Monthly Archives: January 2012

My Manliest Day

I’ve already talked about how unmanly I am. And now I’m going to again, in hope that rehashing a topic will allow me to sneakily circumvent the writer’s block that’s been dropped square in front of me like a henge of stone erected by anti-creativity druids.

Like writer’s block, my distinct lack of virility is a condition that plagues me day and night and dusk and dawn and all those obscure times in between (the witching hour?).

Sure, balding may be related to high levels of testosterone, but our backward and unforgiving culture still places a premium on a nice, masculine head of hair. But the head is the only place they want it! Thanks to the oily and sparkling likes of Brad Pitt and Robert Pattinson, hair has become a thing to be reviled and waxed away. Gone are the Connery’s and the Hasselhoff’s, replaced by pretty boys who do nothing to convince women that my massive quantities of shoulder and back hair are in any way desirable.

With the super bowl coming up and my friends still making fun of me for my womanly hands and inability to burp (which makes chugging beer an impossibility), I felt it important to reassert whatever masculinity I had left.

This is the story of my manliest day.

Perennial friend Tom was in town for a visit, and I think some of his man-essence rubbed off on me when we chest-bump-greeted each other.

Tom’s an officer in the marines, trained through sweat and blood and things that look like tears but are actually just blood-sweat dripping near his eyes. This is a man who loves American football with a healthy, brazen disinterest for any sport lauded in other countries. Ever since Prometheus graced our race with the gift of fire, true men have been natural born grillers, and Tom is no different. He honors the Titan’s sacrifice with his expertly roasted corn, delicious vegetable medleys, and most importantly, perfectly charred eagle meat.

And now he was at my apartment, helping bar mitzvah the crap out of me.

The first thing we do when he shows up is crank some Linkin Park to its full, screamy volume and step outside into the courtyard. Next, we remove our shirts, brazenly flaunting the double standard which allows we men to be topless in public. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about equality, especially concerning this particular topic, but as long as the law favors the harsher sex, I’m going to flaunt my nipples at every opportunity.

As a marine, Tom was well aware that unlike Samson, modern day “bros” draw strength from a lack of hair, so we power up a razor. As “Bleed it Out” blares into the waning light, we shave each other’s heads and damn well leave the chest hair alone. Passers-by are stunned by our increasing virility, boosted with every swipe of the blade. I think the scene may have been undercut a bit by our singing along to Linkin Park, though. Especially since we changed the words to “shave it off, cut it shorter, just to sweep it away!”

Newly badass, we hit the freakin’ gym, dawg, cause it’s time to get our swell on. On the way in to getting’ big, we hella flirt with the receptionist, and she’s totally diggin’ our swag. Sure that one of us would tap that later, we give each other a fist bump and head to the weight rack to pump some serious iron and get cut. There are a ton of bros there, so we give them fist bumps too and say, “Sup, bro?” They say “Sup, bro?” And even if we don’t know a guy, we throw him the “Yeah dude. We totally work out” head nod.

Feeling swoll, our guns loaded with blood and looking huge, we get back to the man cave with just seconds to spare before the most sacred of all endeavors begins: the fantasy football draft. We can’t go straight to the draft, though, cause we gotta have our post workout protein shake with creatine. We toss two scoops into some milk and drink the crap out of it. It tastes almost like food.

It may have cost me in the draft, but I’d been a man for a few hours now, and in that short time, I’d learned that you never, ever miss your post workout protein shake. We transition into beer (the nice kind—that comes in bottles!), and start scouring the internet for player predictions, arguing furiously over injury potential, ability to make big plays, and whether or not it’s morally acceptable to draft the evil, cocky, cheating, Tom Brady, who always defeats the Chargers in the playoffs then goes home and smirks about it while sticking it to his Victoria’s Secret model wife (consensus: it is immoral, though the person who did draft him ended up winning the league—that bastard).

I’d never felt more American than in this moment, drafting fantasy football players with a marine while drinking beer. Plus, we’re listening to country music. We sit there, reveling in the greatness of our fine country and thinking patriotic thoughts, images of voting flashing through our heads. Voting, followed by thoughts of mindless consumerism, thanksgiving dinners, global ignorance, and eating pie in the back of a red pickup truck on the way to a reenactment of the American revolution. If there’s something more patriotic than that, I’d like to see it.

Draft complete, we find ourselves too manfully energized to attempt anything akin to sleep, our muscles alive with awesomeness. But how to pass the time at this hour? We’re already drunk. We’d already worked out and hit on girls and shaved our heads. And neither of us feel like getting into any fights or building anything with power tools. If not that, then what?

In a moment of perfect mental harmany, we look at each other and, like two girls excited about manicures, simultaneously squeal, “Fight Club!”

The next two hours were spent watching Edward Norton and Brad Pitt beat the shit out of each other in the most primal display of raw masculinity ever to grace the silver screen. I’d never seen it before, and my life was forever changed. I wanted to thank Tom for all that he had taught me, but, warmed by alcohol and images of men fighting each other just to be able to feel something in a world bereft of any true emotion, I fell asleep.

But when I awoke, there was no sign that Tom had ever been there. The only hair on the porch outside was blonde, and half the beers remained untouched. My friends had seen us together at the gym, hadn’t they?

Hadn’t they?

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for the future, in which the writer’s block may have been lifted by the crane of inspiration, who, with a mighty caw, will hopefully muse some thoughts into my brain.

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Housekeeping

I have food poisoning. Which is all well and good except for the fact that it poisons not just my stomach, but my inspiration. As we all know, inspiration is the sous-chef of humor, and when the sous-chef eats a morsel of toxic orange chicken, the kitchen of hilarity is reduced to shambles, forced to serve second-rate blog dishes peppered with metaphoric excuses rather than jokes.

That’s why this week, instead of pulling the usual all-nighter to perfect something hilarious, we’re going to simply do a bit of housekeeping. I apologize for the lack of entertainment, but if you want a villain to blame, choose Panda Express.

Keep in mind that any laughter you may experience during this poison-addled post is purely incidental. However, if you need someone to lie on a couch moaning incessantly, or if by chance you have an excess of saltine crackers and no idea what to do with them, then I’m your man.

Now, onto the housekeeping. Firstly, we’ve won a few more awards over the past weeks, but until recently, I’ve been road tripping, and have had little time to consider addressing them in Thursday posts. Even squeaking out our usual Tuesday affair was a bit of a challenge, but at least I made friends with a lot of hotel night clerks who wondered why I was up until 6 a.m. in their lobbies.

Award Section of Post:

So long Middle School Bowling Champion medal. Move over Little League Sportsmanship trophy. There’s new kids on the block—even if they are inhuman, two-dimensional kids. That’s right; those new virtual children down the street are the Versatile, Liebster, and Kreativ Blog/ger Awards.

I’ve never felt so versatile, having received the award from both the hilarious Live Nerd Repeat and the alliterative Mommy’s Moments. And though I appreciate this symbol of approval, I think there’s been some sort of mistake. Reasonably Ludicrous isn’t particularly versatile. That word brings to mind images of a Swiss Army Knife or an Autobot, or maybe even Sandra Bullock that year she was in The Blind Side and All About Steve.

But so far all of our posts have been some sort of anecdotal story coupled with Sam’s art. Like a palm tree, we haven’t done a lot of branching out.

Then again, maybe I am versatile. I cooked some food one time, and I know how to skimboard. I can take care of cats reasonably well, and I’m pretty good at reading words. Maybe they’re not saying I’m versatile at blogging, but that, because of the stories I’ve told, they can tell I’m a blogger who is versatile: a versatile blogger!

Ah, well, that makes sense. Thanks guys!

As for the Liebster Blog award, Google Translate tells me that “liebster” means “dearest” in German. I guess it’s good to know that Reasonably Ludicrous is someone’s dearest blog, though I’m not sure I trust the superlative nature of this translation. After all, how can we be Live Nerd Repeat’s dearest blog if he gave the award out to seven other people? Seven!

And finally the Kreativ Blogger award, which came from Thoughts from a Jaded Heart. You see, the very title of the award is an example of itself, because they’ve spelled the word “creative” creatively. Very clever, award. Very clever indeed.

Some of these awards require you to share things about yourself. As any of my readers could tell you, this prospect frightens me, for I’ve never really put myself out there on the internet. Even so, I’ll try my best.

1. Once, when I was a baby, my parents spilled spaghetti on my head, scalding it. I think the heat burned the concept of spaghetti into my brain, ’cause I’ve loved it ever since. Science!

2. My favorite book series is George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, and the fact that the HBO show exists make me unthinkably happy.

3. I have four more things to come up with.

4. I almost got an Astronomy minor, but my brain cannot comprehend standard physics (see # 1). I have no idea how blocks slide on frictionless ramps, and springs remain mysterious forces of chaos.

5. My family used to own a pet chicken. It was evil, and its favorite activity was the pecking of humans. That being said, at least it never gave me food poisoning.

6. After some deliberation, I have decided that I dislike food poisoning.

7. I once beat a chess FIDE master, but he was only 15 and I don’t think he was paying much attention. It was during lunch break and he was playing a lot of games at once.

We’re supposed to pass this award on to 15 other blogs, but in the name of being miserly and having already awarded most of our favorite blogs, and in an effort to slow down the rapid spread of this rather positive chain-awarding, we’ll just link back to our last two acceptance posts. Check out the blogs we nominated those times. They’re awesome!

Other housekeeping!

If you like to read Reasonably Ludicrous things, we’ve added an FAQ, which should provide not only sagacious insight, but mild question and answer–based entertainment as well.

I also created a Store page with descriptions so amusing that you may be tricked into buying something. But seriously, I’m not even trying to hawk merchandise at you. I’m just kind of proud of the write-ups.

In messing around with wordpress options, I seem to have accidentally created a Gallery of my favorite artwork of Sam’s. I’m not sure what it accomplishes really, but I like looking at it.

On the right-hand sidebar, I’ve added a new links section with just one thing. It’s a video my friend made, parodying the lyrics of party rock anthem via the glory of MS Paint. I think it’s pretty awesome.

Until next time, this is Reasonably Ludicrous, signing out!

Stay tuned for next week, in which Russ overcomes his disease and writes something with actual content!

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I Am a Nature God!

For the record, all of these animal encounters are 100% true.

Do you ever step outside, only to get the feeling that mother nature has it out for you, and, like the villain of a bad mystery novel, is bent on exacting only the most unexpected forms of revenge? I once felt that way. Every journey into the great outdoors was an offensive into a hostile environment filled with petal-covered trebuchets launching pollen spores at my sinuses.

I’ve collapsed from heat stroke and hypothermia, battled off armies of ticks, and nearly been struck by lightning. Cats have scratched me, birds have pooped on me, and skunks have sprayed me. Bees of both the common and bumble variety have pumped their poison into my flesh, and every time I go to Sea World I get the distinct impression that the fish are leering at me.

I began to fear nature at a very young age when some decidedly unpatriotic Raccoons laid waste to my green plastic army men. I used to love arranging those guys into epic battles between imagined nations. But one night I left my troops in a particularly dramatic tableau, and when I woke up, I found that neither The United States of Awesome nor Soviet Russ were any match for the great nation of Raccoon.

As time passed and I grew up, Nature began to raise the stakes. Every summer, unable to resist the water’s clarion call, I’d venture  into the  sea, only to be stung by literally hundreds of Jellyfish, apparently hell-bent on irritating my calves.

But one jellyfish is ruler of them all: The Portuguese Man of War. It’s a massive array of blue tentacles, topped with a purple, nightmarish Mohawk, and filled with enough deadly venom to kill a small yak. I’d never given the creature much thought, but one day, when I was snorkeling through the pristine Hawaiian waters, I suddenly found my neck wrapped in tentacles.

I flailed about, managing to informatively sputter “I am inside a jellyfish!” Driven, undoubtedly, by anti-poison instincts, I tore at the tentacles with my bare hands, ripping through them as if they were mere strands of gelatinous creature-parts, then high-tailed it for shore. The rest of the day was spent icing down the huge red welt trails that made it look as if I’d befallen some mishap whilst enjoying a bit of sadomasochism.

The attacks didn’t stop as I grew older. On a visit to Alcatraz, I was repeatedly dive-bombed by a fury-gull, either because I’d inadvertently gotten too close to her nest or because she was a prisoner reincarnate, displeased that I was desecrating the jail grounds of her past life. On a canoeing trip down the Colorado river, I got 48 mosquito bites in a single night, despite being covered in head-to-toe netting and repeatedly coating myself in noxious waves of bug repellant. My best friend only got 2, neither of which was on his eyelid. And once, during a solar eclipse, Fire Ants swarmed me, perhaps incensed that I had blotted out their god.

And just last spring, at the opening of X-Men: First Class, I was bitten by a black widow. I didn’t find out that that was the creature responsible until the week after, however. I only felt a tingling on my unguarded toe, and when I tried to scratch it, (unknowingly angering the spider that had made my foot his new residence), I found myself in excruciating pain. In the name of cinema, I did my best to ignore it.

But by the next morning, my foot had swollen to twice its normal size, I had the poison shakes, and my temperature was a healthy 103. I had to cancel my second ever Vegas trip, and since the movie was on a Friday afternoon, I couldn’t go to a doctor until Monday.

In the end, I concluded I’d been bitten during the wrong superhero movie. If it had starred Peter Parker instead of Beast, maybe I would’ve ended up with the ability to stick to walls instead of having giant blue feet.

But back to the list.

A Squirrel bit me while I was feeding it, prompting my mom to hysterically demand I be tested for rabies, Kookaburras are always laughing at me, and once a Coyote stole an entire pie from me on a camping trip!

For years, I was sure that nature had it out for me, that no matter what I did, the creatures of the world would conspire with clicks, chirps, and roars to rain down on me as many bites and stings as possible.

But I had it all wrong, you see. Nature doesn’t hate me. It loves me!

I AM A NATURE GOD!

You may think it’s just the leftover venom coursing through my veins talking, but for the first time I’m finally seeing things clearly. Pollen wants to party in my sinuses. The sun wants to caress me the only ray it knows how, and the raccoons thought they were defending me from an enemy army. It all makes so much sense!

If you were a skunk and all you had to offer was your spray, would you not gladly give it up to prove your devotion? Would not the bees break off their stingers in my skin, an insectoid sacrifice in honor of their lord? The Man of War was giving me a tentacle-y hug, and Mosquitoes merely think they’re following doctrine when they drink my blood. I bet they even go home and eat wafers afterward.

I was so focused on the hurts nature had enacted upon me that I forgot the joy of it all. I forgot the time that Blue Jay landed in my hand and chattered away happily as though life were a Disney film. I forgot the feeling of catching a wave beside a playful Dolphin, of petting a Cat curled happily on my lap, and of hiking through the woods, light sprinkling the forest floor with half-obscured rays that shine through the dancing leaves of the trees.

For every horrific encounter, there’s the time I was surrounded by a kaleidoscope of Monarch Butterflies passing through on their annual migration, or the night I swam in the Red Tide,  the trails of my strokes aglow with surreal blue light.

Why else would a Guinea pig have made a pilgrimage to my house, if not to choose me as a master? Why else would a South African Turaco appear in my neighborhood, if not to delight us with its exotic songs? Why else, on that rainy night when I took shelter beneath the arches of a church, did hundreds of bats encircle me, wings glinting in the moonlight?

Like the rain god from So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, I am forever cursed with the unwavering love of the creatures of the world, and no matter how much I try to deny the truth, I will never be able to rebuke their devotional bites and stings.

So I might as well embrace it. Next time I see a bear, I think I’ll go say hi.

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