Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Journey in Hair

Haircuts have never been my favorite activity. To be honest they would be lucky to break the top hundred. Let me put it another way. I really do not like getting haircuts. They are quite the challenge for me. Every time I go I have to worry if they will understand what I am asking for and if I will be required to make small talk. I don't care about how your kid is always late to band practice. I want you to focus on my hair! One false move and I am down an ear. I like the look of having both of them thank you very much. It isn't that I am incapable of small talk or that I think they will take my head of hair and leave a devastated landscape that appears to be a cross between a friar and Flock of Seagulls, it is just everything that is involved combines together to be about as much fun as helping an old lady put tiny outfits on feral cats.

Those feral cats are looking like a pretty good idea right about now.

  Here are a few things I am talking about.

  1. I don't like strangers near my face. Do they have my best interest in mind or have I just stared into the eyes of my doom?
  2. The feel of cut hair sticking to your body. It never leaves. You take a shower, but days later you can swear it is still there mocking you. What was that? You don't like my outfit? You can be cruel, random haircut trimmings.
  3. Small talk. See above.
  4. Trying to describe what I want. I know what I want, I really do, but it is hard for me to get that idea across to someone else. I seem to be able to use my words to my advantage in most situations, but ask me about what cut I want and it'll seem like you are talking to a toddler.
I know that my dislike is irrational. Most of my friends get haircuts all the time. (Well not Coombsy, but we all know that he is like Sampson in that regard. No hair, no power.) They always tend to look nice after a good trim, but even that is not enough to push me into that hydraulic powered trap.

Doesn't seem shady at all...

After reading my random bursts of nonsense above, you probably have the idea in your mind that the only reasons for me to have my locks have to do with avoiding the barber at all costs. That is a fair assumption to come to, but that is not fully the case. Not only am I not a fan of haircuts I also happen to be a fan of me with hair of any length. I like me with short hair, but I also like it when my hair is longer. The following list includes some of the top reasons why I like my hair long.

  1. When I play tennis I can pretend I am Bjorn Borg. Being part Swede myself I have often enjoyed watching his game, and more importantly the way that he tamed his flowing mane with a sweatband.

    I wonder if he had the same tan line issues I am facing.
  2. My long hair is a constant challenge for my Dad. I wouldn't be surprised if one night in the near future I woke up with a buzz cut.
  3. I will be able to use my own hair for my Halloween costume. No need for a wig over here.
  4. When I finally do get my hair cut it will be long enough to donate to a charitable cause.
It is the last point that actually keeps the second point from happening. Once he realized that the hair will be donated, he stopped grumbling quite as much. One day this head of hair will be cut. One day I will rejoin the ranks of those who consider themselves clean cut. One day my lion's mane will be trimmed into the less ostentatious and less magical form of some other wild cat's hair. That day is not today. For today I will revel in the way my hair flows as I gently toss my head. I will walk the streets with hair that even the gods would envy (not really). I will enjoy this hair for as long as it lasts because it may never come again.

Drink it in.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Intrepid Dukes attempt to become Belligerent Gentleman

The new year often ushers in the desire for changes in life. It is most likely due to the fact that the new year is often associated as a clean slate, a chance to change, although it might have a little to do with the fact that your favorite jeans managed to shrink over the holidays and you want them to fit again. (Clearly you could not have gained weight. That is ludicrous.) While our jeans may be tight that is not what we Dukes were looking to change as January rolled in. We wanted to become better gentlemen.

Top hat optional.
In order to protect the anonymity of certain Duke members I will refrain from including names in the following section. A certain Duke was at work and he had a conversation with a woman. The content of the conversation and the attitude of said lady led this man to question her honor in a conversation with another Duke by implying her promiscuity with people other than her husband (He called her a whore). The Duke with whom the first Duke conversed thought that it was a bit extreme and he called it conduct unbecoming a gentleman. They had a discussion about attempting to be better with their language in the moments following. These two Dukes brought this conversation to a third Duke and they all discussed what types of thing they were going to try to avoid in the future. A list was made and the third Duke mentioned that they might pay for each offense and the money would be put into a jar which would appropriately be named the "Conduct Unbecoming a Gentleman" jar, or CUBG for short.

To keep with the spirit of the jar the money was not to be used to benefit the offenders. To this end the Dukes decided that the money would be donated to a charity when they had a sufficient sum. The third Duke had some passing knowledge of a site called  This site makes loans to people in third world countries that need capital to start a business or improve life. The capital they receive helps them a ton and over 99% of the loans are repaid. That just means that as the jar grows and loans are repaid we can donate to other causes. We felt that it was a worthy cause and that it was a more gentlemanly move than using the money to buy ourselves pizza for our shady acts.

Probably shouldn't have made this before lunch...

So once we had decided what we were going to use the money for we decided we needed to list out our goals of what we wanted to change or avoid. Ladies and gentleman, I give you our official list of guidelines as they were originally written.

Conduct Unbecoming a Gentleman
A list of guidelines for The Belligerent Gentleman

In an effort to improve our behavior and curb any habits of ill repute, a list of guidelines and manners has been created to guide us towards a more gentlemanly state. All fines for uncouth behavior are set at 10 cents of the initial month. At the end of the initial month a review of the guidelines will take place to assess if some need to be removed and others added. The guidelines are as follows:

Salty language: This includes words commonly referred to as “swear words” as well as words such as: Dick, Douche or Douchebag and terms such as “piss off”.  When intended as an exclamation, the use of phrases such as “Son of a whore” and “Whores teeth” is not a C.U.B.G. offense.

Road rage: This refers to yelling, angry motions, phrases and words mentioned in Salty Language.

Speaking poorly of a lady: This includes sexist comments and jokes.

Cheating a fellow Gentleman: Cheating is not acceptable for a gentleman in games or life.

Seeking revenge or to teach someone else a lesson: Forgiveness is the sign of a Gentleman.

Seeking to make someone feel inferior: It is unbecoming of a Gentleman to put others down.

Speaking poorly of a stranger: A Gentleman will not criticize someone with whom he has never had a 

Using the word “Hate”: The word hate invites poor feelings.

Mind your table manners: Table manners are of the utmost importance

Using “Please” and “Thank You”: Use please and thank you when asking for things and receiving things.

Raising your voice with malicious intent: Yelling is not necessary.

Speaking negatively of others: It is not appropriate to put others down or speak negatively of them.

Be punctual: It is necessary to be punctual and make an effort to respect others time.

Phone etiquette: No phones at the table, step out if you need to take a call.

In true Duke fashion we plan on sealing this agreement by sealing our contract with bloody thumbprints next to our signatures. We know that we are not perfect and that we struggle at times to be good people, but we feel that this list and jar will help us become the people we should be. If you are with us and see us breaking one of these rules feel free to call CUBG on us, we need all the help we can get.

The contracts have been written up and are nearing the bloodletting stage, but for all of you people out there who would prefer not to see our blood I give you an untainted look at our contracts.

Hopefully CUBG will fulfill all that it was made to do, but if it doesn't the worst that will happen is a lot of donations to third world countries and some Dukes with lighter wallets.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Dukes Get Crafty: Part Deux

As time passes and as we Dukes remain single we find ourselves with time to spare. Do we spend it watching TV? Do we spend it playing tennis? Is arguing involved? Are all of the previous statements true? You bet your sweet britches they are. Without a single girlfriend to distract the unmarried Dukes we had to find something to fill that cavernous void. Am I trying to say that women are important or that they take a lot of time? You decide. Well to get back to the point, I am just trying to say that free time is something we have in abundance. In an effort to make me proud (I am assuming), Coombsy has been spending that time with the most seductive of ladies, Math. For the rest of us we have been filling that time with random crafts and projects.

Coombsy has chosen wisely.

In this second installment of the craftinators you will see wonders that dazzle the senses and bewitch the mind (Joshua's creations) and some things that will drive the OCD person in you wild (Ricky's stuff).

Joshua is a Wizard with a Glue Gun

Most of you have probably met road side charlatans trying to pass off their deeds as those of a true wizard. These filthy hucksters have brought shame unto this most high title. Lucky for the world we have Joshua to right some of the wrongs wrought by these soulless shysters. He takes on these mountebanks with nothing more than a glue gun and his wits (and his magic since he is a wizard).

Joshua grows a mean beard.

Recently for work Joshua took part in a competition that forced friends to do battle in what they call a "cook-off". Each team picks a theme and goes to town with costumes and recipes and decorations. To me it sounds like way too much work, but Joshua took up the challenge to help outfit his team that had picked the theme Harry Potter. In one of his bouts of creativity he thought of a way to make his team look like the real deal. What they needed were wands. Armed with over-sized chopsticks and a hot glue gun in each hand he began to create.

After the chopsticks had been thoroughly glued and incredibly designed he turned to the task of finishing them off with the proper paint job.

Drink it in. Here, let me zoom in for you.

Are you not amazed? I know that I am. I could never take some glue and a stick and end up with anything remotely this good. 

This would be me.
The good news for Josh is that the event is over. The better news for all of you is that Josh enjoys making these wands and will be selling them here on his Etsy page (he does not yet have a page so if you would like one just leave me a comment or send a text). I can only speak with certainty for myself, but any Harry Potter fan would be proud to have one of these hand crafted masterpieces in their home. I personally have three in mine and that number will probably go up as time goes on.

Ricky Forms his Dreams into a Blanket

Ricky is a man with many facets to his personality. At first go some find him abrasive and prickly, but after some time they find his soft underbelly and come to realize he is great guy. I never had that prickly stage with him, but I guess it does happen. A part of what makes him interesting is his desire to try new things. Once he gets something in his head you can be darn sure it is going to happen. That is exactly what happened when Ricky decided it was high time he made a quilt.

Ricky was a cute kid.
Our friend and frequent reader Morgan was recently engaged in making some quilts. She borrowed my Mom's quilting frame and she set to work. Ricky saw all of this happening and he decided that he wanted in on the action. He went to the fabric store and got a random assortment of fabrics that do give you quite the insight on what goes on in Ricky's head. As Morgan worked on her quilt, Ricky started piecing his together (with her help). After a time they were finally assembled.

I can only look for so long. I fear getting lost in there forever.
 The fabrics he selected blended together like the cast of Community. Apart they were good, but together they were gold. He took this magnificent patchwork and backed it with lime green fabric and then we tied it with bright pink yarn. There was much swearing involved (I am looking at you Ricky and Morgan), but in the end the whole thing got tied and sewn together.  Now you may behold it in all its glory.

Tis a feast for the eyes.

If you recall I mentioned at the beginning of the article the fact that if you have even slight OCD tendencies that this quilt would be a rough one to look at. I meant it, I really did. I made some handy marks on the image so you could see what I was talking about. I admit I truly am a fan of the fabrics used, but they were sewn together in no particular order. How can you have three in a row?! Why do you hate me Ricky? I see this quilt and I just want to put it together in a proper design. Screw you and your unorganized mind! (It is probably organized just fine). Sadly that is not the only sin to be found on this blanket. If you look at the circles you will see that some of the yarn is a ridiculous length. I went to get some scissors and Ricky said he liked it that way. On this one I could not give in and I did spend some time trimming off the excess yarn and also the loose threads from the binding.

Even with the lack of order to the blanket I christen it a success. It does what it is supposed to in that it'll keep you warm, but it will also fulfill another purpose (besides my eventual insanity) in showcasing who Ricky is. Tune in next time and see what other wonders that have been wrought by the hands of the Dukes.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Zac Sucks at Telling Scary Stories

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a getting ready for Halloween party. It was very well done. It was a festive atmosphere and there was enough food to choke 13 yaks (give or take). As part of the invite we were asked to write a scary story or relate a paranormal activity. As I read this I felt dread welling up from pit of my stomach. To explain this you must know that a few years prior I had an incident as I attempted to tell a scary story. Now is not the time and place for that story though. I promise it isn't. So for this party I decided to give my story telling another go. Here is that story in its entirety.

Mine won't scar you like these did though.
As with many scary stories this one starts out with sheer stupidity.  Ron knew that breaking into an old house was a bad idea. He knew that trying to sleep on the hard, dank floor in there was going to be even worse. Why he let his friends talk him into this he didn't know. “I am such a pushover.” He muttered to himself, “I could be sleeping in a nice bed, but instead here I am breaking into the Hill House.” He didn't believe the stories of this place being haunted. It was just another run down old house that was in its last throes, trying to hold on to life before it would inevitably give in to the gentle threats of time and gravity. Ron would admit, however that the dilapidated structure did cause him some worry. What if the floor caved in on them? What if there was black mold? He didn't want to get sick or hurt, but the voice of prudence rarely won the day in a group of rowdy teens, and while they were a rambunctious lot, they were still his friends.

Edgar was the leader of their band. He was fearless in the face of just about anything. He had to be being the youngest of four brothers. That is in part what had led their merry group of adventurers up to the old ramshackle gates. Edgar’s oldest brother had been telling him stories for years about the Hill House. Ron didn't believe half of what Edgar’s brother Steve said, and he felt that the other half was likely suspect as well, but he went along with it because it usually led to an adventure.

Steve claimed that the house had been the home of a scientist named Dr. Sinclair. He told them that this doctor performed experiments that were an affront to God and science. He said that what he did in his lab was an attempt to help mankind evolve to a new stage of life, but the horrific screams that supposedly issued from the depths of the house said otherwise. Steve said that when the Doctor finally died the police had found dozens of strangely marked graves in the basement and each and every one contained a mutilated body from one of Sinclair’s projects. The headstone of each grave had just one phrase crudely carved in, “hell awaits” It was a good story to tell on a dark night, but it was nothing more than that.

Steve boasted that a few years prior he and some friends had entered the house and stayed for a few hours. In an attempt to outdo his brother, Edgar decided that we were going to spend the night in the Hill House. It seemed to Ron that Edgar was often a little liberal with his we’s, but instead of saying so he found himself approaching the front door a few days later.

The door opened with an ominous groan. As they shined their lights into the inky darkness, Ron thought the lights seemed to dim, as if the lights were faltering due to the malevolent force of the dark. Shrugging off such ridiculous thoughts he entered and put down his duffle bag. “I call the couch!” Edgar yelled. Ron didn't argue because the couch looked as though it had all the dust he had ever seen in his life accumulated on its surface. Ron grabbed a spot near a wall, not because he was a little scared, of course, but because of convenience.

After they settled in they decided that it was high time they explored this place. None of them had ever been in an abandoned house before and they wanted to make the most of it. Following their pattern of poor decisions they decided to split up to search the levels. Ron wanted to stay on this level, but Edgar grabbed him and said “looks like we get to go to the basement.”  Ron groaned internally, but he managed to smile and mutter “sounds good to me”. As they eased their way down the rickety stairs Ron felt as if he were being suffocated by the blackness that surrounded them. As they reached the bottom of the stairs Ron turned his light to the right and he felt a scream tear its way out of his throat. It was Brutus. He had been massacred.  

It was a twist worthy of this man. Make that early career this man.

Now I can tell that some of you are confused, and others are downright angry, but for the few of you out there that understand the ending you are welcome. Now for the rest of you I feel that an explanation is due. It all goes back to that fateful day a few years ago when I told the worst story of my life.

Let me set the scene. I was at a ward camp out. We had been having a good time playing night games and the like. It was decided that some scary stories were in order. Ricky told his great version of Hatchet Harry, and I decided to tackle the classic that is known as drip drip drip. If you have not heard that story, go to this link here and come back. We'll wait. Are you back? Okay good. In my version of the story it is a writer who has rented out a cabin that this happens to, but same basic idea.

So as I was going along I was giving it my all. I was doing quite the dramatic telling, but about a third the way in I realized that I had made a huge mistake. I had forgotten the serial killer on the loose. In my mind I wondered how I was going to fix this. I guess I could stop and say "Oh and there was this guy", but I didn't want to. I decided to tempt fate. I decided that I was going to just keep telling the story without this very important element.

I can feel you giving me this face. Stop judging me!

I can bet that most of you out there are already cringing for me. You can feel that this is not going to end well. You would be right. So I continue on with my telling of the tale and when I get to the dramatic climax where she discovers her dead dog I simply state that "It was Brutus. He had been massacred."  As the words left my mouth I could see the looks of confusion on everyone's faces. "How is that the ending?" they inquired. "Why is your story the worst?" I decided to be honest and tell them that I had initially forgotten a character and that my pride did not allow me to retrace my steps. Curse my pride! Their confusion at my story dissolved into riotous laughter, and a legend was born.

Now whenever I am up camping or there is simply a lull in a conversation I am always asked to tell the Brutus story. I have always refused because it is too painful to relive that moment, and you can't recreate such a thing. I have broken my rule (kind of) just to help you understand why my story ended the way it did. Maybe now I will finally be left in peace and the story of Brutus will become a faded memory. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Best and Worst Things about Summer

As a kid summer is a wonderful time of year. No longer are you shackled to a desk for more hours of the day than you can count...well if you are really young or really bad at counting. You are free to enjoy day after day of adventures and throw caution to the wind. If you were like me you might even have just swung a stick around for a few hours, and been perfectly content. As an adult summer can still be quite magical, but it doesn't have quite the same appeal as it did when you were a child. This post is going to show all of you wonderful folks the best and worst things that are directly connected to summer.

I like colors. (Generic caption for generic picture)


No Summer Break as an Adult

The first time you get a decent paying full time job there are two things that really hit hard. First is that taxes are the devil. After you have cried your tears over the staggering theft, you rise from the fetal position and look to a calendar. "Oh good" you think "summer break is coming up soon. That is just what I need." At that moment it dawns on you that not only do you hate the Man, but your last summer break is behind you.

I can tell you from experience that this is not a feeling that I would wish on anyone, well maybe a few people... You know who you are. As a kid you always have something to look forward to. "Just 130 days until summer break" is something I know I caught myself saying. You always had perpetual hope in the knowledge that this thing they call a school year had an end.  Now I can only hope that I might get a Monday off due to a Holiday. It crushes my soul a bit more each year when June rolls around and I am still working.

They wouldn't be so happy if they could see what is lurking in their near future.

Hot and Buggy

Like many of you I have an intense love for air conditioning and temperature control. As I modify the temperature I feel a surge of incredible power coursing through my veins. I have control over a veritable force of nature. I realize that I belong in someone's theology! I am a God! ...Then I step outside in July and feel the blistering heat. It makes me realize once again that I am a puny nothing and I might and well curl up in a sweaty ball and give up.

After a while you become fairly accustomed to the heat, but that isn't the only thing out to get you. Having been affronted by your attempts at self-deification, Mother Nature decides that you need to be taught a lesson. Not only does she come at you with heat, but she also sends out wave after wave of creepy critters to bite and harass you. If at times it feels like the world is trying to eat you just remember this. It is.

Stupid Mother Nature and her goon squad sons.

No football or any important sports

Having escaped the outdoor mauling you crawl inside. You figure that since outside hates your face you might as well relax and watch someone else doing something outside. You switch over to ESPN to catch up on the latest news, and you realize that summer is a sports black hole. You go through the list of sports. Football is months away from starting. Basketball has just ended, same with Hockey. What does that leave you with? Baseball. Ugh. With a season of 162 games it is hard to care about baseball until September. So the one sport we have in summer isn't even close to its compelling stage. I will admit that during the summer there are some tennis tournaments, but not enough to offset the lack of anything else.

Even the players don't want to be there, although to be fair it is the Mets.
Now I don't want you to think that summer is just a wasteland of sadness and pain. There are quite a few things about summer that we should enjoy.


Outdoor Activities

One advantage to doing things in the summer is the fact the going for a walk won't end with frostbite. There are quite a few things that can really only be fully enjoyed in the summer. I don't know how many of you have tried, but swimming in a lake in February is not what I would call a good time. To be fair it was less swimming and more sitting. Also it was a competition, but that is beside the point. It is not fun and it accounts for a full third of the times I have ever felt cold in my life. Now summer swimming on the other hand is amazing. The warm sun on your face as you splash around with friends is hard to beat.

Yes I am actually that pale.
Do you want to know what else is awesome? Trees, trees are awesome. By that I mean it is quite grand taking a stroll through some on a hike or set up a tent in the midst of them for some camping adventures. Can you do that in the winter? Technically speaking you can, but most of the trees are bare and barren and the trails have been buried in mounds of snow. It will leave you empty and sad as you start to contemplate your own mortality and how you are hurtling towards an unknown end. That is why you leave hiking and camping for the warmer months. It reduces the number of depressing existential thoughts for sure.

People Are Happier/ Beautiful Around

This next section actually is going to have some science behind it. Now that you have all finished your fainting spells we can get on with it. In the summertime it has been proven that people generally are happier. For some it has to do with the Vitamin D that the sun provides, for others it is the melatonin that is suppressed (the melatonin helps regulate our body clocks and the lack of sun in the winter can mess with some people's clocks and it leaves them depressed). For yet others it is the increase in serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter that most scientists believe is behind depression. So the increase in that again helps reduce depression. Man, that sun of ours is not a one trick pony.

Some ponies only need one.

Do you want to know what else the sun has been helping with during this season? Making things beautiful. In the summer the sky is blue and all the leaves are green and the sun is warm like a baked potato. (At most three people will understand that reference) All Cannibal! The Musical references aside, it is true that the sky is bluer and the leaves greener during this time of year. Also since people are going to be spending more time outside they take better care of their yards and gardens, and they can be wonderful to behold.  

Bonus Round

Since you were such good little readers I am once again giving you a bonus round. This category has the distinction of being the only one that properly belongs in both the best and worst categories. With no further ado I give you..

People Wear Less Clothing

As the temperature rises the amount of clothing worn decreases. Some of you might be thinking "but this is an awesome thing. It means that my hunk of a neighbor is going to start jogging shirtless." or "I have been waiting many months to see who wears short shorts. I hope it is [blank] that wears short shorts." To you I say beware what you wish for. Maybe you will get what you want and there will be a lot of shirtless jogging and short shorts, but remember this. You can't decide who will be shedding clothing. Maybe instead of the hunk jogging shirtless is will be your other neighbor, One Ton Bill that has decided to forgo fully dressing. So there he is sitting across the street lounging in a wading pool with nothing more than a speedo and a corn dog. Maybe instead of [blank] wearing short shorts it will be her mother, the lady with the varicose veins and the cellulite and the smoking problem.

Now if you are like me you will never be able to get these images out of your head. So maybe instead of hoping for certain people to cut down on fabric usage you should hope that everyone makes it a modest season so you can sleep at night without being haunted by the images burned into your memory.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Best and Worst Things about Being Single

First off there is one thing of which you need to be made aware. I am single and I have been for a while. That simple fact will clearly bias what I write and skew it to the perspective of an unbound man who feels secure and content in the knowledge of his future as a male spinster (I am assuming I will have a lot of cats). Also I will be focusing on the best and worst parts of singledom for males only. Sorry ladies, but you make as much sense to me as a penguin riding a dinosaur. I think you are both awesome, but neither of you are logical to my brain (that might be why I am single).

Doesn't stop me from doodling it though.

So with all that in mind I warn you to prepare yourselves, because I am about to rock your world with the definitive list of the best and worst things about being single. I decided to start out with the best parts about being single because I am nothing if not optimistic. What I write may not reflect this, but I swear I am. Honest.


You pick the shows you want to watch

When you are single, TV watching is incredibly easy. There is no drama about the channel or the content of what will be viewed. I have never once had to fight myself for control of the television. I may not always pick a winner, but I am always at peace with myself for the choices I make. As a single man you pick what you want to watch and you don't have to worry if the person with you will hate the movie about Moon Nazis.

This is actually a thing and of course we watched it.

As has been well documented, we do not always pick quality movies and will sometimes watch terrible movies just because we can. I think of it like anything in this world, you can't enjoy the good without having experienced the bad, and boy do we know the bad. When you have a lady friend you have to worry about things like "good taste" and "artistic credibility". I say pff to those things as I roam the land freely, watching whatever I want willy-nilly.

Less Accountability

In the wonderful world of bachelorhood there are many things that you don't need to worry about explaining or fixing. Being single means that pizza sauce and french fries can count as vegetables. It means that shaving is now optional, and you can wear that t-shirt with the hole in the side and the questionable graphics without any complaint (At least to your face). You also have no need to worry about spending your money on random nick-knacks to clutter your spaces. Do you need that Tardis cookie jar or another Star Wars character piggy bank? Not at all, but by golly you are going to have them.

I own all of these things and that should probably bother me.

As with any relationship there is a certain amount of responsibility that lands squarely on your shoulders. It isn't a bad thing, but you will be required to remember things that don't involve sports stats or where you have seen that guy in the movie before. Dates and times now become important things and could cause a problem if you forget to, for example, pick her up from the airport or to water her plants when she is gone. Abandonment and dead plants do not make for a sturdy relationship foundation.

Umm, I love you?

More Free Time

I find it hard to admit, but during this last week I spent several hours dedicated to the task of organizing coins. "Why would anyone do this?" is probably a question that crossed your mind. The answer is simple, because I could. I had no other commitments for my time at that moment and I didn't feel like doing anything truly worthwhile so I organized coins. That is one great thing about being single. I have more free time to do whatever I want. I could watch 13 straight hours of Doctor Who, or spend all day reading up on fictional characters of upcoming movies, or try my hand at crafts. I am not saying I should do these things or that they are normal occurrences, but I could if I wanted to and that is the point.

In the past paragraphs I have shared a few of the wonders that surround the life of a single man, but such a life is not all gumdrops and jet packs. There are a few evils that darken the doorstep of this idyllic life, and that brings me to the worst parts about being single.  


People Bother You about Dating

There are few things that married people hate more than an unattached bachelor over the age of 25 (I guess I should say some married people). They feel like they are happy being married and that if you seem happy in any way as a single person you are committing a crime and must be stopped. At every turn they will hound you about who you are thinking about dating and when it will happen and why it hasn't happened yet and how many kids you want and if you have a neighborhood in mind where you will live and... you get the idea. They are like members of a fanatical cult and they are doing their best to turn you.


While the people mentioned above can be bad, family can be even worse. Every friend you bring home of the opposite sex is automatically thought of as a potential mate. "She seems like a sweet girl" "She has a good job" "She is a she" are all things that you might hear from the family after the person has left (or in the middle of a date if it is me). For the most part I have been lucky on this front. That is until now. I am looking at you Mom. I guess with the change in my situation she feels that it is time to get me hitched, and I miss the old carefree days of parental indifference. Sigh.

As long as you are single, people will not be content with that fact and will do their best to play match maker or life coach. It can be hard to handle, but such is the lot of the bachelor.

This next section isn't really a worry of mine (it probably should be), but it really has my friend Ricky in knots at times.

Your Developing Homemaker Skills Get Questioned

As you all may well remember Ricky moved out to a new place fairly recently. It was the first time since his mission that he wouldn't be living with his parents and he has flourished out on his own. Part of being in charge of a residence lies in a few domestic tasks that may seem a little less than manly. We have no issue in taking part of such things, but recently Ricky felt that he may be going too far. I will give you an excerpt of a recent email conversation we had. To give you some background I need to tell you that the house mates (Or maybe just Joshua) had purchased a patio set. It didn't have the greatest look so they were going to redo it.

Ricky: I may try and paint the table this weekend. We were actually thinking a lime green color. We'll see though.
Me: You could find some awesome fabric to go with that as well. I would say to not go with plain black for the seats, but if you do I won't cry. Much.
Ricky: Yeah we are going to the fabric store before we actually choose the color. I need a girlfriend.
Me: Or you need to not get one because that will damper the homemaker in you haha.
Ricky: Zac, I am repainting and reupholstering a table, then I'm going to buy stuff for gardening, there will be baking (I found new cookie recipes) and cross stitching. This may switch from "oh cute he's in touch with his feminine side" to "Oh Ricky? I love being around him because I can be me, that's what I love about gay men, he's gay right?"
Me: At least you are doing this for your own place. I am doing this for a place I don't even live. I love this fabric by the way, but it is probably more of a me thing.
Actual image of fabric mentioned above.
As you can see it is a real worry for single men that if they do any normal domestic tasks they might be unfairly labeled as something they are not. So in the end the table looks amazing and Ricky is still single...ladies?

Bonus Round

Being a true bachelor I love old video games and the fact that if you did well there was a bonus round. I am proud of all of you for sticking with this article to the end so here you all go.

Recently I was speaking with a coworker about the upcoming events of the Lost Boys (my Mom has taken to calling us this because of the fact that we never seem to grow up). I mentioned things like the Opera, Roller Derby and camping because we are awesome and do awesome things awesomely. Her reply to this was as follows.
now it's near impossible to go camping with two babies
plus all our friends have kids too
so it would be a fiasco
live it up being single yo-

I am going to take that to heart and life it up while I am single. Like most good things I am sure it will come to an end, but as I have been told that in this case the good will be replaced with something better.

To make up for that sappy ending enjoy a Kinkade Godzilla

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Five Reasons Why the Gym is the Worst

With summer fast approaching we find ourselves scrambling to transition our bodies from pale, grotesque lumps of flesh to gleaming Adonises(Adoni?) and lady Adonises(Aphrodites I guess). We usually settle for something in the middle, but to get there we have to face a monster that might be worse than the social scorn wrought from having abs that are playing hide and seek in layers of fat. The foul beast goes by an inconspicuous name, but don't let the name fool you. It is evil to the core and it feeds off the pain and suffering of humans. This fearsome creature is none other than the gym. I will push through the pain and the post-traumatic stress to try and save you before it is too late by helping you see why the gym is the worst.

5. Locker room

As you first enter the gym like the frightened creature you are, your natural inclination is to head to the locker room so you can put on the appropriate attire or at the very least lock up your scant valuable possessions so you will have a means of egress once the hellish session is over. This feeling is a mistake. The locker room is something to be avoided, like an angry grizzly bear wielding duel samurai swords. Scratch that. I would never be able to not stare at a such a bear. I guess you should think of the locker room more as a place where old naked men congregate because that is actually what it is (I can only assume the ladies have this issue as well but with old ladies instead).

Once you step into that room you have unofficially struck an accord that you are willing to see the withered nether regions and that you will not complain as they maintain eye contact every second that you are in the process of changing. Don't blink because the moment your eyes reopen there will be more of them and they will be closer. Just like the weeping angels on Doctor Who, but with less clothing.


4. Curl Bros

After leaving the locker room you see that the gym is full of a variety of people. Most of them feel the same way about the gym that you do, so in that sense you have a bit of camaraderie. There are those others though, that make the gym a dark and dismal place. These fellows have been given the moniker of "Curl Bros". All of you who have visited the gym have seen one even if you were unaware of the name. These are the guys that like to sit around in super tight tank tops and lounge in front of the mirror curling. You might also see them using the squat rack to do more curls. Do they ever do leg work? No, because girls dig defined arms brah. Never mind that by ignoring their legs they look like inverted Christmas trees and not in a good way (I am assuming there is a good way).

Stupid drooling tree

One of these days I fear that I will see one of these Curl Bros collapse under the weight of their inflated arms and egos because their legs just can't hold up anymore. I fear this because if I am the only witness I will not help them and I will end up in Hell because this one act tipped the scales out of my favor. I can just see a stupid Curl Bro doing that to me on purpose somehow. Grrr. So if you or someone you know suffers from this disease, please cure them, because as we learned...

3. Sweat everywhere/smell

Do you want to know what smells amazing? If any of you guessed the gym I don't think we should be friends anymore. When you walk into a gym your nostrils get hit by a wall of the accumulated sweat and tears of thousands of tortured, unwashed souls. It makes your eyes water and weakens your resolve. It is a very powerful force to be sure, but you already walked in so you can't turn around because that makes you look like a quitter and you are no quitter. So you brave the odor and press on just to see that half of the machines are currently being occupied by the sweatiest beings in existence (one is probably me).

As you look on you see a veritable downpour of body water splashing over everything: the weights, the seats, the grips and the innocent bystanders (sorry about that one time Danny).  You know that they will attempt to wipe it all up with either an insufficient paper towel or a towel that has seen too much in his day and is contemplating ending it all, but they can never take that image out of your noggin. In the immortal words of Futurama "You've watched it and you can't un-watch it".

I think you all deserve a nice puppy break before we continue.

2. Feeling of being watched/overdoing it

After you get over your case of the ickies from the sweat you get into your routine. Things are going well. You are lifting things or moving your body and it is hard, but you know that is good for you because you were told so. After a moment you pause. You swear that you can feel eyes on the back of your neck and it fills you with a sense of foreboding. You quickly turn around, but see nothing. You make a quick double take and BAM you catch the perp in the act of watching you. I am not a pretty lady, but I still have people watch me work out and it makes me really self-conscious. Stop looking at me with those judging eyes! A part of it might be that I lift heavy things, but I still imagine that they are doing it for the sole purpose of making me feel awkward.

I know! Please stop, I am begging you.

Now that is has been established that you are being watched you feel obligated to do more than you planned. That bench press you were going to do clearly isn't manly enough or that speed you are running isn't nearly fast enough so everything gets turned up a notch. It doesn't matter that you can't do more, you still try. Your muscles ache and you feel your sides attempting to split from the cramping pain, but still you soldier on for that random stranger watching you.

 If you are lucky you have a spotter that will see you dying and come in to help. For those less fortunate and foolhardy that have no spotter it is much worse. As you struggle to thrust the weight skyward you hit a wall. Not a real one, but one that feels solid enough that is causes your elbows to shake and that shakiness passes from the elbow to the rest of the arm and leaves the whole a mass of squiggling jelly. At this wall there is no passing go and there is nowhere for the weight to go but down, and down it comes. It falls down with a sudden force that causes the air to rush out of your lungs and as you struggle to regain your breath you begin an awkward slide/shuffle that will allow you to slip out from the bar's grasp and onto the floor. From the ground you begin to gather together your wits and gain your bearing, you look around and you see that now there is a whole gaggle of people looking at you. They were drawn in by the clanging weights and the scent of fear and embarrassment.

Nope, nothing wrong over here.

1. Next morning/overdoing it cont'd

After suffering that humiliating defeat you finally start to get a rhythm going. You are going between machines and benches and going through reps like it ain't no thang. You had set a limit on what you were going to do before you got there, but what does past you know about your abilities? Nothing is what. So you breeze past your limit because it doesn't really hurt that much at the time. Little did you know that past you was trying to save the future you from current you's stupidity.

You headed home feeling like you had done some good work. You managed to survive the gym and all its horrors. You curl into bed looking forward to drifting off into peaceful slumber. The next morning you hear your alarm and you think that today is going to be a great day, until you try to extend your arm out to stop that racket. What is wrong with you? The mere act of moving in any way is causing you to whimper like a nerd that just saw someone open a packaged 1978 vinyl cape jawa so a child could play with it (darn kids). In that moment you discover that you have muscles that you never knew existed and they all hate you and are attempting to prove it.

What in the hell is an abductor and why won't it stop?!

Overdoing your workout is a mistake that most new gym goers and a lot of seasoned vets make. It'll make simple things like going to the bathroom (squats) and washing your back (shoulder and bench press) nigh on impossible. I will admit that there is chance that a tear has managed to squeeze its way out of my face the day after overdoing a leg day. It isn't pretty to see and it is much worse to feel. So keeping that in mind you should do yourself a favor and listen to past you and stick to what you had planned.

I know that the picture I painted of the gym isn't pretty. In fact it was downright ugly, but remember that the gym does have some good in it as well. A healthy you is a good thing, right? You bet your britches it is. So even though there are some things at the gym that are less than awesome, just soldier through them and press on, because taking the gym head on that is the only way to defeat this beast and you are a winner.