Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Five Dating Rules for My Daughters

I have two daughters who are currently 2 and 4. Right now they are perfect little angels, but at some point in the hopefully-distant future they're going to want to start dating. When that dark day comes, I have just a handful of core rules that I'm going to ask that they adhere to:

1) You know what impresses me most? A job.
I don't care if he's waxing asses in an Asian massage parlor, or working as a fart statistician or chicken sexer (all real jobs) as long as he's doing something. Not having a job implies a few different things: 1) He's not old enough to get a job, 2) he's so stupid no one wants to hire him, 3) he doesn't want to work or 4) he's too busy with other things for a relationship; three out of the four don't reflect terribly well on him. And don't even tell me that he doesn't need to make any money for you guys to just hang out together and have fun, because that's horseshit. I know what bored, horny teenage couples do: they have sex. Which brings us to my next point.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What's Your Wife's Current Mood? (Quiz)

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The ABC's of Marriage with Small Children

"A" is for Art: I love my children, but they're young enough that the buildings they draw look like they have balls, the people all look like they have Leprosy, and the pictures generally look like what you'd imagine if a crayon could develop Tourette Syndrome. And no, I don't say these things to my children. I tell them that the pictures look beautiful and amazing, because they really do illustrate an incredible command of fine motor skills for their age. But in a dark place in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "That picture looks like you drew what a love child between Pinhead from Hellraiser and a box of Fruit Loops would look like."

"B" is for Baby Wipes: Not all baby wipes are created equal. Some baby wipes are thick and a bit rugged, and can actually be used to scrape shit off a child's butt with minimal collateral damage. Other baby wipes are paper thin and basically disintegrate when they come in contact with feces. With those, you always end up going through an entire pack of wipes, and you basically end up cupping your hand and using it as a trowel to get the job done. Baby wipes are one of those things where spending the extra dollar may be in your best interest.

"C" is for Circle Time: Circle time is where a person who doesn't have children asks a group of children under the age of 3 to sit down and hold still in a room full of toys or other temptations where all they want to do is run and play. My experience with this was in gymnastics, where the minute that class started, my child morphed into a honey badger that you can only hope to contain. The lady running the class expected everyone to hold still and stretch for 15 minutes, and gave you the shifty eyes if you couldn't reign your kid in. Half the parents in the class looked like they were fighting the urge to throat punch her. And the hell with Cross Fit. If you want a real workout, try holding down a toddler for an hour in that environment.

"D" is for Divorce: You used to look at divorced people and wonder what was wrong with them. Now, after a rough day of fighting with your wife, you occasionally look at divorced people and wonder how much they paid and what kind of deal they got. My wife also likes to occasionally poke at me and say things like, "My next husband will be better at (insert whatever I failed at)." After years of hearing these things, I've concluded that any guy who is a Grade A house cleaner, world-class chef and amazing listener with farts that smell like a bonfire, the ability to read minds and the body of Hugh Jackman who makes about a million dollars a year and is hung like a racehorse, if he exists, is the result of genetic engineering. Hell, if she found him and told me she wanted me to leave me for him, I'd completely understand.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Rise of the Elegant Stinkhorn

"There are giant, red dicks coming up all over the back yard," my wife said nonchalantly. "I need you to take care of it."

Always armed with a smart-ass remark, and refusing to believe that there was a naked herd of rogue neanderthals running amok and pleasuring themselves all over our back yard, I said, "Well, it sounds like they're doing just fine taking care of themselves. Maybe it will help the grass grow back in the bare spot in the middle of the yard."

She wasn't impressed.

She did validate my assumption that the red dicks we were being attacked by were not guys running around our back yard with smartphones working their way through the naked Kate Upton photos hijacked from the ever-mysterious iCloud and spread across the Interwebs. Instead, we had a healthy amount of large, red fungi popping up all over the place that just happened to look like giant, red penises. And the scientific name for these large, red, wanger-looking fungi? Elegant Stinkhorn. I'm convinced these things were put on this planet to prove that scientists had a sense of humor. It was like Father Christmas came early (pun intended) when he put red dick hill in my back yard, giving me my own little comedic gem ripe for the dicking. I even got lost thinking up prospective blog titles that played on movies or TV shows: 20 Dick Jump Street, Old Red Dick, Die Hard: Red Dick, The Wiener Games: Catching Red Dicks, Red Dick Tracy, Flower Wars: Red Dicks Strike Back, 300 Red Dicks, The Mighty Red Dicks, The Walking Red Dicks, How to Train Your Red Dicks, Lord of the Red Dicks, Frozen: Red Dicks, The Fast and the Furious Red Dicks, Finding Red Dicks, Despicable Red Dicks, Breaking Red Dicks and on, and on, and on. I could have literally dicked around with those all day.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Some Assembly Required

The relationship between myself and kid furniture/toys you have to assemble is similar to the relationship I have with one-ply toilet paper: It takes longer than it should to get the job done, I'm continually doing re-work on some areas, and I always walk away angry. And while I've made it very clear since before my wife and I were married that I won't live in a house that hangs anything less than two-ply toilet paper on its dispensers, I can't tell my children that they can't have a bicycle because daddy's a lazy, selfish prick. Besides, you haven't truly experienced fatherhood until you've been reduced to tears while trying to assemble a Dora the Explorer tricycle that looks like Ray Charles could put together in a matter of minutes.

There's a little bit of me in everything that I assemble for my children, because I've literally bled on all of it in some capacity. Everything from cribs, beds, tricycles, a bicycle, a swing set, pretend play sets, baby swings, and all manner of other wicked, evil shit manufactured in the bowels of Hell by the Devil himself and his gaggle of mechanical engineers. I suspect the engineers actually responsible for this crap are people who were fired from real engineering jobs because there was a history of bridges, buildings or roads they were associated with collapsing, and the only companies who would give them a job were the likes of Little Tikes or Sorelle.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Feces Festival

It's kind of silly when you think about how irrationally excited parents get when children accomplish something as basic as shitting in a bowl. When you take into account that it takes us between three and four years to master the art of shitting in a bowl and then wiping ourselves, it looks like a Christmas miracle that we're not only the dominant species on this planet, but that we live, on average, to be 85. Most baby animals are walking within seconds, and most cats are licking their ass in a matter of weeks.

For nearly four years we've been swimming in human excrement, and the last couple of weeks at our house have been a veritable feces festival. We had a kind-of brown theme before having children that's magically spread (pun intended) to other parts of the house since the kids have been born, and it isn't paint that's responsible for the added color. There's so much shit in the living room carpet that if you strike a match in our living room it will burst into flames.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Candy Crushed or: Siri Sucks

Candy Crush invites are the herpes of the online universe: you only get them from people you're close to, they flare up sporadically, and there is no painless way to truly get rid of them.

Copyright 2014, Travis Ross (Simple Man's Survival Guide)
How I feel about Candy Crush invites.
Do you people actually think I just missed the other 300 messages you sent? There should be a little warning that pops up before you send the invite out to your entire friend list for the tenth time that says, "You're about to send this to everyone you know for the tenth time, which may result in them thinking you're an asshole." After you get that warning, the name of the Send Candy Crush Invite to All button just says: Press Here to be an Asshole.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Five Types of Parents You See at the Park

Being the parents of two small girls, I spend a lot of time at the park. I'm sure most of the people who see me at the park on a regular basis ask themselves why I drive five minutes to the park, only to yell at my kids for an hour and then drive back home. It's not that I don't love my children (precious, loving, beautiful little life-sucking angels that they are), but rather that's just the type of park parent that I am; I yell to get their attention when they're doing something they shouldn't be, which just so happens to be all of the time. After nearly four years of living the dad life and spending nearly a thousand hours at parks watching my kids play on equipment that probably wouldn't be approved for use on a Ninja Warrior or military obstacle course, I've created a list of the 5 types of parents you'll see at the park.

1) Cell Phone Parent: This parent is either a social media champion, workaholic, single or a sports or gossip junkie. They open the door to let their kids out of the car and don't look at them again until another parent taps them on the shoulder and says, "Sir, your son just finished eating one dog turd and is getting ready to start another." To which, Cell Phone Parent holds up his hand and says, "Just let me save this change I made to my fantasy football roster and I'll be right there."

Children of these types of parents most often grow up to be fast food workers, homeless or the person who shaves dog testicles at the groomer.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Westboro Baptist Church Protesting Big Tech

The Westboro Baptist Church has announced that it's going to be picketing the biggest technology companies in Silicon Valley on August 12, which means that one of the stupidest groups in this country will be squaring off against one of the smartest. Do you know those warnings on the side of citronella jugs that say "Warning! Don't Consume" that cause you to ask yourself who the hell would consume citronella? Well, those warnings were created for the Westboro Baptist Church. This should be a more lopsided fight than when Larry Holmes beat the hell out of Muhammad Ali in 1978 and felt so bad about it that he cried afterward.

Copyright 2014, Travis Ross (Simple Man's Survival Guide)
Maybe Westboro was mad they invested in the Twitter IPO.
And of course Westboro has a good reason to protest, right? They could be mad about the Facebook Internet outage or the delays of the iPhone 6 rollout and iWatch, or maybe they invested heavily in Twitter at the IPO and they're just upset they haven't made their money back. Maybe they finally snapped after being mocked endlessly on Reddit.

Nope. In general, Westboro Baptist Church is mad at Big Tech for "spreading the sodomite agenda."

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Facebook Down

This past Friday Facebook conducted its largest underground emotional study ever, attempting to make everyone in the world angry at the same time. Mission accomplished, Facebook. The only time I could imagine seeing my wife more angry is if I came back from a physical and told her the doctor thought I had a good chance of living to be 150.

For those of you who may not have heard because you actually prefer eye contact or human touch, Facebook was down for about 20 minutes last Friday, and in those 20 minutes you'd think the digital apocalypse had hit. CNN flashed a poll shortly after the outage was discovered showing that 75% of the nation blamed President Obama, who was already on the phone with Mark Zuckerberg asking, "WTF, yo?" Zuckerberg said that he'd work on fixing the outage after he finished counting his money.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Sandwich Guy

I think everyone has those people they encounter in the corporate world that they will tell stories about for the rest of their corporate careers. For me, that person was Jimmy the Sandwich Guy.

Jimmy the Sandwich Guy was the Soup Nazi of the corporate cafeteria. I honestly think the only thing that got him out of bed most days (outside of the fact that I could see him waking up in fear that his house was on fire because he fell asleep smoking a cigarette) was that over the four hours of the work day covered by breakfast and lunch, there were about 200 people for him to run through the proverbial meat grinder at his deli, where he made sandwiches and carved up souls.

The first time I wandered into Jimmy's turf I waited patiently in line and then asked for a hamburger. I didn't ask for anything gourmet or for him to bend space and time; I just wanted a hamburger.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fired from eHow

Copyright 2014, Travis Ross (Simple Man's Survival Guide)

Today I was relieved of my freelance writing duties cranking out garbage at Demand Media Studies for eHow and other Demand affiliates.

If you've ever Googled how to make a rug from your collection of shaved back hair or wondered how to cure that rash that started showing up after your weekend in Vegas, you've probably landed there. eHow articles use to clog up Google search results until Google rolled out an algorithm update a few years ago and Panda-whacked them.

I stumbled onto Demand around 2009 when I was exploring freelance writing jobs on the Internet. They paid about $15 an article at the time for things that I could crank out over the course of 30 minutes while watching Big Trouble in Little China or working my way through the Die Hard movies for the 100th time. I wrote a lot of articles along the lines of How to Express Your Cat's Anal Glands, How to Make a Grilled Cheese Sandwich Without Cheese (or Bread), How to Delete Porn from Your Hard Drive, How to Fart Jesus Loves Me in the Key of C, How to Prepare Freezer Meals for the Zombie Apocalypse, and most importantly, How to Shave a Honey Badger's Balls.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Realizations of an Expectant Father

[I wrote this shortly after we found out we were having our first kid, which turned out to be Tootie, who's now nearly 4. She's pretty incredible, in that after nearly four years of life she can say her ABC's, talk in complete sentences, go for days without eating and (almost) crap in a bowl. In summary, it's been very special.]

My wife and I are expecting our first baby. And while people keep telling us this is going to be the most wonderful experience of our lives, I've yet to see any evidence of this.

For instance, a few weeks ago we made our first lap together through a Babies 'R Us. On what I suspect was an average day, the place was filled with young parents who already had one or two children and looked to be expecting another. The whole experience just seemed surreal: I didn't see one parent smiling and practically every child was being spanked. One woman had a child in each arm and a third one tied to a leash while moving forward with a steel-faced resolve that looked like something out of a Terminator movie.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Always Make More Coffee

Rule #1 in Corporate America: Never get caught not making coffee.

If the people you work with find out that you're the jackwagon responsible for not making a fresh pot of coffee, they will get all Liam Neeson in Taken on you; they will find you, and they will kill you. And it won't be a quick death. It will be the kind of death where you die as a result of dehydration from all of the crying you're doing because the co-workers you thought were nice have strapped you down and are pulling your nose hair, toenails and fingernails off of your body one by one.