Nintendo Generation

My neighbor growing up was my best friend. We’d play American Gladiators together after we watched women’s wrestling for hours. She also had everything I ever wanted.

Like a Nintendo.

My parents were, as I’ve previously mentioned ad nauseum, teak and fine china people. They were the original wooden toys people (after, of course, the pioneers and the Amish) and would’ve been pretty happy if I played that weird hoop game or made things out of piles of sticks. I’m pretty sure they, at one point, bought me a wooden doll. Yeah, you read that right: I owned a wooden doll. Is it any wonder that I’m as maternal as a sack of rocks?

(answer: no)

When I begged them, year after ever-loving year, for a Nintendo, they scoffed at me: Video games? I should be reading a book by candlelight or sewing my own clothes or churning butter. Not rotting my mind on video games!

It bears mentioning that my older brother spent his days and nights playing Zork on the computer.

So Nintendo? I had no stinkin’ Nintendo.

Which meant I spent an inordinate amount of time at my best friend’s house, begging her to let me play one level – just one level. She, delighted at the sudden shift in power, would tell me, hail noes until I got up to leave, and when I did, she’d suddenly develop an interest in playing.

Eventually, my parents bought me a Sega Genesis, so while my friends were teaching Mario to fly with those stupid fucking raccoon wings, I was playing Echo the (Asshole) Dolphin. There went any interest I had in becoming a dolphin lover.

Today, I don’t like games. Can I blame my parents for that? Probably not. But while Daver and Ben sit on the couch at night playing games on their (not so) Smart Phones, I sit and actually watch television. My parents probably DID have a good hand in making sure my attention span was greater than that of a gnat. Thanks, Mom! Thanks, Dad!

But my children, God love them, they love their games. Video games, to be specific. And I’ll begrudgingly admit that video games have come a long way in the past (mumbles) years.

What kills me, though, is this: with all of the awesome games out there these days, my kids still want to play fucking Mario games. Or Sonic games. The shit that was around (mumbles) years ago when I was a wee crotch parasite.

Not only that, the kids love to WATCH those old television shows. The ones my parents forbid me to watch because, like video games, television rots your brain. I was allowed to watch an hour of public television. A day.

But my kids? They’re in love with some creepers “Super Mario Super Show” from the 80’s. And the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon. Stuff I never saw. And thank GOD for that, because holy creepers, Batman.

You’d think that with all of the newer television shows with LESS creepy characters, they’d opt to watch them. But no. They’re watching stuff that both Daver and (older) Ben watched. I’d have probably watched them too, had I not lived with hippies.

Now, I’m thinking that the kids need some wooden dolls or that hoop game or some sticks for Christmas.

Seems only fair.

Taking Uncle Pervy To Whole New Levels.

Now as much as I USE technology, I’m also fairly inept.

(stop laughing)

My computer, Big Mac, he* gets updated once every blue moon, when some piece of software I use to check my email has become defunct. Other than that, I use this picture as my screen saver, which is probably depleting the life of my computer every second it’s on there:

But I don’t care. See how MAJESTIC it is?

*weeps*

*weeps*

*weeps*

Anyway, like the rest of the world, I’m on Google Plus. Which is touted as “The Better Facebook,” which I suppose it is, only until it develops it’s OWN Farmville and my friends start asking for spells to make their crops bigger. The next time that happens, I’m demanding that the person behind that request come the fuck OVER to my house and help me with MY garden. My FOR REAL garden.

(also: I love you, Pranksters, because every time I bitch about Farmville, 400 of you send me requests for crops or pink cows or whatever on The Facebook. It’s proof that I know the BEST people on the Internet.)

So I’m on The New Facebook and I use it occasionally to do things like say, “I’m so happy this isn’t The Old Facebook,” and “Isn’t this better than The Old Facebook?”

Other than that, I use it about as much as I use The Facebook. Which is to say, hardly ever.

But because I hate Skype more than I hate John C. Mayer, I heard about this newfangled thing you kids do called “Hangouts.” The New Facebook hangouts.

TELL me that doesn’t sound dorky.

Anyway, with the Band Back Together Board (for the non-profit, NOT like a Skateboard or an ACTUAL piece of wood), being in separate states, we use The New Facebook Hangouts for our board meetings. We USED to use Skype until we realized we needed to be able to conduct ACTUAL business rather than, “OMG YOU LOOK LIKE YOU’RE IN A DISCO.” Or “NICE FREEZE-FRAME FACE! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Seems unprofessional.

Anyway.

So we launched the new site this weekend, which meant that the 80 of us that work behind the scenes (SHOUT OUT TO MY HOMIES, THE BRAINS!) were all running around like Chicken Little. Or maybe that was just me. So on Sunday, we had a Google Hangout for about 10 of us.

I started the hangout because obviously, and slowly people popped in and out. It was pretty rad. I mean, MAH FRIENDS IN ONE SCREEN? What could be better?

(answer: pony on roller skates)

But I neglected to do one important thing. One VERY important thing. I didn’t make our hangout private.

So every 10 or so minutes, random old men would pop into our chat, causing us to frantically block them. It was an awesome game of WHO CAN BLOCK FASTER?

What made it WAY awesomer is that one of our Brains, Sarah, got stuck chatting with some guy from Egypt who told her she was “beautiful like the moon.” When I stop laughing, I’ll let you know.

My only regret is this: we didn’t see a single naked wang.

What is the world coming to when you don’t see a SINGLE NAKED PEEN while on The Internet?

*wrings hands*

WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE WANGS?

/end hand-wringing

*all of my technology is male. I have Frank, my iPad, John, my iPod, and Larry, my iPhone. That way I can say, “I’m hanging with FRANK tonight,” and it sounds illicit – also cooler than “I’m playing on my iPad.”

Just Ask My Oven – It’s Been Doubling As A Secret Agent.

Designing a site is about as easy as teaching my washing machine to sing “Whoomp! There It Is!” Actually, now that I think about it, teaching my washing machine might be easier. Just ask my coffee maker, who’s been singing “It’s My Party” since last summer sometime.

The minute computers are turned into anything but email machines, I get flustered. Or, I should say, I start tonguing my Xanax bottle and hallucinating random animals singing an A Capella version of the ABC’s. That’s more like it.

And yet I get tasked (read: task myself) with this shit. It’s the REAL Bad News Bears.

For the past eleventy-five-niner months, I’ve been working on redesigning Band Back Together. It turns out that WordPress kinda balks at having more than 2,000 registered users, 2,000 posts and 300 pages.

(to answer your question: GO WITH WORDPRESS FOR A PERSONAL BLOG. Blogspot is the SuperCuts of the blogging world)

But we’ve been redesigning Band Back Together since I can remember. Which means I’ve been constantly bombarded questions like, “BUT WHAT ARE THE OBJECT PERMISSIONS? WHAT SHOULD WE DO?” Questions like that make me go all, “lalala, pumpkin pie is NOT delicious, lalala,” because I’m just not equipped to answer them.

The new site launched this weekend, which, I was all RAD, NO MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT PERMISSIONS, but then, I got MORE questions about permissions. And objects. And objects WITH permissions.

I spent the weekend fantasizing about photoshopping Avril Lavigne’s neck, severed, and spurting a veritable blood fountain. Don’t ask me what she did to evoke my ire, but I think it’s a song about skaters or complicated, or complicated skaters. Either way, it hurt my vagina to listen to.

But we did it.

And this week, I’m battening down the hatches and preparing for more objects and permissions and answering questions I know nothing about with “um…C?” because that’s what you do when you don’t know. You SOUND like you know the answer. It works out well. (lies)

So now, I am off to tongue my empty Xanax bottle and pray that no one asks me about permissions for at LEAST an hour. Or Avril Lavigne’s head is comin’ OFF.

Go see my purdy work on Band Back Together. Then? Tell Your Aunt Becky how YOUR weekend was.

The Kid Is All Right

Bobbing and weaving in time to the music in her head, she bounded over to me.

“Mama,” she smiled largely, the winning smile that I just know she’ll be using on her future dates. “I wanna watch more Tuff Puppy.”

“No Baby-Pants,” I laughed. “Not tonight. It’s bedtime.”

“Okay,” she stretched her smile as widely as she could. “Can we watch more Tuff Puppy on SUNDAY?”

“Sure,” I giggled at her inflection and emphasis. No one is gonna say no to this kid. “We can watch it on Sunday.”

“OKAY,” she broadcast to the whole house. “THANKS MAMA.”

She bobbed and wobbled off to get her diaper changed before bed.

I sat there, looking after her, bemused and amazed and more than a little bit teary.

It’s coming up on her third birthday. To think this tiny tot with an attitude the size of Texas was once the very same baby whose life I prayed for. Who’s head I wept into. Who’s tiny feet I once held onto like they were lifelines to a world in which no NICU’s, no PICU’s existed. It’s hard to reconcile that these are the same people.

Yet they are.

For her birthday this year, I will celebrate. I will buy a monster of a cake and we shall eat it, sharing it happily with anyone who can be bothered to brave the frigid January air. This year, we will celebrate.

And maybe, just maybe, I can let the ghosts of my past, who still haunt my present, be silent.

If only for a day.

It’s Never, EVER Safe To Sleep.

I’m kinda feeling low today. I’m hoping to snap the fuck out of it and come back and actually string words together, instead of posting one of the creepiest videos ever.

Also: Other, Better Shit I’ve Written (a.k.a. I Get Around):

10 Ways To (Not) Entertain Your Kid On An Airplane. I have a feeling the comments will be troll-worthy.

7 of the Most Baffling Products Aimed At Parents

Holly Daze

And a repost of an old favorite: When “He’s My Dad” Makes Everyone Feel Awkward

Blogging…With, um, Kids?

We Mommy Bloggers get a lot of shit.

Not just because we have a dumb name (I mean, MOMMY BLOGGERS? It sounds like some sort of weird disease or exotic insult), or because we’re all angling to get free shit, but because we’re talking about our KIDS! Online! Without their consent!

(all together now)

*wrings hands*

WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?

/end hand wringing.

I get what they’re saying. I do.

If you spend all day, every day, discussing the most intimate details of your kids life, well, that’s maybe not okay. So we each do our best to write things that WILL be okay when our children stumble across them someday. I mean, as we’ve learned, the Internet is a small, small place and whatever you’ve written WILL be read eventually by the one person who you don’t want to read it.

That’s a no-brainer.

I’ve never kept what I “do” under wraps in my family. I don’t necessarily broadcast it to the small crotch parasites because they’d be just as likely to try and fart on me as they would be interested in it. But the Big One, Ben, well, he knows what I do. Sorta.

We’re doing a bullying carnival (much less cotton candy than you’d expect) on Saturday over on Band Back Together. Basically, this means we’re collecting as many bullying posts as we can find (join us, y’all!) to offer as many different perspectives on bullying as possible. This comes on the heels of the tragic suicides of a couple of kids after repeated, intense bullying.

I asked my son to write for us.

He’s been the victim of numerous bullies in his short ten years. If anyone knows how a bully makes them feel, it’s Ben.

Last night, I sat him down and asked him to write 5 paragraphs for us over at the Band about bullies.

He. Was. Thrilled.

And he did it.

What I got was one of the sweetest, awesomest things I’ve ever read. What I also got were questions about what it was, precisely, that Mom does. He knows I’m a “writer” and I have a “blog,” but I haven’t really discussed my other projects with him. I explained what Band Back Together was and how we ran things and the stigmas we were trying to combat.

He thought it was the coolest thing ever.

I, of course, was bowled over. I figured he’d think it was “lame” or “stupid” or something, but no. He thinks it’s great. I know. I KNOW. What. The. Fuck? I thought kids were supposed to hate whatever their parents did. Maybe I’m doing this parenting thing wrong – perhaps I need to become an assassin or something to fill the kid with angst.

When he was done with his bullying post, he told me, very sweetly, that any time I needed him to write a post, he’d be happy to help out.

I actually had to fight back tears. We all three (me, Ben, The Daver) did. What an awesome kid.

Hrms.

Guess that means all that hand-wringing was in vain.

Sighs.

Fill in the blank?

“WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE ______?”

Brave New World

We live in interesting times.

“There’s a study,” Ben said, “that shows that people who watch Fox News are less informed than those who watch no news at all.”

I laughed. Mostly because I can’t imagine why a DANGER FEAR SEGMENT story about escalators “STAIRWAY TO DANGER!” or a story about applesauce “AN APPLE A DAY MAKES THE CORONERS DAY!” would be considered news by anyone anywhere. But the world needs ditch-diggers too, so I try not to think about it.

I get my news primarily by The Twitter. Crowd-sourcing seems to be the best way to manage news that’s important to me. If that means it’s news about the hats at the Royal Wedding, so be it.

Last year, during The NotoriousSNOMG, I sat at my computer as the wind was a-howling and the snow was outrageous. Roads were blocked, the power threatened us, lights flickering, the occasionally brown-out making me wonder when we’d have to huddle in the basement for warmth. They shut down Lake Shore Drive (arguably my favorite road), The Twitter told me, and I realized how fucking serious the situation was.

My friends all over the Chicagoland area tweeted back and forth about what they were experiencing, which helped me see what I was in for. Also: made me shit myself, but that’s neither here nor there.

Months later, on September 11, we ran a blog carnival on Band Back Together to share stories about that day. I sat on Skype with various members of the board from the moment I dragged my sorry ass out of bed and onto the computer. I was on until well after midnight that day, editing, scheduling, and posting stories – our stories – about where we were that day.

We ended up with fifty different perspectives.

It was FASCINATING.

Not so much that people would want to share their “Where Were You” stories, but because we, as a community blog, we able to see perspectives from people who were actually there, people who lived overseas, people who lived nowhere near the Twin Towers, and those who were children (now adults) at the time.

Every other story I’d read, every magazine I’d poured through, they only posted a few random stories – and while they were interesting, they didn’t offer the variety of perspectives that The Band did. They weren’t glossed over, our stories, they weren’t edited to be more or less exciting, they simply WERE. Because we WERE.

When the Twin Towers were attacked in 2001, I was not a blogger. I had a single email address: sex_kitten23@hotmail.com and no chat service. I’d never figured out why I should go into a chat room, besides pretending to have fake cyber sex with someone, and barely used the computer for anything beyond writing research papers.

Now, I’ve been blogging for longer than I care to admit. If there’s a social media outlet, I’m probably on it. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.

Being able to use social media for things other than telling the world that, “Anxiety can eat a hot bag of dicks,” well, that’s incredible. And that’s what we saw when we ran our September 11 carnival. It’s the premise of Band Back Together – a group site where you can read a variety of stories about any one topic to feel less alone.

It’s why I trust the unfiltered tweets of my friends over Fox News. It’s why I believe you when you write on your blogs. It’s why what we do here, in this virtual space, is so much more than any one of us could have predicted. It is why we must continue to do what we do – whether we have five readers or fifty. What we do, it all matters.

It’s a brave new world out there, Pranksters.

And I, for one, am fucking proud to be a part of it.

5 Million Nickelback CD’s. Or Maybe Not.

I’d been off and on The Twitter all day on Friday, rather than out and about pepper-spraying people to get a wicked deal on a TV set or some diamond earrings thanks to a particularly bad gravy hangover (Xanax Gravy, you should try it!). Whenever I’m on The Twitter, I pay a little bit of attention to the Trending Topics on the sidebar. Mostly because I want to know if the Zombie Apocalypse is starting but also because The Twitter feeds me my news.

Well, I saw that Nickelback was trending.

Fine, I said, as I trundled off to get buffalo wings with The Daver. Whatever. Prolly a new album or something.

Over dinner, we began talking about (oddly) Nickelback, who happened to be playing at the Lions versus Packers football game. I figured that was reason enough for their appearance upon the Twitter, but no.

“It turns out,” Daver said, “That Nickelback is getting a fuckton of backlash for their appearance at the game.”

“Really?” I raised my eyebrows as I slowly devoured buffalo wings, which are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

“Yeah,” he replied. “So their record company released a statement saying that they’d sold 5 million copies of their latest album and we should all shut our whore mouths.”

This got me thinking (a semi-dangerous pursuit, as we all know).

5 million albums.

Presumably bought by 5 million people.

So I promptly threw out a tweet asking about it:

I wasn’t being glib – I was genuinely curious.

Because even as I said it, I realized I didn’t know a SINGLE Nickelback song. Not one. I got on my i(can’t)Phone and popped onto YouTube (we SO live in the future, y’all). I simply threw “Nickelback” into the search box, figuring their biggest hits would pop up first and I could be all OH so it’s THOSE guys. Got it. The ire, I get! Or, people should shut their fucking whore mouths, this song rules!

Didn’t find a single song I recognized.

So I decided iTunes would never let me down and clicked over there through my i(suck at making calls from my)Phone.

Nada.

Zilch.

Zip.

Not a fucking thing I recognized. All I was able to ascertain was this:

1) Nickelback songs sound the same.

B) They’re Canadians.

So I waited for The Twitter to enlighten me.

Hrms. She’s Canadian. Okay, fair enough.

Now THAT is a fucking good point!

(Altho, my mom would NEVER buy 5 million copies of anything I sang. Which is fair)

AH-HA! My arch-nemesis! John C. Mayer would do ANYTHING to fuck mah shit up.

The Twitter’s consensus was that Canadians and Nickelback’s Moms bought all of the CD’s. But not ALL Canadians (I think I got unfollowed by 30 or so Canadians for using that blanket statement), I quickly learned.

That leaves wondering: who DOES buy Nickelback CD’s?

This is where you get to help me, Pranksters. Survey below should clear it up. Also: results are anonymous, so I won’t laugh and point if you say you have bought the CD’s.

Mostly.

Did You Buy A Nickelback CD?

View Results

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Go Ask Aunt Becky

Dear Aunt Becky,

I drop in on your site from time to time, but usually from an aggregate site that has become toywithme.com. Anyway, my question is, what happened to the blogger whose picture showed her in old-fashioned curlers? I can’t remember her name and for some reason this is driving me crazy.

Thanks for your help and for your exquisite sense of humor.

Well, Prankster, thank YOU for the kind words! They’re much appreciated!

The blogger I think you’re thinking of is my good friend Jenny, The Bloggess. She’s full of the awesome.

Evening Aunt Becky!

While checking out the questions and comments on BnB to comfort and convince myself that I’m not the only one who doesn’t always really get motherhood it popped up with a link to your blog in the side bar! I was pleased to see it as I’ve been enjoying your blog for ages and hope others have been clicking through.

Laura

Dear Prankster Laura,

While I thank you kindly for your kind words and the referrer, I’m afraid that I have no idea what BnB is. In fact, I’ve spent a good deal of time trying to figure it out. And yes, yes, I AM compulsive.

Does it mean?

Bed and Breakfast?

Bread and Butter?

Banana Nut Bread?

Black and Blue?

or

Bad News Bears?

I simply do not know. So, Prankster Laura (or others), what, pray tell, does BnB mean?

P.S. I like to imagine it to mean “Black and Blue.”

Dear Aunt Becky,

I have no question but go have a look at what I found. Bob Ross finger Puppets  😀

..tonya cinnamon

Dear Prankster Tonya,

O.M.G. How have I not SEEN these before? I feel like my whole life has been a lie!

P.S. I require these for Christmas to be happy.

Hello, Aunt Becky!

Here’s a faithful viewer of your awesomesauce blog, asking for advice. I’m an 18-year-old girl, and I have a mother who’s been through a helluva though life. Born to a poor family, many of her best friends dying when they were just teens, two stillborn children and a divorce, just to name a few. She’s ultimately the strongest woman I’ve ever known. However, she never talks about those happenings in her past – only offhand mentions and some things I remember her telling me when I was just a tiny crotch parasite, asking everything about my mommy that could ever enter my tiny mind.

I would like to be as open with her as possible – after the divorce, the two of us lived together for 8 years, and despite living in different cities these days, we’re really really close – and would also like her to be able to talk about her past with me. Even though we’re so close, I sometimes get the feeling that I don’t know my mother at all – all we talk about is my life, my tiny problems. I’m not sure what I’m actually even asking for, just maybe some advice, on how to deal with her? How to bring up difficult subjects? Or should I never mention them at all?

Ever so thankful,
Elisa

Dearest Elisa,

I hope that my daughter will grow to be as wonderful a woman as you. Your mother is beyond lucky to have such a lovely daughter as you. I just had to say that to start off with, or I might burst from your awesomeness.

Honestly, I’m getting teary.

Anyway, enough about my hormones. I’d simply go ahead and ASK your mother about those subjects. Tell her what you just told me: that you’d like to know more about her and feel like you’re as awesome a daughter as you (obviously) are. I’m sure that even if she doesn’t wish to talk about it, she’ll appreciate knowing that her daughter remembered her stories. That way the door is open for her to talk about herself, too.

See, Moms, well, we’re used to NOT talking about ourselves very candidly to our children. We can’t be effective parents if we’re always whining about our own shit. It’s not that I don’t want my kids to know me – even the ugly bits – but I think it’s easy to be caught in the rut of “my child is more important than I am.” Because that’s what parenthood is – putting someone else ahead of your needs most of the time.

But I think if you tell her what you told me, she’ll not only be touched, but know what an amazing job she’s done as a parent. Because she has.

Love to you,

Aunt Becky

————

Pranksters, please fill in wherever I left off. Especially the part about “BnB.” Seriously, I’ve been up all night long (alll niiiiiggghhhht longggggg) trying to figure it out.