Fathers Day Gift Ideas

Its been pointed out to me that Fathers Day is less than two weeks away, so I thought that I would put together a little guide to give my daughter some idea about the sort of thing she should be spending her pocket money on, especially as she spent all afternoon telling me how much she loves me, although a fair portion of my brain is telling me that this was because there is more than a fair size chunk of chocolate stashed away on the top shelf, and not really down to any genuine feelings of affection that my daughter may or may not have for me.

The Punisher By Garth Ennis Omnibus 

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The Punisher is one of those Marvel characters that most definitely was not a hero, whilst he does go around dispensing justice, he does so committing mass murder. Garth Ennis initial run on the Punisher is one of those true defining moments for the character, in a way that no other writer has actually managed to capture, before or after.  £57.97 from Amazon.

Xposed Red on Blue Check Three Piece Suit

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As you may have guessed from previous blog posts, or if you’ve ever met me, I am what you may call a modern dandy, I like nice clothes, and I like things that are a little bit on the colourful side, so when I saw this suit, it went straight on the wish list. I want it as a 48 inch chest, find it for £96.99 on Fashion Xposed.

A Case of Berry Bros. & Rudd Good Ordinary Claret

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I like a nice drop of the old vino rosso, and whilst its sometimes nice to have a complex bouquet full of crisp dryness and fruity whatever hell and scintillating who gives a crap, sometimes its nice to have some Good Ordinary Claret, and Berry Bros and Rudd are a name (or names) that has always been synonymous with excellent wine. A case of six will set you back £53.70 direct from the Berry Bros and Rudd website, Although Marianna may have to get her mother to buy this one.

Samuel Windsor Summer Blazer – Torbay Boating Jacket 

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For some time now I’ve wanted a boating blazer, with a few outdoor events set for the coming summer months I think one of these would be ideal for a slightly natty formal look that stands out from the usual rain cloud grey, jet black, or cheap looking navy blue that seems to be dominating men’s fashion of late, this bad boy from Samuel Windsor cashes in at £99 so I better increase Marianna’s pocket money if I want one of these blazers for myself come fathers day.

Gotham Central Omnibus

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Gotham Central looks at the police force and the officers that make up the GCPD, the thin blue line that stands between Gotham City’s Underworld, Bat Masked Vigilantes and utter chaos. This volume collects the whole series and is available on amazon for £51.43

 

Dobell 3D- Genuine Crown Three Pence Cufflinks 

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I like cufflinks, I have loads, but always want more, and I quite like the eye catching and antique nature of these cufflinks. I’m always on the lookout for unique pieces that would add a little bit of flair and panache to some of my still pretty outlandish sartorial choices.  I found these on the Dobell website, and are probably the only things price wise (£24.99) that I have a hope in hell of being gifted this fathers day, especially as I know how much pocket money my daughter actually gets

 

100 Years Of Voting

100 Years ago today, women were granted the right to vote by act of parliament, this entitled them to both vote in and stand for all elections in the country. 100 years later my daughter (aged 3) has campaigned in 4 elections and 1 referendum, she regularly attends civic functions and community events. And to be completely honest as the child of two elected politicians, I really hope that, in the future, she goes into the family business.

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The Mini Mayor Of Torfaen, involved in yet another campaign

Daddy Daughter Day Out

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Today I got to spend the day with my absolute favourite person in the entire world, my daughter Marianna. Now how is this different to any other day you ask? Well in truth it wasn’t that different, I spend most days with my daughter, but today, rather than just be sat around the house all day with her entertaining herself and me busying myself with housework or actual work, Marianna and I put on our outdoor clothes and hopped on a bus to my home town of Newport.

Whilst in Newport we took in the sights of the High Street and the still new looking Friars Walk, before adorning to Greggs Bakery where we had a sandwich and Marianna had a gingerbread man. We then rounded the trip off with a rather expensive visit to Sin City Comics where I picked up my almost 10 month backlog of comics, and because Marianna was such a good girl I let her pick a toy for herself, she chose a Funko Pop Dalek, because she really is my child.

We then got the bus back, seeing some cows in a field on the way back Marianna then recited a list of the various dairy and meat products that come from cows. When we got home we found that my new hat had arrived, then Marianna had a nap whilst I did a lot of housework, before my parents came to pay us a visit this evening. After that Marianna helped (well she didn’t hinder which is almost the same thing) me to make a chicken stir fry for dinner, we then played  bit before I put her to bed and resumed binge watching the new series of House Of Cards.

Government Policy As Understood By My Two Year Old

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Sometimes government can seem like several factions of warring children, and policy itself seems to have been thought up by preschoolers, so here is my daughter Marianna’s thoughts on some policy areas from the current government.

The NHS

The Lady [Theresa May] wanted to shut all the hospitals”

Fox Hunting

“The nasty lady [Theresa May] wants the doggies to hurt the foxes, its bad” 

Brexit

“The Silly Man [Boris Johnson] doesn’t like all the other people” 

Child Poverty

“The Scary Lady [I assume Theresa May] doesn’t want the babas to have food or toys, when they want pizza and dolly’s and we should give them some books” 

Immigration 

” I like the other people” 

Trident 

“[Bombs] are bad, because they blow up peoples houses and the poor baba’s”

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Marianna is no stranger to political activism, she was an active campaigner in the reccent local government elections. 

NB: Neither I nor Marianna’s mother have ever taught her to refer to Theresa May as nasty or scary, this is just a conclusion she has drawn for herself, along with calling Boris Johnson the silly man.

Having A Sick Child And What To Do About It.

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Yesterday my darling offspring Marianna was ill, its really the first time she’s been properly ill in her life (aside from the harrowing circumstanced of her birth), and we’re talking the full works; nose running like an Olympic athlete, coughing like she’d smoked for fifty years and the occasional bit of vomiting thrown into the mix for good measure. She was so ill in fact that I even relented and allowed her to come into bed with me, which is something that I’m usually a bit of a hardarse about (Its not for all the clingyness issues that arise from it, its just I really detest sharing a bed with anyone). I finally got her to sleep in her own bed around 2:30 this morning after dosing her up an calpol, and to be honest it really has helped, because after that I managed to get a pretty decent (albeit short) nights sleep, which was most welcome after the pretty rough meeting I had to sit through.

But today has been a bit of a mixed bag, this morning I couldn’t get Marianna to detach herself from me, so it was all morning spent on the sofa watching the Tigger Movie, while Marianna and tinsel hedgehog lay on top of me, after which she seemed to improve to the point where she was running around with her dolls and generally being a nuisance, because I had to stop her from drawing on the rug more than once.

I’ll be honest, it was a little upsetting, seeing her so ill and beyond keeping her hydrated and trying to bring her temperature down, there was nothing I could do to make her better. I’m sure I’ll be feeling this every cold and flu season for the rest of my life now. It took me right back to when she was born, because she spent almost three weeks in intensive care and all I could do was stare at her through an incubator.

All I can do is thank any deity that’s listening for giving us junior paracetamol.

Coming Out Of The Bat Closet (LGBTQ Themes In Batman)

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HOLY HOMOSEXUAL URGES BATMAN!!!!

Have you ever stopped to think how gay Batman is. There is a lot of subtext if you read between those thought bubbles. Lets look at it in stages.

  1. Batman/ Bruce Wayne’s relationship with women. As both Batman and Bruce Wayne, he seems incapable of maintaining a healthy long term relationship, such short term things seem fraught with tragedy, looking at his relationships with women as Batman such as Catwoman, Wonder Woman, or Talia Al Ghul, they all seem to be some sort of overcompensation. His relationships as Bruce Wayne however are quiet simply as a beard, they go a long way to setting up his persona as Bruce Wayne, millionaire playboy, whose to say heterosexual millionaire playboy isn’t also part of it.
  2. His relationship with Alfred: Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler and one time legal guardian and full time enabler. Alfred took on the role of father to Bruce Wayne after Bruce’s parents were murdered. Instead of getting little Bruce some serious grief counselling and psychiatric care he let him drop out of school to pursue his career as scourge of the underworld. Their relationship is more complex than just that however. Alfred genuinely does love Bruce like a son, however Bruce’s feelings are somewhat different, he begins to project on Alfred during his teenage years, and because he can’t act on these feeling internalises them and it feeds his depression and anguish, not to mention giving him cause to focus on ending crime on Gotham.
  3. Batman’s relation ship with Robin: Anyone who has ever seen the Adam West/ Burt Ward depictions  of Batman and Robin will have no illusions that they are a gay couple. The whole relationship is odd on the face of it. Now single men can make great parents, (dad’s can do it too etc) but it does seem a little strange that a single man in his 20’s/30’s would adopt a teenage son, it may be cynical of me to think that anything untoward was taking place, but when the man doing the adopting forces the child out on to the streets in a pair of green briefs, alarm bells start to ring, and it isn’t because the joker is robbing a bank if you know what I mean.

Batman is one of those characters that will never be outed in mainstream comics continuity (why else would you have characters such as Midnighter if Batman was out), but there are a lot of themes within the comic books, the TV shows and films that are definitely a bit on the queer side.

Postnatal Depression In Men

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Postnatal depression is something that affects as much as 10% of new mothers out there, however what they don’t tell you is that it doesn’t only effect women, it can effect men just as badly. It may be difficult to tell if you are suffering from Postnatal depression because some of the symptoms are just symptomatic of life, especially when you’ve just had a child. symptoms such as tiredness, trouble sleeping at night and feeling tired during the day seem like par for the course when a new baby comes along, and this would go hand in hand with problems concentrating, making decisions and a lack of energy and feeling all the time seems like it would again be part of the lack of sleep. The common symptoms of PND (postnatal depression) in men are:

  • a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
  • lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
  • lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
  • trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
  • difficulty bonding with your baby
  • withdrawing from contact with other people
  • problems concentrating and making decisions
  • frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby

What causes postnatal depression in men is not entirely clear from a sociological and an anthropological standpoint factors could include

  • a history of mental health problems, particularly depression, earlier in life
  • having no close family or friends to support you
  • a poor relationship with your partner
  • recent stressful life events, such as a bereavement or job loss
  • financial difficulties

however from a biochemical standpoint however childbirth does some pretty crazy things to men’s heads studies in animals and people show that new fathers experience an increase in the hormones estrogen, oxytocin, prolactin and glucocorticoids, according to a recent review of studies by psychologist Elizabeth Gould and colleagues from Princeton University.

The research shows that contact with the mother and children seem to induce certain hormonal changes in fathers. In humans, fathers who show more affection toward their children also tend to have higher levels of oxytocin (the hormone responsible for bonding with children), the effects of this change in the chemical soup that makes up a human being could lead to hormonal imbalances that in turn could lead to depression.

If you do feel that you are suffering from postnatal depression as a dad there are many things you can do about it.

If you want someone to talk to anonymously you can call the Samaritans free on 0117 983 1000 from any UK mobile or landline.

Alternatively you can speak to your doctor who will recommend various forms of treatment for you such as antidepressants or counselling based on your needs. Most importantly you should talk to your partner, tell them what you are going through, they may be feeling the same and you can act as a little two person support group for each other, or by simply unburdening yourself to them they be able to help a little bit while you try to get your shit together. It is hard work and I speak from experience, I suffered through the sleepless nights and lethargic days (to the point where I had to have a sit down half way through washing the dishes), I suffered the mood swings, the obsessive behaviour and the constant tiredness. It got to the point where I barely recognised who I was as person anymore, and then finally it hit me, that moment of clarity, that I needed help, I went to my doctor and asked for a big pile of antidepressants, I started taking my daughter out more and more, seeing friends and just doing small things until now over the last few months (bearing in mind my daughter will be two next month) I have finally started to feel like myself again. I give a shit about how I look again, I care that my house is a mess, I do occasionally go out and have fun with my friends. And a big part of that is because I asked for help.

The mother of my child would joke that our roles were reversed after the pregnancy. I was the one who had the baby brain and the sleepless nights, I could drive a tractor through that bedroom and I wouldn’t have woken Jessica up, whereas Marianna farting in her bedroom will often wake me up to this day (even if I fall asleep on the sofa). But this made me think that if I were going through this sort of thing how many other men were out there, going through the exact same thing and not getting the help that they needed?  Men and mental health issues can be tricky minefield to navigate at the best of times, because by admitting that we need help, we are wired to believe that we fail as men, that we should be the strong silent type, but this sort of thing is not healthy, yes I know that there is a stigma around mental health, but there shouldn’t be, especially at a time when we as men really are at out most vulnerable. If you need help get it, if you had a broken leg, you wouldn’t leave it untreated (at least not for longer than it takes to sober up), if you had cancer you would get chemo, if you caught the clap you would take some penicillin, if you were stupid enough to mess around with power tools while under the influence, you would go to the emergency room. So why on earth wouldn’t you take the necessary treatments to combat depression and make your self well again? If not for your sake then for your child’s. They deserve a father, not just the shell of one.