Monday, July 26, 2010

The Death...I mean Dirt Bike

First of all, I will freely admit that the inspiration for this post comes from the latest post at Hyperbole and a Half. I dare you to read it without laughing. However, I haven't posted in a while and, while I cannot draw the pictures as Allie can, I have my own traumatic story.

The summer after I'd turned six, my dearest wish was to spend the night at YMCA day camp. They did one sleep-over every summer where we'd all spend the night OUTSIDE! in SLEEPING BAGS! and it was the highlight of my summer, possibly my year. I wanted to go even more than I wanted to meet Big Bird. Daddy had one stipulation: I had to learn to ride a bike first. Cool; I wanted to do this! Riding bikes meant freedom and wind in my hair and awesomeness! Yay!


He taught me on my older brother's shiny silver Huffy dirt bike. It had hand brakes and semi-working foot brakes. I was too little to get on it by myself; my dad had to balance the bike and lift me on. Thus, I could not get off, either, without the bike falling on me.

God, how I learned to hate that bike.

I can picture it now, haunting my six year-old imagination, leaning against the garage all shiny and tall, waiting to tip me over. Laughing at me. How it taunted me. Bastard bike. No lingering mental scars here.

I quickly learned to fear the sound of Daddy's car coming home from work: The door would slam and I'd hear the dreaded words: "Let's practice bike riding!" I would run screaming in terror and try to hide. (It's true. Ask my mom.) I think part of the reason it took ALL SUMMER was that I would leap off the bike before it had a chance to eject me, and Dad would curse and make me try again, implying this time, I'd better stay on that bike.

Finally, the day before the sleep-over arrived. I uttered a final prayer and was told that if I could make it all the way up the driveway and into the garage, I could go. Only the thought of me in my Strawberry Shortcake sleeping bag, my stuffed monkey Rocky by my side, allowed me to wobble my way quickly up the driveway...YES! I HAD MADE IT! I RODE A BIKE! I...rode right into the side of the garage and fell. However, Daddy took pity on me and let me go. He probably would have, anyway, but I didn't know that. It was a proud moment for me, folks. I had achieved two dreams that day.

...Never mind that the counselors let us stay outside for about an hour and then announced that the weatherman had forecast rain and we had to go inside and sleep on a crummy basement floor. I never realized until later that that had been a big fat LIE. The fact that they pulled the same line the next year may have alerted me. But I learned to ride and eventually got a coveted pink bike with streamers AND a flowered banana seat.

Final note: My sisters learned to ride using a neighbor's teeny weeny, barely-six-inches-off-the-ground bike. Each of them raced around like Lance Friggin' Armstrong in an afternoon.

Oh, I like to think that summer of '83 was just a starting point for me, a stepping stone, if you will, in life. Truly, all obstacles since then have simply been one death Huffy to overcome in order to attain that symbolic sleep-over....

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Perils of Voice Technology

My dad sent me this. It's funny yet makes quite a comment on how we treat people from different cultures.

P.S. the right side gets a bit cut off--you can also see it on YouTube.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cool Technology

In my quest to become more organized, Google has given me a new tool: the wonder wheel:

Has everyone seen this? It's so handy. It makes me giddy with organized happiness. Use it. Just do a regular Google search and then click the "Wonder Wheel" option on the left, and it organizes everything into little components. An old site, Grokker, used to do this, but the site shut down for reasons unbeknownst to me. Anyway, extremely nifty.

And I know I've written about this before, but if you're not using Delicious for your bookmarks, you are MISSING OUT.

That is all. Stay cool. Literally.

Monday, July 5, 2010


I saw this on The Bloggess, and I just can't decide how I feel:

On the one hand, if it gets kids to read, FANTASTIC. Perhaps it'll start an entire wave of young readers hankering for Victorian fiction and the like. I can see it now...throngs of my students delving into Rebecca, Jane Eyre, and Dr. Zhivago. Not bad, actually.

On the other hand, I don't know how Emily Bronte would feel about this. It seems a little sad that Harper Collins has chosen to decide that the only way a young person of this generation would even read the classics is if fictional characters give it a thumbs-up. I shudder a bit.

I think I have to grudgingly go with my first "hand", however. If it gets kids reading good literature, run with it. I can't wait for it to seep into their writing....

What say you, readers?

UPDATE: My two commenters thus far have caused me to expand on my position and my thinking, and I have responded in the comment section. I think it adds a lot to the original post. Thanks, ladies!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Utterly Random Questions and Observations

1) Has anyone else ever noticed that in B-grade movies, the characters overuse each others' names to an obnoxious extent? Next time you watch a movie that you realize is mediocre at best, see if this is true. Case in point: From Paris, with Love. Not my choice, BTW.

2) Does Miley Cyrus not see the pattern of child-star-turned-sexy-bad-girl that others have left in her wake? She's heard of Lindsay Lohan, right?

3) What, truly, is the appeal of Silly Bandz?

4) When will we ever get this giant oil spill stopped? Can we? What will the repercussions be? And how in the name of heaven could the oil companies be so blind and foolish and arrogant not to plan for something of this magnitude?

5) Can the next two Harry Potter movies truly live up to the last book?

6) I've often posited that e-books and 3-D television simply a secret plot of the world's opticians and ophthalmologists to cause eye problems and therefore increase the need for corrective lenses. Think about it.

7) Can Andy Murray win Wimbledon, breaking the U.K. champion drought?

8) If I look sad and downcast, look longingly but quickly at someone, and then look down, bite my lip, and look away, can I be cast in the next Twilight movie?

9) When I have kids, I don't care what sort of hovercraft-transportation-screen-within-a-screen crap they have out. They're playing outside with sticks and rocks.