasta bake non-stop for months.)

Dear Daughter 26/10/2009

I’ve just realised that I never picked up your Halloween outfit from your gran. Hmmm, better get that tomorrow, especially as you have your school disco tomorrow night.

On the other hand, well done on finally eating a full meal that didn’t involve chips, sausages, beans or mashed potato. Expect pasta bake every night for the rest of your life now…

Chef McGill

Dear Daughter 25/10/2009

Dear Daughter, I don’t mind that you were  away for most of the weekend having fun – at your age that’s what it’s all about – and while I’m quizzed about your sudden direct devotion to your gran (who, three months ago, you wouldn’t have given the time of day to*) but after I’ve spent an hour cleaning the kitchen, did we really have to be so messy when making cakes?

Anyway, let’s see if you can sleep through the whole night for a change.

*notwithstanding the fact that you couldn’t tell the time three months ago.

Dear Bump 25/10/2009

Dear Bump, a weekend of making your mum ill. You are most likely going to be the fittest child ever at this rate (going by the old theory of ‘the sicker the pregnancy* the healthier the child’).

Two things are also quite apparent from this: your dad certainly won’t be fit and you may get called Arthur as in arthuritis (or the more common spelling of arthritis) from the spinal damage I’m getting sleeping on spare beds, couches and your big sister’s bed because you’re playing havoc with your mum’s body temperature.

Anyway, goodnight Arthur.

* I don’t think that means watching all the Saw films.

Defying Gravity: now that was a season cliffhanger

I’ve ranted before about how much I’m a fan of Defying Gravity and the season ender (which just aired in Canada) was bloody fantastic. One character close to death (though you know they’ll survive), another is emotionally hurt, another is jailed, Cape Canaveral is flooded and under water, another is told that his one-night-stand had an abortion, a new alien turns up, a character has a baby (though the SFX were bloody awful for it) and another realises that she has blocked out sexual abuse in her background.

Oh yeah and another one told a journalist that the Venus landing was faked/covered-up.

So not a lot happened then and there wasn’t a lot that would have had long term ramifications for the show. For a show that started off slowly (so some said), it was a stormer. The odds are against it surviving (the sets have been pulled down) are as slim as some plots from Star Trek: Enterprise, but I liked it and I hope it gets the ratings abroad to justify being picked up on a cheaper scale (greenscreen sets perhaps?)

Anyway put me down for buying the DVD boxset. It was  a type of show that deserved to be encouraged. A semi-realistic and serious look (with the usual dramatic conceits for fiction) at space travel with some good acting.

And now, I’m off to Contently Managed to write about how I would have done the PR for the show/PR a relaunch.

Why there’s no mum or mom blog links here and where you can find them

Had an email asking what I have against mothers as the links to the side are about three things: writers, dads in the UK and dads in the US (and if it wasn’t for the fact that I have them on RSS I’d add one for mates too).

The simple answer is: nothing. I read and enjoy quite a few mum bloggers and tweeters (being raised by females makes it quite interesting as I can read stuff and see similarities/differences to my upbringing), but the mum blog scene – even in the UK – is fairly well established. The dad scene is a lot more fresh (and also, dads tend to blog about their children while also blogging about other stuff. This site is proof of that as is a site like Budgie’s Sqwawks). Also – and this goes against what 99% of online people do – why replicate what someone else is doing elsewhere? There’s lots of links to mummy bloggers out there.

But for those of you wondering where the best mum blogs are (or you’re a PR on the hunt for some) or you’re just too damn lazy to do your own legwork I direct you to this list with the usual caveats (you may not like them, may not be your thing, yadda yadda): Sally Whittal and her list of the UK’s top 100 parenting blogs. (and yes, there are dad blogs in there too but only about 4 or 5).

Warning: you may lose hours if you start at the top and decide to just dip in to a few of them. Some excellent writing and reading in there.

Where’s all the PR and social media chat gone?

In case you haven’t looked in the box to the right hand side, I’m using here to talk about fatherhood, writing (my own and others) and popular culture (or in the case of Defying Gravity, perhaps not so popular culture 🙂 ), all the chat about social media, digital PR, online marketing and so on can be found over at Contently Managed, which is the company I set up to deal with those sort of issues. So if that’s your thing, see you over there as well as over here.

Dear Daughter 22/10/2009

Dear Daughter, as cute as it is that you wake up in the middle of the night and say “only you can help me get back to sleep dad” (what am I? Obi Wan McGill?) and the cuddles are fantastic, you have to stop being a wee madam the rest of the time – that or wait until you’re a teenager like we had to back in the day (though I wasn’t a madam I hasten to add). Telling your nana “we do what I want as this is my house and I live here and you don’t” is not going to endear you to anyone – though it did give me a chance to work on my Dad Voice (think Batman but without the Welsh lisp).

(And well done on tip-toeing upstairs to avoid us hearing you dodging the naughty step. You forgot though that you keep needing to tip toe once in your room.)

And would you please start putting a filling on your sandwich for school? Bread and butter are not the two main food groups. Honestly, doing that in Carntyne would have had the social work out in the 80s, so god knows what others make of it.

Anyway, it’s Friday now, so no lunchbox today. It’s ‘homie’ day as you kids call it now.

Dear Bump 22/10/2009

Dear Bump, right chuck it. It’s a bad day when even I’m feeling sorry for the wife. Stop making your mum this sick or it’s the naughty womb for you (what? I can hardly send it to the naughty step or anything else can I? What would the equivalent threat be? “Right, off the pancreas for you”?)

Either that or judging by “the sicker the mum is, the fitter the child” you’re going to be an Olympic gold winner and astronaut all before you’re 14. If you pull that off, we’ll call it quits on how ill you’re making your mum.

(oh and lesson learned. No matter how casual a joke you think you’re making when you say it. “By Christ, this pregnancy’s taking it’s toll on you” is never a line that will endear you to the other half.)