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WEB, PHOTO (permalink) 03.31.2010
like shooting money in a barrel

the everyman pro deadline has been extended by two weeks. if you or anyone you know are thinking of entering, hop to it.

for what it's worth, at the time of this writing, there are currently 28 entrants who have submitted 71 photos. i've begun displaying these metrics on the everyman site. they will continue to be updated as things develop. for those that are as awesome at math as i am, this means 28 people are competing for $3,000 dollars in prize money. and there is no limit to how much one person can win. there's not many even-thinking places that are going to give you those kinds of odds. not many at all.

WEB (permalink) 03.30.2010
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
March 2010

KIDS (permalink) 03.29.2010
my first college roommate would have answered that question very differently
while alex and anthony were taking a bath together, alex started playing a puppeteer game with his penis (a surprisingly under-mentioned perk of not being circumcised). after taking this show in for a few moments, anthony asked, "why do you do that with your penis yallix?"

alex matter of factly said he did it because it was funny.

after watching and listening to alex's antics a few more moments, anthony brightly called out his agreement saying, "it is funny alex. it is!"

chalk this up as another reason younger siblings are on the concord of development. without an older brother to teach him, anthony may not have discovered that his penis could double and a funny finger-puppet until he was four, maybe even five.

TV, VIDEO (permalink) 03.26.2010
some think he over-reacted. i think he acted remarkably gracefully, offense considered.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.25.2010
clarifications and back-peddling.
in response to some feedback i received regarding yesterday's post.
  1. i did not mean to imply saint louis has not shown any signs of the recession. i was saying saint louis was showing less signs of the recession than my friend's city was. out of respect for his personal situation, i'm not going to get into specifics, but they have public services looking at potential layoffs of 80% of staff and an 85% reduction of physical locations. and this from an organization that has never in its history laid a single person off, and that is a history that includes our country's great depression. in recent years my employer has not issued raises, instituted a hiring freeze and in a few instances laid people off. but i find this quite innocuous compared to firing 80% of your staff outright.
  2. i was trying to be funny. i've long been told i'm one of those guys who is only funny when he's not trying to be funny and that my attempts at being funny always fall short and thus, me trying to "bring the funny" is ill-advised. this point is duly noted.
  3. i agree the only really funny part of the post was my friend saying in-bev should have pushed the arch into the river as they rumbled through town and people reported visions of a giant big-boy like character stomping through saint louis and dragging the clydesdales behind him like a set of pet wiener dogs and knocking stuff over everywhere like a petulant child.
  4. and for those that asked if my friend who said the funny line had a site and if so would i share it with them because then they could go straight to the funny guy and not have to wait for me to sprinkle his humor into my content. the answer is no, he does not have a site. he used to but no longer does. so there. you're stuck with me.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.24.2010
take that recession ... we beat you to it.
a friend was telling me about how his city and employer are being ravaged by the recession. i was shocked by his descriptions of rampant business failings and layoffs, mostly because i'm not seeing anything near those levels in my own city. a few minutes into the conversation the reason behind the difference occurred to me; my city has been in a state of recession for over fifty years where his city has not been.

saint louis has slowly siphoned off their significant local businesses long ago so we don't really have a whole lot left to die on the vine. especially with the fall of Anheuser Busch, our last truffula tree. when i made this observation, my friend, quick as a whip, added that when in-bev took AB they might as well have pushed the arch into the mississippi on their way out of town with one of our city's last and most storied family jewels.

so number seven on the reasons saint louis is a good place to live; we're conveniently recession proof given we have no businesses left to fail.

QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 03.23.2010
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
oh yeah

KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 03.19.2010
Now you take that diaper off your head and you put it back on your sister!
we're dog-sitting this week. the biggest change to our home is that i say the phrase, "anthony, stop eating the dog's food" more often than i would during a week we weren't dog-sitting.

TRAVEL, PHOTO (permalink) 03.17.2010
time to go skiing, eh?
ok, now that i got my bitching out of the way, let's talk about the good things of the latest vacation.

#1 : man-cation
the day before the trip, a girl who works in my office sent me off by saying, "enjoy your man-cation". it is just not humanly possible for me to love this colorful phrase any more and all the good things that go with it.

#2 : the canadian rockies
i don't know that they've made the camera that can capture just how massive and stunning and wicked cool this particular span of mountains are. it's beyond bewildering and banff national park, where bookguy and i traveled this year, is really something diverse and special.

#3 : castle in the sky
canadians build castle's in their mountains. i thought the stanley manor of estes park was impressive but this hotel, built in 1888, is as unbelievable and awe-inspiring as the mountains that completely surround it. truthfully, it makes the stanley look like a metal tool shed in a suburban back yard.

#4 : spring skiing
spring skiing in colorado involves sunscreen and t-shirts. spring skiing in canada means temperatures may get above zero degrees. when commenting on the low temps on a lift to a local, i was told that this same hill in january registered negative thirty and this here near-zero business was deemed a for sure heat wave for the region.

#5 : ex-pat
after soaking in the canadian hospitality and breathtaking vistas, i asked bookguy why he thought more americans didn't move north. he said it probably had something to do with the nine-month winters. i reckon this is a sound take and probably why you see canadians making the most of things, frigid as they may be. talent-wise the small boy in this picture would easily make most high school hockey teams in the states. and watching this man work with his son so made me extra-homesick for my youngins (not to mention watching them play on this wild lake made me miss skating on colorado mountain ponds when i was a kid).

#6 : reconnaissance
banff national park is definitely a place that holds appeal for a summer or winter sojourn and i was taking diligent notes about the ways my family would enjoy this region. i have already discussed the matter with marty and the start of a road trip north is taking form. i imagine a mix of camping and hotels while we wend our way to the obvious attractions (e.g. rushmore, the badlands, custer's last stand) making banff the termination or turning point for our great north american adventure. too kewl.

(all photo credits go to my long-time mancation cohort, bookguy)

TRAVEL (permalink) 03.16.2010
i'm sorry sir, there is nothing i can do.
my sunday was to begin at 3:50am. i can count the days that i have begun at 3:50am on one finger of one hand. i was ready for this particular day though because it was to mark the beginning of a twelve hour trek that would return me to my people.

the day started with the alarm of my iphone ringing one hour early due to daylight savings time which means the day that already had a gruesome start time now had an even more gruesome start time. sadly i didn't realize this miscue until i had taken a shower and went to wake bookguy. for one hundred reasons i was afraid to go back to sleep so groggily waited the hour out in preparation of the two hour car ride to calgary that would officially set our journey in motion.

instead of boring you with the litany of missteps that occurred throughout the day, i'll just add how it all ended because if you sprinkled ten more equally fated dots on the page, you'd have a fine picture of this travel experience. the day concluded, after a three hour delay at o'hare (an airport i was not originally supposed to pass through at all and a full six hours after i was supposed to have been home based on my original itinerary), with the pilot saying over the garbled intercom that there would be a brief delay because the plane was over-fueled and we had to wait for the suck-extra-fuel-back-out-of-the-plane truck to come and suck-extra-fuel-back-out-of-the-plane (as you can imagine, airports, even ones the size of o'hare, aren't exactly teeming with such specialized equipment). the word "brief" in o'hare-speak turns out to be thirty-five minutes and these were just a few more drops in the bucket that culminated in my crossing my home's threshold at 12:40am (mon) instead of 4:30pm (sun) as i was originally scheduled to, or if you prefer twenty-two hours instead of fourteen.

i try to not gripe about such pedestrian matters in this space and i know i run the risk of sounding like one of the douche-bags so expertly dissected by louis ck but i'm taking this moment to rededicate myself to some long-held convictions:
  • avoid u.s. customs (post 9-11)
  • avoid connecting flights
  • avoid checking bags
  • avoid flying (post 9-11)

and don't get me wrong. i love flying. i love traveling. and i love the ease in which both of those things are possible via today's knowledge and technology. but the love of those things is irrefutably trumped by my complete lack of patience for thoughtless reactionary, partially-cooked processes which are mindlessly implemented and heartlessly administered. it's tragically sad and we're capable of so much more.

QUOTES (permalink) 03.11.2010
the fine line between charm and irreverence.
marty answered a knock at the door drying her hands on a dish towel.

hello ma'am. my name is carl and i clean gutters.

oh thanks but i already have someone who does that.

CARL (glances up at our leaf filled gutters)
are you afraid to call him?

due to carl's rich and engaging personality, we now have a new gutter-guy.

KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 03.10.2010
and he was right.
your hair looks like a letter M.

what alex said to marty just after she get out of bed one morning.

KIDS, ART (permalink) 03.09.2010
rock star
bella turned nine last saturday and had her first party where the invitation did not read, "please do not bring a present". after last year's party, bella respectfully asked marty if we could remove that line from next year's invite. and so it happened.

when it came time to open presents, a big huddle gathered around bella and kids were shoving presents at her with shouts of open mine next and this one's from me and mine's the one with the fancy paper. one after another bella opened the presents and squealed and shrieked with delight at each turn. just looking at her reaction you would think that (a) each parcel contained a boxful of puppies or that (b) bella leads a terribly deprived life and never receives presents (although this was for sure her most decadent day ever).

i sat in a corner of the room and took in bella's wonderfully animated reaction to each gift. truth told, the gifts she was getting were both (a) right up her alley showing bella's friends know her well and (b) pretty dang cool toys. about midway through the production, i saw one of the boy partygoers stepping away from the group and looking dejected. before i could approach him, another mother went to him knelt down to talk with him. when they were done i went to this mother and asked her if everything was ok. she said that the boy was afraid that bella wasn't going to like his present and he was embarrassed. concerned and thinking out loud i said i should try to get to bella to tell her to make sure to treat everyone equally but didn't know how i could do this without making it obvious given the gaggle of children crowding her on the couch. the mother, a good friend of marty's and a big fan of bella's put her hand on my arm, smiled and said it would be ok and that i didn't have to worry and bella would handle it just fine. i looked at this woman and her quiet confidence in my daughter encouraged me to sit back.

i re-took my seat and waited. when this boy's present was finally put before bella she began extracting the card, peeling it open like charlie bucket would a wonka bar. in it was a hand-drawn card the boy made. the picture depicted a horse race which showed a horse and rider about to cross the finish line. written above this horse was YOU - 1ST and then behind this rider was writing pointing to a horse off the page which said ME - 2ND. after bella took in this card you would have thought she had gotten two boxes of puppies. she looked at the boy and gave a shrill cry of happiness and said that she could tell he knew how much she loved horses. he looked down at his fidgeting feet, a small bashful smile covering his face. scarring moment averted.

later in the day, after the guests had gone home, bella and i were walking through our neighborhood. i asked her about that moment and what happened. she said that she saw that he, the boy, looked sad and she thought it might have something to do with his gift so she made sure he knew she appreciated whatever he brought.

not a bad start to nine. i'm just a little dismayed, a friend of the family knew bella would pull it off before i did.

click to enlarge

HUMOR, VIDEO (permalink) 03.05.2010
your friday chuckle.

KIDS, PARENTING (permalink) 03.04.2010
still holding out
a few weeks ago marty was out with a group of mom's from the kids elementary school. at several points through the evening women would break away from the conversation to call home and check in on the dads and the state of bedtime.

when one woman called, one of her kids, a first grader, answered. the mom asked how things were going the kid answered by saying, "johnny's being a dickhead." the woman's head dipped, she massaged her temples, paused and said, "put your dad on please."

obviously marty would never get a report like that from her house. not because her kids are above such blue language but because marty still doesn't have a cellphone.

KIDS, PARENTING, HYGIENE (permalink) 03.03.2010
i know plenty of folks who could benefit from anthony-like candor.
bella was messing with anthony and he got upset. marty entered the scene and told anthony that if he didn't like what bella was doing he could tell her so. with this counsel, anthony turned to bella and said "bewah, you are breaking my spirit!"

if marty can do that with a three year old just imagine what she could achieve with someone who actually cared if they were sitting in their own feces.

KIDS, PARENTING, FAMILY (permalink) 03.02.2010
another one of those moments
in our home we have a bedtime hour. in this hour, every motion, action and thought is to be directed at the transition from being a foul, bristling, engaged, sporting, singing, learning, living, sassing young person to a sound asleep human. this is an all hands on deck affair and anything short of full participation has the home listing and fighting the currents.

last night, just seven minutes into the bedtime hour, i found myself locked up with bella on what began as a simple matter of semantics. i learned long ago that heated debate is not a conducive facet of the bedtime hour, but here on this night, i was fully engaged. this distraction left alex and anthony free to bury each other in the multitude of blankets and comforters piled on a bed. seeing this, i ordered them to the bathroom to go potty and brush their teeth. after studying my taut tone for the briefest of moments, they complied. bella and i proceeded down our path. just as i (and the beloved art of logic) was making headway, alex dashed into the room saying, "look at what anthony did." i studied him and saw nothing. i asked him what anthony did. alex turned to show a long smear of fluorescent tooth paste down the back of his shirt. ANTHONY! STOP PUTTING TOOTH PASTE ON YOUR BROTHER! i ignored his return plea of, "but, i like putting toothpaste on yallix." i returned my attention to bella. as we continued our slow trek to understanding marty called up the stairs, "i have to run some cookies across midland. i'll be back in a few." at this hour, with this start, i'm unable to count the number of bad things that could go down in "a few" minutes. but here we were.

digging out begins with a single shovelful of dirt. i looked at bella and said, "i hear your point but i hope you hear mine. i needed you to do something and i took the time to explain why i needed you to do it. in the future i need you work with me on that." with as much compliance and respect you could expect from a willful eight year old girl, bella turned to begin her bedtime ritual. i turned to alex, asked him to lift his arms up and pulled the soiled shirt over his head and told him to follow me. i walked to the bathroom and pulled the toothpaste out of anthony's hand, picked his protesting frame up under my arm, walked him to his room, threw him in his bed, and told him if he got out i was going to frazzle his biscuits and make him sleep on the garage roof. by some karmic credit i accrued in a previous life, everyone was asleep within the hour.

if there is a human (non-sleeping) restful state such as the peace a person meditating finds, the experience of wrangling unwilling, untamed children without the use of physical trauma is the opposite of that restful state. and were you to remove all life-threatening scenarios from the picture, this act of directing children stands as one of the most trying human endeavors an adult can navigate. that said, we've had our share of moments where a call to 911 was surely in the cards, placing these matters occasionally into the life-threatening category (although, that is not the exact spirit i am talking about here).

and, to be fair, while marty isn't one of the most diligent practitioners of the bedtime hour given she's essentially been in a form of the bedtime hour all day at this point, she also does not typically leave the home and the night i described above was an unusual exception. but she may have also seen the dark cloud forming in my study and chose to save herself from the next fateful (and unpredictable) eleven minutes that unfolded in the upstairs of our home during the bedtime hour.

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