Sunday, July 15, 2012

Boy Camp 2012

For three years running, the wife and girl have journeyed to the Land Project Feminist Girls' Camp in western PA to get their empowerment in. Two years ago, when the boy was only five, he was less than pleased with the idea that his sister got special mom-alone time. What was going to happen for an entire weekend without Mom in the house?

I swiftly replied, "Boy Camp."  What is Boy Camp, he asked. I said I was pretty sure it involved bowling.  He was no longer disappointed.

Really, Lassester? Really?

The first year was pretty simple, father-son bowling, burgers and beer (for Dad.) Last year we also walked up the movie theater to watch Cars 2, which is without question the worst thing Pixar has ever produced.

Last month at a bowling birthday party I was sharing the joys of Boy Camp with a fellow father and an invitation was extended to Dr. Dean and Mr. Boy to join us. This was a good move, as my boy has become more interested in racking up tickets-for-crap from the arcade than tossing the ball which he is now finally strong and tall enough to sling properly. Mr. Boy provided a third-way, which was to introduce the extremely welcome art of hip-hop dancing into the mix. As everyone knows, Party Rock Anthem was written for seven year-olds, and they each had the chance to get their groove on.

Can I also mention that during our second game, a had a turkey -- and then a double? Oh, I guess I did.

Boy Camp also means super-late bedtime. He was knocked-out cold by 10.30.

The next morning it was sleeping-in, pancakes and a long-awaited haircut. The boy asked for a buzzcut over three years ago, but his last was last fall he's become quite the moptop since. I have not forgotten how much I enjoy cutting his hair.

Cleveland, 1845

The summer baseball season came to a conclusion with 44-14 blowout (which cannot be independently confirmed) after which we drove to the Lantern Theater at Canal Corners Farm and Market to see Singin' On The Ohio by Eric Schmiedl.  The Lantern is a former dairy barn adjacent to the former Ohio & Erie Canal, and the show is an historical-fiction about an adventurous young woman (Andrea Belser) and a flinty Irish canal boat captain (Mr. Schmiedl) making their way down the canal to Portsmouth. It's fun to watch the eternally cheerful Eric S. play someone aloof and grumpy!

East Bank Images

Yesterday was also my very last chance to catch Henry VIII, this time at the Shaker Colonnade. The boy had already seen the show twice, so I promised him ice cream after if he remained a good audience member. There was some dude in the crowd who was recording the song on his iPhone. If anyone knows who that was, I'd really like to see it -- the song was the most powerful I'd heard it last night. I think having them so close to the audience really helped.

The Maple Bacon will slap your grandmother.

We rounded out the evening -- another late evening -- at Sweetie Fry. If I were a cupcake I would write an entire post on how this one corner ice cream store puts Cleveland on par with any major city in America!!!  (In spite of, you know, everything else.) The boy got Key Lime Pie, I got New York Cheesecake with blueberry compote, and we shared the chicken tender fries ... which I assumed would be chicken tender-seasoned fries or something, but no, it was a basket a fresh fries with three fried chicken strips on top. No complaints!

The boy observed, "This is the kind of food you eat when you are up past your bedtime."

Just evil.

The day before, as promised, we got a copy of Epic Mickey from Redbox. The boy tried it out during various downtimes yesterday, but gave up on it and went back to Pokemon. I uttered those fateful words, "Let me give it a try ..."

Thing is, I don't play video games anymore. They bore the hell out of me. Five minutes, tops, I'm done. Repetition, repetition, repetition, ugh. Since we got the wii my only interaction with it has been to watch Poirot on Netflix.

Before I had realized it, and with the boy's encouragement, I had plunged headlong into this game, completed three levels, two and a half hours had passed, I was sick to my stomach and had a splitting headache, which took the rest of the day to abate.

But seriously, once I had emerged from the world of Epic Mickey, I could not articulate a thought, I could not speak in a complete sentence, for at least a half-hour. I just made lunch, brainlessly, and ate it with my son saying, "huh?" and "what?" and "I'm sorry, would you repeat that?" over and over again.

Suck it down.

This hasn't happened to me since I spent every day of 1999 doing absolutely nothing but playing Duke Nukem. It is my personal belief that the emergence of ADHD in the 1980s, which afflicts a disproportionate number middle-class, white boys, in often the misdiagnosis of symptoms brought about by video games. Or maybe that's just with this middle-class, white boy.

The rest of the day was spent reading epic battles from The Dangerous Book for Boys, watching small children catch very large fish on YouTube, hacking low-hinging limbs from the tree by the sidewalk, and engaging in the manly art of hair dye.

Then the ladies returned, and we were very happy to see them.

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