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PHOTO (permalink) 06.28.2013
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
JUNE 2013

WEB, FRIEND (permalink) 06.26.2013
if personality equalled stock portfolio, these two would be in the fortune 500
i have a friend (and former student) who makes iphone games. he works with his brother and they are a most colorful duo. every week they send a mailer out to their followers about what they've been up to. there's always loads of kookiness in their sendings but then again, who'd expect anything less from a group that calls themselves butterschotch shenanigans. at the base of a recent update mailer was the following.

and before you start, and if you're like me, i'll save you the trouble of looking up the fact the TL;DR stands for "too long, didn't read".
  • We're delaying the iOS launch until we get some engine-sourced bugs DESTROYED.
  • Our Android users are lovely people who are putting up with our crashing bugfest quite splendidly.
  • If an Android QR player and an iOS QR player meet on the street in some distant utopian future, the iOS user should say "Hey, thanks for making this game better for the first time I booted it up, even though I hate you for having it way earlier." And then they should high-five and bro-fist pound.
  • Towelfight 2 is still free on iOS!
TTLDRWTLSIDRI ("The tl:dr was too long so I didn?t read it")
and if you're into mobile gaming, their ever-curious wares may be found at

WEB (permalink) 06.25.2013
let the venture capitalists scrap over this one.
i have a website idea for someone—a site that records funny things said by adults around kids, that the kids don't get, and no other adults were around to hear.

my contribution would be when alex and i shared the following exchange.

dad, why do you call everyone 'bud'?

because don johnson already took 'pal'.

if you don't get the reference it means you did something more interesting with your friday nights in the late eighties than watching miami vice.

WIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 06.24.2013
help wanted
you remember how marty jacked up her toe some weeks back. well, now she jacked up her hand, gashing two fingers open while unloading a table from the van. when she called me at work to say she was headed to the emergency room, she described the cuts as "gaping".

as the doctor put the last of the five stitches in, marty joked that now her husband couldn't look at her nailless toe or stitched-up fingers.

in learning of this, i joked i should be allowed to bring in an interim wife i can actually stomach looking at, let alone doing anything else with, until marty is not so disfigured. i mean there's gotta be such a stipulation somewhere in all that marital fine print, no?

anyway, resumes, cv's and simple pleas for attention will be considered in the weeks ahead.

and if it helps, i've lost twenty pounds since august.

FRIENDS (permalink) 06.21.2013
i don't think this was in my job description
the director of my office sent an email to our young, female center coordinator. in the message he meant to request the following.
i need you to please contact the editors of the following journals.
instead his email read
i need you to please the editors of the following journals.
when i arrived at the office, because of the dropped 'contact', the recipient of the message read the sentence to me, asking what she should do. before i had time to respond a graduate student in our space who overheard the question said, "the only proper response is to write back and ask if you can please them one at a time or have to please them all at once."

this was far more entertaining than anything i had planned.

FAMILY, PHOTO (permalink) 06.20.2013
no child left behind, except those that can't read.
below find the slips the family filled out for the test mentioned in tuesday's story. and the original sticker in question.

and anthony's contribution was verbal and exposed what an ass i was for giving a reading comprehension and writing test to his child who can not yet do either of those things. had you heard his angst you would know he would have used the d-word instead of the a-word but thankfully that is another thing he is not yet up to practical speed on.

and i love that bella added her answer, "pop them", to the life-riddle.

PHOTO (permalink) 06.18.2013
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
MAY 2013

KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 06.17.2013
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
new game

KIDS, BOOKS (permalink) 06.14.2013
king me, part 5
part one is over here

towards the end of king's memoir he penned a sample passage of a bar scene. in reading it bella ran into a number of words she didn't know. this turned into concern about fighting with the language and that this struggle might take away from her enjoyment. she expressed this to marty first. marty said she should maybe wait to read them. bella agreed.

when she mentioned this to me i reminded her we would be reading them together and i could help with any words she didn't understand. she said it wouldn't be the same and we should wait.

i'd be lying if i said the notion of sitting in bella's new bunk bed reading stephen king books with my daughter every night of the summer didn't have me bristling with anticipation. i already had it planned out. we were going to start out by reading them in the same order i met stephen king: pet semetary, it, tommyknockers, needful things. from there we'd branch out. i saw a large part of my summer hopes slipping away with my daughter's prudent decision making.

seeing my uncertainty, bella said, "it's like you say dad, sometimes wanting is better than having".

boy do i hate it when my good advice sinks its teeth into my own buttock.

update: in the end the pull of trying him out proved too enticing so on saturday june 8th at 10:03 pm, my daughter and i began our first joint-reading of stephen king beginning with the same book i first read when a little older than her, pet semetary. we would have started at ten on the dot but i had to pee. unfortunate timing that. but we sat on the porch with multiple candles burning. i read the first chapter, using my clearest and most measured reading voice. when i finished the chapter i excitedly looked over at my daughter who was sitting on a deck chair facing me. her hand extended toward me, palm up, requesting the book. she said, "nice try dad but you don't have what it takes. hand it over." so she now has the reading duties and she is quite good at it. i'm convinced she learned most of her character voice skills from her mother when marty read all seven of the potter books to alex and bella a few summers back, employing a wildly impressive array of voices and energy. after i handed the book over, bella leafed through the pages i just read, finding passages and telling me "this should have sounded more like this dad" and would then re-read the lines with am admittedly higher level of enthusiasm and skill. aside from struggling with the elderly neighbor Jud Crandall, who via bella sounds more like a young hiphop artist, she's knocking it out of the horror aisle.

and now that we have a few nights under our belt, i must say that these neat and tender reading moments i'm sharing with my eldest child makes all the early years, fumbles, questions, trials, sacrifices and challenges of getting to this comfortable, close spot we can share together and look forward to every day ... well ... it just makes all that early work and effort seem crazily trivial.

KIDS, BOOKS (permalink) 06.13.2013
king me, part 4
part one is over here

one thing i haven't mentioned through all of this is why bella is so ravenous to read stephen king. the reason is bella fancies herself a bit of a horror writer. she has written a number of scary short stories. they definitely are not what you'd expect to come out of a twelve year old girl, who otherwise seems as normal as bella seems at least.

she mostly has done this in her free time and just shared it with family and friends but one day she asked me to proof-read a school assignment for her. when i did it was one of her horror stories.

what is this for?

english class.

you can't turn this in at school.

why not?

because the department of family services would come here and take you away from us.


because this is twisted and deranged. i mean don't get me wrong, it's very good. the problem is its almost too good and thus twisted and deranged.

it turns out she was very excited to turn it in and had already talked it up to her friends and teachers. our compromise was she had to include an author's statement with the assignment. what she quickly penned to appease her stickler-father follows:
Dear Reader,
I'd like to start off my little Author's Note by saying that I'm not a psycho, if your son or daughter knows me they'll be able to explain my love for horror and gore, but for those of you who don't I'll explain.

My name is Bella DeArmitt (Isabella Walter DeArmitt), I LOVE to write horror. I first discovered that I loved horror when every year my horror stories at the camp-fire became legendary. I like to write horror (I think) because when I write I'm in control of what happens, I have the ability to make my reader's stomach twist and churn, I have the ability to be myself.

Those are some of the reasons that I like to write,

I hope that you enjoyed it,

Bella DeArmitt!

part five

KIDS, BOOKS (permalink) 06.12.2013
king me, part 3
part one is over here

yesterday's mention of bella giving up television reminded me of a related story.

now that bella is older, about a year back, marty suggested we get a proper television so she could comfortably have girlfriends over and for gatherings, sleepovers and the like. our conversation quickly and excitedly turned into a top-down redesign of our living room, sketching out a remodel to take it from its present state--which is about two steps from looking like the monkey cage at the zoo (we're missing simply a swing-rope from the ceiling)--to a fully re-imagined space that included an L-couch, a wall mounted flat-screen, surround-sound, a stained-wood mantle, matching built-in bookshelves lining the walls, and new natural-wood, funcitoning french doors (note: these were recently installed). marty envisioned herself curled up under a fleece blanket watching some of the series-tv she's missed over the last decade. i imagined myself buried in the couch's corner, watching weekend football, wearing a pair of tired sweats, a fresh bowl of stove-top corn on my lap and a few logs popping in the over-sized fireplace. both marty and i were plenty eager to assume these relaxed positions.

a few weeks later while out with bella on our dad-lunch, i revealed this plan to her. instead of the shriek i braced for, i received an inflectionless response that she kinda liked not having a tv didn't want to get one. i almost reached over to her feel her forehead thinking she must have taken ill in the time it took me to utter my sentence. this sorta moving target is one of the core reasons parenting is often named the hardest thing you will ever undertake.

later in the day when alone with marty i began a conversation with the words, "you're not going to believe this but ..."

you're not going to believe this but when i told bella about our plans for the living room, she said she didn't want a television.

MARTY (stopped what she was doing and looked at me)

yeah, she said she didn't want a television. she liked not having one. she said having one would change, ruin even, the tenor of our home.

MARTY (after a brief pause)
well screw bella. i want a television. when she has a home of her own she can preserve the tenor of it all she wants.

this would be that target i'm trying to aim at picking up and moving again. and not just like moving two paces to the left but like moving in a fast and serpentining pattern that i'd need an uzi to hit, and as confessed before i'm working with a home-made slingshot. truth is, ninety percent of the surprises i contend with come from the two women in my life saying things i don't expect (and sometimes just the plain, darn opposite of what they said before). the other ten percent comes from the boys in my life doing things i don't expect, things like:
  • dropping toys down the neighbors sewer vent.
  • riding red wagons down hills while standing on top of them, surfer-style.
  • climbing trees so high you can't even yell loud enough for them to hear you screaming, "get down! now!"
  • or like, our six year old arriving at the dinner table with hundreds of dollars in his piggy bank and saying it's just his chore money from the last few months. of course when you combine (1) the fact that he gets fifty cents a week and (2) his brother and sister's banks are suddenly empty, his defense starts plummeting faster than his computer time over the next two weeks.
but at least with the boys, while i may not expect all the things they do, i do understand them. this is what makes raising men a more tenable undertaking for another man.

but moving back to the original topic, bella and television, don't think that the rapidity in which my daughter accepted stephen king's advice (mentioned yesterday ), which she encountered exactly once before mine (and having shouldered my advice dozens of times) has been lost on me. i see it. i see it most clearly. i also imagine it is not the last time she will accept notions from a fella new to our lives before she would take my own, identical, tested and trusted counsel. i'm sensible enough to see that coming and yes, i'm already saving money for the therapy i'm sure to need when the dark scenario actually happens for real.

and for any other people possibly fighting this fight, or other similar fights, with their small humans, i will share the closest i ever came to persuading bella to abandon her digital herion (without the assistance of a best selling author at least). the nearest my methods took me happened after we attended a school event (her induction into the national junior honor society--sorry, proud father, couldn't resist). before the ceremony began two students from the school performed for the audience, singing and playing acoustic guitar. they performed beautifully, so rife with confidence and composure, especially for two junior high age girls sitting in front of better than a hundred people. after the event the pre-show music came up in discussion. bella acknowledged who they were and said they were amazingly talented. i asked bella if she thought she would be as good as those girls if instead of watching shows on her computer time for the last two years she had practiced guitar. bella thought for a moment and said probably. i repeated her 'probably' and added had she done that people might be watching her playing guitar on television instead of her watching other people do enviable things on television. i watched her reaction, closely, and saw something happening but admittedly the success lasted about as long as a netflix login. that said, that brief moment is the closest i ever came to getting bella to put the media needle down.

part four

KIDS, BOOKS (permalink) 06.11.2013
king me, part 2
part one is over here

i put two conditions on bella's reading of stephen king. the first was that we would have to read the books together. the second was that before we start, she had to finish reading his memoir, On Writing, a book i had given her several months earlier.

the only issue with the first condition is she said i'd need to find five hours a day to give to the effort. i'm confident i do not need to go into the nine kinda ways this was not going to happen so we quickly negotiated that down to a more realistic thirty minutes a night, and maybe the occasional hour depending on my schedule and the plot line.

regarding the second condition, the moment we concluded our time-each-day bargaining she turned and ran from the room. over the next several days every time you'd see her she'd have king's memoir on her; either opened for reading, stuck in her armpit if walking, or resting on her thigh if sitting. a brief aside—on the top of bella's reading log for the library's summer program, she added the words 'you can't compete' followed by three exclamation points. i, the library staff, and multiple summers worth of other kids in the reading program can attest to the undeniable truth of this declaration.

an unexpected bonus from sir king totally came when he slammed, viciously, television saying time spent watching was wasted, forever lost and offered no redeeming value, namely in this case, to one's writing skills. bella said she got that and was considering fully giving up tv and computer, replacing it with reading and writing. while my mind furiously staved off a that's-what'-i've-been-saying message bella continued on, "so who would have thought you and stephen king feel the same way about television. crazy." spared.

but, for any ground i gained on the television front, my dinner table suffered as he also says that if you really want to be a writer you cannot let things like social norms stand in your way and to properly hone your craft you might need to read during certain social routines. he named family dinners specifically. bella informed me, so i wouldn't be surprised, that she will now be showing up to dinner with a book or writing pad in hand and i couldn't protest because she was just following the advice of someone i told her to read. un-spared.

part three

KIDS, BOOKS (permalink) 06.10.2013
king me, part 1
bella, who just turned twelve, has been asking pleading to read stephen king for the last two years. of course, each time my response has been a wordless glance over my glasses. she knows what this means. and she hates it. still without a word from me, she exclaims, "why not!". i explain she is too young for the likes of stephen king. to her huff i explain he will still be there when she isn't too young. to her second huff i explain she needs to save some things for when she is older because if she consumes it all now there will be less to enjoy later. to her third huff, i explain she only gets one childhood and it is my job to protect her from leaving it too early, for the wrong reasons at least.

that talk happened more than a year ago. over the last few months bella has built a shrine to King on our family bookshelf, meticulously organizing all of his works, all that i own at least, onto a single shelf. i've caught her a few times either (a) re-scanning the shelves for any books she may have missed or (b) staring longingly at the bindings of the collected works and maybe even placing her fingertips on the glossy wall of bindings in a way that could only be described as reverent. the other morning i walked by while she was in the second state. i asked what she was doing. she said sadly she was waiting until she was ready. i replied i thought she might be ready. her head snapped up and her eyes shot open. she asked me to repeat what i just said. i did. she asked me to repeat it one more time just to make sure. i did again. she danced in place. she hooted. she screeched. she whirled in circles. she reached her hand out towards the books touching them softly, letting them know they'd be together soon and softly, but excitedly, ran her hand down the length of the volumes reveling in the memorable moments awaiting her.

while we walked to the bus stop fifteen minutes later she asked why i changed my mind, what was different. i said she was different. she was more mature. she asked for specific examples. i recounted the night before how i asked her to walk a dog that was staying with us (due to bella's dog-sitting business). it was late and she didn't want to walk the dog and said as much. i explained that other people in the family had taken the dog out that day but she had not and it was her turn and she told her clients she would so she had to do what she said because someone was paying her money based on that understanding. she turned and left the room. she got dressed and took the dog out. and not just for a quick circle of the block as i expected her to do but for a good, proper walk. she came home still mad but instead of injecting her mood on the home, she retired to her room, went to bed and woke pleasant as usual. i explained that one of the reasons for green-lighting her was her more mature handling of problems which even six months ago would have been a big dramatic affair.

i added that it was also her evenness and reliability. not only is she consistently responsible in her chores and duties (jobs and school) but she has also been steady in her conviction to read stephen king. she has shown it to be more than just a passing fancy.

and there is a third reason. i didn't mention it to her but it is something i've discussed here before (i think) and that is the school bus. based on her reports, the conversations are every bit as salacious as anything stephen king has ever penned ... and at least he's a grown man who has experienced many of the things he's writing about which trumps information that comes from older siblings, cousins, uncles and neighbors. so if she's going to hear such things, she may as well hear them from a human, mr. king, that has actually experienced such things (and while i'm there to bandy about the questions that remain).

part two

FILM (permalink) 06.05.2013
oh no!
a neighbor sent me an email with a link to a movie trailer for enders game. i guess he and i talked about the book at one of our neighborhood gatherings. those who know me know i did not click on the link. instead i sent him the following reply:
oh no! 

i think making a movie of this book does a disservice to all future generations.  


to which he replied:
I watched the trailer after I sent the link.  Oh no is right.  
no matter how good they make this film, and i'd wager it will not be good at all, their effort could not possibly be better than the millions of versions that won't be imagined in the young minds that will not read the book because they saw this film. most unfortunate.

FRIENDS (permalink) 06.04.2013
time, she's a-tickin'
marty heard of a woman who flew a professional photographer to puerto rico to take a family photo while they were on vacation.

marty laughed saying we didn't manage a proper family photo until troy got a groupon to make it happen.

while that may seem bad, the other lady confessed that they'd need more than a groupon's worth of help to get such a shot of their crew.

VIDEO, KIDS (permalink) 06.03.2013
life with anthony

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