Date Archives January 2012

“Zookeeper! Zookeeper! Those two monkeys are killing each other!”

While on our trip to Ohio, we spent an evening visiting the Columbus Zoo. It was here that I discovered that I am an animal whisperer, as I could call animals to my side from the very back of the cages…or, as predators, they sensed a weak member of the human herd who had lost the will to live. One or the other.

I’m conflicted about zoos. While I like having the opportunity to see some live animals that I assuredly would never see otherwise if zoos did not exist, and some animals (like the rhino) who are poached into extinction in the wild have at least a couple members of their species stagger on in captivity, I also feel sorry for the animals. These are hunters, roamers, animals that were meant to live in packs or herds, penned up into a small area, kept alone or with one or two other members of their species, being fed like pets, surrounded by bars, plexiglass, and screaming children…it sounds miserable. I wouldn’t wish that on my dog and he kept me up all night last night whining and pacing and generally making me want to heave him through the nearest window. There were three elephants in the Columbus Zoo’s elephant room, and what seemed like a small space to begin with was compounded by the fact that there were elephant droppings everywhere: the elephants couldn’t walk without stepping in their own shit. It made me want to cry.

I shoved those tears down inside to save them for the next week when I’d be home and could sob in peace, and instead took some pictures of what you come to this blog to see: more statue-riding.

I can tell you one thing for certain: straddle a metal statue in freezing temperatures and your inner thighs are going to go numb for a while.

“If you could describe this experience in one sentence, what would it be?” “I can do it in a word: Harrowing.”

On Friday, we went to Wing Dome (which used to be a clever play on words on Seattle’s King Dome, but now that it’s gone and so are the Sonics, it’s more like a subtle way to confuse tourists and recent transplants) to celebrate Chris’ birthday. I ate my very first chicken wing, and as with most things that come with dipping sauces, I rather enjoyed it. Chris, who decided to embark on the 7 Wing Challenge, enjoyed his somewhat less.

The 7 Wing Challenge is as such: eat seven of their chicken wings smothered in seven alarm sauce in under seven minutes without using any napkins or drinking any beverage. If you win, you get the wings themselves for free, a t-shirt, and your picture on the wall of fame. If you lose, you have to pay for the wings…but not as much as you’d pay the next morning if you ate all seven. The only thing allowed on the plate at the end of seven minutes are clean bones. Our waiter helpfully added that one of the challenge-takers likened the flavor of the sauce to the devil’s dick. But Chris had just tried the five alarm sauce, and he wasn’t concerned.

He started out strong, but in the end, couldn’t make it past three wings. I don’t blame him–I tried a dot of the sauce on my pinky finger and my mouth exploded in flames while my face went numb. And not only is the sauce hot, there’s an ungodly amount of it ladled over the wings, which seems unfair. If you were to order any of their other wings, there would be only enough sauce on them to coat the surface–this was a chili bowl full of sauce dumped on top. A ten-gallon hat full of sauce.

This was an after picture. An AFTER–there’s so much sauce, you can’t even see that anything has been eaten or disturbed.

Bad form, Wing Dome. Bad form.

And to drink…meatballs.

It’s dinnertime. You’re in Columbus, Ohio. You may have just had a single hour of free time for the first time in a week, and you and your boyfriend decided to use it to get pleasantly hammered after his parents indicated that they might like to move in with you at some point in the future. You’re hungry. Not just regular hungry. Drunk hungry. The sort of hungry that practically compels you to make bad decisions. It’s the perfect time to order the Thurmanator from the Thurman Cafe.

Food challenges always intrigue me. Maybe it has something to do with my inability to eat in front of strangers, or perhaps I just love a good trainwreck, but I adore eating competitions. I could watch the Nathan’s Famous hot dog competition once a month. Many competitive eaters are attractive people with colorful personalities, and I like that, too.

When in a proper mood, I can consume frighteningly large quantities of food, but even drunk hungry, I knew I was no match for the Thurmanator challenge: consume a burger with a pound and a half of ground beef plus ham, sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions, mozzarella, cheddar, and american cheeses, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, banana peppers, pickles, and mayo, including all the fries, in under an hour.

Jason and I split it, and it was still a monster. A MONSTER.

There’s simply no way to get it all in your mouth in a bite, unless you have the capability to unhinge your jaw like a snake, which I have long-suspected some of the IFOCE eaters can do. I cannot, so I ate it piecemeal with a knife and fork which was a new and startling level of decorum for me.

So how did we do?

We each managed to eat our own half of the burger, plus the side, plus an appetizer of fried pickles plus a beverage apiece. Not too shabby, but still not major league eating material. Each time the car hit a bump on the way home, I was fairly certain my stomach would rupture, so if you try this, maybe skip the appetizer. Maybe.

I hereby declare this day to be Snow Day, the funnest day in the history of Springfield!

Western Washington has been deluged with snow, businesses and schools alike are closed, some people have lost power, and the governor has declared a state of emergency.

We made a snowman, little suspecting that we’d have our own snow-based emergency on our hands soon.

Frosty, no!

“The t-rex has been clocked at 35 miles an hour.” “Say again?” “We have a t-rex!”

We recently made the decision that we’d be staying in this house for at least another year, thus revamping my interest in home decor–it doesn’t make sense to pound a bunch of holes in the wall if they’re just going to be more work to fill in a couple of months. But since we now have time and the inclination, we’ve gone on a furniture buying orgy, replacing the dresser with the middle drawer that wouldn’t open and the bottom drawer that wouldn’t shut (I am now going to attempt to fix and finish it in an exciting manner for guest bedroom storage purposes), ordering a new gliding, reclining loveseat couch to replace the couch with the annoying cushions that we hate, getting a new bookcase to store all of the books that have been piling up around the old one (and to prop up the old one and keep it from falling over because it had a “leaning tower” effect going on), purchasing a slightly banged-up demo dining room table for me to strip and finish to my heart’s delight (chairs are next), and one completely frivolous, useless thing.

We were drawn into the store by its assortment of kitschy crap–puma clocks, rattlesnakes poised to strike coiled around treasure chests, blinking jesus pictures–stuff that would be fun to give as gifts so long as you could see the recipient try to make an appreciative, thankful face after opening it.

And then I saw it, and knew it must be mine.

Playing it cool, I asked the shopkeeper if the price listed was his best price for that t-rex up on the wall, you know, whatever, and he knocked off another twenty dollars.

It was mine AND it was a bargain.

We could hardly fit it in the car.

It adds a certain touch of majesty to our home, does it not?

“I don’t know how good you are, darlin’, and I don’t know what it is you’re good at, but if it’s at the Cheetah, it’s not dancing, I know that much. “

Jason got me a giant Alien figure for Christmas–when I say giant, I don’t mean lifesize, but the next best thing at twenty-two inches. It now poledances for my amusement.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll let it help me in the kitchen.