Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Praying For Hurricane Victims

In light of the latest news from the hurricane area, I cannot bring myself to post any of my usual stuff on this blog. So, I am taking a day off.

I hope that things work out as well as they can in this situation for those living in the area.

I also hope that our help and donations, when those are collected, will reach the victims and be used to their benefit.

I promise to post a funny story tomorrow.

The Goldie has spoken at 10:21 AM

Monday, August 29, 2005

And… Cut!

Happy Monday to you all!

The time has come for me to introduce another important character that has played a big role in my life. For that reason and no other, I will refer to him as Mr. Big on this blog. I worked for Mr. Big for about three years, at two different places. We were close friends at some point. When we met, I had just come into the country two months before, and didn’t really know the ropes. Mr. Big helped a lot over the years by teaching me the American traditions and culture, as illustrated by this story.

One evening, I was in the apartment, giving the kids a bath. They were about five and three years old at that time. Normally, I’d just put them both in the tub at once. While I was bathing them, the doorbell rang. Mr. Goldie wasn’t home yet, so, being the only adult in the apartment, I had to go and get the door. It was Mr. Big. He had an urgent question or something, so figured he’d stop by for ten minutes or so.

While Mr. Big and I were talking, we were rudely interrupted by my two children. They got out of the tub and came to the front door, buck naked. Mr. Big quickly cut the conversation short, and went on his way, and we went back into the tub.

Next morning, as soon as I came into the office, Mr. Big pulled me aside with a serious look on his face.

“We need to talk about yesterday. This is unacceptable.”

“Yeah, sorry about the kids. I guess they got tired of waiting, so they got out. You’re right, I need to teach them better manners, they cannot walk around naked like that.”

“No, that’s not the problem. Yesterday I noticed that both your children are not circumcised. This is not good. That’s not how it’s done in America.”

“Um, er, they don’t circumcise newborns in Russia, and er, as you know my both boys were born there, and, um, now I guess it’s a little too late for that, isn’t it?”

“It’s never too late. Get it done. Get them to a doctor and schedule a surgery. Kids will tease them in school if you don’t. Can you imagine when they start school, and they come to class, and they aren’t, and everybody else is?”

Everybody else? Are you sure?”

“Absolutely. Remember the guys from our previous job? Jim and Dave and John and Andrew. Even Matt. They’re all cut. It’s the American way, I tell you.”

My jaw would have fallen to the floor, but, during my first years in America, nothing surprised me. I kept hearing about so many customs and traditions (mainly from from Mr. Big) that seemed beyond bizarre to me, but were THE American way, according to my helpful advisors. After a few months of that, I just got used to the fact that Americans were strange creatures. Maybe checking out other guys’ wieners was the American way, too. You could never tell.

“How do you know,” I asked out of sheer curiousity.

“Oh, we all used to go to the same gym.”

I agreed meekly, “it’s probably as you say. You’re right, we should get it done.”

Mr. Big had me so convinced, that, a year later, when K9 (then four years old) had to be circumcised for medical reasons, I was happy about it. Finally, I was upgrading at least one of my sons to the American version. One thing I’ll have to tell you about being circumcised later in life, as opposed to when you’re born, is that, from what I can tell, it hurts like crazy. After the surgery, K9 and I spent many a night in conversations such as this:



“I wanna pee.”

“So, pee.”

“But I’m afraid it’s gonna hurt.”

“So, don’t pee.”

“But I wanna pee.”

And so on for an hour or two, repeat every other hour, get up at six, go to work, pretend to be awake, try not to fall asleep at the wheel on the way home. It was a heck of a time.

But, thanks to Mr. Big, our whole family, K9 included, was positive that it was all worth it. We were making K9 be Like Everybody Else, and helping him escape the Teasing In The Locker Room.

Later on, I found out that, despite the fact that Dave and John and Andrew are all cut, not everyone in America is. More than that, that there are whole groups of mothers in this country that are adamantly anti-circ.

Moral of the story, beware of people trying to show you the One and Only American Way, especially if it also happens to be painful and/or involve locker-room snooping.

The Goldie has spoken at 9:44 AM

Thursday, August 25, 2005

How to Become a Living Legend

I walk into the room and see a picture of a really cute guy on the computer screen…

“Who’s that?”

“Josh Bend.”

“Who’s Josh Bend?”

(sigh, eye roll) “Only the most popular person on Newgrounds.”

“Why’s he popular?”

“Cause when Josh was a kid… he stole some candy from the market, cause he didn’t have any money… and he was in jail… then he came out.”

“So, he was a member on Newgrounds then?”

(eye roll #2) “Nooo, that was a long time ago. When he was a kid. He came to Newgrounds many years later.”

“So why was he popular on Newgrounds? Did he make good flashes?” (that means flash movies, you perverts!)

(pause, deep in thought) “I don’t think he ever made any flashes. He’s just popular, that’s all.”

“But, why?”

“He sucked up to Tom and Wade… and then one time, Wade said that he would delete his account…”



“So how did it all make him popular?”

(eye roll #3) “I don’t know why he’s popular. He just is.”

Kids these days. It’s so easy to become their idol. Just steal some candy from a market, suck up to a forum owner (or make the forum owner mad - I'm not sure which one), and you’re all set. Do you know that Nicky the chinchilla has just narrowly escaped being named “Josh Bend”? That’s how popular the guy is. I mean, people name their chinchillas after him. Now that, my friends, is fame.

Here ’s the real story, by the way.

The Goldie has spoken at 5:06 PM

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Back To School VI - All You Need To Know About Middle School

part I, part II, part III, part IV, part V

Well, I don’t know about your neck of woods, but here, school starts tomorrow and my kids are really bummed out! With that in mind, in case you have a kid that’s starting middle school and does not know what all the subjects are about, I have decided to post a brief review of them all. This post will, in some detail, cover each subject and what to expect from it. You guessed it already – it is another one of I12’s posts. My heartfelt apologies to all Language Arts teachers out there – I do not agree with my son about that stuff, I swear! English was my favorite subject when I was a kid, honest to Pete!

There were too many swear words so I added the asterisks. This is, after all, a nice family blog… yeah riiiiight!

Yeah, I hate school too:

Gym is useless. Edn. If I lieked sports I would play them outside of school.
Health is gewd.
Chorus is bawd and stupid and so is bawnd unless you want to be in it.
Math is okeyz but I dun need to learn what I already know.
Language Arts f**ks rotten s**t in the dumpster while being sodimized by a bum. If I can read, write, say, and listen without problems then f**k language arts.
Study hawl is f***ing stupid. It's a waste of time. Get rid of homework and use tests.
Lunch is okeyz.
Science is half-ok, but I dun need to know some and know some.
Social studies is bawd most of teh time. Some of the stuff is intresting, but I dun need to know any

And this concludes my Back-To-School series, because now, there’s a whole new school year to write about! I hope it treats you well!

The Goldie has spoken at 5:59 PM

Monday, August 22, 2005

Back To School V - A Typical Day of a Not-So-Typical Sixth-Grader

part I, part II, part III, part IV

Wow. I am officially a controversial blog now. See comments on my previous post.

I have to admit, I feel terrible about it. I am, IRL, a nice person and hate hurting anybody’s feelings. However, this is a blog. This is where I post my thoughts and opinions, based on real-life experience and much analysis. Not everyone out of the six billion people on Earth shares these thoughts and opinions, and that’s to be expected. They are bound to offend someone. However, if I cannot share them on my blog, then where can I?

That said, I don’t really have to share them here, you know? I could just post, I don’t know, some feel-good poetry, pictures of kittens and bunny rabbits (or my new pet, Nicky the chinchilla), links to quizzes, and everyone would be happy. This blog would be a happy place.

It would also be boring as heck.

So, I think I’ll pass.

Here’s a picture of Nicky, though. Just to keep this blog nicely balanced.

Speaking of “wanna-be gifted kids” (I could argue about the “wanna-be” part – most of these kids would prefer being normal than being wired the way they are, and therefore, being different and never fitting in. But I digress.)

Below is a guest post by I12. Well, sort of a guest post. It’s something he posted on a public forum a few months ago. He knows that I have read it; liked it; and showed it to a few of my friends. So I figured, there would be no harm done if I posted it on this blog.

In this post, I12 describes one day in his life. This is just like The Adrian Mole Diaries, only with lots of swear words that I have conveniently replaced with asterisks (that was a lot of work, by the way!)

Wow. Is school really that boring?

Read on…

Topic: How was your day? Forum: General
Posted: 4/12/05 04:52 PM
Starting from: yesterday, 11:30. =/

I started doing my homework and finished at 12:45. I wasn't sleepy and wished I could use my d*mn energy on something useful, but I couldn't. I ended up thinking about something to think about and failing, but I have these conclusions from before:

There's no such thing as a soul.
Time and the other 3 demensions are infinate.
You will respawn since time is infinate, but I'm doubting this.
The goal in life is to make whatever you respawn as have a better life, and I'm doubting it too.
God is what's above the universe, and he exists.
Above the universe, there is no time or space.
The universe could be destroyed from above and it would continue to exist here.
A soul would have to be above the universe to exist.
A soul cannot interact with anything unless it is below the universe.
The present is dependant only on the past.
Your goal in life depends on what happens when you die, and vice versa.
God cannot interact with the universe, but can look into it, like a soul.

So then I worked on making a pillow out of a piece of Tempurpedic foam and failed and ended up just putting it on my back and making my bed softer. I went to sleep aventually. and decided it would kick ass to have a gun. When I woke up, at 6:45, I went back to sleep cause that's so early and woke up at 7:30 and went to school and was late like usial. I carried my bookbag around with me for the first 3 or so periods, which were: Tech, Chorus, and Math. In tech, I was building a paper airplane, in chorus, I sang some dumb
song, and in math I was learining about the something that starts with an s method where you use a y= formula to find y. I think I fell asleep. Then I went to Language Arts, where I filled in some stuff for a biography, and did some other stuff I already knew about grammar(I don't give a f**k if I spelled it wrong. Seriously, it's not like my boss will fire me for spelling a word wrong and having the comp fix it). Then, I went to advisory(sit around and do nothing time), and then lunch. I ate s**t for lunch. Then, it was science time, and my balls itched real bad when the teacher was lecturing us about something. When he was done, I went to the bathroom and itched my balls. A d**k can really be annoying sometimes, like when pubes get stuck in it and when it gets pulled back a lot cause you got a boner and now you can't walk right. Anyway, we were building self-propelled mini-cars and I failed. It would've been easy if I could think of a d*mn design with the parts. A stick got stuck in a wheel, and, in an attempt to get it out, I BROKE IT WITH A F***ING PAPER CLIP!! And it didn't even f***ing bend. D*mn, maybe they made it out of some bulls**t instead of wood cause they ran out or something. Well, I fixed it and someone got it out with a tool. Then, there's Social Studies and we had to fill out a paper about Japan and the rest of that part of Asia(which a map of was on page 666, haha). I got done with that quickly and just stood around there or something. Then, I went to inervention and that's the second do nothing time. Most people do homework, but I do nothing. School is a b**ch without me doing my homework there. I need to relax and all that s**t. After that, I sat around and waited for my bus and went home. I bought a Full Force or something, checked some other forum, and posted this. That's my day.

The Goldie has spoken at 11:24 AM

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Fun-Filled Day!

08/25. I have edited two sentences out of this post to avoid being recognized. Sorry, I've been a little paranoid since this blog started getting hits from the forum.

I had an extremely serious post prepared for today, but so much happened yesterday, that I decided against it.

So that’s what they call “inclusion”?

Last year, at a parents conference, K9’s teacher accidentally leaked out an interesting detail about how their placement works. Actually, since my oldest son is an AEP (aka “gifted”) kid, I already knew that all AEP kids are, at all times, placed in the same class (on the same team in middle school). What I didn’t know that the same approach is used with severely LD, borderline Special Ed kids. Usually, there are four or five of them, and they are always put in the same class. The reason for this is that a) the teacher can give them her full attention, and b) the other three teachers are not being distracted, as all LD kids are concentrated in one room.

Good so far, but I have a question. What happens to the other twenty kids that also happen to be in the same room? What are they supposed to do while their teacher gives the LD kids her full attention – make themselves scarce and stare out the window?! Bottom line, I didn’t like this idea at all. From my layman’s point of view, you should either put these kids in special ed, or add a second teacher to that classroom, or something, but make sure that their non-LD classmates are being taken care of, too!

I was worried sick that, in fourth grade, K9 would end up in the LD class, being a troublemaker and all. That’s why I really wanted him to make AEP. Then he’d be invincible. He took the WISC, and didn’t make it. He was ten points short. I tried not to show it to him, but I was devastated. I was sure that now, the school would have their way with my poor K9. Well, guess what! We got lucky! They didn’t!!

The class lists were out yesterday, and I stopped by to check. Over the last four years, I have pretty much figured out who the LD kids are. (edited) K9 had this boy in his class once. I would say that socially, it was good for K9 and he learned a lot. (edited) Which I think is highly beneficial for all involved. Except it was on class time, so, while they learned something socially, they fell behind academically. Anyway, all LD kids that I know of, are in the same class, and K9 is not in it. But guess who is? Come on, guess? Little Joey from my previous post. Granted how much time Joey’s parents have probably spent asking the school to separate their son from K9… I found this turn of events ironic!

In other news, it seems like K9’s old girlfriend has transferred to his school (yes, I actually remember the girl's name… I know, I’m pathetic, I don’t have a life, and am living vicariously through my children). This is going to be interesting!

Piss Your Salesperson Off Day

I don’t know why, but yesterday, I kept running into issues with salespeople. First, I went to KOHL’s because they had a back-to-school sale. You know, when they mail you a scratch-off, and it shows if you get fifteen, twenty, or thirty percent off. Mine said twenty. They also give out scratch-offs at checkout. So, I went there with I12, and at the register, I asked for a scratch-off, in case it would say thirty percent. It said fifteen, so I produced my copy that said twenty. The lady at the checkout found it amusing. We paid, I dropped I12 off at home, and came back, because I had to get stuff for K9. I go to pay again and there is a young kid at the register. I ask for a scratch-off; it says fifteen; I show him my twenty; the kid goes,

“You’re cheating. You’re playing the odds. That’s not cool.”

I didn’t even say anything. I was too busy picking my jaw off the floor!

Fast forward ten hours, it’s late in the evening and I am coming home from church with a very tired and hungry K9. I went to church to help set up for this weekend’s festival, and K9 tagged along because he hoped there would be pizza… there wasn’t. So K9 convinces me to stop by a local pizza place and get one for him, because he worked hard and he deserves it. I decided to check out this new joint that, as I was told, had a five-dollar special on a large pizza.

So we come in. There’s a lot of teenage kids working in the place. One of them is at the counter. K9 walks up to him and rattles off: “One large, extra pepperoni, extra cheese”. The guy tells us it’s $8.99. Okay, maybe the special is over. I pay up, and we sit down to wait. While we’re waiting, I look around and find out that there is, indeed, a special – five dollars for a large one-topping pizza, unlimited pepperoni. The guy that took our order is already gone. I walk up to the counter and have this memorable conversation with one of the teenagers.

“Excuse me, this is our first time here, I don’t understand. If you have a 4.99 special, then how come ours is $8.99?”

“Because you ordered three toppings. Pepperoni, extra pepperoni, and extra cheese.”

“But your special says unlimited pepperoni, does that mean we paid four dollars for extra cheese?”

“That’s how it works. It counts as three toppings.”

“That’s how it works? Four dollars for extra cheese?”


“Can we cancel the order?”


“He should have told us.”

“You’re lucky he only charged you $8.99. He used a coupon, see? If he hadn’t, it would have cost you twelve dollars.”

I don’t think this girl said sorry to me once.

I get seriously pissed, and at the same time about to give up.

“This better be a lot of cheese,” I tell her.

At this point, she miraculously gives us our money back. I thank her very nicely and turn to leave. But now I’ve got a very mad, crying K9 on my hands. I spend all the way home explaining to him how we almost got ripped off, and how I hate being ripped off, and how Dad would never let us hear the end of it if we paid four bucks for extra cheese, and how I swear I’ll make it up to him in the future. At home, I get a pat on the back from Mr. Goldie for “doing the right thing.” K9 calms down; everybody’s happy.

But, four bucks for extra cheese? Sheesh!

One very busy weekend, coming up!

So, the Greek festival at our church starts today at noon! I’ll be there tonight, unless I get called from work (yes, I’m on call this weekend… just my luck). I promise it will be fun. Kim, will you be there or what? It’s only a twenty minute drive, but it’s totally worth it!

Turns out, I will have to stop by the jewelry stall, because our friends are having their baby baptised in two weeks, and (get this!) I will be the godmother, and a friend of ours will be godfather, so we’re all chipping in to buy a gold cross for the baby… here’s to hoping I don’t buy anything else gold for myself!

Also coming up this weekend, our city’s annual carnival… I’m taking K9 on Saturday, all of his friends will probably be there… fireworks at dusk, parade on Sunday!

I hope I’m still alive by the time this weekend is over… there is such a thing as too much fun!

Wishing everybody an equally great weekend.

Over and out.

The Goldie has spoken at 11:14 AM

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Back To School IV - Meet the Parents

This is the fourth post of the Back-To-School series.

Part I, part II, part III

My son K9 is, generally, very wise for his age. However, even the most wise people sometimes do really asinine things. So, last winter, when a friend offered K9 and another boy ten dollars so he could remain in their rap band, K9 took the money. He bought snacks for all three of them, and brought the rest home for safekeeping.

Here’s how they got to that point. I don’t know if it’s by error or design, but every year during placement, K9 is separated from his best friends, and put in a class full of kids that he barely knows. So, every year, he has to find himself new best friends. Last year, it ended up being two boys, which, in the best tradition of our city, I’ll call Billy and Joey. All three were smart kids and good students. Pretty soon, they were also constantly in trouble for talking and passing notes in class.

Billy’s family was into rap and hip-hop, so little Billy introduced it to his friends. Both got very excited, and decided to become rappers when they grew up. The three formed a rap band. Billy and K9 each wrote a few songs. I remember one of K9’s creations. He left it on the living room table, so I had no choice but to pick it up and take a look. It was called “Life’s a Bitch”. Generally speaking, I tend to agree, but, coming from a nine-year-old, it was kind of… um, interesting.

Anyway, it seemed like little Joey could not get the hang of rapping. Maybe it was because he did not have enough background. Billy’s family had lived in the inner city for a few years. K9 is, well, an immigrant kid, and lived in a poor, semi-bad neighborhood for one whole year (he was a toddler then, but that, I guess, was irrelevant to Billy and Joey). Whereas Joey’s parents were born and raised in the same city they now live in, and went to the same school. He tried writing songs, but they did not come out so well. On that unfortunate day, he was showing K9 and Billy a new song he’d written. They did not like it, and told Joey that maybe he wasn’t meant to be a rapper, and that they were cutting him from the band. Poor Joey was devastated. He begged and he pleaded, but they patiently explained that they were still his friends; he just did not have the rapping skills. It would have ended there, but, that morning, Joey’s Mom had the misfortune to give him a ten-dollar bill. You already know the rest.

Meanwhile, I was at work, putting in another one of my 60-hour weeks. It was the year end, everyone was struggling to make plan, and, on top of that, we were in the middle of a major software release that had to be done by the end of the year. On that day, I had installed the changes over at one of our biggest plants. Sure enough, when faced with the high volume, the software started blowing up. It only took me a few hours to find the spot that was causing it to crash; fix it; and redeploy the changes to nine PCs halfway across the country. And then I stuck around for another hour, to make sure that my fix really worked. By the time I left, the plant’s team leader was a happy man; I was extremely proud of myself; and it was 8:30 PM on a December evening.

I got home at nine, deadly tired, and headed straight for the shower. K9 stopped me in my tracks.

“Mom, there’s something I need to tell you.”

“Tired. Must shower. Tell it to me later.”

“Mom, this is very important.”

Dang. I get out of the shower. Throw on a robe. Come into K9’s room. There’s eight dollars and some change lying on his desk. And K9 tells me the whole story. Except that, by then, there was more to it.

Turned out, little Joey came home from school and asked his Mom to give him lunch money for the next day. Mom, reasonably enough, inquired about the $10 she had given him in the morning. And heard Joey’s side of the story. If you were Joey’s Mom, what would you do? Here’s what she did.

She got on the phone, called our house, and asked to speak to K9. My parents, bless their hearts, promptly put K9 on. Joey’s Mom then proceeded to tell K9 to: a) return the money, and b) stay away from her son in the future, because he (K9) was bad influence. Poor K9 was scared out of his mind.

Keep in mind, I was exhausted, tired, stressed out, and had just got home from work. When I heard this story, I saw red. I grabbed a ten-dollar bill, looked Joey’s address up in the directory, threw on some sweatpants and a T-shirt, and drove straight to their house. I was going to tell Joey’s Mom all I thought about her call. Where does an adult get an idea to call somebody else’s kid and speak to the kid in that tone? That’s not how it’s done.

So I walk up the driveway and ring the doorbell. Joey’s Mom opens the door and she is five months pregnant. There goes my plan. I cannot yell at a pregnant woman. So I handed her the ten bucks and was treated to a long lecture about how horrible my son was.

“You’ve got to understand – before Joey met your son, he was a different person. Now Joey’s Dad and I, we don’t recognize our own child! He’s getting in trouble at school! He never used to before. And this music he listens to! Rap?! It’s horrible! Do you agree with me that it is horrible? And your son has taught our Joey to listen to rap! Why, our Joey never listened to rap until K9 came along!”

It is very hard to carry on this kind of conversation when you’re tired and confused.

“I’m confused myself,” I tell her. “K9 didn’t even know about rap music before he started 3rd grade. And he never used to get in trouble, either. I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea where this all came from. Trust me, my son is a good kid. I’ve seen some bad kids, and he is not a bad kid.”

Yeah, like she’ll trust me.

As far as rap goes, I really had no idea that Billy and his family were the culprits. Otherwise, I would’ve kept quiet on the subject. I almost set them up when I said K9 hadn’t known about rap before. Fortunately, Joey’s Mom had already made up my mind that my son was responsible for all her troubles, WWII, and the global warming, and she wasn’t really listening to what I was saying. She continued with her scheduled speech.

“Eminem! How can they listen to that? Did you even listen to his songs? My husband and I sat down and listened to two of his songs, and they are horrible! He uses the F-word, and the S-word. I don’t know about you, but we don’t allow that kind of crap in our house.”

I kept quiet. I have mixed feelings about Eminem myself. I mean, the man obviously has the talent, but how long can you keep bitching about your mother and ex-wife? I have never before seen a guy cleaning out his closet for six years straight. Just shut the dang closet – it’s clean already! - and move on to, I don’t know, mowing the lawn or something.

K9 admires him, though. Eminem is his hero. I can’t trash Eminem in front of K9. He gets mad.

Joey’s mom went on.

“And I said to my son, why would you listen to this? Why don’t you listen to something good instead, like Backstreet Boys?”

Backstreet Boys. The kings of the dreck that is pop music. With an inhuman effort, I managed to keep a straight face.

“Have you heard of Backstreet Boys?”

I am a foreigner, remember. I speak with an accent; therefore, I'm ignorant.

“Sure,” I admitted. “They’re good.”

“See? Why can’t they listen to that?”

And so on, and so on… for thirty minutes… and throughout the entire speech, she keeps asking me to tell K9 to keep away from her son from now on. Well, I assured her, I will most definitely tell him! My request, when I got home, went something like this:

“K9, I am afraid to death of Joey’s parents and I don’t want to ever talk to them again. Can you please stay away from Joey, and then maybe they won’t call this house again? By the way, how did you feel when Joey’s mom talked to you?”

K9 goes:

“Mom, have you ever frozen with terror? That’s how I felt.”

But, of course, kids cannot stay away from each other too long, especially since both K9 and Joey are basically nice kids. So, by spring, they started hanging out together again.

One evening in March, K9 was at his swimming practice, and I was home. A phone rings. I pick it up, and it’s a male voice asking for K9. I was sure it was his basketball coach.

“He’s not home, can I take a message?”

“Yes, this is Mr. Joey’s Dad, and I wanted to talk to K9 about my son.”

Have you ever felt like you’re a kettle, and you have just reached the boiling point? That’s what I felt like.

I just could not believe that they would try to pull that same thing again. What is wrong with these people?

In my nicest computer-support voice, I asked Mr. Joey’s Dad:

“Can I ask you for a favor?”


“I’ve been thinking here, and I think it probably isn’t a good idea for you and Joey’s Mom to call my son directly, because when you do that, you intimidate him, so could you please not do it anymore in the future? And, whenever you want to talk, you can always talk to me.”

So Mr. Joey’s Dad told me that Joey had been getting quiet rooms again because of my son, and asked if K9 could make sure that Joey didn’t talk to him in class anymore.

So I passed the message on.

With a few comments of my own.

Sorry, I just could not resist.

Coming up next: my favorite quotes from I12 on the subject of school. His posts are not as long-winded as mine, but there will be some strong language.

The Goldie has spoken at 11:29 AM

Monday, August 15, 2005

Back To School III – I12 Goes To Private School

This is the third post of the Back-To-School series

Part I, part II

In my first post, I mentioned how, when I12 was in first grade, the school made me take him to see a therapist.

They gave me 72 hours to find one. 48, actually, because they told me on a Thursday that they were giving me three days.

I started calling as soon as I pulled out of the school. (Yes, I am one of those annoying people that use their cell while driving – but only for work and emergency situations such as this one). My insurance company sent me a list, and I spent the next day and a half going through it, calling every number. I had to find someone that worked with kids; was close to our home; and didn’t require to see the entire family. (Mr. Goldie absolutely refuses to enter a shrink’s office, so, if a therapist demands to see the father, the deal is off).

I didn’t go into the specifics. I had to make an appointment ASAP, and I wanted someone who could give I12 a clean bill of health, the sooner the better. The actual therapy wasn’t a part of the school’s requirements, as far as I could tell.

As luck would have it, I found a very nice doctor, 15 minutes away from home, who very soon told me that I12 was just a normal kid going through a phase. She stressed that I12 was very smart, and that it was my duty as a parent to pull him out of the public school system, and get him into a private school. In particular, she recommended this school. I know, I know. Those of you that are from Cleveland, are already shaking their heads. "What were you thinking, Goldie? Isn't this, like, the most expensive school in the Greater Cleveland area?" What can I say - the doctor told me to apply, and I didn't know any better.

To my “But we don’t have the money”, the doctor said that a kid as smart as I12 should be able to get in on a scholarship.

So, I sent in an application. Two weeks after that, the doctor quit her job and moved to a different state. Too bad, I was expecting a clean bill of health from her any minute.

The more I thought about private schooling, the more I liked the idea. I12 had just graduated from his elementary school, and, to be honest, I was sick of it. He was supposed to start middle school, but I didn’t know if it would be any better. Besides, I had a friend whose daughter, a year prior to that, had been accepted into a girls’ private school, on a scholarship, because she was a gifted kid and had done well on the entrance test. Both my friend and her daughter were very happy with the new school, so I figured it might work for I12, as well.

I scheduled the ISEE for November, bought a book called “Cracking the ISEE”, and laid out a plan of work before the astonished I12. He had to read the book in two months, study the words for the verbal, and do two practice tests.

To my amazement, he did it all. I checked on him every day. And to think that now, I cannot even make him do his homework!

The private school called, and asked me to bring I12 in for a one-day visit. He spent the day in class, while the admissions officer gave me a tour. I loved what I saw, although it did occur to me that the emphasis seemed to be on the humanities rather than math, physics, and computers, which were I12’s strength. He hates humanities, by the way.

Somehow, I managed to put those thoughts on the backburner. As I learned later, I12 did the same thing when he was told that he would get home from school at 4:30 every afternoon, and have four hours of homework every day. He freaked out; then, promptly forgot about it.

Two weeks before the test, there was an open house. I brought my Mom, K9, and, of course, I12. It was right after church, so we were dressed to the nines, and fit in well with the private-school crowd. K9 had just received a Gameboy for his birthday, and refused to part with it even for the open house.

As we walked in, a boy came up to I12 and offered to be his guide on a tour around the school. K9 tagged along with his Gameboy. The boy’s name was Spencer, which kind of gives you an idea of the school’s general populace.

It is a safe bet to assume that nobody in our city is called Spencer. We’re big on Billys and Joeys, with an occasional Vince here and there, it being an old Italian neighborhood. But no Spencers.

So the three kids took off, and I showed my Mom around the school. Pretty soon, the kids got back, and Spencer asked if he could take I12 and K9 on a second tour. Amazed, I said yes. They returned some thirty minutes later, completely exhausted. I12 was in the lead. Spencer followed, deep in conversation with K9. The two sat down together and started playing the Gameboy.

Apparently, I’d sent the wrong kid to that school.

Two weeks went by, I12 took the ISEE, and did well. The passing grade was 4, and he got like a 6 or a 7. I was, however, worried, because, as my friend told me, it had to be an 8 or a 9 in order to qualify for the scholarship. And there was no way we could pay the tuition in full. It would have pretty much required me to directly deposit my entire paycheck into the school’s account.
Sometime around Christmas, a package arrived in the mail from the school. It was an application for financial aid. Basically, I had to list all our income, everything we had, and every one of our expenses, including food and underwear, and provide valid proof that we were too poor to pay tuition.

That didn’t sit right with me. I’d spent seven years busting my butt to become successful in this country, and convincing people that we were poor was against my nature. Besides, I had expected the scholarship to be kind of, you know, merit-based.

Evidently, the school did not have those. Financial-based only.

Another interesting tidbit of information that I learned in school was its admission policies. They have an equal-rights policy, meaning that, every year, they accept an equal number of girls and boys. So, if there were, say, 20 girls and 40 boys who applied, and they had 40 spots to fill, then guess what. Every single girl would be admitted, unless they failed the test; but they would only take half of the boys. Of course, the opposite was also true. If more girls applied than boys, then the girls would be out of luck.

How that is equal, I will never be able to figure out as long as I live.

On top of that, I started having doubts about that whole enterprise. By that time, I12 had been in middle school for several months, and it was clear to me that his new school and the one he had attended before were like heaven and earth. I was no longer sure that I wanted to take I12 out of that school. He was doing well there, and liked by teachers, in spite of his quirky nature.

So, while I was filling out my financial applications and trying not to barf in the process, the school called me back, because they wanted I12 to come in for a second visit. So, I brought him in for another day. When I came to pick him up, the secretary of admissions explained to me why they didn’t think I12 would be a good fit for their school.

“You see, when in class, he’s in his own world. He does not interact. And, he’s been here twice, but he hasn’t made any friends.”

I meekly replied,

“I thought he was getting along with that boy he met at the open house.”

At that moment, the door opened and I12 walked in.

“How was class, I12?” the admissions secretary asked.

I12 muttered, looking at the floor:

“It was okay.”

I jumped to the rescue.

“Was Spencer there?”

I12 gave me a blank stare.

“Who’s Spencer?”

The admissions secretary gave me a look that said: “See, told ya!”

That was pretty much the end of it. All of a sudden, the admissions lady started telling me how awesome my school district was.

But I knew it already. A great weight fell off my shoulders. Back when I applied, I wondered if I12 would be better off in the private school. Now, eight months and several hundred dollars later, I realized, to my relief, that he wouldn’t. We shook hands, and I told the admissions lady,

“Thanks for helping me make this decision.”

And so the story ends.

By the way, the essay that I12 had to write on his ISEE was, “If you could go anywhere in the world on a field trip, where would you go?” I12 wrote that he would go to his own house. In the car on the way home from the private school, I asked him why.

He said,

“Come on, Mom, what fun is a field trip anyway, when you have a hundred kids following you around, and teachers telling you what to do? No place in the world would be fun if you went there on a field trip. So, I figured, I’d just go home and play on my computer.”

Yeah. Definitely not private school material.

And that is exactly what I like about him.

Coming up next: what to do if your child runs into a problem with his friends? Meet the parents that say: you should call your kid’s little friend at home and give him the what for! Learn from their unconventional approach.

The Goldie has spoken at 2:12 PM

Sunday, August 14, 2005

My Dirty Mind Strikes Again!

Yesterday, K9 and I went to our local pet supplies store, seeing as we are proud chinchilla owners now. We'd never been to the store before, but managed to find it pretty fast.

As I drove past the store, looking for a parking spot, out of the corner of my eye I saw this sign posted in one of its windows:

We will beat your meat

Whoa, whoa. This can't be.

I slow down, and take a closer look. Sure enough, the sign says:

We will beat or meet any advertisement

Oh, well. K9 was ecstatic when I told him.

The Goldie has spoken at 9:20 PM

Friday, August 12, 2005

From My Inbox: Why a Bee?

I don't normally post forwarded emails, but this one, I just couldn't resist.

The person who sent this to me, found it on the Uniquely Gifted website.
The Uniquely Gifted table of contents

I cannot decide whether my 12yo is a fish or a duck... What are your kids?

Why a Bee?
Author Unknown

Once upon a time the animals had a school. They had four subjects: running, climbing, flying, and swimming-and all animals took all subjects.

The duck was good at swimming, better than the teachers in fact. He made passing grades in running and flying, but he was almost hopeless in climbing. So they made him drop swimming to practice more climbing. Soon he was only average in swimming. But average is OK, and nobody worried much about it except the duck.

The eagle was considered a troublemaker. In his climbing class he beat everybody to the top of the tree, but he had his own way of getting there, which was against the rules. He always had to stay after school and write, Cheating is wrong 500 times. This kept him from soaring, which he loved. But schoolwork comes first.

The bear flunked because they said he was lazy, especially in winter. His best time was summer, but school wasn't open then.

The penguin never went to school because he couldn't leave home, and they wouldn't start a school out where he lived.

The zebra played hooky – a lot. The ponies made fun of his stripes, and that made him very sad.
The kangaroo started out at the top of the running class, but got discouraged trying to run on all fours like the other kids.

The fish quit school because he was bored. To him all four subjects were the same, but nobody understood that.

They had never been a fish.

The squirrel got A's in climbing, but his flying teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. His legs got so sore from practicing takeoffs that he began getting C's and D's in running.

But the bee was the biggest problem of all, so the teacher sent him to Dr. Owl for testing. Dr. Owl said that the bees wings were just too small for flying and besides they were in the wrong place. But the bee never saw Dr. Owls report, so he just went ahead and flew anyway.

I think I know a bee or two, don't you?

The Goldie has spoken at 12:20 PM

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Back To School II – The Bully Buster Box

This is the second post of my Back-To-School series. The first post is here.

In my first post, I promised to tell you about the anti-bullying tool that my kids’ elementary school is using. So, here goes.

It is a very powerful tool. It is, in fact, a small wooden box. It walks around on hundreds of little legs and swallows its enemies whole… oops, wrong box. I should really stop reading Terry Pratchett books so much.

Here’s how I found out about the magical box. K9 was in second grade. I was driving him to school one morning, which is when most of our conversations take place. Suddenly, K9 said, in an indignant voice,

“Yesterday, Mark put my name in the bully buster box for no reason! And I got called to the guidance counselor’s office! It’s not fair!”

I was confused.

“Mark did what?”

“I built a toy out of Legos and he wanted to play with it, and I didn’t let him cause it was mine, cause I built it. And he went and put my name in the bully buster box for that. He wrote that I wasn’t sharing.”

“Wait, wait, wait. He put your name in what?”

“Come on Mom, I told you already. In the Bully Buster Box.”

“What the heck is a bully buster box, K9?!”

“You know, Mom. Mrs. Guidance Counselor has it outside her office. And, when a kid is bullying you, you write his name on a piece of paper and you put it in the box, and that’s how she knows who’s the bully.”

“So it’s like a mailbox?”


Just at that minute, we pulled into the school’s driveway and I had to drop K9 off. So he didn’t get to finish the story, which was too bad, because I sure did have a lot of questions. I’d never heard about the bully buster box before, but I already had a vague idea about what it was, and I wasn’t liking it at all! I felt like giving Mrs. Guidance Counselor a phone call.

Now, normally, I wouldn’t touch Mrs. GC with a proverbial ten-foot pole, because I’m terrified of her. She’s the woman that screamed at me and threatened me with police and Social Services because of I12’s antics. She intimidates me something awful. Most of the time, I try to keep as far away from Mrs. GC as possible, and definitely won’t call her unless she calls me first.

This, however, was a special situation. I drove to work, settled nicely in my comfy chair, and dialed Mrs. GC’s number.

During the next five minutes, I asked a lot of questions and received more answers than I’d hoped for. I found out that the Bully Buster Box was, indeed, a mailbox located in front of Mrs. GC’s office. It was intended for bully prevention. The way it worked was, if a kid was bullied, he could write his abuser’s name on a piece of paper and drop it into the box. You didn’t have to sign your name unless you wanted to. The abuser would then be summoned into Mrs. GC’s office for questioning.

I was talking in a calm voice, not drawing any conclusions, not making any accusations, just asking one question after another. The only statement I made during the entire conversation was, “My son has told me about the bully buster box, and I would like to learn more about it.” However, as I was talking, I noticed something strange. Mrs. GC was talking to me in a really nice voice. During all our previous conversations, she used to sound like a drill sergeant. It’s almost like she felt uncomfortable explaining the principles of the bully buster box to me.

I would say she felt uncomfortable for a good reason. I may have sounded calm on the phone (those five years of working in computer support are finally paying off!), but, deep inside, I was flipping out! I mean, I understand the good intentions behind the blasted box, but is it so hard to imagine the possibilities for abuse created by that thing?! You can report anyone you want; you can make up any accusations you want; you do not have to sign your name; and you do not have to ever prove anything. It’s up to the person that you have reported to prove that he or she is innocent. If you get into an argument with your friend, that’s how you can get back at him. If someone doesn’t want to be your friend, that’s how you can get back at them. If there’s a boy or girl in your class that looks weird or smells funny, that’s how you can give him or her a hard time. And that is what we’re teaching the elementary-school kids?!

I grew up in a country where, in the 1930’s, millions of people had died in concentration camps because of being falsely accused by their coworkers and neighbors. I have absolutely no tolerance for that kind of thing. It is infinitely worse than bullying, in my book. By the time I hung up with Mrs. GC, I was furious. What were those people thinking when they put up that God-forsaken box?!

So what did I do about it? Other than the phone call – nothing. I didn’t know what to do. Well, I did tell K9 to stay away from that box, but that’s basically all I did.

This was two years ago. Last time I checked, the box was still there.

Don’t mess with me. I can write you up.

Coming up next: the story of how I once got fed up with our elementary school, and what I tried to do about it.

The Goldie has spoken at 9:11 AM

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

In Other News

We have inherited a chinchilla yesterday. It is a male, four years old. Our friends gave him to us, cage and all. He had a name, but didn’t know it, so they said we could give him any name we wanted. K9 has named him Nicky.

Nicky is incredibly cute! I wish I had a digital camera so I could show you. (An order for a small, easy-to-use digital camera has already been placed to our excellent eBayer, Mr. Goldie).

K9 loves Nicky, and spends every minute of his free time feeding him, playing with him, or being worried about him. He even cleaned around Nicky’s cage!

What K9 really wanted was a cat or a dog. But, Mr. Goldie and I12 are allergic to cats. I’d love to get a dog, but I’m not sure if we can handle the work. So we decided we’d get a startup pet and see how that works.

Yesterday, K9 said,

“I feel sorry for Nicky. I could never be him, trapped in a cage all the time.”

I thought about our kids living in the suburbs, where you have to have a car to get anywhere, and you’re not allowed outside without adult supervision anyhow… but I kept those thoughts to myself.

The Goldie has spoken at 12:39 PM

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Back To School I - My Son, The School Bully

This is the first post of my Back To School series. More to follow.

All my years in school, I was what they now call a geek and a nerd. I was getting good grades, no matter how I tried; wore glasses; and couldn’t for the life of me figure out how that whole social machine called “school” worked.

I was hugely unpopular. Kids bullied me. I had a classmate who chased me across the hallway with a razor in his hand. (We’re on good terms now.)

My firstborn has inherited a lot of my traits. He is very smart (not that he gets good grades – after a lot of thinking, he has decided that grades are overrated). He is not popular, and kids call him a geek and a nerd. That’s my boy!

There is, however, a difference between us. I used to be an emotional kid that was always stressing out about not being part of the popular crowd, and was forever trying to fit in. I12, on the other hand, doesn’t care about climbing the school’s social ladder. He is a tough guy. Kids don’t bully him, because, in his own words, “how can you bully someone twice your height?” His other memorable words to me are, “Don’t worry, Mom. If someone ever bullies me, I’ll knock them on their head, like this” – and he made a motion with his hand as if dribbling a basketball located somewhere at his waist level.

The kid definitely inherited his parents’ sense of humor. Good for him.

Bottom line, I12 has a reputation for being a generally nice, quiet kid that likes to be on his own. So it comes as a surprise for people who didn’t know him in 4th grade, that for one whole year, he was a badass kid and a school bully. It all started the year before, when one of I12’s classmates started picking on him. On the playground, the kid would walk up to I12 and hit him for no reason. Once or twice, he made I12 cry. For the record, I12 never cries. Like I said, he is an extremely tough guy. He also complained to me about it. I told I12 to hit the kid back, but I wasn’t sure if he could. After all, I had been a very meek kid, and never knew how to fight, and wasn’t I12 my son?

Before I could figure out what to do and how to interfere, I12 found a new best friend. It was the meanest, baddest kid in the entire school. For the sake of anonymity, I’ll call him Kyle.

Kyle was a character. People could actually spot him from a mile away. I mean people with experience, of course. To the naïve old me, Kyle was just a cute little boy with a blond crew cut. But, at I12’s birthday party, when my friend came over, she figured Kyle for a troubled kid right away. My friend had had over a decade of teaching experience, and had worked as assistant principal at her school. Kyle was terrified of her. I guess he could smell teacher on my friend, just as she could smell badass kid on him.

When K9 got to first grade, and started hanging out at the playground, he confirmed my friend’s suspicions. Kyle was terrorizing the whole school. He loved beating up little kids. His next favorite thing to do was pick an item of clothing, a hat, or a pair of gloves, out of Lost and Found, wear it at the playground during break, and toss it over the fence when the break was over.

According to K9, Kyle wasn’t terrorizing the school alone. He had a posse that consisted of his two classmates. One of them was I12.

I12 became famous and feared in a matter of weeks. No one thought of him as a nerd anymore. He continued to get good grades, but started bringing quiet room slips home at an alarming rate. Pretty soon, he got enough of those to qualify for an in-school suspension. He spent his day in suspension reading “The Catcher in the Rye”. He actually found the suspension enjoyable.

By that time, I was no longer happy that my son had been able to stand up for himself. The whole thing was spinning out of control, and I had no way to stop it. I begged I12 to stop being friends with Kyle, but he wouldn’t listen.

I got a letter from school requesting me to come in for a conference with a panel of teachers. I came, and was lectured about my son’s despicable behavior, violent drawings, and interest in weapons. I was presented with substantial evidence – a folder full of drawings, plus a Duke Nukem CD. In front of six teachers, the principal told me, “We are afraid that he will grow up and kill someone” (pause) “or himself”. I was told to make an appointment with a therapist within a 72-hour period, the last 24 hours of which fell on a Saturday. The school was going to call the Social Services on me if I didn’t meet the deadline. It only took me 47 hours to find a specialist and schedule the appointment.

I12 in the meantime, was enjoying the fame. One day on the bus, he went past K9 and, in a deep, tough-guy voice, said hello as he moved on. K9 turned to his friend and proudly announced,

“This is my brother. He is a school bully!”

The friend responded,

“Oh yeah? Can he come over here.”

So K9 waved his famous brother over, and his friend asked I12,

“K9 says that you’re a school bully. Is that true?”

“Yeah. So?”

“There’s this girl in my class. Can you beat her up for $67?”

Now, in this situation, I’m pretty positive that Kyle would have asked for the money up front. I12, however, did something completely unbully-ish. He said no.

Not so long after that incident, I12 was hanging out with Kyle at the playground, and K9 was on a slide nearby. Out of sheer brotherly love, I12 suddenly asked Kyle to go beat up K9. Big mistake.

K9 is a very social kid. In daycare, his teachers told me that he is a leader by nature. He is physically very active - compared to his brother, anyway. He plays sports. He is tall for his age, and a stocky kid. He’s strong. I know that for a fact, because one time, he got mad at me and hit me on the nose. That was the most painful moment of my life.

So, when Kyle walked up to K9 and started hitting him for no reason, K9 hit back. Kyle was in fourth grade, K9 was in first, but the fact remains that K9 beat Kyle up, and Kyle ran away. On that day, Kyle’s stock as a bully plummeted.

The school let out for the summer, and in the fall, I12 started middle school, and Kyle wasn’t there. Somehow, he got transferred to another school district. He sent I12 an email that contained this sentence: “A girl gave me a black eye”. Apparently, Kyle found it hard to get into the bullying business over at the new school. I don’t know what happened to him after that. All I know is that I12 had no more disciplinary problems, not a single detention in two years so far.

At this point, you probably wonder, “But where was the school in all that? How come kids are killing each other on the playground every day, and nobody cares?” How come Kyle never got in trouble for harassing the whole school? How come I12 got twenty detentions for drawing M16’s and stealth bombers, and zero for picking on little kids at the playground? Does this school do anything at all to stop the bullying? Is there anything it can do about it?

Fear not, dear reader. Yes, it does; and yes, there is. In fact, this particular school has invented a completely new tool to fight bullying. It may not work as intended, but it’s there. I will tell you all about it in the next installment.

The Goldie has spoken at 9:38 AM

Monday, August 08, 2005

Important Announcements

I have two Very Important Announcements to make.

One is that my church is having its annual Greek festival next week, so if you live in the Cleveland area, please feel free to stop by. There will be Greek food… yum! I’m definitely getting the pastries. There will be Greek dancing as well, and I’m told there’s a fabulous flea market. Just think about it… the flea market has a designer clothes section! Does it get any better than that? Yes, it does! They sell fantastic jewelry… hand-made in Greece!

We’re all supposed to work the booths, but I will be on call next weekend, and therefore cannot commit to any strict schedule. (Somehow, I always end up on call during the Festival… bummer!) I will probably stop by on Thursday to help set up, and on Friday to help with whatever… and buy the pastries! (I plan on running past the jewelry booth as fast as I can with my eyes closed, for the temptation is too strong). If you live in the area, I hope to see you there!

My second announcement is, a “Back To School” series of posts will appear on this blog between now and August 25th (which is when school starts in these parts). In these posts, I will, in a serious manner that is so characteristic of me, analyze the past school experiences, share what my family has learned, and reminisce on the fun-filled, exciting times that we had an honor and a privilege to live through during the seven years that my kids have spent in the school system. Stay tuned. Due to the nature of the subject, occasional expletives will be used.

That’s all I’ve got to announce for the day. Have a good week.

The Goldie has spoken at 5:22 PM

My Home Town in Pictures

Not your ordinary Russian town!

A friend of my parents’ mailed them a CD with some recent photos and I thought I’d share… So here goes.

My home town was founded by the Swedes in 1293. In that year, the castle was built.

This castle is 48.6 meters high. For a small fee you can get up on top and enjoy the panorama of the town:

The town remained part of Sweden until the early 1880’s. A lot of medieval buildings still remain standing.

My best friend used to live across the street from here

and my Mom’s aunt lived close to this clock tower

In the XIX – early XX century, the town was a part of Imperial Russia, and then Finland.

This park was built as a place of recreation for the Russian emperors.

Under the Finns, beautiful buildings were erected in the Old Town

The town, located in the south of Finland, was one of the favorite summer resorts.

Then, in 1939, the Soviets took over. My Mom’s family moved to our town after WWII, and my Dad came there to work in the early 60’s. We lived close to the port

and in summer, my friends and I used to go to this beach

This is my home town. I haven’t been there since 1995, but some day I plan on coming back to visit, and bringing the kids. It probably won’t be a whole lot of fun for me – it wasn’t much fun even back when I lived there as a kid, and, since then, my old friends have either moved out or passed away; but I am sure the kids will enjoy the scenery, the sea, the winding streets of Old Town, and the fascinating history behind them.

See it all on flickr

Wikipedia has an interesting article on my home town

The Goldie has spoken at 2:30 PM

Thursday, August 04, 2005

My Dirty, Dirty Mind

Our management has decided to have a talent show next week.

Today, we all get an email with the reminder. It seems like there will be a band, as well.

Here's what it says.

The (band name?) are planning a bang-up performance
and they are just kicking things off.
Who knows what talent may surface!

So, what I want to know is... is it just me, or did anyone else get visions of wild, naked group sex when they read this?

I shudder to think what talent may surface...

I have a very dirty mind.

The Goldie has spoken at 2:01 PM

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

K9 Ruins It for Construction Workers

We live on a small street right off a main drag. You go down the main drag, there’s a circle, one of the streets off the circle is ours. Apparently, our mayor likes this spot and tries to keep it in top shape, because, all four years that we’ve been living here, there’s permanent road work going on. This year, they are resurfacing the street itself. Last year, it was the walkway.

That’s where my son came in.

Each summer, we send K9 to city camp, to keep him in top shape. My Dad picks him up, only he doesn’t let K9 ride in the car unless it rains. K9 has to either walk

or ride his scooter

all the way home, which is, I’m guessing, about two miles. He enjoys it.

That one day last year was especially enjoyable.

I worked from home on that day, and offered to pick up K9, but Grandpa said no, and in due time, he arrived at camp to get his grandson. K9 rode the scooter home, and Grandpa walked next to him.

It was a beautiful sunny day, K9 was enjoying the ride, and kept speeding up. Very soon, he got way ahead of Grandpa. And in just ten more minutes, he came into my office, smiling, happy, and wet. By “wet” I mean, there was not a dry spot on him and there was water dripping from his clothes.

What in the world happened, I asked him, and heard this unbelievable story.

“Mom, what happened was, I was driving past the cemetery, and construction workers were there, and they were laying fresh cement on this little road, you know, the one we walk on. So I tried to get around them, and I fell. And I was all covered in cement, so they had to hose me down! And then, the police came! And Mom, the policeman was so kind, and he walked me right to my house! It was so cool!”

I was cracking up as I was helping K9 change into dry clothes. Just as I was done, Grandpa came in. He had no clue what had just happened.

“Is K9 here? Did he get home all right?”

“More than all right, Dad!”

We were hoping they’d leave a K9-shaped dent in the concrete, to remind us of his adventure. No such luck, they put a fresh layer over that spot. But we never forget. We remember. Each time we pass this spot, we wink at each other and reminisce on the day when K9 was hosed down by construction workers, and walked home by the policeman.

The Goldie has spoken at 12:17 PM

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

18,250% APR?

K9 comes home from camp yesterday, and we have this conversation.

"Mom, I need to bring a dollar-fifty to camp tomorrow."

"What for?"

"Cuz I borrowed a dollar from Nate today. It was SO hot, I just HAD to buy a slushie. You've got to give me more juice with my lunch, Mom."

"Ok, so, you owe him a dollar?"

"No, he said I had to bring him a dollar-fifty."

"WHAT?! Who ever heard of fifty percent interest a day? Is that kid out of his mind?"

"Mom, he actually gave me a good deal. I tried to borrow from another kid, and he said I'd have to bring him two dollars back."

"Tell you what, give your friend Nate a dollar and a dime, and tell him to consider himself lucky that he's getting such a good interest."

"But MOM, we made a deal! A deal is a deal! You can't break it."

So, because my financially challenged son had, in fact, made a deal, I had to give him a dollar-fifty and tell him not to borrow from anyone ever again. But, I really wonder what's going on here. What's with the kids charging one another crazy interest rates? I've never heard of this before, is it only in our area or do you have it where you live, too?

The Goldie has spoken at 2:22 PM

Monday, August 01, 2005

2 1337

Mamacita has a wide selection of links to blogs on teaching/education in this post, so I will be reading up for quite a while. (Go check it, it's priceless). This morning, I was going through the links and I came to this post on "What It's Like On The Inside".

The most recent additions to the "kidspeak" pantheon are coming from the on-line world. Some are terms used by hackers. Most of the words come from slang found in chat rooms. By the end of last year, terms like "n00b" and "pwned" were becoming standard among my students. I've even had kids say "j k happy face." (translation: "Just kidding, okay?") In print, these terms take on a variety of spellings---often including numbers or other symbols in place of letters. But I haven't seen my kids using them in their written work. Yet.

Yep. That's what I have to deal with. That is exactly how my kids talk to me and to each other. I have even selected one word out of the entire leetspeek, and am using it extensively. Oh, I love that word. It's "iono".

It works like magic.

"Mom, what am I getting for my birthday in October?"


"If I behave really, really well, can I get a PSP?"


"Why do we have to go to school and do homework, when it's all pointless?"

"Gee, I12, iono".

Basically, after I've given five different answers to the same question, and the question is still being asked, then "iono" is the way to go.

Can you tell what it means? I'm not telling you. You have to guess. Or, look it up.

Oh well, at least our kids are actually inventing their own slang. The new generation is speaking with its own voice... although, in this case, it's mostly "typing with its own voice". Whatever.

As for using it in written work, I'll have to really watch myself so I don't accidentally suggest this to I12. Something tells me he will find it a very good idea.


The Goldie has spoken at 3:56 PM

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