Monday, June 29, 2015

Honeymooning in Jurassic Panama

Last week my wife and I (Brandon) went on our honeymoon to Panama. And since neither of us had ever been there before (or really known anyone who had) we didn't fully know what to expect. The pictures make it look like Jurassic Park, except instead of dinosaurs there's lots of wild birds. Which are descended from dinosaurs and therefore in my eyes just as dangerous.

All I knew was that I needed my special, patented, airplane-riding-survival medicine in order to get there. Because flying is terrible, and it's just better to ship my intoxicated corpse overseas than it is for me to be coherent.

Carry-on essentials. Booze and contact lenses. You need one in order to drink the other. I forget which is which.
So, we got to Panama City, stayed a night in a fancy hotel (thank you, badass travel agent!), and then set out from a regional airport for our final destination of Bocas del Toro, which is surprisingly not related to Buca di Beppo and therefore is not full of overpriced, low quality Italian cuisine.

It's also worth noting that our airplane looked to have been bought at some kind of international yard sale. It had such vintage luxuries as armrest ashtrays, prop engines, and free in-flight alcoholic beverages. And despite the fact that things like "safety checks" don't exist over there, that beast flew like a fucking champ. And by that, I mean didn't plunge any of us into the ground.

Four decades without spontaneous combustion. Who says miracles don't happen?
And then we arrived at the islands, where the locals were happy to see us.

Sorry, wrong slide. That was from our trip to D.C. last year and our tour of the Senate building. They are surprisingly trainable, though, once you separate them from the herd.

So we arrived at the islands, where we were given a really nice villa. But more importantly, we got a sweet ass golf cart to drive from the marina back and forth to our villa, which was about a ten minute drive up the mountain.

Note the pasty legs. They serve as a defense mechanism to blind attacking velociraptors.
Yeah, as I said, up the mountain. Imagine driving that thing up a mountain. We learned firsthand about the resilience of the mighty golf cart, which despite the often treacherous terrain, somehow managed not to roll off the side of the mountain to our fiery deaths (I assume it would explode Michael Bay style upon impact).

Needless to say, the place was a paradise (i.e. almost completely devoid of idiotic tourists), with beautiful beaches and little villages on all the islands. And boy did the mosquitoes give us a warm welcome.

Only the main island had but a couple of paved roads (including the runway) so pretty much everywhere else we went we had to take boat taxis. And believe me, you haven't lived until you've ridden in a fiberglass shell doing fifty miles an hour... in the middle of the pitch black night... on open ocean water... with no lights.

We took an awesome boat tour (during the daytime) where we got to see a lot of cool wildlife. Like the tour guide's boat shop, which is said to house over a thousand unique venereal diseases.

On the tour, we snorkeled, hung out at remote beaches, and met a lot of other locals and South American vacationers who made us practice our Spanish. I can even say "I now have explosive diarrhea, please let me die."*

*Ahora tengo diarrea explosiva. Por favor, déjame morir!

The wildlife we saw on our trip included dolphins, lots of starfish, and even a sloth who was too busy jacking off to pose for a decent picture. That's right. Think about that one for a minute. For a sloth, it literally takes a full minute to capture a single downward stroke. Poor guy.

I even had to fight a parrot for a beer...

I may have lost an eye, but dammit it was worth it.
The parrot won, but he bought the next round, so it all worked out.

The beer in Panama is,'s beer. Let's just say that Adolph Coors* himself would be proud.

*No relation to Adolf Hitler, even though both men ultimately mass-produced terrible things

Fortunately, Heidi did some googling and found out there was one lone micro brewery on the islands. And go figure, the owners previously came from Beer Mecca, our hometown of Denver.

I found a bottle of Panamanian swill outside the brewery and kindly disposed of it.
And even though they were currently remodeling, the owners were kind enough to emergency tap us some of their finely crafted IPA. It was well worth the dollar-fifty cab ride to get there.

We spent most of our days by the seaside, drinking rum out of coconuts and yelling drunkenly at exotic birds. We did a little jungle hiking, which resulted in a busted flip-flop (not the best hiking apparel), but we did make it far enough to wander on some private land that probably did not need us wandering on it.

I don't know how you say "buckshot in your ass" in Spanish, but I didn't want to find out.
Anyway, we had a blast on our honeymoon. The locals were friendly. The food was fantastic. And the remote scenery was out of this world.

Any of the married folk here had an interesting honeymoon experience?

Cheers and stay classy, folks!

Beer: Balboa
Music: Van Halen

Monday, June 22, 2015

Doing The Swirl For Sexual Profit

Once upon a time ago you guys asked us a ton of questions. Every other week(ish) we make an attempt at answering them. We're finally toward the end of the pile, and present to you our penultimate set of answers. Let's get down to it!

Joy Christi: If you each HAD TO pick one profession, besides writer/author/playwrite/scribe from which to draw inspiration for your stories, what would that be? Online match-maker, mayhaps? Writing Retreat Planner/Torture Dungeon Designer?

Brandon: Bartender in a run-down bar in a shitty part of town. Definitely not for the humor, but for the horror stories, this kind of scenery is ripe for the pickings.
Bryan: If you want horror AND humor, I'd work at an old folks home. They say things that are hilarious. They say things that are horrifying. They say things that are hilariously horrifying. What more could you want?

Rachel: Professional question: How do you copyright shit?

Seriously? We have no fucking idea. We imagine you have to send it via carrier pigeon and just pray your copyright makes it successfully through the hordes of undead before it finally lands in Mordor, where an anorexic goblin drops it into a volcano. Or something like that.

(Actually, we don't need to copyright anything ourselves. Under U.S. law, anything written in a fixed form – including an ebook or paperback book – is automatically copyrighted.)

Fun question: What do you do for fun? You know, besides having a beer in the shower.

Brandon: My hobbies change pretty often, but tend to lean to the outdoorsy (last year was axe-making, this year is munitions-loading). Next year will probably be getting into fly-tying or something like that. But main staples are hiking, camping, and frequenting the occasional dive bar.
Bryan: For being a dorky writer, all of my hobbies are oddly jockish. I like Thai boxing and working on cars, so in my free time I'm either punching BOB (my Body Opponent Bag) or working on one of my cars. My pride and joy is a 510 horsepower twin turbo Ford Taurus that's as fast as a Lambo... and let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've smoked some angry old guy with a $100,000 supercar in a family sedan.

Also, what is the stupidest thing either of you have ever done?

Brandon: I went rafting once without a vest and got sucked into a churning hydro-dam. That's the first thing that comes to mind. I've done plenty of stupid stuff but have managed to survive it all so far.
Bryan: One time, while buying a video game system, the cashier said, "Enjoy your new system!" and my automatic response was, "You too!" I realized what I'd said, turned my head away in embarrassment, and ran off. Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but 15 years later and I STILL THINK ABOUT IT CONSTANTLY.

Now every single time I'm in a situation like this - "Enjoy the movie!" or "Have a nice flight!" there's this dark, nagging voice in the corner of my brain that says, "You know what you should say? YOU TOO."

Holy Ghost Writer: Did you get a spray tan or roll in white paint for your new header?

Brandon: As writers that never see the light of day, you may underestimate our whiteness.
Bryan: I don't like to brag, but I'm so white that the reflection off of my bare skin can melt snow.

Denise Baer: If you found out that an author you liked didn't share the same ideals in life as you, would you stop associating/reading that author's works?

Brandon: That's a tricky one. I think that as far as being products of their generation, I would have to say no on dissing writers of the past. For example, H.P. Lovecraft was racist as fuck, but managed to write, in my opinion, some of the best short stories of all time. I have a much harder time with that with the contemporary ones, though. Like Orson Scott Card. Decent writer, but I just can't bring myself to respect anything that bigoted twat ever writes again. Back to the question, I think a lot of those "ideals" tend to show through in a writer's writing (especially in these days where subtlety is a lost art), which really just turns me off being interested in their work anyway.
Bryan: I don't read James Patterson because he's a book-shitting, megalomaniac twat that uses other people to write his own books as a way of creating some kind of ridiculous empire. But I also don't read James Patterson because all of his books are terrible. A lot of times that kind of personal shittiness goes hand in hand with their books' shittiness.

Briefs or boxers?

Bryan: Anything that's not man panties, aka whitey-tighties. Boxer-briefs. The best of both worlds.
Brandon: Boxer briefs are good, except in the summer time, when the dreaded swamp-ass returns.
Bryan: In that case all of the above, but also none of the above.

D.G. Hudson: What do you really think about living in Colorado? Has it made you a better writer, a la Hunter S.?

Brandon: Colorado is awful. Tell all of your friends and family it's awful. Whatever you do... Please.
Bryan: Yeah, go away people that constantly move here! So they say write what you know, and we know Colorado. Naturally we set a lot of our novels here, and I think it adds a unique charm to the story. It's a cool place. Sure, we have a lot of hipsters and we're the home of Coors (the Pee of Beers), but we also have gorgeous mountains, a thriving city, and some amazing craft beer. And it sure beats setting all of our novels in a place like Wyoming.*

*Sorry Wyoming readers, but we've both been there and you know it's true

Julie: 1) What is the "swirl" on Seinfeld, and have either one of you had success with George's move? 2) Bryan and Brandon, have you ever pulled a Cyrano de Bergerac to help each other on dates?

We're glad you asked that! Because both of these questions are actually correlated.

First off, the "swirl" is the most erotic movement that a man can make, and he has to be careful in doing so, not just because he could overwhelm his lady with his hip-melting powers, but he could also shatter his pelvis from the sheer G-force exerted by his circular thrusting.

And second, we always helped each other out during dates, Cyrano de Bergerac style. As they say, two heads are better than one.

And that, kids, is how I met your mother. 

Candice: 1) What is your most favorite book of all time? I'm talking the book that you could read over and over again and get something new out of it every single time and never get tired of it? 

Brandon: I think that title changes with my mood, but right now I'd have to say it's a toss-up between Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces and King's The Shining.
Bryan: What's Eating Gilbert Grape? I've read it 3 times now, and I still don't know what's eating him. Is it E.Coli? Necrosis? Swamp monsters? Who knows? Really though, it's a wonderful mix of comedy and drama and certainly an inspiration for my own writing.

2) All-Time favorite movie? 

Brandon: Pulp Fiction. I think I finally figured out what's in that damn briefcase. But I'm not telling.
Bryan: The Room. It's the worst movie on the planet, in that it's so bad it's gut-bustingly hilarious. If you haven't seen it, watch it. I can watch that movie once a year and still laugh just as hard... Every. Single. Time.

3) Do you believe in ghosts, and have you ever had any experiences that reinforced that belief? 

Brandon: Yes and yes, with multiple firsthand encounters. And I'm not some ghost-hunting dipshit who watches too much TV, either. Just happen to be in the right places at the right time, I guess.
Bryan: My wife once saw my dead childhood cat in my old childhood home and described him to me in perfect detail, including his personality, without having ever knew he existed. She thought he was alive. He had been dead for years. So... yes, I believe.

4) You guys have known each other for a VERY long time, so I'm sure you've taken a more than one road trip together. Share the story of your most memorable road trip(s)! 

Probably moving Brandon back from Chicago to Denver. We drove over 1,000 miles in the span of 2 days, attended a funeral (in which the priest gave us nasty glances because he somehow thought we were gay), and passed through such awful road-trip states as Iowa and Nebraska. We finished the trip without wanting to kill each other, and if that isn't true friendship, we don't know what is.

5) How many brothers/sisters do each of you have? Are you close to your families? 

Bryan: I'm an only child. I wrecked my mom so bad on the way out that she had to get an emergency hysterectomy. Regardless of that, she still loves me, so you could say we're pretty close.
Brandon: One sibling, but we don't talk. It's for the best.

6) If you guys could form your own garage band, what instruments would you play, and who would you recruit to be in the band with you? Oh, and most important of all: what would you call yourselves? 

Brandon: Our band would be Pregnant Scandinavian Workforce, and my weapon of choice would be a two-necked guitar named Gorgoncock.
Bryan: Naturally, I would play the flaming keytar while dazzling our four person audience with my heavenly falsetto.

Robyn: I like hearing about your younger days. Did you ever crush on the same girl/s? Ever double date? Ever trade "how to impress a chick" tips? Do tell.

Neither of us have crushed on the same girl, or awkwardly tried to date the same lady. Bro code and all of that. Plus, we have different tastes in women. But I'll tell you what, we have definitely saved each other's bacon more than a few times when it comes to dating the wrong woman.

Because an okay friend will help you get over a bad date, but a real friend will help you bury the body.

Cheers and stay classy, friends,

Music: Halestorm
Beer: Blue Ski Lager (Epic Brewing)

Monday, June 15, 2015

There Must Be Fifty Ways To Kill Your Bunny

A week and a half ago I was outside in my driveway and I noticed a baby bunny lying on the concrete, which was weird, because I didn't remember leaving one there. Sadly, he wasn't moving and his eyes were closed. As the brilliant forensic analyst that I am, I investigated the crime scene and declared that he was dead... by poking him with a stick.

I was wrong.

I came back 4 hours later and he had seemingly disappeared. I thought maybe the neighbor had gotten peckish and eaten him, or maybe a Pentecostal rabbit preacher had come by and lain paws on him in the name of Rabbit Jeeeeezus.

Reality wasn't quite so whimsical, though. After a little investigating, I found that he had actually used the last of his strength to drag himself over to the dirt where he was resolved to die. Flies were circling his head and making him cringe with each aggressive peck. I wasn't sure why he was out here. This was a concrete alleyway with no plant life, after all, so the little guy was far away from mama rabbit, and now he was going to die in the hot, summer sun, being picked at by flies.

The wife and I just couldn't stand by and let that happen, so we wrapped him up in a towel and brought him inside. We then consulted Lord Google, where we learned a ton about baby rabbits.

Like... he was actually a she.

We learned that she was about 10 days old, and wasn't very far away from being able to live out on her own, but because her eyes were still closed and she was still on her mother's milk, she had left her nest (for whatever reason) way too early*, almost completely ensuring her doom.

*Meanwhile, I know 30 year old men that still haven't left their mother's "nest"

And speaking of doom, we also learned that wild rabbits, when taken in, have only a 10% chance of survival. Really, just 10%. Because everything will kill them. Everything. It might actually be easier to just give you a list of what won't kill them.

For starters, you have to give them the right food. It's not just as simple as grabbing some lettuce out of the fridge and hoping for the best, because if they don't get exactly the right type of nutrition, a rabbit's stomach will collapse in on itself like some kind of digestive black hole.

But here's the thing; even if you do feed them the correct food, you have to be careful how much you give them. Because if you give them too much, then they'll get what's called 'bloat', which is apparently the medical term for 'stomach-go-boom.'

They can also die of dehydration. They can die from getting diarrhea, and not to be outdone, they can die from constipation. Oh, and don't dare give one a bath, because the sudden spray of water can induce a heart attack which will kill them instantly.

No, really.

In fact, even stress will kill them. Stress. This, while they're already in a very stressful situation. So let that sink in.

What I'm saying is: you can literally sneeze on a baby rabbit and kill it.

And so I pretty much knew we were fighting an uphill battle. I knew that for all of the hours I spent nursing this little thing back to health, that there was a 90% chance she'd die anyway. But I still did it, because I know if I had to die, I'd rather go in a hospital being cared for than left out in the street to suffer.

I was told by a few people that this was silly. Stupid, even. If she was going to die anyway, why not just let her die outside instead of prolonging the inevitable?

But frankly, I think that's bullshit. I mean, we don't do that with people, do we?

Even if she was just a stupid little wild rabbit, we wanted to give her a chance at life. 10% was still something.

So with the odds against us, we bought kitten milk replacement and a bottle. Fed her. Tended to her. Named her. When we found her (and thought she was a boy), she had a grungy beard, she was crawling in the dirt, and we felt that despite all of that she would end up being a survivor in a cruel world, so we called her Rick Grimes. Then we found out she was a girl, so that became shortened to Grimes.

We bathed her the best we could by gently dabbing her with a wet cotton ball.

We prepared kitten milk replacement and fed her from a ridiculously sized baby bottle twice a day, between giving her fresh grass to help her stomach digest.

And then something amazing happened. She opened her eyes. She stopped crawling around like a dying frog and started hopping. She started getting a little plump.

She started jumping around so much, she hopped up my wife's shoulder and into her hair... which she then tried to chew like purple grass.

She got better.

And so we did have to end up saying goodbye to little Grimes, but not by burying her in an Altoids tin coffin or giving her a 21 flush salute. No, two days ago we released her in a nice wooded area, lush with greenery, not overly populated with rabbits, and not known to house foxes or coyotes. Now, I know that she could have been out there for a grand total of 10 minutes before getting swooped up and eaten by my buddy the hawk... but she also might not have.

At least she got a chance at life. And whether that chance is 10% or 100, that's what it's all about. Because in the end, I'd rather have failed knowing at least I tried than let someone - be they human, pet, wild animal - die in unnecessary agony.

Anyone else have any good animal rescue stories?

Cheers and stay classy, friends,
Bryan (and Brandon)

PS: If you're wondering why we aren't answering questions (and where the hell Brandon is) my cohort's just coming home from a lovely honeymoon with his wife. Answers will resume next week, and all disgustingly cute pictures of baby bunnies will cease in favor of regularly scheduled shenanigans.