9/26/05

Hunt mountain lions with a knife. That's a sport.

So I was talking with a deer "hunter" the other day. I really don't know how anyone could actually fail at this so-called sport. I know how most people hunt deer, and really, it's not so much "hunting" as it is "sniping what walks by." I realize it has to be done to cull the herd, blah ,blah blah. I actually happen to like venison, but I don't hunt deer. If I did, maybe to make it more fun I would stalk them, probably with a longbow or a flintlock. At least they have a sporting chance that way, mostly because I'd probably never see one since they'd hear me coming a mile away.

Know this going in. Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to outsmart a deer.

For those of you who don't know how it's done, here's a little primer.

1. Before the season starts, feed the deer. They sell automatic, timed feeders that will dump corn on the ground at certain times. The deer get used to getting a free handout, so they stop by at around the same time every morning for a bite to eat.

2. Also before the season starts, put up a treestand. This is basically a high platform with a chair that you fasten to a tree and will eventually sit in and shoot from. Deer don't usually look up, so the chances you will see them before they see you is pretty good, unless you get drunk and fall out while trying to piss into an empty beer bottle.

3. Go get two or more bottles of "stuff." One to cover up human stink, the other to lure male deer. There's about a zillion different brands on the market, but they're pretty much all the same. Here's two examples, made by the same company: Deer Dander, and Standing Estrous.

The first, according to the literature, "makes you smell like the deer you pursue." (Note: Do not put this stuff on and then go to the office. That's just a little tip for the mainframe guy with the earring and the pony tail who works in my building.)

The second, an attractant, is just this: female deer piss. But not just any piss -- oh no. This is very special piss. (Another Note: This stuff also stinks, and apparently will make male deer want to pole you really bad, so don't spill it on your pants by mistake if you are in the woods alone. Unless, of course, that's your thing and you are looking for some deer lovin'.) Here's the description: "She stands, he mounts, and Code Blue bottles her urine. You won't find peak estrous scent collected with comparable precision. From a single, proven, receptive doe."

First off, that has to be the worst job in the universe. Think about it. You have to get in there, collect the piss and get out, all without getting an erect buck penis in your face. ("OK, we have to time this just right. Don't forget what happened to Stevenson two weeks ago - He still wakes up in the middle of the night screaming and gagging.")

Secondly, I had no idea that female deer were into water sports. They just spontaneously piss themselves? The shit that I learn from the Cabela's catalog amazes me.

4. Set up a few decoys. These are "photo-realistic" does. Somehow, according to the literature, they are painted and posed to "duplicate a receptive doe." I'm not sure what that means, but I am pretty sure it involves a little red teddy with black lace trim.

OK, so now you've got the deer trained to stop by, you've got your stand set up, and you smell like a doe that's cruisin' for some pole.

The last thing you need to do is wake up at 3am on opening day, get in your tree stand, and wait. At the appointed time, a gigantic buck will cluelessly wander in, looking for the deer equivalent of what every man wants -- Free food and hot sex with two chicks at once.

Then, right when he realizes the females aren't real, you point your high-powered rifle at his head and blow his brains out. If you time it exactly right, his last thought should be "Hey! These chicks aren't real! What the F-" BLAM!

The reason you wait for this precise moment is because the buck's confusion and disappointment releases a chemical compound into his bloodstream that will make the venison extra tender. (or so I've heard.)

Congratulations. You've just outsmarted one of the most dangerous, intelligent pred--- no wait.

You just shot a forest cow.

*edit 9/1/09; Lots of traffic on this old post! For the people who don't read the comments -- this is a humor blog, and as I've said in the comments, this post was really to bust the balls of my treestand hunting buddies. I have *nothing* against hunting. I have two of my friend's deer stands on my property right now. So read this as it was intended -- to poke a little fun at the tree standers, and at the people from NYC who order a thousand bucks worth of stuff from Cabelas, drive two hours north and shoot cows and dogs by mistake. I have no agenda here. I'm an NRA member, a multiple gun owner and as long as you're not trespassing on my land, we're all good.

And seriously, some of you guys need to lighten the fuck up. So far I've had death threats, been called a "gutless tofu sucking freak" by an anonymous poster who apparently doesn't understand irony, and "a squaw" because I like venison but don't hunt. The reason I don't hunt is not because I give a shit about deer or hunting. Deer hunting is hard, and time consuming. I just don't like it enough to work that hard for it. I'd rather let friends hunt on my land and then just drop off the steaks and sausage later, if that's ok with you. I like steak too, but I have no inclination to go to the farm, pick out a nice cow and then cut my own.

And nobody should be forced to eat tofu.

9/14/05

I have questions (filler post)

Question One: Do only assholes buy rice-rocket motorcycles? Or is there something inherent in owning the machine, in having that much rice-power between your legs, that immediately takes you over and forces any latent assholishness to the surface? Or maybe it has something to do with the ugly flourescent colors. I'm not sure. My experience suggests that the first possibility is the correct one. I rarely, if ever, see a dude on a Harley driving like an asshole.

This morning, there was a guy behind me on my way to work on one of these crotch rockets. (And what the HELL is up with the jacket and helmet that matches your bike? Do you think that makes you look good? No, you look like a friggin' Power Ranger.) Anyway, this guy popped a wheelie, then passed me on a blind double yellow, all the while holding the wheelie. While impressive, if a car was coming the other way around the curve, this guy was cream cheese, baby. The thing is, when you're up on one wheel, you CAN'T STEER. So stay the FUCK away from the side of my car. I flipped him off as he went by, but truthfully, I think he was going too fast to see it. I waved it around a bit in vain hope, but I was probably wasting my time.

Question Two: This I also noticed on the way to work this morning. What's with the idiots who ride your ass in the passing lane, then when you move over, they DON'T FUCKING PASS? Goddammit that drives me insane. They just hang out there in your blind spot, going the exact same speed they were going when they were sitting in your back seat. I feel like pulling back in front of them and just locking up my brakes.

Question Three: Why is it that nobody appreciates off-center humor these days? I got in the elevator this morning when I got to work and on the way up, it stopped on the second floor. A guy got on, and he had 4 over-sized shoeboxes under his arm, with the covers taped on. We rode in silence for a few moments, then I caught his eye and nodded toward the boxes. "Kittens?" I asked.

Nothin. Not a smile, not a sigh, not a disgusted look. He got off on 4 without saying a word.

Oh well. Can't say I didn't try. My next post will be about my first bicycle, and the unfortunate events that led up to the stroking out of granny grunt.

9/12/05

Beetle Bottle Paddle Battle

So I'm reading the news today and come across this gem:

"China's ruling Communist Party has been imbued with a culture of secrecy from its very beginnings as an underground organization hunted by warlords, Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists and Japanese invaders.

The current committee chairman, Wang Gang, was quoted by Xinhua in a speech two years ago as stressing the need to "strengthen the building of laws, regulations, and systems on secrecy maintenance."

I forwarded this to Yort, since we share an affinity for effed-up names, and his only comment was "No way am I joining a Wang Gang." I had to wholeheartedly agree.

Personally, I think it would be a great name for a hip, new version of The Village People.

Also, I'm wondering -- On Saturday nights, do you think Wang Gang Bang Tang?

I'm sorry. That was totally uncalled for.

Giggity.

9/11/05

Listen like thieves

The wife and I actually got out camping this weekend. We couldn't have asked for better weather. Beautiful blue skies all three days.

The trip wasn't without its minor speed bumps, however. We paddled out to the site and proceeded to set up camp. When we got to the part that involves "setting up the two-man bivy," (a small tent, for you non-camping folk) I discovered we had packed the single-man bivy instead. Unless we planned on sleeping directly on top of each other for two days, that meant one of us was sleeping outside.

Let me rephrase that. That meant I was sleeping outside.

We only had a single ground cloth, so rather than sleep directly on the ground, I decided I was going to try to sleep in my backpacking hammock. If you've never seen a backpacking hammock, it is made to be extremely light and pack up very small. It is made of very fine nylon netting, gathered to a ring at both ends, which you tie to trees with the rope hanging off the ring. Because of the way it's made, it's incredibly hard to get in and out of even when you're not trying to do it while stuffed into a mummy bag. I tried putting the bag in first, then climbing in after it, and the bag immediately fell out. I tried various brilliant yet flawed techniques to no avail, and finally had to get in the bag, hop over to the hammock, hold it open with one hand and jump in, all the while trying not to go over the other side.

I finally made it. I could barely move, but for the most part I was settled. I didn't immediately notice there was a problem.

About an hour later, I noticed there was a problem. That problem was that I was freezing my ass off. With my weight on it, the goosedown bag compressed between my body and the netting of the hammock, which meant that essentially, there was nothing but my shirt and a thin layer of flat feathers between my skinny ass and the chilly 37 degree air. I resigned myself to a long sleepless night.

My wife, god bless her, hit the bivy tent, crawled into her sleeping bag and instantly started snoring so loudly I could practically feel the ground vibrations through the trees my hammock was tied to. (Normally when she starts up, I'm close enough to jab an elbow or knee and get her to stop for a bit. I realized I couldn't do this from my frozen perch, so I had to resort to yelling "HEY!" and hoping she woke up enough to roll to a different position. )

One of the reasons we like this particular lake is because there's generally a lot of loons calling to each other throughout the night. It's a hauntingly lonely, yet beautiful sound, and probably one of my all-time favorites.

Unfortunately, we didn't get much in the way of soothing loons.

Just as I had drifted off to sleep, I was jolted awake by this sound, which seemed to be about 2.5 inches from my left ear, but was probably, in reality, about 500 yards away.

I instantly knew what it was, but still -- waking up like that takes a year off your life.

Both of us now Fully Awake, the next thing we heard was this, and it was coming our way at a slightly disconcerting pace.

Normally, the sound of a coyote pack tearing into a deer or rabbit doesn't really faze me. I've heard it dozens of times.

I have to add this caveat, however: Normally, the sound of a coyote pack tearing into a deer or rabbit doesn't really faze me because normally, they are not running directly AT me, and normally, I am NOT hanging helplessly between two trees like some kind of savory, pre-packaged meat snack.

Needless to say, I was very awake for quite a while after the symphony. Not out of any real fear, but only because...OK, I was afraid they would tear me to pieces. They skirted around us, and although we heard them a few more times during the night, it was from a more comfortable distance. I finally drifted off again about 2 am, with the coyotes fading into the distance.

I woke up again at three to the sound of something big and snuffling flopping around in the water down by the canoe. I didn't investigate. I was so tired I was beyond caring. I just buried my head in my bag, hoped for the best and went back to sleep.

Still, that sound echoing across the water is one of the coolest things I've ever heard.

I have some pics that I'll bore you with when I get them transferred to the pc.

Back to work tomorrow, dammit.

9/10/05

Got Meat?

I've been backpacking in the Adirondacks for as long as I can remember. About 99% of the time, we get there by going through Warrensburg -- a small, ex-logging town where it seems like everyone spends their summers getting ready for winter. For years I've been passing this big store with a gigantic sign on the front that says Meat Store of The North. Having never gone into this establishment, I can only assume that their primary offering is, most probably, meat. One day a buddy of mine and I were driving by this place on our way up north, and we decided that there was more to the story. I share it now for your enjoyment. Or not.

The wine and ale flowed freely at the Ravenwood Inn, as did the lively conversation. A large party of travelers had stopped for the night, too tired and hungry to continue on to the next village. The air was thick with the smell of hickory and roasting boar. A bone-warming fire blazed in the hearth, adding its merry light to that of the oil lamps set in the many sconces around the room. The night was cold, the snow falling steadily. It was not a night for traveling, and the crowd at the Inn had been growing since sundown. There had been no new patrons for a least 3 hours, and the barmaid was glad of it. If one more randy goat grabbed her backside there would be hell to pay. She could be had, but not for free.

Suddenly, the door rattled, then flew open and hit the wall with a crash. Instantly, all attention was turned toward the massive figure that blocked the moonlight and swirling snow from entering the pub. The huge man wore a hooded cloak of bearskin that shadowed his face, effectively hiding all of his features except his ice encrusted beard. He closed the door with a kick, and removed the broadsword from his back. Turning toward the barkeep, he threw back his hood, allowing the lamplight to fall on his face.

"At what do you stare? Bring me a horn of ale, woman. And make haste lest I grow impatient!"

The barmaid hurriedly filled a drinking horn with the Inn's finest brew, and walked toward the brash newcomer. "Let's see the color o' yer gold, before ye be drinkin' me best brew," she said, a slight quiver in her voice.

"Ah. A woman with a bit of fire in her soul," he said, narrowing his eyes. "Do you not know who I am?"

"For sure n' I don't, and I wouldn't care if ye be the god a' thunder himself, I'd havta see yer gold before you get served."

"Do you recognize THIS?" he said through clenched teeth, reaching inside his coat and throwing a bloody canvas bag on the nearest table. Whispered conversations stopped mid-sentence, save for the murmur of speculation as to the contents of the sack. All eyes were now on the spectacle unfolding at the front table. A group of the rougher looking men stood, and walked toward the front in case the newcomer needed a lesson in manners. The barmaid walked slowly over to the sack and peered within. Her eyes grew wide, and she stepped back in horror.

"No, you...you can't be him. He is DEAD! Dead for all eternity, damn his soul to hell! My Da saw him fall in battle, his head almost severed from his body! You are not him!

"I would have your father know the truth. I did fall in battle - but I did not die," he said, loosening his cowl and exposing the scarred and puckered flesh that encircled the base of his throat like a necklace.

The big man reached out and grabbed the blood drenched bag, and up-ended it, sending a thin stream of blood splattering on the table a second before the bloody slab of meat hit with a wet thud. A fresh murmur went rippling through the crowd.

He raised his broadsword and moved it in a slow arc around the room, leveling his gaze at the crowd. As one, they stepped back. Before the eye could see movement, he raised the sword above his head and slashed down hard into the oaken table, splitting the bloody meat in two.

"It is I! Meit Stör of the North!" he roared. "And I want these steaks cooked medium rare."

The rest is history.

9/8/05

3 miles down from diesel town

We've been having a bit of bad luck lately, so my wife and I weren't able to take an extended backpacking trip like we had planned. Because of daily medications and IV fluids for a sick kitty who shall remain nameless (JD, you magnificent bastard!) and a bunch of other stuff involving the health of relatives and ex-places of employment, we have settled for some day hikes.

Tuesday, we drove up 28N and just pulled off the road at the first trailhead we saw, and figured we'd try our luck. I jumped out of the car and walked toward the trailhead sign to check out our hike du jour.

"Where do you want to go?" my wife asked, as she tossed her purse in the trunk and walked over to join me.

"Well," I said, looking up at the sign. "I can tell you there's one place we're staying right the fuck away from."



Yeah.

Ross pond, here we come.

The trail was pretty muddy, but we kept going. About a mile in we stopped hearing the traffic. Or at least we stopped thinking of it as traffic and started thinking of it as wind through the trees. About two miles in it was just wind through the trees. We hadn't checked a map, so we were taking bets as to whether this thing was going to be a sizeable pond, or just a mud puddle. About 1.8 miles in, we came across this unnamed body of water:



We stuck around for a bit, and discovered that it was the humble abode of Ms. Beaver and Mr. Duck, who seemed to be living together in direct defiance of all that is holy. When we moved on, we wished them luck, since we've heard those inter-species relationships are tough to hold together for the long haul.

Another mile or so up the trail, we found Ross pond. We don't know who Ross was, but dammit, we would love to own his pond.



We had the place to ourselves for the entire time we were there. I was trying to convince my lovely wife to go skinny dipping, but she was having none of it, and opted instead for her blanket in the shade.

She did snap this picture of me as I was threatening to strip down and go without her:



I didn't actually do it. The water was effin' COLD, and I already have enough problems with shrinkage. (And yes, I blurred my face, because after I posted it, I realized that this picture looks like I'm trying out for the redneck chippendale's calendar, and I didn't want to provide any ammunition for anyone.)

And before anyone says anything -- I know. I'm as white as the driven snow. That's what happens when you have a day job as a computer geek. Your skin takes on the same properties as this guy's.

We hiked out before dark, since we didn't have the right gear for night hiking, and the trail was a bit overgrown. Neither of us wanted to leave. All in all, we'd go back in a second, and we just might, once things calm down. It was a beautiful hike, and there are a few spots around the pond to camp. If they're all taken -- well, you can alway try your "luck" up the road a piece.

I know this was probably boring as hell to you folks, and roughly the equivalent of viewing someone's vacation photos. In fact, it was exactly the equivalent of viewing someone's vacation photos. It won't happen again.

I do have one more photo to share:



I think I've seen this sort of thing in a gay-tree porn video before.

The movie is only available in the more specialized adult video stores -- and even then, you have to ask the guy behind the counter for it.

I think it was called Ass Boulders IV - Bark Like A Tree.

Tell'em Johnny sent ya.

PS - It's up to you, but I'd recommend skipping Parts I-III. I've heard the saplings were under-age.

9/6/05

Talk amongst yourselves.

I'm going on vacation for a bit. Clear the head. Recharge the batteries.

I might post this week, but probably not.

If anyone needs me, I'll be here:

9/2/05

Ahoy Matey.

Let's get something straight.

I don't sail. I've never sailed, never learned how to sail, and never wanted to learn how to sail. In fact, I pretty much hate sailing. My idea of a boat is a canoe that can hold two people and a weekend's worth of gear. Paddle-power, baby. None of that "relying on the wind" shit.

That being said, for the last 3 and a half years, I've been building a 19 foot wooden sailboat with my father. It's called a Weekender.

He doesn't sail either.

"WTF?" I hear you asking. I have asked myself that same question quite a few times over the last few years. I still don't have an answer.

This is what it will look like when it's done:



To be fair, he's always wanted to learn to sail -- and he had always wanted to build a boat. When my mother passed away almost five years ago, my father was wrecked -- and a year later, he figured the sailboat was the perfect project to get his mind on other things, move on a little bit, and start living life again.

I was drafted early on, because I have a fair amount of woodworking knowledge. Originally, I was going to consult on this job while he built it. Somewhere along the line, I started going over to his shop once a week after work and helping. Oddly enough, the knowledge overlap between woodworking and wooden boat building is small, at best, and I found that I liked learning new techniques that were unique to boat building.

So, from a sketchy set of plans, and with a lot of hard work, we formed a sailboat, complete with a 6 foot cabin. It's still a ways from being done, but last Monday, we finished sanding, fiberglassing and painting the bottom.

We spent no less than 6 months sanding, fiberglassing, sanding, epoxying, sanding, priming, sanding and painting.

The next step is to flip it back over and do the same thing to the top. Hopefully, a lot quicker than we did the bottom. I am so sick of sanding that once this project is over I hope to never see another sheet of sandpaper unless it's 60 grit, and I'm using it on a 2 hp belt-sander that I'm applying to the bare ass of the guy who wrote up the plans for this thing.

A lot of amusing stuff has happened over the course of construction so far, but I'm going to share the most recent incident for your reading pleasure.

A lot of it is of the "measure twice, cut once, measure again in disbelief" kind of amusing, which, when you eff up an eighty-five dollar piece of mahogany, isn't all that amusing until much, much later. This one is pretty amusing right from the get go.

One of the things we needed to do to this thing is cut a square hole in the back of the boat to allow the rudder steering mechanism to stick out. In order to cut this square hole, I had to start it with a small pilot hole to allow me to get the jigsaw blade in and cut to the outline of the square. As I was about to drill the hole, my father decided that since he wasn't doing much, he would run up to the hardware store, and then over to get us some subs for dinner.

He left, and I used a small paddle bit in the hand drill to make the hole. If you've ever used one of these things, you know that if you're not careful, they'll blow out the back and tear it up pretty good once the bit punches through. Especially in plywood.

This paddle bit sucked, so of course I was unable to keep it from blowing out the back. I heard the splintering when the bit broke through, and I said a few choice words.

I was pissed, and I jammed my finger into the hole to feel around and see how bad the splintering was.

What I didn't know was that the back of the hole looked like this:


You know what happened.

Yep.

My finger would not come out. Every time I tried to pull it out, the large splinters would close around my finger like a very painful chinese finger trap. I stood up as straight as I could, figuring I'd just reach over the top of the transom and pull the splinters away with my other hand, but quickly realized that my arms weren't long enough. I was stuck, and stuck good.

To top it all off, I had to pee. Really bad. And my father was going to be gone for at least a good 45 minutes.

There I stood, in the open door to the garage, doing the pee-pee dance with my finger jammed into the back of the boat like I was some sort of nautical proctologist.

Right about the time I was trying to figure out how I could sneak a pee into the wet/dry shopvac, my father finally pulled into the driveway. When he got out of the truck with the subs, he headed directly to the house, figuring were were going to eat. When I didn't immediately follow, he said, "What, you're not hungry?" When I didn't answer and instead just stood there looking at him with a stupid expression on my face, he stopped in the driveway. "What the hell are you standing there for?" he asked.

"Yeah. I'm stuck to the boat," I replied.

He looked at me with incomprehension. "Did you say you were.....stuck to the boat?"

"Yes. That's what I said. I'm stuck to the boat. And I have to pee. Really bad."

Once I explained my situation, he did what any red-blooded dad would do in a situation like this.

He laughed so hard I thought he was going to piss himself.

He actually had to climb into the boat, lie down on his back and reach one hand into each access port on the inside of the transom to free my mangled finger. How he did this while laughing so much he could barely breathe, I'll never know. But free me he did.

I'll probably never live it down, but I have to say that it was good to see my old man laugh his ass off, even though it was at my expense. I hadn't seen him laugh like that since my mother was alive.

Time does heal all wounds. Not completely, and never quickly, but it heals. Apparently, boat-building with your oldest son sometimes helps.

When we finally finish it, we're going to name it after my mom. I think we're going to call it the "Miss U."

All this time, I've been wondering why the hell I would ever build a sailboat.

Maybe I have my answer after all.