Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

h1

I Survived! – True Stories of Human Survival Vol. 4

June 30, 2010

Of all the harrowing stories of survival, the fact that this series lives on is the harrowingest. I’d have put money on May 21st being the last gasp of this particular concept, but I’ve proved everyone wrong (including me) with this: Volume 4!

Perfectly related (and non-randomly generated) links:
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3

Might as well stay in that position, buddy, because you are fucked...

Alan Cooper
It had been years since Alan Cooper had been spelunking, but rather than ease back in slowly he had plunged back into it with the reckless audacity of a twice-laid teen. Now several “rooms” deep into the cavern, Alan felt a twinge of regret for his foolhardy enthusiasm which, when coupled with the twinge of various pinched nerves, combined to immobilize him psychically.

It helped (or hurt) that he was also immobilized physically. With mind and body trapped in the same rock-strewn pinch point, he was free (figuratively) to consider his options and curse loudly at the small number which could be bothered to show up.

After several minutes of quiet contemplation, occasionally interrupted by loud, echoing, pointless cursing, Alan had narrowed his choices down to the following.

  • Construct some sort of time machine/matter transporter from his flashlight and remaining Nutrigrain bars.
  • Pray fervently, rotating deities every 5-7 minutes until saved.
  • Stay still and hope that the pinch point would erode faster than his confidence/battery supply.
  • Panic (accompanied by screaming, if needed).
  • Change “saved” to “rescued” in order to be completely removed from the cave, rather than just accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.
  • Continue moving incrementally forward and backward until freed.

Fearing a split timeline might result in an even more horrific fate and fearing that erosion could take up to and including millions of years, Alan decided to combine the remaining options.

Rocking himself back and forth while screaming for help in the direction of whatever deities/humans might be in the vicinity, Alan slowly began to work himself free. He had now gained nearly a half-foot, but was, unfortunately, heading deeper into the cave. Reasoning unreasonably that there was “probably another exit,” Alan headed forward into the abyss and backwards in relation to the exit/entrance.

After several hours of exploration, Alan found himself pinched in what he believed to be the same pinch point. In reality, however, he was nearly a half-mile further into the cave. Still holding out hope that he was near the exit, he pushed on, fully believing that he now would live to regret his series of mistakes.

Four hours later and still no closer to freedom, Alan began to believe that he would live to regret this, but that all the remaining living would be carried out in the underlit and circuitous cave. As he lay in the dark, pointlessly speculating as to who would or wouldn’t attend his upcoming funeral, his on-and-off screams/prayers were answered by a passing tour guide and his attendant tour, who had entered the cave via the clearly marked and well-lit entrance less than 200 yards away.

As he was led to safety (now less than 500 feet away), he was questioned about unmapped lower rooms of the cavern. Unfortunately, his answers of “It’s almost fully mapped?” and “Well, it was very dark…” failed to enlighten the tour staff, who expressed their annoyance by revoking his Parks and Recreation membership and recommended he stay at least 500 feet away from any unattended holes.

Realizing your belaying line is no longer attached to anything may cause sudden loss of bowel control.

Steve Pearson
Attempting to negotiate a tricky cliff side trail, Steve loses his footing and tumbles nearly 300 feet to the forest floor below. While a fall of this distance is normally fatal, Steve is lucky. Rather than landing on the packed dirt and pointy rocks below, his fall is broken by a pack of mountain lions feasting on the corpse of a fallen hiker.

The feral cats quickly show their annoyance at the unexpected intrusion by ripping into Steve with their razor-sharp teeth, claws and sarcasm. When the brutal attack is over, Steve lays for a while in the surrounding pine needles and attempts to regain his strength. He’s in bad shape, losing copious amounts of blood and dignity at an alarming rate.

After several minutes, Steve rises slowly to his feet, embracing his recently questioned sexuality and heads toward the river. He gently bathes his flowing wounds in the water while attempting to smooth things over mentally with some light scarring. Concentrating intently on these two actions, Steve fails to notice a new and very distressing development.

The first is the fact that the stream, while appearing cool and clear, is steadily filling Steve’s bloodstream with a lively strain of e coli, thanks to an upstream dam constructed of wood, feces and animal corpses by a pack of rogue beavers. Even if he manages to stop the horrific bleeding, his internal organs have already been declared “Open Swim” by the new arrivals.

Secondly, Steve fails to notice the approach of a school of barracuda, drawn far from their normal habitat by the scent of fresh (and freshly tainted) blood. Of the two developments, this once proves to be the more immediately damaging.

Steve, suddenly brought to full consciousness by a series of sharp, biting pains, retrieves his arm from the river only to find it covered by hungry barracuda. His attempts to remove the fish only attracts the attention of the remaining school, who immediately leap for his remaining uncovered limbs. Steve turns and runs screaming through the forest, hampered by both an unimaginable amount of biting fish and his “stubby, little-girl legs.”

As he blindly charges through the underbrush, he encounters some bear traps, followed by some bear cubs and finally, the mother bear herself. Steve’s combined odor of fear, fish and less-than-normal amounts of testosterone triggers the bear’s killer instinct and she gives chase.

Steve begins running in a serpentine pattern, hoping to cut the bear’s number of “successfully landed mauling blows” in half. He reaches a clearing filled with environmental protesters, who mistake his collection of fish and the pursuing bear for some sort of half-assed poaching attempt.

The protesters interrupt their ritual drum circle long enough to hurl invective and badly written signs at Steve, questioning his selfish motives and sexual proclivities. The bear however, after spotting the protesters, turns back into the woods before its fur coat can be splattered with red paint.

Steve continues, pushing past the milling hippies, brandishing angry fish and loudly declaring his virility. He plunges through the underbrush, bleeding heavily and swearing at the remaining fish, who greet his rising anger with continued biting.

A short sprint later and Steve emerges on a gravel road. Seconds later, he is knocked to the ground by angry loggers who mistake his fish-riddled limbs as some sort of “tree-hugging nature intervention.” At this point, Steve passes out. He is revived moments later by the commencement of another swift beating and some not-very-heavily-veiled death threats.

Finally, an attending state trooper decides that Steve has “learned his lesson” and gives Steve a ride to the nearest hospital, lecturing him the entire way on the macroeconomics of the logging industry.

-CLT

Advertisements
h1

Fancy Plans… Guide to North American Trees

May 28, 2010
[In the interest of buying myself some time, I’m dragging an old post out of the archives and into the harsh glare of nearly a year’s worth of hindsight. This one dates back to 06/25/09 and features the short, punchy stylings of a blogger in his prime. You’ll notice I run a lot longer now…]

In the interest of bettering our fellow bloggers, we provide this handy guide to the trees of North America. While this can generally be a tedious and forgettable subject, we hope that, when all is read and done, you’ll walk away with at least one more fact to add to your collection of useless knowledge. Prepare to be taught at!

The over-dramatic Weeping Willow prepares to hurl itself into the river, quoting "Hamlet" all the while...

The over-dramatic Weeping Willow prepares to hurl itself into the river, quoting "Hamlet" all the while...

Weeping Willow
Easily the most “emo” of all North American trees, the weeping willow spends its lifetime sullenly hunched over, bitterly complaining about anything and everything.* It can often be found sulking morosely in the darker corners of your yard.

  • *Wind – Fine. I’m waving. Crawl out of my ass. Jesus.
  • Calm – A breeze would be nice.
  • Rain – This is how I feel inside. All the time.
  • Not Raining – Nobody understands me. Not even the weather.
  • Snow – Why can’t we live somewhere warmer?
  • Heat – This fucking figures.

Natural Enemies: Sunny, temperate days; the laughter of children

Given local wind patterns, your neighbors may be surprised by a few maples of their own, long after you've skipped town...

Depending on wind patterns, your neighbors may be surprised by a few maples of their own, long after you've skipped town...

Maple
Widely acknowledged as Canada’s only export, the maple is known for its appearance on national flags and its ruthlessly efficient seed distribution system, which is regarded by many top scientists as a “miracle.”

DaVinci’s early model for a flying machine (known today as the “autogyro”) was based on the corkscrewing flight pattern of the maple seed. The U.S. military took this to its logical conclusion in Vietnam, using their autogyros to scatter “leaflets” over the irritated population, who grumbled and told their kids to get outside and rake the yard. (“Watch out for the punji pits and anti-personnel mines. I don’t want to have to clean up two messes today.”)

Natural enemies: Rakes; currency exchange rates

Yeah. I've been working out. I also own a Big & Tall franchise...

Yeah. I've been working out. I also own a Big & Tall franchise...

Oak
A hulking metaphor of a tree, the oak tree is prized for its bold statement that even the smallest of us can grow up to do great things, like win the heavyweight championship of the world, or take out a neighbor’s water lines.

While it tends to do better in wide open areas, it can usually be found in groupings of smaller trees, rubbing its towering new look in the faces of its former classmates, who teased it mercilessly during its formative years.

Natural enemies: Squirrels; small claims court

The rarely seen, but easily activated, aspen G-spot...

The rarely seen, but easily activated, aspen G-spot...

Aspen
The most sensitive of all North American trees, the aspen is known for it “quaking” and “shivering” at the slightest breeze, while gusts in the 30-40 mph range will cause it to break down in full-blown tears. Recent scientific studies have theorized that the tree may actually be the most easily aroused of all plants, its quaking due to an incredibly easily achieved orgasm.

Either way, aspen owners should keep their distance, as it becomes emotionally attached at the slightest provocation, leading to late night surprise visits and drunk-dialing.

Natural enemies: Woodpeckers; frat boys

A promotional still from "Biker Boyz," featuring the semi-rare R-type redwood in the background...

A promotional still from "Biker Boyz," featuring the semi-rare R-type redwood in the background...

California Redwood
Although native to California, the redwood has begun to creep up the coastline into Oregon and Washington, prompting locals to bitch endlessly about these intruders. These diatribes, usually delivered from atop a bicycle or light-rail car, are usually disregarded by tourists and redwoods alike.

The looming threat of California’s bankruptcy should only increase the redwood exodus, providing the Pacific Northwest with novelty tree “tunnels” and yet another goddamn reason for tourists to visit. There is some speculation (as yet unproven) that the trees are only looking for cheaper real estate/heroin.

Natural enemies: Oregonians; tainted needles

Most Pleasant View Obstruction - Bed & Breakfast Monthly, July 2002

Most Pleasant View Obstruction - Bed & Breakfast Monthly, July 2002

Cedar
The Swiss Army knife of trees, the cedar has been used to create everything from moderately priced furniture to bedding for pet rodents. Due to its versatility and distinctive smell, the noble cedar has excelled in many areas during the last several years (listed below).

  • Intramural volleyball team captain
  • District co-champion, debate team
  • Co-signer on Aaron Nussbaum’s auto loan
  • President of the Sierra Club (1984, 1996)
  • Personal assistant to Blythe Danner, Phillip Michael Thomas
  • Toothpick of the year (1997)
  • U.S. Goodwill Ambassador to Luxembourg
  • Recipient – Don Mills Clean Living Award (2009)
  • Best Smile – Paloma County High School (Junior Year)

Natural Enemies: Cheerleader cliques; asthmatics

Close-up view of the many small parts of the common pine, which is very easily disassembled...

Close-up view of the many small parts of the common pine, which is very easily disassembled...

Pine
Perhaps best known for its involvement in the George Brett pine tar scandal (as well as its role as an “enabler” in several lesser incidents), the pine has cleaned up its reputation to become a well-known Christmas icon, on par with Santa Claus and his son, Jesus Christ.

Also well-known to homeowners and other Christmas celebrants as “nature’s litterbug,” the pine cannot help but shed needles and cones every-fucking-where constantly. Years of domestication have failed to housebreak the tree, as its shedding reaches a peak when kept indoors. “Evergreen,” my ass.

Natural enemies: Umpires; Jehovah’s Witnesses

"... at which point your grandmother, on your mother's side, fornicated with an angel..."

"... at which point your grandmother, on your mother's side, fornicated with an angel..."

Family
Ranging in size from a full-blown leviathan (Utah) to barely more than a misshapen stump with a few rare branches (Arkansas, West Virginia), this decidedly North American institution is prized for its collection of interminable slideshows and long, boring stories.

While it continues to grow all year round, it reaches its peak during the summer reunion months.

Natural enemies: Attractive cousins; Planned Parenthood

-CLT