What’s Your Manliest Way to Die?

Everyone gets to choose how they live and spend their time, but very few get to choose how they die. But what if you could? I, for one, have always been partial to the last stand death. Just me and a few war-battered buddies standing tall to face the soon-to-be-victorious enemy. But don’t worry, we’re gonna take as many of those bastards with us as we can.

Sorry. I get carried away sometimes.

So I know the last stand isn’t on everyone’s bucket list. But every man has given their own mortality some thought. For me, the first time was when my bicycle bounced out of a pothole and I almost fell headfirst into an oncoming truck. I remember thinking “oh this would be the worst way to die.” Sometime shortly after I vaguely remember sitting down and watching 300.

There are a lot of manlier ways to die than getting knocked off your ten-speed by a Dodge Ram. Like with a Cuban cigar in your mouth and a Cuban woman sitting in your lap. Or telling Princess Leia “I know”  before being lowered into carbonite. Or any way that Michelle Rodriguez has died in a movie.

But hey, some guys might not want to think about it. Take my roommate. He spends so much time looking into the microwave while it heats his Hot Pocket, he has become statistically very likely to die from exploding Hot Pocket.

For anyone still pondering death, I compiled a list of some manliest’ ways to kick the can.

  • Casualty of battle between Autobots and Decepticons
  • Fist fight with a grizzly bear
  • Slack-lining over an active volcano
  • Last man on earth battling zombies
  • Saving women and children from a crashing Zepplin
  • Alligator Wrestling Championships
  • Eating too much bacon
  • Any death from the movie Armageddon
  • Riding a nuclear bomb destined for evil forces
  • White water kayaking down class 5 rapids in Piranha infested water.
  • Hari Kari
  • Freak swimsuit judging accident
  • Fighting a tiger from atop a hut you made yourself in a rural indian village

 

Men with Moxie: John Wesley Powell

This week’s Man with Moxie is a bit of a throwback. You may not have learned about John Wesley Powell in your American history course, but you damn well should have. Powell was born in 1834 to a poor family. However, this didn’t stop him from quickly obtaining a college degree (no small feat in the middle of the 19th century). Powell then fought in the Civil War for the Union where he lost most of an arm.

Meet Mr John Wesley Powell
Meet Mr John Wesley Powell

But none of this is the reason he is our Moxie man of the week. No, in fact, losing an arm in the Civil War is one of the more tame parts of Powell’s life.

In 1867, Powell set off to explore the West. Not content to simply walk around amid unknown dangers and potentially hostile natives, Powell’s favorite means of travel was by rickety canoe down deadly rivers. Instead of exploring around the Grand Canyon on foot, he chose to raft down the entirely unexplored  Colorado River and observe the country from there.

Choosing to travel by deadly rapids (with only one rowing arm) instead of walking–now that takes moxie.

Major Powell's famous armchair boat on the Colorado River In the Grand Canyon. August 22, 1872
Major Powell’s famous armchair boat on the Colorado River In the Grand Canyon. August 22, 1872

To add awesome to badass, he approached all of his explorations with an almost comical curiosity. Instead of being intimidated by natives, Powell would engage them to learn more of their culture. On one expedition, three of his men went missing and he suspected that Shivwit warriors were responsible. He later returned to investigate, and once he found the Shivwit tribe, instead of demanding retribution, he simply asked them why they had killed his men. Then they all sat back and smoked a whole bunch of pot. You know, for science.

John_Wesley_Powell_year_1869

No really, while other explorers and expansionists were pushing into the West, slaughtering native tribes and raising general hell, John Wesley Powell was passing around a Peace Pipe with the same guys who had killed three of his men. Now that’s a lot of moxie for a dude with one arm.

The Best Domestic Imported Beers for Your Buck

Forbes
You had ONE job, Forbes summer intern!

Today Forbes revealed that Sam Adams–a popular imported Boston beer–is beating out big name beers. While you may be surprised to hear that such a small, unknown foreign brewery is beating out the big boys here in the States, we thought it represented a great opportunity to tell you about other popular imported beers.

Miller Lite

A fine beer for any occasion, Miller Brewing Company is a small operation running out of far off Milwaukee (mɪlˈwɔːki). The beer they import to the U.S. is a light beer with little to no aftertaste (or before taste, really). Their beer pairs well with any exotic food, from corn dogs to hot dogs to chili dogs–it’s extremely versatile.

Natural Light

Referred to by in-the-know locals as “Natty Light,” Natural Light is an imported American-Style Light Lager sure to please anyone looking for a worldly taste. Natty is unique in that it is traditionally consumed in its native land not in a glass, but through a plastic funnel.

Beer 30

Easily the most exotic brew on our list, Beer 30 is one imported brew that fully encapsulates the best of its homeland. The ingredients that actually go into Beer 30 are a closely guarded secret, but rumors abound that anything from viscera to pure gasoline are used in the brewing process. Taking a sip of a finely imported beer like Beer 30 (which I believe is German for “delicious”) transports you to the gorgeous shores of Prince William Sound or the deep blue Hudson River. At no point in drinking this fine import will you have thoughts of suicide or depression.  

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?

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