Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oh, Sal Paradise....

"So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars'll be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty. "

evidence is mounting (eight words)

no longer
know what
is normal
and sane

everybody wants to be on reality TV

On Monday I watched 'Good Morning America' while getting ready for work. It was the first show since that horrible beach-house fire that killed 8 college students. In typical GMA format they had gotten one of the dead's roommates to talk on camera about the tragedy so we could watch these poor people's hearts break. Diane Sawyer will get some factual details and then walk them right to the emotional edge until their voices crack and their eyes well up.

We see it, every tragedy. Every Shooting. Every Car Wreck with the Captain of the Football Team. "How are you holding up? What was your last Memory of Johnny? Cry for us, Kid, feel this pain."

What was weird was that this girl was smiling, and trying her best not to. She was dressed up like she was going to a wedding, with pearls and her hair just perfect at 7am, 23 hours after her roommate burned to death. She said all the right things, but the delivery was practiced, and devoid of any strain. Incredibly Polite.

This was her chance. The cameras are here.

"I just KNOW, she's smiling and looking down on us right now"

Maybe the kid just doesnt know how to deal with something so huge. I dunno, it just seemed like she was completely uneffected. The good part was that it seemed to fluster Diane Sawyer abit as she tried to ratchet up the questions, until she had to back off, so not appear badgering.

calous (eight words)

nobody lies anymore

are just


It's all up to Wendy and Marvin (eight words)

Superman got
the flu

Today Crime
will pay

Halloween or the day after (eight words)

who wouldnt
look fine in
the money shirt?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Every Friday (eight words)

mismatched garbage cans
ten overflowing bags

suburban shame

Thursday, October 25, 2007

fatherhood (haiku)

how is work today?
so when are you coming home?
the babies miss you

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

my secret ramen coaches (eight words)

they have them
they dont have you

forget yourself (haiku)

keep my coffee warm
somehow this rain should heal me
i'm gonna go play

flash glasses (eight words)

red so red,
that black
deep green

inertia (eight words)

i had enough.
but the sun
still came.

equity (haiku)

the girlz gone wild
go home and do their laundry
when the lights come on

Monday, October 22, 2007

My Contest in Vegas

Here's the video from the First Episode of SPIKE's MLE Chowdown!!!!!

Major League Eating - Wedges & Wings - Episode 1 - Full Episode

Posted Oct 18, 2007

From Las Vegas, it's the debut of MLE Chowdown: Wedges & Wings, featuring Takeru Kobayashi's highly anticipated rematch against reigning champion Joey Chestnut.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Its about to Start! I hope I win this time!

update: ABout the Ketchup, some of you noted that I got called out for bringing Ketchup as a dunking agent by comentator, CrazyLegs Conti. I think he said something like "I'd have to question the strategy of eating MORE food..."

Because I couldnt be completely sure how dry the potatoes would be, I figured I'd keep it in reserve next to my water cups. The water was good enough to get the wedges down, and with 2 minutes left in the contest I started to dip every fouth wedge to combat the 'flavor fatigue' that was setting in.

Great call by Crazylegs though, I cant believe he spotted it from the broadcast booth!

everybody knows that guy (eight words)

takes the
football game
too seriously

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

phthalocyanine air bath (haiku)

aileron, no step
i can see your house from here
your roof needs some work

Monday, October 15, 2007

Look Mom, I'm Famous!

So we're home from Vegas and back to work. Missed the boys an aweful lot.

If you ever take up Competitive Eating, I dont recommend doing 4 contests in 5 days. I was either starving or extremely full and never got to even go to a single Vegas Buffet.

The most ironic thing was that I lost 9 pounds this week. I attribute it to long days of being busy and then a shock of food that the body didnt know what to do with. Either way, that made me laugh the most.

If you are interested in seeing the first show, it will air this Thursday at 11PM EST on SPIKE TV and then will be rebroadcast Saturday at 7PM EST. It's called MLE Chowdown: Wedges and Wings.

It's an hour long show that features the first 2 contests of the Tournament. I ate in the Potato Wedges part. They were good! The Wings were Mango Habenero, very spicy and yummy! I hope at least alittle of my interview makes it to the screen.

The Crucible

Those are real Bulls
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.

The moment of introspection comes as I'm drinking a glass of milk.

"What are you doing with your life?"
It's really not a bad question to ask, just maybe not the best time to ask it. Many times I've gotten into stressful situations and that voice always seems to kick in.
"How did you get here? What the hell are you doing???"

I take another sip of the milk and stand up fully. It's really refreshing. Gosh, I love milk.

milk, milk, milk.

In front of me are a few thousand people that are looking at me with wide eyes. Some of them are yelling in Spanish. The people are tan and have the dark features and happy smiles that I associate with Mexicans. There is alot of noise and some dust that is kicked up by the excitement. I see some Mexican flags in the crowd confirming my suspicions.

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
In the middle of the crowd is a large circular pen that holds 4 or 5 bulls. Each must weigh over 1,000lbs. They walk around in clumps and the Mexicans and the bulls dont seem to mind each other.

Now this certainly sounds like some kind of waking dream. If it were really a dream I'd look down and be naked, but I'm not...I'm wearing a kilt.

So the real problem is that I am 4 minutes into a Jalapeno Pepper eating contest and I have eaten 40 of the peppers already. Actually, I've only Swallowed 30 peppers and now I have the last 10 sitting in mouth getting chewed over and over again. My stomach has protested this burning mash and has instructed my throat not to let anything else down that is not milk or maybe Haylon.

My stomach is so much smarter than my brain.

I take another swig of milk and consiously force myself to swallow. I repeat this 3 or 4 times to clear my mouth. There is a wild ticker in my head that wants me to put more peppers in....dont lose ground...Do it. Do it now.

Typically I am able to compete without noticing anything, but my concentration is blown. I look around some more while trying to clear my mouth.

The contest is being MC'd by a man named Ryan Nerz. He is dressed like a 1900's carnval barker in a sportjacket and straw hat. His job starts a full 30 minutes before the contest as he tries to 'fill the tent' with people interested in seeing a spectacle. In years past it would be the bearded lady or the fat man. Today it is people eating Hot Peppers. Ryan darts right to left accross the stage, recounting past contest and various Eats of Strength into the microphone. Today there is a second MC who translates Ryans commentary into Spanish. The crowd only reacts to the Spanish MC.
"Sonya Thomas, once ate 11lbs of Cheesecake"
"Sonya Thomas, una vez que se comiĆ³ 11lbs de queso"

Ryan promises them something they cannot see anywhere else in the world. Ryan promises them the rapture. I have a theroy that he's crazy. He has a theroy that I'm a Competitive Eater.

I take a moment to listen to Ryan talking wildly about the current contest. He inserts all sorts of references that no-one will get in the translation. There is a mention of a 'Wide-Stance' that makes me almost chuck the remaining peppers from my mouth. He talks and talks with great emotion and I think he'd be as feverish talking to 3 people as he is talking to a thousand.

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
To my left and right are a who's who of Competitive Eating. I had hoped that noone would want to eat in this contest, Noone would want to hurt themselves in this way....but there they are bent over their plates chewing and swallowing while I stand here with a vinegar chin, enjoying my glass of milk.

I finally get rid of the roadblock and decide to continue competing. I've come, all the way out here to Chicago for this, and it's too late to save my digestive future anyway. The deed is done.

The peppers are 20 to a white styrofoam plate, and you are required to eat right down to the stem. Because they are pickled, they are juicy and full of vinegar, each bite creating an explosion of mess and seeds. A cameraman from the evening news looses a clean lens to some spray.

My eyes roll back and I sink back into my game.

Suddenly there is commotion and I'm forced to resurface. So many peppers have been eaten by the 15 eaters, that the sponsor has run out. The contest has to be called at the 6:30 mark.

I've eaten 61.
It's not 100 like I had hoped, but that was a pie in the sky number. I'd be happy with 100 anything because it sounds like alot.
100 M&M's
100 Ocelots
100 Jalapenos

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
The winner is Pat Bertoletti. He held the current record of 160, and now had smashed it by eating 190. It's hard to justify my total against his, but it wasnt bad. If I did it again I could add 20% just with what I learned.

The eaters file off the stage and we talk about the contest with animated gestures. Wing Kong says his belly is burning from 90 some peppers. Justin Mih says he's hurting and I hope so because he beat me by 3 Peppers. Erik the Red doesnt seem effected at all. There's some eaters I hadnt met before like Tim Brown and The Sicilian (who did quite well), and we try to cram as much as we can in a few minutes. Jim Hammrick, An Eater we met last year in Memphis offers us a ride to the Airport, and we go before things get too bad.

Within 30 minutes I'm sweating and my stomach is making all kinds of threats. Each Antacid creates a huge Volume of CO2 and I wash it down with more milk. I have a bag full of chemistry and I'm trying to turn this lead pile of file into gold.

We have huge ice-creams from Ben & Jerrys and are forced to take residence in several airport bathrooms. It's bad. Think about how bad it might be. It's worse. Wing Kong and I share a bottle of Pepto. And a bottle of Mylanta. And more Antacids. We finish it all.

There's a point that I urinate, and it burns. I'm fascinated.

I think about the winner of the contest and the 190 peppers he's dealing with. I wonder how much TP you can buy with the prize money.

Despite all the fear, I dont have a any problems on the flight. I was sweating vinegar, but I think thats the worst that happened to the poor girl stuffed between us. Thats not to say I wasnt white-knuckled for the whole flight. Just that everything was ok. I seriously question the effectiveness of the TSA though, what was to stop me from wiping out that whole plane?

Within 12 hours of the contest I was a new man, who had all the parasites burned from his body. Really if you can survive that, what cant you do?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

ok, so I've been drinking but it's Vegas right?

Today (well actually's 3am) I did alot of video and interviews for the contest. I told the truth and made things up that sounded funny. I talked for 40 minutes and I expect maybe only 2 or 3 lines to make it into the final show.

We then did a walkthough of the contest for the camera guys. They have built a HUGE beautiful studio stage in the middle of Freemont Street and that is our home fo rthe next three days. We are staing at the 4 Queens which is immediatley located.

There's some bitching in the CE community of who got chosen to attend. I'm 36 now and cant make excuses for anyone else. It's likely that I will be dead in weeks, so I cant pass up this opportunity thats been handed to me. If it's not weeks, it might be years or decades...but I decided 2 years ago not to wait on life, and I wont.

That being said, I have a responsibility to try my hardest, and you can bet your ass that I brought it all to the table tonight. I will write a full explantation of this contest, but I dont feel it's appropriate to release the details until the sponsor airs this first show on SPIKE on Oct 18 "Wedges & Wings"

It truly was an all-star cast, and what I can tell you is that today I ate to the best of my ability. I had no mechanical problems and avoided my most problematic issues (chipmunking halfway through). I ate for 8 minutes straight for the second time in a week, and I'm finally happy with myself as an eater. I feel like I'm finally filling some of the basic requirements that a 'pro' should have.

Greater, is the relationaships that I've allowed to grow here. People I didnt know or understand, are now friends...friends, now I can rejoice in there acomplishments or feel for them in their failures. We talk over beers, first about Eating, but always, always it spills into the bigger issues of life. The hurt, the love, the laughter. Two tough-acting sweethearts trying to decide on the best dunking solution for a particular food. We all hide behind something.

My wife is ablessing for me in these things as she cares for these friends too, and can share the empathy. She likes CE because I like it, and that just rocks. She's here by my side, and she's the only voice I can here cutting through the crowd. "Eat Faster!" I heard it! I Did!

All of you have been so sweet in your support of this adventure and I look forward to telling you all of the details as soon as I feel comfortable.

I have 2 more contests in the next 2 days. We're all on a journey out here and I'm ok with everthing if this is a learning experience.

Allen Ginsburg once said this to Jack Kerouac:
You’ll all go flying to the West Coast and come staggering back in search of your stone.
Surely we should, and if we're awake, we will

Say something nice to somebody; instead.....

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Las Vegas

I havent been allowed to talk about this til now. I was one of 16 Eaters chosen to compete in Las Vegas for 3 separate TV Specials on Spike TV. I flew straight from the Hmaburger Contest to Vegas

The big announcement was supposed to be that I was running the Vegas Marathon in December. I trained all through the end of the summer, but then this thing came up and ironically was in Vegas too. It's burning a week of vacation time, but they are putting me up and paying my wife flew out to enjoy the time and the people.

Thats the whole reason I havent been posting the last few weeks. I've had a million projects I had to finish before I could take a week off and I was all wacked out with excitement because I couldnt talk about it.

I dont think I'll be able to give any details until the shows air, but I'll give everyone a heads up before each one is scheduled. Kobyashi (the hotdog guy from Japan) is here! I'm going to meet him today!

We are very very busy so far filming small segments and graphics. It's soo much fun! I'm competing on camera tonight!

Steakbellie Eats 31 Hamburgers and Feels Better About Himself

Second Place in Georgia!!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

aint THAT the truth (eight words)

its amazing
what you
can get
used to.


I'm a complete lunatic today, but I need you to do me a favor. I know you dont owe me a favore ESPECIALLY after I havent finished the Jalapeno Post (it's half written, half in my head, all spicy). But I swear in the next couple of days it will all make sense where I've been and why I havent had time to post.

So here's the thing I need you to do. I need you say this fact if you can sneak it into a conversation it's even better:

"I need to Eat at Least 30 Hamburgers this Weekend To Keep From Embarrassing Myself"

Are you smiling? It's Silly...RIGHT? Well thats my life. I need to eat at least 30 Hamburgers this weekend to keep from embarrassing myself. I'm totally serious. I'm flying down to Perry Georgia with Wing Kong to compete in a qualifier for the World Hamburger Championship on ESPN. 30 Hamburgers in 8 minutes?

You'll remember last year, Wing Kong and I flew down to Memphis and I only ate 23...boy THOSE were the simple days huh?

Krystal Burgers really runs the best competition on the circuit. They treat you like a million dollars, and they take extraordinary measures to ensure that the contest is fair. Every eater I know really appreciates their efforts.

So if you're interested in reading about the contest go here:

If you're interested in reading about my results on Sunday and not waiting for me to post them when I get a chance go here:

If you'd like the results texted to you right after the contest go here:

Or if you want to watch it on their webcam (not sure if it's working though)

I've been training my ass off since I got back from Chicago, and I intend to make you all proud....

So believe me when I tell you this...this isnt even the biggest announcement I have to make! Not even close!!!

Monday, October 01, 2007

ok, but then what? (eight words)

lets just
be happy.

who could
stop us?