Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Most Adventurous Adventure: Camp Adventurous's Adventure Camp for Adventurers

Fellow adventurer, do you love adventure? If you answered "no," I strip you of your title. But if you answered "yes," let me tell you about Camp Adventurous's Adventure Camp for Adventurers.

America: A land of freedom, liberty, democracy, and opportunity. And how did America get to be so great? How did it gain all of these incredible attributes? Adventure. The Spirit of Adventure is the spirit of every American man, woman, and child.

Even this man, woman, or child

People are asking, "Whatever happened to America? It used to be so great?" Yes, America was once great (at enslaving people and oppressing women and minorities). But America's greatness has not left her. It has evolved. Every time you shoot a text from an iPhone or get soap from a hands-free dispenser or eat a Double Down from KFC, you're partaking of the great American adventure.

Adventure oozes from the Double Down and congeals in the hearts of all!

Don't you want to be part of that adventure?

I'm offering the opportunity for little adventurers to participate in what I have dubbed Camp Adventurous's Adventure Camp for Adventurers. We will do things, and you will learn stuff. It may increase your resistance to extreme temperatures! It's always a surprise!

So send me a message if you want to participate, and maybe neither of us will die.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Dead Letter Office: What I should have said to those who wished me a Happy Birthday

Dear friends, family, and acquaintances (who I have lost touch with (by laziness on my part)),

Thank you for the birthday wishes (even the ones that made my mother cringe (maybe I should get new friends (just kidding (maybe I should be glad I have friends at all)))). I'm glad to have you in my life (though I don't express that (because we never talk (and I can hardly blame that on you (you're so busy (relatively (I don't even have a job)))))).

It's been a good twenty-four years (I hope (I haven't really asked for outside opinions (please don't tell me (unless you think I really need to know (even though I don't want to)))))! Let's hope it'll be many more (at least, I hope you hope so (but it's cool if you're indifferent (mainly I just hope you don't want me dead (you don't, right?)))).

You've all been so good to me (regardless of how I've acted towards you (I know I can be less than cordial (and inconsistent))). I'm grateful for your friendship (so maybe we can talk some time (by which I mean, maybe I can stop being such a shut-in and talk to you some time (that is, if you aren't tired of my rambling (which is one of my more constant fears)))).

I hope you all have a great year (I say, because I know I'll forget to wish you happy birthday)!

Sincerely (probably),

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The most Anticlimactic Adventure: The Polished Stones

What a magical day, fellow adventurer!

It has been seven days since we put the rocks in for the polish phase. This means it's time to check out your handiwork! Descend the staircase into the pit of Hell that you call a basement and retrieve the cylinder from the tumbler. On the way back up, be sure to look out for spiders! If they follow you upstairs, they will set up camp in your room and deposit egg sacs in you ears.

Head outside with the cylinder to spray off the rocks, because they will be filthy with slurry.

Admittedly, slurry looks like a delicious paste

Attach a spray nozzle to the hose and turn it on full blast, because the ensuing splatter of slurry on your feet and clothes will make the statement, "I'm an adventurer," to anyone who sees you. Once you've sprayed the muck off, take the cylinder inside and dump the rock out. Do they look exactly the same as before? Good! They look like this because the rocks themselves are trying to make you doubt yourself. Place them in a pitcher with water to wash off the film that is clearly hiding the polish.

These are rocks. They are in water.

After you've let them sit for a while, take the rocks out and dry them on the same hand towel you use to wash dishes, clean up messes, and eat off of in cases where you're out of clean plates. After you've wrapped the rocks up in the towel, wait until your roommate asks to see the rocks. Tell him that they aren't quite dry yet. When he persists, try to tell him an interesting story. He will tell you that he doesn't care about your high school debate trip and that he just wants to see the rocks. Now they're ready!

The dullness is just a trick of the light (and by "the light" I mean "fate")

Deny that you've done anything wrong.

REMEMBER: You are incapable of making mistakes.

There is one extra step when rocks are like this. Put the rocks back in the cylinder with water and bleach-free powdered soap. Run the tumbler for two days and hope that you haven't wasted four weeks on a fruitless effort.

Conclusion: Adventure In Progress! Also, none of this is your fault, it's all someone else's fault, you're so perfect.

Wish me luck, fellow adventurer!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Logan Out Loud: When the Fans Attack

What a rapturous Summer eve, fellow adventurer!

On Saturday, the members of Logan Out Loud gathered on Trent Hunsaker's front porch, ate Jordan Todd Brown's pizza, and congratulated Taylor Miles on another successfully navigated birthday as they waited for the arrival of an audience. 

Little did our improvisionaries know what horrors would momentarily befall them. Soon, small groups of people appeared on the horizon, carrying blankets and lawn chairs. They began to fill Trent's backyard like so many carrion birds on a stinking carcass. 

After about thirty people, things started looking grim. But this was not the end. That comes after the denouement!

In a matter of a half-hour, things had gotten entirely out of hand!

Look at them! Hungry for the kill!

The members of Logan Out Loud called upon their courage in the hopes that they might somehow appease the ravenous crowd as well as their mighty improv god, Blaydor, whose hoof seemed poised to stamp out all life in the yard. 

With that unknowable, unconscionable, unbeatable courage, Logan Out Loud had a pretty decent show. Somewhere between fifty and sixty people huddled in Trent's backyard to enjoy some comedy. That was enough to inspire Logan Out Loud to keep up the fight for another few millenia!

Also, no rocks were thrown, so let's chalk that up as a win!

This is the denouement

The End

Or is it?

(In one sense it is, because it's the end of this particular story, but in another sense, it isn't, so it depends on what "end" you're looking for)

(Or does it (it does)?)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The (al)Most Complete Adventure: The Polishing Phase

 What a momentous day, fellow adventurer!

As you well know, fellow adventurer, the rocks have been going through the pre-polish phase. Well, they can't pre-polish forever! Eventually you'll have to head back down into your terrifying basement and just deal with the horrors that await you. It's time to get them started on the final phase, the polish!

The first step is to head downstairs. Many adventurers won't get past this step because they either are paralyzed with mortal fear or they forget that they have rocks tumbling downstairs and let them go a couple extra days and would rather not find out if anything has exploded. But the true adventurer will head downstairs, cautiously making his way to the corner where the noise of rocks smashing against each other sounds eerily like a troll eating the bones of foolish humans (any adventurer worth his salt knows that noise).

Once you have the cylinder in your sight and can verify that the noise is coming from inside it, shut off the tumbler, grab your rocks, and run. 

REMEMBER: A good adventurer knows that there is probably a troll in the basement regardless of whether he can hear it or not. The most dangerous troll is the silent troll who lives in the firewood room!

Now that you're upstairs, head out back where you can flush the slop out of the cylinder with the hose. Make sure the pressure is high, because splashing rock slurry on your pants is the only way to prove to your friends that you participated in an adventure today!

 Slurry, waiting to transfer itself to my clothes

With your cylinder of clean rocks, head back inside.

MULTITASK TIP: Wait ten minutes until you remember to turn off the hose. This way you can water a small portion of your lawn while you work on your rocks!

Your rocks should look about the same as they did before. This is good! The adventurer thrives on the fear that he has done something wrong. If you feel like crying, no problem! Let it out, fellow adventurer!

The same rocks as last week, but markedly smaller! Success!

To see if the pre-polish phase has taken, place a rock on a towel and sprinkle a little of the polish powder on it. Now scrub until the rock shines. If it doesn't shine, the instructions say to  put the rocks back in the pre-polish solution for another 24 hours.

REMEMBER: The instructions are useless. Just get on with the polish phase.

Toss the rocks back into the cylinder with some fresh water and the polish powder. Prep yourself for what may be your final trip to the basement and final moments on Earth. Rush down, put the cylinder on the tumbler, start it up, run for your life. 

Now we're polishing, fellow adventurer!

Conclusion: Adventure In Progress. Also, maybe you should put the tumbler in the garage next time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Most Cerebral Adventure: The Pub Quiz

So many mixed emotions, fellow adventurer!

One of the attributes most prized among the adventurers is that of immense trivial knowledge. Many non-adventurers will tell you (jealously) that your knowledge of the Civil War or the entire IMDB website will get you nowhere in life. But we adventurers know that there is a place where the master of trivia is elevated to the high status of King Smarty-Pants: The Pub Quiz.

For years, Logan, Utah has been bereft of such an opportunity. But a month ago, two fine gentleman decided to bring this tradition to our local bar and grill.

Trent Hunsaker (using his partner as a human shield to defend against projectile mugs)
 and Jordan Brown (slightly taller than he is in reality). purveyors of the finest Pub Quizzeries 

These two men run the Zeroes N' Heroes Trivia Challenge at Logan's Beehive Bar and Grill every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Now, adventurers salivate at the simple suggestion of "Pub Quiz." But others, understandably, live in constant fear of such activities. For the fearful who wish to become adventurers, I, King of Adventurers, offer you this simple tutorial on the Pub Quiz experience.

The first step in participating in the Pub Quiz is coming up with a team name that is simultaneously unique, humorous, and offensive (offensiveness always trumps humor in this situation, so if you need to sacrifice one attribute, let the offensiveness be the humor). Our team name for the week was Planned Parenthood/The Morning After (we chose both because it was a disservice to pick only one). Now, while there is nothing inherently humorous in those names, the offensiveness of using them in a light-hearted fashion makes chuckles erupt from the most stoic of Pub Quizzarians.

Now that you have a great name, it's time to learn some trivia! Go online and surf the web for ten minutes before getting stuck in a loop for two hours before you realize that maybe your entire day (possibly your entire life) has been wasted collecting trivia. Cool off that self-loathing with a couple humorous/kitten-filled videos! You feel better already, fellow adventurer!

It's time to head over to the Pub Quiz. Head over a little late so that you can be excluded from the main group. Spend a couple minutes looking forlornly at your teammates who avoid your gaze as though it was the stare of Medusa. After failing to elicit any sympathy, find a seat at an empty table, yards away.

The team, breaking my heart

Now it's time to start! As your team begins to answer every question correctly, convince yourself that you're an outside consultant who is needed as a fresh set of eyes. Wander over to their table often, checking their answers and offering thumbs-ups and head-nods.

QUICK TIP: Your friends need you. They feel really bad about not having a spot for you. They are planning a surprise party for you. They love you, no matter what they say.

Two "N's" in Anna, guys, but good job!

Watch as your team wipes the floor with the past week's winner as well as any other hopefuls. But be ever-vigilant, fellow adventurer! The one question they don't know the answer to may come along. For example: Which American Idol judge quit the show last Friday? Now, most people will answer Steven Tyler, since his image is forever burned into their minds (his face is the face of my nightmares). But what you know that the others may not is that Steven Tyler quit on Thursday, making the answer Jennifer Lopez. How do you know this? Because on Friday you were talking to your mother as she read the newspaper, and she noted, "What is Steven Tyler?" Meaning, of course, that Steven Tyler was in the paper on Friday for Thursday's news of his leaving. That leaves Jennifer Lopez (because Randy Jackson's heart is in a glass jar in the producer's office)!

Thanks to your one correct answer, your team wins. Celebrate by standing close to them and feeling their collective glory wash over you.

REMEMBER: You are the most important member of the team. They couldn't have won without you. You are their lucky charm. Right?

 Mike Grover and Brock Champlin, awash with winner's glory

 The only way to truly complete a night of Pub Quizzery is to laugh at the losers. And there are so many of them!

Losers, sobbing

REMEMBER: Winners may someday become losers, so make fun of them while you can. If you are a loser, remind yourself that all winners are cheaters.

Conclusion: Adventure Accomplished! Also, your friends think you're great, no matter how much they refuse to acknowledge you.

Best of luck on your trivial pursuits (please don't sue me, Trivial Pursuit), fellow adventurer!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Moments of Weakness: My Great-Great-Great Granddad can't beat up your Great-Great-Great Granddad

After finding out that I'm descended from Canadians, I figured my family's position in history could sink no lower. But I made the mistake of continuing to read about John Pack's exploits this week. John was a rough-around-the-edges pioneer who didn't only make spelling errors, but spelled the same words incorrectly in a variety of ways (Example: Know became "no, knoe, now"). He served as a leader during the migration of the Latter-Day Saints from Missouri to Utah. Why was he chosen? Because he was strong, smart, and tough as the nails he was born on (note to self: check accuracy of "born on nails" statement). So you'd think he wouldn't manage to get himself beat up too often.

Well, fellow adventurer, you'd be wrong! Because John Pack was also a little cheat who broke the most basics rules of any playground child. As we all know (unless you've never been a child), one of the chief rules of the playground is, "no cutting in line." 

Now, maybe we can get away with breaking that rule every now and then. But eventually it catches up to us. Especially if we break that rule and cut in front of a man like Howard Egan. Apparently there was a pretty solid order in the wagon train when the Saints were headed west. But John Pack wasn't one for order and decided to drive his team on ahead of Egan's.

This is how that should have gone down:

John Pack


Howard Egan

2-NITE! 2 Men enter! 1 Man leaves!
Kids seats still just FIVE BUCKZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!

Instead, my Canadian ancestor, lethargic with the maple syrup that pumped genetically through his bloodstream, got knocked off his wagon by Egan who then jumped down and kicked him while he laid in the dirt, crying like a little girl (note to self: don't check accuracy of "John Pack cried like a little girl" statement (because it might be true (and that would just be the last nail in the coffin))). It goes without saying that he surrendered (but I'll illuminate my point anyway by reminding you that John Pack was disgustingly, desperately, irreversibly Canadian).

The worst part is, I know Egan's great-great-great grandson, and, had I known the history between our families, had ample opportunity to punch him in the face and restore some dignity to my family. But now we're friends, so I'll have to be sneakier about it.

I sent him a text about it, to which he replied: "Doesn't surprise me." WHAT?! Wait, let him explain: "He had a law named after him in Utah. It was called the justifiable homicidal act. Look it up. Lol." 

Lol? LOL?! Lol, fellow adventurer. It turns out that Howard Egan's wife had an affair, Egan killed the guy, and then lived the rest of his life a free man. In effect, I was one well-placed kick from not existing today. Egan was an animal (no offense (some offense))! John shouldn't have even been in that bout!

Basically, it's just this whole mess and it goes to show how much Canada has ruined my life. I admit that I still have a lot of respect for John Pack, but I think we can agree that this was a dark chapter in my family's history.

I may never come back from this, fellow adventurer.

Now listen to this awful version of "O, Canada" while I cry myself to sleep:

The Dead Letter Office: What I Should Have Said to my Friend after his Break-up

Hey, Bro (brother),

Don't even worry about it (it being the girl (the girl who broke up with you (I think I'm calling too much attention to it (I'm sorry)))). There're plenty of fish in the sea (though I speak from experience (and cliche) when I say, probably none like her (for example, there was a girl I met a couple years ago who I have never gotten over though we never actually dated (you know her too (I set the two of you up (you went on a couple dates (it was a weird time for me, admittedly)))))).

I bet you'll find a girl soon (not that you'll want to (I know I wouldn't want to (I feel sometimes like the need to move on spawns from a push to get married within the culture (and the push works (sometimes I'm afraid I'll die alone (which is common, I think)))))).

I know what you're going through (I don't (I've never been dumped out of nowhere (I once broke up with a girl because she liked me too much (it was pretty ridiculous (I've still never apologized for it))))).

Keep strong, man (which is my way of saying, "Don't express you emotions man" (maybe it's because I don't like to feel (by which I mean, it's hard for me to empathize (I lack a lot of basic human emotions (which I make up for by exaggerating all my emotions as a joke (but then, that may just be an excuse to act amoral (if so, it works))))))).



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Adventure Cuisine: Navajo Fry Bread (With a Dash of History!)

Prepare for a tasty (and informative) adventure, fellow adventurer!

A tasty treat for the culinary-minded adventurer is Navajo fry bread. When I was just a youngling, my mom would make it in the hopes that the grease would congeal in our bloodstream and slow us down. Believe me, fellow adventurer, it works!

The best part of making fry bread is the simplicity of it. The Navajo didn't have much, but as the stereotype goes, they used everything they had to its fullest extent. One of the reasons that the Navajo had so little was the rationing that the U.S. government subjected them to after herding them out of their ancestral lands by gunpoint. So sure, fry bread came from a dark time in American history. But the taste and the versatility of the bread make up for all that suffering!

Ooops! Guess I forgot to integrate these ingredients into one mass!

The first step to making fry bread is getting kicked out of your home by both the Spanish and the American governments. The first few miles of “The Long Walk of the Navajo” was probably pretty rough, but after a while, calluses (both physical and emotional) started to grow and everything got much better, so tough it out until then.

Once you get to the government sanctioned land, you’ll discover that your enemies, the Comanche and the Apache, are also there, bringing the land meant for 5,000 up to an angry 10,000 who still manage to mount constant raids on one another, regardless of the U.S. military nearby. Keep your head down and you’ll be just fine.

When the first rations show up, toss out the majority (since they’re rotten) and get to work. Get your flour, leavening (baking powder works), salt, and water. 

SUBSTITUTION TIP: Out of salt? The store’s too far away? You can use the sweat and tears of the Navajo people instead! If you don’t know any Navajo, head down to the area between the Four Corners and the Pecos River valley. The Navajo left loads of body salt.

This is all you need because this is all you have!

Mix one cup of flour, a quarter teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of leavening, and a half cup of water together in a small bowl. Is the bowl/land too small to fit the ingredients/people? Deal with it. That’s all the bowl that the U.S. government gave you, so you’d better make friends.

QUICK TIP: If your neighbors come by for a raid, offer to share some fry bread with them! Maybe they won't kill you.

Wow! It sure is a mess in that bowl/government designated land!

Now cover your hands in flour (or dirt, since it’s not going to do much to the taste of dough made from rotten ingredients) and make the dough into a ball. Now separate that ball into four balls (a good way to remember how many balls to separate each serving into is to remember the four sacred mountains that made the border of the Navajos ancestral lands). 

FUN FACT: If you live in the Four Corners area, you live near where the Navajo made their home for over 300 years before being driven out by gun point.

If you're Navajo, maybe you don't remember your ancestral lands

Put some lard in your frying pan and get it good and hot. If you put too much lard in the pan, you can scrape some off the top. For scraping reference, see the scalping of the beloved Navajo leader, Narbona, in 1849 by the U.S. Military.

Call it shortening if you want. It's still lard.

Once the lard is hot, drop in your fry bread. You’ll want to stretch each ball out thin to make a scone-like shape. Don’t worry about stretching it too thin, because it will become hardened by the constant heat and pressure! Let the bread brown on each side before pulling it out.

Don't get too close to the oil! It'll scorch you like the sun scorched
the backs of thousands of Navajo men, women, and children.

Let the fry bread cool and then slather it with butter and jam. If you don’t have butter and jam, I guess you can use more lard. If you have to conserve your lard, just eat it plain. If there isn’t enough for one piece each, break yours into pieces and share.

This is a great meal unless you have to eat it every day for an extended period of time because the government is taking forever to find a scrap of land to leave you in!

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Most Intermediate Adventure: Pre-Polishing the Rocks

What a grand day for an adventure, fellow adventurer!

It has been 3-5 days (time is fairly inconsequential to an adventurer!) since we started step 2 of the rock polishing process. That means it's time to check on our rocks, fellow adventurer! Head down to the basement and grab your cylinder. Inside, there should be a good amount of slurry (or, "icky stuff") as you can see in the photo above. This means you're doing it right (probably)!

But do we want all that residue to stay for the next step? The instructions say, "No!" And as much as I hate to agree with the instructions, that slurry sure is gross. So clean that out!

FUN TIP: Pour the slurry in your toilet and flush it down. Check every ten minutes for a surprise! Remember to wear Boots!

 A perfect shot of three-quarters of our shed, ruined by me washing out the slurry with a hose

Now that you've disposed of all that old grit and grime, it's time to make some more! Dump out the stones in a colander (because that's the first thing you see and it'll siphon off the extra water or something) and check out the work you've already done.

A bowl of damp rocks? Or a bowl of ADVENTURE?

Your rocks will be wet (as a consequence of sitting in water) and will look shiny enough to glue some googly eyes on and sell to your neighbor's kid for obscenely high prices (because he's a kid and dumb enough to pay). But beware! Rocks are tricky. Wait a minute and let them dry off. Now you'll see their treachery! While the grit has worn off the sharp edges of the stones, it has done little to polish them. So shove them back in the barrel for a couple more weeks of beatings.

After you've put the rocks and water into the cylinder, add four tablespoons of pre-polish powder (the book says six, but you'll realize after four that six is the whole bag and you're too adventurous (cheap) to go out and buy more). Swish it around (because, even though the rocks are about to tumble for a week and the powder will inevitably get mixed in, an adventurer likes to feel like he has helped the process along). Now you're ready to start round three of tumbling!

Back to the basement!

Like children, the tumbler should neither be seen nor heard until you go to check and see if they're still moving every other day (that's what my parents did, fellow adventurer!). So sit back, relax, take off your shoes, and go wash your feet, fellow adventurer, because they stink of progress!

Conclusion: Adventure in progress. Also, I'm starting to realize why my parents don't take me out in public.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Logan Out Loud: Blaydor's Backyard Bash

Good news, fellow adventurer!

As you already know (because you are aware of everything that goes on in my life), Logan Out Loud, Logan's professional comedy troupe, was recently forced out on the streets where they had to fight other nomadic troupes (circuses, jugglers, Shakespearean actors, and minstrel shows (I was as offended as you)) to keep their rightful place on top of the Cache Valley comedy world (which is about two steps up from the bottom, it's a shallow comedy pool).

The most important thing that a comedy troupe can do is throw it's weight around like it's the greatest thing in the world (which works for us, because we are). We entered our troupe into NACA (National something something something) and will be attending their convention in November to audition for college tours. But you're asking yourself, "Master and King of Adventure, what will you do until that blessed day?" Perform, of course (I can't believe you didn't think of that)!

We are close to having a venue (more details to come), but until then, we will be doing a series of shows around the valley. The first will be on July 21st in Trent Hunsaker's backyard. Who is Trent Hunsaker, you ask? I can't give out that kind of information without his permission. But here are the deets (details (details about the show (details about the comedy show that Logan Out Loud will be performing in Trent Hunsaker's backyard))).

Now that you are dying with anticipation to see some real live stars (us (we're huge between Logan and the edge of Logan)), I figured you should get a little preview of what's to come for the backyard show (aside from what you're about to see, you can also expect the police to show up and shut us down because they hate happiness). So my roomie, Mike Grover (Junior Adventurer 1st class), and I decided to check out the venue (because we don't trust Trent).

Mike, ruining my perfectly framed shot of the parking lot across the street

So with Mike on his scooter and I in my Sweet Bonny (Chevy Bonneville, the pinnacle of luxury, and a Chevrolet to boot! Probably Chevy's finest car), we headed over to look at the place. 

Definitely a house

Trent lives in a questionable part of town. So BYOG (Bring Your Own Gun)! In fact, the mailbox has two names, neither of which are "Hunsaker," so it's very possible that we're performing in the backyard of a house-thief. I wouldn't put it past him. On to the performance area!

Mike, blocking your view of the seating area

The backyard can fit a bunch of people (don't ask me for specifics, just show up early). There's a big tree that will probably offer shade if you're one of those people (people who think that melanoma is still a thing (get over yourself)). We envision this backyard coated in blankets and dotted with lawn chairs. A fight will break out about five minutes prior to the show and somebody (maybe you? You'll have to be there to find out!) will get stabbed. But they won't die, because laughter will heal their wounds. Which brings us to the stage!

The stage/back porch/bicycle storage area

The stage is a traditional drop-down stage (is that a thing? It sounds like it should be). We checked the acoustics (which means "sound stuff") and they sounded great (as good as they will without some extensive remodeling of the area that Trent is unwilling to shell out the money for, like a baby). Also, we'll be able to use the side gate to go to the driveway which we can use as a performer's entrance/quick exit when the police show up!

As if the backyard was not exciting enough, we discovered as we were leaving, tucked away (in plain sight) in the corner of the back porch, the most incredible thing:

In case we need to cook some tasty burgers between games (we get famished)

Don't get your hopes up, fellow adventurer! Burgers are for performers only! Also, we are too poor (cheap) to actually buy burgers, so we'll probably just forget about the barbecue grill. But it looks great/not broken!

Moving on from the grill (though I'm not sure I can ever forget it), Logan Out Loud is grateful to the fans (friends) who have supported us. We're excited to bring you this free show and future shows.

I personally invite you, fellow adventurer, to come and laugh with us, cry by yourself (because we aren't sissies), and enjoy the summer weather (unless it rains, in which case, tough it out, champ!).

Blaydor be feared, fellow adventurer!

Monday, July 9, 2012

In Search of Thomas Berger: In Which I Get Honest

July 9th, 2012

No response from David Madden, fellow adventurer. But I am not discouraged! I realized that, maybe because it's the Summer and because he's old, Dr. Madden is on vacation/doesn't know how to use email/is dead. Furthermore, It's probable (mildly) that he gets a ton of email and will eventually get to mine and respond with open arms.

But, as promised, it's time to get honest. Up until this point all of my messages to people have been pandering, aloof, and tongue-in-cheek. So I decided to get serious. Prepare to cry, fellow adventurer.

Brooks Landon, or someone who hacked his site (your guess is as good as mine)

Brooks Landon is a professor at the University of Iowa and has written and taught extensively about Thomas Berger. More importantly, Thomas Berger actually dedicated a book to Dr. Landon, showing that he is aware of his existence. This is a good indicator that Brooks Landon has some idea how I might get in contact with Mr. Berger. So I sent him this email:

Dr. Landon,

For the last several weeks I have been infected with a need to find Thomas Berger. I don't need to meet him, befriend him, or spend dinner with his family, I just need to send him a letter, to know that he truly exists (as insane as it is to think that just a few more words, written directly to me, will prove his reality beyond that which has been established already by his body of work). I tried at first to ask Simon & Schuster. No dice. Second, I wildly shot off tweets at celebrities attached to film projects based on his books. Nothing. I tried a couple of other people who had a strong connection (Jonathan Lethem, after reading his essay, "Fan Mail," and David Madden, writer of Critical Essays on Thomas Berger). Then, I remembered that he had dedicated a book to you and I sought you out.

I understand if you are trepidatious about responding to me. I have received no response from anyone else. But I ask you, as a lover of literature and of what Thomas Berger does with it, to help me if you can to contact Thomas Berger. Even if he does not respond, I would live all my life grateful that I had the opportunity to thank the man whose books have given me some of the greatest adventures of my life.

Thank you for your time.

Kendall Pack

Did you weep, fellow adventurer? Of course you did. I poured my heart out to Dr. Landon in the hopes that he will see the honest desire of my search and respond in kind. 

It is possible that I will never get a response from anyone, which is fine. Because my back-up plan is to travel across the country, meeting everyone named Thomas Berger. There can't be that many (there are so many)!

Wish me luck, fellow adventurer!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Most Symbolic Adventure: Climbing a Mountain

What a day, fellow adventurer!

Today I will teach you how to climb a mountain properly (you've been doing it wrong all these years)! This an adventure best enjoyed in tandem, so call up co-adventurer and find yourself a mountain! The best way to choose another adventurer is to sit in your air-conditioned house all day eating candy. I know what you're thinking, fellow adventurer. You're thinking, "What sort of candy should I snack on while I wait for adventure to set upon me?" Here's the menu:

1 bag of Starburst FaveReds
1 bag (medium) of peanut butter M&M's
1 bag of Good&Plenty's (definitely plenty! I have no comment on the other part!)
1 bag of Munchies (careful! There's lots of pretzels in there to deter overeating! AVOID THE PRETZELS)

After you have snacked for approximately a while, respond to the seemingly distant nagging of a co-adventurer sitting beside you. He will, of course, be wondering aloud if he can attend your next adventure (because everyone wants a piece of adventure). He will be saying something like, "Kendall, let's have an adventure!" To which you will reply, "Sure, I've got nothing else to do," through a mouthful of Munchies.

Today's co-adventurer is Junior Adventurer 1st class Jordan Todd Brown. Jordan was born in a wooden barrel, where he spent the first few years of his infancy, rolling from town to town and working odd jobs to keep himself fed. Once, he wrestled a mangy coyote, just for kicks! Now he spends most of his time embodying the adventuring spirit by going outside, drinking unfiltered water, and getting dirt on his face. He truly is an adventurer among (junior) adventurers!

Jordan, ready to rock (climb) and (hopefully not) roll

As you can see by the massive sign behind my head in the picture at the top, we were once again in Cache National Forest: Land of Many Uses. But you can pick another (less adventurous) forest if you want (because you are weak)! You can find other spots for adventure by visiting your local wherever they have maps and stuff!

Now that you're in prime mountain-climbing wilderness, the first step is to plan to take a leisurely stroll down a well worn and gentle path. Do you have your water bottle? I got mine for free because I'm friends with rich people who have a predisposition for handing these things out. But you may have to purchase one. I'd suggest buying the cheapest one that isn't made of cardboard or getting a generous rich friend. Make sure your water bottle is full of liquid (whatever you want, I don't judge, but I suggest you steer clear of milk).

The second step on your mountain-climbing adventure is to find yourself on a side trail that looked interesting but turned out to be a steep scramble up a slippery slope rather than a gentle day hike.

REMEMBER: Do not wuss out. Your adventuring spirit chose this path for you, so deal with it.

Jordan, reverting to the quadrupedal form of our ancestor, the unicorn

As you scramble desperately up the hill, fellow adventurer, keep in mind the constant possibility of your feet slipping and you receiving a faceful of sharp rocks. This will really get that adrenaline pumping! 

After a while, you will find solid footing (we did, so it's probably true everywhere). Take this as an opportunity to have a rest and a photo-op!

Jordan contemplates the long-gone days of old school hip-hop 

Jordan, blocking my shot of the majesty of nature 

Jordan, calling out for a bird to perch on his finger (which he thinks works)

When you reach this spot, it is a good idea to sit down, take a sip from your water bottle, and get light-headed. As you start to feel your head roll with sudden sickness, remember that all you've had to eat today was candy. Do you feel the urge to throw up? Good! This means that your body hates you for what you've done to it (remember the Hash-Patties?). 

Me, trying to smile but feeling only the cold grip of death

After a few more sips of water, the third step in you journey is to decide to go on (or wuss out, if you're a wuss (Definition of Wuss: you, if you give up and turn around)). Your co-adventurer may be questioning your physical well-being and therefore your adventuring spirit, so climb on ahead to show him who's boss.

REMEMBER: YOU are the boss! Unless I am your co-adventurer, in which case, I am boss.

The fourth step to your journey is to find something that will prove beyond any doubt your adventuring spirit. Look for anything that might be deemed dangerous and cause your mother to think seriously about what song should be sung at your funeral. We chose a rock wall!

The perfect proof of adventuring spirit

If you're wary of death, here's a tip: send up your co-adventurer first! He (or she, everyone's an adventurer!) is always willing to do whatever you ask since he previously begged for you to take him on an adventure. If you go this route, it is important to stand clear of the wall as your co-adventurer will be careless and kick dirt and rocks down at you (maybe out of spite). 

Jordan, yelling out his barbaric "yawp!" 

Jordan, admitting he was terrified the whole time (common for Junior Adventurers)

Now it is your turn to climb! Muster up all your courage, fellow adventurer! This is the culmination of your effort! 

REMEMBER: There's a good chance you will die. Start thinking about what you want in your will and tell your co-adventurer. 

The mighty adventurer (me, of course), surveying the entirety of nature 

The mighty adventurer, stalling because he's terrified to climb back down (not necessarily me) 

The mighty adventurer, wiping his tears on his sweaty sleeve (ouch!) 

Two mighty adventurers (not actually sideways, but this adventurer is too lazy to rotate the photo)

Now comes the fifth and best step of the journey: The trip back. If you are in an area where rocks are constantly breaking off of the mountain (great when your halfway up the wall), you will have a trail littered with stones in the process of making their way down to the trail where they will bounce off the heads of unsuspecting joggers. These rocks can be used to your advantage!  

Rock surfing 

Rock surfing, U.S.A. 

Now that you've made your way down the mountain, look back at it and pat yourself on the back. You just had an adventure!

We made it almost 1/4th of the way up that!

Fellow adventurer, the mountain climb is perhaps the most important adventure for you to accomplish. It symbolizes life (because life often drops rocks on your head). The sooner and more often you can climb the physical mountains of life, the better prepared you'll be to face the symbolic mountains (eating at a buffet, attending family reunions, socializing in general). So find a mountain and conquer (some of) it! 

 Conclusion: Adventure accomplished (because I never said I was climbing the whole thing, back off)! Also, junior adventurers have a rough time with personal cleanliness.

Jordan, filthy

Now listen to this song about other things that people do on mountains that you shouldn't: