Saturday, May 29, 2010

FAIL - Smoke Eaters 911 Hellfire Challenge (with photos)

The waiver I signed - it's worth clicking on the image to read the entire thing.

My roommate Oscar, the designated driver - DON'T drive yourself. Trust me.

Eduardo, yours truly, Edwin, and Steve - these guys nursed me back to health long after the challenge ended (in failure).


Preparing for the challenge with Lactaid (I'm lactose intolerant)

The dreaded, repugnant wings arrive - they resemble ribs, actually. The smell is repulsive.

The large gentleman is.... me. The slightly larger gentleman works for Smoke Eaters, and watches over to ensure no funny stuff happens (like using napkins, not eating all the meat off the bones, stealing a sip of a drink). He assures me, "You're not going to finish." He's right.

I eat the first wing like a champion - I'm feeling relieved, and falsely believe "I can do this."

Wing #2 - it's starting to hit me. Hiccups result, but I force myself to press on. I'm a bit of a showman, as you might gather.

Wing #2 or 3 = you can't tell from the photo, but I'm convulsing. My whole body started shaking uncontrollably - the fact that my hiccups stopped was no consolation. Severe panic sets in, and I'm afraid I might die.

But I force myself to go on - I didn't want to let these fine people down.

The agony is nearly unbearable.

Wing #3 or 4 - the end is near.

I can't go on - I'm shaking so much I can't continue, and even worse, my left arm is tingling. Cardiac arrest is most definitely NOT out of the question. (Note to self - lose weight, fattie)

Milk temporarily cools the burn - until it's swallowed. The afterburn is unbelievable - had I finished the challenge, I would have had to wait 5 minutes without drinking anything before winning. I couldn't even take 10 seconds of waiting after I had failed - "MILK!"

I couldn't walk properly, but Oscar and Steve (Edwin? The wings actually affected my ability to remember cohesively) helped me to the bathroom, where I did my best to wash up. The sauce had burned my face - literally. I had a pink rash around my lips until a couple of hours later.


I drank the whole half gallon of milk in less than 15 minutes - it finally cooled the burn to managable levels, thank goodness.

Sandra, the Red Wings fan who paid for my suffering, gleefully carts away the remnants to a toxic waste facility. She promises to buy me normal Buffalo wings in the near future, but I think I'll need a year before I eat anything remotely similar.


The morning after, at Edwin's house. I'm holding a chicken toy with a 2nd place ribbon attached. Despite the smile on my face, the hours following the challenge were amongst the worst I've ever experienced. Unbelievable stomach cramps, molten acid bowel movements, and vomiting - yeah, trust me amigos, you don't want to do this. Like the waiver form declares, "I am an idiot."
Video of all of this should arrive in my hands next week.
To sign off, let me just say that Adam Richman of Man vs. Food is a demigod for having completed this challenge. I know a couple of folks who've successfully done it, but I won't ever join their rankings, because there's no bleeping way I'll ever consider doing a rematch.
You've been warned.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The National @ Fox Theatre, Oakland, CA, 5-27-10 (set list)




1. Mistaken for Strangers

2. Anyone's Ghost

3. Bloodbuzz Ohio

4. Afraid of Everyone

5. Baby We'll Be Fine

6. Brainy

7. Slow Show

8. Squalor Victoria

9. All the Wine

10. Lemonworld

11. Little Faith

12. Conversation 16

13. Apartment Story

14. Green Gloves

15. Abel

16. England

17. Fake Empire

ENCORE

1. Runaway

2. Sorrow

3. Mr. November

4. Terrible Love

5. About Today

(a song after that? unsure)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Smoke Eaters 911 Hellfire Challenge



They may not look like much, but these 12 Buffalo wings are some of the hottest delicacies known to man - and they can be found right here in the South Bay.
Smoke Eaters is a Buffalo wings restaurant in San Jose and Santa Clara, and they have a challenge made infamous by the hit show Man vs. Food. The 911 Hellfire Challenge consists of eating these 12 wings in 10 minutes, with no napkins or drinks, before enduring a 5 minute waiting period in which one's face and mouth smolder from the habanero sauce.
What do you win? A t-shirt, a photo on the wall, and bragging rights. It's a machismo thing.
I'm set to attempt this (bleeping stupid) challenge at 7pm on Friday at the downtown SJ location. Originally I was going to compete with a Red Wings fan, but he's unable to attend. However, since his family owes me free wings on account of a postseason hockey bet we had (go Sharks... sniff), his wife will be in attendance, videotaping my misfortune for all the world to see.
I've attempted to train for this - however, how does one train for a product that allegedly contains chili extract and pepper spray? Who knows if any of that is true, but I've met plenty of people who were unable to complete the challenge.
The principal obstacle in my path is my hiccup reflex. I violently hiccup upon eating spicy food. Fortunately, I've seemed to tame the beast somewhat - last night, while training, my hiccupping stopped after 4 spasms. Such a thing has never occurred before - I'll hiccup on into the night if certain measures (drinking milk, pressing down on the carotid artery) aren't taken.
Being the superstitious person that I am, I'm inclined to believe that the hiccup cessation is a good omen.
Whether or not I finish the challenge, I know that after 24 hours I will feel a raging hot sensation coming from a different orifice - that's one thing that sticks out from testimonials of the other fooldhardy sorts to have done what I'm about to do.
Yippie. Go... stupidity?
(Expect an updated post by Saturday, pass or fail. If the blog isn't updated, just assume I'm dead or otherwise incapacitated)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Begrudging congratulations to this Blackhawks fan


I think you know which guy I'm talking about. As for San Jose - it's only four and a half months until "next year." Go Sharks.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Australia itinerary

In exactly a month I'll be headed to Australia for a 3 week vacation. After nabbing pretty cheap roundtrip airfare to Sydney (almost exactly $900), I struggled with nailing down a viable itinerary for my time Down Under. To do New Zealand, or not to do New Zealand? Fiji, or no Fiji?

These are the dilemmas you face when you're bitten by wanderlust.

In the end, sanity prevailed (such as it is for someone of my temperment) - I'm sticking just to Australia.

Here's a day by day outline - the exact details will come later. I just got done purchasing the domestic flights, so the dates are set in stone.

  1. June 10 = Fly to Sydney from SFO (via LAX)
  2. June 11 = (lose this day due to the International Date Line)
  3. June 12 = Arrive in Sydney, New South Wales
  4. June 13 = Sydney; night flight to Darwin, Northern Territory
  5. June 14 = Darwin
  6. June 15 = Kakadu National Park (day 1 of a 3-day tour)
  7. June 16 = Kakadu National Park
  8. June 17 = Kakadu National Park
  9. June 18 = VERY early morning flight to Cairns, Queensland; begin 5-day diving certification program at the Great Barrier Reef
  10. June 19 = Cairns
  11. June 20 = Cairns
  12. June 21 = Cairns
  13. June 22 = Cairns
  14. June 23 = Cairns / Cape Tribulation, Queensland
  15. June 24 = Cairns / Cape Tribulation, Queensland
  16. June 25 = Fly to Brisbane, Queensland
  17. June 26 = Brisbane
  18. June 27 = Brisbane
  19. June 28 = Brisbane
  20. June 29 = Fly to Sydney, stay with one of my student's uncles and his family (perks of being a teacher!)
  21. June 30 = Sydney
  22. July 1 = Sydney
  23. July 2 = Fly home (arrive at almost the same time I left!)

I normally travel for longer periods of time, but I have a wedding to attend that I wouldn't miss for anything.

Looking forward to the summer! Er, Australian winter... In any case, I can only pray that the Stanley Cup Finals are done by the time I get to Australia - the last possible day is June 18th, although I'd be surprised if it took that long. (Get it done, Sharks)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Photos from Game 1, Sharks vs. Wangs

Canadian Sharks fan, on The Alameda, en route to the Tank

Standard sight along Santa Clara Street

San Pedro Square

Fans enter the HP Pavilion

One of these things is not like the other...

Shark head getting ready for the entrance

View from my seat

Pom-poms in effect after Joe Pavelski's (first) goal

Devin Setoguchi notched the third goal of the night

Another view

This fan pissed me off all night - I decided, though, that I wanted to remember him. Hence the photo.

"Abide" - a reference to The Big Pavelski, aka "The Dude"

A more obvious reference

Fans count down the final seconds

Buh bye, thanks for coming!

Sharks win 4-3

New tradition, begun this year - saluting the fans