That's a turtle and I drew an arrow there to the little guy's egg tooth. Hey guys, what's up? I haven't had a chance to update since all the way back in Halloween. I had a few really bad days in a row and I sort of didn't have time to do anything for an article.

The first bad day was not long after Thanksgiving when I fell asleep chewing gum on a Sunday and woke up Monday and the gum was stuck to my lip and flattened out and hard. Thing is, I didn't remember I was chewing gum and I hadn't shaved in a couple days, so all I knew when I woke up was I had this weird hard thing on my lip that hurt when I pulled on it. It looked like a bird's beak but I had never heard of a person just growing one of those so I looked it up in Google.

It turns out like lizards get this little beak thing on their nose that they call an egg tooth, just like a little beak for a lizard. They use their egg tooth to break out of their egg. That seemed a little more likely than the beak thing to me. I know, I know, stupid, but I didn't think I was a lizard or anything, I just thought maybe I handled Keith's turtle too long and I caught it from that. I didn't know what else to do so I went down to the gas station and bought eggs to eat. The gum/egg tooth thing worked pretty well at first, but pieces of eggshell kept sticking into the gum and as I drank some rootbeer it started falling off my face.

I laughed about all that, but then the next day I got pretty sick from eating all those raw eggs. So the old Stever was knocked out of commission for a good week and I even had to cancel karate practice on Sensei Matt Murphy, which I never miss. It's pretty hard to wear a cup when you're blasting mud ten times a day and chuckin' apples when you're not. I know all of the yellow and white belts look up to me, but I had to rely on Peg who is a really nice lady who is also an orange belt. She is friends with Keith's mom and is really limber for a woman her age. She's a real MILD, which to me stands for Mom I'd Like to Do, although she said she doesn't have any kids because of ovarian cysts, so whatever. Just a hot babe in general, I guess.

There are some really hot women involved in karate. Okay, so imagine you are spending half your life on the toilet for a week straight, and then imagine that you can't call off work because you took your last three sick days to go to GenCon. Yeah, I had to work my normal third shift routine at Fresh Cut making bagged salads. I spent as much time off the line as on it, which was cool when Hooper or Gordon were running the floor, but sucked huge traffic cones when Judy was running the floor. She normally works second so she was pissy to begin with from having to work third and as soon as she realized I was going to the john every half hour she started giving me all these crappy jobs (no pun intended, heh) trying to get me to lose it.

I think I must have practically ruptured a colon or something pinching it in at the salad shredding station. We had bulk bag orders and I had to do about 500 before the end of my shift and Judy just stood there with her witch nose and hairnet looking like a mushroom with an eagle beak. I had an overlap with her a couple days later, but luckily by then the FDA had shut down the floor for some sort of surprise inspection. Hooper said something about Eccoli, which maybe is the Italian guy who runs the floor first shift. Like maybe he went crazy or something. Anyway, they said some trouble he caused had gotten tracked back to our plant and the FDA had to temporarily shut us down. The FDA is like the FBI for bagged cut vegetables, so it was a pretty big deal.

So, whatever, I got to finish out my run with the flu in relative comfort for the past week or so, which has been cool because: a) Fiendish Codex II came out and it is every bit as sweet as Fiendish Codex I and is giving me a lot of ideas for the campaign I am getting ready to start running and b) I have had time to write an article for you guys. My article is about those climbers who got lost in Oregon.

Extremely awesome book. Highly recommended. Those guys have been all over the news. There are three of them and they were climbing Mount Hood in Oregon a week ago when a big storm blew in and trapped them on the mountain. Conditions were really bad up there, like -20 degrees below zero and these guys didn't have a car and breast milk like those other people that got stuck in the mountains. Basically as dangerous as sitting in the room where a couple ten year olds hyped up on Sour Patch Kids are playing Wii. On the other hand, the news said all three dudes are expert mountain climbers and they had all the tarps and crampons and whatnot they need to survive.

One guy who gave a good rundown of what might happen to those dudes was Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is like this expert doctor dude CNN brings in to talk about how much cholesterol is in a bagel. He also knows about hypothermia, which is what happens when you get really cold, and he kept saying how if you get really cold as you are about to die you get really warm. That seems contradictory to me, but he said you feel all warm and sometimes you feel so warm you start taking all of your clothes off.

That's pretty cool and maybe good advice for a date if it's winter. Just open up your windows and put ice packs under your couch cushions and then watch a movie like Ice Pirates. Before you know it she'll be like "oh boy is it hot in here" and then she'll take all her clothes off and you can do her hard.

So I am wondering about these guys stripping up on the mountain and then I am watching the news and they keep showing this footage of like Air Force airplanes with computers and radar and stuff. Then they would show these big double helicopters and regular helicopters flying all over the place and all of these expert mountain climbers hang gliding down onto the mountain and paratroopers landing and stuff. Which, first of all, you would think they would find them in like two seconds if they are alive because I didn't see a lot of trees and rocks and stuff these dudes might be under, but also it got me thinking about these climbers. I mean, I know one dude was found dead, which sucks, don't get me wrong, but what the heck?

There are these three dudes who decide to climb a mountain in the middle of winter, okay, great. That's fine. They knew what they were doing and they were expert climbers and whatnot. Maybe winter wasn't such a hot idea, but maybe they like to build a snowman at the top of the mountain or something. That's cool, I dig it. And maybe the weather forecast was crappy and just said like "one inch of snow" and then there was a whole blizzard. That's cool too, alright. But then what is the deal with this rescue effort? Why do these three dudes who willingly went and did this to have fun get all kinds of helicopters and radar that goes through mountain tops and paratroopers?

This is just one of the helicopters rescuing those dudes. I think I saw at least three and maybe as many as five. When people ask mountain climbers or any kind of thrill seeker why they do what they do they'll always be like "the exhilaration" or "the high". Which is fine, you know, I'm not going to judge you for wanting to get high just like I didn't judge Bodie Rocker for smoking his bong in the photography darkroom in high school. People should be free to do whatever they want to do, I'm all for that, but what seems sort of lame to me is that it's not equal at all.

Like if Bodie Rocker spilled his bong on himself and he started choking on bong water do you think the Air Force would fly a plane over his dad's basement and use special radar to see if he's okay? Do you think any paratroopers would land and dig into his basement? No, he'd probably lay there and get eaten by his rottweilers until one of them started messing with one of his Glade Plug-ins air fresheners and started a fire. Even people not doing anything to risk their own lives don't get that sort of treatment.

About three months ago a Guatemalan guy we all called Rico Suave because of his mustache had an accident at Fresh Cut. He was the nicest guy in the world, had some awesome gold chains with like AK-47s on them, and he was just a cool guy to hang out with at lunch. Didn't speak a word of English, but he was still cool. Anyway, he dropped one of his chains into the Sorken, which is like this big drum-shaped machine with three spinning arms inside that pulse dices onions.

Rico Suave couldn't read the warning telling him that the Sorken was on a cycle timer and I guess he didn't know what the number counting down meant either. Maybe Guatemalan has different numbers. Whatever, he reaches down into the Sorken and right then it starts a pulse dice cycle. It revs up once counter-clockwise and then does like fifty high-speed clockwise rotations. So he's leaning over this drum with all of his arm down inside trying to get to this gold chain draped over the onion load when it does this one quick counter-clockwise. I was on break when it happened, but Rob said you could hear his arm breaking like someone just jumped on a whole pouch of those little popper fireworks that come in the sawdust.

I hope there's no Rico Suave in there! Just kidding, our salad comes under a familiar brand name and also I cleaned out the Sorken really well and those onions were pitched. Rico Suave had just enough time to sort of make this meeping sound and then the Sorken did a 180 and entered its pulse dice cycle. How that guy managed to hold his head up while it was dicing his arm, no one will ever know, but when the Sorken's cycle ended 15 seconds later his arm up to the shoulder looked like a sauce-on-top pizza. Grisly stuff. Thing is, that guy worked at Fresh Cut at least since I've been there and probably longer than some of the supervisors. He was in bad shape and what do they do with him? They call some special doctor that only the Mexican guys use and he drives him off in a van. Never saw him again, because Judy made me hose out the Sorken, but I hope he's okay.

My point is, Rico Suave never once hurt anybody. He never once did drugs as far as I know and he never came into work drunk or drove recklessly. He made one simple stupid mistake and he has to sit in the floor office smoking a cigarette and holding towels to his shoulder stump waiting for some doctor in an unmarked van to come. Don't you think maybe Rico Suave could have benefited from some dudes parachuting in on skis to put him on one of those baskets and lift him out of Fresh Cut on a double helicopter? I think so.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I don't know about those mountain climber guys. What do you think?

Hey, hope you liked the article. I had a lot of fun writing it and I love all of the emails. Even the ones that say I suck sometimes give me something to learn from. Like maybe, "you use commas too much" or "Barqs rootbeer sucks" which I had to send some not nice things to say about that last one and I might have used some words I regret now. Anywho, hope you guys have a good week. It's back to work for me!

– Steve "Malak" Sumner

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