Friday, March 30, 2012

Pizza Roulette

After my recent triumph (well, I think so anyways) over 12 Chili Alarm Chicken Wings, my confifdence was high. So when it was suggested at work that we try Hell Pizza's new 'Pizza Roulette', I was all for it.

What is Pizza Roulette?? Take one standard Hell Pizza with 8 slices and coat one of those slices in an extremely hot sauce. Sit down with your friends and hope that you are not the unlucky one to get the hot slice.

We sat down in the meeting room with the Pizzas and hooked in. Eventually, one of the guys got the hot slice and immediately turned it down. Full of confidence, I took up the challenge.

I took 2 bites. Not even big bites. Probably the equivalent of one normal bite. If the chicken wings that I ate were 12 chili alarm, then this piece of pizza was 35 chili alarm. My mouth was on fire and even my gums were burning. I struggled to breath because every time I breathed out, it felt like flames were shooting out of my mouth. I felt a little nautious and between coughs, had the urge to throw up. It was as if my body knew that there was something terribly wrong in my mouth and wanted to expell it out.

I washed my mouth out a few dozen times, drank a glass of milk, 2 bottles of water and ate anything else that I could find to put out the fire. About 30 mins later, the flames had gone down and all that remained was small burning embers. It was one freaking hot piece of pizza.

After I recovered, I did some research on the sauce that they use for Pizza Roulette. It is made with imported Bhut (Ghost) Jolokia or Naga King chilis. In 2007, Guinness World Records certified the Bhut Jolokia as the world's hottest chili pepper, 401.5 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. No wonder I couldn't handle it. It's the hottest chili known to man.

Pizza Roulette... Great game... Highly recommend you try it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Price of living

Working in the city has meant that I have had a lot more options when it comes to food. There is a plethora of fast food restaurants and cafes nearby that sell the usual high calorie - low nutrition food. Despite this, I tend to find myself at the local IGA Supermarket to stock up on tins of Tuna and Salada crackers. I lie to myself and say that it's 'healthier' than the other stuff I could be eating.

Today, being Friday, I thought I would indulge a little and get one of the prepared sandwhiches that they sell in the Deli section. So I got a ham and salad 'toastie', a ceaser salad and an iced coffee. I would generally consider this to be a relatively 'green' option or at least better than a meat pie and a coke.

When I got to the register, I was shocked to discover the total for these 3 items came to $17.39!!!!!

That is just ridiculous! Why does it cost so much to eat healthy? I can totally understand why people choose to go to McDonalds or other fast food restaurants for lunch everyday. For that amount, I could get almost 3 small meals!!

The best thing is, if I took two steps to the left at the IGA Deli and into the hot box section, I could have gotten 5 steak pies and a can of Coke for the same price! It makes economical sense.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mary Poppins

I don’t like musicals. Songs just drag out something that can be explained in a couple of sentences and end up making movies unnecessarily long. Take the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for example. A movie about an inventor trying to make a flying car ends up being 2.5hr long and you feel like you’re tripping on acid as it slowly stops making sense.

Despite this, I’m still a sucker for the classics and when I was younger, I watched the great hits like The Sound of Music and Grease. So when my wife bought tickets to see the stage show, Mary Poppins, I didn’t argue. I was a little baffled that they had decided to turn the musical, Mary Poppins, into… well… a musical, but I was keen to go.

So last night we headed into QPAC to see the show. I debated what to wear for a while at home and eventually concluded that a trip to the theatre warranted long pants and shoes despite the hot and humid weather. On our arrival, I had immediate remorse cause I’m pretty sure that if a kid can rock up in a full Spiderman costume, I could have worn shorts.

So what is Mary Poppins the musical like when compared to the original Mary Poppins musical? Funnily enough, they are pretty much the same. The story follows the original plot and I guess it is testament to the original movie. It brought back many memories of watching the poorly coloured original movie and answered some age old questions like how to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

What was impressive was the extremely elaborate stage and backdrop designs and how they were flawlessly choreographed in time with the movement on the stage. I have a better appreciation of the time and costs that go into setting up such a show and understand why shows can run for months on end before moving on… I mean, who would want to attempt packing up all that stuff and transporting it interstate!!??

So was it worthy of a standing ovation? Put it this way… I stayed in my seat. Others tried to get me up but I refuse to bend to the pressure. I can’t help but feel that half of the people that stood up only did so because of the pressure of those around them. It’s like being the only person to stay in their seat during a Mexican wave. That, and most of the audience was made up of tired kids that have stayed up way too late on a school night.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Strava Riding

I like to keep track of my rides so that it keeps me honest and I know when I am being lazy. I aim for around 17-20hrs per week, depending on hour busy I am at work and what other 'life' things pop up and get in the way. To do this, I simply upload my files from my bike computer to the web and a handy little iPhone App called 'MyTraining' keeps it all in a simple calendar that I can look at.

Normally, I don't focus too much on the details, just a general overview of my progress or lack of motivation. That was until someone at work introduced me to 'Strava'.

Strava is another iPhone App and website that you can upload your GPS ride files to. However, it turns every ride into a race. People can create 'segments'... small sections of road that you can time yourself on and compare this time against other people. Anywhere that there is the slightest rise in the road that even remotely resembles a hill, guaranteed someone has labelled it as a segment and people are racing to set the best time on it. If you have the fastest time, you get the title of 'King of the Mountain' (KOM) for that segment.

At the start, I told myself that I wouldn't let it get to me. Just ride like I normally would and not take any notice of the people setting KOM's. Then I started to learn where the segments are and saw some of the times being set on them. So now, when I ride on a section of road that I know is a segment, I push a little bit harder.

I have found that even on days when I am supposed to be taking it easy, I sprint up the short hills. I have even done a 'Strava' ride where I sprinted up every hill on a ride, just on the odd chance that it was a segment on Strava and I could set a KOM. Eventually, every bit of road will become a segment on Strava and I will have no choice but to ride hard everywhere. That, or get my bike computer and strap it to a scooter or a car. Judging by some of the times that are on there, I think someone is already doing this.

Get on board at

Friday, March 9, 2012

Join the craze

There seems to be a lot of odd crazes that are catching on lately. For example, when I was 18, if I turned up at a party with a six pack of Strongbow Ciders instead of Beer, I would be mocked. Now, apple cider is all the rage with some pubs even offering it on tap. How did cider get to become classy???

I have also noticed the emergence of the cupcake. There are several dedicated cupcake shops popping up around the place charging up to $5 for a single cupcake. Women, including my wife, love that they are decorated individually with so much attention to detail and a co-worker even has a blog all about cupcakes!

Aren't they just minature cakes? What ever happened to the good old 'slice' of cake? When did this become insufficient? It was simple. It was easy. It was bulk. And it tastes the same! Now, it looks like they spend 10 mins just putting the icing on each cupcake. Why waste so much time on something that I am going to demolish in a couple of seconds? I can fit two cupcakes in my mouth pretty comfortably. Thats a heck of a lot of work for a small amount of enjoyment. An entire cake on the other hand...

There is a cupcake shop across the road from work that I strolled into on Valentine's Day. They said it was their busiest day of the year, distributing cupcakes into the thousands with the most popular being the 'Red Velvet Cupcake'. At $5 a pop, I didn't want to buy one for a small fortune, so today I thought I would whip up a batch. My wife loves baking, so she was easily convinced to 'help' me.

It took me back to when my mum used to bake at home. Hanging around so I could eat the cake mix and lick clean the bowl and beaters. I pretty much did the same thing as my wife went to her happy place and baked up a storm.

The end result... minature cakes. I didn't bother spending a lot of time decorating them. Heck, 3 didn't even make it out of the muffin tray before I ate them. I have a feeling a lot more arent going to make it to the end of the hour.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

12 Chili Alarm Chicken Wings

When it comes to food, I’m a heat pussy. A KFC Zinger is about as spicy as I can handle. This is often a good source of ridicule for my friends who find it hard to believe that someone who is half Philippino can’t handle anything spicy.

I just don’t understand why people put themselves through it. Food is supposed to be enjoyed not endured. To me, there is nothing worse than sitting down to eat a meal when you are sweating up a storm and extremely uncomfortable. It just doesn’t make sense… suffering through a meal.

When I am out for dinner, I use the chili alarm scale on the menu to judge whether or not I could handle a meal. Usually, one chili alarm is the most I can handle. If I’m feeling a bit adventurous, I might order a two chili alarm dish, as long as I can ask them to make it mild. One of the worse things that can happen is when the menu lies. A dish may only be one chili alarm on the menu, but in actual fact it is more like a three or four chili alarm and so I am sitting there mopping up the sweat from my brow with a napkin.

Last night I went for dinner at The Yard Bird Ale House, in the Valley, a restaurant well known for their delicious buffalo chicken wings. When I sat down, I noticed on the blackboard a large skull with a big WARNING above it. The warning read, ‘Our Death Sentence Wings are not for Amateurs!’ This tickled my interest so I consulted the menu. There, under the chicken wings section was Death Sentence Wings with not a one chili alarm, not a two chili alarm, not even a six chili alarm but a TWELVE CHILI ALARM!!

On my scale of hotness, a twelve chili alarm should mean that my head will explode on contact so I couldn’t help but question the rating. The waitress told me that her eyes water when she smells them. I didn’t believe her, so I decided to have one.

When they came out, I smelt them and my face didn’t melt, nor did my eyes water. I grabbed the wing and licked some of the sauce off my finger. It tasted like concentrated peri peri sauce. No biggy. I ate the wing and it wasn’t that hot. Everyone told me too wait for it to kick in, so I did. I’ll admit, it was spicy. My mouth burned for a bit but it was a fire that was easily put out with beer and chips.

Disappointed in the 12 chili alarm rating, I challenged the waitress. She suggested that I take the Death Sentence Wing challenge. Going head to head in the Chicken Wing Champs. When I thought about it, I really don’t think that I could eat six Death Sentence Wings and nothing else. I mean, I did only have one. I asked the waitress what the record was and there on the blackboard was the record set on the 25th Jan, 2012… 39 Death Sentence Wings in one sitting.

I definitely could not do 39. I pretty sure my head would explode if I ate that many. But really, 12 chili alarm is a big call.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Taste of Germany

After living in Munich in Germany for a while last year, there were times when I was missing home a fair bit. Despite having my wife and friends, Ben & Beck there with me, you can't help but miss some of the comforts of home.

Now that I am back in good ol' Brisvegas, the comforts of home that I had been missing have become the usual and mundane again and I find myself thinking back to the adventures I had overseas. So, stopping short of jumping on an aeorplane and making my way back to Germany, what is the next best thing that I could do in Brisbane? I could go to the Bavarian Beer Cafe and pay $20 for a beer that costs less than water in Bavaria itself. Or, I could join the German Club.

I had been to the German Club once before and I wondered if it was anything like the real thing. There was a huge beer hall that everyone sat in together like the dining hall at Hogwart's and people chanted something in German as they waved their beers in the air. We ate HUGE meals of bratwurst, pork belly and lamb shanks while a guy named Andrew dressed in traditional lederhosen sang 'Bad Romance' by Lady Gaga on the keyboard piano. For some reason, I didn't think it was much like the real Bavaria...

When we first got back, my friend Ben went in and signed himself and Beck up as members. A couple of weeks later their membership cards arrived in the mail. Beck, unaware of Ben's activities, opened the envelope and was baffled by her new membership to the German Club. Confused as to how they got her details, she assumed you got free membership if you lived in Germany for a while!!!

This time, we invited some friends to join us for dinner at the German Club during the week. Knowing that it was a week night and a casual event, most of us decided to wear shorts and thongs; typical Aussie summer attire. When we arrived, we discovered that the German Club is just like Germany in one way... they are absolute sticklers for the rules. When the sign says, 'no thongs' they mean it. After a few of us had to make a trip back home to get some more acceptable footware, we made our way inside. We all sat in the big hall and ate way too much meat while drinking beer with names that we couldn't pronounce.

When I think about it, I did have one night in Munich that was similar to the German Club... The night we did a brewery tour and ended up at the Hofbrauhaus eating half a pig and a drinking 3 litres of beer. I can see what they are trying to do, however, I don't recall ever seeing any entertainment quite like Andrew before. Ever.