10 February 2006

Squirrels Grabbed My Nut Sack

I know how you feel. Posted by Picasa


I went and officially cracked the seal on Hiking Season '06 yesterday with an 8-mile round trip hike up Mount Si. I've done that hike a few times before, but this is my first time doing it during tit-freezing season. Nobody told me that it was still winter up at the top. I checked the freezing levels, which were at something like 5-6k yesterday when I went up, but again - nobody told Mount Si that, and it decided that freezing levels oughtta be well below 3k. No wait - it decided that I personally should freeze every single one of my teats off, and so endeavored to help me in that regard.

Other item of note: There were squirrels. But more about that in a moment.

The first three miles of the trail were unremarkable, save for the fact it was fairly warm by February in the Northwest standards - about 56 degrees. But the last mile to the summit was nothing but hard-packed snow and ice. Were I wise enough to bring along cleats and poles, I would've been just fine. However, I am anything but wise, and therefore spent a great deal of time falling on my ass and grabbing at the branches of saplings as though I were a soul of the damned being pulled from the lake of fire. My lug soles didn't do much on the ice except to turn me into some kind of spastic Hans Brinker, with my arms violently windmilling for all of nature to see.

So I sweat buckets for the first three miles, and then froze for the last mile. Luckily I brought along my wantonly bourgeoise fashion statement of a North Face parka (fully accessorized with North Face gloves) and some ice goggles that proved to be indispensible. Nothing sucks worse than snowblindness, and the weather was perfect for it - nothing but ice below and not a cloud in the sky above.

At the summit, I picked out a spot that was in the sun but protected from the wind, and got out my bag of trail mix and a Power Bar and sat down to have a snack and drink in the glory.

Then the shakedown started.

First it was the mountain jays who started eyeballing me. I made the mistake of offering them some nuts, which they eagerly snapped up straight from the palm of my hand. Then the squirrels came around, snapping their tails and barking. So I figured what the hell, I might as well give them a little something. Well, as you know with squirrels, it's "give 'em a nut and they take the whole sack". Suddenly I heard a shriek from behind me ("Nuts are for the people, man!"), and in a trice I had squirrels caroming off my back while the jays attacked from the air. So I did the manly thing, which was to scream like a girl and wrest my nut sack from the bushy-tails' grasp, and then scamper away flailing my arms. The hike down pretty much consisted of me tobogganing down the trail on my ass to the hoots and jeers of tiny rodents.

This reminds me of a quote from the movie "The Game", starring Micheal Douglas and Sean Penn, which is: "they [bleep] you and they [bleep] you, and just when you think they're done [bleep]ing you, that's when the real [bleep]ing starts!" - which is to say that nature is all fine and good until it starts to be all natural and shit. And by "natural" I mean when squirrels start kicking my ass. Bears I can handle. Cougars, sure fine. They got books on that kind of stuff. But squirrels? They're everywhere, man! What if a bear could break into a hundred tiny bears and grab your nut sack? Think about it. It's truly frightening. And what are squirrels but tiny, tiny bears? I rest my case.

So I went down to REI and bought a six-gallon tub of squirrel repellent. Hopefully that'll take me through the rest of the season. However, if I should be taken down by a gang of squirrels in the North Woods, please tell people at my funeral that it was a gang of tiny bears instead.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.


07 February 2006

People Are Reading Your Mail

Who am the Gregory? This basalt effigy,
recently unearthed in Mesopotamia, bears a
chilling resemblance to my brother Greg.


It may surprise you right out of your ruffly under-drawers to learn this, but other people are reading your mail. And by "your mail" I mean this blog. And by "this blog" I mean this thing that I write on the InterWeb because I'm too goddamn cheap to continue purchasing Crane's 100% rag stationery ($1.80/sheet) and stamps (five shillings fuppence) instead of burning up 100% FREE photons that are my God-guaranteed right to consume. In other words, this blog costs me nothing, and I haven't lost a cent if you don't write back. Considering the cost effectiveness of blog vs. US Post, I'm perfectly comfortable with putting your correspondence on what amounts to flypaper for the world's eyeballs and letting the everyone know that you wear ruffly under-drawers.

Speaking of postal spies - it may interest you to hear what Christiaan van Vliet, a reader of your mail and Ween enthusiast recently relocated to beautiful Salem, OR (and who incidentally goes by the sobriquet "Glasses Bitch"), had to say:

I really can't wait for the Superbowl to be over,Thaddeus. I mean, when did you turn all ghey (sic) for the football? Sheesh. Every week I look forward to my copy of Dear Gregory for insightful and witty prose, not sports commentary. Although, you're better than George Plimpton, I gotta give you that...

Now I don't care that Sr. van Vliet (of the Zuyder Zee van Vliets) doesn't like the football or the commentary that goes with the football or the fact that I am ghey for the football. I am overjoyed that Mssr. van Vliet actually responded. Which is something that you do not do, save for using the 2-Way Telephonics Device. And I'm beginning to suspect that your story about losing both hands in a fluke accident involving an electric drafting eraser is just so much hooey. If you have a helper monkey like you say you do, then you should stop having it wax your bikini line and teach it to type instead.

So yeah, people are not just reading your mail, but are also submitting unsolicited (but not unwelcome) critiques of the content. Also of interest should be this comment from Tim:

Is Gregory a real person?

So yes, to confirm your existence, you should probably dictate a letter to your helper monkey which I will reprint right here in this space. This will prove to the world once and for all that this blog is an actual correspondence, and that I'm not just using my imaginary brother as a gimmick/motif for my rambling commentary on Buddhism, coffee, poetry, depression, and how ghey I am for the football.

Is your monkey ready? Begin!


PS: You must realize that your response may also predicate the existence of our older brother Sgt. Rock and of course our "tweener" brother John. Viz., you will no longer be able to claim that you are the dauphin, as you are so fond of doing at parties.

PPS: It should be pointed out that I am ghey for the football, but it's Teresa's fault. She made me watch the Super Bowl ecks ecks ecks vee aye aye back in ought two and I was hooked.

PPPS: Although you know that I can go on ad infinauseum about the football, there is no commentary on Super Bowl XL in this blog because it seems that every helper monkey on earth that has access to a keyboard is already doing that. I thought it'd be overkill.

P4S: Every time you respond to this blog, a Jesus gets its wings. -TRG