Tag Archives: humor

The Casual Cyclist’s Guide to @RAGBRAI_IOWA Training Terms

Are you training for Ragbrai? I am! Taking time out from writing every day is something of a hardship for my publication schedule, but I’m doing it anyway. And hey, we all need a little more exercise in the spring. Or maybe that’s just me. Regardless, these are some important terms relating to cycling that you may not have heard before in this context.

Rain (n.): The thing that happens every time I get on my bike between September and July; What causes copious spots on my glasses, thus making cycling more exciting.

Gear Denial (n.): That moment when you could shift to a lower gear, but really just don’t wanna; laziness.

Iowa Flat (adj.): Any cycling route that’s 20-25% flat. Compare to Texas Flat (90-95%) or Cascadia Flat (0.5%).

Hill (n.): Any segment of road that requires you to shift to an easier gear; uphill.

Mountain (n.): Any segment of road that requires you to step off your bike and walk; A section of road for which your training goal is total domination and/or subjugation.

Downhill rest (n.): The precious few moments for breathing you hope will come after the hill.

Water bottle (n.): The thing you forgot to slip into the cage on your bike frame, thus necessitating you cut your ride short to avoid dehydration; the thing you dropped in the middle of the hill which turns said hill into a mountain.

Helmet (n.): The thing you damned well better turn around and go put on as soon as you notice you forgot it, dumbass.

Car (n.): Artillery round; The enemy.

Tired (adj.): How you feel when you could go five more miles, but you’d rather stop and check your email on your phone until you stop panting and/or sweating so much.

Exhausted (adj.): How you feel when five more miles will probably kill you, but you do it anyway because that’s how far you are from home; A sign you’re not ready for Ragbrai yet.

Happy cycling!

Halflings and Mischief are Peas and Carrots

“What a ridiculous thing to do with panties.” Owen leaned against the wooden fence keeping the sheep from wandering and watched his cousins struggle with a ladder.

His little sister, Primrose, arched an eyebrow and planted her fists on her hips in an uncanny echo of their mother. “You expect me to believe you didn’t do that?”

“Pfft. What for? Stringing them up there serves no purpose other than embarrassing Gillie for wearing red lace panties under her sensible skirts. I’m a gentleman, and this juvenile behavior is beneath me.”

“Right.” Primrose snorted. “You’d rather wrap them up to avoid having to buy her a Naming Day present.”

“Absolutely.” Owen flashed his most charming smile. “Besides, if I was going to steal her underwear, I’d take the blue ones. They’re much prettier.”

She gasped and covered her mouth. “You’ve seen her other undies?”

Aware he’d stepped in something, Owen’s smile faltered. “I’ve, ah, seen Jack out with the laundry.”

“You liar. I’m telling Mom.” Before he could grab her, Primrose hiked up her skirts and sprinted away.

“Crap.” By nightfall, he’d be Gillie’s bed boy. Everyone would think he’d strung up her undies, and Matron Marta would string him up. Launching into action, he sprinted around the nearby house and dove into the cellar. He darted past the roots, cheeses, and smoked meats of Gillie’s household and resisted the urge to grab a snack. In the back, he nabbed a crate and dragged it to a precise spot.

The crate allowed him to reach the five foot ceiling. More importantly, it allowed him to reach the hidden depression in the wood that caused the trapdoor to click open. He listened carefully, heard nothing, and let it fall open. Pushing aside the rug covering the hole, he grabbed the sides and jumped to haul himself up into Gillie’s bedroom.

On this side, the trap door had a recessed handle he used to pull it back up and lock it into place. He replaced the rug and tiptoed to the closed door. Beyond it, he heard Gillie’s high-pitched voice railing about the state of her underwear. Another voice, probably belonging to one of her fathers, tried to calm her down. Owen caught something about a “joke.”

Angry thumps thundered to the door. As Owen jumped to safety, the door caught him and threw him against the wall with a fresh bruise in his gut from the knob. His head hit hard enough to make him see stars.

“Owen,” Gillie growled. “I knew it.” She drew in a breath he thought she might use to call for her father.

“No,” he grunted. “Wait. Wasn’t me. I swear.” Rubbing his head, he tasted bile.

“Sure. I believe you.” She slammed the door shut and grabbed the front of his shirt.

The room spun. “Ugh, please don’t. I’m going to throw up.”

Shoving him to the floor, she crossed her arms and glared at him. “I ought to tell my mother about you.”

He rolled to lie flat on his back and squeezed his eyes shut, hoping it would make the nausea pass. “But you won’t, because you love me.”

Her voice softened. “Why did you do it?”

“I didn’t. I swear. Even if no one else believes me, you have to.”

She sighed, and he thought it meant she’d given up on being mad at him. “If it wasn’t you, then who was it?”

“I don’t know, but I can find out. You know I can.” He cracked an eye open and saw she’d moved to her small window. Sunshine streaming in hurt to look at, so he shut his eyes again.

Snapping the curtains shut, she returned to crouch beside him. “You’re such an idiot, Owen.”

“Nonsense. I’m charming and clever. That’s why you love me.”

“I got you pretty good, huh?” Her cool hand laid on his forehead, pressing with enough pressure to make his pain recede.

He cracked an eye open again and found her smiling down at him. “Took me by surprise.”

She chuckled. “Gotta work on those reflexes.” Taking a deep breath, she let her tiny thread of magic loose to work on his injuries.

He sighed again, this time from the easing of his belly. “But then you won’t get any opportunities to take care of me.”

“I have no doubt you’ll get into plenty of trouble trying to clear your name of this hideous offense. When my mom finds out, she’ll think it was you. So you shouldn’t be found here today.” She leaned in and kissed him. “Which means you should come back late tonight.”

He grinned. “Don’t wait up. I’ll wake you. With the underpants of the offender in hand so you can humiliate him properly.” Hugging her close, he reveled in her scent, an earthy mix of sage and potatoes. “You should let me marry you. Then we won’t have to sneak around anymore.”

She stuck out her tongue and pushed him away. “I’m not ready to start my own homestead yet.”

“Bah.” Scrambling to the trap door, he flashed a wide grin. “We can just mooch off your mom’s for a while.”

Rolling her eyes, she waved to shoo him off. “Get going before my father decides to tell my mom what he can obviously overhear.”

Owen heard a cough from the other side of the door, followed by feet shuffling away. “I barely touched her,” he called out. Quieter, he added, “This time.”

“Go already!”

Book Review: Dead Drunk by @Dead__Drunk

Dead Drunk by Richard Johnson – 4.5 stars
Charlie Campbell was your average, balding, thirty-year-old alcoholic with a dead-end job and a penchant for shambling through life one mistake after another. However, none of that mattered following the sudden arrival of a mysterious sickness that brought with it infected mobs of zombie-like creatures thirsting for the flesh of the living.

Trapped in a Chicago apartment the morning after a raucous bachelor party, Charlie and his old fraternity buddies must battle for survival against the cannibalistic horde, a military invasion and their own rampant stupidity.

With supplies, common sense and brain cells dwindling by the hour, the motley crew — including a racist cop, a Sri Lankan used car salesman, a stoner landlord and a pet raccoon — must pull out all the stops to avoid joining the ranks of the dead.

If you like zombies, action and humor, crack a beer, pull up a barstool, and prepare for one wild ride.

Everything that this book promises is delivered. It’s a zombie novel about a guy I wound up rooting for even though he’s a loser. The humor is lowbrow, the beer flows freely, and the silliness quotient is high (literally, part of the time). In many places, this book is entirely preposterous, and that’s exactly how it should be.

I found myself laughing out loud at several points. Although the antics of the survivors can be over the top at times, it’s still hilarious. Be forewarned there is a lot of drunk guy humor, guy sex humor, and some drug humor. These guys drink, use assorted drugs, and talk about sex and genitalia a lot.

A few scenes did bother me a tiny bit, ones depicting mildly disturbing violence. Obviously, there are zombies, so there’s violence, and that’s not what I’m referring to. The survivors engage in and discuss some morally questionable activities that sensitive readers will blanch at. Their choices aren’t always the ‘heroic’ ones, which is probably the reason any of them manage to survive.

The only things I actually disliked about this book were some odd scenes out, all of them jam-packed with backstory. One of them even confused me, because I had no idea what was going on until the end of the chapter. Aside from the one major hiccup, the tale is woven well and the characters are well done.

I recommend this for people who like Shaun of the Dead and similar stories.