I’ve been bursting at the seams trying to hold this big news in. It’s been a secret for a long time, but now I can finally tell everyone about it.
Late last year, I got an email from Luke Harrison, a producer for the Tech TV cable channel. They were planning to do a reality TV show about the lives of bloggers called “Houses of Blog”.
Since Tech TV is a Bay Area company, they were looking for some prominent local bloggers who might be willing to participate. They’d come into our home, and set up some cameras, and film whatever we were doing. During the day, they’d send over a cameraman to do handheld shots and follow us if we leave home. We wouldn’t get paid, but we’d get a bunch of free gadgets and video games and other cool product placements.
I talked it over with my wife, Barbie. She was hesitant at first, concerned about the effect that fame might have on our family. But I said, “C’mon, this is Tech TV. Nobody watches Tech TV, you just flip past it on your way to some other channel.” So she agreed to do it, if the kids wanted to.
My 7-year-old daughter, Sofia, agreed as soon as she heard she might be on TV. Jodie, the 3-year-old, initially said “Be on TV I don’t want to!” but when I explained about all the fun video games she would get, she relented.
They started filming in January. The plan was for them to film for three months, and then they’d edit it together and show it in the fall. Those plans are now up in the air, after Tech TV was acquired by Comcast for $300 million last week. Tech TV is now going to merge with a channel called G4, which is only about video games. A reality show about bloggers might not fit their new format.
But we’ll see. Even if the new G4/Tech TV hybrid doesn’t want the show, they might be able to sell the program to some other network.
Anyway, they wrapped up their filming at the end of March. The rule was “No blogging about the filming during filming” so I wasn’t able to say anything about it until now. Luckily for me, my blog is mostly about baseball, so it was easy to avoid the subject. I can’t imagine how hard it was for the other bloggers they filmed who were more in the habit of writing about their daily lives.
They haven’t edited anything yet, so I haven’t seen any of the film, but I’ll bet our first episode is a doozy. WARNING: Spoiler Alert! I’m going to tell a few things that happened while they were filming. If you don’t want to know any details of the show, SKIP THIS PART and go to where it says END SPOILER below .
The very first day they started filming, we took Sofia to school and then headed to the hospital for Jodie’s doctor’s appointment. Jodie has had speech problems. She was very late to begin to speak, and when she finally did begin to speak, her speech wasn’t normal. We ran all kinds of hearing tests on her, but she hears fine. So then we ran some other tests, of which we were about to hear the results.
We arrived at the pediatrics clinic, and explained to them about the cameraman who was following us around. Dr. Chui agreed to talk to us on camera. We went into her office, and there she gave us her diagnosis. She thinks that Jodie has Habogad’s Syndrome, a rare genetic speech disorder. The symptoms fit her to a T: unusual skin pigmentation, garbled syntax, and a preference for hear books read backwards rather than forwards. Dr. Chui said there is no known cure, but we could try some experimental speech therapies to see if they would help.
Barbie wept. Jodie looked up at me and said, “Sad Mommy is. Why?” I explained that Mommy was sad that there is no medicine that could help Josie talk better.
“Talk better? Heh!” said Jodie. “Medicine? Heh! These I want not. Sad be not, Mommy. Talk I can.”
Barbie nodded, wiped her tears, and we headed home.
So while the morning was depressing, the afternoon brought good news. Or so we thought, at first.
We were sitting around the dining room table for lunch, when Josie shouted, “Coming now mailcarrier is. Quickly she walks, always in motion is she!”
I went to the mail slot and picked up the mail. It was there: the letter we’ve been waiting for. The letter from MIT.
Sofia had applied to MIT last November after she passed her GED and aced her SATs in September. She’s a brilliant young child, a prodigy really, and has dreamed of going to MIT ever since she visited their web page, and found a cute picture of an ostrich staring right at her. “That’s the school for me!” she declared. It seemed exactly the kind of school that would welcome a student who is a little bit different from the crowd.
We decided to open the letter before we had to pick her from from her high school. If MIT rejected her, she might be crushed, and we’d need to soften the blow. We opened it, and–good news! Sofia was accepted to MIT!
We went to pick up Sofia from school. We decided not to tell Sofia in the car; we’d wait until we got home. But there’s really no way to make a three-year-old keep a secret; it’s impossible. Jodie tried really hard not to give away the secret, but she just couldn’t keep herself from giving hints.
“Excited you will be when home we get,” said Jodie.
“Why?” asked Sofia.
“At home something is,” said Jodie.
“Yeah? So what? We have lots of things at home,” said Sofia.
“Something new we have. See it you will,” said Jodie.
“Tell you I cannot. A secret it is. But waiting for it to arrive you have been!”
“My letter from MIT?” said Sofia softly. She looked nervous.
Soon we arrived home, and we let Sofia open the letter. She took one look and burst into tears.
“Sofia, honey, why are you crying?” I asked. “You were accepted!”
“I know,” she sniffed.
“So what’s wrong? Are you afraid of being so far from home?”
Sofia looked at the floor, and shook her head no.
“Are you afraid of being the smallest person in your school?”
Sofia shook no again. Jodie piped up: “Already smallest person in her school Sofia is. Size matters not!”
I continued. “Do you want to study something else besides string theory and particle physics?”
Sofia shook no.
“Then what is it, sweetie? Tell me.”
She sniffled again. “I was just thinking, that’s all.”
“About what?” I asked.
“MIT is near Boston right?” asked Sofia.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Does that mean there are lots of Red Sox fans there?”
I put my arms around her and gave her a hug. “Yes, sweetie, I’m afraid there are. If you don’t want to go to MIT or Harvard, that’s perfectly fine with me.”
She lifted her head up and smiled. “Thank you, Daddy. I love you.”
Now, I have no idea how Tech TV is going to edit this all together, but that should make some great heartwarming television, don’t you think? And there’s three whole months of that kind of stuff! I’m so excited thinking about it, I can hardly contain myself. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!
I just hope this Comcast purchase of Tech TV doesn’t send the whole Houses of Blog project into the trash. That would totally suck. Let’s not even think about it.