Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thinking About Who Can Beat Up Who

I have started a new site that will complement the 1 billion other blogs I have. That new site is My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad.. Here's it's raison d'etre. (That's French. French, I'm told, is an actual language that people actually speak in countries that nobody actually respects.)

Why "My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad" exists:

When I was a kid, I read comic books. Invariably, the best of all comic book storylines involved crossovers -- heroes meeting up or villains meeting up and battling it out.

I have vivid memories of the comic book, which I had in giant size, in which Spider-Man met, and fought, Superman, only to turn around and fight Lex Luthor and Doc Octopus. I expect, when I get old, my memory of that fight, including [SPOILER ALERT INVOLVING RAY GUNS] the fact that Luther zapped Spiderman with a ray to make him stronger so that he could hold his own against Superman.

Those crossovers and battles supreme were extensions of the things we'd say as kids -- My dad can beat up your dad.

Crossovers and battles have continued to dominate pop culture (Freddy vs. Jason, Roe v. Wade) since then. And I've noticed lately that a lot of my thinking involves battles, too -- like when I mentioned that 100,000,000 angels vs. 10,000 ,ooo lawyers is likely what the Apocalypse will look like.

From there, it was a short hop, helped by the English language version of the song "Dragostea Din Tei," which you know as Numa Numa -- that song, my morning coffee, and the drive into work forming a harmonic convergence from which emerged this thought:

I should start a blog about who could beat up who.

Hence This Blog.

As always, if you want to submit your own fight, I welcome the interest, the effort, and the opportunity to take a day off by posting what you send me. Think someone can beat up someone else? Send it to me at

"thetroublewithroy [at]"

P.S. -- My dad could have beat up your dad. He was very strong.

P.P.S.-- I wouldn't bet against my Mom, either.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Da... daaaa.... daaaa.... Da-da... (Bom Bom Bom Bom Bom Bom)(It's "Also Sprach Zarathustra," in case you didn't get that.)

I know the title may have been hard to follow, but it was one of the two songs I thought would work to mark this day.

The only other song I could think of to highlight this momentous occasion which cannot possibly be hyped enough -- an occasion that will stand alone in human history as the one day that all of mankind will never forget, an occasion that one day is destined to be marked by a holiday, no make that a week off, no make that a monthlong celebration... the only other song I could think of that somehow combines a sense of wonder and dread, impending doom and impending fascination, the only other song that somehow seemed to sum up this moment, was "Convoy," by Kris Kristofferson. But would it have been as dramatic if I'd titled this post:

"Ah, breaker one-nine, this heres the rubber duck. you gotta copy on me, pig pen, cmon."

I think not. Yes, you'd get goosebumps just like I do when I listen to that song, but something would have been missing.

The occasion in question prompting all this musical reverie is this:

The unveiling of Frankencouch!

And here it is:

Frankencouch has resided in our house for the last few weeks, lording it over the other furniture as the newest and most obviously hodgepodged piece of furniture we've ever bought. I think it might just be the most obviously hodgepodged piece of furniture ever made.

Look closely at it, above there. The pillow-cushions on the back are clearly from several different pieces of furniture. The seat cushions are from an entirely different sofa. And the base of Frankencouch itself literally was bolted together from other parts of couches.

Plus, it has sort of a medieval look to it, doesn't it?

With all that, though, Frankencouch couldn't possibly fit in better at our house. With a wider angle we can see a bit of the room around it:

There you catch a glimpse, at the bottom, of the hand-me-down orange couch, looking pink in this light. You can see in the upper corner the wedding chair, a sage-y green. Just out of sight to the right, behind the blurry twins that never stop moving, is the rocking chair and next to that is the coffee table that nobody can touch.

I want to draw your attention, though, to an interior decorating feature that is almost criminally underused in modern homes. In the center of that picture above you'll see an orange leopard-spotted pillow strapped by old belts to the support pole in our family room.

Lots of people are afraid to just strap cushions to the structural features of their home. They're afraid that others will look down on them. But this, I can assure you, is the newest trend in home decorating. In the next few years, every where you look, homes will have pillows and cushions bolted up, tied to walls, strapped to floors-- you name it. You'll know it's hit it big when In Touch does a feature on celebrities who have cushions strapped to their Malibu beach house decks.

The twins in that picture are playing Cloverfield.* We were playing it and I stopped to take some pictures of Frankencouch. They didn't notice:
As you can see, they just kept on going. In fact, they no longer needed me. Mr Bunches here was going to Cloverfield himself:

With these pictures, I've now fulfilled my duty to show Frankencouch to the world, and have also cemented my place in history as one of the greatest interior designers ever -- to go along with my position as Best Parent Ever, the Stephen Hawking of Candy, and my ongoing role as The Snoopy. Feel free to ask me for advice on anything. Anything at all. I'm there for you.

*note: "Cloverfield" the game is TM The Trouble With Roy, and has nothing whatsoever to do with "Cloverfield" the movie because I've still never seen "Cloverfield" the movie. So call off the lawyers, JJ.

The only way to improve it would be to get a cool mascot. I suggest "Sparky."

SocialSpark is the next big thing in social networking, blogging, and earning money.

This year, I began making some money off of my blogs, which were and are always a labor of love, but were and are also intended to help me lose the shackles of my day job and spend my days writing full time. With some help from Izea, I've moved a lot closer to that dream -- and am getting closer to my goal (moving to Hawaii to write full time) all the time.

Now, Izea has come up with an even better innovation: SocialSpark. Take it from me -- yes, I'm getting paid for this post, but I'm also a member of SocialSpark and wouldn't mislead you -- SocialSpark is to blogging and social networking what, well, what the Internet was to communication and information. It's that innovative.

SocialSpark takes the basic idea of selling ad spots on blogs and websites and advances it leaps and bounds through a couple of innovations. First, it allows you to "queue up" for ads. So unlike other sites, where you have to lurk around and hope to get some business, SocialSpark lets you find the ads you like and if all the ads are sold or reserved, you can put your name in line and wait until a slot opens up -- and they'll notify you.

SocialSpark also offers sponsorships for blogs, and, more than that, offers a way for bloggers to network and share information and promote each other's writings. It's like being at a convention of fellow writers, all the time -- without having to go to Cleveland.

Sign-up is easy, registering your blogs is a snap, and everything then gets running smoothly, letting you meet up with other bloggers, sell ad space on your blogs, and most of all, keep writing and sharing your thoughts.

Having worked with Izea for a couple of months now, I'm very pleased to have been given a chance to get in on the ground floor of SocialSpark. If I have any criticisms, it's that the site got so popular so quickly -- it can be slow to load at times, so be patient-- but it's better to be too popular than not popular enough, right?

Monday, May 05, 2008

I STILL Refuse To Come Back As A Bug Or As A Rabbit, And I'm STILL A Real Up Person.

All morning long I've been listening to 80s music on Youtube. Some of you will be wondering "why is that?" Others of you will be wondering "why do we even pay you anymore?" Those others will mostly be my boss. I keep him from wondering that too often by wearing a tie as frequently as possible. If you wear a tie, you're obviously working hard. Even more so if you loosen the tie just a little and roll up your sleeves, indicating that you are working so hard that your forearms are getting sweaty. Do those things and you can get away with just about anything in the office.

The reason for my 80s' fixation today is because I spent part of Friday night chauffeuring Oldest around to celebrate her 21st birthday. 21st.

Twenty-one years ago Friday was May 2, 1987. Remember 1987? I don't, really. Not because I was such a partier in those days or anything cool like that, but merely because that was a long time ago. The older I get, and the more I stuff my head with quotes from "Wedding Crashers" to use in a pinch when I'm parking our SUV at the grocery store so that Mr F and I can run in and pick up some Lemon Poppyseed muffins for Sweetie and maybe score some free samples while we're at it -- which, not to brag, but we did score some free samples, of french bread and a turkey roll; try not to be too jealous of me-- the more I do those things (get older and remember Wedding Crashers quotes) -- the less I remember of actual events in my, or anyone else's, life.

Certain things stick in my brain, though, like the quote that forms the headline to this entry, which is a quote that is spoken midway through the video for the song "Bizarre Love Triangle," a video they used to play when I was younger and would go to clubs and would dance, sometimes with a girl (you're even more jealous now, aren't you?), and which is cemented in my head because when it comes on in the video, the song stops cold and everyone stands there for a second wondering what they're supposed to do while these people are talking.

We were driving Oldest around on Friday night because 21 is the legal drinking age now, a law that's clearly being strenuously enforced, given that that at dinner we were giving Oldest some advice on how to make sure she didn't drink too much and what to do about a hangover, and she said:

"Mom, this won't be the first time I've been drunk."

Kids say the darndest things, don't they?

We were also driving Oldest around because Sweetie promised Oldest that she and Oldest would go out for a drink together before Oldest went out with her friends to officially celebrate her ability to drink alcohol legally, and I promised that I would be their designated driver.

That's how I ended up pushing Mr F and Mr Bunches around the "Rich Mall" -- that's the mall that has stores like "Sharper Image" and That One Store That Sells Dried Flowers and Is Like Pottery Barn But More Expensive, the mall we never shop at because you have to be rich to shop there -- in their stroller while Oldest and Sweetie had pomegranate margaritas in TGI Friday's, and that's how Sweetie and I then ended up strolling around a college campus for 15 minutes with Mr F and Mr Bunches, while Oldest waited for her friends to arrive so she could end hanging around with the old people and Babies! and begin having fun, although I say that she doesn't know what "fun" is until she's pushed two Babies! in a stroller through "World Market," a store that's filled with costly, breakable items all put enticeingly at eye-and-hand reach for a toddler in a stroller. You think hitting a curveball is a test of hand-eye coordination, but you don't know until you've walked that 100 yards in my shoes.

We were also driving Oldest around on her birthday because I had promised Oldest that I would drive her around as much as necessary on her 21st birthday, if she wanted, to avoid her having to worry about drinking and driving, and also because she's earned it.

As with the other two kids, Middle and The Boy, I have some fun telling about Oldest's exploits, but she deserves some nice things said about her, too, because like the other kids, I'm very proud of her and love her, too, and I try to show that in more ways than just by once a year writing nice stuff about Oldest on here, nice stuff like: she has a very very demanding job in health care as a CNA which requires that she lift up old people and give them a bath and I'm pretty sure I couldn't do it for even a day, and nice stuff like: she has a great sense of humor and can make anyone laugh.

I wouldn't have to limit my compliments to those things, either. I could point out the amazing things that Oldest has done, like the time she spent the summer learning geometry on her own so that she could move ahead in math and be in a more advanced class when school started, or how she lost a ton of weight when she was 16 and really got herself into shape, both very impressive feats.

But I don't limit showing her that we love and appreciate her to writing nice stuff about her. I try also to do things she'll really appreciate, like volunteer to be her designated driver if need be, telling her that I would drive her and her friends around if she wanted and would be ready to come pick her up at bar time and drop off her and her friends, if she needed, and promising her that I wouldn't even be mad if she called really late and was really drunk, that I would even try not to lecture her if she called, which is a huge concession on my part -- things I try to do for her because she is a good person who's grown up well and who makes me and Sweetie proud-- and I can tell she appreciated it, because she said to me:

"It's just kind of weird to be drunk in front of you."

You can hear the respect and admiration and appreciation in that sentence, can't you? Oldest knows just what to say to me. She was the one who years ago, managed to singlehandedly make me begin noticing the gray hairs on my head when we were sitting in the car, and "Road To Nowhere" by Talking Heads came on, and I turned it up, and Oldest said "Aww, I don't want to listen to oldies!" I made her listen to it anyway, because I like that song and because it makes me think of the movie Reality Bites, which makes me think how I still relate more to Ben Stiller's character than to stupid Ethan Hawke's character, since Ethan Hawke was a jerk and moron in that movie and Ben Stiller was just a guy who wanted to save the world but also wanted a nice car.

So this is Oldest's salute for her birthday, written today instead of her actual birthday on Friday because, as I said, I was too busy letting her and Sweetie drink things made of fruits that nobody really wants to eat, even in a margarita,

and then too busy waiting for her to go drink other things, things that I'm not even sure what they are -- she announced that she was going to a bar to get a "fishbowl," a drink she couldn't even describe to me -- to actually sit down and write anything about her.

Then I was too tired on Saturday and Sunday to do anything, either, because dropping her off kept me and Sweetie and the Babies! out in the car until 9:15 -- which is a terribly late night for us; most of our Fridays end by about 9 p.m. these days-- and being out so late partying made me tired the rest of the weekend, plus I had a lot of looking up of 80s songs to do, and I couldn't put all of that off until today.

With that, wish a big Happy Birthday to Oldest, who I'm sure had a great time (she called Saturday to report that she was alive but gave no further details) on her birthday, and who in addition to her many other talents would no doubt know exactly what to do when the song she's dancing to suddenly stops cold to play a clip from a movie.

Babies! Babies! Pets! Pets! wants you to submit photos of... Babies! and Pets!. Check out the photos there, and send your own to win a t-shirt!