Tween Tramps

I know that my year and a half as a step parent hardly qualifies me as an beginner in parenting, let alone an expert. I do however get annoyed by what some people allow their kids to do. Just as much as a dog owner that does not pick up the poop from the sidewalk, I am annoyed by parents that let a tween dress like a total tramp.

I have seen the phenomenon before, but it turned out to be a total “pandemic” when I visited World of Fun this weekend. I was always a little annoyed by the MTV show that showed girls having sweet 16 parties that seemed to be more expensive than an actual wedding, but what I saw this weekend was just a little too much.

It starts with the make up. I don’t think any kid under the age of 18 needs full on club make up. To be fair, I am not a fan of make up, I believe in natural beauty. I do appreciate it when a woman gets all dolled up to go out, but a 12 year old with more mascara than all the Emo bands in the world put together to me is going a little too far.

I understand that most parents have to trust their kids, and that they can just go to their friends house and do it anyway, but My Mom would have never let my sister go outside with some of the make up and clothes I saw.

I seriously have seen movie prostitutes with more clothes on and less make up that some of these kids. I thought I was just being over critical, but the more I walked through the park, the more example of “club clothing and make up” on little girls I encountered.

Granted, it could be that I am just getting old and even people in their twenties look like 12 year olds to me, but it seems like this is not something that I just noticed. Appearently there are reality shows on TV about little girls being in beauty pageants… I guess I totally forgot about how creepy the whole JonBenet Ramsey murder case was.

Newsweek has an article titled “Are We Turning Our Tweens into Generation Diva?” I am afraid we are letting some of our kids just look like tramps.

A Book About My Life

During our life we experience a journey that shapes who we are, love, pain, hope, despair, dreams… it is rare that we know when someone or something will become a part of that book.

If I had to pick a theme or message for the book about my life it will be love. I believe that everything in this journey comes back to love, having it, feeling it, giving it or simply lacking it. People without love and passion about life have come and gone through my life and they will not be main characters, what is even more surprisingly is that even the most painful experiences in my life have simply become chapters… every day getting smaller. Back then I seriously thought that chapter of my life would forever shape me, now it is a simple chapter almost comically remembered as the brief appearance of Voldemort.

My book has many characters, but I would have never imagined that most of the main ones would be people that I have met online. My wife is someone I met through my blog, and besides my friends Tom, Bobby, Mario, Travis, Carlos Andres, Julio Cesar, Corey and the Marks (there are 3) all of the members of the friends that I know will be friends for life are people I met first online.

From the moment I saw my wife walking down the hall in O’Hare Airport I knew a new chapter of my life had begun. She helped me rebuild not only my life, but we built a life together. And true love, lasting love had been found.

The CLSB crew, Crazy, Ken, Tony, vCook, Kim, Brother Bill, Dave, Kruz, I all met online… actually I had been friends with Cook before but when he showed up to that first group ride I had not yet married the online persona to the guy that I had gotten drunk with during my college years.

XO is going to kill me for even putting his name here. He is just one of those books you open and know from moment one that the fun will never stop. I don’t use this word lightly and in intellectual matters and coming to conclusions I feel he is a mentor. Being in completely opposite ends of many topics makes our bantering that much more fun. Ever since I saw that he is the scape artist of social events I knew that he would be that elusive character in the book that is not quite Yoda, not quite Obi Wan (he will get the humor) but more of a Captain Picard minus the Jean-Luc part.

Chimpo is a man of few words face to face, and we actually both met the rest of the crazy KC blogger community the same day. Since that day we have shared many beers, many laughs and I continue to steal Loren (Happy Birthday little one!) every time I get a chance to get attention by proxy.

Nuke and I had informally chatted back and forth online. However, he recognized so much of my personality that I don’t show that it amazed me. I am used to reading people like an open book, even if the cover is complex, but very seldom do people read me that way, more often people see what they want to see. A chapter had begun.

The moment I met Mike for lunch now years ago, another chapter was written. Even though our personalities are quite different, I almost felt like I found a long lost brother. He and his wife will be here to visit us once again this summer and it made my day after having to drop Daniel off at the airport… more on that in a bit.

Daniel, its even hard to think about how different the book of my life would be without him being a main character. The interesting part is that Daniel became part of the book and we had never even met face to face. We did not need a personal connection to create a bond that has at times scared the both of us because it seems almost impossible to feel kinship without ever meeting face to face.

This past weekend he fixed that technicality by coming here to KC for a visit from California. I had no doubt that we would get along, I had no doubt that we would have lots to talk about, I had no doubts that he would have a good time because that is who he is, always moving forward always trying to pick up the best… what I did not know was that I would experience this level of friendship from what some call a complete stranger.

I am reading a new book this week about how the brain works. I skipped to the chapter on happiness, my second favorite subject to love, and I was pleasantly surprised when it almost wrote the last chapter of Daniel and I meeting. Paraphrasing a little “While measuring happiness can be debated, it is almost certain that happiness is about little moments stacked together being more significant than one big happy event. Someone that has a drink with a buddy every night will be a lot happier than even someone that wins the lottery.”

The online crew that plays WoW with me have also become a big chapter or the people I first met online, Damayan(bring her a little closer, I am still getting experience!), Hon, Dave, Ann, Smidge, Rob, Chris, Patrick, Yuert, Theydrin, Mr iWipe (Fredler), Dr. Alagorn (he is a freaking Pediatrician!), Sokym, McTeague, Wook and the old drunk.

It is amazing to have so many great relationships, people that I can go and have a drink with, even just virtual. They each enrich every chapter of my life even more than I would have thought possible and cement the idea in my heads that happiness and success has nothing to do with what you have in the back or in the garage, but with who you have around to share your life with.

FIF 121

And Here We Go

And…here we go!

1. Apparently there’s some sort of _____.
Rain coming, Go away rain.

2. _____ sunny day.
Today was a beautiful

3. 2009 _____ so far.
has rocked

4. _____ that was it.
knob Creek

5. For too long I’ve been _____.
away today

6. I am not obsessed with _____; I am not!
WoW

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to _____, tomorrow my plans include _____ and Sunday, I want to _____!
Baseball, Gaming and Drinking, start a diet!

I sold out!

For some tasty quesadillas and a great free movie. Thanks to @jpgardner, Bea and I got to visit the new Mainstreet theater. I have to say the experience was a wonderful one.

I had my doubts going in, and was fully aware of the potential of being used as a marketing “tool,” you can thank Meesha for my enhanced paranoia. I figured we would get a free movie and some snacks and that would be the end of it. However, the experience was so much more than that.

I have been to that area so many times and never payed much attention to the building until today. The outside looks wonderful, but once you step in you are truly wowed by how nice the place is inside. The building was completely remodeled, and I am not sure the normal person would get the access our group got to see how much of the old building is actually still there. The pieces of the old theater that we got to see really gave the experience a feel of history which enhanced the tour that we were given.

I went in trying to be hypercritical of everything, but I honestly could not find anything to complain about. I did not want it to seem like I would love a place and gave it a good review simply because I got to see a free movie. The quesadillas I had were awesome and I would probably get them when I get to go again. Bea is already planning an outing for us there. The only thing I can think of to really complain is the prices of the food and drinks being a little more than what you would spend on your weekly movie outing if you are a movie buff, but you do pay a premium for going to a theater where only 21 and over people would be allowed or just the amenities that are available to you.

After arriving and getting some AMC stickers that made us somewhat official, we waited until the group gathered and our tour began. While they were not super keen on actually giving us some of the information we geeks wanted, (how big are the digital movies? How much is it actually gonna cost for a ticket?) we did get to learn about how they used to have tanks for trained seals and how most of the materials used in the remodel project are either recycled or fully recyclable (I think our tour guide mentioned how the carpet was 100 recyclable more than a few times). I have heard of a place being cooled with blocks of ice, but actually being in one that was cooled that way and getting to see the ducts that were used to pump the air to the upper balcony was neat. It was also neat to see the old balcony which is probably not going to get seen by many people but I am sure plenty of pictures from tonight will surface.

The tour gave us access to behind the scenes to see the racks of servers and projection rooms. They have some beefy systems and all of the theater houses are fully digital. One of them is even 3D ready. They have some premium theaters and some regular ones, I am guessing they will be more than 15 bucks for the fancy one we went into. The seats were actually recliners and you have a very space age looking tray that slides towards you for convenient access to your food and drinks.

We went into the theater thinking we were going to see Valkyrie with Tom Cruise, and we got the surprise right before the movie that we were actually seeing a sneak preview of The Brothers Bloom, a movie I have heard nothing about. The movie is excellent if you have a dark sense of humor, but it did drag a little bit towards the end. If I was to review it, I would give it 3 out of 4 stars.

Overall my impression of the place was positive. The theater and the seating is superior to any other theater I have been to; I mean the recliners even vibrate! The price you pay might be a little steep, but with that you will get rid of annoying teenagers ruining your movie experience. This place is perfect for a dinner and a date with your significant other. I think you should really judge it for yourself as soon as it officially opens up on May 1st. I know that Bea and I are going back for sure.

*Update*
More reviews are going up!
Average Jane
Vivid13
JohnInKC
Ramsey Moshen

Follow the hash #amcmain

Same Sex Marriage

Sunday, Miss California might have thrown away the chance to become Miss USA. She certainly did not get “fabulous” Perez Hilton’s vote. While I could sit here and talk about the legitimacy of an event that uses Mr. Hilton as a judge, I do think the spectacle raised a good issue that seems to be getting hotter and hotter because now Iowa and Vermont have legalized same sex marriage.

I wrote about this topic a while ago and if anything my belief that we should allow two people to enter this kind of union regardless of sex is even stronger now.

To even enter this discussion I now ask people the following question. Do you believe that being gay is a choice or innate?

The gay people I have talked to have always told me how difficult a live as an openly gay person can be, and that many people would not chose that life. While there has to be exceptions to every rule, for me it is the way that you are born. From what I have read, science tends to back that up also. I have formed this opinion over years and friendships, however the thing that tipped the scale over was that most gay people I have talked to believed were born that way. People like Ted Haggard might believe that those “impulses” is something that can be “cured,” but I think it only leads to pain and deceit.

I believe that fighting to keep people from getting married is a waste of energy. Proclaiming that it should be only between a man and a woman is a pretty weak argument in today’s world. I understand that government sees the potential for children as the basis for the language in marriage law, but I certainly think that more and more people chose not to have children but still enter the covenant of marriage.

I think conservatives should really concentrate on how to keep marriages together before they start telling other people what to do or not to. Divorce to me is a way bigger problem than same sex marriage. The only marriage prevention I would like to see is letting people that are too young or unprepared for the commitment enter into marriage. Educating people before they get into marriage I think would prevent a lot of divorces, maybe even discourage some from even entering into them, but this is a topic for some other day.

Perez Hilton is someone I don’t particularly like and actually think he helps fuel the whole celebrity culture that swallowed what used to be pop culture. However, he does have a point when he says that Miss California should be trying to unite rather than to give her personal opinion when giving the Miss USA stage. Same sex marriage should be legal for many reasons, and we need to start making this a human issue and not a gay issue. Homosexuals are humans and should be allowed the same rights.

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