Wednesday, November 24, 2021



Undergarment worn next to the skin and under the outer garments. From "under" + "wear", so called because it is worn under one's clothing. (Someone spent decades figuring this one out for you.)

Synonyms: shreddies, underclothes, undergarments, undies, undos.

Example: "My underwear is what I wear under there, everywhere."

Clothing that's EZ-On, EZ-Off. Whatever that means, really. Could be good, could be not good.

It depends, but if you're home alone, as so many of us are, all the time, forever, with nothing to do anyway, that could be an advantage. Probably especially OK for those pre-season training days when you decide to pull your Exer-Haggis out of the freezer and do a bunch of lifts and stuff to try getting in shape again. If you are really that motivated. (Not all of us are.)

Other things you can do in your underwear:

  • Wonder what diseases you never heard of that water might cause.
  • Think about what to say to someone who has cancer, if you can't just avoid them.
  • Decide whether thinking positive thoughts or drinking more beer is ultimately better for health.
  • Resolve to be a better person, or learn how to fake it. And some other handy tricks.
  • Wonder why so many people laugh at you, or if it's only that invisible person who's always there behind you somewhere.
  • Make up your mind once and for all about dog toothpaste.
  • Plan to take a course on how to use bath salts, because you never know. (See item # 2. Could be useful there too.)
  • Try to remember the seven sleeping positions for couples who aren't talking this year and if it might just be better to get an inflatable cat.
  • Plan to do laundry soon.


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Me? Still wondering about that underwear-replacement tattoo.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021



A mysterious being that appears whenever any two stones are laid together. Chinks were first noticed by volunteers while armoring trails with flat stones.

The rule of chink: A chink never attaches to a lone stone, but instantly materializes when that stone is set next to another one, or another one is set next to it.

A chink, if left alone, will collect insects, spider webs, fallen leaves, and dirt but does not alter or eat them. Moreover, chinks are where skinks like to hide. (Look it up.)

If disturbed by motion of the stones around it, a chink will instantly and soundlessly vanish.

Chinks are also always solitary — no two chinks ever come into contact, and of course, given this, no chink has ever been seen breeding. Neither has any free-range chink ever been sighted.

Chinks inhabit only walls, walkways, and similar structures, and remain forever silent and motionless, instantaneously appearing and disappearing seemingly at random but never changing position.

Watching chinks appear and disappear is an essential element of the magic that is trail building, and why so many devote their lives to that practice.


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Me? Recently found a nice hole to hide in.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Seismic Wave

Seismic Wave

Did the earth move for you? Well that was a seismic wave. They are complex buggers so we'll lump them all together here in one definition to make it even more confusing. Give you something to work out on your own, so you don't get bored with life.

OK then.

First, you got yer body waves and then yer surface waves. The body waves travel through the earth's body like lunch travels through yours. Surface waves on the other hand are more like creepy caterpillars inching along your skin.

Body waves not only travel through the inside of the earth but they move in every possible direction, all at once. They get called a lot of names. You have yer p-waves and yer s-waves to start. And maybe some others, unofficially.

"P" is a primary, longitudinal, irrotational, push, pressure, dilatational, compressional, or push-pull wave.

"S" is a shear, secondary, rotational, tangential, equivoluminal, distortional, transverse, or shake wave.

Now for yer P think of a slinky toy on a table, with you pushing it back and forth, away from you and toward you. Compression and rebound. Fine and dandy.

For yer S, think of a wave on water, only real s-waves can't travel through liquids or gases (or the liquid core of the earth), but they would look like water waves if you could see them. Hot waves. Real hot waves. Prolly spicy too, as far as rock goes.

Now then that leaves surface waves. They are different from body waves. They don't travel through the earth but stay on top where it's more fun and they can watch stuff happen if they get bored.

Oddly enough, surface waves and the s-wave type of body waves are the strongest, at least at the surface, and cause the most damage as they vibrate around and do what-all. This is how buildings fall down. Good time to be somewhere else, as so often happens in life.

And if you're wondering what the heck this has to do with backpacking, well it doesn't, unless you get (un)lucky and wake up on top of an earthquake. This is so you know. You get to decide if it's fun or not, your ownself.

So if you wake up and it feels like the earth is one big snake wiggling around underneath you, that's a p-wave down there, coming up for air. On the other hand if it feels like you're getting booted in the gut or the butt (depending which side you sleep on), and you seem to be bouncing all over, and you actually are all alone, and it's the earth what's doing stuff with you, well that's an s-wave or an uppity surface wave dropping by to say hello and give you a few kicks just for fun. I can still do that part.

Enjoy if possible.

As for me, all my references have gone dead, so I can't prove any of this. Time to sit back, have another beer and do some kitty tickling, I guess. I can still do that part.


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Me? Recently bumped by something that went by real fast. Think it said "Wheeeee!" But maybe not.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021



(1) Entrenchment. Furrow. Beaten path. Cut. Footpath. Gouge. Runway. Track. Trench. Trail.

(2) Also known as groove, channel, or trace — a feature, euphemistically-speaking, which is worn or cut into the trail tread in the direction of travel by wheels, hooves, feet, or even the flowing of water along the trail. Yep.

(3) Animal or hiker mating season. If this happens on the trail (not while hiking, but actually on the trail itself), it's one of those Oh, jeez! moments that (a) you do not want to see, (b) you will not forget, (c) you will weave into a great story anyway, and (d) will prompt you to buy and always carry a camera just in case something like this ever happens again. Even though you said that you don't want to see it.

(4) Sunken track or groove worn into the tread surface cut in the direction of travel by the passage of trail users or water. For example: "I'm in a rut up to my knees, which is a serious rut. This is why I don't like hiking in rutting season."

(5) Lines on the face. Something you developed while working, and something you take to the trail in the hope of removing. They have other causes too: "There was a lady in France, that having the small-pox, flay'd the skin off her face, to make it more level. And whereas before she looked like a nutmeg-grater, after she resembled an abortive hedgehog."

From "The Duchess of Malfi" a Jacobean revenge tragedy written by English dramatist John Webster in 1613. "Begins as a love story and ends as a nightmarish tragedy." Sounds about right for this topic.

So sometimes you can't win. Have to stay in that rut if you know what's good for you. Make the best of it. Put your head down and keep moving until it's over. Which it will be. Some day.


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Me? Trying to keep away from nutmeg. Nutty Meg. Something.