Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dear 21-Year-Old Self



Dear 21-year-old Self:

Enjoy the relative ease with which you can put on socks. This only gets more difficult as time goes on.

Hold your nose and buy Apple stock. That Steve Jobs fellow is really on to something with that iPod thing.

There's a thing called Facebook coming right around the corner. The temptation is going to be strong to post drunk party pictures on there. Don't do it.

Strong work ethic = good

Blondes = bad

All that money you spent buying DVDs and CDs was a waste.

Don't break up with women via email.

Don't snort powdered sugar.

Float trips are fun. Float trips without water shoes are still fun, but much more painful.

No one thinks your car stereo with the remote control is cool. Idiot.

I know you don't fancy yourself to be a romantic, but you're considerably less romantic than you think.

Seriously, you're not romantic.

Do the world a favor and stop wearing your hat backwards.

You do not need to bench press a Cadillac. Let's up the cardio and try living longer.

If someone offers you a cup of purple drink and you didn't make it, turn that shit down. Nothing good comes from purple drink.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day

Copyright 2016, Simple Man's Survival Guide

Recently my wife and I switched responsibilities, and I took our 5-year-old daughter to her ice skating class with her sister in tow. All was good. We rolled down the windows and rocked out to Kidz Bop and its infectious blends of "Worth It" and "Bad Blood," got to the rink on time and got our ice skates on without any tears, and all without the 3-year-old dropping a crap grenade. #smallvictories

And then at the very moment I thought we were gonna slip into cruise control for the rest of the evening, she inexplicably lost her mind and exploded in tears -- right in the middle of the doorway. While I was consoling my oldest, my red-headed youngest giggled, turned around, and took off running and laughing along the side of the ice rink, a Disney princess doll in each outstretched hand, and destined for God-only-knows where; like a tiny Joker, I think she just wanted to watch the world burn. If there were any parents judging me at that moment, I can't imagine they would have scored me much higher than 3/10. It wasn't pretty.

A few years ago we packed a lunch and took the girls to Cocoa Beach. It was a very big deal for them because it was the first time they'd been to the ocean. When I was younger, I have very clear memories of my mom and uncle throwing McDonald's french fries into the air for seagulls to catch, and how cool I thought that was. Fast-forward 20 years and I thought I had a wonderful opportunity to throw a piece of a sandwich in the air and lure some birds over so the girls could get a better look. What I didn't know was that over the last 20 years those birds had adopted a more aggressive (not nearly a strong enough word) approach to their pursuit of human food, and that feeding them was looked at as more of a required sacrifice than a voluntary donation. In a matter of seconds we had retreated back to the van, the girls were both sobbing like busted fire hydrants, my wife was calling me names that Donald Trump wouldn't even call Rosie O'Donnell, and I was was legitimately considering exiting the van and letting those pterodactyls have their way with me. It was definitely not one of my finer moments as a parent, and even years later when the girls hear anything that remotely makes them think we're going to a beach, they look at my wife and say, "Mommy, we're not gonna let daddy feed those seagulls are we?"

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Farting Ninja


"Daddy. You're bald."

The girls have made a habit of dwelling on my follicle misfortune after I tuck them into bed at night. They'll actually hold the "a" in bald and let it drag on to really hammer the point home. The minute they sniffed out that needling me over being bald bothered me, they proceeded to sink the hooks in deeper and rip my heart out with the joy and zeal of a 1-year-old working through an endless pile of paper mache. There's very likely more than a few rounds of sensitivity training in their future.

But if there has been any one good thing to come of being bald, it's the Farting Ninja story.

One day I was shaving my head in the shower and I nicked myself with the razor. It happens. So I got out of the shower, got dressed, put a small piece of toilet paper on my head to keep from bleeding all over myself, and went downstairs.

My oldest daughter saw the toilet paper and blood on my head and asked what happened. So I did what any good father of two young daughters would do on a Saturday afternoon: I made up a tall tale that involved an Uber, pirates, a whale -- and a farting ninja. And, I drew it out on a white board to get myself out of playing dolls for 15 minutes.

So with that, I give you The Farting Ninja.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

SMSG 06: Sh*t We Build for Our Kids

Travis reads the Some Assembly Required blog post, and then Travis and Greg discuss the pains of building swingsets, bikes, and other terrible things for their children.



Have you got a story to share about something you've built for your kids? We want to hear it in the comments section!

Don't forget to visit the Facebook page for the band Poor Dirty Astronauts. If you're in the St. Louis metro area, make your way over to the Stagger Inn and hear PDA perform live.

All sound effects were sourced from Freesound.org and have a Creative Commons 0 license.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Day the Hamster Died


"You need to come down her and look at this," I told my wife. "The cat caught a mouse."

"Well, take it away from him and throw it out."

"I don't think it's a mouse," I said. "I think it's Hamster."

One year prior we made the mistake of telling our girls that if they displayed some modicum of responsibility we said we'd consider getting them a small pet -- like a hamster. Of course, in toddler speak, that means you're getting them a hamster. Not in a few months, not in a few weeks and not in a few days. To them, that means you are loading up the van, making the mecca to PetSmart, and rescuing some poor, unsuspecting creature from a glorious life behind bullet-proof glass, with an endless supply of food and friends to run around with, and dropping him straight into hamster Hell -- a house with two cats and two toddlers. Because one of the many things I've learned about being a parent is that you can only stand firm for so long against your children before you give up and allow yourself to get willingly steamrolled.

Looking back, it's a miracle his run even lasted two years. The day we brought him home we set up his cage and then went out to eat. We came back home to his cage door unhinged and flung open, and one of the cats sitting with half of her body in the hamster cage and the other half out, and the other cat standing guard one foot away. I yanked the cat out, trying to remember if we had any shoe boxes we could bury this thing in and mentally mapping out the eulogy in my head. I was also thinking about whether or not this was the right time for one of those no-bullshit children's books like The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, and wondered if there was something along the lines of Tough Shit: Your Hamster Died and Your Cats are Assholes. But as I was rustling through the cedar chips, I heard a squeak and saw two very-alive tiny, beady black eyes looking back at me. Against all odds, the little bastard was alive.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

SMSG 05: Bad Family Vacations

Travis reads the Disney Cruise Disaster blog post, and Travis and Greg share other stories about bad family vacations.



Have you got a story to share about your bad family vacation? We want to hear it in the comments section!

Don't forget to visit the Facebook page for the band Poor Dirty Astronauts. If you're in the St. Louis metro area, make your way over to the Stagger Inn and hear PDA perform live.

All sound effects were sourced from Freesound.org and have a Creative Commons 0 license.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Five Lies About Having Kids

lies about kids

Not long after my oldest daughter turned 4, I'll never forget when she got up in my wife's face, slapped her, and told her to stop talking. If she were Adrian Peterson's child, he would have burned through every branch in a Texas-sized tree. After things settled down, we explained why what she did was wrong, and I explained that as her lawyer, I'd strongly advise she put that on her Shit-to-Never-Do-Again List. Because what my daughter didn't realize was that the angry and argumentative part of her little personality was still rocking a proverbial tricycle and she had only recently started exploring her dark side. Her mother, on the other hand, has been fine-tuning the Boss Bitch engine on her car for almost 40 years, and once she fires that up there aren't a whole lot of people I've seen who didn't get absolutely crushed.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Brand Slogan Swap

Forbes recently released its yearly list of most powerful brands. The top 10 consisted of well-respected brands that most households just shovel money into on a weekly basis, such as Disney, LEGO, Nike and Johnson's. Reading that article made me think about all of the brands that didn't haven't done so hot recently, such as Hoverboard, Carnival Cruise Lines and Volkswagen, and even personal brands like Bill Cosby. I thought it would be funny to take successful slogans from successful companies and try to pair them with these struggling brands to more honestly communicate what they offer.

Enjoy :-)

bill cosby scandal

Slogan: Between love and madness lies obsession.
Old Brand: Calvin Klein
New Brand: Bill Cosby
Rationale: If Bill Cosby ever asks me to take this down I'm going to tell him I don't know what he's talking about. Deny, deny, deny.


ashley madison hack

Slogan: I am what I am.
Original Brand: Reebok
New Brand: Ashley Madison
Rationale: The recent hack showed that only 10,000 of the 5.5 million female accounts had ever responded to a message. Ever. If you're still using this site, then you are what you are: a stupid cheater.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

SMSG 04: Bad Marriage Proposals

Travis and Greg celebrate Valentine's Day by discussing the circumstances around their less-than-stellar marriage proposals.



Have you got a story to share about your marriage proposal? We want to hear it in the comments section!

Don't forget to visit the Facebook page for the band Poor Dirty Astronauts. If you're in the St. Louis metro area, make your way over to the Stagger Inn and hear PDA perform live.

All sound effects were sourced from Freesound.org and have a Creative Commons 0 license.

Friday, February 5, 2016

What Type of Park Parent are You? (Quiz)


Powered by Interact

***You can take the electronic version of the quiz above, or you can take the manual version of the quiz below. Enjoy :-)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

SMSG 03: Lying to Your Children (with Tim Jones)

Travis welcomes Tim Jones from the View from the Bleachers.net humor blog to the podcast, and they explore the lies they tell their children. Tim also discusses his new book, You're Grounded for Life: Misguided Parenting Strategies that Sounded Good at the Time.



Have you got a story to share about lying to your children? We want to hear it! Share your lies in the comments section.

You can buy the paperback version of Tim's book here, or the eBook here. Tim's website is View from the Bleachers, which you can find here. Also, don't forget to visit the Facebook page for the band Poor Dirty Astronauts. If you're in the St. Louis metro area, make your way over to the Stagger Inn and hear PDA perform live.

All sound effects were sourced from Freesound.org and have a Creative Commons 0 license.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Disney Cruise Disaster


Late last year we took our 3- and 5-year old daughters on a Disney cruise, and the only magic we experienced was that Disney made all of our money disappear and we all somehow avoided inadvertently taking a selfie stick up the ass by one of the GoPro-obsessed parents.

In the months leading up to our cruise we were looking for a way to illustrate for the girls all of the wonders and magic they would experience on the boat. So I searched YouTube and discovered that there are thousands of people who have unabashedly wielded a selfie stick, unknowingly knocking countless people off the side of the boat, in the name of capturing the perfect family video. Our kids became obsessed with one family video in particular: the Miller's.

Those lying assholes. Before we went on our Disney Cruise I felt like we knew them so well we should send them a Christmas card. Now that we're back and we know the truth, I feel like they owe me an apology. Because their 25-minute video gives you the impression of sunshine, wondrously happy children, glorious relaxation, and general awesomeness that only the House of Mouse can manufacture. But the reality is much different. I'm convinced that we got the only happy 25 minutes of their trip, and the other two days, 23 hours and 35 minutes were a raging dumpster fire.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

SMSG 02: Baby Proofing Problems

Travis and Greg discuss their experiences baby proofing their homes.



Have you got a baby proofing story to share? We want to hear it! Share your baby proofing stories in the comments section.

Also, don't forget to visit the Facebook page for the band Poor Dirty Astronauts. If you're in the St. Louis metro area, make your way over to the Stagger Inn and hear PDA perform live.

All sound effects were sourced from Freesound.org and have a Creative Commons 0 license.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

SMSG 01: Feces Festival

Travis and Greg discuss the challenges of toilet training their children.



Have you got your own potty training story to share? We want to hear it! Share your stories about potty training in the comments section.

Visit the Facebook page for the band Poor Dirty Astronauts. If you're in the St. Louis metro area, make your way over to the Stagger Inn and hear PDA perform live.

All sound effects were sourced from Freesound.org and have a Creative Commons 0 license.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Back in My Day

Back in my day we didn't have Tinder.

My kids are currently 5 and 3. And the older they get, the more it stands out how their user experience for life will be much different from mine. So I made a list of all the things that would be different, and I imagined a conversation between myself and my girls about 10 years from now about those things.

Me: Oh wow. I found my box of old VHS tapes.
Daughter: What's a VHS tape?
Me: It's a cartridge they used to put movies on so people could buy them and watch them at home. You played them through a player that was connected to your TV.
Daughter: Like Roku?
Me: (Sigh) No, not like Roku. We didn't stream anything. There were no data clouds to pull content from and you had a dedicated player for your physical tapes.
Daughter: Wow. Did you at least hang your TV on your cave wall?
Me: Ha ha, smart ass. We didn't live in a cave. And no, no one hung their televisions back then because they were all too big and there were no flat-screen monitors.
Daughter: What's this Dinner Party II movie?
Me: Put that down! Don't look at that!
Daughter: Uh huh. So, how did you watch these VHS things on your cell phone? Did you have to hook it up with cables or something?
Me: Phones didn't play videos.
Daughter: (Gasp) So, if you couldn't stream anything directly to your TV and if your phones couldn't play videos, what did you watch Netflix on?
Me: Netflix didn't really catch on until I was out of college, honey, and when they started, they sent you DVDs that you could exchange through the mail via the US Postal Service.
(Her mind is blown and she can't comprehend any of this.)
Daughter: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. What's a DVD? What's the US Postal Service?