Thursday, May 28, 2009


Sorry, lost track of time again.

I was busy watching the new Star Trek movie. For a month and a half. Honest.

Oh well, it's time to go back at it, with what's quite possibly my strangest idea yet! Okay, perhaps it's impossible to be stranger than the train trip one, or the Nerd RPG, but damn it, I'm going to try!

It struck me one day at the gym, while I was waiting for the shower to heat up (I swear, it takes about a full minute to go from ice cold to 'sorta cold'), when I realized how much effort I give each day, just to feel comfortable.

I'm not talking about avoiding significant pain, injury or misery, I'm just talking about those little annoyances and inconveniences that I refuse to live with, or deal with directly.

Why am I spending so much time recoiling away from it? Why not embrace it, just to see how bad it really is?

So I stepped into the shower while it was still ice cold.

ICE cold.

I cannot overemphasize the COLDNESS of the water. The fact I had just finished working out, driving my body heat up, turned the gym shower into a miniature sauna. It was all I could do not to scream, and get the authorities involved.

I tried again the next day, this time in my own home, where I'm free to scream like a little girl as I please. Once more the next day, and I confirmed my suspicions...

It sucks.

Hot water RULES! There's no doubt about it, and I don't plan to voluntarily take a cold shower again...still, it wasn't the nightmarish scenario that sitcoms and commercials want us to believe.

It was at that moment, that I realized the first challenge was done.


Perhaps it was the ice cold water freezing highly necessary regions of my brain, but I decided to make an official personal challenge out of it all. It was time to stop avoiding unpleasantness, just for the sake of knowing that 'yes, I've done that, and it sucks'.

Now, this isn't an over macho test of fortitude or will. No, none of these tasks are meant to be a measure of anything, except perhaps stupidity, insanity, or (hopefully I fall into this category) open mindedness.

I won't be doing anything obviously dangerous or illegal here, and it can't be anything that I'd do anyway. Some of them might not seem like a big deal to you, but trust me, it's downright terrible to me.

On a side note, my sister Amber seems a bit suspiciously 'eager' to help me think up challenges. I guess that's what I get for asking my little sister to help come up with unpleasant things for me to do.

How high will it go? Who knows? Let's just get on with it!


Every once and a while, I'm asked a question about plants, or agriculture. Hey, I work at a garden supply store/wholesaler, it happens. Of course, what not everyone knows is that I'm the computer geek at a garden supply store.

My usual reply to plant/gardening questions is as follows:

"If you show me the plant in question, I will promises here...probably be able to tell you if it's real or fake. Maybe."

I know NOTHING about plants. Literally NOTHING.

Oh sure, I know the basics, but when someone actually says the word 'photosynthesis', my mind envisions the plant making food from sunlight with miniature cartoony gears, and helpful elves. The science behind agriculture merely baffles me.

So it was time to force myself to sit down and read about it.

I checked out a basic book on agriculture, and was surprised with what I found. I won't bore you with all the details, but plants are seriously twisted life forms.

For example, although plants absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide through their leaves, they eat and drink through their roots. I know it might not seem weird to you, but the thought of plants actually 'eating' through their roots makes them seem more like an awesome Spore creature than anything else.

I learned why crop rotation is important, and how the loss of fossil fuels is going to make feeding everyone a lot more difficult, since you need it to make most commercial fertilizer that isn't waste based. I'd be lying if I said it was an exciting read, but honestly, it wasn't nearly as boring as I imagines. Hopefully all the challenges will be this easy.


God damn you, Amber.

Okay, it's not fair if I went to a Buffet I was already familiar with. No, this has to be an unknown buffet, filled with mystery, danger, and nearly unlimited lukewarm food.

I settled on a Chinese Buffet near the Monmouth mall. Amber dives into the crab legs like a wolf among lambs, leaving me to sample...well, everything. To make this physically possible, I decided to only take a little bit from each item, and to skip the basic 'filler' items that every restaurant has, like rice, soup, salad, fruit, and generic non-Asian desserts.

My first plate was a collection of assorted sea food and deep fried chicken. All in all, it was fairly innocuous, with nothing really being that bad or good. The second plate was where things started to go wrong. There was more seafood and main courses, but everything was overcooked, lukewarm, and drowned in sauce.

How the hell can something be overcooked and lukewarm?! Honestly!

I decided to take a break from the generic bland stuff and went for the dessert table. An absolutely delicious crab rangoon set me up for the following dish: a red bean dumpling.

This dumpling was nothing short of an atrocity. If possible, I would've called UN sanctions against this dumpling. The insides were burnt and terrible in ways I can hardly describe. During any normal day I would've passed over this questionable 'delight', but no, this was a challenge.

I swear to God, it's the closest I've ever come to actually eating a shit sandwich.

I tried to fight the taste off with sushi, but this wasn't normal sushi. Oh no, this was buffet sushi, which used crab spelled with a 'K', that arrived in tubs from Wisconsin. It wasn't all 'bad' per se, but my stomach was beginning to feel like something was seriously out of control, and the magical stomach elves that help digest food(if my knowledge of human anatomy is correct) all went on strike, leaving me to my fate.

That fate was the raw seafood table.

Now there's an important difference between sushi and raw fish. If these creatures had eyes, they'd be staring at me. With some reluctance, I filled my plate with the last of the food the buffet had to offer.

If I ever figure out how to move pictures from my cell phone to the internet, I'll post the picture of the food that nearly claimed my life.

First up was a clam. I wasn't sure if it was truly raw or merely steamed and then chilled, but besides being rubbery, it wasn't so bad.

Next up was the miniature octopus, with all the tentacles and everything. By this time, my stomach elves were not only on strike, but also chanting 'union' and burning the factory down. I decided to just take a bite of the head. It was really salty, and reminded me of escargot (I've only eaten it once, and it tastes exactly like you'd expect: salty slugs).

The raw oyster was all that was left. The wobbly...disfigured...bizarre looking oyster. After taking a moment brace myself, and a few cheers from Amber, my own personal sadist, I swallowed it whole, in one go.

It felt like I just inhaled a snort of seawater. Besides the spray of salty air, I could also feel the damn oyster wobbling its way down towards my stomach. That'll teach those damn elves. Get back to work! No breaks!

My only distraction from my experience was the 'date' happening at the table next to ours. If you ever wondered who would set up a date at a Chinese Buffet, I saw her. She was the kind of woman who's idea of 'dressing up for the date' was wearing the sort of clothes we wear on any normal given day. She even brought a bottle of wine. To a Chinese Buffet. Classy.

Her date was equally sketchy, and as they attempted mid 40's desperation filled 'small talk', I took it as the best time to leave. I can only pray that the next challenge is a little easier.


God damn it.