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  • Fantasma Pimienta

    2011 - 10.12

    Friday night the Wharf Rat crew didn’t really have much to do. Wiley and Tracy were in Italy, Italianing it up. Buda was out reading in-flight magazines and chattin’ up Stewardi. So Me, Jenn, Brett, Bill, and Anna were left to our own devices. We wanted to do something and get out of the neighborhood for a change, so Jenn suggested that we go to this pizza joint over in Oakhurst called Avellino’s her friends had mentioned to her. “They got this really spicy pizza called the ‘Il Diavolo’ we should try out” she said.

    So we all packed it up in her Jeep and I drove us over there, singing “Alone” at the top of our lungs. Brief aside: I always thought Heart was a decent band, but nothing special till I saw them play in concert a couple years back. Holy shit, they were incredible, minus the little bit of “Lilith Fair” there in the middle of the show.


    Anyways, we get over there to the restaurant and order up some pitchers of beer. We decided the Il Diavolo was a bit too spicy for our collective tastes and settled on some sort of pizza with sausage, bacon, ham, all that, and then some other sort of pizza with these green things on it. I believe they call them vegetables. I don’t believe in them myself, but I’ve heard they’ll keep you regular.

    While we were waiting for the pizzas, a chick comes out and realizes her car has a flat tire, so me and Bill help her change it. I’ve worked in a tire store pretty much my whole life, so this sort of thing is like second nature to me, but it always surprises me just how little people know about their cars. She had no idea where any of the stuff to change the tire was. I found and we managed to get the tire swapped out without the car falling off the jack. A feat unto itself considering we had to kick the wheel to get it to separate from the hub.

    The pizzas came and we devoured them. They were friggin delicious! I highly recommend the joint. Throughout the meal, however, Jenn kept going on and on about these ridiculously hot peppers this place had. Ghost Peppers, they were called. “Whatever.” I thought. “I’ve eaten hot peppers.” Blah blah blah.

    Just to see if Jenn would actually try one, I talked the waitress into bringing us some in a little dish. She obliged, and about 5 minutes later, we were presented with a little dish of what looked like decomposing mice.

    Hot Ass Dead Rats


    I grabbed the one on top, threw it in my mouth, and started chomping. “Holy shit, dude!” seemed to be the general exclamation from the table. Jenn picked one up, smelled it a little, and took a little nibble off the end.

    In the beginning, the biggest issue was that since the peppers were dried, I couldn’t get it to dissolve and go down my gullet. It just sat there while I tried to grind it in my teeth. Then the burning started…

    At first it was manageable, like spicy chicken wings. Then it stepped into the realm of Habanero chicken wings, which I’ve done before. With those at least, your mouth goes numb after a bit and it just becomes an annoyance. Then came a whole new level which I never knew existed.

    The sides of my tongue felt scalded and I swore my tongue was going to swell up far past the real estate limits of my mouth. Then my throat began to burn and on it went right down my chest. I downed the pint of beer I had in front of me, which did absolutely nothing except spread the burning deeper into my innards.

    I began to feel queasy, so I got up and walked outside.  Taking huge gulps of air seemed to be about the only respite I could get from the burning and fortunately, this help me keep from puking it all back up, just for it to burn on the way out.

    When I went back inside, I was relieved to see that Jenn was hating life just as much as I was. The waiter had brought her a pint of whole milk which she was watering down with water. I took the milk in its purest form and drank it down, looking for the bit of relief it might provide.

    After about 20 minutes, the burning returned to tolerable levels and I was able to drive us back home. My stomach, however, was not right for sometime following this incident and neither were my tastebuds. Nothing I ate on Saturday tasted right and even water tasted like those God-forsaken peppers.

    I did a bit of research afterwards to see just exactly what it was I ate and was rewarded with this:

    In 2007, Guinness World Records certified the Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) as the world’s hottest chili pepper, 401.5 times hotter than Tabasco Sauce.

    It was the world’s hottest pepper up until 2010. I feel pretty good about myself right now





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    The House That Time Remembered

    2011 - 09.21

    Dreams are weird-ass things.  I seldom dream (or if I do, I sure don’t remember them). Since I graduated from College roughly six years ago, I’ve had two strings of recurring dreams. The first revolved around me finding out I didn’t take some obscure math class, so my diploma wasn’t valid. I believe that’s a fairly common dream for folks who are newly inducted into the peace of the real world versus the previous 18 years of academia. That recurring dream went away soon enough. It’s the series that followed it that piques my curiosity.

    When I was attending the prestigious Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, GA, I dated a girl that lived in an old frat house right across the street from campus. My apartment was a couple of miles from the campus, so needless to say, I spent the vast majority of my time at her place.

    The fraternity that inhabited the house previously absolutely trashed the place. They kicked down the rails on the porch and put holes in the wall, all the sorts of things you expect a college fraternity to do. The damage was further compounded by the fact that the house was in the historic district and all upgrades had to be approved by the city’s historic commission. Basically, all repairs were really expensive because they had to preserve the vintage nature of the home. For these rental houses, it was easier for the owners to just let them fall down around the tenants.

    I thought the house was awesome. I love old stuff and this house had all these cool little details and sliding pocket doors and all sorts of cool features you just don’t see in homes anymore. It was great for parties and it pretty much was the center focal point of my favorite year of college.

    My girlfriend and her roommates lived there for a year until the new owner threw them out because they were a pain in the ass. A year after that he sold the place and some new owners did it the right way and fixed it up to live in. This is what it look like now:

    View Larger Map

    I always regretted not buying that house when the guy that owned it before it was fixed up sold it.

    Anyways, I had this dream one night a couple of years ago that some friends were living in it and it was even worse shape than it was when my girlfriend did. You could see holes in the floor in the back part of the house where the kitchen was, the second floor had exposed joists everywhere, and the extra bedroom on the second floor had no flooring or walls whatsoever, just framing. The one big difference in the house from the dream versus the real life one was a porch off the the master bedroom. In the dream there was one and it was collapsing. I remember one leg of the porch being too short and someone had stacked bricks underneath it to shore it up.

    There was some premise to the dream outside of the house, but I don’t recall what it was. What seems strange to me is the level of detail I had about the house.

    A short while later I had another dream about the house. In this one, the house had grown, but it was still essentially the same thing. I don’t remember quite as much detail, but the second floor basically had a landing after you went up the stairs and rather than the house being split into four bedrooms on the second floor, it was now split into two, one at the front and one at the rear. Someone I knew was living in the front room (Hence my being invited into the house in the first place. My dreams always tie up loose ends like this.) The rear room was the landlord’s when he was in town.

    In this dream for some reason, Angela, my girlfriend that lived in the house, was with me. We went into the landlord’s room, (which doubled as the guest bedroom when he wasn’t there back in her time) and it was nothing but bare framing like the previous dream. This time, however, it had this weird sort of loft where the the third floor would have been. you had to walk across boards to reach the ladder to the loft much like you’d walk across boards in an unfinished attic.

    As we climbed the stairs/ladder to see what was up there, the loft started swaying and began to collapse. We jumped back down to the boards below as the loft fell to the framing below. I remember very vividly being able to see through holes in the wall on the backside of the house and most of the panes of the windows being broken out. Also the room was way too big for the external dimensions of the house. It’s like the house was growing, but collapsing at the same time.

    It’s important for me to point out that these dreams aren’t scary. They’re really more like an exploration. The house also changes from dream to dream, but I always know that it’s the one in Milledgeville, albeit with in a different location or an added floor, or a porch, etc.

    The next time I dreamed about the house, it was on a hill near a grove of trees. The interior orientation of the house had been changed. It was wider and not so long, front to back, but I still knew it was the house. This was an odd dream. I really think it was two in one. It started out with me “discovering” the house on the hill in a little clearing. It was in rough shape, with the front right corner nearly collapsed. This is the only dream where the front of the house was really damaged, but when I think about how the interior orientation of the house was rotated, this was really the right rear corner of the house, at least internally. Basically, it’s like the inside of the house was rotated clockwise one quarter turn.

    I was with an unknown acquaintance and we ventured inside the house. To the right of the door would have been the dining room area and kitchen had the second floor not collapsed into it. To the left was the living room area that was bare. Beyond that was the stairway. The space above the stairway was open, and a walkway curved around to the upstairs rooms and left a view of the living area. Beyond the stairway there were some additional pantries or rooms or something. I don’t remember opening any of the doors except for a closet in the right rear of the house behind the collapsed portion where I found a pile of blankets and a possum. Surprisingly enough, the possum didn’t startle me in my dream. I just laughed and shut the door on it.

    I can remember this house having a lot of elaborate scrollwork in the wood on the stairway. It also had great hardwood floors in the entryway. But in the living room, the back part of the house, and the upstairs hallway (which I’ll get to in a moment) there was this hideous brown carpeting that looked like it was from the 1970’s, which was probably the last time the house was inhabited.

    We continued up the stairway that curved around the left rear corner of the house. The stairs took a sharp right turn at the wall, but the handrail was curved. I remember thinking that that was really a cool design. At the top of the stairs there was a row of doors to the left presumably leading to bedrooms. I find it odd that the stairs were at the back wall of the downstairs, but once you got to the second floor, there was additional floorspace beyond that point. In these dreams I always seem to be keenly aware of where I am in the house, but the house doesn’t always seem to be constrained within the external dimensions. Perhaps that’s why I always know it’s about the Milledgeville house.

    I can remember walking down the ugly brown carpeting to the top of the stairs and trying to open the first two doors to my left. They were both locked. When I got to the third, it was unlocked, but just an empty closet. The last door on the left side, before the walkway curved to the right and the collapsed portion of the house, was another closet. This one had a ladder in it leading down. My acquaintance and I climbed down the ladder and suddenly I was in a different house. I knew this one as well. It was a civil war era house belonging to some family friends. The dream totally shifted away at this point and went off on some other wild tangent, which is why I say it was really like two dreams in one.

    I have vague memories of another dream of the house where a basement is introduced. The one in Milledgeville never had a basement, just a crawlspace. I can’t remember why we were even down there in the dream and I can’t remember who I was with. I just remember a basement and waking up thinking, “There’s that house dream again.” This was the least vivid, as you can probably tell.

    Last night I dreamed of the house once again. This one was extremely vivid, and since I’m not writing about it months later, I can remember plenty of details. The house seemed to be in a rural area, or at least it was in a large lot with a very wooded backyard. Once again we were in the basement. Portions of the basement were finished and there was an awesome looking man-cave area with a stone fireplace and an old, moldy leather (or likely pleather) couch.

    The majority of the basement was unfinished or just bare framing. I was in the basement with a group of people I knew, although I couldn’t tell you who they were. They weren’t strangers to me in the dream. We were taking down some of the antique fixtures that were in the house, presumably to restore the place. The ceilings were taller than you’d typically expect in the basement of an old house, and I was standing on a step ladder taking a fan off the ceiling.

    I can’t really describe what the fan looked like, but it reminded me of one of those old General Electric fans that you used to see on peoples’ desks with the metal blades and the housing that you can stick your arm through, providing no protection whatsoever. Only this fan was bigger and hanging from the ceiling.

    As I was taking the blades off, I had an electric screwdriver and since this fan was installed before Phillips-head screws were invented, it had flat-head screws. The screwdriver slipped out of the slot several times for each screw.

    We got the rest of the fixtures removed and then there was a guy there to cut the power in the basement. He started by physically cutting the wires going to the fuse box in the basement with a pair of shears. That seemed odd to me, but it worked.

    The dream drifted for a bit and then I was in the back of the house and my Grandmother was there. Evidently, she had purchased the house and was going to have it restored. The back section of the house was once again falling apart, but this time there was mildew all over everything. We were opening closet doors in the basement and removing old clothes and items from the previous owners, none of it newer than the 1970’s. What stood out most in my mind was that the interior doors were all made of hardwood with paneling and all the doorknobs had lion heads inlaid into them. This was also the first dream where something positive has happened to the house; it getting repaired

    I awoke from the dream really excited. This house and the significance of the recurring dream really intrigues me. I’m not much for interpreting dreams, but here’s some common threads throughout the dreams and some thoughts I have about them:

    This recurring dream sequence is trying to tell me something. What that is, I don’t know. Maybe that I’m meant to buy an old house or to be careful of something if I do. It could be any number of things, but the dream is always upbeat or happy, the house isn’t ever haunted and like I mentioned above, even the possum I uncovered didn’t startle me. The dreams excite me, so generally I think it’s a positive.

    The outside of the house is always pretty much the same. I think this is my cue that the dreams are tied together. Once inside the house, the dreams tend to take place in different areas from previous ones. There’s a uniqueness to each one, but they could all be the same house and I’m only seeing certain sections. Perhaps I’m supposed to look for a house with these features or maybe design them into one? Who knows?

    The common thread that baffles me most is the back of the house always falling down. Why the back? Why would that be the part of the house that’s most destroyed? I’m sure there’s some significance there as well as the mold that’s crept into the last episode.

    I really have no idea what all this means, but I look forward to the next chapter of it. They seem to be coming more frequently now so perhaps this is some sort of clue as I get closer and closer to being able to afford my own home. If you’ve got any thoughts on the interpretation of this dream, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.



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    The Whole Milk Diet: Day Eleven and That Tornado Sound

    2011 - 05.26

    Today’s Weight: 127

    I’m still here and I’m still chuggin the milk. I’ve been really busy the past few days and just haven’t felt much like blogging. I was hungover as shit on Saturday, cause me and Amy went all “Hank and Audrey” on Friday night, plus I was playing golf Saturday afternoon, so I didn’t get the whole half gallon down. Then Tuesday, I had to make an emergency drive down to Gainesville, FL  and back  for work(a nice 700 mile romp) and I wasn’t about to drink a half gallon of milk on the highway. I’ve made up for it though, so no harm no foul. There was a pretty hot girl running the desk at the doctor’s office I had to do some work at and I thought about seeing if she wanted to squire me about town that night, but I thought better of it once I remembered it was Gainesville, FL. Honestly, what was she gonna show me? Where Tim Tebow parked his car before practice? Maybe where they let the rainwater gather to harvest the mosquitos? I digress…

    As you can see, I’ve gained 4 pounds, so that’s really a plus. I’ve been continuing to work out and I haven’t really changed the rest of my diet all that much. It took a few days to really adjust to all that dairy, but everything’s going swimmingly now.

    I wish I had something more entertaining to write about, diet wise, but I don’t. I’m gaining some weight and I feel pretty good. Mission is in the process of being accomplished.

    In other, wildly unrelated, news, there was a big thunderstorm today while I was leaving work. It wasn’t raining particularly hard, but the wind was blowing like a [insert whorish metaphor here]. It was one of those moments you’re very familiar with if you’ve ever spent any time in a trailer park. The sky is darker than night under a frying pan and the rain stops and it’s just you and the wind and then, BAM! Your neighbor’s doublewide is gone and you’re on the evening news talking about how it sounded like a freight train. The people in Joplin, MO know what that feels like.

    It’s a weird thing explaining the tornado feeling to those who aren’t familiar, particularly those outside the South. It’s like, “So there’s this big thunderstorm , then things get still and then they get really unstill and the next thing you know there’s a half-mile wide swath cut through your town.” Not at all eloquent, but that’s the best way I can describe my scrapes with tornado-dom. Nothing at all like those folks out in Missouri and the folks in ‘Bama earlier this year. God bless those folks.

    Anyway, my point was that while I was sitting at the traffic light waiting to turn out of the office this evening, it gotta sorta like that. Right about the time the light turned for us to turn left, the wind picked up and ripped a tree next to the road right out of the ground. I mean just snatched it out and laid it on the road. It wasn’t a particularly large tree, but I bet it’d do some significant damage to your car if it fell on it. The woman in the car in front of me was so eat up with, “Holy shit! Did you just see that!?!” she didn’t even bother to move through the entirety of the light. I begrudged her this and didn’t honk the horn because it was pretty scary/cool.

    I made it home more or less unscathed. So no worries. I’m headed up to the lake this weekend or plenty of cooking out and Coors’ Light drinking, but don’t worry, I’ll still pack my milk. See y’all on Monday!

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    The Whole Milk Diet: Day Four

    2011 - 05.19

    Today’s Weight: 125.2

    Today was a good day. My digestive system seems like it’s starting to get used to such a large amount of milk. I didn’t feel nearly as bloated and really didn’t have to put a whole lot of effort into the drinking the milk. There were no ridiculous trips to the bathroom other than having to pee about 27,000 times. I weighed the same amount as yesterday, but that’s to be expected somewhat, as I’m in my weight fluctuation range of 5 lbs. or so.

    I ate a pretty light breakfast of corn flakes in the cafeteria at work, so I was pretty hungry when I got to lunch. I’d bought one of those Lean Cuisine steamer things since I’ve had some good ones in the past at my parents’ house. This one was “sweet and savory barbecue” or something like that, and quite frankly, it tasted like Fancy Feast catfood mixed with reheated rice. I choked down as much of that as I could and grabbed a big chocolate chip cookie from the cafeteria for dessert.

    After work, I went to meet up with my bro and some friends to skateboard. I still hadn’t had a really good meal all day so I was swung by Taco Bell and got some Tacos. This is where I can tell a difference with this Whole Milk Diet. Normally even if I was pretty hungry, I wouldn’t finish all my tacos. I sorta just get tired of eating. Not today. I finished them all up and I swung by QuikTrip on the way home and grabbed a bratwurst. Even as I sit here  writing this I could probably go for something else to eat.

    Working out is also going well. I’ve gotten through all the soreness and I’m starting to see some results. I’ll stress again that I’m not doing anything really ridiculous, just pushups, situps, curls, shrugs, and dips. I guess “toning” sort of exercises.

    I think this weekend will really be an indicator of how this diet is going. I typically eat out more on the weekends, so we’ll see how my appetite is affected. Stay tuned.

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    The Whole Milk Diet: Day Three

    2011 - 05.19

    Today’s Weight: 125.2 lbs.

    Well, today went a lot better. I gained some weight, although I’m within the everyday range that your body fluctuates. I took the half-gallon to work today and that’s definitely the way to go.

    I got to work and drank my usual cup of coffee. After that, I poured up some milk with my sausage biscuit. I drank some more at lunch and then knocked out the rest in the afternoon. I didn’t even have to drink any at home.

    I did my workout and then met up with Buda to go grab some beers. Really the only two things I’ve noticed thus far are that the milk intake doesn’t seem to be lessening an appetite my appetite. I anything, it’s increasing it, which is good. The second thing I’ve noticed that I poop a lot. Maybe that has something to do with the ridiculous number of Coors’ Light I drank yesterday at the Braves game and the pork sandwich I had at Moe’s n Joe’s afterwards. But nonetheless, I had to talk to the lord more than once. We’ll see if that keeps up.

    All in all, I feel better about the experiment today. What doth tomorrow hold?

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