Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tentagomi, the Art of Tent Folding

Carl here! You just finish a long weekend of camping, and now it’s time to take down your tent.  Taking the tent down is pretty easy, but folding it up and making it fit in the original box is another story. It just never seems to fit.  Ever have that problem?  I have.

I could try folding the tent randomly and hope that it fits, or I could use my brain and figure it out mathematically.  I’m going to try the math solution, only because I already tried three times to fold it randomly and couldn’t get it in the box.  So much for quantum mechanics.

Kids, this is why they make you take math in school.  Let’s see, the tent is 16’ long, 10’ wide and 8 feet tall.  That’s 16 times 10 times 8, equals 1280 square feet.  The box is 3’ long by 1’ high and 1’ wide.  That’s 3 square feet.  So 1280 should equal 3.  Not!  I think this problem calls for fuzzy math, maybe even physics.  If I could just remove the space between the molecules of the tent, it would shrink the tent down enough to fit in the box.  No, I’m not a genius but I did watch Honey I Shrunk the Kids.  If I only had his shrink gun; I could shrink everything I need for camping down to pint size, put it in a shoe box, take it to the camp site, un-shrink it and be ready to go in just minutes.  How great would that be?  The shrink gun could also be useful in your marriage.  The wife puts on some extra pounds, BAM!  Problem solved.

Because of my math limitations, I’m going to look to the Orient for the answer.  It’s called Origami, the art of folding.  If you can fold a dollar bill into a small little shirt, I’m sure you can fold a tent into a box.  Actually, if I just follow the original fold lines of the tent I should be OK.  So after a couple times of folding and unfolding the tent, I almost got it to fit.  If I had only brought a Origami master with me!

The problem wasn’t the way I was folding the tent, the problem was trapped air.  How do you get the trapped air out of the tent……?  It’s called the Musilli Roll.  I named it after the inventor, me.  It works just like old fashioned clothes ringer.  You put the wet clothes into the rollers, crank the handle and it forces the water out of the clothes.  The tent represents the clothes, the trapped air is the water, but what can I use for the rollers.  Bonnie, can you come over here for a minute?”  I unfolded the tent just a little bit, to about a 3 by 8 foot section.  “Bonnie, lay down right here and start rolling.” ------ “WHAT” ----- “You called me out here to do what?” “What do you think I look like a ---------.”  Right there many things pop in my head.  Does she really want me to tell her what she looks like?  Does she really want the truth; no, of course not.  She can’t handle the truth.  Thanks Jack. 

So I end up doing it myself as usual.  I lie down on one side of the tent and start rolling.  As you roll, the air in the tent gets pushed to the opposite side and actually causes the tent to inflate. You just keep rolling until all the trapped air starts to dissipate. Then you fold the tent over again and roll again.  You keep doing the roll until the tent is small enough to fit in the box. It helps to have a non- curved body.  It’s better to be like a rolling pin than an hour glass.  That’s why men are better than women for rolling; less room for trapped air to escape.  Of course I wouldn’t mind watching Pamela Anderson do the roll.  I’m sure the tent wouldn’t mind either.

Camping fun with Carl, signing off.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mosquitoes, bite me!

Carl here.  I looked on the Internet and found some fun ways to keep mosquitoes from biting. 

Eating garlic supposedly keeps the mosquitoes at bay.  I know it repels women, but mosquitoes.  And what about Italian mosquitoes, is it going to work on them? 

….Do you know the difference between Italian mosquitoes and regular mosquitoes? Italian mosquitoes are the ones with the hairy legs…..

  I would think you would have to eat enough Garlic until it oozed out of your pores.  By that time, you’re going to repel everything you come in contact with: men, women, animals, insects, mother-in-laws.  Mother-in laws………..?    “Bonnie, do you have any Garlic bread?”

You could rub vinegar all over your body to keep the mosquitoes from biting. Really, do you want to smell like a double order of French fries?  Let me ask you this…. What’s worse, getting eaten by mosquitoes or bears?  I’ll take the mosquitoes. One Internet web site says to rub lard all over your body. Lard?   Lard might save you from mosquitoes, but it won’t save you from rats, a cardiac arrest, or a slippery slope for that matter.

Putting lemon on your wrist and ankles, some say, can prevent mosquito bites.  I say, why just protect your wrist and ankles; spray your entire body with Lemon Pledge.  Not only will the mosquitoes not bite you, but you’ll be nice and shinny, and dust free. 

Camping fun with Carl, signing off.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Long, Long Drive

Carl here!  Everyone's in the car, ready to go camping.  But.......there’s always that moment of uncertainty, just when you’re about to turn the key, when a thousand thoughts flood your mind.  A mental check list starts to scroll. Questions start being asked.  What did I forget to do?  What did I forget to bring?  I know I’m forgetting something.  Oh well, take us to warp factor 1 Mr. Sulu.  Off we go….. Oh, by the way, I always talk to invisible Star Trek characters.  Not that I’m crazy or paranoid…..

I never really liked to drive long distances.  I always made it a point to work close to home just for that reason. My current job is only 1.5 miles from my house.  My previous job was only a mile.  If I could work at my house it would be perfect. If I didn’t have to get out of bed it would be perfect.  What kind of job could I do from my house and not have to get out of bed?  Hmmmm, I don’t think my wife would appreciate that one.

It seems like the first hour of driving is always the worst for me, especially on the New York State “Toll”way.  For some reason when we first start off I’m always tired and can barely keep my eyes open. Everybody else in the car is having fun, playing games, relaxing while I’m trying to keep my eyes from shutting.  It gets really bad when I drive at night.  Every biorhythm in my body is telling me to go to sleep.  My right side of my brain is telling me, if I close my eyes for just one second everything will be alright. Thank goodness for the left side of my brain.  LISTEN TO ME IDIOT, IF YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES EVEN FOR ONE SECOND YOU’RE A DEAD MAN.”   That was my left side brain talking.

I really think the problem for me is what I call “The White Snake.” You know; those broken white lines between the lanes.  They’re constantly coming at you, spaced perfectly apart, never ending, sometimes turning, sometimes straight, weaving in and out, following every car movement just like a snake. The White snake actually knows what I’m thinking.  If I speed up, it speeds up.  If I slow down, it slows down.  It also anticipates my turns.  If I turn into the left lane, it turns right.  If I turn into the left lane, it turns right. It knows exactly what I’m going to do at every moment. 

The White Snake is also subliminal. It’s a hypnotic Moores Code to the brain, saying, go to sleep, go to sleep…. “Stop it White snake, stop it!”  Oh…sorry, I almost dosed off for a second.

But it’s not the only thing that bothers me while I’m driving.  Just as you get used to the White snake coming at you, the road decides to throw you another distraction, which I call the heartbeat.  Thump thump, ---------- thump thump------------thump thump------------- thump thump!  That’s the sweet sound of your tires thumping on perfectly spaced road indentations and in perfect sync with the White snake.  Thump thump, line, line, line, line--- thump thump, line, line, line, line---thump thump, line, line, line, line--- thump thump!  It drives me crazy.  It’s like the Chinese Water Torture: drip, drip, drip, drip.

(My right side brain talking) If I close my eyes for just one second, everything will be alright.   LISTEN TO ME IDIOT; IF YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES EVEN FOR ONE SECOND, YOU’RE A DEAD MAN.”    Thanks again, left side of my brain, and to you Mr. Spock.  Logic reasoning does have its good points. 

There’s still one more problem I usually have to deal while driving, my wife.  If we’re any substantial distance from home and its passed 9:00 pm, I’m the one driving and she’s the one sleeping.  She’s sleeping while I do all the work.  It kind of reminds me of my marriage.  The sleeping part doesn’t bother me that much, its’ the snoring part that does. So now you have thump thump, line, line, line, line, scqhuaaaaaaaa--- thump thump, line, line, line, line, scqhuaaaaaaaa ---thump thump, line, line, line, line, scqhuaaaaaaaa --- thump thump!  It sounds like a symphony from hell.  But like anything else in life you find ways to deal with it.  Turn up the radio.

Camping fun with Carl, signing off.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Stake Um

Carl here.  You can stake a claim, you can stake tomatoes, but always remember to stake down your tent.  Otherwise, a big gust of wind may come along and blow your tent up in the air, twirl it around and around, all while your screaming “Auntie Em, Auntie Em, Help me Auntie Em.”  Then, you end up in Munchkin Land and have to sing ♪♫ “Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road” ♪♫…… for the rest of your life.  You get the point, stake down your tent!
Tent stakes have funny names associated with them; you can buy Snow Tent Stakes, Ground Hog Stakes, and Blizzard Stakes.  Ground Hog Stakes….. really!  What exactly happens?  You pound the stake in the ground and kill a poor ground hog who was just minding his own business.  That might be alright if you’re a Beverly Hillbilly.  I’m sure Granny can cook up a nice Ground Hog stew.  But really!  And what about the Blizzard Stakes…….if you like camping during snow blizzards, maybe you should be wearing a straight jacket, and sleep in padded tent.
Tent stakes can be made of aluminum, titanium, steel or plastic.  Titanium, talk about high tech.  There must be some comfort in-knowing that the stakes that hold down your tent are made from the same material used in artificial knee joints.   “Yeah Barney, those there ti -tanium tent stakes will never, ever, corrode, and neither will my knee.”
I never had good luck with the plastic stakes.  Once you hit a few rocks, the tip of the stake starts bending…… and once that happens, you can never drive them straight in.  “A real man has to be able to drive his stakes in der straight; otherwise he ain’t no real man.  Right, Barney! “  
I prefer the old style wooden stakes, just in case there happens to be any Vampires lurking around.  Of course, I wouldn’t mind a few bites from Elvira.  Even if she is getting a little old…wait, vampires don’t age………she still has her original fangs, right…….?
Oh, I forgot to mention my favorite stake, a nice juicy T-Bone.  Bonnie, start the grill!  Ok, I’ll start the grill.
Camping fun with Carl, signing off.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pop This!

My wife Bonnie asks the question, “Does anyone want popcorn.”  That’s a no brainer question, of course we do!  Then she pulls out a contraption to make popcorn over a campfire.  It looks like the pizza pocket maker but with a bigger box on the end.  The lid of the box has holes in it so you can see the popcorn popping.  Just put some butter on the bottom of the cast iron box, add the popcorn and hold it over the fire. It’s that simple.

 My kids love hearing popcorn pop.  Pop…………….pop………….pop…..........pop………… pop…….pop  pop  pop……..pop pop pop pop pop pop pop ….pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop………pop pop……..pop………………….pop.  You get the point, or the “Pop.”

My kids also enjoy eating popcorn.  The more butter and salt, the more they enjoy it.  I know what you’re thinking, bad parents.  But what do they really have to worry about; by the time they’re my age, there will be a cure for hypertension and obesity anyway.  Let them indulge.

I also love the taste of popcorn.  It’s the eating part I don’t like.  It’s one of those foods you end up paying a price for, not money wise, torment wise.  You know what I’m talking about, those tiny cellulose kernel fibers getting stuck in-between your teeth.  You twist and curl your tongue trying to extricate the kernel.  The edge of the kernel then cuts into your tongue with vengeance for daring to dislodge it without its permission.  The tongue finally says enough, as you use your fingers, tooth picks and dental floss to disentangle the obstinate intruder. Finally, it releases from its lodged position and finds its second new home to hide; under your tongue. 

Once again your tongue is waged in vicious battle as the kernel cuts into the underside of its flesh.  Your tongue surrenders for a second time as you jab your fingers into the soft flesh hiding space, trying desperately to remove the invader once and for all.  As a last ditch effort, you summon all the salvia you can muster and try to wash the stubborn kernel from under its hiding place.  It somehow works, as the kernel is swept into its third resting place, the back of your throat.  Now it’s your throats turn to react violently as the tenacious invader now irritates its soft lining.  You try coughing it out, gagging it out, flushing it out, nothing seems to work. Then in an single instant, it is gone, never to inflict torment on you again. It found its final resting place, in your stomach. 

Do you dare bite into another handful of popcorn, sure!  There is an unknown ingredient in popcorn that affects your short term memory. The second you’re done choking on that kernel, your mind erases it from your memory and you’re ready for the next handful.  It’s the way it has to be, for popcorn to survive all these years. Mother Nature always protects all its siblings!

Camping fun with Carl, signing off.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year !

Carl here.  I just wanted to say "Happy New Year" to all my camping buddies out there.

And to all my Russian followers "S Novin Godomr."

And last but not least, "Ein Gutes Neues Jahr" to all my German followers.

I made it easier to post comments on my blog.  I would really love to read your comments from all over the globe.

Camping fun with Carl, signing off.