Monday, April 28, 2008

Allie's Blog

Recently a friend of Allie’s came over to play. It wasn’t long into the visit when they announced they were bored. That’s when I said if they wanted to make a movie I’d tape them. Later Allie’s friend’s Mom came over to pick her up and was told, “Allie’s Daddy made a video of us!"

I’m sure she was completely freaked.

She probably was further freaked when after she viewed the raw footage I asked if it would be okay if we posted an edited version of the video on Allie’s blog.

The next day the Mom said something to Deb about a friend of theirs who is a Sherriff’s Deputy. The Deputy told them that no eight year-old should have any sort of presence on the Internet.

Deb and I are not na├»ve about the dangers of the Internet. We’ve read the statistics and we’ve heard the horror stories. And while I hesitate to compare Allie’s Web page to a newspaper story or some other media exposure that would probably reveal the town she lives in and the school she attends I still am predisposed to view the Internet as presenting a greater threat.

Our girls have never had unsupervised access to the Web. As far as Allie’s blog goes I filter all comments and watch her page stats carefully to see if she is receiving undue attention from anyone I don’t know. But here’s the thing; I allowed Allie to have a blog so that she can create, brag, complain, praise, share and do anything she’d like. That said a great deal of what she’s going to want to share is going to feature her friends.

Our level of comfort with Allie’s blog has no bearing whatsoever on other parents' feelings or attitudes. Speaking for myself, I do want some modicum of control over where Allie’s name is mentioned and/or her image displayed. If someone is posting images of my kid on the Internet, I’d want to be able to make sure I knew everything there is to know about who, what and how those images will be used. This is why Allie’s blog has become by invitation only.

If you want to see what Allie is up to, drop me an email at gbgone@aol.com. You may need to have a Blogger log-in or a gmail address. I know many of you already have those but if you want to view the blog you’ll have to let me know so I can add your email address to the “approved” list. Jeannette, I know Allie really likes to read your comments so please write soon and I’m taking care of the Grandmas.

You should know Allie posts about once a month and with summer almost here I’m pretty sure this frequency will diminish. But if you like to read about hairdos, playdates and eye boogers Allie’s blog might be worth jumping through a few security hoops.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hollywood Minute

Donna is going to be in a Johnny Depp movie. That’s great and I’m really excited but her news pales in comparison to what I found out last night.

My Mom called to let me know their old Mercedes is going to be in a Matt Damon movie.

That’s right. A car I rode in - a car I’ve driven on more than one occasion will have (what I imagine to be) an extremely prominent role in a new Steven Soderburgh production starring Matt Damon. Of course my parents don't actually own the car anymore so they won't get the $270 a day payment from the production company but that's not really the point.

It’s not my intention to steal anyone’s thunder by sharing this information. But there’s no denying this announcement is far more exciting than any other Hollywood related news you may have recently read.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Go Spartans!

Michigan State University used to be just a T-shirt that my Grandma Ellen bought me when I was a teenager. I loved that shirt; mainly because it was green and it was from a university that was out of state which automatically made it cool.

This week I finally got a chance to make MSU something more than just a shirt by spending a few days on campus. It's a nice place. I had a good time walking around making snap judgments about the futures of all the students I saw. It was hard for me not to smile when I saw the girl in the trench coat and beret (semester in Europe) or the guy wearing a floor length skirt with a save the planet T-shirt (when he graduates he'll probably continue to wear Birkenstock's and white socks with his sleeves and tie - at least until his first promotion).

I knew these people. I used to walk around as one of them. It was cool to get a glimpse of these works in progress. It was energizing.

They all walk very fast.

After work I walked to the strip and found a Chipotle restaurant. I'd heard good things about these places and I don't get a chance to eat burritos very often so I decided to have dinner there. It was a beautiful evening so I made my way to a small courtyard in back and ate outside.

While I was finishing up my dinner I heard, "HEY!" I looked up and a man was standing in front of me. He had two emerald green deposits of snot beneath each of his nostrils and each of his words were slurred even before they left his mouth.

"Mind if I join you?" he asked, loudly.

I looked around at the six empty tables in the courtyard and I said, "Yes. I do mind. You need to keep walking."

I have an uneasy relationship with panhandlers. But I'm usually very courteous and, for the most part, an easy mark worth at least a buck or two. This evening I was tired and just wanted to be left alone.

"I hear ya." he said and just stood there looking at me.

I was getting pissed. "You didn't hear me well enough. You need to keep walking." As soon as I locked eyes with him he decided I wasn't worth the hassle and left.

I felt bad. I started poking at my dinner and then dumped the rest of my burrito in the trash (the thing was huge and I was almost done with it anyway). I started walking in the direction I saw him go. A block or two later I caught up to him. He was wandering around a bus stop full of people and suddenly I felt really self-conscious and almost walked away. But it was too late and I got his attention.

"I'm sorry I was rude back there but you startled me." He just stared at me. "You scared me. . . a little."

"Sorry."

"Was there something you wanted to talk to me about?" I asked.

"SURE! Let's have a seat." He pointed to an area on the ground off the sidewalk.

I wasn't in the mood for a street side pow-wow so I cut to the chase. "Are you hungry?"

"Nah! I'm fine. Well. I don't know."

"I'll buy you dinner."

"Okay! Eatin' is better than drinkin'!"

We were standing near a Chinese restaurant and a Taco Bell. I asked him to choose a place. "Beggars can't be choosers," he told me but he kept walking toward the Taco Bell and so we went in.

When we walked in the restaurant he took off past the counter. I asked him where he was going. "I gotta get HYDROED!" he said and disappeared into a bathroom. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about and wondered just how long it would take a person to get hydroed. It didn't take long. I had hoped that during the hydroing process the big green boogers under his nose would have gone away but they were still there; gleaming.

We got up the counter and he asked the girl for a milkshake. She informed him that Taco Bell didn't serve milkshakes. "What's the biggest meal you got?" he asked her. She smiled and pointed at a sign over our heads that read, THE BIG MEAL. That's what he ordered. Then he turned to me and apologized for ordering the biggest thing on the menu.

It didn't take long for the girl to deliver THE BIG MEAL. I hadn't planned to give the guy any money but the bills that were left were just about enough for another fast food dinner and not much more so I felt okay about leaving him with the change. I knew just how sanctimonious I was in limiting the amount of money I gave him but still I slid the money over while simultaneously saying, "Take care."

I almost made it out the door when I heard, "WAIT!" He was being loud again. He walked over to me and wrapped his arms around me. I hugged him back. While this was happening, I couldn't help but note the angle of his head in relation to my shoulder and attempting to calculate the probability of a portion of his great, green boogers winding up somewhere on my shirt.

And while he may not have left any boogers he must have made some kind of a mark because I can't stop thinking about this guy. When he first approached me I was ready to deck him and now. . . now I just hope he's found a place to get regularly hydroed, have enough BIG MEALS and clean out his nose.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

THUNDERSNOW!

I wouldn't call myself an addict. The most I'll claim is that I am dependent to a certain extent. I use heroin mainly for my children. You see, without it, I think I would be a less effective parent.

I won't bore you with a grocery list of all the things my kids do to drive me to take narcotics. You've seen the list. Many of you have lived the list. Heroin helps make the things on the list bearable. With Heroin, something from the list happens (like a kid refusing to eat a meal they requested and that you spent hours preparing simply because it looks retarded) and it's okay because you know that needle is waiting to soothe and calm you.

It's always waiting just for me.

I don't have a special brand of heroin. I buy most of my stuff from the senior center on Main St. You might think revealing my source is kind of silly. I don't mind telling you because A) I'm pretty sure these individuals have a solid relationship with local law enforcement and B) I promised Mrs. Deetle that I'd provide her with a plug in exchange for a dime bag.

By the way, a dime bag refers to $10 worth of heroin. A gram of heroin here in the U.S. will cost you around $300. So a dime bag is around 3.33 mg of heroin. This relatively small amount of the drug is usually enough to take care of most everything your kids throw your way. However, when your child drops your digital camera and converts it to paper weight status you're probably going to need to consider something like 24.5 to 25 mg.

I'm happy to share this information with you so that you can become a better parent. Sure, you may not be the loudest, or most coherent in the cheering section at your kids' next sporting events. You may not bathe them as much. You might not be able to respond to their pleas to get you to stop using their toybox as a urinal. But you will be calm and you will not yell. The list will disappear and with it will go all the tension, empathy and awareness that was making you feel like a bad mom or dad.

So head over to your local senior center and get on the path to better parenting today.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

THUNDERSNOW!

Apparently that's the headline you use when you have (for the most part) parked your blog.

I'll get rid of mine when he gets rid of his.