My May the Fourth – There is No Try

Lots of people celebrate May the Fourth–whether it’s by simply greeting people with “May the fourth be with you” or showing up to work in a full wookie costume. This year I decided to celebrate May 4th in the most sacred way possible; a six-movie  Star Wars marathon with a fellow nerd, Trent.

Let’s just say the rest of this post is a cautionary tale. WARNING: SPOILER ALERTS.

Trent and I figured that all six films run a little over 13 hours, so if we started at 7, that gave us plenty of breathing room to take occasional breaks. We planned with snacks, drinks, and as the light grew thin, booze.

7 a.m. – sleeping

8 a.m. – still sleeping

8:30 a.m. – panicked call from Trent, “DUDE WE SLEPT IN”

8:45 a.m. – marathon actually starts

9 a.m. – disappointment starts as the fact we’re watching a prequel truly sets in

10 a.m. – Trent googles the actor who played Anakin in Episode I (Jake Lloyd). We find out that not only does he currently look like this, but he’s also a bit of a jerk.

10:30 a.m. – discover Lloyd was in The Pretender. Geek out about how awesome that show was.

10:35 a.m. – all speaking stops because freaking Darth Maul is fighting TWO GUYS AT THE SAME TIME.

10:42 a.m. – Darth Maul is dead. Nothing interesting anymore.

11:05 a.m. – snack break

11:15 a.m. – Episode II starts. Panic sets in as we realize we still have five films left and it’s nearly noon.

11:30 a.m. – Hayden Christensen makes his first appearance on screen.

11:31 a.m. – drinking starts

11:35 a.m. – Trent and I organize a bad acting drinking game

12:15 p.m. – our Star Wars beers run out

12:20 p.m. – pause movie to call girlfriends for a beer run. Both of our ladies must have been super busy because our calls go unanswered. They knew how we were spending our day.

1:40 p.m. –  after crying through much of the rest of Episode II (including the Anakin/Padme love story that drags on for like four hours WTT?) we finally pop in Episode III.

2 p.m. – by this time we are both admittedly running out of steam, and more than a little buzzed. Trent tells me he’s getting tired of this, so I ask him what Han Solo would do.

2:01 p.m. – lengthy discussion of how badly Han Solo could beat up Hayden Christensen.

2:15 p.m. – Anakin just chopped some guy’s head off. Stellar.

2:30 p.m. – at this point Trent points out that Jedi would be wise to follow the Harry Potter model. That is, keeping young Jedi in school until they’re actually adults. Seriously, you combine a laser sword and untold psychokinesis with teenage angst and expect these guys NOT to lose it occasionally?

3:12 p.m. – General Grievous, easily the coolest prequel character shows up, to many (read: two) drunken cheers.

3:25 p.m. – inspired by the great General, I head to my liquor cabinet to make some top shelf Star Wars cocktail. In my state, orange Kool-Aid and Patrón sounds like a great idea.

3:30 p.m. – orange lightsabers are a hit at the party.

6:00 p.m. – in a panicked stupor, I wake up with the DVD menu of Episode III playing over and over in the background.

7 p.m. – even the prospect of watching A New Hope can’t give us a second wind. We watch most of the film in stubborn silence.

9 p.m. – it’s dark and we’re both sober and tired. Trent looks at me meaningfully and says, “I don’t care what you say, I’m leaving. This is stupid.”

Needless to say, I didn’t finish our marathon. Perhaps one should not mix prequels and originals for the same reason you don’t mix wine and beer. Or perhaps Star Wars marathons are for men greater than us. Whatever the reason is, I could not finish my May the Fourth marathon.

Next year I think I’ll just buy an R2D2 keychain or something.

Classiest Drinks for Guys – Avoiding the Umbrella

No one can simply tell you what the “classiest drinks” are, because that’s the wrong way to look at it. It’s not always about what you drink, it’s about how you drink.

Now Here is a Dapper Bro
Now Here is a Dapper Bro

 

Step 1 – Learn the terms

Sometimes the classiest thing is just knowing what the hell you’re talking about.

Here are a few must-know terms to ordering a drink like a man.

  • Back – a small glass of something like water or soda that will be served with your drink
  • Dirty – when a martini is served with olive juice
  • Dry – another martini term for a martini with very little vermouth
  • Neat – a drink served without any ice or garnish; essentially a shot (some people also use the term “straight up” but those people have seen too many movies)
  • Well – an unidentified bottom shelf liquor you get when you don’t specify your liquor in a cocktail

So now you’re well on your way to not embarrassing yourself the second you open your mouth, but that next second can be tricky.

Step 2 – Know your liquor

Unless you’re a complete lush, you have a favorite booze. Unlike with your kids, you get to pick favorites here. Just don’t pick rum. Like ever. Unless you’re a pirate and then it’s okay.

The rum is always gone for you. Because you ain’t Captain Jack Sparrow.

Once you’ve pinned down the best poison for you, you need to learn more about it. And the best way to do this is, well, by drinking A LOT of it. If you like gin, make sure to order a different gin at the bar every time. Even if it’s in tonic water, you’ll start to pick up on subtle differences. You may not be the smartest guy at the bar, but you will know a hell of a lot about gin, which is better than nothing.

Step 3 – Tip your barman

Sure you’ve got the terms down, and you even know a thing or two about your drink of choice. But classy drinking goes well beyond that. Know your limits. A buzz is one thing, but drunkenness is not a good color on anyone. Just ask any of these beautiful people who had one too many.

 Also, just don’t be weird. Don’t call your bartender by his name unless you know him. And definitely don’t call him “barkeep.” Finally, make sure to tip the man/lady. I usually just do $1 a drink, but if you order something fancy, toss in an extra buck. Because if you take care of your bartender, he’s sure to take care of you.

Have something to say about the classiest drinks for men? Do share @mancrates

Grooming your Groomsmen

It’s a safe bet you’ve never dreamt of your storybook wedding. Because, you know, you’re a dude. But whether or not you planned for it, it’s statistically probable you’re going to get married someday. After you take off that fedora. Go on. Take it off.

That’s better.

Now that you just raised your marriage potential by 100%, it’s time to start thinking about the wedding. One of the hardest parts of being a groom is finding the appropriate groomsmen. You really have to give it some thought before you ask Drunk Lou from college to stand behind you at the altar. And I know Chad was your favorite frat bro, but despite what he believes, he is not god’s gift to women. In fact, he’s not a gift to anyone. Because he’s a sleaze. If your brother ever hooked up with your prom date, it’s safe to say you should leave him out too.

So who does that leave?

Well how about that nerdy dude that helped you swing a C in your stats class? You’re definitely not going to catch him drunkenly slobbering on bridesmade after the ceremony. Or how about that childhood friend who still lives with his parents and posts on your Facebook wall once a day? You should probably just throw him a bone. And the religious guy in your dorm who claimed he “could have just as much fun without drinking” would probably save you some money on the bar bill.

We’d keep giving you wedding advice, but you’ve probably already forgotten what we just told you. Just remember that when you leave the groomsmen gifts until the last minute, Man Crates does rush shipping. But no, we can’t come tie your bow tie.

May First: The Underrated Holiday

During my sleepless nights, I usually find myself perusing Wikipedia’s “On This Day” section. Late last night,  I was ‘mouth-open shocked’ to discover how big of a deal the first of MAY is.

I know May 1st marks the holiday “May Day,” but when I think about it, all that happens is an image similar to the one below pops into my head. And then I am confused because I have no idea what May Day is actually celebrating, and I have this picture of kids dancing around a pole, and by this point I have started thinking about my next meal.

I am not going to explain May Day as you can look on wikipedia. And the Maypole, well I still don’t understand that. What I do know is that in Germany, an edgy type of maypole tradition exists where if a strapping lad has a lucky lady in his life, he might erect a small maypole by her bedroom window. Still not sure if Freud ever shared his thoughts on this tradition but I wouldn’t be surprised. 

The Maypole. Wait, what is a maypole?
The Maypole. Wait, what is a maypole?

MAY FIRST in itself is a big day without any of the May Day gaeity. Here I have highlighted some of the more notable events that occurred on May 1st.

Maybe the last?
Maybe the last?

Cricket hasn’t captured the hearts of most Americans, but it…. actually no that’s it. I don’t know a single person who partakes in this classy sport, let alone understands the rules of the game. (√ New Years for resolutions 2014)

What can I say? I'm a sucker for secret societies
What can I say? I’m a sucker for secret societies

The Illuminati became mainstream after being featured in hollywood hits (tip of the hat to you Mr. Dan Brown), but did you know that the society was initially founded to oppose superstition, prejudice, religious influence in public life, abuses of state power, and to support women’s education and gender equality. Back in 1776, that kind of ideology was counter-culture and they were outlawed (hence the secret-society angle.) Fast Forward to modern day, their reputation falls somewhere between conspiracy theory and uncertainty and “I want in”.

8 hour work day? Where?  Cheers to Moses Fleetwood Walker for being a game changer / having an awesome name.
8 hour work day? Where?
Cheers to Moses Fleetwood Walker for being a game changer / having an awesome name.

Moses Fleetwood Walker- you have an unbelievably awesome name and it seems like you were also an awesome person. You paved the way for race equality for one of the greatest sports. If he were alive today, I have a three pronged plan on what I would do.

Plan A) try to meet him

Plan B (in the event plan A doesn’t work) stalk him

If both A and B have failed or resulted in a restraining order– Plan C) create a Man Crate for him and his career with the Toledo Blue Stockings.

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 1.42.39 PM

Enough said. I love that airlines have food. And I love airline food.  

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 1.42.03 PMToo soon. Just never forget.

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 1.41.44 PMAs a child born in the post-polio epidemic, thank you Jonas Salk. As for Guam, keep predicting the US Presidential Election results with your straw vote because 100% of the time, you guys have been right every time.

 

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 1.41.00 PM

Mush Mush! Naomi “ridin solo” Uemura, your trip was not easy.  As records say, during the 4th day of his trek, a polar bear entered his camp, demolished all his food, and pressed his nose against Uemura. Understandably pissed, Uemura was ready for the bear who came back the following day (which would be his last day) as Uemura shot him dead.

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 3.54.09 PM And to round out this crazy day, we have Pope John Paul II beatified (blessed). Fun Fact: PJPII beatified more people during his papacy than any other pope in history. Bin Laden was killed. Huge deal. Not going to explain further or project my personal political views.

And to cap it off, I saved the most notable for last.

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 6.50.06 PM

It’s true. Most people drink water. But I am not most people. I ate water. Happy May Day Folks. Celebrate accordingly.

Fishing: How to Remove a Fishhook from an Enemy’s Ear

Like most siblings, we fought. (a lot) But that didn’t mean we didn’t love each other. We weren’t enemies per se–  it just seemed like we were to the general public. Take, for example, our regular family camping trip. We would find a remote spot to set up camp in the high Uinta Mountains in northern Utah and spend a few days fly fishing and catching salamanders. However, just because we were a million miles from civilization didn’t mean we were unable to produce mischief.

During one trip, my brother and I spent hours poking pin-prick holes into my sister’s waders so when she stepped into a pond to hunt salamanders, she immediately found herself waterlogged and unable to move. Generally it was just fun and games and no one got hurt. That is, until the fishhook incident.

I was somewhere in the neighborhood of double digits, and my brother had just reached his teens. So he was a green Boy Scout, fresh off his first scout camp, and eager to show off his new skills. Unfortunately, I gave him his first chance.

This is not my brother.

Sure, I’d been fly fishing for quite some time, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t still difficult. The rod was like three times taller than me and I still needed my dad’s help every time to get a fish off the hook. And sometimes when the fish weren’t biting, I’d get bored and play Zorro. (The fact that Zorro’s whip was not attached to a long pole had no bearing on my fantasy. Ah the folly of youth.)

Eventually, my luck ran out and during a sunny afternoon of playing Zorro, I ended up with a fishhook embedded firmly in my ear. There were grasshoppers all over the river that year, so naturally I was using a grasshopper fly with, you guessed it, the biggest, meanest hook you could imagine.

After the few moments inherent to childhood pain of thinking, “I wonder if this hurts enough to justify crying,” I began wailing.

However, the only family member in earshot was my brother George. Things were about to get much worse.Lumbering down the riverbed in his waders, he eventually saw the grasshopper firmly implanted in my ear, and a huge grin spread across his face.

“Don’t worry,” he yelled, not breaking his stride. George calmly explained to me that he’d JUST learned how to remove fishhooks in his most recent scout camp. “Lennie had one just like this and the scoutmaster showed us how to get it out. It’s super easy,” he reassured me.

As any anglers out there are aware, removing a fishhook from skin is, in fact, relatively easy. It’s a matter of pushing it through the skin and breaking or squeezing the barb. Then, you simply pull the hook out the way it came in.

See? Super easy.

Easier said than done when you’re an overeager 13-year-old with a guinea pig for a little brother.

Twenty excruciating minutes later, I felt that if my ear was amputated, I’d count that as a win. When my father finally came back downstream, he found what looked like a scene out of Saw–my brother, hands covered in blood, holding me down with one knee as my ear dripped blood all over my face. There was no telling where the hook even was anymore.

Needless to say, I’m much more cautious when I fly fish now. And if I ever hook myself again, I’ll probably just leave it in there.

Fly Flishing, who knew it would lead to a pierced ear?
Fly Flishing, who knew it would lead to a pierced ear?

 

Mother’s Day Gift Shopping for Dummies by Dummies

Oh, just Man Crates here, trying to keep you out of the dog house. Seriously though, what are you doing, you silly man/noob? Go out and buy a Mother’s Day gift!

No? Just gonna keep reading then, eh?

Oh c’mon. Mother’s Day is coming up. Like SUPER soon. May 12th. And you and I both know you’re going to wait until the last minute and then just buy something stupid at a 24-hour pharmacy. Oh, and then, you’re going to find the perfect gift online, but it’s going to be way too late, unless you want to spend like a million dollars on shipping.

And no, this is not an okay alternative to getting her a gift.

But you’re still here, reading a blog post instead of buying a Mother’s Day gift. So here’s my surefire way to find a great gift for your mom.

  1. Make sure you didn’t already buy her a gift. Ha ha who am I kidding even Voldemort never planned that far ahead. 
  2. Figure out what your mom likes. If you don’t buy her a good gift, you can probably cross yourself off that list.
  3. Check your finances. Oooo…probably shouldn’t have splurged on those concert tickets. Oh well, that $13 in your wallet helps narrow down gift options.
  4. Google “mother’s day gift ideas” (we did it for you). Realize all of those results are useless.
  5. Call your Dad.
  6. Buy whatever he says to buy.
  7. Buy her something.

But wait! Are you “dad”? Don’t worry, I’ve got tips for you too.

  1. Don’t stress out! You can potentially get away with flowers and a card. Lucky! (But seriously, don’t try to pull that crap on her birthday. You’ll probably get thrown down the stairs.)
  2. When the kids call, just advise them to buy things you’ve been neglecting to buy your wife since Christmas. Like a new step ladder so she’ll stop bugging you to change the lightbulbs.
  3. Drink a beer; you are a passable adult.
Get it? Step-ladder?

Acronyms for Romance: A Guide

If you’re single, sooner or later you’re going to begin texting (or if you’re like, a dinosaur, emailing) a woman you’re romantically interested in. And invariably she’s going to send you a word–probably without vowels–that you just plain don’t know. Is she a cryptologist? Probably not. More than likely, she’s just sent you an acronym you don’t recognize.

Now we know you were too busy hunting or drinking or doing something manly to sit down and learn to teen text speak on Urban Dictionary or wherever, so we won’t hold your ignorance against you. In fact (we may applaud it.)

But to help we’ve made a handy list you can refer to anytime you need help communicating with that “foxy” lady in your life.

  • WTF! – either you said something totally off-color or something has gone wrong. Either way, your woman is upset and you need to fix it before she tacks on another exclamation point.
  • WTF? – this is slightly less concerning than the first, but you still have some explainin’ to do.
  • LOL – you may have said something funny.
  • LMAO – you probably said something funny.
  • LMFAO – you definitely said something funny.
  • ROFLMFAO – you need to call a hospital.
  • lol – false alarm – she’s simply using this in place of punctuation.
  • BRB – she’ll get back to you in a few days.
  • BBL – she’ll get back to you in a few weeks.
  • TTFN – you’ve just been friendzoned.
  • NSFW – take your phone into the bathroom before opening that attachment.
  • FYI – anything that follows this is going to be very sarcastic.
  • BTW – same as FYI.
  • OMG – “oh dear!”
  • ILY – stage 5 clinger
  • oh, em, gee – you’re dating a sorority girl.
  • DGAF – you’re dating a sassy sorority girl
  • YOLO- You’re manhood is being questioned- go out.
  • OMGWTFBBQ – you’re using too many acronyms. She’s making fun of you.
Don't feel too bad, Awkward penguin doesn't know the ladies lingo either.
Don’t feel too bad, Awkward penguin doesn’t know the ladies lingo either.

Zombie Survival – Test Your Zombie Survival Rating

Zombie survival isn’t all about preparedness. You can buy all the weapons and rations you want and read all the literature you can find but when the big day comes, it’s about how you perform, not how ready you are. Reacting properly to a zombie banging at your door is far more important to your survival than how many guns you have in your basement.

But we wouldn’t tell you all this if we didn’t have a plan to help. So take a minute to test your zombie survival skills with our quick Zombie Survival Quiz.

(Answers below)

  1. You hear reports on the news that your city has been overrun. With smoke rising in the distance, you still aren’t quite prepared to move out. What is your first course of action?
  2. You are woken up in the middle of the night to groaning and banging on the doors and windows. There wasn’t adequate warning and now the horde has surrounded your house. What’s the plan?
  3. You come across an abandoned apartment complex. You’re on foot and a vehicle sounds great. In front of you are a mountain bike, dirtbike, and a Jeep. Which do you take?
  4. Your travel companion has been bitten. You heard of a still-operating military base that has the cure. Do you go alone or take him?  

Answers Continue reading Zombie Survival – Test Your Zombie Survival Rating

The Odd Couple – Justin Bieber and Anne Frank

Being a man around the internet, very few things make me take pause. Basketball-sized tumor on a guy’s face? Meh. Michael Vick adopted a dog? Yawn.

But every once in a while, someone or something comes along that really rustles my jimmies. This week it was Justin Bieber. Yes I’m sure you’re all tired of the hyper-critical internet bandwagon that comes bouncing along every time Bieber opens his mouth. But then again, sometimes he’s pretty freaking fun to talk about.

In reality, it was only a matter of time before Justin Bieber showed up on this blog. We like to talk about manly stuff here, and so it’s natural we’d discuss the antithesis of everything manly.

Most people already saw the news about what happened on Sunday with Justin Bieber. For anyone who missed it, Bieber spent an afternoon at the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam mourning the loss of a potential fan. In the house’s guest book he wrote, “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”

dammit Justin

Now this may not seem like the most egregious of offenses, but it violates a pretty significant man rule: don’t be an idiot.

I mean really, there’s a reason so many women are looking for the strong and silent type. It’s not that the silent type is any smarter–he just presents less evidence to the contrary. If you’re an internationally famous pop star (such as Justin Bieber) you’ve really gotta consider the fact that everything you do and say is going to be scrutinized. So perhaps wishing a young Holocaust victim had hung on just a tad longer to hear “baby baby baby oh baby” wasn’t the best decision.

Whatever. It’ll probably blow over; Justin Bieber’s fans don’t really even seem to know what’s going on anyway.

Preparing for a North Korean Something or Other…

Everyone knows that Man Crates cares about preparedness. Whether you’re preparing for the zombie apocalypse or just an all-night LAN party, we want you to be ready.

So as North Korea readies its impressive nuclear arsenal, it’s time to start thinking about getting those bomb shelters and food stores ready. It’s the Cold War Part II and everyone knows that sequels are always better.

Preparing your bomb shelter

Have a house? Four walls? A roof? Dang…sounds like you got yourself a pretty sweet North Korean Nuclear Bomb Shelter. Congratulations!

Food storage

You spent the afternoon watching mushroom clouds (or real clouds, who can tell the difference?) rise on the horizon and you’re worried. Not to fret–just use our patented North Korean Nuclear Attack Food Storage Plan.

Step one: go grocery shopping on a weekly basis.

Getting ready for invasion

Everyone is aware of just how impressive and technologically superior North Korea’s nuclear program is, but you may not be familiar with their dominating military. Thus, you need to be ready for a ground attack. As you can see in the picture below, a picket fence (or anything above knee-height) will probably keep those pesky North Koreans out of your yard.

From left to right: American troop, North Korean troop, South Korean troop

People say the best weapon is one you never have to use. In that case, ALL of North Korea’s weapons are just fantastic. Their military prowess has the western world shaking in their collective capitalist boots. And just like in the first Cold War, everyone is so scared they’re making memes and jokes about the whole thing just to cope.