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Just weird stuff I think about.

Ranger Rick? Try Ranger Dick!

Ranger Rick? Try Ranger Dick!

I spent the last weekend on an Appalachian Trail backpacking trip with my hiking partner, Sawyer, The Trail Wonder Dog.  While we were lying in our two man one man/one dog tent in the dead of the night, all alone in the wilderness, I remembered a story about the time I went camping a few years ago with my sons and thought it would be a good blog topic.  Then I got slightly distracted when I heard about 42 coyotes (not even sure they have coyotes in the mountains of Virginia*) start howling all around the tent.  I looked to Sawyer for protection.  He looked back at me as if to say Me? What the fuck are you going to do about this situation?  Well the first thing I did was to turn on my phone and jot down a note so I wouldn’t forget about this blog post.  Then I closed my eyes and pretended the walls of the tent were made of  vibranium.  Sawyer was less than impressed with this solution, but apparently it worked, as we were not devoured, or even slightly scratched, and I was able to write this post.  You’re welcome.

The Trail Wonder DogTrail Dog
Un-Vibranium-Like TentHiking Tent

My sons and I went for a week long camping trip at a well established campground called Loft Mountain in the Shenandoah National Park.  Even though it was a normal campground that you drive to, they had some sites that were called “hike in” spots as they were more secluded and you had to walk a bit from the parking area to get to them.  We chose one of these spots because it was in close proximity to the Appalachian Trail and we planned on doing quite a bit of hiking during the trip.  Here in this beautiful mountainside paradise we had the most non-paradisey encounter with the head ranger (please feel free to insert dick in front of that title).

I’ll take a second here to say that most rangers that I’ve encountered in my life are truly selfless servants that try to strike a balance between preserving nature and enjoying it, for not much pay.  We usually call these individuals Ranger Rick from the magazine that the National Wildlife Federation created for kids.  Also, it’s alliterative, and feels nice rolling off the tongue.  However, by the time our trip was done, we were referring to this guy as Ranger Dick, for reasons which I’m sure you will agree.  Unless, of course, you are him, or his immediate family.  Although if I was his kid I would probably think he was a dick too.  OK, I am getting off track.  Let’s continue…

When we checked in we were given a list of rules by Ranger Rick Jr.  This guy couldn’t have been any older than my two sons who were in their 20’s.  He was a nice guy and very pleasantly pointed out two major rules on the list.

  • Quiet time began at 10 PM.
  • This was bear country and all food must be locked up in the provided steel bear box at each campsite when you were not present or when you are in your tent.

I was no stranger to the first rule.  It was pretty standard among many of the campgrounds I had visited.  The second rule was new to me.  I had never camped in bear country before.  It sounded pretty straight forward and quite sensible.  Put all my food in a steel box so bears don’t come sniffing around for pic-a-nic baskets.

We got our site all set up and put Sawyer (did I mention the Trail Wonder Dog was on this trip as well?) on a leash as that was also one of the rules.  Because we all lived in different places, I hadn’t visited with both of my sons at the same time for several years.  So we were having a good time, cooking out, playing cards, and yes, drinking some alcoholic beverages.  Nothing out of control though.  I had brought my iPod and a Bluetooth speaker and we were playing some music, but not loud at all.

Promptly at 10 PM we turned the music off.  We put the Rubbermaid plastic bin with all our food in the bear box.  We put the cooler with the cold food in the bear box.  Then we went into the tent where we quietly played one more game of cards then went to sleep by 11 PM.  So to my way of thinking, we’d complied with both the major rules.  Slightly after midnight I was dreaming about the fun we were going to have hiking the next day when I was rudely shaken awake by my eldest son.  When I got my eyes open I saw a light being shined directly into the tent.

“Who is out there?” I asked.

“It’s the campground hosts,” I heard an elderly voice say, “We need you to come out of the tent.”

“OK.  Give me a second.”

“Sir, we need you to come out now!”

Now it was a warm summer night and I was sleeping in nothing but my underwear.  “I have to get dressed.  Be out in a sec.”

“Now sir!”

“You want to see me in nothing but my skivvies?  I can assure you, you do not.”  This seem to hold them at bay for the amount of time it took me to drag on some shorts and a T-shirt.  I exited the tent to see nothing but a bright light being shoved in my face.  “Could you lower the light please?”  The light was slightly lowered to my upper chest area and I was then able to make out a couple who must have been in their 70’s.  She was the one holding the interrogation light and her husband was standing there by her side.  I had seen camp host before and they are usually older couples who get to camp for free as long as they look after the place when the rangers are not on duty.

“We’ve had some noise complaints about your party,” the lady informed me.

“Noise complaints?  We turned the music off at 10 and went in the tent.  When did you get this complaint?”

“About half an hour ago.”

“Impossible.  We’ve been asleep for over an hour.”

“Nevertheless sir, we’ve gotten complaints.”

At this point I decided to just go along to get along.  “OK, we’ll be sure to keep it down then.”  I thought this would suffice to let me get back to sleep, but apparently the hostess with the mostest was not done yet.

“Sir, we also noticed that you did not use your bear box before you went in your tent.”

“Huh? We put all the food in the bear box.”

“What about this,” she said as she spotlighted a 12 pack of unopened beer.

“The beer?  It’s unopened.”

“Doesn’t matter sir.  It needs to go in the bear box.”  Apparently there were some alcoholic bears in the area with a superursine ability to smell beer in sealed aluminum cans.

I shrugged and moved the 12 pack to the bear box.  But she still wasn’t done yet.  Without as much as a statement to her intentions, she began to rifle through the rest of our plastic bins that we had stored non-food items in.  She pulled out bug spray, candles, matches, soap, pots, pans, and several other items that could not even be considered close to food items.  When I inquired as to why these things needed to be in the bear box she explained that anything with a scent, or anything that had come into contact with food no matter how long ago and how many times it had been washed had to go into the box.  Also, several times during the shake down she had pointed her light at a bag of charcoal and told me that my dog food needed to be in the box.  Each time I informed her that it was charcoal and that the dog food was already in the box.  She then admitted that charcoal didn’t need to go in but that my little smoky grill did need to go in because it had a history of food being cooked on it.  After the first time, I put the grill in the box and then every time after had to keep reminding her that I had already put the grill in the box.  After about a half hour of them ripping our campsite apart they were finally done.

“Sir, we will have to report this incident to the head ranger in the morning.  He’ll want to come down and talk to you,” she told me with what looked like glee in her eye.

Exhausted, I just said, “OK.”

Then as they were leaving she shown her light on the charcoal again and told me I needed to put my dog food in the box.  OMG!  I face palmed myself and said rather tersely, “IT. IS. CHARCOAL!”  She kind of flinched a bit and then they finally left.

I looked around my campsite and realized now that 80% of everything we had brought was now in the bear box.  Now this required some creative packing because this bear box was not a dimensionally transcendental TARDIS.  This is when I realized that the word “food” on the list of rules I got from Ranger Rick Jr. was a very relative term and should have been revised to the following:

  • This is bear country.  Everything that is not staked down or used as a place to rest your asses on should be placed in the steel bear box when you are not present or when you are in your tent.  Good luck finding room for all that!
Bear Box: NON-TARDIS style (source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtkatie/4926489524)Bear Box

The next morning I got up before my sons and made some breakfast.  I noticed that there was a couple in one of the sites next to us with a very small tent and minimal equipment.  I figured they were AT thru or section hikers.  People that hiked the trail from beginning to end all in one trip or did long trips a section at a time.  I walked over and introduced myself and confirmed that they were in fact, section hikers on a two week trip hiking the AT through the park.  Hot meals are a rarity for these hikers so I invited them over to eat some scrambled eggs and sausage I had just cooked up.  They graciously accepted and while we were eating I told them about last night’s drama.  They told me they had hardly heard a sound from our site until the camp hosts had shown up.  Of course, maybe they were the ones that complained but were not going to say anything about it after I fed them breakfast.  I didn’t get that feeling though.  They seemed genuine, so I took them at their word.  After breakfast they quickly broke camp and headed on up the trail.

I roused my sons up and fixed a second breakfast.  My younger son, Dusty, and I then drove up to the camp store to resupply on ice while my older son, Decker stayed back in camp so we wouldn’t have to put everything in the bear box yet.  When we got back there was a female ranger talking to Decker.  As I came up she introduced herself and told us she had been notified of a noise complaint and wanted to talk to me.  She was very nice and was only doing her job so I made sure to remain calm myself.  I explained to her that I didn’t see how we could have been the cause of a noise complaint when we were asleep when the complaint was made, but that in any case we would keep it down.  That seem to satisfy her and she left.  The camp hosts had said HE when referring to the head ranger so she was obviously not the head ranger.  I thought that maybe after the report was made by the camp hosts, the head ranger didn’t feel it was a big enough problem to see to it himself and had delegated that duty to the aforementioned ranger.  WRONG.

A little while later we were gearing up to go on our first hike and were getting everything ready to put in the bear box when I saw a ranger and another guy coming down the trail to the site.  Before either one of us had a chance to speak, Sawyer, who was on a leash that was tied around one leg of the bear box, looked up and uttered a single little “Woof”.  I think he had some animal instinct that could already tell this guy was trouble.  But that is all he did.  He didn’t even get up.  The ranger immediately unholstered a can of mace and pointed it at Sawyer as he yelled to the top of his lungs, “RESTRAIN YOUR ANIMAL!  RESTRAIN YOUR ANIMAL!  RESTRAIN YOUR ANIMAL!”

I just looked at him dumbfounded and walked over to where the big teddy bear of a Golden Retriever was lying there looking at this raving lunatic.  I grabbed the leash and displayed it to him.  “He is tied up,” I informed him.

 He reholstered the can of mace and said, “Dogs must be on no longer than a 6 foot leash!”

That was true.  I had read it on the list of rules that Ranger Rick Jr. gave to me.  The leash that I had was 20 feet long because I like to give him freedom to roam without being unleashed when we went to certain places like the beach or a park.  However, since there was the length restriction here, I had tied the leash off to the leg of the bear box so that he only had 6 feet in which to roam.  I explained that to the ranger.

“Doesn’t matter.  You can only have a six foot leash period,” he persisted.

“Yeah,” said the guy next to him.  I would come to find out he was what they called a camp volunteer that came out and helped out the rangers.  I immediately thought of him as a toady because after nearly every thing the ranger said the guy would say, “Yeah.”  I’m not going to write anymore of the toady’s “yeahs” because even thinking about them is annoying me.  Just imagine them after every sentence the ranger makes.

“OK,” I said, “I have a four foot walking leash I can put him on.”

“Also you are not allowed to tie him to the bear box.”  I looked for that one on the rules list later on and it was not there.  Big shocker there.  But I complied with that one too and tied him up to the table.

He moved on to the next order of business.  “We had no less than six noise complaints about your party last night.”  Six noise complaints?  I looked around.  As I mentioned before, we were camped in “hike in” spots that were down hill from a parking lot and about a minute walk down a trail.  Only the two sites on either side of us had been occupied that night and there is no way that anyone heard us at the regular camping spots over the hill, even if we were screaming our heads off.

At this point I was getting exhausted by the whole affair.  I’m the kind of person that does not seek out confrontation and tries to get along with people the best I can, sometimes even to a fault.  So I decided not to even try to defend ourselves anymore and just agree to everything he said and assure him we would comply with any and all rules.  Oh, but that wasn’t good enough for him.

“You should know that I have the authority to kick you out of this park and you will not get a refund for the days you have already paid for.”

What was I supposed to say to that?  “OK, hope it doesn’t come to that,” was my reply.

“We’ll see.  Now I was also informed that you did not put your food in the bear box last night.”

“We put what we thought was our food in the bear box.  We were informed by your camp hosts that there were more things that needed to go in.  This is our first time in bear country so we were unaware of additional items that are considered food for bears.” MAYBE SAY SOMETHING ABOUT ANYTHING WITH A SCENT ON YOUR RULE LIST!**  That’s what I wanted to shout but I restrained myself because I didn’t want to get us kicked out.  At this point, he and his toady proceeded to go through all our stuff again pointing out the same exact things that the camp host had done the night before.  He even found some additional items to add.  Ibuprofen and band aids?  Guess Yogi Bear would steal them for his Boo Boo.  See what I did there?

He still wasn’t done.  When he saw the 12 pack of beer he looked at my sons and said, “Are you 21 or over?”  My sons were 22 and 25 and they informed him of this.  “You sure about that?  I have the authority to write you a citation if I catch you underage drinking.”

“Their ID’s are in the truck up in the parking lot.  They can go get them,” I told him.

Ranger DickHe looked at me for a second and then said, “No, that won’t be necessary.”  Then why did he just give that spiel about his authority to write citations?  That’s when I pegged this asshole.  He was the kid in school that got picked on a lot.  I know, I suffered my fair share of bullying when I was that age.  The difference between him and I though, was that he grew up and got a little bit of positional authority and let it go to his head.  He was going to get back at the world for treating him like shit when he was a kid by showing us he was the big man on campus now.

“OK,” I said again to him.

He looked around a bit longer to see if he could harass us about anything else and when he didn’t find anything he announced, “I’m still trying to decide if you will be evicted from the park.  I’ll come back in a few hours and let you know what I’ve decided.”

That wasn’t going to work.  We had planned on hiking for most of the day and we wouldn’t be back until late that afternoon.  At this point I decided I had had enough.  “We won’t be here in a few hours.  We will be out hiking all day.  I’ve already told you that we were sorry about breaking any of the rules.  Even the ones we were not aware of.  We will comply with everything you have told us today.  We are going to go hiking now.  If you decide to kick us out it will have to wait until we get back unless you want to find us on the trail and inform us.  I’m sure you have the authority to confiscate our stuff, so if we get back and it’s gone, I guess that means we’ve been evicted.”

He didn’t seem quite sure what to say next.  He thought about it for a second and then said, “I’ll be back by to check up on you later this afternoon then.”  With that, he and his toady moved on to harass other people.

“What a dick,” Dusty said when he was well out of hearing range.

“Yeah,” I said, “Ranger Dick!”  And from then on out that was what we called him.

Let me return to Ranger Dick’s statement about how six people had complained about us.  That was obviously bullshit, but I do believe there was one party that complained about us.  It was the people who had been on the opposite side of our site from the ones I had had breakfast with that morning.  When I saw them come in and set up the day before, I also surmised that they were either thru or section AT hikers.  I have the upmost respect for these hikers as they are accomplishing a spectacular feat by being on the trail for weeks or months at a time with very little creature comforts.  These hikers hike all day and are exhausted by the time they have scouted out a place to camp for the night.  These places are usually near trail shelters erected along the AT or unestablished back country sites with no amenities whatsoever.  They refer to “Hiker’s Midnight” as the time they are usually in their tent going to sleep, and it is around 8 or 9 PM.  This is understandable when you have been hiking all day and you have been doing it for weeks on end.  I believe the hikers next to us were perturbed that we were up past hiker’s midnight when we were camping in a “hike in” spot.  They must have been the ones that complained.  They had already been breaking camp when I got up that morning and I thought I caught an evil eye from one of the guys before they headed back out on the trail.

While I have the upmost respect for these hikers, here is my problem with this attitude.  These hikers decided to stay at an established campground.  This was not the back country or a trail shelter and they should have realized that some of us can’t afford (as much as we’d love too) to take off months at a time to hike.  Carving a week out of our lives to come up to these campsites are about the best we can do to be able to get in some day hiking and camping of our own.  We are not going to be going to bed at 8 O’clock when we only have a week to enjoy it.  If we had been out backpacking on the trail, then sure, we would have observed the hiker’s midnight tradition.  But we weren’t and they made the decision to stay at a campground who’s 10 PM quiet time rule we had observed.

So after Ranger Dick’s departure we continued to get ready for our hike and packed pretty much the whole site up into the bear box.  My sons headed down to the AT while I was getting Sawyer ready to go.  That was when I heard someone from up the trail to the parking lot yell, “THERE’S A BEAR COMING!”

What?  Did he just say what I thought he said?  I looked up the trail and sure to shit there was a motherfucking bear ambling down the trail to our site.  It was a medium size black bear.  It was an amazing sight, but I didn’t have time to think that then.  I was scared shitless!  I was also worried that Sawyer would try to go after it.  He had as of yet not noticed the impending ursine incursion, so I scooted him around to the back side of the tent that blocked his view.  I was still able to see the bear, who came down into the site and started sniffing around.  He had some bad timing though as we had just packed everything up.  In his utter disappointment, he emitted a exasperated snarl and moved down to the next site.  That’s when I was finally able to get my wits about me and we slowly slinked down the path to the AT where my sons wanted to know what took me so long.  When I told them about the bear they didn’t believe me.  Dusty even went back up the path to the site for a few minutes until I heard him running back the other way exclaiming there was a bear moving off to the other campsites.  Hah, told you!  If he scored any beer at the other sites I hope he didn’t get drunk, fall down, and scrape a knee, because he wasn’t getting any of our ibuprofen or band aids!  You can thank Ranger Dick for that, bear!

We went on our hike that day and when we got back our stuff was still there.  True to his word, Ranger Dick came back that afternoon and announced that in his graciousness he wasn’t kicking us out but we were herby put on notice that if there was even on more infraction we would be history.  I think he honestly thought we were troublemakers when it was the furthest thing from the truth.  Throughout the rest of our stay he or his toady would make a point of strolling through our site to see if we were fucking up.  Sometimes we wouldn’t even know he was around and then he’d step out of the bushes like he had been hiding to see if he could catch us violating any of his rules.

Troublemakers on the trail

He must have been disappointed because we went above and beyond to make sure we stayed on the straight and narrow.  As annoying as it was to constantly be worried about Ranger Dick, we didn’t let it spoil the overall experience of the trip.  We went on several awesome hikes and one day we provided Trail Magic to the AT thru and section hikers.  Trail Magic is basically feeding hungry hikers.  We grilled up some hot dogs and had soda and beer for them.  We got to meet some very interesting people.

Trail MagicTrail Magic

Toward the end of our stay I think Ranger Dick finally figured out we weren’t the hooligans he thought we were.  He didn’t come around as much and when he did he actually started to be pleasant and have normal conversations with us that didn’t involve reminding us who was in charge.  We even thought we might stop calling him Ranger Dick.  That was, until the last day, when he proved his Dickyness all over again.

We were breaking camp and when the time came to move all our stuff back up to the truck we were not looking forward to hauling it back up the hill to the parking lot.  The campsites to one side of us had a different trail to a different parking lot that had a less steep uphill grade.  You were supposed to park in the lot designated for your campsites but nobody was camped in the adjacent sites, so I had Dusty move the truck to the next lot so we could carry our stuff up the less steep trail.  We had all taken turns carrying a few items up to the truck when I saw Dusty come walking back down the other steep trail.  Ranger Dick had driven by when Dusty was putting some items in the truck and given him a ration of shit for parking in the wrong lot.  Dusty had explained to him that there was no one camped in those spots and we were only using it temporarily to load the truck from the less steep path.  Evidently that didn’t wash with him.  He instructed Dusty to move the truck back to the other parking lot and use our “authorized” path to load the truck.  So yea, he maintained his Ranger Dick title from that day forward.  As we were rolling out of the front gate to go home I didn’t see Ranger Dick, but I did see his toady hanging around the gatehouse.  I gave him the one finger salute as we passed by.  “Yeah!”

Do you think I was justified in calling him Ranger Dick?  Anyone have similar stories of abuse of positional authority?  Anyone actually make it to the end of this ridiculously long post?

* They totally do have coyotes in Virginia.  I looked it up on the internet and as we all know, if it’s on there it must be true.
** To be fair, I went to the Park website after writing this and noticed that they did update their rule list to include scented and food preparation items, but I swear it was not on the paper list given to us by Ranger Rick Jr.
The 100 year old beer

The 100 year old beer

OK, it’s not really a 100 years old.  It’s only 14 years old. What in the hell am I talking about? Why it’s this one can of beer I’ve had in my fridge that whole time.  I’m sure a few questions leap to mind.

  • Why do you have a 14 year old beer in your fridge?
  • Why do you call it a 100 year old beer?
  • What do you plan to do with this can of beer?
  • Are you retarded or something?

I’ll answer all these questions in due time, but first let’s get a peek at said beer:

100 Year Old BeerThis can looks like it is a 100 years old doesn’t it?

Why do I have a 14 year old beer in my fridge?  Back in 2002 I was between wives (yea I know I keep promising to tell the story of the three wives, but today is not that day) and I was living the single man’s life.  One aspect to being single again was that I had been reduced to one income stream while still trying to maintain the same living conditions that two streams had afforded.  As you can imagine, this did not leave me with a lot of disposable income.  One Friday night I had some of my single friends over to hang out and play darts.  Beer, of course, is a requirement during such activities.  I already had some Bud Light in the fridge, and while I am no beer snob, this was the lowest quality I was willing to go.  You’ve got to have some standards.  The darts playing eventually gave way to a drinking game called Kings Cup.  This is a fun game, at least until the hangover the next day, but it depleted our beer supply rather quickly.  Not being done for the night, we desperately needed to get more beer.  None of us were rolling in the dough, so all we could do is pull out our pocket change and throw it on the table.  After picking out the lint and gum wrappers we totaled up our treasure trove and it came to about six dollars.  So off went a couple of my friends to the store, which was in walking distance, thankfully.  When they got back they proudly displayed their newly acquired fermented refreshment.  It was a 12 pack of something called PABST GENUINE DRAFT LIGHT.  There is only one way to say this.  It tasted only slightly better than horse piss.  Of course I am assuming this, as I’ve never knowingly ingested the urine of a horse, but I am betting I am close to the mark.  However, for a bunch of already drunk guys playing a drinking game, it would do.

The next day, I noticed there were four cans of the Pabst Equine Elimination left and I almost threw them out.  But on second thought I ended up shoving them in the back of the fridge.  These cans came to be known as my Emergency Backup Beers.  If I ran out of my regular beer and I was that desperate, I could dip into the emergency supply.  Over the next several months, two of those cans were called upon to fulfill that role.  Shortly after that I got a promotion and my financial situation improved to the point where I always had some decent beer around and I never needed the backup beers.  They eventually became forgotten but stayed in that back corner of the fridge waiting patiently for the day that they may be called upon.

In 2003 I got married again, and not long after, we moved to a new apartment.  When we were cleaning out the fridge in preparation for the move I came across my two backup beers.  I should have just thrown them out but for some reason I tossed them in the cooler with all the other refrigerated items that were coming with us.  At the new place, in the new fridge, they went back in a corner and continued to stand their silent vigil.  There they stayed for the next three years.  There were times during fridge cleaning days that I almost (and was asked repeatedly by my wife) got rid of them.  But as time wore on they came to symbolize memories of my past single days and I was hesitant to dispose of them.  They became somewhat of a conversation piece among my friends.  Which brings me to the next question.

Why do I call it a 100 year old beer?  Do you remember the TV show Fear Factor?  Contestants had to compete in a series of three stunts to win the cash prize.  One of these stunts always consisted of eating something not so pleasant.  One episode had them eating what was called a 100 year old egg or a century egg.  It’s an egg that the Chinese preserve in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months.  Through this process the egg turns a brown and green color and emits a strong pungent flavor.  In other words, DEEsgusting.  The next day I was talking to my friend, Rich, about the episode, which he’d also seen, and he likened the 100 year old egg to what my back up beers must taste like by now.  Thus, they became known as the 100 year old beers.

Wait a minute, you say? The title of this post is The 100 Year Old Beer.  Single.  Did something happen to one of them?  Surely you didn’t drink one?  Yes, something did happen to one of them.  But you are going to have to wait until I get to that part of the story.  Kindly hold all additional questions to the end.  Gawwd.

Where was I?  Oh yea, fast forward to 2006.  Due to a transfer at my job, we moved from California to Virginia.  Didn’t even hesitate, my 100 year old beers went right in a cooler in the back of the truck and made the 2769 mile journey with us.  For the next two years they stayed in the fridge in our condo and then when we moved into a house, they came right along and took up residence in a fridge in the garage that was specifically placed there to keep beer and other assorted liquid refreshments cool.

We still live in the same house today, and the same fridge is still out there in the garage.  A few years ago I made a fateful decision (for one of the 100 year old beers) to have a party for all my co-workers.  There were probably around 30 people at the party and I instructed all the ones that brought their own libations to store them in the garage fridge.  At one point during the party I headed for the garage to get a beer.  When I opened the door from the house to the garage I beheld a most gruesome site!  One of the 100 year old beers was open and laying on the floor, leaking it’s (really stinky) life’s blood on to the cement.  I rushed to the beer and picked it up, noticing that there wasn’t much liquid left.  I briefly thought about giving it mouth to mouth, but in the moment, I hesitated (wouldn’t you?) and it was too late.  All I could do was hold it’s tiny pop top tab between my forefinger and thumb, comforting it as it passed away.  I looked around and didn’t see anyone else, but I did notice that the side door to the garage was slightly askew and a trail of liquid ran to it.  I can only assume that one of the partygoers had mistakenly grabbed the 100 year old beer and drank some of it.  I can’t imagine what happened next.  I’m thinking they probably only got a few gulps down before realizing something wasn’t right, dropped the can and staggered out the side door to go die in the woods next to my house.  I never did find out who drank it.  There was this one new guy at work that I never saw again.  I wonder…

Beer FridgeI should probably put up a sticky note like this.

Of course I was heartbroken that I had lost one of my 100 year old beers.  I took the empty can and buried it in the backyard.  I can’t be sure, but I thought I heard the sound of taps being played.  OK, no, this is a total rip off of A Christmas Story.  This is a beer story.  Truth be told, I didn’t bury it.  But I did leave it lying in state on the top of my workbench for a month or so before I gently laid it to rest in the recycling bin.  So that’s why I now have a single 100 year old beer left in my fridge in the garage.

What do I plan on doing with this beer?  Before the demise of one of the beers, Rich (who still lives in California) and I talked about getting together one day and drinking one a piece.  I guess we could still split this one.  We also talked about drinking them on an audition video for a reality show such as Survivor or Amazing Race.  That might get someone’s attention.  If we survived.  But I don’t think I could hack it on Survivor and I’ve already been turned down for Amazing Race once.  True story for another time.  Wait!  I got it!  We could get together and play the ultimate game of Kings Cup.  It would probably be the last game for one of us, since the end of the game has only one person drinking from the cup in the middle.  What do you think?  Got any suggestions?  Let me know in the comments.

Now, for the final question.  Am I retarded or something?  That’s kind of a politically incorrect way to ask that isn’t it?  Well let me respond with a question of my own.  Are you new here?  If you are, look over some of my other posts and you will probably be able to answer that question for yourself.

One More Trip Around The Sun Completed

One More Trip Around The Sun Completed

Birthday Orbit

Today I completed my 49th solar orbit.  Now I’m starting out on the big FIVE-OH trip.  Normally I want these orbits to seem like they last as long as possible.  However, this year I am kind of looking forward to getting this one over with quickly.  Why would I want a year of my life to go by quicker? I’m anxious to get out of my 40’s, that’s why.

When I was in my 20’s I was young but I didn’t know it.  I was married with two kids and I thought I was all grown up.

Then I hit my 30’s, which usually freaks people out, but I was fine with it. In my 30’s I got to do things that I should have been doing in my 20’s if I hadn’t been to busy trying to grow up so fast.  I also met the person I was really meant to be with for the rest of my life, my soulmate, Michele.

Then came the 40’s and all of a sudden I/we didn’t fit in anymore.  We were too old to be considered young and too young to be considered old. It’s the purgatory of age groups. You don’t fit in anywhere.

So I’m ready to be 50 and just call myself old.  Saying I’m old is not a bad connotation. It doesn’t mean I am going to start eating dinner at 4, sit in a rocker on the porch (although we do have a pair) and yell at those kids to get off my lawn! Ha! What kids? They are all on their phones and the only way they would be on my lawn is if they wandered on to it by mistake while snap chatting. Hmmm, OK maybe I will do a little old man bitching, but my point is that I will still be going to work, will still be hiking up mountains, and still be living life.  I can do all that and call my self old at the same time right?

642 Things To Write About

642 Things To Write About

642-things

Last Christmas, my wife gave me a book called 642 THINGS TO WRITE ABOUT.  That was thoughtful of her since she knows I like to pretend to be a writer.  So, of course, I placed it on a bookshelf and promptly forgot about it, which was quite thoughtless on my part.

Fast forward to now, which is almost a year later.  I saw the book sitting on the table along with several other items that my wife had planned to give to my mother-in-law when she visited for Thanksgiving.  Well now, you know I was having none of that. I snatched the book up and informed her that it was mine. The fact that I had never used it was not germane to my argument.  That’s man thinking right there.  You’re not going to give away my stuff, even if I don’t use it.  Which is a dumb way to think, but hey, Y chromosome and all.

Now that I have a blog, I realized this book might come in handy for times when I can’t think of anything to write about, which happens more often than I’d like to admit.  True to it’s name, there are 642 random topics listed inside to write about.  Not sure how they set the maximum number of topics at 642.  Were they just spitting balling ideas for a few days straight and then like, OK enough, we’re done? Hey intern, count those up.  642?  Sounds good to me, go to press!

Under each topic they have space to write below it.  Write? As in longhand?  What is this, the dark ages?  I have a better idea. I’ve decided that from time to time I am going to randomly pick one of these topics and write about it here.  Who knows how it might turn out? For this post I am going to pick the first topic in the book. From there on out I will randomly pick one.

Here we go, 1/642.

What can happen in a second? Kind of a general topic but let me see what I can come up with.

  •  Well, I’m an electronics technician by trade and I deal with all kinds of timing circuitry of the mili, micro, and nano second variety. But my hope is to attract readers, not repel them. Pass.
  • I’m obligated (by who?) to go a bit dirty, so quickies come to mind. But, srlsly, I’ve never been that quick. Believe me, I’ve tried. My wife bet me I couldn’t finish in under a minute. Nailed it! Literally. Maybe something of which I shouldn’t be proud. Come to think of it, she probably just wanted to hurry so she could watch Dance Moms. Again, I’m sure this is repelling readers. Pass.
  • OK, I got one! I can know within a second if what I’ve said to my wife will put me in the dog house.  All I need to do is see The Look. Unfortunately, I usually spend much longer than a second in it.
  • OK, I am on a roll now. What else? I can break a pair of sunglasses in a second. The more expensive they are the quicker I will break them. I am death incarnate for sunglasses.
  •  My golden retriever, Sawyer, will wag his tail in a second when he sees me come home from work.
  • It takes a second for me to kiss my wife good-bye every morning. Something I always try to do, even when I’m in the dog house. Not if she happens to be in the bathroom, though. That’s just gross.
  • Finally, it’s going to take me a second to click the Publish button on this post, and millions of seconds thereafter to regret it.
I Can Make Just About Anything Dirty

I Can Make Just About Anything Dirty

If you haven’t already figured it out by the title, I’m going to get a little dirty in this post.  So if that’s not your thing, now would be a good time to hit the cat videos on You Tube.

Still here? Yea I thought so.  Continuing on… I have the ability to see/hear something dirty in just about anything I encounter.  When I’m listening to music I often find myself involuntarily replacing the lyrics to make them dirty.  Take Tom Petty’s Free Falling for instance.  I can not hear that song without instantly changing the title to Free Balling. Which of course refers to going commando.  I don’t need to spell it out for you do I? OK, maybe I should.  It means not wearing any U-N-D-E-R-W-E-A-R.  Let’s examine more of my modified lyrics from the song:

She’s a good girl, loves her mama
Loves Jesus and America too
She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis
Loves horses and her boyfriend my big schlong too

It’s a long day livin’ in Reseda
There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard
And I’m a bad boy, ’cause I don’t even miss her
I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart sniffn’ her farts

And I’m free, free fallin’ balling
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’ balling

All the vampires walkin’ through the valley
Move west down Ventura Blvd.
And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows
All the good girls are home with broken hearts stinky farts

And I’m free, free fallin’ balling
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’ balling

Free fallin’ balling, now I’m free fallin’ balling
Now I’m,
Free fallin’ balling, now I’m free fallin’ balling

I wanna glide down over Mulholland
I wanna write her name in the sky
I’m gonna free fall ball out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world my underwear for awhile

Now that was actually pretty tame. I’m not even going to tell you how I changed the lyrics to Madonna’s Rain.  I can tell you, though, it isn’t rain coming down on her.  How messed up am I?  My poor wife.  She is no prude by far and loves a little innuendo as much as the next non-nun.  But I know she get’s exasperated by my continual juvenile behavior in this area.  My debauchery is not limited to the audial sense.  No, it also crosses over to the visual spectrum.  I can take about any plain old object and see something dirty in it.  Take, for example, the below picture.

egg-poacher

This is an egg poacher that you can use in the microwave.  You just pop open the swing top, crack a few eggs in there, close it up, and nuke it for a few minutes.  Nifty little, plain as can be item.  But what do I see when I look at that thing.  This…

egg-poacher-boobies

Those aren’t sunny side up eggs I’m imaging there.  You guessed it! Those are some boobies!  I can’t stop myself from holding this thing up to my chest and telling my wife, “Look babe!  I got eggscellent knockers!”  She laughed (really, she did) the first few times I did it.  Not so much the 732 times I’ve done it since.  Man we eat a lot of poached eggs.  I bet my cholesterol is up there.

Here’s another one.  A few years ago I was at my sister-in-law’s house for Christmas and she had this fake candle sitting on an end table.  My nephew (partner in crime on this one) and I nicknamed it the Scrote Torch.  Take a look and see if you can figure out why.

scrote-torch-pixelated

The fake candle company went to such detail in creating this.  They even had fake melted wax running down the side.  Might have wanted to review it a bit before they made the mold, though, because it totally looks like a NUT SACK!  A real dangly down one at that.  Please don’t tell me I am the only one (besides my nephew) who sees it?  My SIL did not find it amusing, especially after the unfortunate positioning of her family portrait behind it, and her front and center next to the scrote torch.  I had to pixelate her face just in case she ever sees this.  She would do a lot worse to my face if I didn’t.

One more entry in this little confessional.  Up until this one, I fully admit it is probably just my infantile brain at work here, but this one can’t be all me.  My wife bought a chew toy for my dog at the pet store.  When she brought it home and tossed it to him I almost choked.  Why?  Look…

kong-dbl-ender

Now what does that look like to you?  Yup!  That’s a double ender dildo!  If you don’t know what that is, Google it.  Probably shouldn’t do it at work though.  I mean look at that thing!  What else could it be?  My wife says she picked that up at Care-A-Lot, which is a big pet store here.  I’m thinking she might have made a wrong turn and ended up in Bangs-A-Lot sex shop instead.  That, or maybe a shipment got mixed up and the sex shop ended up with a box of milk bones.  Hey, that might work for them too.  To be fair, the dog toy/double your pleasure dildo does have the word KONG on it.  That company does make dog toys.  Again, they might have wanted to conduct some consumer focus groups on it though, because you know what I see when I read that word?

kong-dong

Surprised?  Didn’t think so.  OK, so is this just a healthy sense of humor or am I messed up in the head?  Anyone else out there do these things?  Come on, I don’t want to be the only one!

What The Hell Are Short Stoppers?

What The Hell Are Short Stoppers?

I often jot down notes on my phone when I think of something to write about.  If I don’t, that idea will be gone into the ether five minutes later. I was looking at my list of notes today and found one that simply said “Short Stoppers.” What the hell?  I have no clue what I was thinking about on that one. Evidently I thought those two words would be enough to jog my memory, but I’m coming up blank. What could I have possibly meant to write about?

This?

85th MLB All Star Game

I highly doubt it. I don’t even watch baseball that much. I’ll check the Texas Ranger score on My Yahoo page every now and then (I think they are out of contention this year aren’t they?) and I might watch a few games of the World Series, but I am pretty sure I didn’t get an idea to write about baseball short stops.  So what then? As I always say, when in doubt Google out. After typing in “Short Stoppers” and hitting search, Google immediately came up with images for me.

First Image

Nope. Doesn’t ring a bell.

Second Image

super-stoppers

Don’t think so, but Bionic Super Stoppers? Do we use these to stop The Six Million Dollar Man or The Bionic Woman? If so, stop them from doing what? Oh, maybe they are like temporary replacements when their bionic toes malfunction? You know, like on roller skates so they can stop after some bionic super running?

Third Image

short-stoppers-tlm2000_elcom-1

This is called The Short Stoppers TLM 2000. I have no idea what that even is, but I am pretty sure it’s part of Skynet. At least it had the right name this time. Still not it though.

Fourth Image

short-stoppers-dot-com

Now this one was interesting. That is until I looked into it further and found out it was talking about stocks and bonds and financial boring things. No naked shorts at all on that site. Now that I think about it, what would naked shorts be anyway? If you were naked, then shorts probably wouldn’t be figuring into the equation to begin with.

OK, Google, you failed me.  I still can’t figure out what I was talking about with that note.  As I look at those two words, Short Stoppers, I begin to think that maybe I mistyped it.  Could it have been Short Hoppers? No, can’t think why I would be making fun of dwarf kangaroos. Although that would be fun to see. The Learning Channel probably already has a show about them. Wait a minute. Something is starting to take focus…. Shorts Stopper. But what does it mean? Oh yea, I am seeing a vision in my head.  It’s getting clearer.  It’s…. It’s….. this!

cold-weather-shorts-guy

My note was supposed to be SHORTS STOPPER, and it was to remind me that we need to stop these jizz waffles that wear shorts in cold weather! I mean, come on, if it’s cold enough to wear a hoodie or a coat then you DON’T need to be wearing shorts!  Put some pants on!  Arggggggggg!  It drives me crazy seeing these guys walking along with their North Face jackets and cargo shorts when there is snow on the ground.  I know you are cold dude!  I can see your legs turning purple.  So why?  Why for the love of God don’t you at least put some frakking sweats on?  Just don’t get it.

Well at least I remembered what the note was about.  Sorry you had to come along on that painful journey.

Your Mom Goes To College

Your Mom Goes To College

Prepare yourself. This next statement is going to be profound. There are two types of people in this world. Those who love the movie Napoleon Dynamite and those that loath it. (There are actually two other types. Top TP rollers and bottom TP rollers. But that’s fodder for another post. For now, just pretend there are only two types.)

mom-college

I love it!  I think it’s hilarious. I love watching it over and over.  I love quoting from it while trying to imitate the exact voices and inflections.  I love posting memes of it.  My wife, Michele, on the other hand, absolutely loathes it.  She doesn’t think it’s funny at all.  If I catch it on the TV while flipping through all 922 channels, and I stop to watch, she will give me the dirtiest look. To her credit, though, she did agree to dress up as Napoleon and Deb for a Halloween party. I guess I am just kind of into the quirky humor.  That’s probably why I also enjoy shows like Portlandia.  I can watch a marathon while I am eating a dang quesadiLLa.

vote-pedro

I actually have this shirt and I’m going to wear it on November 8th when I write in Pedro Sanchez for president.

Anyone that hangs around me for an extended length of time will eventually hear me utter a Napoleon Dynamite quote.  Every single time it invokes a reaction from people on the extreme ends of the likability spectrum. Never has anyone said, “Hmm, I can take it or leave it.” It’s always, “Ohh I love that movie!” or “I can’t stand that movie!”  So tell me, on which side do you fall?  What?  You are one of the few people that haven’t seen it?  Goshhhhhh! OK, well I am assigning you homework then.  Go get it on the iTunes or something and then report back in.  If you do, all your wildest dreams will come true.

deb

Did anyone else think Deb was kinda hot? No?  Just me?

 

 

Forget Waterboarding, just use an Epilady.

Forget Waterboarding, just use an Epilady.

All you women asked for them, all us men bought them for you in December of 1988.  As promised in an earlier post, this is my story about the Epilady.  I’m betting it is quite similar to many others.

Sometime in the fall of ’88 the below commercial was constantly on TV.  I’m sure it would have been on You Tube videos and banner ads if there had been an Interweb back then, but it was just TV.  Take a look.

 

You done?  Pretty sultry huh?  Just about every woman who saw that commercial thought they’d received the answer to life, the universe, and everything; or at least a miracle product that would keep them from having to shave their legs.  This marvel of modern technology quickly went on their Christmas lists and we husbands and boyfriends trotted down to Macy’s (no Amazon back then either!) to get them for you and place them under the tree.

I was one of those husbands, newly married to my first wife.  Huh?  First wife? How many have I had?  This is kind of off the subject isn’t it?  OK, OK, I’ve had three. Definitely fodder for other stories, but let’s get back on topic.  She HAD to have one of these!  Not a problem.  Macy’s was in the mall right next to Waldenbooks where I liked to hang out.  Just a short hop over and before you knew it her soon to be best friend was wrapped (I paid someone, world’s worst gift wrapper here) and under the tree.

So the magical day came when we unwrapped our gifts and she was all giddy to see her very own Epilady with it’s leather bag carry case.  She blew through her other presents, some of which I thought were much better, just so she could hurry up and go try it out.  Off to the bathroom she went.

I was in the kitchen in our small one bedroom apartment, poking around at the turkey cooking in the oven and wondering if I would get worms from sampling it too soon.  Then I heard …. MOTHER FUCKER!  At first I thought I got caught messing with the turkey, but then realized she was still in the bathroom.  I rushed in to find this…

Woman-Screaming

Me: What’s wrong???

Her: This hurts like hell!

M: Oh it can’t be that bad.

H: It pulls the hair out by the root!

M: Well, yea, that’s what it says it does.

H: It said GENTLY removes it.  Not violently grabs and rips!

M: You’re a wuss.  Here, let me try it.

Man-Screaming

And that was the last time the Epilady was ever used in our house.  We could have returned it but she insisted that she would get used to it one day.  That day never came.  As a matter of fact, I ended up throwing it away and using the leather bag to store nuts and bolts.

The Epilady company sure got one over on us that year.  I’m pretty sure they didn’t sell so well after the Christmas season of ’88.  Although I heard they still made a lot of money selling them to various governments (not us, we went with waterboarding) as torture devices.

We-Have-Ways-Epilady-Bubbles

So ladies, admit it, who else fell for this?  Men, also admit it, who else called their lady a wuss and tried it on their self, only to shed an involuntary tear?

P.S. I know there are newer versions of Eiplady out there but they are kittens compared to the beast of ’88.

Coming soon to an orifice near you! It’s Buttfit!

Coming soon to an orifice near you! It’s Buttfit!

Recently my team had to work a grave yard shift (10 PM – 6 AM) for a week to do some testing on a naval radar system.  You can imagine that around 3 AM we all get a little punchy.  We fuel up on 5 hour energy, Monsters, and Slim Jims to stay awake.  In some of the down time between tests, our caffeine fueled minds get to racing and all kinds of conversations are started.

During one of these times, several of my workmates and a few sailors were talking about not getting our daily steps by sitting in front of radar consoles all night.  I then posited that it really wasn’t fair that Fitbits didn’t give you credit for the exercise you get when you are getting busy with your partner.  I know!  I’ve tried and it doesn’t count it.  Just looks at me and says you want credit for the fun you just had?  Psssshhht!

I DO want credit!  I’m no marathon man at my age anymore, but I know I am burning some calories.  I should get a pump, thrust, bang, or some type of count.  We all agreed that if the Fitbit wasn’t going to give us our due, another device should.  But then we wondered where would one wear such a device during sexy time?  Furthermore, would there need to be his and her models?  Then it hit me.  What part of the anatomy in the motion affected area is the same for women and men?  That’s right, the butthole!

Thus the BUTTFIT was born!

Buttfit3

We started brainbuttstorming and came up with all kinds of ideas for the Buttfit.  They already have butt plugs right?  (Don’t even try to say you don’t know what that is.)  So why not have one that will count bow chicka wow wow moves?  “Hold on Ari!” you say.  “I don’t like big plugs shoved up my butt!”  No worries!  Our Buttfit will be small.  You’ll hardly even notice it’s there.  We even decided to make a self lubricating feature for the times when things dry up a bit during long periods of activity.  No need to break the mood to stop, remove, and manually lube.  Our Buttfit will sense when desert like conditions are approaching and just like that…. SPLLLTTT!  Lube will seep out of microscopic porous holes in the polyurethane skin and everything will be smooth sailing.

Ideas kept coming fast and furious.  Another feature we came up with was encouraging messages transmitted to your phone via Bluetooth.  Something like the following:

You were active for 45 minutes and made 3224 thrusts!  You’re a stud!

You rode that thang for 20 minutes for a 2562 bang count!  You go girl!

512 pumps in 5 minutes?  Done already?  She’s gonna get it from somewhere else if you don’t step it up!

As an added reward, we also decided to have our Buttfit vibrate when you reach your goal.  Because, you know, who doesn’t like a little vibration in the back end to celebrate a victory?

We didn’t forget about you when all the fun and games are over.  We are going to have a docking station charger for our Buttfit that also features an automatic cleaner!  No need to wash it by hand.  Just throw it in the docking station and before you know it, the Buttfit is charged and clean as a whistle!  We don’t recommend blowing on it like a whistle though.  Then you can just toss it in the drawer-o-fun (yes we know about that one drawer in your night stand) and it will be all ready for the next time you and your partner want to do the beast with two backs.

We are just working some of the kinks out of the Buttfit and doing beta testing (yeah!).  Soon we’ll have a Go Fund Me page for everyone that wants to support our butts!  Everyone that contributes will get one free bottle of lube for their Buttfit.  Look for it soon and get your due credit for that all nighter!

P.S. We realized that our marketing strategy only appeals to people with partners.  What about that lonely guy who has no one?  He should get credit for all that wanking don’t ya think?  We do too.  So we are working on a version for him.  Think we’ll call it Fistbit.

Do children even need night lights anymore?

Do children even need night lights anymore?

RARE-FIND-Classic-SPEED-RACER-MACH-5-Night-_57

Do little children even need night lights these days? I was lying in bed the other night and shut the TV off to go to sleep when I noticed this glow all around me. It hit me then. My house is never completely in the dark anymore. When I was a little kid I remember when turning out the light to go to sleep meant total darkness. Darkness unless you had a night light, which of course I didn’t. Oh OK, I had one for a short period of time, but it was Speed Racer in his Mach-5 racecar so it was cool. Yea, so cool. Now, however, I could see by the glow of all the electronic devices in my house emitting their green, red, and yellow hues.

Just in my bedroom alone I counted five different sources for the soft glow. There were a couple of cell phones, a clock, a power strip, and a DVR in standby mode. When I looked out into the hall I could see even more light shows. Our security panel, clock on the stove, and temperature display on my kegarator were all adding to the increasing luminosity. So that brings me back to my original question. Do little children even need night lights? There certainly wasn’t enough light to read or do basket weaving by, but enough so it would be comforting and would surely ward off the monsters in the closet and under the bed. I certainly know I was particularly comforted seeing the glow from my kegerator, ensuring me that my beer was being chilled at a crisp 36 degrees Fahrenheit.  I know kids these days don’t wear watches anymore. They just look at their phones for the time. Guess they could rely on them for night lights too. Can you even buy night lights anymore? Even if you can I bet the NLI (Night Light Industry) has taken a big hit. Another casualty of the 21st century. Pretty soon we’ll see them in a museum next to the rotary land line phone, dot matrix printer, and the Epilady. Oh, Epilady, that reminds me of a whole different story. Another time though.