Saturday, September 29, 2007

how old are you? (haiku)

humility now
still cant get it together
insert laugh track here

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Artie Lange in Chicago
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.

We are exiting at the top of a long escalator into a gaggle of 4 Moms with strollers. They are located in an inconsiderate spot for those who wish to exit the escaltor cleanly. "Lady, I Hate Your Baby..." Says Artie Lange, outloud to everyone and noone as he manuvers between their intent conversaions.

I am snickering at the comment, as it is the kind of humor I only get when hanging out with Artie Lange and Wing Kong. We are 3 Dads with Jobs and Mortgages set loose in a foreign town, and instead of drinking beer and chasing women, we will be drinking beer and telling fart jokes for most of the night.

We are in a Department Store in Chicago buying sweatshirts and it is 40 degrees outside. This morning we were in Philadelphia with a seasonable 75 degrees. How is it THAT cold in Mid-September?

Chicago from our Room
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
There is a long serious conversation about how awesome we would look in matching Addidas Jumpsuits.....White tops and bottoms with triple green stripes up the legs and down the arms. I settle. for a Bears sweatshirt, while Wing Kong gets just the Addidas Top.

Wing Kong and I are in Chicago for the La Costeña "Feel the Heat" Jalapeño Eating Challenge. All you can eat Jalapeños for 8 minutes followed by the most harrowing 12 hours of your life. I convinced Kong that nobody would show for this and that we'd have an easy job of placing first, second or third. We're not purposely ducking people, but it can be exhausting to show up at a contest and have to face the top 8 in the world....every time. We are small fish in the very biggest of ponds.

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
It should be noted that a year ago I convinced Kong to fly to Florida for a pretzel contest under the claim of "Who wants to go to Florida in January? (I actually said that) You've got this locked up!" As you might suspect that wasnt the case.

Artie Lange is meeting us here by complete Happenstance. He's in town on business and is kind enough to allow us to crash in the Posh Digs of his Hotel. I mean the hotel is nice....really nice and from the Twenty-Eighth floor we can look down over the Navy Pier and out into the water. It's the kind of nice, that usually wouldnt allow me in the front door. The free room and the cheap flight has made this trip reasonable, and easier to enjoy.

I dont have any real memories of the Great Lakes and I am just astounded how much it is like an ocean. Artie loves architecture and shares his passionate affection for this city as we walk down Michigan Ave. Chicago is the most amazing of towns, and there is a new skyscraper going up on nearly every city block.

Real Deep-Dish from Giordanos
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Now typically, it is my preference to fast for 24 hours before an eating contest. That doesnt work for everyone, some people just fast for 3 or 4 hours. In this case however I listened to advice from the holder of the Jalapeno 8-Minute World Record and made sure I had something in me for those hot peppers to land on. Deep Dish Pizza.

Why cant they make Deep Dish Pizza like this anywhere else? Do you need special air or water that only exists in Chicago? WHY??? Will I be doomed to trek back to Chicago the next time I need a slice of Heaven? We ate at Giordanos and I've never had anything like it. The crust was something you WANTED to eat.

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Later we went to Millenium Park and saw "The Bean" It's an enourmous mirrored coffee bean that you can walk up to and touch. Artie thinks it's such a great piece of artwork, because of the way it draws people to it. We look all around and there are hundreds of folks poking it, tpuching it, standing under it...all of them interacting with it and taking pictures. Because it's reflective it takes on the properties of the city, in fact if you wanted to paint or drawn it, you would be defining the Bean by drawing the reflected city. Put this thing in a field or suburbs and it will look very different. Having been an illustrator, I find The Bean fascinating and come back in the morning to watch how the light changes it.

The Bean
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Artie is very familiar with both our careers and comes to nearly all our local events. He knows the cast of characters and the latest news of who has won what. In the days before the contest we've learned the names of many top eaters who will likely show, and it has become apparent that this is not a gimme. We talk contest strategy, what's the best way to eat a pepper, how much chewing before you can swallow. How much can you hold in your stomach before something bad happens.

The Wicked Witch of the East
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Having never eating that many, we are mostly concerned about the aftermath and how we prevent an ecological disaster happening on the flight home 4 hours after the contest. I have no fear about the contest itself. I know that it would have been smarter to stay the night in Chicago, possiblly at the Hospital or Firehouse, but I was expected at work the next morning.

Kong in the Bean
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
My theory is that the volume of pepper mash is going to run through me like a "The China Syndrome" where a nuclear reactor goes critical and burns a hole straight down through the middle of the earth. I spend the day drinking shots of Malox and milk products. I take antacids. I figure I need to coat my entire digestive tract with some kind of base to chemically counteract the coming fire. There's lots of jokes, but really, this is scarey.

Oh Boy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Blues

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Floyd, The tattoo on my arm still applies to you.

feeling it (eight words)

good news
has gotten

go get 'em!

where are your priorities?????

so busy I havent had time to finish the Jalapeno write-up or even talk like a Pirate yesterday. Thats sad.

Monday, September 17, 2007

more eveidence that I am alive

I flew in from Chicago last night at 2am and somehow made it to work this morning. The Jalapeno Pepper Contest went well and more importantly I survived the plane ride home without embarrassing myself any more than normal.

I'll write about this experience tomorrow as it was very rich and needs some time taken with it.

I'm completely in love with Chicago.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This Weekend's Hot Pepper Contest

I'm getting the inklling
that I'm going to learn
what all of you
already know.....

the hard way

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Heat

A year and a half ago, I wrote a funny article on things you shouldnt eat (but that I had).

When I was in grade school, I would stare into the fridge when I was bored. If there was nothing to eat, I'd take hot sauce and put it on a piece of bread. I'd keep eating Hot Sauce & Bread until I was sweaty and in pain. See? Boredom Gone.

My ability to withstand & actually enjoy hotsauce grew with me over time and by college people would bring me hotsauce the same way you might buy a friend a bottle of wine or beer. I always assumed that I would find my way into some Hot Chili Eating Contest at some Texas Sate Fair or something. I hadnt thought about Competitve Eating.

This weekend I continue my Competitve Eating career with a Jalapeno Eating Contest. If you like Hot Peppers, than you consider Jalapenos to be Entry Level stuff. These ones will be pickled, so the heat wont be too bad. The problem of course will be in the QTY.

I've been so bogged down with freelance work and life I havent had a chance to properly train for this, but I hope to get a run in soon to see whats involved. The world record is close to 200 Peppers. I would like to eat more than 100, but that's an uneducated guess as I've never competed in them before. It sounds like a good number though.

I expect to get sweaty and also for the boredom to be gone. More later.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Patronus is a Beer Can (American Sonnet)

we came together and remembered each other with urgency
there was touch and long clutching hugs meant to last forever
and eye contact in the simpliest of goodbyes

old friends used the word 'love', baffled by the distance a day before
and swore to never let the gap widen again

we knew time, and cried together for strangers who died in fear
choking at the stories of those who could be courageous
wondering in our beds, how we would have fared in that burning debris

People acted in defiance of hate and made comitments of love
Can you remember how wonderfully human we were?


We've calloused since and added to the crime, one-thousand fold
Liars impress us with their bodycounts and stay the course to hell

The dust cloud is approaching fast and the Dementors are circling
Summon My Patronus

WTC Skin

virtually impotent

Saturday, September 08, 2007

go go go (haiku)

angels wings prop wash
dont be scared, be inspired
your last chance to live

Thursday, September 06, 2007

boredom (eight words)

i tire
of kicking
the retards.
join them?

somewhere out there (haiku)

my oldest
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
wearing the good shoes
leaving defeat behind him
he headed out west

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

First Day of School (eight words)

she worried
he would
eat lunch