March 15, 2009

Bear Grylls Split an Atom with His Bare Hands

[Editor's note: this day is a sad day for us, as it is the last Selection Sunday that we will get to enjoy for the next two years. This got me thinking - the five days that we collectively will miss most next year are, in no particular order: Selection Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday, Pi Day, April Fools' Day and Christmas.]

When I was little, I thought someday my life would be like that of Ken Griffey Jr. or Chris Sabo. My brother and I even used to dress up as them for Halloween, and most days in the summer. (I'm guessing Zhou did the same thing, although I have yet to see the pictures.) I think we did this so we could understand exactly how they felt as they wore their jerseys from door to door asking for candy. (As an aside, below is what Zhou and I now look like, with our friend Jing / Dot.)

But years passed, dreams died and reality set in. And over the past couple of months, I have finally figured out whose path I will follow. Zhou, if you're reading this, sorry to break the news to you this way, but it looks like we're heading down the path of Bear Grylls and Les Stroud.

For those of you who know nothing more than that Bear has a ridiculously awesome name and Les could be the punch line to the joke "What was the man after he dropped his shorts?" then please go turn on Discovery Channel right now. Fast forward through Dirty Jobs and Wreckreation Nation (you can do that these days, right?) and head straight for Man vs. Wild and Survivorman.

Man vs. Wild is a show about a man (Bear Grylls) and the wild (desolate locations around the world). Bear lives up to his name - he climbs down waterfalls, through bat-infested caverns, under massive glaciers... wherever his carefully planned out show takes him. He also eats everything imaginable, from live frogs and scorpions to bear poop and animal carcasses (I guess Zhou will have to be Bear). The only downfall to his show is that a camera crew follows him everywhere he goes, making one wonder how cool a show about his camera crew would be.

Survivorman is a show about a man (Les Stroud) and the wild (desolate locations around the world). Les lives up to his name - he does everything a little less dramatically than Bear. However, in a way he is more impressive, as he is stranded alone for a week with with pretty much nothing more than his camera gear, and he is an accomplished harmonica player (harmonican?).

Thoroughly hooked on these shows now, I feel that I have seen every location on earth, and they all have one thing in common: they are bleak and isolated, and without the right survival techniques, you'll be lucky to make it out alive. With this new knowledge, Zhou and I have two choices: cancel our trip or get the right survival techniques. And since we have already spent a quarter of our budget for next year, we're not canceling our trip. So the DVR is stocked full of our two new favorite shows (no, not Tool Academy and For the Love of Ray J), and we're taking notes.

One thing I've noticed is that it doesn't take a trip around the world to conform to the ways of Bear and Les. For instance, I cooked spaghetti the other day. When the noodles looked about ready, I pulled one of the more wriggly ones out of the pot and attempted to bite off the end as if it were a live snake. With an awful grimace, I forced the snake / noodle down, pausing as I finished to tell no one in particular, "Yech, that was horrible, but full of the protein I need to survive in these rugged conditions."

Lack of food isn't the only danger we will face as we fly Cathay Pacific from one foreboding location to the next. We will also encounter many bears. One of the most important things we've learned is that not all bears should be treated the same way. Grizzly bears will ignore you and let you be as long as you are quiet. However, they will most certainly eat you and your loved ones if you make any sudden movements or noises. Black bears, on the other hand, are scared of noise. Make as big of a ruckus as you can and they will run away, but act stealthy and they will rip you to shreds. Wait, maybe I have the two reversed... but that's beside the point. The point is, bear safety is key and you need the right survival techniques to avoid disaster.

While we're not fighting bears, we'll be sending postcards (and making smooth transitions into the next paragraph), so with that...

Puzzles for Postcards:
Although a bit easy, the VQ seemed to go over well and we will begin working it into the rotation. However, we are running out of Charlotte postcards, and we are sure you're running out of eagerness to receive Charlotte postcards. So after this week, we have decided to vary up the game a little until we leave. From our next post until September, the person who solves the most puzzles will get to write a guest blog entry if he/she so chooses. (Please remember that this blog will be one of the hottest things on the internet by September, and you will therefore be famous.) In addition, we will continue adding your name to the list of winners. In the meantime, our final postcard for the time being will be sent to whomever solves the following:

It's Safe to Say "Seven Dirty Words" is Funnier Than This Anagram:

"Why did the ninth spy get tan pots? He wanted to test ten tags!"

Scrabble Games: 28 (full log)
Zhou WPLB: 15; 359; 401; STUNTEd, WEDGIES
Kevin WPLB: 13; 366; 359; RETINAL

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