Your Trip Report Is Boring

Before we get started, I need you to know that this is not directed at you. At least, not you personally. I love all the blogs and all the stories of all my friends. This is more directed at you, in general. You, the internet. It pains me to say this, although not as much as it pains me to keep clicking on these links. Your trip report is boring and I don’t want to read it.

I get the impulse. A lot of you out there are doing some pretty cool stuff. Some of you are riding motorcycles around the world. Some of you are skiing improbable lines in exotic locales. Pretty much all of you have done something in the last year or so that’s worth sharing a beer over, and you’ve probably heard, “you should keep a trip report blog so we can follow along!”. But if someone’s going to go out of their way to pull up your story and skimread it at a red light or during their morning poop, keep in mind that there’s basically three reasons a person is interested in what you have to say.

  1. They care deeply about you as a human. This is the aunts. The Godparents. That kid you went on a few dates with like 10 years ago who, unbeknownst to you, wonders every day if you were the one who got away and scours the internet for any hint of what your life is like so they can insert themselves and wonder what might have been as they sit in traffic or drift to sleep at night next to someone else. These people are your fan base. They’ll read anything you put out there, even if it’s awful or doesn’t make any damn sense. That’s great. Cheers to the fans.
  2. They are interested in doing exactly what you did. These folks are looking for beta. They want to know whether to turn left or go straight when the trail forks at that big cedar with the lightning scar. They are completely uninterested, and starting to get a little annoyed, at long explanations of what you had for breakfast, the color of your shoelaces, and which brands are currently offering you 25% off one order a year. Honestly, a few photos and an annotated map is probably much preferred to any kind of prose.
  3. They’re interested in the story. And by story, of course, I don’t mean simply what happened, or even necessarily why. I mean the human drama. The nitty gritty. It’s not enough that you had a nice time, or a bad time. It’s not enough that the weather was bad. It’s not enough that you were right; someone else has to be wrong. It’s essential not only that you prevail in righteousness, but also that you quell the haters, which, generally, is composed by everyone else on earth.
I went for a jog after worth the other day and this is exactly how it played out. I swear.

When Homer recorded the greatest trip report of all time, The Odyssey,  he could very well have said, “Odysseus went for a walk. He got lost. The haters hated. His new caligae really had the arch support he needed to go the extra mile. He came home, he brought the drama. The end.” That’s not a very good story. He didn’t waste time talking about which brand of goatskin flasks the Phaeacians relied on to stay hydrated. And when it stormed? This was no ordinary squall. This was the wrath of deeply, personally offended gods.

Odysseus never got bonked, but his crew was drugged by lotus-eaters and turned into pigs. They were never distracted, per se, but lured toward a cold, violent death by a supernatural Siren Song. Like, 500 people died, or something. And when he got home? Ho man. No shower beer and Netflix for that guy – he got right to killing everyone who even walked on his lawn while he was out.

That’s a trip report I can get behind.

Not every hike is an adventure, not every ski tour is an epic. Almost nothing we do is really all that interesting, if we’re honest. So if we’re going to have a story, tell us a story. We’re not all that interested in exactly what happened.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail


 

 

Kit Kat is the Best Candy Bar

Candy is a mainstay of the American diet. In a country where nearly 40% of adults are obese and one in two have high blood pressure, this should probably not come as a surprise. We invented chicken fried steak. The tur-duck-en. We have whole festivals where thousands of people come together to figure out how to deep fry improbable things.

Weird fried food and LDL cholesterol are a perfect for special occasions. When the in-laws are coming over and you’re busting out the good china, fried chicken and waffles is really the only thing to serve. But mundane, banal, day-to-day nourishment? That’s a job for candy.

Breakfast? Taken care of. Lunch? Dad knows. Dinner? Please. There’s candy bar called Chicken Dinner. Forget Halloween and Valentine’s Day, candy isn’t just for holidays. It’s for every day. And when something is as ubiquitous as candy in America, we have no choice but to parse every intricacy, explore every nuance, in the pursuit of the best candy bar.

Here we have a candy bar based on a breakfast cereal based on a candy cup. I’m pretty sure this is what Jefferson had in mind.

Obviously the question of the best candy bar will incite partisan fury and outrageous name calling. Obviously there are differences in opinion. Obviously some of us posses disparate tastes. But some things are simply not subjective.

The Kit Kat is the best candy bar. Calm yourself.

There’s a lot of great candy out there; this is America after all. But we need to consider a few things in our pursuit of the best, and for starters, let’s review some of the contenders.

Snickers

A Snickers bar is tasty, sure. It’s got all the major food groups: sugar, protein, fat, and nougat, and belongs in every glove box and bug out bag. But the Snickers is so practical, so filling, so savory that it barely even counts as candy at all. It’s sustenance.

Snickers Derivatives

Namely, the Milky Way and the 3 Musketeers. The Milky Way suffers from the same caramel issues as Twix, and the 3 Musketeers is best reserved for a late snack after you remove your dentures. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat these things ’til the cows come home, but right now we’re discussing greatness.

Twix

Credit were credit is due – Twix is a helluva candy bar. It’s even in the running for the top step under ideal atmospheric conditions. As we search for the best we can’t confine ourselves to how chocolate fares at its best. Caramel-based snacks must be optimized for a fairly narrow temperature window (like snow tires). In the same way that Carmelo is delicious at 20 def F, Twix is best enjoyed at a civilized 68. Twix will break your teeth below freezing, and both of these wilt much above 70.

Mr. Goodbar

Let’s be serious.

 

Skor

Whoa there turbo. We’re talking about chocolate bars here. Skor is to candy as beluga caviar is to imitation crab. Apples and oranges. Let’s keep the eye on the prize.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

These things are close. So close. The peanut butter is a little powdery, the chocolate is a little too sweet, and they suffer at warm temperatures. It’s just not quite there. But the benefits of peanut butter and chocolate are so undeniable that the esoteric Peanut Butter Twix probably deserves an honorable mention, missing out on real prestige only by virtue of limited circulation and the capricious whims of whomever does the ordering at convenience stores.

But consider the Kit Kat. It’s chocolate. It’s a cookie. It excels under any combination of pressure and temperature commonly found where humans live. Even when unbearably hot, say, above 86 deg or so, the cookie latticework preserves the structural integrity of the bar. You actually get four candy bars in one package. It’s honest, simple, unpretentious (looking at you, Take 5). The Kit Kat is the hero America needs right now.

Kit Kat is simply the best. Disagreeing is like disagreeing with the Ideal Gas Law or Climate Change. You have every right to be wrong, just keep that muss off my damn porch. Leave the candy when you go.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail


 

 

Morning People

There are some people who rise each day without an alarm. These morning people spring from bed some time before dawn, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and embark (I presume) on satisfying a meticulous list of things to do, prepared the night before in neat handwriting. These people don’t drink coffee. They don’t eat bacon sandwiches. They subsist primarily on juices of kale, broccoli sprouts, and optimism. These people are not to be trusted.

For the rest of us, the regular folks, the Joe Sixpacks, mornings are a little bit different. We grapple with digital alarms and claw ourselves from the confines of our beds whole dozens of minutes before our first engagement of the day. Shower briefly, dry off a little bit (not too much, no time), stagger bleary-eyed with a paper cup of strong black coffee into the first meeting of the day, whatever it is. Don’t forget to check your fly.

For us normal folk the routine is the same, plus or minus children. What varies, though, is the means by which we manage to extract ourselves from the linen womb. Where do you fall?

The Snooze Gambit

The alarm rings; you cringe. You press snooze; you wait. It rings again. This is easy, it’s satisfying. The Snooze Gambit appeals to the truth that as pleasant as sleeping is, the best feeling is that semisomniferous haze that comes the moment before you’re actually asleep. That moment when dreams are lucid and you reign as lord over a physicsless domain. It allows you to actually fall asleep four, five, six times before your first cup of coffee. Of course after a few snoozes your alarm gives up on you, and that’s assuming that you don’t just keep snoozing indefinitely like a rat with a heroin button. Tread carefully.

The Puzzle Master

You heard once that in order to wake up to need to engage the mind. You have a collection of apps on your phone that force you to solve arithmetic problems or trivia questions before it will silence. You hide your phone in a different place each night so you have to paw around the darkness for it before it can be quelled. Mostly you wind up stubbing your toe and cursing before you go back to sleep.

The Sensei

You are a master of discipline. You understand that only the force of will can rouse you in the morning, but that you possess the strength and fortitude to simply get up when the alarm goes off. You drift to sleep with the comfort that when the thing buzzes you will rise, rested and un-phased. You use this inner strength to simply set the alarm for 11 minutes before you have to be someplace.

The Self-Aware

You’re not getting up. You know it, they know it. You don’t schedule things before 11am.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail


 

 

Hobby Season

In a few days you’ll get your hour back. The one you squirreled away in March, and that by now you’ve surely forgotten about. On the one hand, that’s great. It’s your hour. You’re owed it. You can sleep in a bit, and for one day a year you get an extra 60 minutes before the bar throws you out at 2am. On the other hand, it means that it’s about to start getting dark sometime between your lunch break and the time you leave the office, and that’s a load of BS.

We’ve been arguing about Daylight Saving time since basically forever, and if we would just get with the program and ditch the non-renewable fuels it wouldn’t even have to be a whole big thing. But we’ve waffled on the concept for more than a hundred years, and now, finally, with the exception of non-tribal lands in Arizona and Nevada, Hawaii, and overseas territories with no congressional representation, we’re all more or less on the same page that yeah, we do this weird clock thing a couple times a year. Fine.

You can write your congressman if you’d like, and try to get this thing changed, because if we’re honest it doesn’t make any sense. But aside from that exercise being a complete and total waste of your currently free hour*, maybe it’s also the wrong play.

Maybe the annual sudden darkness is a chance to not do all that stuff you did all summer. Like, read that book you were definitely going to read. Build a model airplane. Cook something like they would have done it on the Mayflower. It’s hobby season. Use your new hour to dig into a project. Spend a long time doing something pointless. Fuck it; gain 10 pounds.

Now is the time to hibernate and meditate. Crawl back into yourself and see what’s inside. You might find something you like.

*Free hour, like a tax return is free money

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail