Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Please Feed the Troll

We made it--100 hundred page views for one post!  That means world-wild fame, radio shows and and a spot on Barbara Walters 10 Most Fascinating People of 2013. Or, at the very least, a Facebook page for Losing the Internets.

Facebook is a great medium.  It shows me who I could befriend if I ever left the house.  It's full of family pictures and stories about food and who's watching what on TV.  It's the perfect blend of fuzziness and snarkiness reminiscent of a great 80's sitcom (like Cheers, not The Tortellis. We should never speak if The Tortellis again). A Facebook page may be the crown jewel in the Losing the Internets empire; am empire that brought in $1.50 last year.

And if we really wish hard on a birthday star, we may get our very own Internet Troll.  For those who don't frequent the Internet on a regular basis, you probably aren't reading this.  For everyone else, the Internet Troll embodies the true essence of hate.  Think of your school yard bully doused with a large dose of Mr. Burns, topped off with a bit of Hannibal Lecture.  The Troll has no other agenda but to derail discussions on Facebook, blogs, forums, or shopping reviews, by vomiting venom all over the place.  Trolls channel those  teachers who keep writing on your progress reports that you don't work up to your potential and that perhaps you should consider a career as a parking lot speed bump.

If the Internet Troll brings such misery, why do I want him lurking around my band new Facebook page? (Have I mentioned the Facebook page yet?  Its new and awesome!)  The Internet Troll doesn't spend time with small, insignificant blogs, and instead only comes a-hating when you make it big.  Basically, if I want to be cool, I need a Troll.

So once we have our Troll, what can we do with it?  Talking or arguing is completely out of the question based on Trolly's--aka Trolly Trollikins IV--total lack of conscionable logic.  We can feed him and spawn a virtual mud pit where we just yell at each other.  We could also ban him (which I'm pretty sure will happen).

Or, we can play some Troll games like:
  • Troll shots: Every time you read a personal insult, take a drink.
  • Troll the Troll: After every comment left by the Troll, everyone replays with "your mom" added at the end.  Trolly will either get personally offended and stop or double down with more venom, which will spawn more "your mom" comments.   Repeat.
  • Troll and treat: "Like" every Troll comment.  The Troll lives on hate and getting over 100 "likes" will cause his head to explode.
So while you visit my brand new Facebook page (did I mention it yet?), please remember that I appreciate and platonic love each and every one of you.  And while I want the "likes" to keep coming, I'm still looking for that one special "hate." 

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I'm not a patient guy.  I pace when the mail comes after its usual 2 pm delivery.  Football replay reviews can raise my heart rate to dangerous proportions.  I may have even uttered a profane word or two when Netflix has a momentary lag.  God must have been rushed when He made me, because I can't stand inactivity.

So when there's a decision that could impact the well being of my whole family, the wait becomes magnified by 1,000,000,000x.  Time seems to slow down exponentially.  At first, seconds seem like minutes, and then hours, and then years.  I check my phone about 32 times a day just to make sure that a call wasn't missed because of a bad cell signal or broken ringer. My pulse shoots up like I downed a pot of espresso after a "bing" of an email, and then is plunged into depression when it turns out just to be an offer for male enhancement drugs.  (However, legitimate contract work goes to my spam folder?  Way to go Yahoo e-mail service?)

I also develop a bad case of ADHD.  I keep my hands busy, but nothing productive comes of it.  I'm finding that concentration is harder to obtain than the Arc of the Covenant.  At least Indiana Jones had Nazis in his way, and all I have standing before me is uncertainty.

The optimist in me knows that these feelings will subside.  Either my family will pack up our stuff and head on out to greener pastures, or we'll circle the wagons and try again.  My life won't end if this opportunity doesn't come through.  And there remain some significant challenges if it does.  I'm game to try and take on a new adventure, but right now it's out of my hands.

So, I wait... 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Parent Cult

This post should serve as a warning to any prospective parents: ADVANCE WITH CAUTION.  I'm not going to tell anyone not to have kids, because some people seem to enjoy theirs.  I actually like mine 98.9% of the time, although lately I think she may be broken.  I just want to give those blissful parents-to-be the bit of reality that usually gets obscured by those who want to indoctrinate others into the parental cult.

Even when the Queen and I started to even consider the idea that perhaps we maybe, perhaps wanted to raise a child, the Parent Mafia descended upon us.  "You just HAVE to have kids!" these child Amway sales people would yell. "You would be SO good at being parents!  Can you be my parents?  Adopt me!" 

The Queen and I would just smile and nod our heads.  Being a married couple over the age of 25 invites a certain amount of expectations that the only thing left for us is reproduction.  Sure, we had goals and dreams that revolved around our hobbies and careers, but that's not baby making and does not count.  We were old and our lives meaningless.
Sometimes I would point to great people who never had children.  Oprah Winfrey and Bo Derek are childless.  President Andrew Jackson and James Polk refused to procreate.  I don't know if Gandhi ever fathered a child, but if he did, I'm sure he/she would have been a disappointment.  (The Queen tried to pressure me into changing that last statement, as she insists that Gandhi had children.  I refused to cave.)  In response, I would get sad, puppy dog looks and a sigh that seemed to mean, "I'm so sorry for your logic."  
As we aged, the hopeful nudging to get-it-on started to evaporate.  By the time I hit 35 and the Queen hit *Editor deletion*, everyone pretty much lost hope.  Instead we would get hopeless clucking from strange women in the grocery store.   A colleague once remarked out of the blue that it was okay that we didn't procreate because "God only gives you as much as you can handle."  That sounded like a challenge.
After we announced the Queen's pregnancy, the Cult of Parenthood regrouped and came at us in full campaign mode.  Children are wonderful they would say.  Children are easy they would say.  Children make everything ice cream sundaes.  With a giggle, a pinch of the cheek, a rub of the belly, and a knowing wink, these cultists were only too happy to bring us into the fold.  Every person hummed a tune of rainbows and sparkles.

Then the kid, and the song turned nasty.  The cultists were nice after the first week or so, but after that they turned into a gaggle of Gotchya monsters. And it never stops!
  • Not sleeping in more than 30 minute increments for 36-hours: Gotchya!
  • Spit up all over your favorite shirt: Gotchya!
  • Refuses to potty train: Gotchya!
  • Breaks your 1979 rare Donald Duck figurine : Gotchya!
  • Throws an unbelievable fit because the sun isn't black: Gotchya!
Now I love my daughter very much.  If I didn't I would have given her back by now.  And the joys usually outweigh the pain, but I wish someone would  have explained the fine print.  The one where its says that your sanity will disappear with your memory, your poop tolerance will greatly increase, and you won't be able to talk to your wife because you can't spell. 

And for all those 20-something married couples, if you run into any of these Parent Cultists, feel free to use pepper spray.  Or just start talking about how your dogs are your kids.  The Gang of Pets are the Parent Cult's natural nemesis.