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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

TSA: Stickler For The Rules?

I'm currently 26 years old, and on paper possess many adult-like qualities such as having a steady job, a car, a house, a retirement account, and a pet. In fact, the only thing that that really separates me from being a true member of the adult world is my lack of a life partner. (JD doesn't count...) But luckily for the Peter Pan in me, I am in zero hurry (i.e. have no prospects) to change that fact and am perfectly content to keep living the life of a young and immature frat guy (hi JoeCav!). But that's just me, and this past weekend I had the pleasure of going to NYC to celebrate the marriage of my friend Billy to his high-school sweetheart. It was a great (short) ceremony, and the party afterwards was awesome. And then the next morning, my "adult" friend Billy woke up early to head off to some Carribean Island with his wife, while I woke up late with a terrible headache, a lost cellphone, a dim memory of a girl in a blue dress, and a half-eaten pack of Starbursts in my pocket. Looks like I have some more time before I'm ready to transition from being an adult "on-paper" to being an adult in the real world...

But anyway, the point of the post (i.e. my weak segue as to how I'll be relating this to hot sauce) was that the weekend was also the birthday of my best friend JC. Despite a childhood devoid of spicy foods, he (I'm going to toot my own horn here and take a lot of credit for this) has really embraced hot sauce and now can take down 20k+ with ease. So for his birthday, I decided to buy him a bottle of my new favorite sauce (check out my really boring post from two weeks ago for more details).

As you can see on the label, the bottle is 5oz.

The TSA has their old 3-1-1 rule (which actually should be the 3.4-1-1 rule since you are allowed to have up to 3.4oz) which I knew would be a potential issue... But I felt there was a chance it could get through the X-Ray machine unnoticed, and at worst I was confident in my abilities to charm any agent and skate on through unscathed. Sadly, Eagle-Eyes on the security machine noticed the bottle, and a big guy was waved over and told to search my bag. He found the unopened bottle of hot sauce, identified the writing on the bottle where it disclosed the 5oz volume, cross-checked said volume against his 3-1-1 rule, and came to the determination that 5>3.4, and so the bottle needed to be destroyed. Tact One: Charm. I made a joke about the hot sauce's name (Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally), but was met with a blank stare, so I decided that charm was out of the question. Tact Two: Misinformation. I then proceeded to tell him to look at the ingredient list (Tomato Paste, Pepper Extract, Vinegar, Molasses, Soy Sauce, Salt) and that he would see that this was not in fact a liquid or a gel, but really was a vegetable in a bottle. He was about to go for it, but then a rogue neuron randomly fired in his little brain and he said "soy sauce.... that's a liquid". Tact Three: Simple Math At this point I was getting a bit perturbed and closing in on boarding time, so I decided to concede defeat and admitted that it was possible he was right. I then told him I would dump out half of the bottle, and then proceed on my merry way. At this point, the cretin looked at me blankly and said "the bottle still needs to be destroyed". I told him politely that the rule he was so gallantly enforcing was for liquids more than 3.4 oz. And if you dump out half of something that is 5 ounces, the remaining liquid is only 2.5oz. He still didn't understand why this was relevant, so I told him that "last time I checked, 2.5 was less than 3.4". At that point the same rogue neuron fired again, and he realized what I was suggesting, and also realized how stupid he was. But sadly for the Birthday Boy, Mr. TSA decided at this point that he would rely on the age old defense of "you are right but it doesn't matter", and that he was going to destroy the bottle anyway even if it only had 2.5 ounces.

Nothing like being a stickler for the rules as long as it suits you, and then throwing the same rulebook out the window a minute later when it no longer suits you. But hey, at least he is keeping everyone at Denver Airport safe from dangerous airborne scoville units!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Biggest Event of the Past Two Months

I bought a house last month, so JD and I moved two weeks ago from the bachelor pad to the bachelor palace. So far, so good. But this post is about the biggest event in the past two months, and joining the ranks of the foolish homeowners is not it. Instead, said event occured this past Sunday when JD and I tried to mount our third roommate's flat-screen on the wall (he was conveniently out of town). The bach palace came equipped with a fancy mount in the living room, so it seemed pretty elementary for two college grads to mount his TV onto it. This sadly was not the case. First off, the TV weighed about a million pounds and had this crazy steel stand that was built into the base which we quickly dismantled and discarded. After scanning the back of the TV, I realized that the mounting holes were about 18 inches apart from each other, so I would need to buy another mount which I would then mount on the mount that was currently mounted on the wall. (that sentence was a thing of beauty). Anyway, the screws that came with the mount where not of the correct size in which to affix it to the existing mount. So JD and I got in the car and headed to ACE Hardware and bought four screws. Problem One solved. We then tried to attach the new mount to the back of the TV, but were unable to as the screws did not seem to have anything to screw into when we put them into the TV. After about an hour of aimlessly playing around with screwdrivers and making no progress (JD: "Todd for the 5th time, are you sure these are the same holes that you unscrewed these from???"), my brilliant roommate realized that the 150lb steel base piece that we removed actually had to be put back on in order to give the screws something to grip into. What a terrible design! Anyway, we put the damn base back on and tried again. Problem two solved. Which then led us to problem three, which is the screws were not long enough to go through the mount and still reach far enough into the TV to reach the metal base. So back to ACE Hardware for some longer screws! Sure enough, they didn't have screws long enough... But a smart employee came up with the idea of just giving us a long piece of threaded metal (think a screw but with no head), some nuts, and some glue. Problem three solved! At this point we had spent all day on the darn thing and it had reached 5 o'clock which meant it was drinking time (this is the third image that shows up when you search for drinking time, not sure how it is relevant but it is awesome at the same time; hence the inclusion), so we have yet to make any progress from here. But I am confident that we will be able to fix it this weekend. But anyway, back to the point of the post-

WHILE in ACE hardware for the 2nd time of the day, when I was feeling about as despondent and dejected in my skills as a human being as I've been in awhile, I noticed the hot sauce equivalent of the Holy Grail-

A bottle of Chet's Slap my Ass and Call Me Sally sitting in the grill section! (note, don't search for that in google images while at the office.... NSFW)

WTF, I've read about this sauce for years up in the hot sauce blog o'sphere, and have never once seen it in any store. And here we have it in ACE's hardware next to a bunch of propane grills? AMAZING.

Needless to say we bought a bottle, and then slathered it on our Wendy's spicy chicken sandwiches from the dollar menu. The sauce is really good, seemed kind of likes a mixture between mad dog inferno and colon blow, maybe around the 80-90k range. Good taste, but just spicy enough to cause real damage if you overdo it. Suffice to say we both significantly overdid it and had to suck down a six pack each to numb the pain. Nothing liking turning a terrible day of home-ownership into a highly efficient dinner/pre-game with the holy grail of hot sauce from the most underrated hot sauce store ever; ACE HARDWARE! #winning

6/9/2011 UPDATE: Since I know PH is dying to hear the conclusion to the riveting TV SAGA.... He'll be glad to hear we finally got it on the wall last night. #edgeofyourseatdrama