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Friday, August 27, 2010

Habanero Juice.....The Patient Killer

Morning team, happy Friday! Long time no see, sorry for the delay in postage. Work, a weekend bender (hi lost wallet!), and a dearth of subject material were the prime culprits. But anyway, i'm back!

Over the past few months, I've been training my roomate; specifically in hot sauce consumption. We didn't really know each other when we moved in, so I'm sure there were some doubts in his mind on the first day when he opened the fridge and saw my 60+ hot sauce collection. However, that quickly changed and he has now become my star pupil. A glutton for punishment with a good attitude, he has been making great progress. He is comfortably taking down 20-40k sauces (beast, colon blow, rectum ripper,etc), and is working on the 50-80k range currently. While my training regime is not highly scientific, I do like to have at least one night a week where he pushes the boundaries and gets totally blown up. (A recent night with Insanity, followed by an ill-timed trip to the bathroom comes to mind as one of his more painful "lessons") So that being said, I think he does find a perverse joy in seeing me, "the teacher", get too far over my skiis and totally pwn myself.

So anyway, last night after rock climbing we made our standard pasta and salad for dinner. He makes the pasta, I make the salad. I had some great peppers from Soops, so decided to spice it up a bit. Jalapeno, Serrano, and Habanero. I went pretty heavy on the Habs on my salad, so he and I were expecting the worst.

Sample Salad, pre-application of Habaneros:


However, the Mad Men episode and dinner came and went, and I managed to take it down no problem. Slightly proud of myself, I slipped off to bed (and had one of my recurring excel nightmares).

Fast forward to 5:50am this morning. The alarm went off and I stumbled into the bathroom. Still 85% asleep, I put my contacts in my eye, and BAAAAAAM!

Marinating my contacts in F'ing Habanero juice all night... Payback's a bitch!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Emotional Rollercoaster of a Day

On any given day, the average person experiences a range of positive and negative emotions. However the standard deviation on this range is usually quite low, as the minor trials and tribulations one faces on a daily ("Damn subway is late" or "Sick, I finally beat level 16) basis pale in comparison to the major life-defining events that occur on a much more infrequent basis. After having undergone a few major events and one possibly life-changing event, I figured today justified a post. So without further ado, a graph of my day (click for a better view of the image):

Event Number One: I received a devastating email from BC. Suffice to say, it is always a sad day when a DMW (as so nicely defined by BC) dies; not to mention one that has served me so well (a triple bageling by the Swedish machine comes to mind) over the years.

"BC writes: At approximately 7:37 am this morning, The Dunlop Muscle Weave (DMW), handed down from Todd to me, suffered a career ending fracture trying to save a ball in the back corner. The DMW did make it through the rest of the match but announced in the following press conference that at his age, it would be to tough to come back from this type of injury. The DMW did mention that he was grateful for the long and storied career he had with multiple players, and was thankful to go out on top, with a 3 game winning streak and waxing his foe 3 games to 0 this morning."

Event Number Two and Three: Further signs that the economy sucks. YAY for 10yr treasuries @ 2.57%. A prudent man would be investing in guns and hot sauce right now.

Note: The Y-axis is drawn to scale. So yes, the demise of DMW is significantly more important to my happiness than the overall health of the economy.

Event Number Four: Now here is where the day gets interesting. After three negative hits to my well-being, I needed a little pick me up. Since I was at work and had limited recourse to doing anything actually fun, I decided to hit the old world wide web. And after a few minutes of aimless browsing, I stumbled on something truly life-changing.


The exact thing I read on Wikipedia was: "On May 8, 2005, Andrew Hajinikitas of Australia drank 120 ml of Tabasco sauce in 30 seconds creating a Guinness world record."

Similar to many other human beings, it has always been one of my goals in life to get into the book of world records. But sadly, I have always lacked the talent. The closest I've ever come was 100 meter dash, where i'm only a couple seconds away. But finally, I found my event! What a joker, 4 ounces in 30 seconds? I could leisurely crush that record and take a shot of Tabasco every 8 seconds and leave myself 6 seconds to laugh at this Wanker. As the "Graph of ME" shows, my mood discretely jumped to insane heights. And then it continued to grow as further reading confirmed that 120ml was in fact the world record. Which then brings me to the next event.

Event Five: Before calling up the Guinness guys, I decided to amuse myself by browsing on youtube and watching other idiots try and beat this record. Imagine my surprise when I saw the OFFICIAL video of the WR. I opened it up and prepared for a laugh. Sadly, the joke was on me. Turns out that you have to DRINK from the stupid Tabasco bottle, basically rendering this a meaningless competition from a hot sauce standpoint. The bottleneck here (pun INTENDED) is just how fast you can drink a liquid from a bottle with a tiny mouth. SO LAME. And without even testing, I instantly knew that I have no skills here, so once again, the Guiness Book is still out of reach.

The final event of the day is NOW. While it's hard to tell from the graph due to the scale, I am asymptotically approaching the X-axis..... Not a place you want to end up.

Video of the n00blar sucking down some Tabascos below:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thai Hot: Completely Overrated

In what was a fairly normal (i.e. daily) occurrence for me, I woke up yearning for some Thai Food. Lunch was my first opportunity to succumb to said craving, and I decided to make the most of it by trying a new street vendor called "16th Street Mall Thai Food Cart". With an auspicious name such as that, how could I go wrong?

16th Street Mall Thai Food Cart

Also going for it was the line of 20 people waiting patiently for lunch. As it was quite sunny and the bossman was out of the office (i.e. SLOW day at work), I figured I should give it a shot.

What started off as a positive indication (length of line was suggestive of the high quality of food I would be receiving) quickly turned negative. Turns out the little lady in the cart only has one pan/burner, so can only make one order at a time. In the grand scheme of things she probably cooks really quickly, but when there are 20 people in front of you and each order takes about 3 minutes..... time adds up quickly. However I had my faithful Droid with a newly downloaded Connect Four App, so I decided to wait it out since I had already invested about 15 minutes and was still at the back of the line.

~49 minutes later I reached the front of the line. I quickly ordered a Chicken Basil, Spicy Level: FIRE. As per the the bright red flame-encrusted text on the menu, this was the highest level of spice. The lady starts skeptically laughing at me, and brokenly asks me if I was sure. I assured her that yes, I had been weighing the pros and cons over the past 49.5 minutes and was sure that this is what I wanted. (SideNote: The lady in front of me ordered "baby spice". n00000b alert!)

The end result is below

So I furtively sneak into the office (making sure nobody has noticed I have now been gone for about 53 minutes), take a bite of the meal, wait for the heat......... and am still waiting. WTF?! Why do ethnic cultures with the ability to make such hot foods, always dumb it down so much? I mean I understand that the average customer is a total wuss and can't handle any heat, but if someone clearly orders the hottest possible setting (and I even said "as hot as you can make it" after she questioned me), then why not try and burn them up? In my life, i've literally found only a couple that actually make hot food when you ask for the spiciest level (Cluck-U-Chicken and Brick Lane Curry are the only ones to come to mind at the moment). For nations like Thailand and India that pride themselves on their spicy food culture, it's just embarrassing the stuff that their restaurants are peddling as "Thai Hot" and "Fire".

SO yeah, for all you restaurant proprietors out there: If someone asks for it "as hot as you can make it", you should lay on the spice and completely burn them up.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Scoville Scale

Had a pretty great weekend visiting the family in RI, though the trip back to Denver was a little miz (NOTE: When you are trying to fly from RI to Denver, and your itinerary includes a bus ride to Boston, a flight to ATLANTA, a 3.5hr layover, and an hour long wait for a the public bus to your apartment from the airport, it most likely is NOT worth the minimal $$ savings.... LESSON LEARNED).

Anyway, I recently came across what so far is the most complete online scoville scale ranking that I have seen. Instead of trying to recreate, I figured I'll just link it here. I don't agree with a few of the ratings, but overall it gives a great sense of where things stack up. I also like the "pepper only" setting, this is def good knowledge for budding chiliheads.

I think Taco Bell sauce clocking in at 500 scovilles, just beating out the venerable Franks is my favorite part of the list.

Quick Background for the Tyros out there:
Scoville heat units (shu) are the basic unit of measurement for hot sauces. They give a (reasonably) standardized unit for comparing hot sauces, and determining how truly nooblike ZS really is. Developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912, the units basically give the amount of dilutive agent (sugar water) required to be added to a hot sauce to get it to the point where the heat can no longer be detected. So essentially this means that 500 drops of water must be added to a drop of Taco Bell sauce in order to eliminate its FIERY taste.

As to be expected, humanity's best and brightest put their considerable talents towards productive uses(instead of less productive things like I don't know, nuclear fusion?), and have come up with a more accurate and less subjective way of determining heat content. High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (Hello High School CHEM!). Wikipedia says the attached link "contains too much jargon and may need simplification or further explanation". So in one sentence, HPLC separates the various compounds that make up a sauce, and allow direct observation of the concentration of the stuff that makes the sauce burn. (Said stuff is called Capsaicin, and it is a chemical compound that stimulates chemoreceptor nerve endings in the skin)

Pure Capsaicin is 16mm Scovilles, so this is the theoretical upper-bound of any sauce (at that point it is an extract, not a true sauce). Achieving heat over a couple hundred scoville's basically is done by adding a higher and higher concentration of pepper extract. As such, I personally think sauces in the low hundreds are the best, as they can have a reasonably strong kick, but don't have the rather grim taste that something like a Cool Million Sauce does.

That's it for now, happy (miz) monday!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Avg Person= Fail

While this post deviates from the blog's stated topic, I found this to be pretty amazing and answer the question "Is the average person really that dumb?". And sadly, the answer is yes.

Case in Point: The 5th most common search on google is for GMAIL. Are you serious? Are people really unable to comprehend that clicking on the little hyperlink that says GMAIL on the top of the screen will actually take you there, obviating the need to search for gmail.....

Now a clever person might respond to me with "well..... maybe people aren't actually on the google homepage, but are just using the google search bar on the top of their browser. So it's really not thaaaaaaat dumb"

Well, notwithstanding the fact that people should L2bookmark, this hypothesis suggests that a people are just using the searchbar and not going to the actual google website. But sadly, if this really is the case... then people are even dumber than I thought and do not even know that they are using the google searchbar, as coming in right behind GMAIL at #6 on most commonly searched terms is none other than:


Using google searchbar to find the google search page..... FAIL.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

n00b of the week

Look at this, my monthly output has already matched my target goal. Nothing like setting a low bar.... Under-promise and over-deliver!

I got an mms from JRC last night highlighting one of the weakest hot sauce performances in recent history. In fact the performance was so dismal it led to the creation of this very post; n00b of the week. While I can't promise one everyweek, I will do my best to highlight hot sauce failures as regularly as I can going forward*. Additionally, my legion of faithful readers should feel free to send in any pics/stories that have witnessed.

And without further Ado, I give you the n00b o' week

Location: Cafe Habana
Witness: JRC
Implement of Destruction: El Yucateco (ROJA)
Scoville Scale: sub 6k**
n00b in Question: ZS

I guess first off you'd expect a soft performance from said noob (pic above). But still, Red Yucateco? Think taking the Green Yucateco (the dreaded 9k burner!), and then kicking it DOWN (35%) a notch@#!! Even Emeril would be embarrassed by this. And to make matters worse, our intrepid witness (he managed to snap the shot while ZS was in the bathroom dying like a little girl) was kind enough to show the actual dish that led to the pwnage. I have tried to digitally enhanced the image through a variety of elite p-shop techniques, but obviously lack the skill of others as I still am unable to find more than a single spec of hot sauce on this bowl of plain ass white rice.

WOW, what a shockingly poor showing from ZS. Running counter to my own personal motto, ZS has actually set the bar extremely high for n00b o' week, as it is going to take something along the lines of a Frank's XXXXXXXXtra to beat this one.

*JD, you are lucky I didn't decide to start this after your chili performance this weekend....

**yes you read that correctly, 5,790 to be exact

Monday, August 2, 2010

Kicking Things Off...

In the works for about a year, the maiden post of THTF is finally here. Primarily dedicated to both the pursuit and consumption of Scoville Units, this blog will also be a repository of links, images, videos, stories, and thoughts that I find to have a high degree of value (whether they are intellectual, comedic, or just downright nerdy is up to the reader to decide).

While US History teaches us to dream big and aim for the stars, a pragmatic (i.e. jaded) person like myself quickly learns it is both easier and more satisfying to actually set a low bar; as such I'm planning on 1-2 posts a month. (Interpretation: This will not likely move to the top of your Chrome Browsing History and displace the current URL and its daily/most viewed/top rated videos.....*)

Wow, before I even get into the meat of this first post, I'm going to have to make a quick comment: Three minutes into my experience here, blogspot seems to SUCK! Are they seriously limiting me to 8 brutal fonts, with one of them being Webdings????** While I'm partial to Calibri (and a little Garamond when I'm trying to get official with it), it appears that blogspot also fails to have Tahoma and Chiller. Noobs. /end rant

But anyway, back to the lecture at hand;Scoville Units. Why make a blog about them you ask? It's very simple. Taking down hot sauce (and salsa/hot peppers/etc) is one of the most tasty, yet satisfying activities out there. A true chilihead hones his skill over the course of years, constantly pushing the boundaries of taste, flavor, and heat. Starting with basic sauces like Melinda's and Frank's found at a grocery store, you graduate to Sriracha and El Yucateco. At this point you are more skilled than the average bear, but still nothing special. I love talking to people at this stage in their career, and hear them gloat about their prowess at handling the heat, and how they have this sick sauce (Srirachi) that I have to try. I smile and nod, and then pray I'm there the day they try the Phaal curry to impress their drunk friends. But for the dedicated few that still want to progress, you make your first real milestone when you take down some 100k sauces (da bomb, dave's, blair's sudden death). From here on out, it's just onward and upward to bigger and better things like Mad Dog, Liquid st00pid, Possible Side-Effects, etc. And then finally once you hit 7 figures and beyond, you get into the zone where everyone gets pwned. But that's the fun of it!

So net-net (yeah, i'm a finance nerd), in addition to improving the taste, hot sauce consumption turns the basic task of eating into a competitive and fun challenge. And the fact that it is a natural aphrodisiac and a kickass counter-terrorism weapon is pretty cool too...

Ok, well that's enough for today. I think next time I'll take some pictures of my hot sauce collection, and maybe shed a little more light on the Scoville Scale for any new chiliheads that read this.*** Have a good weekend, it's noon and i'm already counting down the minutes to GTFO of the office.

*Yes, that website. The one you constantly trying to delete from your browsing history, but still somehow always awkwardly autocompletes when a friend (primarily of the opposite sex) hops on your computer and begins to type "www.p" when they try and pull up pandora

Ha the webdings font doesn't even work. This should be showing up as a bunch of queer symbols and hieroglyphics.... but it isn't. b-side

*** Not sure who I'm kidding, as I doubt anyone (hot sauce n00b or otherwise) is even reading this blog... oh well.