Troy Pig Out

Stark, seen here, being social

Over the Summer I was lulled into the false sense of belief that the 4th of July would be held during the weekend after the holiday, as has been tradition in my home town as that is the time that most people are able to get extended periods off and can willing spend the day drunk.  This also would have worked out for me as I was planning on spending that time in that location while intoxicated.    What no one told me, or what I came to suspect was Veronica trying to punish me for having a four day weekend, was that the town of Jay just went ahead and had the event without me being present.  If I was a younger man I would probably try to hide my hurt and only totally masculine methods of being upset, but since I have turned into an older and more fragile version of that guy I will openly complain about how disappointing it is that I missed the world’s smallest and most hometown-iest event ever.

Needless to say I was ready to spend the rest of the summer moping and as dejected as Woodstock when Snoopy kicks his tree to get his attention.  That is until, in a sentence that I didn’t think I would ever write, Stark came in to save the day with his suggestion of a local social gathering—with people. The event was entitled Troy Pig Out and also was supposedly the New York State bacon festival (I say supposedly because I have heard that statement used twice more on other City wide events since), it was almost like Santa had gotten my list of ways that he could make up the fourth of July to me and just started checking things at random while his quality control elves were on break—it being summer and all.

I couldn't take a picture of the cotton candy because the lady doing it looked kind of mean, so here is something random instead

I have to say that in my life there have only been a handful of things that I really don’t think the world needs, strange colored ketchup (red is fine, get over yourself), Shepard’s pie (not everything needs to be eating at once and on top of each other), and now thanks to Troy Pig Out I now know that we don’t need bacon covered cotton candy.  My problem with the abomination is several fold, the first is that people need to stop making things that already have a distinctive and memorable taste resemble something else.  We have cotton candy ice cream and bubble gum, which means that people want to go out of their way to experience that instead of the superior taste of, say, vanilla. Of all things in the world that should be a clear sign that it doesn’t need a “bacon infusion” it would be that.  The second is that they don’t even really put bacon on the delicacy, they just sprayed it down with some kind of bacon mist—which while sounding awesome still isn’t putting bacon on it.  Also it made it brown and kind of poop colored, which is kind of a detractor in any food stuff.

My happy place, as seen here

The positives, though, were many and sprawling.  The places that you could buy a pulled pork sandwich outnumbered the places you couldn’t by something stupid like five to one, and the places that weren’t selling it either were trying to put bacon some place it didn’t belong (chocolate) or were surprisingly bacon free drink vendors of happiness.  Considering that most of the meat was salted and heavily pork-filled, and that it was about 110 degrees because the sun hates me, finding the correct drink vendor that would not ask for 1000 dollars for a bottle of water was needed.  Luckily for me there was a man selling an awesome tin cup that he told me I could put an endless supply of homemade sodas into, he would even be so kind as to refill it with ice if I needed it.  I think that I single handedly made sure that place did not turn a profit I drank so much of their soda.  They just left the kegs sitting out there, like I wasn’t going to just stand next to it and drink so much they had to roll me away like Violet Beauregarde.

It is just weird knowing that other people that aren't my dad do this, for fun

The one thing that I have been trying to avoid discussing with my father was that there was a pig roast cook off taking place that day. Since I don’t really know what to call people who compete to be the best rotisserie pig roasters in an area, and I kind of need to to close out the article, I will now refer to them as beard smiths, as it was also clear that you had to have a pretty killer beard if you wanted to cook a pig on a spit.  So the beard smiths set up these stands and would give out a chunk of their art for one ticket, the problem then became the line for the tickets.  Aside from the fact that asking how this convoluted system worked and getting a straight answer was like pulling teeth from a very angry rooster, it was not helped by the fact that the line was –no joke—about a quarter of a mile long at one point.  On top of that issue once the general public was released to the beard smith holding area there was no real system, so it was simply a mob of people attacking and feasting in much the same vein of the island where Pinocchio went when he turned into a donkey and proceeded to haunt my nightmares.  Did I mention that the winner was chosen by the most tickets at the end?  Yeah, so the entire thing was just kind of designed to craft a never ending line that you pay to experience—this is both why I enjoy visiting my parents (my dad’s cooking is better) and why I don’t go to amusement parks (I loathe lines).

Posted in adventure, food, Pig Roast | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Bacon Incident

Never argue with the apron

So in April, on the 20th, Veronica and I had just returned to the apartment after showing my in-laws how one goes about drinking a bottle of whiskey.  To say that we were overwrought would probably have been the Victorian manner of saying that we were very hung over.  It was the kind of state that you enter when the most basic tasks in the world seem to require endless prep.  Getting up and getting a glass of water now involves the contortion of muscles as a step in one’s head instead of, you know, just standing and getting a glass of water.

Then the doorbell rang.  I would like to think that Veronica went to answer it because she was less worse for wear, but the truth is probably that she is just stronger and entirely less lazy about things than I when it feels as if air pressure’s only goal to crush my mind.  When she returned she was the exact opposite of the person who had left dragging her feet.  She was giggling and almost bouncy.  I am pretty sure that in her mind she was singing whatever rendition of “We just got a letter” goes with packages as she was carrying two boxes.

Because one small mountain of bacon isn't enough

From the couch I inquired about what she had. “I. Don’t. Know!” Which is clearly the key words needed to make me stand when I have a massive self-inflicted wound to my soul.  One of the boxes was plain besides the tape that simply said, “Bacon is meat candy,” which should teach us all a lesson about how tape clearly has important thoughts about things.  The other box had the same slogan along with advertising from the site that it had originated from. I started to wonder aloud about who sent it, to which Veronica used the same “I. Don’t. Know!” line, which I believe in hindsight seems to work better than four Excedrin and sleep.

And this wasn't it all

The unboxing project quickly moved to the couch, as I had just relinquished my pity party hiding place. I honestly don’t remember what order things came out in, aside from the fact that each of the two boxes had two pounds of bacon in them—each with some kind of mystic and exotic flavoring to them.  Aside from the bacon, which if the tape is to be believe (and why shouldn’t it be) is meat candy, along with bacon flavored popcorn, tooth picks, floss, lip gloss/balm, seasoning, and toffee type candies.  That list is not what came in the box.  That is what came in the box that was bacon flavored.  That doesn’t include the cook book, T-shirt, or apron.  Also bacon.

Because you NEED Bacon Lip Balm

So I get that it was a gift package, that stuff doesn’t contain pricing as not everyone wants to brag about what they spent on presents (although I will if asked).  What I did not understand was the fact that it said that it was to me and that I was the person that placed the order.  I know that I had consumed a vast trough of barrel aged sacrament the night before, but I think that over-nighting myself bacon would be something that I remembered.  That basically meant that either someone shipped this and wanted us to be confused, possibly planning on it arriving on this very day to produce the most confusion, or this amazing bacon company is terrible at sending gift packages.  I hope the former but suspect the latter.

My first response was to go onto Facebook and openly accuse everyone:

Sorry mom, it felt needed

To which my mother did not respond happily about.  I am sorry mom, but this was a bacon emergency and I needed answers.

Ok, so Facebook was not only useless for this, it made me sad that no one seemed nearly as eager and—really weirdly looking back—very much awake as I was.  This might have been the greatest April Fools’ joke ever played and it seemed that the sender, Veronica and I were the only ones getting it.  Sure it was the 20th, but that would have made it so much funnier.  With no one helping that meant that I would have to resort to talking to people, and worse I would have to do it on the phone.

The first person that I called was my brother, because if anyone was going to troll me with dead animals it was going to be him.  We were raised the same way and he is probably the only person on Earth that really understands steak on the same level that I do.  The moment he picked up I asked if he had sent my wife bacon presents for her birthday. At first he was clearly confused, I explained further and gained “No, but if you want to I will take the credit.”  The one time I don’t want to blame him for something that wasn’t his fault and that is what I get.

Next was Chris Sherry, because it is Chris Sherry.  This is something he would do on account of him being Chris Sherry.  No answer, left a message, moved on.

I have... So many questions

Over about the next half hour I reached out to further and further strange groups of people that it could be, all of them laughed and said something about that being awesome; none of them sent it.  Over time I was growing more confused, who would have gone through the trouble of setting this up?

“It was Chris and Kim,” Veronica blurted as she had contacted Kim via Facebook and managed to get an answer.  This meant that they watched me melt down and slowly start throwing pork styled blame at people for the better part of an hour before she came forward, possibly while laughing the whole time at the success of her master plan.  My brain was like the nut house in Amadeus for almost an hour and Chris decided to not answer his phone.

There is a reason he and I are good friends.

Posted in food, geek | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The New Wife Agro System

I run a video game focused website, aside from this one which is more about every day adventures in a language that my mom can read.  Over the course of time I have talked about the highs and the lows and most facets of games, on that site.  I would love to say that one day I had a stroke of genius and came up with an amazing idea to change all that, but it turns out that one of the fans of my site is a really talented artist.  Naturally the first thing that I did is flood him with the stupidest ideas I could come up with and see what I could get back.  One of those ideas was basing all video game reviews on how angry my wife got at me while playing.

Here is the results:

1. 1star alone

The image of a happy woman.  For the pure sake of argument I should probably point out that Veronica (the woman I married) is never this happy about anything that I do.  Ever.  Based on the joy in her eyes I would go so far as to say this resembles someone else’s wife and not the one that I know and love.  I guess the argument could be made that a game that was given this ranking was so bad I became a better husband because it made me never want to play games ever again and thus the adoring female.

2.When she thinks you are using your cellphone to prove her wrong

In my mind I refer to this one as, “are you trying to prove me wrong on Wikipedia” grade.  This is when one really isn’t that highly involved enough in a game to draw the full aggression, but has just enough that they have noticed us constantly being on a phone or computer. Most of the time cellphone games rank in this area resulting in me not actively taking part in whatever adventure she thinks is happening and she is aware of that, but unsure why.  The above comment about Wikipedia was from one such advent where I simply agreed and allowed things to drop instead of letting on that I wasn’t even listening in the first place.

3.3star alone

This is where I think my wife is most of her life, why she continues to love me is anyone’s guess (I like to believe that she constantly uses the wrong dosage on the poison and I have simply built up a resistance.).  With my buying and playing habits of games it is enough that it annoys her that I am using the TV instead of letting her watch Downton Abbey or something equally not video games.  Generally I get this face a ton with the “just a couple more minutes” line while attempting to blow her off and play a game instead of paying attention.  Please notice the hint of sadness in her eyes as she has realized that, on some level, this is a little her fault too.

4.4star alone

This is the kind or reaction that a game should get from my wife.  See the seething rage?  See how she is about to start bringing up my short comings and stupid things that I did just weeks after we met?  This is the game that completely reducing my marriage to my wife being infuriated at me for completely avoiding basic attempts at human contact.  This isn’t a divorce or attempted murder, because I think that she still thinks there is hopes of “fixing” things.  This is the moment that she has decided to stop being nice, but also knows that she can still break the game disc if needed.

5.5star alone

The things that were said about number 4 no longer apply.  I am either going to be murdered in my sleep or very publicly as she calls her friends over to watch the terrible and horrible things that she does to my once life filled body.  It doesn’t matter, a game that ranks at level five means that I won’t even leave the front of the television during the assault.  When the police come to question her she will get off on the technicality that the jails have become over run with women who did the same thing and they simply can’t be bothered with it anymore.

Posted in Games, geek | Tagged | 2 Comments

My Brother Shops for Beer

Choose wisely, for the wrong choice... Still gets you drunk?

I hate shopping.  If you were to ask my wife what is the worst three things in the world to do with me she would probably name every imaginable form of shopping while continually tell you to simply not do that.  For me it would seem that this condition is well known, as Veronica has a habit of telling everyone how much of a jerk I become, although it seems that some people haven’t gotten the message as some of them continue to ask me to entertain them while they browse.  It seems odd, but spending time with me—regardless of situation—just seems like a pretty terrible time.

This occasion, though, the request was presented by my brother who was only briefly in town; my guess being that he wanted the most condensed me experience possible poorly decided to take me shopping at a beer store so he could experience both my emotions, anger and drunk.  In his defense he had been told by a trusted source that this was one of the seven wonders of the drinking world, so he might have been willing to risk the annoyance just to have someone that he could throw in the way of getting mugged instead of simply wanting to spend time with me.  Saying that now explains a lot.  I am way slower runner than he is now…

Mmmmm... Forbidden beer...

I might be showing my terrible ignorance at the entire “good beer” market that exists in the world, but I have to say that this was the first time that I have ever been to a place that sells cartoonishly oversized drinking jugs that one can fill up with beer on location.  I am sure that there plenty of logical reasons that you would want to drink something directly from a tap instead of a bottle version of it, as even in my less then expansive drinking back story I can notice a flavor difference in the two, that point given I am totally positive there at the very least the people that work there have to shoo someone away from the taps who is openly guzzling from them in much the same way Homer Simpson would.  I am also pretty sure that person would be me if I ever went back.

Maine Represent!

Besides the temptation to put my mouth directly below the tap and drink, in much the same wave of temptation that I imagine anyone who works with a soft serve ice cream machine feels, they did have some really awesome organization going throughout.  Most places have no form of rhyme or reason for placement aside from either “cheap or not cheap” or my favorite and commonly used “there was a space here”; that is nowhere good enough for the Shangri-La of drunkards.  Imported beers were listed by nationality, from dark to light, although all I really saw was the price below listing how many hundreds of dollars some of them cost per case—because it is always good to know where you should go when you have a monocle and are confused on how to impress strangers.

Yes, I want them all

Pretty much the worst part of any shopping experience is paying for things, this is normally compounded when I am not the one purchasing said items and have to avoid the urge to simply stop pretending to be interested in consumerism and simply wait in the car—Veronica says this is rude and obnoxious. Oddly the playground of beer kept me interested, at the very least briefly, by the amount of containers they had for purchase next to the register.  As previous updates have noted I am a huge fan of drinking beer out of large vats of things, as it reduces amount of trips needed to achieve the desired goal.  It was almost like someone knew that I was going to be shopping here and decided that I needed something to distract me while the grownups did their business.  This is how I imagine that my wife feels in most everyday situations.

Posted in adventure, Family | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Ten Years with Veronica

This is what love looks like to a male college student

Ten years ago two of my friends, Jason Connors and Justin Buck (two people that I only became friends with recently before this  after I forced my way into their room, declaring that I also liked video games and anime, and we should be best friends always), noticed that I clearly did not do well being single and invited me over to their dorm room to watch a movie.  Little did I know that they also invited one of the most attractive, wonderful, and witty people I had ever met as well.  After doing my best to flirt with her for the next couple of weeks she sent me a rose box filled with beer.  I asked her to go out with me.

About a week later she pointed out that I had asked her out on Valentine’s Day, a fact that until that moment I was not aware of.  In my defense I was male and in college.  In her defense, mainly of my bad timing, she was a florist and would forever know the day that we started dating as her busiest day of the year. Oddly as time passed she found her way back to flowers and managed to make it an even busier event for herself.  Clearly the past will not let me catch a break on my terrible timing.

AKA "Meals for lonely single men"

Later that night, in an effort to ask her out and win her over, I offered to make her dinner out of something referred to as “meal in a box”, something that I was impressed with making and have since been knocked for it being simple enough that children are able to do it.  Veronica has long since called this the only time that I have cooked for her, which for the record is not true.  Today she told me something that might explain her selective memory on this, mainly that chicken and dumplings—the first meal I cooked—is her favorite thing ever, aside from anything my father cooks.  Interesting that I am finding out just how smooth and cool past Dan was.  I guess that is good because I mainly blame that guy for being a jerk.

In the last ten years we have changed a little, she thinks it is sexy when I do a quick load of laundry and I REALLY enjoy naps (ok, that one is the same), but I would like to think that I love her more today than any time that I did in college.

Posted in adventure, food | Tagged , , | 5 Comments