Saturday, August 23, 2008

I’m here in Las Vegas and I was still woken up early by screaming children.

Here I am on my first Vegas gig at the Improv at Harrah’s since Griffin was born six weeks ago. I was looking forward to the rest. Yes, I’m the only one who goes to Vegas to get some sleep.

When you have two children you get to Vegas and realize what a quiet town it is. The casino and slot machines hardly make any noise at all. Gosh, It’s so quiet I could sleep right here on the floor next to the Blue Man Group.

I used to come to Las Vegas, work and go out and drink and party at night. Now when the shows are over I can’t wait to get back into the hotel room, check e-mail, read some comic books and go to sleep. I did try to go out one night with one of the other comedians. We went to the House of Blues private club The Foundation Room at the top of Mandalay Bay. Or we tried to. It was unexpectedly closed that night. Then we tried to go the next night and I couldn’t get in with jeans. Fine. I get the message. I’m going back to the room.

So I’m trying to sleep late for once and I hear from the room right next to me a mother scream at her kid,” Damn it, get down!” It was of course followed soon after by “He hit me first!” Then they started speaking in Spanish so I lost the rest of the conversation.

What the hell is wrong with people that they bring their children to Las Vegas? Are you in such a hurry to gamble away your money that you want to do it in front of your kids? Is this the family vacation you’ve always dreamed of? If so, you need better dreams.

There was a time when Vegas tried to get families to come. Hell, MGM even built a theme park behind their casino. That was a disastrous failure. Soon after all of Vegas changed its tune. Now it’s “What happens in Vegas…” The rest is not “can be documented in your family photo album.” Vegas is (and really always was) a seedy, glitzy adult playground with gambling, drinking, magicians, hookers, gourmet restaurants, and… comedians. I saw a car pulling a mobile billboard saying “Hot Girls delivered right to your room in 20 minutes or less” Or what? They’re free?

Hardly the place for children. And if they are under 21 they’re not really allowed on any of the casino floors anyway, by law. If you want to go to Vegas, get a babysitter. And if you can’t afford one, then you shouldn’t really be going to Las Vegas, should you? I come to Las Vegas to get away from screaming, fighting children. Not mine, yours.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"I'm going to give you a hard time."

Now with two kids, we have to divvy up the parenting duties a bit. Audge has been putting Bella to bed for the past few nights but suddenly she’s been giving her trouble. Toddler behavior. Having a toddler is like living with a bipolar Tasmanian devil. Everything’s fine… tick tick tick tick boom!

One night I said to Bella, “mommy’s putting you to bed tonight, and don’t give her a hard time.” “Okay” she replied. Audge got her to bed and settled and was about to read to her. Bella looked at her and said, ”I’m going to give you a hard time.” And she did. And the end of reading time I had to go in and put her to bed.

It amazed me that at three and a half our daughter was aware of her bad behavior, and knew what to call it. This is the mistake a lot of parents make. Thinking kids don’t know what they’re doing. They know exactly what they’re doing. It’s like they’ve already read “The Prince” by Machiavelli before they’re two.

So now I’m a bit more suspicious of my daughter’s behavior. What’s she up to? Is she hiding something? Does she think this will somehow lead to ice cream? It’s like a toddler episode of "24" .

So we don’t underestimate our toddler anymore. She’s too smart. In fact, it makes sense, it’s when their brain is developing and the most active. Our adult brains are dulled from mind numbingly boring jobs, cable news channels and processed foods in easy to carry wrappers. Looks like we’re going to have to step up our mental game.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bowing to the Corporate Masters

In was a nice quiet Saturday Morning. Bella was playing on the floor with her books, the baby was asleep in the pack and play thing and Audge was food shopping. But then I got bored. I remembered when I was a kid Saturday had the best cartoons. Maybe I’ll check it out.

I asked Bella if she wanted to watch some television. She said yes. She never asks to “watch television” She’ll request something specific like Lady and the Tramp or Blade Runner, but never to just "Watch TV". We limit TV use so I like the fact that our TV isn’t on that often in our house. So I turned it on and looked at the channel guide.

Oooo a new Spiderman cartoon. Cool! Bella wanted to watch it too but asked for the theme song. I play it for her on CD, the old one from the 60’s cartoon. Sadly, no cool theme song on this one. Just dull character design and average exported overseas animation.

Bella and I started watching it. Her eyes glazed over and she was mesmerized. Suddenly gentle Doc Connors turned into the Lizard! One of my favorite Spiderman Villains because he’s a scientist who is missing an arm and injects himself with reptile DNA to regrow it. Instead he turns into a giant lizard. BUT HE STILL WEARS THE LAB COAT. Awesome. Although it was a little scary. Bella seems to like scary things, so she said it was OK and wanted to keep watching. As expected Spiderman saved the day and helped the lizard who “wanted to be a man” again.

Then the really scary part came. The commercials. The commercials showed upcoming shows from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (in the future?) Huh? Do Eastman and Laird know about this? Then a new Batman show. Bella said she wanted to see all of them. Then there was a Fruit loops commercial. She then wanted that “new cheerios cereal.”

I realized what I had done in that few minutes. I had opened the floodgates to corporate assholes who want our money. In just 30 minutes time she wanted everything she had seen, from Fruit Loops to seeing more shows, which creates an endless loop of mindless viewing and consuming. And it was so EASY. The television was saying “Just turn me on and hand them over.” It scared me a bit, I have to be honest.

So I turned the television OFF. These are my children, and frankly, soulless marketing suits, you can’t have them. Thankfully, Bella forgot about the ten other animated shows and the fruit loops in another 12 minutes. So out of sight, out of mind-- which can be a really good thing sometimes. But now I can’t get that old theme song out of my head. Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can… Where is that CD?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Why I love and hate Whole Foods Market

I'm guest blogging again! Here's where this week's Blog is:


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