Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
I stumble across this: 10 Man Caves Primed for Super Bowl Sunday!
I will admit that all of the listed properties (it is Zillow) would be bad ass to live in, they miss the point. Zillow is trying to sell properties for sure but the man cave is all about free-form evolution; not manufactured design.
So, I came up with 5 rules and explanations of how to make a real man cave:
1. No professional design input or labor.
We are men. We barely plan our days. We know what time we will get up in the morning on workdays and if we have appointments but beyond that we pretty much "freestyle" throughout our lives. Or, once we start families a lot of decisions are taken out of our hands and we are "imposed" upon. This goes back to when our biology, mentality, and gender difference was forged as hunter-gatherers. We knew back then we were hungry, going to get up, walk around and hopefully kill some shit to eat later but the details kind of worked themselves out along the way. Today, much of the world and present culture goes against our masculine programming of going with the flow such that calling outside professional design help only enrages all of our inner Tyler Durdens that much more and concedes that we have lost and should just sell out. Let the man cave be that last place where you can truly say, "Fuck it...we'll do it at combat speed." Let's all go back to the African savannas of our primal forebears, start out with good intentions and no plan and let things fall into their own places again. I think this is the beauty and true masculinity of a man-cave; not re-creating the bridge of the USS Enterprise (though cool) in the basement.
The man cave should reflect that attitude. The man cave should just happen. Of course you need to decide whether you want a manly refuge from the world or just a room no one goes into because it is nothing more than an episode of Hoarders with your shit piled in it. The man cave should, once decided on, just happen. You see something that looks cool then it becomes wall art, somebody has an old couch they don't need you take it off their hands, velvet art/dogs playing pool at garage sales now become objets d'arte in the man cave.
Any design ideas should only be accepted from friends while in the man cave. The later in the evening the advice is given and the greater the BAC of the giver is directly proportionate to the awesomeness of the advice, same goes for outside labor. Besides yourself, the only people that should be swinging hammers or operating power tools in the man cave are those that are going to be joining you in it. The less skilled they are in any construction craft, and the drunker they are while doing it, the better and more authentic the end product. Not to mention you will probably have cool war stories, pics, and character for your cave. "That's where Jim, drunker'an hayl, lost his pinky to a circular saw trying to carve a block of wood into a Tom Landry statue the night we first got the Jager machine."
Remember Sandy's "Wet Hooch" up on the 3rd floor in the barracks? Tell me that shit was not awesome and he only started out with one idea; to be the only soldier in all of the 25th fucking Infantry Division with a bar in his barracks room. Squad leaders, platoon sergeants, and the First Sergeant for a while held off sticking a roommate with him knowing the confined space and how much that place meant to all of us. He had no design...the only reason he had surfboards hanging from the ceiling was because they were donated and we were in Hawai'i. His theme was get shit-faced and have some bros and sisters in arms there. Remember when the Aussies came and would not leave the place? That was a bad ass man cave.
2. Themed Man Cave
Oxymoron. Theme implies design and intent. This violates rule one. Making a good man cave is treading a fine line between piling a shitload of assorted, random things you like in a given room...and feng shui'ing the fuck out of a shitload of assorted, random things you like in a given room. Don't be Thomas Kinkade sports fan but be Jackson "Fucking" Pollock with a pick-up and bros looking for free shit.
Look at Larry the Cable Guy's man cave; it is the prime example of man cave epic fail. The theme and a shitty one at that, the Nebrasa Cornhuskers, has taken over the whole goddamn space! When you walk into a man cave there should be enough things of a given class (sports team, hobbies, porn) that you say, "He must be a fan of (sports team, hobby, porn)." Your passions and items announcing them should not go Borg on your man cave and have someone ever, under any circumstances, say that it is themed.
First off, theme should be a loose concept that happens, not a planned route to go in. Look at theming a man cave correctly as being the difference in saying, "I think I'll head north," as opposed to google mapping a route and planning it down to the minute then writing your miles down for tax purposes. You are not ready for a man cave if you have your favorite NASCAR driver Fatheads on every wall, matching barstools, carpet, furniture, and autographed fucking hood...you are probably a serious douchebag since you had no bros who were willing to go intervention on you when you started looking for Dale Jr. coasters. Put a flag in a corner, a picture or a single grandiose item that proudly announces to the world what your passion is. Do not fuck this up and turn it into an, "I am obsessed and have no sense of moderation nor fullness of life because my existence is so empty except this ONE FUCKING THING THAT I MADE A WHOLE GODDAMN ROOM INTO A SHRINE FOR IT!"
Like, an acceptable "theme" would be, "This neon beer sign makes my shit look awesome. Another one would make it awesome squared." So, you have a bunch of neon beer signs. That is an acceptable repetition of likeness but I hesitate to call it themed. You have a deer head, adding a jackalope and possibly a mounted, singing fish from a garage sale is also well within the limits of taste. The theme should be subtle enough that people keep coming back and discovering new things about the man cave and for regulars the place seems comfortable and familiar with a hint of mystery to outsiders. Remember Larry the Cable Guy's room? There is no mystery, every thing you see, smell, touch is going to be some shit about corn and its huskers, "Wow! Cornhuskers barstools, coasters, pool balls, beer pong tournament set, pewter chess set, beer steins! I wonder what this fucking rug will ha...oh, Cornhuskers" You will never get asked, at least after the first visit where you got something or what is the story behind it. Which leads me to why men like real man caves and not the planned, designed, luxury shitholes meant primarily for men but are not man caves.
One of the main reasons we like man cave projects as opposed to just tacking a "MEN ONLY" sign on any room in the house is that the concept behind it appeals to us.
Men love making stupid shit work. The modern extension of this is taking found, bartered, damaged, or otherwise making things that alone would be unusable or distasteful, putting them together and having a finished product that works. A chair from here, a stool from there, table off Craigslist, some shitty painting found in a dumpster, a roll of carpet left for trash, a cable spool as a stand for a $3000 70" 3D plasma...these are the ingredients for success to a man with an unfinished basement.
We love being able to take things that would seem to not fit or be possible and making them work. Tell a woman she can't climb Mt. Everest and you will get sued, have to come up with some gender-neutral climbing policy, attend sensitivity training, and still the fucker will not get climbed. Tell a man that it can't be done and next thing you know he and Tenzing are sending you IMs from the top of that bitch of them mooning and flipping you off. Tell a man toting a black velvet Elvis painting into the garage that it is ugly and see what happens!
A bunch of random furniture and shit that would get you laughed out of Homes & Gardens? Challenge Accepted! Readers might not know but I am sure all the writing contributors remember Fozzy the Chair, the unique artifact discoverable on the third floor of our barracks in B quad. It was the shitty chair that was about the same color and texture of Fozzy on the Muppets. It was old, had stuffing coming out, you had wrestle with it to gt it to recline. But, by God, that was the best chair in the world as countless soldiers before us, and hopefully after us had worn the thing into pure napping pleasure. Once the ritual of shimming up that one side that was lower than the other was done, the reclining handle that was as easy to operate as pulling Excalibur from the stone was pulled back, and the foot rest extended it was coma time. This is shit that is man cave-worthy.
If you are man cave shopping in catalogs and not on Craigslist, garage sales, not cruising alleys for cool shit that was thrown away, spending as much or more as you would on regular furniture, or asking women for decorating tips and not your pothead fratboy college neighbors then you are doing it wrong. If any instructions, besides for high end electronics, are needed or read then you are beyond the help this blog post can provide.
This touches on a lot of stuff.
First, if you confine yourself to a theme it could get expensive, like this guy's man cave:
So, one of your friends brings over a new guy to see the man cave who says he studied under Royce Gracie and has a 415th degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Twenty beers later someone is wanting him to prove it. Any old man cave might get shit broken so it needs to be cost-effective when you have those MMA pay-per-view nights re-enacting your favorite fight moments in there. Same incident in an armory themed room and one guy might start pulling shit down off the walls and go Chicago Rules on someone's ass.
There are exceptions to every rule. Go ahead and buy bad ass electronics, that sweet kegerator, an actual lightsaber or what not. If La-Z-Boy ever invents a recliner that has a built in toilet and can move under its own power so you don't have to get up even to go to the fridge BUY THAT SHIT! That one item in any room anywhere in the world negates any kind of + bonuses on saving throws against being turned into a man cave.
Two, as I have stated get Zen as fuck towards building a man cave and enjoy the journey without a destination. You will constantly be changing out things. Again, you want to achieve that fine line between optimum sweetness and total douchbaggery. This means that the sweet couch with the UNK stain you found two years ago must go because you found a leather one. Pay forward, bro! and Craigslist that old one or put it by the curb for younger, aspiring man cavers.
The pics of old dudes in monacles smoking in some room might have to go if you find some sweet posters of Raquel Welch or Angie Dickinson in their prime.
5. Finally, The Main Point
As men we have lost a lot of what has made us special. When our ancestors somewhere in the horn of Africa woke up for their daily routine it was often gender segregated. Women stayed behind and watched the kids, prepared excess foodstuffs for storage, tanned hides for use, or other general practical things; all the while doing an talking about whatever it is women talk about.
I can tell you what the men did...they are no different than what we as men are today with the exception of being useful and mattering back then. Men are neutered today. But, back in the day these men rose from beside their wife/wives circled around a smoldering fire, stretched a while, maybe grabbed something to eat, talked about what a drag the day was going to be and how hard their life is. Then, as a group of nothing but swinging dicks they set off...for somewhere. Maybe they found some tracks and started following them or wandered. Most likely, as they do today, they got out of earshot and sight of the village sat down under some shade and began bull-shitting. They talked about how their wives have headaches all the time, rib the younger guys for being shy about giving a cow or two to the father of the girl that, if they were not married, "...would totally hit that shit." Beer might not have been invented immediately after we began walking upright but you know it was at the top of the "To Do" list after people stumbled across peyote or what not and got high as fuck the first time.
After bullshitting all day, napping, smoking/consuming some bad ass drugs, they probably stumbled across something they could eat and killed it or collected it and took it back so the women would not be on to them and then complained about how hard their day was and made passing in-jokes among one another that made the women look puzzled or disgusted. Women didn't upset the apple cart too much or else they would starve to fucking death if we got tired of their shit. Also, if we are honest, there is a certain amount of time we, as separate sexes, should be together before we get on each other's nerves. Back in the day when a husband left the village all day to go provide for the family, he might have gotten killed and eaten (and so his wife might starve too) so you can bet your sweet ass when he got back it was a grand occasion. When he wanted to lay around, have a beer (or whatever) or two and do nothing; he wasn't told to not put his feet on the coffee table or go vacuum the yurt. Now, we for the most part do exactly what women do and so they can smell our bullshit and call us on it. Divorce lawyers probably evolved around the time of the industrial revolution and the beginning of the end for the need of manliness.
Today, except for the two sperm factories and the delivery system attached to us we are largely obsolete. We are not necessary to put food on the table, to provide or mentor, nor to keep things that might kill us at bay. Our ancestors through grit and technology have largely worked us out of a job.
So, for that reason, we need a place to be men. Not just the male half of the species but primal male; that animal that is unrecognizable as the same species by the fairer half. A place to make off-color jokes, stage farting contests, drink excessively, come up with stupid ideas, put much effort into achieving nothing but enjoy it, have unhealthy obsessions with weaponry (which is just an extension of our primal fascination with fire), and not worry about being judged.
Man cave away before burnt charcoal murals depicting scenes of half-naked men with spears and rocks killing large herds of now extinct shit is covered over in a sensible, pastel, floral pattern.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
A little background...
I cut a lot of shit at work; I mean a lot. I used to believe that Gerber, once synonymous with high quality blades, had turned to complete dog shit when they were bought by Fiskars and then all but their most expensive knives began being made in Taiwan or China proper. I have several examples of their pre-buyout knives with "USA" on them and one from after the move. That one post-Fiskars knife made me swear off the brand entirely. Now, I will repeat that I cut an inordinate amount of shit during a given work day and my $65 Kershaw (which is full of win) was starting to show this wear and tear. I decided I needed something for cutting shit in the not most pleasant of environments and my pre-requisites for such a knife were:
1) It needed to be a fixed blade since my Kershaw was a folder and I got tired of cleaning the shit I had been cutting out of it.
2) The blade needed to be 3-4" in length because I sometimes cut some pretty thick shit.
3) It needed to be cheap as the wear and tear on the aforementioned Kershaw showed that it would probably be replaced soon and I was wanting to keep costs down.
The only thing that fit the bill at the local Wal-Mart was the linked Gerber Profile. I have been using it a few weeks and after the first hard use in less than sterile conditions the "titanium nitride" coating began pitting with rust. My first thought was, "Here we go again...another pile of hammered dogshit Gerber!" Fast forward to today...
As usual, there was some shit to be cut. I won't go into details about exactly what happened but the result was the Gerber Profile slicing off a good hunk of my thumb...down to the bone. After the carved piece was found on the ground, in the dirt I went to the local care clinic and had it sewed back on with little fan fare and we shall see Monday if the hunk will re-attach or has become necrotic and must be removed. I will tell you that several shots of lidocaine directly into an open wound is one of the least pleasing experiences you can have. Judging from the throbbing pain in the wounded area I'm betting "lil' hunk" is going to make it through.
In the background of all this keep in mind that this knife, that I keep sharp for a reason you will read in a minute, sliced through my thumb all the way to the bone with ease and caused me no pain whatsoever during the event. I was always taught to keep knives sharp, as sharp as possible because they are safer: they require less effort to cut and so are less likely to slip and in case of a slip or accident make cleaner, more easily repaired cuts. The PA who sewed it back on even remarked that the cut appeared surgical, straight, and clean and made the prognosis of re-attachment all the more better. As I said, the cut caused me no pain. I saw a bunch of blood, thought, "Something in the First Aid Kit will fix this," saw the bone and thought, "Nothing in the First Aid Kit will fix this," and began looking for a large portion of my DNA laying somewhere on the ground. I only started feeling pain once the blood coagulated into the rag keeping even more of my DNA off the ground and went for medical treatment.
Maybe not the review Gerber would like but this knife will cut the living shit out of stuff!
Iknow, I know some of you are thinking I did not do the most important thing and YouTube the moment or snap pics but I will get some after the bandages come off.
Written on an iPad with 9 1/2 fingers.
Sunday, April 08, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
I was about to give up when I noticed it there, almost hidden beneath the sour cream. But how there were now 3 slices in the package when I was all but certain that when it had gone into the refrigerator there was only one. What manner of trickery was at work here? I gave it a thorough examination akin to what one could expect to receive if accused of witchcraft in Salem during its heyday of 1692. But not finding any mark of the devil I decided then and there that yes, this Swiss cheese shall indeed be the crowning jewel of my sandwich. Satisfied with my decision my thoughts turned to the selection of a complementary snack pack as I closed the refrigerator door and headed towards the garage.