To view all posts made to date, please go home to Live from Allied Drive. Otherwise, all posts have been categorized into the topics below for your convenience. Enjoy your visit, and please share your thoughts. The beauty of blogging is that all of us can engage in dialogue about issues that concern us. Please let us know what you think!

Topics of Discussion

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Interactive Reading Good For Kids

The few times I have read to children, I have made a conscious effort to be deliberate in my interaction with the kids I was reading to. I made sure I talked to the kids about what was happening in the story every few pages, or asked questions that would prompt them to re-tell what I read in their own words, or simply ask them what they think is going to happen next. I picked up on the fact that many of the kids in my neighborhood who I would visit or spend time with would ask me to read, not because they wanted to hear the same story read to them for the 20th time, but I think they just wanted the undivided attention away from the "grown folks" where the focus was on them. Just when I thought that I was so brilliantly insightful in the child's psyche, I saw a group of kids reading at the Allied Wellness Center open house last weekend, and would you believe that the kids you see in the picture reading was on to the same conclusions? She was totally asking the other kids what they thought was happening and why the story was going this way or that way ... I guess I really am slow. At least when it comes to children!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

WTF? How About Some Clear Direction?

So across the street from where I live, on the 2400 block of Allied Drive, these signs just recently propped up. The first thing I thought of when I saw the signs is the City. You know, when people say things that they have heard about Allied, especially the city-owned properties that I live in, they will often say, "The city says ..." I know from serving on two city commissions and somewhat following the actions on one or two other city bodies, it is very important to know who in the city is being referred to, and what role do they play in the actions being claimed? We are all subject to very mixed information on Allied Drive. Some time ago, the big news was that the city was going to put out all the city residents after they bought our buildings out. Then the word was that the city was going to give us all 30-day notices sometime before the end of the year. Then some people were saying that they are moving all of us to Avalon Village and giving us $300 if we stay. The truth of the matter is that the exact plan of action has not quite yet been determined, but we have all been promised that the course of action will be reasonable and that we will be given ample time to prepare (and I think we have made ourselves clear that we need a little more than 30 days to prepare for a move). If you live in the city properties and you want some real answers, talk to the right people, because believe me, even within the city, it is easy to get mixed information. Talk to people with authority:

Mark A. Olinger, Director of Planning and Community Development: 608-266-4635
Percy Brown, Community Development Supervisor: 608-266-6558, x311

Both of the above individuals have indicated publicly and privately that they are open to speaking with residents. If you live in the city-owned properties, don't freak out about anything you hear until you speak with one of the above individuals, because as the picture above reflects, information out here can be skewed. Be proactive and certain that you are acting on accurate information. In other words, don't pack and move because you think you are getting put out until you know for sure that you are getting put out.

And by the way, who is the brain-wizard who came up with the placement of the above one-way signs?

The Madness of Holiday Shopping

Shopping can be a crazy experience between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Between lines and crowds and parking spaces, it can all be a very stressful experience. Though I heard all the ads on television about stores opening at 5am or having moonlight madness sales starting at midnight, I never thought that people actually left their house after Thanksgiving dinner to stand in line at a store, until one year when my cousin asked me after Thanksgiving dinner if I wanted to go out to Best Buy. “For what?” I asked. He told me about all these deals that they have and how people stand in line for hours just to get in the store. I guess he picked up a laptop for just a couple hundred bucks - I am sorry, but that is nuts. I like deals, and a new laptop for a couple hundred dollars sounds nice, but I still can’t imagine camping out in a cold parking lot after Thanksgiving dinner! There is a Black Friday Web site where you can get access to all the Friday-after-thanksgiving deals online, so for example, with Best Buy, it is a whole lot easier to see what they have available online. Plus, you can stay warm!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Brings Out The Nasty

What is up with Halloween candy? I remember trick-or-treating and eating Snickers and Kit Kats and Reese's peanut butter cups. I was at a neighborhood event and this girl was eating gummy worms and gummy cockroaches. I remember gummy worms, but I remember them being hot pink. It is so gross - do they really have to look so realistic? I probably egged the girls on to be really sick with it by telling them how nasty they were. Halloween is cool and all, but I don't know about gummy cockroaches. Yuck!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Let Allied Drive's Hungry Eat Chinese Food!

Ordering food on Allied Drive has been a pet peeve of mine as you can read in my previous post "Hungry On Allied Drive" ... I found a place that will deliver to Allied Drive and I was so thrilled! I was hungry today, we did not have any food in the house, and I did not feel like going out, and I am burned out on Dominos Pizza ... so needless to say, I was thrilled when I found out Grand China Buffet at 2705 Beltline Highway will go where no typical delivery man dares to go. So if you are hungry, and you live on Allied Drive, call Grand China Buffet at 608-276-8833. They have great service, timely delivery and good food!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hungry on Allied Drive

There is a lyric to a track that I have heard about 2,000 times in the last 5 days (because it is on the Need for Speed soundtrack). This track found a way to adhere to my brain and I find myself humming it at work, mainly because it is so characteristic of Allied Drive. Here is an excerpt:

So if ya hit, the ambulance, it don't come around here
Now ya stuck, not even cabs, they don't run around here
If ya hungry, pizza man, he don't come around here
The last line there is key because that is one thing I find so aggravating about this community. It is not possible to get a pizza delivered on Allied Drive because Madison's pizza joints are "uncomfortable" with our community. That does not stop me from trying. I call the pizza places every couple months (usually when I am on my period) and and the conversation goes something like this:
Lina: Hi, I was wondering if you deliver and how far you go?

Stan the Pizza Man (in uppity cheerful voice): We sure do! Where do you live?

Lina: I'm over by Verona Road, right by Walgreens.

Stan the Pizza Man (still in an uppity cheerful voice): No problem! What can I get for you?

Lina: Great! (Note: This is where I order my food.)

Stan the Pizza Man (still in an uppity cheerful voice): Excellent, can I get your delivery address?

Lina: Sure! I am at 2347 Allied Drive. (Note: I make an conscious effort to sound uppity and proper here, think Bree from Desperate Housewives.)

Stan the Pizza Man (notable coldness in voice): Oh. Please hold.

After a couple minutes, Stan the Pizza Man returns.

Stan the Pizza Man (notable coldness still in voice): I am sorry, we don't come out to Allied Drive.

Lina: Really? Why is that? (Note: I question the reasons as if it is the first time I am having this conversation.)

Stan the Pizza Man (notable coldness still in voice): Well, our delivery people do not feel comfortable going down there.

Lina: Really? They are not comfortable? That's odd, Do you know why they do not feel comfortable? (Note: My tone is still as if it is the first time I have heard that we can not get food here.)

Stan the Pizza Man (still cold): Well I guess there have been some prank calls from out there and some of our drivers have gotten robbed, so they don't like going down there.

Lina: Really? You never get prank calls from anywhere else in Madison?

Stan the Pizza Man (cold): I don't know.

Lina: Do you know if this is this a policy for all of your locations? (Note: Now I am preparing to shift into bitch-mode.)

Stan the Pizza Man (still cold): Well I don't know, that is just what they said.

Lina: So what I am hearing is that deliveries can only be made if the driver feels comfortable at the time, so if I call on a different day when a different driver is working, or maybe even the same driver, they may feel comfortable driving down this street at another time and I may be able to get a delivery on a different day, right? I mean, maybe the driver is just having a bad hair day today and doesn't feel like going outside. (Note: Bitch-mode, 1st gear)

Stan the Pizza Man (still cold): Maybe, I really don't know.

Lina: It's too bad equal opportunity and affirmative action don't apply to the hunger of members of federally protected groups. (Note: I only say things like that on my bad hair days, and maybe when I have some cramps too)
Blah blah blah, depending on my mood, I may push it a little more. I have called all the pizza places within a two mile radius, including Glass Nickel, Pizza Extreme, Rocky Rococo's and Pizza Pit. It's all the same conversation. Some will offer to meet me at the end of the block, like over on Red Arrow or Crescent. That's generous, but the whole reason I asked for delivery was so that I did not have to go outside. If I am going down the block, I might as well drive out and pick the darn pizza up and save the $2 for delivery. Domino's, though they have offered similar conversations as above, will still deliver here if the sun is up (I'm not trying to be funny, that is really what they told me). However over the last few weeks, I called after sunset and did get a delivery. But damn, Domino's gets old after a while! I guess I should not complain, as Suni Clay says on his track, if ya hungry, pizza man, he don't come around here ... Any ideas on how we can get food out here? I am all ears!!

Also, I added the sound track to the side bar - take a few hundred listens so that I am not the only Madisonian humming this song over the next several weeks! I included the lyrics too, and I have to say, the rest of the track totally reflects our 'hood ... as if it was written right here. But I guess to presume that would be small-minded. Maybe, possibly, every city has an Allied Drive. Regardless, I decided to proclaim it as the Allied Drive anthem - hey, if we can proclaim mayors on Allied Drive, we can certainly proclaim anthems!

UPDATE: Chinese food delivers to Allied!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Police Calls: Plug and Play, Click and Drag

The Wisconsin State Journal has this great interactive map that will show all the areas of Madison and the total police calls that were made from the various areas of the city. The Allied Drive area was way ahead of many of the other city's areas with 288 calls in 2006, however we were not number one ... the University area had 431 calls. These numbers encompassed calls for aggravated battery, attempted murder, battery, homicide, burglary, arson, armed robbery and sexual assault. So there it is ... now when people automatically bring up Allied Drive in discussions about crime in Madison, let's talk about the University first. After all, they are number 1!

In related news, WSJ covers the new Allied Plan:

The bantering over the perfect solution for Allied Drive continues ...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Prisoners of our own homes?

I keep hearing a lot of talk about streets opening up the Allied area so that through the middle of Allied Drive, there would be another street that goes through our neighborhood creating a pathway between our neighborhood and the rest of the Dunn's Marsh community. Many individuals are vehemently against this road, and following is a summary of reasons I have heard at various neighborhood association and public city meetings:

1 - The streets are already very narrow and the open pathway would increase traffic and residents don't want any more cars coming through their quiet street.

2 - It would be so expensive and as city tax payers, many individuals feel they have the right to say no on the grounds that it would just seemingly be irresponsible use of tax dollars, and that there are better things to spend money on.

3 - The individuals that tend to speed and race down Allied are thought to potentially speed down the newly open street as well, and who would want that?

4 - And lastly, perhaps an extension of the above point, some of the residents on the other side of Allied just don't want Allied people coming out to their domain. A street would seem like an open invitation to come out to their neighborhood.

There are some very basic reasons that I see in favor of opening up the street, some of which are summarized as follows:

1 - In terms of safety, if there are more openings into Allied Drive, that makes the neighborhood less segregated from the rest of the city and allows police to have more ways to come into the community serving as a deterrant to some of the crime areas that are somewhat out of reach to normal traffic.

2 - It would be easier for those of us whose mode of transportation is foot to have actual streets to walk down, as opposed to shortcuts through fields and brush, especially in the snow and rain. Speaking from experience, it totally sucks walking to Walgreens in the snow. No one shovels snow off the fields.

There are some basic urban planning reasons for opening up the streets that boils down to a healthy community needing streets to access the rest of the community. I remember going to a neighborhood meeting and hearing a resident from the other side complain about the prospect of the streets opening up and the reason cited was that he did not want "people from down there, up here." There was some consensus among those around him and I don't think that he realized that I was one of those dreaded people from "down there" and hearing that conversation made all of the above really irrelevant.

It seems the real question is whether Allied Drive is deserving of access to the rest of the city, or are we all summoned to remain trapped in this little street with minimal access to what all the other residents of Madison have access to.

When my father was younger, he would often opt for quick fixes on home repairs. We often fixed leaky pipes with duct tape. One thing I learned growing up is that band-aid fixes typically result in something blowing up down the road and requiring a lot of money and a lot of time, and sometimes a little bit of heart to fix. For example, when pictures are damaged in a flood, it takes a certain type of attention to salvage them. That leaky pipe is Allied Drive. For years, we have made little fixes on Allied Drive, parallel to duct tape on a leaky pipe, and things are ready to blow. So be prepared, Madison, the overall solution will require a lot of money and a lot of time, and maybe a little bit of heart.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Payday Loan Store Alternatives

Following is a link to an article that just ran in the Wisconsin State Journal on payday loan stores ... very timely after my rant on these stores in my last post!