Last weekend Heather and I made our first ever trip to Texas, and I was stoked to go because everything there is larger than life: The Alamo! Buddy Holly! Longhorns! Rick Perry!
“You better bring your “A” game,” I warned Heather. “I’m going big this weekend. Gonna play some high school football, win first prize at a rodeo, go hunting with ‘W’ –.”
“I’m pretty sure none of those things are going to happen,” she interrupted with an eye roll.
Okay, fine. So none of those things happened, but some pretty big things happened nonetheless – I took a “Man Vs. Food” challenge, spoke at the first ever Dad Blogging conference, and even (somehow) ended up discussing the finer points of parent blogging with a homeless man!
The Dad 2.0 conference was in Austin, Texas, which meant I was in the vicinity of a restaurant, “Juan In A Million,” that I’d seen featured on “Man Vs. Food.” As no stranger to food challenges, I was set on visiting this place because it has a doozy of challenge. It involves an amazing breakfast taco – over one pound of egg, cheese, bacon, and potato – and to beat the record you have to eat EIGHT! in one sitting. Even “Man vs. Food” host Adam Richman only got through four.
Pretty big, aye? I’m ashamed to say that, upon finishing this behemoth, I couldn’t even start a second. I blame the mounds of brisket I’d eaten the night before… that and the pound of pecans I’d bought at the pecan farm down the road from the hotel. Did I mention they sell FULL SIZED PECAN PIES IN VENDING MACHINES?!
Check out the bottom row… full pies! Just $20!
I was feeling less full and ready to talk when it came time for my panel. We discussed how dad bloggers could appeal to both a male and female readership, and the conversation was pretty interesting. Here’s my awesome panel:
The chair in the front listened very attentively.
It was great to be part of Dad 2.0. The Dad blogging world is not as close knit or established as that of the mom bloggers, so it was a joy to meet other men who write about what it is like to be a 21st century Dad.
After the closing keynote speech everyone headed off to downtown Austin where there was a party at an outdoor concert venue. Some local bands played, and, in addition to the Dad 2.0 crowd, a bunch of Austin-ites showed up. At one point a dude with a scruffy beard, dirty clothes, and wild eyes staggered over to me.
“So, man,” he drawled. “What did you speak about?”
I was thoroughly confused until I realized I was still wearing my speaker badge.
“Dad Blogging,” I told the crazy homeless dude.
“Right on, brother. I’ve been thinking about starting a mommy blog myself.”
“You should. You could call it ‘Bearded Mama’ dot com. Probably be a hit.”
“Stranger things have happened, my brother.”
“That’s true. Like this conversation.”
The crazy homeless guy laughed, then shook my hand and proclaimed, “Keep blogging, my man! Peace!” As he walked away Heather hurried over.
“What the heck was that about?”
“Believe it or not I was discussing blogging with that homeless dude.”
“I don’t think he’s homeless, babe,” Heather said with a smirk. “I think he’s just an Austin hipster.”
Well, whatever he was, I predict he will soon challenge The Pioneer Woman for biggest Mommy blogger in the world.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend, but the best part was returning home to Annie and having her run up to me at the airport. Getting a hug, and then another after giving her a little stuffed Longhorn we’d brought back, was about as sweet a moment as there can be.
Stephanie Ansley says:
Jealous of your awesome-sounding trip! But as a huge fan of Man vs. Food and its host, I must correct you… ADAM Richman, not Andy! *shakes finger at Mike*
Andy? Where the heck did I get Andy? Good catch… I’ve fixed it!
I love that there are Daddy bloggers. Guys who think about their kids and consciously choose what kind of father they want to be. I’m lucky to be married to one like that – my mum still can’t believe how hands in he is with our girl. Daddies rock and so do you, and I bet seeing sweet Annie again was fantastic!
Bearded mama dot com.
Ha ha ha! Just brilliant! I’d read it!!!!!
Susan C. says:
Hope you enjoyed your time in Austin. That’s one of my favorite places – in-laws live in/around there. But now you and Heather need to come to Fort Worth (and bring Annie). We have excellent museums, a wonderful zoo, and a great downtown area. Cowboys and Culture! Just don’t wait until July or August – we all burst into flames just walking outdoors.
I’ll agree with the museums and zoo!! They are awesome in Ft. Worth! We love going to the zoo there and just recently went to the Science Museum and Omni Theatre. I went there a lot as a kid, but the museum is 100% different. Its soooo cool! My kids loved it!
And Mike, a Longhorn? Really? EW! (Sooner fan here, longhorns are only good when placed upside down)
Texas is on my list. I’m glad you are still blogging and got the opportunity to speak at Dad 2.0
Glad you had fun in our fair city! I actually went to Juan in a Million for the first time ever recently too! So delicious. But now I’m dying to know where this vending machine is. Don’t worry folks, not ALL of our vending machines sell whole pies!
So fun to see you guys and get to hang out! Come back to Austin anytime
Wait, what?!?!?!? The best part wasn’t spending time with me? I’m hurt!!
So glad I got to see you guys!! Everything is BIGGER in Texas and don’t you forget it!!
Glad you enjoyed your visit to Texas! And glad our state put its best foot (or giant breakfast burrito) forward.
I love reading your posts, in addition to Heathers when I come here. I don’t think they could have asked a better daddy to speak!
My husband has agreed to one post a month on our blog – and he acted like I asked him to stomp on newborn baby kittens. Eeeesh.
I grew up in Dallas – the pecans in Texas are the best in the world. *nod*
Oh, I love Austin. Did the homeless guy have wifi in his pocket?
Lol. Homeless…Hipster….Oh god I’m dying.
Pecan pies in vending machines….That is a reason NOT to live in Austin…Sounds amazing….
Ah, but did you check out the basement in the Alamo? ;). Glad you had fun in Austin at the dad blogger convention.
Glad you enjoyed your time in Austin. I love this city but you definitely came at a time when the hipsters are out in full force. Since SXSW is going on the city is swamped with them. It makes for really good people watching. Most of us do actually take baths and change our clothes daily
I’m glad you enjoyed Austin….I need to know where this mythical vending machine with pecan pies is located! I have lived here for almost 10 years and have never come across that before!
It was Berdoll farms off the 71 in Bastrop. Great place… worth a visit!
You kill me! Truly glad there are blogging dads out there (or blogging bearded mamas) and especially grateful to you for letting us peak into Spohr World.
Very impressed that not only do dads blog, but that they have conferences now too! Next time, though, I hope more than an empty chair attends your panel, as I’m sure it was pretty cool.
Jay- The Dude of the House says:
It was quite a weekend and your panel was one of the highlights for me. I’d intended to talk to AJ afterward, but got sidetracked. Luckily I ran into him at 5:15am the next day in the airport.
You and Heather made the weekend much easier (and more fun) for a newbie like me, so thanks. Hope to see y’all soon somewhere closer to home.
To all of those wondering about the Pecan Pies in the vending machines….I have to assume that is at Berdoll farms. It’s out Hwy 71 towards Bastrop, maybe 3 or 4 miles out of town. They advertise 24 vending on their giant neon sign and specialize in Pecans.
Glad you and Heather enjoyed your quick trip to Austin–it’s the best place to visit or live.
Where’d you eat Briskett?
Yes, it was Berdoll farms! That place was great! As for the very good briskett, we got it at Stubbs.
Oh! I wish I would of known you guys were here! I would of offered to cook you dinner. And yes, you probably totally talked to an Austin Hipster. Keep Austin Weird!