Death By A Chicken Wing

So last week I unintentionally changed the course of my desire to ever eat spicy foods again. I ingested something so hot, so painful, so unbelievably not for human consumption that for the better part of the night I sat in the shower and contemplated calling the hospital. And it was all for a bloody t-shirt.

Let me give you a little back story before I admit to eating pepto pills off a public restroom floor because to not have would have meant certain death.

Over the past few years I have been obsessed with spicy food challenges, hot sauces, peppers and really anything that makes a mouth unhappy. I really can’t answer why this has been such a fascination of mine but I will say if there is a person to blame, I blame Adam Richman of Man vs Food. Since its inception into the Travel Channel lineup, I have seen him ingest some of the hottest and most insane eating challenges this nation has to offer and every episode ends with me stating “I can to that”.

No I can’t.

East Coast Wings is a franchise that originated about five miles down the street from my house and it’s obvious what they specialize in. There must be about fifty different flavors of wings and over fifteen levels of spice starting with the meek mild and going all the way to the absurd. But there is one level to rule the other levels of heat. It’s the Insanity sauce and it’s so hot you have to sign a waiver and you can only eat one wing at a time. This was something that I had to try.

I have come to believe that many waiver forms for amusement are just gimmicks meant to lure people in thinking they are doing something dangerous when in all actuality, the real danger was the drive to the event. I have such a skeptical view on these challenges when you are asked to sign your life away. But “…external and internal tissue damage…” did catch my eye.

I forget how I managed to talk my girlfriend into accompanying me on this adventure but after a long day of football and drinking, I think she wanted to witness this about as much as I wanted to earn a t-shirt. Because it was such a long day of said activities, I had an empty tank and was pretty hungry so it was a challenge enough not to eat the Texas toast that was meant to qualm the fire I was about to ingest. The sugar and milk? That’s for babies.

Finally the “Insanity Wing” had arrived and it was go-time. There were a few spectators at 11:30 on a Saturday night who wanted to see what was going to happen but I didn’t even think about the possibility of giving them any entertainment other than watching a half-drunk guy look uncomfortable for a few minutes. It’s not that I was being cocky or even overly confident, I have taken on a few of these challenges before with little more than heartburn to speak of. I have even eaten a whole ghost pepper and while that was extraordinarily stupid, I survived and recovered a couple of hours later. This was only one wing, after all.

Stop you idiot! Stop! Put that wing down!
Too late…

There is only one speed to take on these challenges and that is FAST. I ate this wing as if it was still on a live chicken. It’s not really something you can savor. I will say the burn on the mouth and throat was pretty intense but not nearly as bad as I have had before. But just when I thought I had this challenge beat, it hit my stomach. And that’s when my Hell began.

I have never had that happen to me before! In less than a second I had a burning coal trying to break through my abdomen just an inch below my sternum. I quietly excused myself and walked purposefully to the restroom praying that it wasn’t occupied. Thank God it wasn’t because the second I got there I collapsed wanting to throw up. But all I could do was sit on the floor of a public restroom in sheer hollow pain. Agony.

I would have gladly offered a finger to break if it would have subsided the waves of intense burning. My poor girlfriend opened the door to make sure I wasn’t dead and she found me with my back against the wall and asked if I was okay. I replied with a “NO! BIG MISTAKE! I’M SERIOUS!” She gave me a bottle of generic Peptic Relief pills and I greedily chewed a couple up and swallowed them. I could not coat the stomach fast enough. In fact, in my frantic state I may have dropped a couple on the floor of the restroom and I may have not given a shit and ate them anyway. That’s a level of discomfort that I am not accustom to.

Soon enough though, I managed to get a hold of the situation and take the walk of shame back to my bar stool where I asked to just go home. Oh, and I also wanted to give my shirt back. They said I earned it, but in my heart I felt defeated.

I felt a little better by the time we reached home, though my pride was definitely dented. I was once the master of the ghost pepper and Tai Spice #5 and one wing took me down. Literally down to a public restroom floor. This is a stretch, but I felt like a champion boxer who was play-fighting with his kid nephew and was accidentally knocked out only to demand a rematch and then the kid not only knocks him out again but writes “wuss” on his forehead and raises his boxer shorts up on a flagpole. I was injured and insulted.

Do you see that it looks like I still have wing sauce on my face? Well I don’t. That is the skin burn from the frick’n wing. I couldn’t feel the burn on my face though because the sheer pain of my stomach could have masked a femur break.

I went to bed thinking the worst was over. That was until an hour later when I woke up FEELING AS IF I JUST ATE THE DAMN WING! I couldn’t believe that this feeling was back and just as intense. I sat on the floor writhing in agony, eating pepto pills by the handful. It was all I could do.

After that episode I turned on the shower and sat in the tub because standing was not an option. All I could repeat was “So stupid. So stupid.”. I couldn’t help but dwell on the waiver that stated “…internal tissue damage”. I really thought the next step was to the hospital. OVER ONE DAMN WING!

Let me sum up the rest of the night: Wake up in pain, eat a bunch of antacids, curse myself, try to go back to bed, doze off, wake up again and repeat. Pretty awful. It wasn’t until around 7:30am when my wonderful girlfriend went to the store to buy every form of Mylanta and antacid did I find any relief. And by relief I mean I no longer felt the need for a bite stick.

Well, I survived and now that it has been a week since the challenge and when I began this disaster of a post, I can say that there was no internal tissue damage. I hated that I acted like a yard ape, rolling on a public restroom floor showing my lady parts to the girlfriend. I have decided, against better judgement, to take this challenge on again. This time I will eat AND not drink any liqueur before this challenge. Also, I will do this without anyone that I want to impress and have a life alert bracelet on. Oh yeah, and perhaps I’ll bring a mat incase I decide to do yoga on the restroom floor again.

“I don’t want to think about death when I’m eating chicken”

Moral of the story? I never learn from my mistakes.


The Halloween That Wasn’t

This year Halloween fell a bit flat. I had such grand plans and a few of them actually came to fruition but life in my field of work doesn’t heed the spooky season need. But I will say that the bright spots really shown even though I failed at turning them into quirky blog posts. Let me share with you:

  • Spent the night in a couple haunted hotels. While I didn’t bump into a restless specter I did find out that my “sleep number” is 32.
  • Drank at least 100 pumpkin ales and I really have become so fond of these beverages that I might shed a tear when they are off the shelves until next late August.
  • I have seen Halloween 5 at least 5 times and Pet Semetery 2 at least 20. I think AMC has an agreement with the directors of these two movies because that is the only reason they air these abortions so often.
  • We did carve a pumpkin! It was the first time I used those sticker-trace thinks that you buy in the singular Halloween aisle at the grocery store. First time and last time.
  • Bought eight different varieties of pumpkin shaped candy this year. They tasted the same as the originals even though they were pumpkin shaped. Disappointment.
  • Found great new Halloween websites like Freddy In Space, 3-D Monster, and of course the launch of Dinosaur Dracula and Matt’s always amazing ‘Halloween Countdown”. Truly a marvel to be enjoyed by all. 
  • Went to an amazing Halloween party with some of my favorite people in the world. And we watched horrible VHS all night and the commentary is better than any episode of Mystery Science Theatre.
  • Finally was able to send Halloween goodies to Tim and Brian for the “Brain and Tim Show” over at Review the World TV. We got to see Tim eat an entire pack of Goulaid pack sans water. 

So tonight, on Halloween, I am supposed to go to a friend’s house to pass out candy but with a tsunami of work due tomorrow I think tonight will be spent on the couch with laptop on lap, The Great Pumpkin on TV, and a few Snikers down the gullet. It’s an end to the 2012 Halloween season and it wasn’t so bad. I’ll still dress up though.

This year I’m going as an asshole.

The Shining Of The East Coast

I have been walking around my living room jumping up and down and swinging knockout blows in air because for the life of me I can not figure this new Panasonic camera out to download movies to iMovie. Apparently there are a million ways to do it and I am the only guy who believes in magical conversion. I have no patience I guess so until I get the video that I wanted to put on here, I present to you a crappy slideshow with fuzzy pictures from an iPhone of the Grove Park hotel located in Asheville, North Carolina. Enjoy!

It’s the Great Pumpkin Board Game

Recently my parents returned from a long vacation in Italy. Every time they take these trips I get the pleasure of not only hearing about the adventure but they bring me back something nice, no matter how I insist that they do not need so. Regardless, I do like having neat little items from around the globe so I can impress the three visitors I get a year.

This year they brought me back a hand-carved chess set that is so beautiful, I am nervous to even display it. (Visitor #2 is a shifty one. He’s a dog) But when I put it together, I knew it needed to have a permanent spot on the coffee table. And then it dawned on me; I have never learned how to place chess.

Well, not knowing exactly how to play is the first issue. The second is that I am by myself. I did manage to get the gist of the game thanks to YouTube and an animated frog playing a rabbit but I still didn’t quite grasp the game well enough to play myself. It’s a battle of wits, math and the ability to think three moves ahead in an ancient simulated battle between armies and when it comes down to it, I live in America: the inventor of the…


No, I need something a bit more my standard and with the Halloween season well underway, what better time to break out a board game to challenge my multiple personalities. I present to you “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” board game for ages five and up.

Now anyone who knows me or has ever read this blog will know my true love for all things Great Pumpkin. It really is a nostalgic link that I share with my Dad and no matter what is going on in life, when The Great Pumpkin is on ABC that last week of October, I am there. So, it is no mystery why I would choose to review this, rather than battle an imaginary Big Blue over chess. LET THE GAMES BEGIN, BLOCKHEAD!

Alright, let’s see what we gots. There are eight characters which upon closer inspection are really only four because the others are in costume. I’ll cover that in a second. Also there is a stack of cards, a spinner-thing and the board itself. Here are the rules:

“The game is to get your character in costume and be the first to return back to the pumpkin patch to tell Linus he is a retard when the Great Pumpkin doesn’t show up.”

I have to admit, it is a pretty neat looking board. I may just hang this on the wall if I end up beating myself. And looking a little closer I see Snoopy’s brother Spike. It’s nice he paid a visit from his home in Needles, California. Know how I know that? From Dad. I still can’t believe I even remember that detail.

The cards dictate the fate of the characters or at least how quickly they can get in their costume and get back to the pumpkin patch. The various cards are: one invitation to the Halloween party (the mother of all cards and the character goes right into costume), twenty candy (collect five and change to costume), seven quaaludes (to spike the punch at the Halloween party), and seven rocks (draw one and the character surrenders a candy card).

Hrm…apparently the quaalude card is really quarters. You can use this card to either spin again or buy candy from another character. Quaaludes would have been more fun but this is a kids’ game.

And a waaaaaay we go! Spin the wheel around and around, where it lands…nobody…round…I hate rhyming. Anyway, Charlie Brown is in a race with Snoopy, Lucy and Sally to change into costume, trick r treat and be the first to meet Linus back at his most sincere pumpkin patch. Who will win? I don’t know because they are being moved by my alter egos; Phil, Gil,and Jill. I am Bill. And Bill will always root for Charlie.

The first few minutes of the game were a bit frustrating because we all landed on the “move back one space” and drew rocks. Then we all drew candy. It seemed a bit redundant and it occurred to me that Gil never shuffled the deck! I would have but I can’t shuffle. Take a look.

So after that shuffle method of “pick up off the floor” we again resumed play and eventually all players were out of the patch and roaming the neighborhood. For the first time in Charles’ life he drew an invitation card and rocketed to the Trick r Treat spot to change into his holy ghost costume. His luck is changing, says me!

I don’t think I will bore you with play-by-play action of how many spaces Lucy moved or the fact Jill was hiding quarter cards up her sleeve so we will skip to the final few moments.

At this point it really could have been anyone’s game. The path was mined with plenty of “move back 2 spaces” and there were plenty of quarter cards remaining now that I smacked Jill in her cheater mouth. I know it’s not morally right to place money on a child’s game but I raised the stakes with a cool fifty bucks. We were all in except Phil. He was a tad light but we struck a deal for barter and he has to do the winner’s laundry for a week and reenact “Camp Town Ladies” at a random wake.

Oh my god I am the winner! And so is Mr. Brown. It really is refreshing to see him finally get one over on Lucy. Sure it’s no football field goal but when it’s a chance to give Lucy the middle finger, any opportunity is the right one. This one is for you Chuck.

To the victor goes the spoils! Enjoy it Charlie Brown. It has to be better than the crap you got along the trick r treat journey.

This is a great game if for nothing more than to roll around in Halloween nostalgia. Perfect on a Friday game night with kids to teach them how awesome It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is. It’s an important part of American culture and I embrace it every year, if only to relive the thirty minutes some twenty-five years ago with Dad, carving pumpkins and laughing hysterically over Snoopy’s gaff when he howls over Shroeder’s piano. I give it a solid A.


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