Author Archives: Matt

Les is more and Bears don’t sleep in the woods

I have often espoused the virtues of Les Stroud.  Les writes, directs, produces, and stars in a show called "Survivorman" seen on the Discovery Channel in the US and the Outdoor Life Network in Canada.  The premise of the show is explained in the blurb from the official site:

"No food, no shelter, no fresh water, no tools… no camera crew. One man – alone in the wild for seven days with only his wits and stamina to sustain him."

So, the deal with Survivorman is Les does it all.  He gets dumped into some remote locale with a load of camera gear and has to survive and film.  The quoted blurb above is a little misleading.  During each episode, Les is usually equipped with SOME provisions.  This has included at various times: a multi-tool, emergency blanket, swiss army knife, minor foodstuffs, etc.  And, he always has some sort of way to contact a production team in his general vicinity in the event of an emergency situation.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a big Les Stroud fan.  The newest season of Survivorman starts August 10, 2007 on Discovery.  I enjoy this show because Les is (probably correctly) portrayed as an "Average Joe".  He's not going to win a modeling contract, he's not a prime physical specimen, he's  just a guy who knows survival techniques and how to effectively produce entertaining television.  He is a small, Canadian god of a man.

The Discovery Channel also has a show called Man VS. Wild .  This show stars Bear Grylls an is positioned as having basically the same premise as Survivorman.  It is a survival themed show.  BUT, Bear is a FORMER MEMBER OF THE BRITISH SPECIAL FORCES, Bear CLIMBED MOUNT EVEREST, Bear is a BEEFCAKE!  LOOK LADIES!  See Bear take his shirt off!

Bear Grylls is a FRAUD

An initial review of Man VS. Wild brings some interesting things to light.  Bear always travels with a camera crew.  He even shows his proper British manners by directing them around dangerous obstacles like alligators, venomous snakes, and toothbrushes.  Bear also ALWAYS has a flint (fire starting tool) and a water bottle inside of an unmentioned metal carrying case often used to boil water.  Bear also likes to climb up and down things.  Things like cliffs, trees, and waterfalls.  Yes, waterfalls.  But, Bear is qualified to do all of these things because he CLIMBED MOUNT EVEREST.  Of course all of the risks he takes and all of the geographical obstacles he overcomes are central to the excitement of the plot.  They are also most often things that untrained and sane people should never attempt.  If you're lost on a mountain without food or shelter should you really be spending time and energy climbing sheer rock faces?

What I'm trying to convey is that BEAR doesn't appear to be all he's cracked up to be. 

And now, some interesting information has come to light regarding Man VS. Wild and the exploits of fair Bear.  The full details can be read in this ABC News article (The story was first run by British TV4).  Details from the article include:

"Channel 4 confirmed that Grylls had spent the night indoors on at least two occasions when the series had led viewers to believe he was spending the night in the wild."

and

"…is an episode supposedly set on a deserted island (actually Hawaii) that shows him building a raft, which was actually constructed and then disassembled by show consultants so that the host could easily put it together."

Wow, what a fraud.

Discovery is working fast to spin the news.  Here's an excerpt from their response: "Moving forward, the program will be 100 percent transparent, and all elements of the filming will be explained upfront to our viewers".

I think they should change the name of the show to Limey VS. Marginal Outdoor Discomfort

I can't wait for the new season of Survivorman. 

Bad coffee is easy to find

I think I need to add a category that is dedicated to coffee rants.

On the way into work this morning I realized that I hadn't stopped at  Caffe Moderne for coffee in a while.  So I parked in the 15 minute loading zone out back and walked to the entrance.  They've added a gate around some nice looking outdoor seating.  After much confusion, I realized I was smarter that the gate and figured out how to open it.  Then, I walked to the front door…..locked.  Apparently, Caffe Moderne has decided to follow the footsteps of other fine downtown Wichita coffee shops and not server coffee in the morning.   Maybe they're trying to cut overhead but it still baffles me (easy to do like a gate) why COFFEE shops aren't open to serve COFFEE in the MORNING.

I made the mistake of driving through the Dunn Bros across the alley.  Awful.  I can get burnt drip coffee with fake cream at the office and not have to pay ANYTHING for it.  How this place remains operational is a mystery to me.

A Starbucks would make a bundle downtown. 

Finally, decent coffee

Two new coffee places on my way to work have recently opened.  One of them (Dunn Brothers) isn't worth making any further comments.

However, Caffe Moderne is fantastic.

Caffe Moderne Wichita

The coffee was excellent.  The pricing was reasonable.  And, the decor is very urbane with a relaxed atmosphere.  I will be recommending it to all and hopefully we'll be able to use it for Bethel Alumni gatherings in Wichita.

They do need to work on their website though.

I’m a strange inspiration

I hang out in one of the FARK forums.  To quote someone else's description, "It's sort of social…demented and sad, but social."

Anyway, one of the other people that posts there is a reporter for a Kansas City television station.   I may have posted a picture of me enjoying the R2D2 mailbox outside the office building I work in.  Apparently, this struck some sort of geek chord with Ms. Koppelman to file a story.  The picture below is linked to it.

Tess Koppelman

 

Many pictures

So I finally got around to uploading pictures.  Many pictures.

The ones on Abe's site include playing in the snow and snapshots right after he got his tooth pulled.

The ones on Leo's site include some very nice smiles.

The ones on this site include some more Guitar Hero action and a few shots of the family.