Monday, January 25, 2016

The Official 10 Commandments of Winter Weather

My friends, winter has come to Pennsylvania. If you don’t live here, you may be thinking something
to the effect of: “Get with it, old man. It’s been winter for over a month now.” My initial response to that would be: “Cool it with that old man business. I just bought a Meghan Trainor album off iTunes. Does that sound like something an old man would do? I don’t think so.”

               That aside, this winter had been a fairly mild one until this past weekend when much of the east coast was buried under unfathomable amounts of snow. So much snow that Woolly Mammoths would fall into a fit of hysterics just thinking about it. This sorry state of affairs is what led me to proclaim that winter proper has come.

                If we’re all going to get through the next few months, those of us who live in places prone to honest-to-god winter conditions need to stick together. That means following the Official 10 Commandments of Winter Weather. Now, I’ve already noticed a few of you breaking some of these, so I thought a refresher might be in order. Remember, these commandments are literally the only thing keeping us from going full Donner Party or Revenant on each other. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

5 Personal Wilderness Experiences As Trying & Life-Affirming As Anything in 'The Revenant'
Over the weekend, the wife and I saw The Revenant. This decision was driven mostly by my love of Leo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and a fondness for much of director Alejandro G. Inarritu’s back catalog. Set in 1823 (minor spoilers follow), the movie, which is quite good, tells the story of a wilderness guide named Hugh Glass who is horrifically mauled by a bear, witnesses his son die a tragic death and then is abandoned by his compatriots and left for dead. Glass, contrary to what his name might imply, doesn’t die. In fact, he sort of recovers and sets off after those who wronged him and his family, dead set on revenge. Along the way even more horrible stuff happens to him involving waterfalls and cliffs and the like. The movie runs about 2 ½ hours and really the only time Glass looks even remotely happy for that entire time, even while his son is alive, is when he’s catching snowflakes on his tongue with a new friend. This part doesn’t really turn out well either.
                Glass’ experience in the woods got me thinking about some of my own wilderness excursions. Now, sure. Old Hugh might have me beat a little bit in terms of what he endured out there. However, I’ve had a time or two out there as well, let me tell you. Consider the following: 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Complaining About the Good Deeds of Others: Fundraising 101
Each year around early November, office break rooms around the country turn into Willy Wonka’s Site B. One possible explanation is that deals were cut with the chocolate magnate to store all of the candy that couldn’t fit in the Chocolate Factory proper until room cleared. Another possible explanation? A more likely one? The candy influx is the result of health-conscious parents trying to keep kids from eating their weight in Halloween candy.
                The thing is, Halloween rolls into Thanksgiving which then rolls into Christmas, each holiday bringing more and more treats. All the while, fitness-focused parents are siphoning sweets off from their kid’s stash and leaving them in the break room for adults to gorge themselves on. This never-ending supply of free candy makes every trip to the water cooler or microwave an extreme test of self-control. This dance occurs every year, but this year I discovered a new wrinkle.