Posts Tagged ‘ GM ’

Born And Raised In South Detroit… Or I Just Drove Around There

Monday, November 11th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

At the risk of coming across as a “selfie” pic obsessed guy, I’m delivering what I promised to you yesterday (more pictures of my trip) in my letter entitled, “Say Nice Things About Detroit.”

You know my general rule; I basically refuse to have my picture taken these days unless you and/or Mommy is in it with me. It just seems weird for a 32 year-old dad to be taking pictures of himself and posting them on the Internet…

But a picture of myself is justified when taken with my family.

Unless… I happened to be on a scavenger hunt hosted by OnStar and Buick, where in order to get credit for each event, I needed my picture taken with the OnStar logo to prove I was actually there, then Tweet it to the judges of the competition…

In that case, I guess I look less weird… or maybe it’s just my excuse this time.

So for the scavenger hunt, the dozen or so of us bloggers needed to pair up, and then hop in either a Buick Regal or Lacrosse, and accomplish as many tasks as we safely (and legally) could within the following two hours. Each task was worth an appropriate amount of points, based on difficulty.

It was only natural that the two dad bloggers teamed up. So my buddy was Fred Goodall of the blog, Mocha Dad. We named ourselves, “Team Dad.”

Fred was clever enough to think, “Let’s just do the challenges that are worth the most points first, then worry about the other ones if we have time.”

So we did.

Given that Fred has a smart phone and I don’t, I became the driver and Fred became the navigator and researcher. It helped tremendously that our Buick had OnStar on it, so I just pressed the button each time I had a new destination, and the friendly person on the other line helped me figure out which place I was trying to go, then instantly sent the directions to the built-in GPS.

It was all a blur at the time- and it still is. Actually, all you or I have to really go on are these pictures.

So appparently, Fred and I had to do our impression of the Detroit Tiger statue. And then I blocked in a competitors’ Buick while they were getting their picture made with it.

I ended up at Fisher Theatre where Mamma Mia! was evidently the answers to one of the clues.

How did “Team Dad” know the answer to that trivia question? We happened to see “Team Mom” take their picture with the poster… that’s how!

Then there was our visit to the all new Whole Foods in Detroit, where I first learned the slogan, “Say Nice Things About Detroit.” We picked up some organic food (untainted by Monsanto) then donated it to Gleaners Community Food Bank.

No, we didn’t win the scavenger hunt.

But I know we had a lot of fun driving in our classy ride across Motor City, doing random stuff a dad doesn’t normally get to do.

Most of all, I loved getting to discover the real Detroit (not the version reported by media).

Sure, along the way, I saw the “burned out buildings,” but they were alongside new ones; with growing new businesses.

It sort of reminded me of a baptism by fire- the new life is growing where the old one has faded away.

And perhaps accidently, the folks at GM and Buick used the journey of this scavenger hunt to show me the journey that Detroit is undergoing.

I’m so serious. I proudly stand behind Detroit.

Before this trip, I just didn’t realize what was actually going on- that in reality, Detroit is rebuilding, not crumbling.

Yesterday I changed my Facebook banner to the picture of the “Say Nice Things About Detroit” mural.

Something I am very passionate about is seeing a group of hardworking people overcome hard times.

That’s literally what’s happening right now in Detroit. And since the mainstream media isn’t willing to present the real news story, I am.





P.S. A special thanks to my fellow dad blogger and the other member of “Team Dad,” Fred Goodall, of Mocha Dad for taking the pictures of our scavenger hunt.


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Say Nice Things About Detroit

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

As you know, I just got back from my 2nd trip to Detroit yesterday, to visit the OnStar and Buick headquarters.

In addition to your official souvenir (giant toy car) that you received yesterday, I’ve also brought back some more souvenirs… photos from Detroit- most of them being goofy shots of me.

However, this one, a shot of the brick wall as soon as I walked inside the new Whole Foods in Detroit

It’s more interesting and innovative than anything; at least according to my perception of what I thought was simply a quirky phrase which could be destined to be a bumper sticker.

Thanks to Google, I learned that “Say Nice Things About Detroit” is actually the name of a novel by Scott Lasser.

However, I like to stick with my own original interpretation of the phrase…

I feel that the way Detroit has been perceived in media in recent years (I’ve made it clear before I’m not a fan of CNN or Fox News because they’re both so ridiculously one-sided, as they cater to their appropriate uncompromising political party) is unfair to the city.

Now that I’ve visited Detroit my 2nd time, including downtown, even at night, I am so grateful to not have taken the sound bites seriously in mainstream media, when they create headlines about the sky of Detroit falling.

What helped keep me open-minded on my trip is that just two days before I took the flight to Detroit, I saw on MSN’s homepage that Detroit is currently America’s top “turnaround town” for real estate:

“Instead of sinking when the city of Detroit had just filed for bankruptcy, its housing markets took on a quiet resurgence. In the second quarter of this year it ranked seventh in the report, and this rapid jump to number one speaks volumes about its pace of acceleration.”

This is a perfect example of why I will always reinforce to you the importance of being open-minded and why I will encourage you to always question the mainstream ideas and look for the answers yourself.

Detroit is a really cool city. I actually look forward to my next trip there.

In fact, in my next letter to you, I will be sharing some more pictures of the city, from the scavenger hunt I partipated in with OnStar and Buick.

(That’s how I got this cool new t-shirt from Pure Detroit, a local culture shop there.)

Everyone I met in Detroit, in every part of it I visited, were all very friendly and optimistic.

It was almost if they were unaware of the same regurgitated “news” that outsiders are being fed.

Without any of the citizens of Detroit saying it, I literally felt it in their presence: They believe in the rebirth of Detroit.

I know I do. And by the time you’re old enough to read this letter and really process it, I’m sure the old stereotypes of Detroit will be outdated.

Now that I have visited that great city (with its really nice downtown) and seen for myself its passion to rise again, I too am passionate about not simply refraining from saying negative things about the city, but instead, about saying nice things about Detroit.

Because they’re true.





P.S. A special thanks to fellow dad blogger, Fred Goodall, of Mocha Dad, who took the picture of the Whole Foods wall. (He has a smart phone and I don’t.)

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Daddy’s Back From His Trip… Souvenir Time!

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

It is extremely uncommon for me to be away from you overnight. In fact, the last time I remember it happening was two years ago, when GM invited me to Detroit the first time.

My job typically doesn’t require me to travel, so with me being in Detroit for the past three days, it really occured to me how weird it is… to not see you for more than 12 hours at a time.

I think that’s why I wrote “It’s Like Talking To An Actual Human Being” the first night I was gone. It was so unnatural for me.

As I unlocked the front door to our house this evening, it was everything I hoped it would be:

Mommy greeted and kissed me right away, and there you were, jumping up and down, so excited I was back.

Of course, that didn’t last long, because then you asked me, “Daddy, you got a car for me?”

I had told you yesterday on the phone that I was working on getting a souvenir for you, which based on the fact I was visiting the OnStar and Buick headquarters, I hinted that I might be bringing you home a toy car.

Needless to say, you were thrilled to watch me open the huge convertible I was able to bring home, thanks to the help of one of my friends, Katie, I had met from my last trip to Detroit.

I told her, “My son is turning 3 a week from now. I would like to bring him home a souvenir/early birthday present. He’s not picky. Any toy car you have just laying around, it will be perfect.”

Katie did not disappoint.

Like with all your new toys, you initiated it by putting it through the Play-Doh torture center, as you did your Camaro recently. The show ended with you taking green Play-Doh and forming action figures of Mommy and yourself, to pop a wheelie in the car, at the edge of your Thomas the Train table.

A father bringing home his son a souvenir from his overnight trip is a given. I mean, I never thought about it until I arrived in Detroit.

In fact, part of my main agenda for the trip was to find and obtain a cool souvenir for you. I knew everything else would work itself out.

I was right. If I’m not mistaken, you’re sleeping with that huge convertible toy car as I write you this.





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People Who Have More Kids Than You Are Just Plain Crazy

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

2 years, 11 months. (7 days from your 3rd birthday!)

Dear Jack,

Good Morning, Son. I’m actually writing you from Detroit today. That’s a bit unusual, huh?

I’ve been up here in Michigan for the past couple of days, as General Motors invited me to be part of their “Connected By OnStar” Immersion program.

Yesterday, while particating in a Twitter chat with other fellow parent bloggers, I learned two things:

1) We missed randomly meeting Jimmy Fallon by less than an hour, as proven by the “19h” and “20h” which explain how long ago the event took place:

The Decision. (American or Lafayette Coney) #Detroit#BOTH 

Meanwhile, this is the group Daddy was with:

If there was any doubt @Mochadad proves the American Coney Dog wins!! #puremichigan#tmom @ American… 

(For what it’s worth, I invited Jimmy Fallon to dinner with us (via Twitter) but I later learned he had already flown to Chicago shortly after lunch. Hey, I tried!)

2) As we were sort of going around the room, telling each other how many kids we all had, and by default, comparing, this nugget of wisdom was born:

“People who have less kids than you don’t know what they’re missing… people who have more kids than you are just plain crazy.”

As I’ve shared that quote with my Facebook friends and Twitter followers, they seemed to easily agree.

Of course, I was one of the parents in that Twitter chat who only has one child, with no definite plans of having another. So for me to agree with that statement, which I do, is to say that parents with even just two kids are crazier than I am!

And by crazy, I actually might mean… more disciplined and patient, exponentially as compared to me.

Or, maybe they really are just crazy… who knows?

But as for me, I can’t imagine taking two of my own kids to the zoo. I look at these “photo op fails” from our last trip to The Louisville Zoo and think how that was big enough of a challenge for me.

I loved it, don’t get me wrong, but, more than one kid- well, I guess I just don’t know what I’m missing.





P.S. For more on “photo op fails”… click on this other letter I wrote to you back in the summer:

“Celebrating Photo Op Fails With My Kid”


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Rise of the Dadmobile: GM Sees Beyond Stereotypes

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Eleven months.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it’s a fact that dads are now more involved in their kids’ lives than any past generation we know of before us. Therefore, this change in culture effects buying trends and consumer demands. So it’s no surprise that the mini-van is being fazed out, as the “crossover SUV” is taking its place. Accordingly, dads are showing a greater presence in the carpooling lane.

That means something to automakers like General Motors; so much so, that a couple of weeks ago they flew me up to their Detroit headquarters to show me, along with several other “daddy bloggers,” how their Traverse is designed- with dads in mind.

By the end of our 22 hour visit, I thought to myself: “Wow, we are being treated as a valuable demographic here, not a classic stereotype…”.

Zach Rosenberg, co-creator of 8BitDad, said it in a way that made me jealous I didn’t think of it first:

“As the dads, we’re expected to be meat-heads, muscle car enthusiasts, and wallets.”

He’s right. Even at best, typically today when dads are portrayed in commercials for household products (advertisements which are typically geared towards women), men are shown making messes, getting lost, and ultimately being put into place by their thin, intelligent wife who saves them from their buffoonery.

Though it was one of my favorite sitcoms growing up, Tim Allen’s Home Improvement capitalized on this concept. I feel like there remains a subconscious backlash from sitcoms like that which says all men care about are sports, light beer, sex, and cars with big motors.

While I recognize that as a valid stereotype in American history, I am overly aware that I represent a completely different demographic of men.

Obviously, this new and relevant demographic holds a lot of weight, because I later found out that we daddy bloggers (who I assume most easilty represent the “active dad” group) were the only targeted group that GM invited to Detroit to show the designing of the Traverse to.

I’m not rich, famous or hugely influential; but General Motors made me personally feel important, desired, and valuable. Evidently, I serve as a relevant symbol of the modern American dad, who may or not even make as much money as his wife and who has learned to adopt certain roles as a parent that would have previously gone to his wife.

In my next post, I’m going to take you behind the doors of General Motors; showing you some of the cool ways they design and test out the Traverse.

But not because they pressured me in any way; I didn’t at all feel like I was being coerced into buying a time share in Florida or forcefully invited to join a pyramid scheme selling trendy diet pills.

Instead, they were real people who treated me like a real person. They even specifically gave me their blessing to include anything negative in my upcoming blog posts, but not to feel like I had to write about the visit at all.

Wow; an invitation to be vulnerably honest. How weird.

I represent the demographic of American dads who actually contribute the bettering of the American family and who actually has buying power when it comes to the family crossover SUV; not the idiot you see on TV who forgets his wife’s birthday.

GM understands that about us dads. That’s pretty cool; to be part a relevant demographic, not a sexist stereotype.

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