Tuesday, June 28, 2005

What lies in the human heart? A yearning for knowledge, a lust for adventure and... taco seasoning

Hello again, gentle reader. Today I write about a subject that is near and dear to me: travel and adventure. I have what some might call "wanderlust", or in German "ze vanderlusht, mein herr." Nothing thrills me more than to see a new place or have a new experience. Even trying a new restaurant affords me a tingle in my spine and loss of feeling in my legs.

I'm not sure what it is about exploration that is so exciting to me. It's probable that it stems from my my belief that life is made to be experienced, although a healthy exchange rate doesn't hurt either. Every new experience opens your eyes to a new way of thinking, a new possibility. And even if you don't enjoy yourself, there's always something positive you can extract from any situation. For example,

"Yes, our plane crashed in the jungle and we were the only survivors, but at least the in-flight movie wasn't Battlefield Earth."

"I know you had your heart set on not being ritually sacrificed by these natives, but think of it this way: We'll get a good look at their village before we're eviscerated on the stone altar."

For some reason, other people don't share my enthusiasm for adventure. They'd prefer to "stay at home where it's safe and your eyes won't be devoured by the blood flies of Kalazoloo" and "eat safely prepared food that is devoid of disease and pestilence." I just don't get it.

The reality is that every new experience doesn't have to be that much of an adventure. I remember the road down to the coast of California north of San Francisco, with tiny villages of a few houses poised in ancient and verdant forests alongside the cold and forbidding water of the ocean. I remember the cool desert wind in my hair as my wife and I drove at sundown towards Nevada, the stars and moon above us gleaming unbidden and unleashed without any other light to dim them. I remember the snow covered bowl of Tahoe overlooking that icy lake, and the same view in summer, with the scent of pine always in the air. And I remember my wife in all of those places, her smiles and laughter caught for perpetuity in my mind.

That's the reason I enjoy experiencing new things; for the memories that I'll always have (unless I get Tunisian brain rot while I'm out, which would be ironic). So much of our lives is spent doing the mundane and rote actions of life- working, sleeping, watching TV- that going somewhere or doing something out of the ordinary is a special thing. Kind of like lime sherbet day in elementary school for St. Patrick's Day (because it was green; not, I assume, because of any citrus-related link).

The world we live in doesn't have ads in the paper for "explorers". I've checked, just to be sure. We can't "Go West", because it's already been gone to. There is no New World for us to discover (perhaps in space, but I hear tickets are very expensive, and I'm sure the bathroom situation is pretty sketchy with no gravity). What we can do is discover our own New Worlds.

There is always another road to travel, and though there may be potholes along the way, the trip is worth it.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Self-indulgence and amazement

I got the bright idea to google my blog last night. Sure enough, it came up- all of the laughter, the tears, the ... uh... hyphens.

Google is an amazing tool. You can enter any random phrase that enters your mind, and you're guaranteed to get at least 4 related porn sites. Well, generally. But what I discovered was something far, far more interesting and terrifying.

There's a book, written by Dr. Nand Kishore Sharma called "Milk: A Silent Killer".

Let me repeat that, because it bears repeating: There is a book whose title is the same as this blog, whose named I pulled out of my nether regions.

From Dr. Sharma's book, we get this thought:

"One shouldn't drink milk just because it has been favored by rishi-munis or the ancient sages. Seek your own truth by using your brains, common sense and all the research available on the subject today."

Now I am afraid. Is milk truly a silent killer? What if I'm promoting the Culture of Death by trying to coerce people to laugh at this supposed adsurdity- all the while the reality is that old Bessie is delivering sweet, creamy poison to us all.

All I can picture now is a man slumped in front of his computer, the screen illuminating empty milk cartons strewn around the corpse.

God save us all.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hostess fruit pies - taste even a superhero would love

One reason I could never be a professional writer is that I only write when the mood strikes me. I'll be sitting on my veranda in my seersucker suit, watching the mighty Mississippi lazily wind it's way through the verdant forest as the sun lingers just on the horizon, a sliver of fire on an otherwise genteel setting. Sipping my lemonade, I'll lower the brim of my finely-stiched fedora and say "Why, I reckon' it would be most fortuitous if I were to plan on doing some writing, presently".

That's the way I picture it, anyways, in my imagination. That stupid thing is always getting me in trouble.

I went to see the latest Batman movie, and it dawned on me just how much I love comics. As a wee lad, my parents would foster my love of reading by buying me classic magazines such as
Mad and Cracked, but also comic books, from Groo to X-Men. While the former exposed me to interesting lowbrow humor, as well as some cheesecake artistry, the latter exposed me to lowbrow humor, cheesecake artistry, but also heroism. Of course, these were the days when your average Superman could, on occassion, still be seen hawking Hostess fruit pies on the back cover, rather than brooding menacingly.

It has been said before that superheroes are the personification of America's hopes and dreams- I fully understand that (except Aquaman- I mean, come on). It's my belief that in the far future, people will go to the First Unified Church of Spider-Man for bingo night. Church vestments will consist of spandex tights, and the prayers will be "to Superman, hallowed be His name." Superheroes represent the best ideals of humanity; they fight villians in a world of stark contrasts between good and evil. Also, they have grappling hooks and eye beams, and those are just cool.

Just as interesting are the different iterations of each character: Nobody, perhaps, more than Batman. He's been portrayed from a near-psychopath to, well, Adam West. Each retelling, even the awful Joel Schumaker films, offers a slightly different perspective of the hero, sometimes with elaborate traps. Tell me the giant Mouse Wheel of Death isn't awesome. How often did the ancients retell the stories of their own heroes- Gilgamesh, Thor, Beowulf? I imagine they often sat around the campfire and told stories, sometimes dehumanizing those icons, sometimes softening them, sometimes placing them in a locked room with super-slick floors, knockout gas and Julie Newmar. The key is that the characters always had the same morals and beliefs- those never change.

I often wonder what people would think or do if Superheroes actually existed. Would we think of them as a public nuisance? Or exalt them? My own feeling is that they would become the ultimate movie stars- we'd celebrate their success, but immediately leap upon any scrap of rumor that swirled about them. And I don't know if secret identities would work, either- there's too many tabloids for even Superman to escape from. Although, I think everyone is just humoring Superman and letting him believe that they all don't recognize him when he's Clark Kent. He's thinking he's all sneaky, but come on, you're wearing a pair of glasses. At least use some prosthetics or something.

I keep intending to talk about myself and adventure, and I keep getting sidetracked. Maybe I need to write more. But for now the veranda and the lemonade await me.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Your gateway to ADVENTURE!

Hello and welcome back to the Milk show. Before I get started on my main topic about adventure and vacationing, I'd like to say something about Guantanamo Bay, which might be a vacation and adventure for those incarcerated there.

Recently, and by that I mean since it was opened, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba has been a somewhat controversial place. Apparently, it was promised to be a 4-star luxury hotel, but because of some bad reviews, it was rated as a 2-star motel. Oh- and the torture, there was some torture.

Interestingly, one of the main arguments the defenders of the base/jail maintain is, "We're not as bad as Saddam/Hitler/Vader/etc". I'm not sure if that actually qualifies as a defense. It's like when Chris Rock talks about people being proud of things that they're supposed to do; "I take care of my kids!"- well, yes, but that should be beyond question. Similarly, isn't it a given that we act better than murderous dictators and alien overlords? They need to frame the argument correctly, and focus on the positives for the inmates:

-Much less chance of being bombed by the US than if you were home.

-When you leave, get a t-shirt that says "I was incarcerated without a trial for an indeterminate amount of time and all I got was this lousy t-shirt". Mugs also available.

-Flush toilets that can handle any kind of action, from waste products to, let's say, books.

-Savage beatings only to within a foot of your life, rather than an inch.


-Escape means you can live in the wonderous island paradise of Cuba

Really, why is there any outcry at all? We've taken these people from their horrible, bombed-out existences and given them new, bright orange clothes, furnished them with bright shiny bling/manacles and have taught them about the wonderous free society that is America. Surely, whenever they gratefully return to their families they will be good-natured and forgiving about their detention.

Well, the wind is out of my sails for now. My vinegar is devoid of piss. Therefore, I will return later with a story of a young boy who learned what it was like to swim with dolphins, but more importantly, he learned how to cry. Or something like that

Monday, June 06, 2005

Foodstuffs n stuff

There's a lot of types of food in the world. I've just invented a truism, which is that with everything that man discovers, he will either try to eat it or print pornography on it (or sometimes both, as evidenced by the existence of penis and boob shaped gummi candies). Let's just call that statement "Mahd's Law", because I always wanted to hold a sign that says "I am the law".

I digress. The point is, I'm not sure why or how we decided to eat some of the things we eat. Some, like caesar salad dressing or teriyaki sauce, were invented entirely by accident. Others took some effort.

I just had an interesting encounter with beans, for example. Being a frugal gourmet, I was going to make chili and purchased some dried beans. Now, I realize that dried beans need to soak. It's what they do, it makes them what they are. I didn't realize that they need to soak for a day.

It's this kind of thing that makes me wonder. Wouldn't it have been easier for Thog to go throw a spear at a wild monkey or something? How would he have determined that soaking the beans would release the beany goodness? At some point, you just say "Bollocks to this" and go grab a burger at a restaurant. Let them figure out how beans work.

Another one is cheese. The bulletproof scientific theory is that a nomad was riding around with some milk in a flask, and the right bacteria got in there and viola. Cheese. My question is, when you open up your flask and see that your milk has solidified, isn't it more likely that you'd say "damn, my milk" and huck the block of cheese across the horizon? Maybe that's what you did, until one foolish Saracean decided to have a taste. After that, it was just a matter of time before they invented the crappy imitation stuff they put on those terrible microwave pizzas.

I guess it's like anything else that, when you look at it objectively, it makes no sense. So let me get this straight- you're going to pull those plants out of the ground, mash them up, add a little water and tell me it's food? Riiight. After that, maybe I'll roll up some other plants, ignite them and inhale the smoke. Whack job.

So soak your beans, people. They're not going to do it themselves.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

My wife is abandoning me- leaving me to forage alone in this cold and rocky wilderness, devoid of life or sustainence.

Well, kind of.

She's going to Miami for a few days with her friends, to enjoy the spicy latin salsa rhythm, or something. My belief is that she's going to get drunk every night and lay on the beach all day, the cool waters of the calm Atlantic lapping at her feet. And all I got was this lousy Pacific ocean. In truth, the reality of the situation probably lies somewhere between, and in fact almost certainly includes all of those things.

At least I'm not bitter about the fact that she gets to laze away her days in a unequaled paradise while I slowly work myself to death in an airless office, cut off from society. If I was bitter, it would be a lot harder to swallow.

The following comic basically sums up everything good about the wife being gone:

Surprisingly (and additional research has shown), there's not a lot there. Yes, I can eat what I want, when I want, who I want. I can sit around in my underwear all day, which I do anyways, even when she is home. I can splay out across the entire bed like I own the thing. I can monopolize the computer and TV as if I were a fiendish supervillian plotting the destruction of the world.

These are all wonderful things, but there's only one problem. I like my wife, kind of. She smells good. She's funny, and she laughs at my stupid jokes a lot of the time. She occassionally cleans or does laundry. The inside of her arm has extremely soft skin that I just want to eat. I would carry her around in a backpack if I could. She's got a sweet ass. She's interested in what I have to say, or at least she does an excellent job of hiding her boredom. She makes fun of me for examining all of my options for getting out of my job and becoming a pirate.

Therefore, I am in a quandry: Am I more excited to be sole master of my kingdom, answering to no man? Or should I run after the plane, execute multiple stunts and stop it and her from leaving me temporarily? Can I bear to be without her for a few days?

The answer is, of course, yes. I can stand it because when she returns to me she will be happy, with a twinkle in her eye and a bunch of new stories to tell me. It's tremendously corny, but when she's happy, I am too. And so I can bear the intolerable burden of splaying on the bed, eating corn dogs for breakfast, internet porn and appliance monopolization. It's my terrible curse, but I will bear it....for humanity's sake.