Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fung Your Way Into Spring, Part 1

Campsite tips & warnings the Fung Shway way.

You may think that a good night's sleep is important, but what you may not know is that having a proper campsite is much more important. Chi is king.

In the world of Camp Fung, chi is the Life-Force-Energy thingy that circulates through all things, even dirt, so it would seem a good idea to find a campsite with a rip-snorting great flood of chi roaring straight through it, running around in circles, cackling and charging things up to the point that you can hardly walk a step without shooting sparks from your fingertips.

Probably not, though. It's more complicated than that, and here's why.

Once you're out in the forest, or in the mountains, or even in the desert, what you find when you go to bed is that you want to sleep, right? This usually happens.

In order to sleep then, you need to enter a state of suspended animation but still remain alive. To remain alive, you need a plentiful flow of good chi, but not too much. Like too-strong coffee, too much chi will overwhelm you and every living thing in the area, making you all twitchy, and will keep you up half the night. The critters too. If you desire a stampede of elk thundering through camp around 1:37 a.m., bellowing like demons, this is a good thing, unless they aim for your tent, which can be unfortunate, so you may regret going whole-hog on that chi stuff.

Also, ignorant planners have located most campsites on level ground, ostensibly to facilitate the sleeping process. This is not so good.

Chi prefers slopes, and goes stale when it collects in pockets down in those hollows where the flat spots are. Stale chi is damp and cold. It attracts biting insects and causes bad dreams and stinky feet, so it is best to go higher. Halfway up the nearest hill or mountain is about right. That is where you'll find freshest, crispest chi, and the best selection to boot.

Go too far though, and you get all sparky again, so halfway is about right.

Now, you may think to yourself Hey, steep. Never mind what the slope is like — this will be good for you. If you begin rolling, it's because you need more practice. We have classes that can help you with that.

While you sleep, try to keep your head pointing at your Lucky Charm Star. Every person's Lucky Charm Star is different, so you need to find yours and know where it is. If you are aligned properly and your head is pointing uphill, this is the Puffy Foot Orientation, which will ensure cushy walking the next day. And if your head points downhill, you have the Balloon Head Orientation working in your favor. During the night this posture stores extra blood in your head, which is a good place to keep it. Handy for emergencies because it's right there, waiting to jump into action.

If you share your tent, the other person's Lucky Charm Star is likely different from yours, and sometimes the two of them fight. You could fall asleep quickly, only to be awakened later in the night because your head is being pounded. It could be your tent-mate's fists, or, if you got too close to the uncut chi, it might be that herd of elk trampling your tent with their hammering hooves, so keep this possibility in mind.

The short version then — sleeping in a negative direction causes problems. Problems like fly bites, excessive bloating, sunburn, bad relationships, poor grades, and blisters. Exercise caution.

Let's say you did everything right, and you awaken the next morning, still alive. Good. So what then?

Well, if you are down at the foot of the hill, one of two things happened. Either you rolled during the night — in which case you need more sleeping stakes — or the local chi spirits gave you the boot, maybe because you're a dick and you fart too much.

So what then?

Refuse to lose. Appease the chi. This is about your only chance to make it home alive, so you might as well go for it.

  • Clean up. Comb your hair. Shave, even if you are a woman (most female backpackers need it too).
  • Create a shrine. Twigs are OK. Rocks too. It's the thought that counts. Spirits don't know any better anyway, unless you try making your shrine out of poo like some smartass. If so, you get what you deserve.
  • Make offerings. Chi spirits really like peanut butter and whiskey, especially together, but most anything edible will do. Once again, no poop, not even an artful and clever sculpture.
  • Meditate. You don't have to do anything special aside from making it look good, but try not to snore. Think you got problems now? Try snoring on meditation watch. Then you'll see.
  • Walk at least half a mile (0.8 km) before snickering, after you realize that this is all crap. Chi spirits enjoy following people like you to see if their first opinion was right. No — make that a full mile.
  • Watch the sky for flying monkeys.

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