16 February 2007

Tashe Dalek, Yo!

Snow cornice. Hurricane Hill trail, Olympic National Park. If you're looking for
a place to freeze every single one of you 'nards off during Lunar New Year,
I can't think of a more beautiful place to do it.


Tashe muthaphukkin' dalek, and a Gung to the Hay to the Phat to the Choy! It's Lunar New Year, yo! It's 2133, Year of the Boar! Hope this letter finds you eating something made of pork, which in Chinese medicine is a warming food. (Although, don't get me wrong, I can't really endorse the eating of pork since I'm a vegetarian and all. But as I recall your diet consists of about 68% pork so I'm probably correct in assuming that you are reading this with a bag of chicharrons in one hand and a ham hock in the other whether I like it or not.)

Instead of staying in Chinatown and watching my little dog freak right the hell out over all the firecrackers and whatnot I decided to split town, hit the frozen road and do some snowshoeing.

Wait! Wait! I have to tell you something funny that happened even though it has nothing to do with Lunar New Year. Last week I was walking back to the office after lunch and I was just about right in front of the building when I encountered a lady out walking a great big beautiful golden Lab. Musta weighted about 150 pounds. Real pretty dog. So I asked her if I could pet her dog and she said yes - but, "Watch it. He jumps." So I put my hand down there by his snout to let him sniff it and BANG! The dog totally fucking tackles me and - more startling still - starts making those earnest, arduous gyrations that dogs are wont to make in fits of sexual passion. I don't know if you've seen me recently but I'm fifteen and three-quarter stone heavy and eighteen and a half hands high. It takes a shitload of sex-crazed Labrador to knock me down. So the lady starts screaming "CHICO! CHICO! GET DOWN! JESUS CHRIST, GET DOWN!" And I was wondering to myself - while being dry-humped with all the might and mechanical determination of the steam hammer that killed off John Henry - whether the lady knew what the word "jump" actually meant. Once I had wrested myself free from her dog's unsolicited - er - embrace and got to my feet I wanted to say, "Ma'am, your dog doesn't jump. It does something that rhymes with jump. But it does not in fact jump. Get my drift?" But by the time I got my shit back together she was throwing all of her weight into the dog's lead and dragging it off up the street.

As usual, I have digressed. Onward now.

So anyhoo, Teresa and I rounded up some friends and rented a cabin Wayne the Hell out in the wilds of Port Angeles (where the yards are more plentifully sown with rotting Volkswagens than a beach-hippie's crack is sown with grains of sand) and made a snowshoeing weekend of it. T'was a gaye auld tyme. We went to one of our usual summertime stomping grounds, Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. It's a whole different ball of wax (or snow) in the wintertime, though. We decided to take a pretty easy trail that we'd done in the summer a bunch of times: the Hurricane Hill trail. Well, in the summer it's a walk and in the winter it's a freakin' trek, especially with tennis rackets on your feet and snow and 40MPH winds stomping you in the face most of the way. Although don't get me wrong, it was still a blast and a half and rather a hefty workout, and the stunning beauty of the park in winter was more than sufficient fuel for the usual breathless exclamations of love, sacrifice and self-enucleation.

Can I stop right here and do some product endorsements? First, let me just say that there's nothing like brewing up a cup of Boyd's Country Creme with your JetBoil on a snow-covered ridge at 5,500 feet after having trekked a few miles on the best goddamn snowshoes ever. The tenacious grip and feather-like weight of the MSR Lightning Ascent makes snowshoeing a - well I won't say breeze, but it makes it way nicer than doing it with queen sized bedframes of beaver sinew on your feet like the Cheechakos used to do. We were lucky that one of our party - Tami Fairweather, the most mirthful person on this otherwise drab planet - (No, seriously. It's a huge compliment. -Ed.) works for Cascade Designs and five-fingered us a few pairs of these bad boys from the promo pile at the office. Her promotional ploy worked. I shall purchase my own pair anon.

Wait - another word about Boyd's real quick. Every other beverage they produce blows. Their coffee is simply atrocious. You should use it to stun tobacco beetles or something but for God's sake don't drink it. And it probaby took the combined brainpower of thirteen marketing executives to come up with the term "Country Creme" for something that is essentially hot egg nog made from chemicals that would otherwise be sprayed on tenement rats. But with all that said, it's goddamn delicious.

Final product endorsement, then I gotta skeedaddle. The guys from Tempur-Pedic are coming over to replace my box spring. They didn't even quibble for a second when I told them that my box spring was squeaking. They're just up and replacing it - snap - like that. Now that's service. They should be here any minute so I gotta run. Have a looksee at the photos from our trip below.

Cheers, and Happy New Year!


13 February 2007

Uncle To The 26th Power

Pull my finger: Something tells me that at least one of these guys is somebody's
batshit-crazy uncle. So this is what I have to look forward to.


I'm going to tell you something that may surprise you. These letters that I write to you are not private. In fact, they are "posted" on a "blog" called "Dear Gregory" where literally "hundreds" of "people" "read" them.

Now let me tell you something that will surprise you even less. Our niece Morgan gave birth yesterday at 5:10PM to our newest grand-niece, a linebacker of an infant girl (8 lbs. 10 oz., 21") named Mina. That brings our nephew/niece total to 26. We are now uncles to the 26th power.

Just stick with me. All of this seemingly disparate information does have a singular point.

Back to the "blog" issue. Last month, I installed sophisticated tracking code on this blog which enables me to see exactly how many people are reading it and exactly wherefrom. It also tells me which installments get the most "hits". (Ask me to slow down if all this heady technical jargon is too "much" for you.) What I have discovered from reading the data produced by my new analytics tool is that people everywhere simply love farts. As a matter of fact, people love farts five times more than they love philanthropy. Here's my proof. Of all the letters I've written to you, the one about farts scored five times as many page hits as the lowest scoring page (which was essentially about philanthropy). And the "fart" entry set an all-time record for number of hits from any entry point - and - and - it was read worldwide. Wimbledon, Valencia, Madrid, Paris, Budapest, Beijing - all God's chilluns love they farts. Yes they does.

However, people read about farts much more quickly than they read about philanthropy. People spend about 3 minutes ripping through an installment on farts, whereas they spend a dawdling 16 minutes on installments about philanthropy.

OK, so - how does this figure in with the astounding number of nieces and nephews we have in common? Lord knows I can't even remember most of their names. Who are they again? Let's see if I can keep a running total - John's kids: Gabe, who has four kids, so that's five; Camiya plus her three kids - so that's nine - Brendon has two...or three? - I'll spot him one, so that's thirteen total now for that one sibling. You've got none, so that's easy. Sgt. Rock's kids: Phaedra - fourteen - Alowan - fifteen - Morgan plus one - sixteen, seventeen. And our sister - she has ten. Whoah, that's twenty seven! But that takes into account Brendon's extra mystery kid that I may have just made up (let's call him Shmendrick), so it may just be 26 after all. Well, anyway you slice it, that's a buttload of kids. It's like somebody got out the baby hose and sprayed it in every direction.

So with that many nieces and nephews of ours crawling the planet, it's a pretty good bet that some of them read this blog. And if they read this blog, then according to my fancy new analytics tool, they love farts.

Here's a tip, kids, if you're reading this: don't tell anyone we're related. You know why? I'll tell you. One day you're going to be somewhere, maybe somewhere far away, maybe some place where they read this blog, like China. And you're going to be in a Starbucks in Beijing and some guy is gonna come up to you and he's gonna say (in Chinese), "Hey, do you read 'Dear Gregory'?" And you're gonna say, "Read it?! I'm freakin' related to that guy!" And then all of a sudden the guy's gonna point at you and scream "You love farts!" And then pretty soon everybody in the place is going to be screaming "you love farts!" in Chinese. And you're gonna feel pretty crunchy. And then they're going to put you in a labor camp where you'll be forced to build the Victory Over The Fart-Loving Roundeye Memorial Dam. And that'll pretty much be it for you. Done deal. Game over.

Look, all of this may sound like lunatic ravings to you and there's a very simple reason why it does: because it is. But every little kid out there needs to have a crazy uncle who spews rambling, nonsensical yarns to the point of glossolalia, don't you think? A friend of mine had an Uncle Carl who used to raid buffets at the funerals of complete strangers while wearing a Santa hat. Nobody said shit to Uncle Carl and he was always well fed. Never had a grocery bill in his life. People gave him a wide berth and a bottle of suds and let him be. I learned from Carl's example that pretty much anything you want is attainable, provided you're willing to compromise a big, thick slice of your dignity to get it. I always wanted an uncle who was about that nuts. Then one day I looked around at a crowd of my nieces and nephews who were laughing their fool heads off because I had my suit on backwards and was talking gibberish, and you know what I realized? I realized that crazy old Uncle Carl was me. (Only thing missing is the Santa hat. -Ed.) So yeah, with 26 (27?) nieces and nephews, I figure I have to be able muster up enough crazy to go all the way around.

I'm rambling now, but like I said, that's exactly what crazy old uncles are supposed to do. They're supposed to ramble and tell fart jokes. So far I'm doing pretty damn good, dontcha think?

Pull my finger,