May 5th, 2013

Books

LJ Idol "An Adventure Of 'Yes'": Vegetations

Well, you tried. Maybe there will be some better choices next week. You can always go back, right?

When you get home, you decide to microwave some popcorn and mainline the original Battlestar Galactica TV show via Netflix. Because, why not?

You settle in on the sofa, a chilled liter of Diet Coke next to you, and begin. So far, so good. The plot is fairly ridiculous, but the women are awfully pretty and so are a couple of the men. You've seen worse. Lorne Greene is not half bad as Commander Adama, either, despite the eyebrows. Maybe you should invent a drinking game around the word 'yaron,' since you snort every time you hear it.

You're four episodes in and munching on a grilled cheese sandwich when you hear this strange rushing, whining sound, like yowm-yowm-yowm-yowm… It's rising in pitch, and reminds you an awful lot of an airplane in a nosedi—

BOOM!

No fucking way. In the sanctity of your own home? Who in the Hell is responsible for that? Who can you chase down and haunt until the end of time?

Well, this completely sucks. Maybe you wish you'd tried one of the adventures after all?

Books

LJ Idol "An Adventure Of 'Yes'": Merrily, Merrily...

An island looms up ahead, with a churn of whitewater to the left and swells of glittering, boulder-studded passages to the right. You almost wish you'd chosen the rougher fork, but the mossy rocks and shady pools ahead look beautiful and inviting.

The guide dips his oar left, then right, as you move into the broad, sweeping stream. The raft bobbles and slides through the water, still moving pretty fast. It's terrific! But then the guide's oar hits something and the raft starts to spin. It's too far—you're drifting sideways and getting awfully close to some boulders.

The guide struggles to shift the raft around and regain control, while your hands white-knuckle the handles on either side of you. Your whole body is tense and anxious—even brittle. The guide gets the front pointed downstream, but it's too late. You smack into one of the boulders, and the raft bucks up and throws you right out. Oh, crap!

You plunge into the river and hit your head on a big rock, inhaling a lungful of water in surprise. Fuck, what now? Isn't the helmet supposed to protect you? You vaguely notice something orange rushing past you as the world blackens and fades away..

It looks as if this is the end for you. How very tragic! If only you had chosen a different option, instead…

Books

LJ Idol "An Adventure Of 'Yes'": Through The Rapids

The break is approaching, and the froth off to the left is like whipped cream in a blender. You grip the handles on the sides of the raft as you head in, water crashing over the front and splashing your feet. Oh, man—it's amazing! The raft bounces and swerves as you go along, quickly rushing downriver. The guide is working hard behind you, edging the raft left and right around the rocks. Your stomach dips and rises, and spray dashes you from both sides—the best ride ever!

An eagle swoops down through the trees up ahead, as you keep going. Water kicks up over the raft, the sun turning the droplets into liquid diamonds. Finally, you see the right fork coming in from the side as you rejoin the main part of the river.

Wow, that was truly awesome. Epic even. But was it enough?

Books

LJ Idol "An Adventure Of 'Yes'": The River Run

It's just you and some guy from Millward today, and the trip starts off great. The water is clear and beautiful, the sun is shining, and the air smells like freedom.

There's so much to see. Thickets of trees come and go along the river, and you spot a few deer near the bank. The ride itself is exhilarating, continually changing as you go from one section of water to the next.

"There's a fork up ahead," the guide says. "The right side is wider and smoother, and the left is rougher and more challenging."

You look at Ben from Millward, and the two of you agree to
try the wilder run. That's why you're here, right?
take the safer route. Hey, let's not get crazy…


Books

LJ Idol "An Adventure Of 'Yes'": The Aerial Promenade

The pilot seems to sulk after that, but it's your money, right? You soar over the countryside, where the cows are like dots against velvety green meadows. It's beautiful up here. The hills cluster closer and closer together heading east, until they become mountains. It's so different from seeing it all by car, especially the places roads don't go.

The pilot arcs back toward the city, which looks different too. Who knew there were so many swimming pools in your town? Who can afford those? There are a lot more trees than you realized, too. It looks nice down there, unhurried and peaceful.

Suddenly, the pilot swears, and you hear a "Ploompf!" sound up front. There is an explosion of snow over the front windshield. Pink snow.

"Motherfucking geese!" the pilot yells.

The plane tips down and to the left, and the pilot flips buttons on the control panel and struggles to keep the wings up. It's no use. The plane starts to spiral, spinning faster and faster until it's pointing straight down. You run through a succession of prayers and pleas as what looks a Hell of a lot like your house seems to rise up from the ground.

Oh, why didn't you just stay home today?

If only you'd made a different choice!

Books

LJ Idol "An Adventure Of 'Yes'": The Daredevil

The pilot heads out away from the city, climbing higher and higher. He looks over to see if you're ready, and you nod.

The first barrel roll makes your stomach reel like a drunk on the highway, but the second and third are better than a rollercoaster. It's amazing! The pilot levels off and swings back around in a giant arc, and then executes four more rolls. Whoo!

He flies on for a while—is that Goldcrest down there? The hills are much denser here than you'd realized, and the river curves around them and winds off toward the horizon, as if it goes on forever.

"Ready to try something bigger?" the pilot asks.

"Hell, yeah!"

He heads back toward the open countryside again, slowly gaining altitude. Then he pulls up, and the plane goes into a gigantic loop, so slowly it feels as if you might almost fall out of the sky. Then you're coming back around again, reaching level, and the pilot does a few more celebratory rolls to finish off.

Wow. Your hands are shaking from the adrenaline and your hair feels downright crispy, as if all the color has leeched right out of it, but this is probably the most awesome thing that has ever happened to you.

You're giddy and you feel like you've accomplished something, though you don't know what.

The pilot grins, and you laugh like you've come unhinged. This was definitely an adventure!

Are you satisfied, or do you wish you'd made another choice?

Books

LJ Idol "An Adventure Of 'Yes'": Soaring

Your guide for the day is a pilot, who drives you to a small airport where a single-engine Piper is waiting. You board the plane and take off, and it feels totally different from being on a jet. You're part of the wind—of the sky—and the noise is nothing compared to what you can see all around you, so much clearer at this altitude.

"The flight conditions are perfect today," the pilot says, "practically no wind. What do you say to a few aerial stunts?"

"I'm sorry, what?"

"Stunts—with the plane? I'm not talking about anything crazy, just a little fun," he says. "I don't get the chance all that often."

Well, what do you say?

"Sure, I'm up for it!"

or

"Not today, thanks."

Books

LJ Idol "An Adventure Of 'Yes'": Hors d'Ouevres

You try not to rush toward the food, but it's hard to be casual. You eat one of everything, several times, hoping that makes it less obvious that you are steadily trying to approximate 'lunch.'

You converse with people from the other tour groups. One fairly tanked guy with wild hair raves about his eco-friendly vegetation-control business, and how he's looking for investors. He offers you his card, and while you're not interested, this is a New You, so you take it. The card says, Goatscaping. You excuse yourself to use the bathroom, and stay on the other side of the crowd after you return.

You don't remember much about the last winery, except that you enjoy it. Everyone piles back onto the bus for the drive home, and the mood is drowsy and pleasant. You fall asleep surrounded by the snores of the other passengers, only to awaken to a loud BOOM! off in the distance. Everyone is as confused as you are, even after the driver points to a distant column of smoke spiraling up into the sky.

Still, it was a great trip overall, well worth the time and money. Or do you think otherwise?

Books

LJ Idol "An Adventure Of 'Yes'": The Rare Red

You and several other people from the bus gather around the vintner, who opens two of the old bottles and pours a measure of wine for each of you. You go through the process you've watched all morning—the theatrics of swirling, smelling, and finally tasting. The flavor is not quite what you'd hoped—mustier, with undertones of moldy raisins. The man next to you makes a face, but other people appear to be savoring the experience. You try a few more swallows, but no. It's awful.

Can't win them all, right? You wander back toward the appetizers, but most of them are gone, and you're left with an herbed cream-cheese concoction dolloped on tiny pieces of rye bread. You're only able to grab a few of them before it's time to leave again. The next place had better have more to eat, or you may find yourself buying every random food item the gift shop has to offer.

The last winery is a blur, though. You remember getting off the bus and going inside, but you're back in your seat again now. Everyone else is in good spirits, so you shrug it off. The bus pulls out of the parking lot and begins the final journey back to town.

Fifteen minutes later, you've gone from disoriented to miserable. It feels like your belly is full of boiled cabbage—when the Hell did that happen? You hear a sudden explosion, and the bus swerves and lurches its way to the shoulder of the road.

The driver gets out and walks around behind the bus to take a look. "God damn it!"

He comes stomping around to the front again (Too loud, much too loud) and makes a phone call. You hear muttering about some 'joker' back at the office who swiped the spare, and then he announces that you'll have to wait while a new tire gets delivered. A burst of rain rattles on the roof of the bus, effectively trapping everyone inside. You moan out loud. It'll be another hour at least, and you're already doubled over in agony as your stomach roils in retaliation against some unimaginable sin.

The other passengers stare at you in squinty-eyed horror, daring you not to puke.

Well, this isn't quite what you were expecting. Are you wishing you'd picked a different adventure?

Books

LJ Idol "An Adventure Of 'Yes'": Winetasting

The accommodations are only slightly more comfortable than a school bus, but it's a beautiful day and the countryside is fresh and green. Hills rise and roll as the bus winds along the road to the first vineyard, where the tasting room is in a little stone cottage surrounded by trees.

It's all very pretty. The owners offer a tour of the grounds, and then the tasting begins. You try a too-dry Chardonnay and then a too-sweet Riesling, but it's early yet, so you just nibble on a cracker or two until the bus boards again for the next stop. Then it's on down the road to a much bigger operation. The second vineyard has huge buildings, lots of employees, and the feeling of being inside a giant chemistry set. The wines there are Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, and you get caught up in the spirit of the moment and buy a bottle of the Zin. Joan from the bus has started guzzling the samples, but you have vowed to be a new person today, so you don't judge her.

By the third vineyard, you're starving. It's smaller than the last place, but much more crowded. They do seem to be offering appetizers, though, and a special-occasion sampling of some of their old-cellar reserve.

Do you take the opportunity to try out this rare wine?

Or are you so hungry that you only have eyes for the hors d'oeuvres?