With some luck, I will be getting the generator out of an old junker VW van that, with some more luck I will be able to use with a bike to generate electricity (with a setup similar to the set-up in the photo, though mine would be mobile) and possibly bike-powered smoothies. The person I need to make the arrangements with is a bit of a flake,but I remain hopeful. More info on the one in the photo can be found at www.humboldt.edu
My dear sweet amazing son had his heart set on attending a LAN Party this weekend, had been looking forward to it for weeks. For the uninitiated, LAN is an acronym for Local Area Network, which is a way of connecting multiple computers together so they can communicate freely with one another, thus allowing people to play head-to-head with each other, meet the gamers they're playing against, try out many different games at one sitting, learn more about various computer systems, and -if you are a pre-teen- an opportunity to establish your street creds as a cool dude. The parties go all night, sometimes for days.
One of the things I have learned in my meny years of parenting is that it is not enough to trust one's own kid: one must consider those they are surrounded and outnumbered by. I have the greatest kid ever, with a great head on his shoulders, so I had relative confidence that it would all be cool; still I felt that the Boy (who is 11 years old) ought to be accompanied by a parent, and since his father had other plans for his Saturday night, I found myself drafted for a sleepover in a warehouse with a bunch of folks half my age.
At first I was playing it cool, checking in on the festivities periodically while maintaining a low profile and trying not to do anything to adversely effect my son's 'cool quotient'. As the night wore on, and things began to unravel, I found myself wondering what the parents of these other kids were thinking. A surprising number of the attendees were underage, and near as I could tell I was the only parent there. By the time we bailed, around 3am, the Boy had inadvertently visited one grossly inappropriate web site, viewed part of one inappropriate film (they had movies projected onto one wall) and, mean while, many controlled substances had been ingested by various other attendees to the event. Did the parents of these kids even care what was going on?
I don't know how I will handle situations like this when the Boy is a teenager, but I am pretty sure that I will not take the cavalier, "anything goes" approach the parents of these kids seem to take. I am encouraged by the fact that the Boy wanted to leave every bit as much as I did, had decided none of these kids were cool, and in fact was the one who alerted me to some of what was going on. I can only hope we will have this kind of relationship when he is 17. For the moment I am simply grateful to have the Boy here at home with me.
Today we went out for breakfast (something we had planned to do as part of the LAN party), then went to see a "Over The Hedge: at the local second run theater. As we left the theater, the Boy said "This was a good day. Way more fun than a LAN party!"
I love my kid.