Monthly Archives: June 2012
I went to Sesame Place yesterday and I only have one question for you:
Are you prepared for Elmo’s return?
Usually I have a headache by the time I leave a theme park. The crowds, the noise and the rowdy people usually push me over the edge, but yesterday was a totally different experience. I actually had fun at Sesame Place and that caught me off guard. Let me say that it has nothing, if anything at all, to do with their customer service or company vision. They have one thing going for them and His name is Elmo.
The park’s base is 1-5 year olds. Elmo is their God. You put the two together and you basically get the same thing that would happen if Jesus showed up at the Vatican: Complete peace. Anybody with kids can testify to the power of Elmo when it comes to getting kids to stay still at home. Turn on Sesame Street and fast forward to the last 20 minutes when Elmo’s World comes on and your kid becomes this docile creature staring at the screen. If you’re a new parent then Elmo’s World is when you get to take a shower, eat in peace, read a book, weep silently to yourself…whatever.
Now imagine taking your kid to a place where the streets are paved with Elmo’s likeness. He’s on every wall, every ride, every cup, sign, street lamp and bench in that place. It was the first time ever that my kid just…existed. No whining, no tantrum, no reluctance to do what I say. I didn’t have to raise my voice the whole day. We sat in the Temple of Elmo to watch a faux taping of Elmo’s World and my daughter acted like the kind of kid that makes you want to run out and have more kids. And the craziest part is that every kid was like that. Usually a room full of toddlers is like a tank full of beta fish. This was more like a commune minus the purple punch.
They could’ve passed a collection plate at the end of the Elmo’s World show and I would’ve been okay with it. Since they didn’t, I went ahead and bought $30 worth of stuff from the gift shop. They can just add it to the building fund.
Dear Comcast Cable,
Please excuse the crudeness of this letter. You see, I’m typing this from my cell phone because my cable and internet have been disconnected. The iPhone is great in many ways, but it could use some work with the spacing of its letters. I have fat fingers so I’m prone to make errors.
Having my cable cut off isn’t that big of a deal. It is a luxury item after all and I could probably buy a small village of those hungry kids for what I pay in cable/internet fees each month.
No, I’m not mad that you cut my cable off. I’m mad that you cut my cable off even though I’m not a Comcast customer. I have RCN Cable. When was the last time Verizon cut off someone’s Sprint service?
Do you realize the tens of fans I have on my blog who are probably worried about me? I was supposed to tell them about my journey to Sesame Place and how I fought Elmo and his minions to preserve my daughter’s honor. You’ve robbed them of that Comcast.
Now I’m spending the last day of my vacation waiting for RCN to show up and Quantum Leap my cable (strive to put right what once went wrong). Even my random analogies don’t work through the phone. I need my cable internet back.
In short, you suck.
To Whom It May Concern,
There will be no new post today. I did not have time to write one last night. No, the saga of the canceled vacation continues as the peril of the ringbearer deepens.
I went from going to Florida to going to Vegas to now finding myself about 30 mins away from Langhorn, PA. What’s in Langhorn? Why, the devil himself. We are going to Sesame Place where Elmo sits upon a throne constructed out of the shattered financial dreams of parents everywhere.
Sesame Street may be free but Sesame Place sure as hell isn’t. I’ve already spent 90 on the tickets and 15 in tolls. I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street alright…Start at an ATM machine and keep straight.
The year is 1987.
Five year old me walks into the kitchen and asks his grandmother if she has any baby powder. She says no. Five year old me goes back upstairs to the bathroom. He climbs up on the sink so that he can see himself in the mirror. He begins to scratch his arms…a lot. He has severely dry skin so the scratch marks are visible. After covering his arms in white scratch marks, he moves downward to his thighs and eventually his calves where he does the same. He goes back downstairs to the kitchen. He opens the lid on the flour and is about to put some on his hands when his grandmother stops him.
“Boy, what the hell are you doing?”
“I wanna be white.”
If I were writing a book about my life, that day would be one of those pivotal moments for which I’d dedicate a chapter. I guess you could call it the day that my cultural awareness went online. My grandmother has a house on the outskirts of Capitol Hill. It’s a buffer zone neighborhood meaning that if you went one block west towards the capitol then you’d see nothing but white faces. Go one block east and you’d be in the hood. Her street had a mixture of people and the people next door were white. They had two kids, Max and Willie.
I always played with Max and Willie outside, but on this particular day my grandmother lifted her “Don’t you go nowhere with nobody” rule and let me go inside their house to play. I was amazed to see that the house directly next door could look so different on the inside. They had a spiral staircase with a chandelier and I remember asking their mom why they had a window on the ceiling. She said, “It’s a skylight. Of course you’ve seen one of those before.” Nope. I hadn’t seen half the stuff they had in their house…like a washer and dryer in the basement.
We had a washer but no dryer and the washer was like something from the fifties with rollers on top of it to wring out the water from the clothes. When that died we went back to washing clothes in a bucket in the tub. Max and Willie’s room had model airplanes hanging from the ceiling along with a model of the solar system. All of their toys were in a toy chest unlike the old Price Club diaper box that I kept mine in and they had Lego men and sets like Lego Forest. I had a million legos but they were free with a kids meal at Chesapeake Bay Seafood House so none of them formed anything other than a giant lego stick.
After about two hours their mom called us downstairs to say that it was time to eat lunch and she said, “We’re going to McDonalds.” I thanked her for letting me come over and turned to leave when she said, “You don’t want McDonalds, Ordale?” First off, I didn’t even know I was included in the trip, but, right hand to God, I said, “Oh no, I don’t have McDonalds money, so I can’t go.” She looked baffled like I was speaking another language. “What’s McDonalds money?” I had to explain it to her. I told her that I didn’t have any money so I couldn’t pay for my food which meant that I couldn’t go. She looked at me pitifully like I was one of those starving African kids from the commercials. She told me that she was going to pay for everyone.
We piled into their car, got the food and came back to the house to eat. She sat us at their dining table, broke out place mats and cloth napkins and then sat with us to talk about school and what we wanted to be when we grew up. It was weird because that was what teachers did but only because they were paid to do that. Later in the day their dad came home, gave them hugs and played on the floor with us. Then we all watched ET on their huge television. When it was over, I went home and asked my grandmother if we had any baby powder…and that’s pretty much where this story started.
At that moment everything started coming together (albeit incorrectly). Race and socio-economic status became one amalgamated pile. White=money. Black=no money. White=mom and dad at home. Black=calling grandma “mommy.” I wanted to be white. When I explained this to my grandmother she had another anti-80s sitcom moment. She looked me in the face and said, “Don’t you ever let me hear you say anything like that again. You’re black and that’s all the hell you’re ever gonna be and you keep your ass from over their house.”
That Saturday I saw my father and explained it to him and he nearly crashed the car as he pulled over to the side. “You wanna be what!?” He proceeded to give me (a five year old) a lecture on Brown v. The Board of Education, crisis of identity and then reached in the glove compartment, pulled out a cassette and popped it in. He turned the music all the way up and made me sing along for about twenty minutes…
“SAY IT LOUD! I’M BLACK AND I’M PROUD!”
So the Florida trip is canceled. I was a little miffed, but I realized that I actually got off easy thanks to the trip cancellation insurance. Then I decided I’d go to Vegas as a Plan B. Before I could hit “purchase” my grandmother calls me to tell me she had a bad feeling about me going away and to stay “round the area” until next month. For those who don’t know, my grandmother was the inspiration for The Oracle from the Matrix. So if she dreams about a chicken riding a Now-and-Later down the street then that means a flood or an earthquake is imminent.
Even though I know that makes no sense whatsoever, I’ve learned throughout the years to just trust it. So I’m staying home for my vacation. But what the hell am I gonna do around here? For a very brief moment I considered going to Wild World. Yes, I still call it that. As far as I’m concerned, besides a coat of paint and a few rides, there haven’t been many improvements to that park. So Adventure World/Six Flags America…whatever you wanna call it. I’m not sure if I want to go there.
For starters, the place is ghetto as hell. And this isn’t the Ward 3 in me talking either. I’m speaking strictly as a former Southeast-ian when I say that the place should be called Anacostia Park: The Ride! (Old 1990s Anacostia Park, not the new “Millennium Edition” that comes with White people) Either the rides don’t work, or they do work and occasionally throw people out of them. I can’t count how many times I’ve been stuck on a ride there or watched a ride break down while I was in line. Nothing says fun like having an employee hand you bottles of water from the emergency access ladder to keep cool on a roller coaster while they wait for the fire department to come get you off.
One of the perks of growing up in DC is that you become a really dark tour guide. “I remember when ____ got shot right over there.” The same goes for Adventure World. “Yeah I remember when that girl fell off the Iron Eagle and died. That joint was closed down for like a year and then the next year they just put a bag over the seat so no one could sit in that one.” “I remember when one of the rafts flipped over in the rapid ride.”
So if you remember stuff like that, then why are you even considering going?
Because I live in DC. Every day is an adventure. Somebody got shot in the face over an iPhone last week. Every time I turn around they’re talking about terrorists blowing something up around here. You would think Metrobus and Metrorail fatalities were like shark attacks with the way they calculate them…”____ deaths for every 100,000 riders.” Walking into an amusement park without knowing if you’ll be rolled out of it on a stretcher is just a part of the game in this city.
The question is whether or not I feel like playing it.
I would like to take this time to extend a very sincere and heartfelt “Kiss My Ass” to the entire state of Florida. This doesn’t apply to the people of Florida. I’m actually talking about the land mass that lies south of Georgia.
(He’s lost his mind.)
No I haven’t. Maybe I have. I don’t know. All I know is that two years ago I helped a woman push out an eight pound baby–a traumatic experience for which I’ve yet to receive the proper counseling–and I’m tired. I’ve been working at Daddy Co. for two years now and I’ve only had one day off.
How this place keeps running without OSHA coming in and shutting it down is a mystery to me. Overtime pay? I don’t get regular pay. No breaks, no paid time off, no holidays. A year ago I caught a bug and had to spend a night in the hospital and the kid found me there. It’s like the movie, “The Ring.” My wife took a pregnancy test, someone from the doctors office called with the results and whispered “nine months” through the phone and from that day forward I’ve been running from a little girl with dark hair who crawls on the floor from time to time.
So what does any of this rant have to do with Florida? A few weeks ago I wrote a post making fun of Florida for having zombies and a Black guy who thought he found the fire flower from Super Mario Bros. Apparently, Florida took offense and vowed to get even. I FINALLY planned my first vacation in over four years and it was to be a grand ol’ time. I was celebrating not only my 30th birthday but the magic of five baby-free days.
I was gonna ball outta control. I’m talking:
- Sleeping until I want to wake up and not having to get up just because a mini-person feels entitled to breakfast every single day.
- Eating my food while it’s still hot instead of having to break down the meal into bite sized “I want you to live” chunks.
- Leaving sharp/expensive/breakable items within 36 inches of the floor and not worrying about someone getting to it.
You thought The Hangover was wild. I was gonna do it big.
So what happened?
Florida got its revenge. Tropical Storm Debby is coming through on the exact day I was supposed to go. So far they’ve had water spouts and tornadoes. Half the places I planned to go are flooded or closed and it hasn’t even made landfall yet. So, to Florida, I say this: Cute. Real frakking cute.
The young folks out there won’t remember this, but to the older ones in the crowd:
I’m having aMartinmoment. Remember that episode when Martin got the job interview for the TV station? “They called me, Gina. They called ME!”
That’s how I’m feeling right now. I was in the newspaper last week and today Ms SimplyNay ofThe One Mic Standinternet radio show gave me a guest spot on her show.
I’m telling you, I’m making moves. I went from humble blog to newspaper to radio. Next week Imma be cutting Obama’s hair at the White House. Watch out there now!
You can find the radio show here. Warning: Lots of cursing…you may not want to play this out loud at work…put some headphones on or something.
Soooo yesterday a friend posted a message on my Facebook page asking if it was me in the Washington Post Express talking about the Air Kuntas from Adidas. I had no clue what he was talking about, but I did recall writing a blog post about it the day before. It couldn’t be me though, because I only get about 30 visitors to this site a day. Plus, I curse waaaay to much to make the newspaper. But then he posted another message saying, “I only know one Ordale J Allen.”
It was like the DC Earthquake all over again. My heart started racing, I scooped up the baby and headed for the door…only to turn right back around because I realized that I didn’t have any shoes on. I sprinted out the door, down the hall, down the elevator and out the front door to the Express box outside. I sat the baby on top of the newspaper thing and started flipping through it.
Sure as hell, on page 28, was a quote from this very blog and my name underneath. I did the Tiger Woods fist pump thing, the Michael Jordan “just won the championship” leap up in the air and then proceeded to grab every copy out of the box. I ran back in the house and called everyone I could think of and with the exception of my wife, not a single person answered (job-having bastards!). So me and the baby just danced around the house to Prince’s “Baby I’m A Star.”
Now I know what you’re thinking…It was just an excerpt. It was just The Express and that thing is free. All I know is that a year ago I had two daily readers and six months ago that number “shot up” to thirty. Today I was in The Express. If I continue at this pace, I’ll finally get to fulfill my childhood dream of guest starring on Arsenio. (You know his new show starts next year, right?)
I don’t know who’s responsible for putting me in the paper or how you stumbled across my blog in the first place, but if you’re reading this…
(in my Jackson Five, Victory Tour singing voice)
“Weeeeeeeeee Thank Yooooooou”
Adidas is catching heat after they announced a shoe that was supposedly “so hot that you’ll shackle them to your feet.” Basically it was a shoe that came with ankle cuffs.
I’m not sure who the hell was sitting in that meeting, but they obviously weren’t black. Or maybe they were. If I hated the company I worked for then I’d sit by idly as these were unveiled. I wouldn’t say, “Don’t you realize that these shoes are the equivalent of “letting our powers combine” and summoning Captain
Planet Al Sharpton. (Earth, Fire, Racism, Stereotypes, Pissed off Black people…Go SHARPTON!) Al Sharpton was busy putting out a forest fire so his alternate Jessie Jackson stepped in and the shoes have since been scrapped.
I’m conflicted. On the one hand I think:
Why is everything selectively racist? It’s not like prisoners don’t wear shackles. Black people weren’t the only slaves in history, although we were the chef’s special for a while here in The States. Plus, I’m certain there would be a line of ignorant bastards standing outside the mall to buy them. We need to be upset that they’re running around rehashing all of the stereotypes propagated during the Jim Crow era immediately following slavery. They’re the ones running around tatted up with ugly gold fronts, dusty wifebeaters, spandex pants and a treasure trove of misplaced values. Our house is collapsing on the inside and we’re too busy standing outside raking leaves trying to preserve the exterior facade.
But then I think:
I have enormous respect for Jessie Jackson and Reverend Al, as I wrote in a previous post but sometimes I feel like they’re those kids who used to come to the water gun fight with just a cup of water. Yeah, they’re effective if they hit you but most times it’s a swing and a miss. Still, I understand where they’re coming from. They come from an era where Stokely, Martin, Malcolm, Rosa, Huey and the other Superfriends had to fight so that we could do basic shit like walk in the front door. They are all that remain of the warriors who marched forward through the gates of hell to bring hope, equality and choice back home. And now they stand guard protecting it the best that they can. They won’t let so much as a gnat get through if it looks like it might be carrying a speck of bacteria that resembles racism.
In the end, I can’t blame them for that and I know that they’re worried because no one is around to replace them when they’re gone and, worst of all, it seems like we’re destroying ourselves from within.
I’ve always been a pretty guarded person. There’s an invisible fence that keeps the crazies out. Sometimes it’s too effective and I either come off as antisocial or too quiet and serious. Once you get an ID badge and make it inside the perimeter, you’ll probably think that I talk too much and liken me to the gremlin who bounced off the walls and came out nutty. Although between you and me, I think he’s just discovered the healing power of laughter.
Anyway, as a general rule I tend to keep about five close friends. Anything more than that is hard to manage and a logistical nightmare. In recent years however, I’ve had to let some people go. They weren’t bad people or anything. They were hard workers and great when we were in the start-up phase, but once we went public (got married) and started having to answer to shareholders (the baby) I found that they just weren’t aligned with my vision of where the company was headed. They got a lovely severance package though. Hell, some are like Milton from Office Space and don’t even know that they’ve been fired.
But this leads to a new problem. We’re severely short staffed and I’ve been totally lackadaisical in the hiring process. That’s where my wife comes in. She’s taken it upon herself to do the recruiting and she’s kinda gone Agent Coulson on me. For the non-geeks, that’s the guy in the suit in Iron Man, Thor and the Avengers movie. She’s set off on her own roaming from place to place looking for people to bring into our organization. Preferably married people with kids under the age of 40.
Well this weekend she discovered Thor’s Hammer in the middle of Southeast. Not only did she find a nice interracial couple with a kid (that’s like a two for one special because our team is in serious need of diversity), but apparently their kid’s mutant power supersedes that of my kid. My daughter knows a few hundred words and is handy with a sniper rifle, but their kid can speak in complete sentences, dance and bend spoons with her mind. Plus she’s a few months younger than my daughter.
Now personally I think we should do like they do in Highlander and make the two of them have a sword fight in the middle of Anacostia Park. (In the end there can be only one) But my wife thinks that it would be more logical for me to pull my eye patch and leather coat out of storage and go do my Sam Jackson/Nick Fury routine.
It sounds promising, so I think I’ll give it a try. If we can’t save the Earth, you can be damned sure we’ll avenge it.