05 September 2008

Things I learned while camping

Here are just a few of the things I learned the week before last, when we were "camping" in Minnesota:

1. Staying in a cabin nicer than your college apartment disqualifies you from using the term "camping" to describe your trip. Don't tell the rules committee I have been flouting this one.

2. Sleeping bag manufacturers need to be federally mandated to allow at least two extra inches in the circumference of their storage bags, rather than being allowed to continue with their long-standing method of using machines to roll them impossibly tight in a vacuum chamber and then painting the bags on, while laughing maniacally picturing suckers like me trying desperately to re-create these conditions in a musty tent.

3. Bacon* cooked outside is not only extra delicious, but it's also a health food!** I am willing this to be true despite the fact that the eggs cooked in bacon fat made me feel a lethal psychosomatic heart attack coming on with each bite.

4. Swearing off your blog for a week will leave you both painfully out of the habit of writing and severely neglecting your readers for several weeks after your return.

5. A wise blogger-camper heading out for a week would pay an illegal immigrant in PBJ sandwiches to 1) reply to comments, 2) read and summarize the blog posts in his feed reader for the week he's gone and shortly after, and 3) do more than light housekeeping, while he's drunk with power.



* Note to my British and Canadian readers (and anyone else from a place pushing various pork products mislabeled as bacon)-- I refer here of course to good old belly bacon, a.k.a. streaky bacon.

** I didn't say what kind of health.

34 comments:

Bragger said...

My idea of "roughing it" is a motel where you have to PLUG IN to the internet instead of having wireless.

Christy said...

So THAT'S how they get the sleeping bags to fit into their cases! I never knew why it was a mathematical impossibility to get it back in there after taking it out the first time. Thanks Dan! You are a plethora of information (seriously.)

Mama Dawg said...

Dude, I would have done it for you for sushi, but not PBJ.

Mama Dawg said...

Or strawberry cake. Either way, I'm easy.

Middle Aged Woman said...

Do you know what I would give to be able to post as you for a week? Think of the havoc I could create! Dude, I think it's time for us to collaborate on the next bestseller: The Good, The Blog, and the Literal. MamaDawg, are you in?

paisley penguin said...

Camping must always have the essential late afternoon cocktail. I don't care how it's served (styrofoam, sippy cup - you name it). It brings a little civility in to an otherwise backwoods outing. Always feel free to wear your fuzzy bunny slippers while drinking your dirty martini (or bloody mary or cosmo or mohiito) around the campfire.

Board and card games are a must as well!

that girl said...

Oh, I miss camping..and also, I'm the shit when it comes to folding the sleeping bags - and we're so healthy we always cook eggs in bacon grease..you know down here, in these parts, we like to think of it as our conservation effort - the coffee cup of bacon grease in the frig door. ;)

LiteralDan said...

Bragger: I would agree that a lot of motels in which I've stayed would qualify as "roughing it", particularly the Super 8s (no CLOCK??? The baffling list goes on), but otherwise I think you're missing something special in life (just like my wife is-- you're in good company).

Christy: Too bad so much of my information comes from my overactive imagination, huh? Or I might become useful to this world!

Mama Dawg: What about PB&Sushi, garnished with strawberries?

Middle Aged Woman: I think this idea intrigues me, mostly because it means I get a week off, but what exactly are you proposing? Just a week of guest posts where you put on my glasses and pretend to be as pompous as me? Why are you so excited about that? Hmmm...

Paisley Penguin: I think after not too long of that, especially given the quantities in which everything on our trip was indulged, you wouldn't even know the board and card games were there. So you could save some space when packing! Wonder what you'd fill the space with? More cups?

That Girl: I think I might save some of that grease for forcing the bag back into... its bag. There has to be a less confusing word for that. An added bonus is that your sleeping bag would always smell like delicious bacon.

Renee said...

I missed out on the mass reply, and so I don't feel like leaving a comment anymore. I'm immature that way.

LiteralDan said...

Well, tell you what, Renee, you caught me just before I went offline, so here's a reply just for you! Now do you feel like you missed an opportunity? lol

Swirl Girl said...

I love that eating bacon outside is considered health food!

Eating bacon anywhere is good thing.

Also, I am not an outdoorsy type. Camping and hunting? With my delicate constitution? The only thing I hunt for is a good bagel or a good bargain!

Andrea said...

Are you handing out sushi!?! And I missed it???

I say pour the cup of grease on the bag, slip it in the covering and send it back to the company. Or do you forsee another camping trip in the future?

I'm glad to see that others have trouble getting caught up. I keep telling myself "just let it go...".

Rikki said...

Don't worry LiteralDan, canadians refer to "streaky bacon" as bacon. And it's the silly americans that call it canadian bacon, we call it ham.

There is your little canadian tidbit for the week.

Now if we are talking bunnyhugs (hooded sweatshirts), then I admit, we are weird.

I missed my daily dose of sarcasm while you were gone. Glad to have it back! :)

Kat said...

Eggs cooked in bacon grease, you are a man after my clogging southern heart...LOL.

I think sleeping bad manufacturers are sadistic and like to look for blogs commenting on the crappiness of their extra tightly rolled sleeping bags.

Allison said...

And why is it that when camping, you always feel hungry, thus leading to eating six pieces of bacon as opposed to the regular two?

I LOVE camping! However, I do not allow for cabins or any kind of toilet that isn't dug into the ground.

Talk to me when I have kids though. Might change my tune.

Natalie said...

well you know what i think about camping and about a couple of my camping experiences. i do have to say that i would add two inches to the sides of the sleeping bag. i hate trying to roll over in those things. my clothes get all bunched up and i feel like i am being mummified. drives me crazy!

MamaNeena said...

I am glad to see you've gained wisdom, my friend.

Swirl Girl said...

ps- I do buy Hebrew Nationsal because I answer to a higher power too.

(re: you comment to my comment on Dad gone mad)

Mike said...

We tried turkey bacon for a short while at my house. Disaster. Can't beat the taste and smell from the original stuff.

Also roughing it at my neck of the woods, is not having room service at the hotel...

Always Home and Uncool said...

Bacon - think of it as the Atkiens' super food.

Manager Mom said...

I always wondered about those sleeping bag makers.

I'm sorry... what's the matter with a bacon-induced coronary? At least you'll die with a big smile on your face. Mmmmmmm

├╝berburber said...

I wanna know who thought tapering the bottom of a sleeping bag was a good idea. I'm all about the sprawl. I mused about camping on my blog earlier this year, too!: http://uberburber.blogspot.com/2008/05/ten-commandments-of-camping.html

Lola said...

I'll go camping as long as I can sleep in a vehicle. Tents leak or just feel damp, no matter how much money you spend on them. I do love cooking outside in the morning and pretty much all the rest of it.

A cabin doesn't really qualify as camping, by the way.

Dad Stuff said...

What a coincidence. We just had our first family tent camping excursion last week.
Your are right about bacon outside.

Brittany said...

Camping and eating eggs cooked in bacon grease, you just brought me back to my childhood!

Keith said...

I've never been camping but I go where the bacon is so I may have to try it.

The Microblogologist said...

Next time you could camp in my college apartment, which has internet access and you could keep up on your blog, blog reading, comment replies, and while you're at it you could write my blog... Hmmm, maybe not, the few readers I have would likely fall in love with you and boycott me after you went home!

Got the interim dean appeased for now. Calling her "the interim dean" isn't really significant, just her title, that's how I roll =).

Ann(ie) said...

I don't enjoy camping. There's not a Starbucks in walking distance and there's no place to plug in my flat iron. =/

Mama Dawg said...

Totally in, MAW, totally in.

Ms Picket To You said...

# 5 is funny. and i get it. and yo, yes, that article? that story? hurts and also the outpouring from everyone? uplifting.

stepping over the junk said...

Camping is definitely a compromise. But there is nothing like it.

LiteralDan said...

Swirl Girl: Well thanks for making me crave a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on a bagel... mmmm.....

Andrea: Yes, but don't worry, I have leftovers! They're just as good-- here's your soggy envelope of raw fish from Friday.

You must never let anything go-- it's worked for me so far! In the sense that I'm not very successful at anything, but might be sometime in the near future! Possibly.

Rikki: I've never understood how "Canadian bacon" differs from ham. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone!

Kat: Maybe you're right... if you're reading this, sleeping bag manufacturers, f*** you!!

Allison: It's not so much the hunger that's the problem, but the fact that there's no fridge in which to store leftovers, so you have to eat everything rather than risk wasting it. Of course, we had a fridge at this place, but that's a trivial detail-- I was in camping mode!

When you say flagrantly cool things like that, I have to assume you are trying to make me second-guess my decision to marry J-, rather than holding out for a chick who likes real camping. Or any camping.

Natalie: Your camping trips helped get me in the mood for this trip, even though we weren't going anywhere nearly as cool. But yes, sleeping in a bag is an acquired taste, as well as an art.

Mamaneena: You know me, gaining wisdom compulsively.

Swirl Girl: What's with you and your discussions of cured meats?? Okay, I admit I am mostly to blame. And I have been known to answer to that authority as well. They're the only kind of hot dogs J- will eat.

Mike: I'm glad you came to your senses. Turkey bacon is an affront to all that is good and decent. Have the real thing or chew on the memories-- there is no in-between!!

Always Home and Uncool: It is in fact the mascot, I believe. What other diet offers you bacon in consolation for other restrictions? Does anyone wonder how they sold so many books?

Manager Mom: It's true, bacon-eating is one of My Acceptable Causes of Death(TM).

├╝berburber: The tapered bottom is definitely one of the weak points of those "mummy bags". They're good when it's REALLY cold, though

Lola: You have a fair point, though sleeping in a vehicle isn't usually too comfortable either. Unless you're talking about an RV, in which case we are talking about two separate universes. Still, I gotta respect your appreciation for all the rest of it.

Dad Stuff: I see you guys had a good time-- glad to hear it! You should just "camp" outside for a couple hours in the afternoon once a week as an excuse to cook up some bacon.

Brittany: Childhood, schmildhood-- you're pregnant, just go cook yourself up some bacon-greasy eggs right now! Or grab your back, lay down, and "ask nicely" for your husband to make you some.

Keith: Oh, that is where the bacon is, my friend-- that's where it lives.

The Microblogologist: Despite my agitation at being "behind", I have a feeling the week away did me some good, in the long run.

I like your style-- when you do things by the book, you don't have to wonder what you should do all the time.

Ann(ie): You could bring your own Starbucks coffee to make over the fire, and get a real flat iron to heat over the fire as well. With practice over time, you'll learn to make the perfect cup and not singe quite so many hairs.

Mama Dawg: Uh oh...

Ms Picket To You: Uplifting is an understatement. It's always good to know there is decency and kindness left in the world.

stepping over the junk: I think that's something we can all agree on. Even my crazy ol' wife.

char said...

yes. good one on the sleeping bags theory. I think you just may be right! lol...

LiteralDan said...

One good thing about having delusions of grandeur-- I know I'm right!

Let's all storm the hideouts of Big... Camping Suppliers, and demand Change We Can Roll Up Again!