Friday, November 30, 2012

dead weight

Since John is doing Arrowhead with me I'll be sporting a pair of viking horns on my helmet.  It could be worse:
does this helmet make my butt look big?
Yesterday I went out for a ride - and except for an unplanned and unwanted stop (see first picture below) I rode for the better part of 4 hours.  OK, I did take a few quick breaks mainly to look at the map and try and figure out where in the hell I was.

For the most part the ATV trail I rode part of the ride on was pretty much untracked except for some animal tracks in spots and also the tracks of some jackass who drove a truck down the trail.  And, of course, I left a set of tracks almost sure to confuse the majority of trail users.

If it doesn't burn gas and say VROOM I don't know what to make of it.  Pert near a mystifactory.  

I've never been all that clean of a guy.  I can't ever remember cleaning my room and having it stay that way for more than about 15 minutes.  So in some ways it's satisfying for me to ride across and blank slate of fresh snow.
It's like a fresh silken handkerchief is lain out before me waiting for the sneeze of my tires.  Or whatever.  I'm not feeling particularly funny at the moment.

And of course the depth of the untracked snow can either enhance the fun factor (as in the above picture) or detract from it:

When the snow is deep enough and hard packed enough to support your bike as you walk away and take a picture then it's time to stop riding.  Guess who didn't.  This guy (me):
I can just feel myself getting dumber the longer I look at this picture.
Well, truth be told, I did stop riding in that deep snow.  Not because I didn't want to, because I couldn't.  I walked while I pushed my bike to a spot where the snow wasn't so deep.  It's a rare time when you can't even push (or carry) your bike.  And of course it varies from person to person on when to say when.  But it does happen.  I must admit that I get pretty frustrated when I have to push.  Not that I won't do it - heaven knows I have done my share of that - it's just that well, I like to ride my bike not push the damn thing.  By far the most frustrating thing is riding in snow that is just barely ridable where you can go from a wobbly, effortful ride to pushing, think the snow is firm enough to maybe try riding so you swing your leg over your top tube and your wheel just spins in the soft snow.  Swing your leg off your bike.  Push.  Try again.  Nope, still too soft.  Push. Try again.  Actually get going but it's so slow and wobbly and takes so much energy that you're better off walking.  Push some more.   Think of a stop-and-go traffic jam.  Are we having fun yet?

What you can't see is that there is not only the snow (8" of the stuff) but a layer of frozen rain under it.  It was a hoot.  Yeah right, it sucked plain and simple.  Everybody quit this race.  It was a push-your-bike-until-you-quit race where the guy who rode/pushed farthest before he quit won.  Whoof - it's giving me heeby-jeebies just to think about it. 

In other news: A Surly Pugley fully built up weighs about 38 lbs.  Add another 25 pounds of gear on top of that and you get a rig that weighs a few pounds shy of 65 lbs.  I weight about 165 pounds.  And let's say that I wear 10 pounds of clothing for a winter ride.  That's a grand total of 240 pounds (which is an estimate, I've never weighed it to be sure).  I will obviously try to minimize the weight I carry - things have a way of adding up over 135 miles.  But a fat-bike is necessarily heavy.  I weighed just my rear wheel a while back and the wheel alone weighed almost 10 pounds.  Ugh.  Even the Salsa Beargrease weighs in at around 28 pounds - quite a bruiser for a full-on race bike.  There's just simply alot of rubber - and worse yet that rubber is rotating weight.  Anyway, I'm trying to think of ways to lighten my bike/rider total weight.  The rider weight isn't going to change much.  I've been at the same weight since high school almost 15 year ago.  I've been trying to think of how I could save a half pound here, 4 ounces there, a full pound somewhere else.  But 1) each little drop in weight comes at an expense (unless I just totally omit something.  Some things are required gear and I can't omit them anyway; and others are a safety issue and omitting them could mean bad news); for example I could buy a new -20 down sleeping bag - but a new bag costs hundreds - but the synthetic one I have now - though heavy - works fine.  I suppose that I could give up my thick sleeping pad up and go with a thinner one and save a half a pound - and hope to god that I don't have to use it.  And 2)  Say I was able to drop a pound here, four ounces there and a half a pound somewhere else - that's 1.75 pounds.  That's pretty decent.  But that 1.75 pounds is less than 1% of my total weight (.73% or 1.75/240) or 2.7% of by bike weight.  I can't really justify spending hundreds to drop a percent or two off of my overall weight.  My strategy is to carry what I need and not anything else (although it's impossible to be able to totally predict what you'll need when temps could range 70+ degrees (as they did at Arrowhead between '11 and '12)  lighten things as much as I reasonably can - and don't worry about it.

Maybe I can drop a bit of brain-weight by just staring at that picture for a while.

Monday, November 26, 2012

First (real) Snow

It snowed for real last night.  Or maybe I should say that we came back from our Thanksgiving visit to my 'rents in southern Wisconsin last night and things were white.  Don't know exactly when it snowed - just that it was snowy when we got here.

Now after that annoyingly accurate depiction of our weather I'll continue with the rest of this blog entry.

As you can see from the above picture I'm not too in to cleaning my bike.  And I've convinced myself that this is fine - that it doesn't really affect anything.  I can definitely see how getting grit and grime in the moving parts wears 'em out.  And I actually clean that stuff fairly regularly.  But if I'm out for a ride and go through a puddle and splash mud up on my rim or frame I really don't care.  I've got better things to do than be OCD about the cleanliness of my bike.  Like take a nap, watch grass grow, paint dry, or the fur grow on Jenny's rabbits.

I went to youtube to search for a funny video about "cleanliness is next to Godliness" and found this video which has a promising title and starts off decent.  But most of the video just consists of a couple of cats laying there.  What possesses someone to take a video like this and think they have something good and then go to the trouble of posting it on YouTube?  Maybe it's supposed to be ironically funny because its so bad.  I bet that almost all of the 127 hits they've had have been people like me who watch and it and then keep watching it because, well, something has to happen, right?  It's kinda like if someone just watched the end of Monty Python and Quest for the Holy Grail without having seen the first hour and a half of the movie. Reminds me of this.

If you look closely you can see that he's running an Endomorph on the front as well - this was in '09 when there was no choice.

The above 3 photos were taken by Mike Curiak during the '09 version of Arrowhead which I participated in although my tracks were made by a 2.4" WTB Motoraptor.

I've been noticing recently, especially with the advent of all the new tires available for fatbikes nowadays, that I get kind of a warm fuzzy feeling when I see an Endomorph tire track.  (In case you don't know and Endomorph is the original production fatbike tire)  Everyone who has ridden fatbikes for very long has either ridden them or seen them being ridden.  When I got the bike it came with a Larry up front and an Endomorph in the back.  I frankly don't know if other tires are better.  Haven't tried any.  Have never seen a need to.  I'm sure that it depends on the conditions you're riding in and your riding style.  I'm not a particularly aggressive rider and so don't push things hard enough (in corners or up a steep hill) that a more aggressive tire would make much of a difference.  And I'm not ashamed to have to walk up a steep hill.  If I push hard enough to make an Endomorph spin out then 1) I'm probably riding something so steep that it's almost as fast to walk and 2) feel pretty good about my fitness - it's no small feat to push an fat tire so hard it spins out. 

Did you know that there is actually a bamboo fatbike?  They claim that the one in this video is.  Of course I know that bamboo can be fashioned into perfectly good bike frames.  And or course bamboo is a renewable resource.  And a bike made from it is kinda an art form.  I get that.  But when a well-made steel framed bike is perfectly serviceable, relatively cheap, strong, durable, and also an art form it doesn't really make too much sense.  I understand the need to use sustainable alternatives in almost everything.  But I don't think the priority right now should be to develop an alternative to steel (or aluminum or titanium or whatever) it should be to use the steel (or aluminum.  I'm not aware of any piles of scrap titanium lying around but I'm guessing that's because I don't have the inside line on the world titanium market) we have laying around - and we have plenty of it to supply our need for new bike frames for some time.  And now that I've gone on the record saying that bamboo bike frames don't make sense Arrowhead 2013 will probably be won by someone on a bamboo frame.

And I can hear claims about bamboo's strength, even see videos such as this one.  But a real world test of bike strength should go something like this.  I'm not a big fan of carbon bikes (such as the one in the video I just linked to) not because they're no strong or light or fast or anything.  The main reason I like the video is because it's cool as hell.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

First Snow

OK, so it was barely a dusting - but still the post title is technically correct in a kind of sneaky lawyer way.

I rode down into this valley because the drifts up top were just getting too deep.

Well we did get some snow so it's not total bullshit.  Kinda gets you thinking about what it means for it to snow.  If I lived in Equatorial Guinea I'm pretty sure that even a dusting would be insane.  But in northern Wisconsin it is probably something like 95% bullshit.  

All this talk of snow falling where you kinda don't expect it reminds me of this: the picture of my brother skiing at his house in Atlanta, GA a few years back.  His neighbors thought he was crazy.

Well, I went for a ride the other day.  Most of the riding I've been doing lately has been on ATV trails.  There's deep sand on parts of them.  And plus most of the ATV trails around here will be snowmobile trails this winter - so I'll be a little less likely to get lost.  But maybe that's just part of the adventure.  

Even around here I'm known in some circles as "that crazy biker guy."  And I don't mind that.  There's really no point to trying to deny it.  Roll with the punches.

Speaking of the words "crazy" and "roll with the punches" gives you boxing.  You think riding 135 miles is nuts then try getting in a ring and try to punch another guy so hard and/or so often that he can't stand or even get up.  All while he's doing the same to you.  Yee haw!

Speaking of cyclocross (which, of course, nobody was) here's a video of the start of a race.  I must say that I'm by and large solidly mediocre at racing my bike.  I have done exactly one cyclocross race where I finished just before being lapped.  Like I said I'm kinda bad at most anybike racing I do but short, intense races (like a cyclocross race) are worse.  Although I almost never do all that well, the longer the race the better the chances that I'll suck less.  Don't get me wrong, cyclocross is really cool.  But in my book races like Arrowhead and the Iditarod Trail Invitational and White Mountains 100 and Yukon Arctic Ultra take the cake. Personal preference. 

The moral of the story told by the elevation profile of the race is:  you will be smitten.  Or smote.  One of the two.  Well for me during the '09 race I was unquestionable smote.  Especially in segment 2 (between Gateway and Melgeorges, a section that seemed to go on and on and on until I finally pulled in to Melgeorge's at a little after 4 am [or 11:30 after I left Gateway - I don't wanna do the math to figure out my average speed]), segment 4 was pretty bad too.  This was back in the  good ol' days that checkpoint 3 was the Tipi of Despair and was set on the top of the exposed Wakemup Hill and didn't even have water (the good ol' days kinda sucked).  I had carelessly let my Camelbak hose freeze up and had no water in those last 25 miles.  I ate snow.  It was an interesting experience.  Anyway, once the race was over and once I had quenched my thirst, hunger, and need for sleep, as I thought back on the race I became more and more smitten.  Not quite ready to actually race it again, I went back in '10 to photograph the race (see the pics I took) and was smitten the rest of the way again.  I went back in '11 (when I started this blog.  The blog covers training as well as the race but you read part 1 and hopefully after reading that you'll want to read part 2)(by the way, if you want to read what I wrote about the '09 race, click here.)   Perhaps what caused me to be smitten was being out there taking pictures like this:

I was almost drooling I was so jealous of the guys/gals in the race.  I wanted to be doing it so bad.  Snow conditions were nice and hard, temps were about perfect (I can't remember exactly but it was something like -5 at this point).  Oh, in case you're wondering, this is the leaders about a mile after crossing Hwy 53 maybe 19 miles into the race.

Now I'm definitely smitten.  But don't ask me if  I'm smitten or smote this year until after I've had a meal and have slept at the finish (assuming I make it that far).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

better late...

Nothing exciting to report on the riding front.  I rode to town and back yesterday - which is about a twenty mile trip.  Whoopee.  And it's all flat too - rail-trail.  Boring.  But it saved having to take the truck in and putting miles on it and burning up gas....

One thing I got when I went to town was a computer for my bike.  Although its far from fancy it is still the fanciest bike computer I have ever owned.  Current speed, average speed, max. speed, pacer (tells you whether your current speed is higher or lower than your average), clock, odometer, ride time and (the one that I haven't ever had before and could prove interesting) temperature.  Yipee, now I can quantify my suckiness.  

My plan is that since John and I are going to be doing it together and aren't going to be able to ride together (except at Christmas when we go for a visit) that it might be a good idea to compare riding times and distances.  This is so we can shoot reasonably similar paces and one of us (probably me considering how much John has been riding and how much I haven't) isn't way behind the whole time.  He might say that he's older and has pretty much no experience actually riding in a race like Arrowhead.  Bullroar.  He and I rode together this summer and he kept right up.  And plus I've been smoked both years that I've done it by the 60 something Lindsay Gauld.  (In case you don't remember who John is he's Jenny's dad, my future father-in-law who, by doing the race has obliged me to wear viking horns)

I was going through my old posts and my brother commented on the one where I posted my write-up of my experiences in the '09 Arrowhead.  He asked if I had written anything about my experiences in the '04 Susitna 100.  Well better late than never I guess.  I stumbled across it in the computer today, so, very belatedly, here's a reply to Jedd's comment:

Keep in mind that this was written while I was going out with someone else then.  Jenny is who I'm with now (and will be marrying in less than a year!).  Jess (my now-ex) and I did it together.  (though I should set aside my ego and tell you that, as you'll read below, she had to slow down a bit to let me keep up.  She's had a good race and finished second.)  BTW if you want to see the full results from this race go here.  Anyway, here's my writeup of the '04 Susitna 100:

We had rented a vehicle to take down to Anchorage
because we weren’t sure our car would make it. We’d
put so much time and energy into this race that we
wanted to get to the starting line! So Jess had
reserved a mini-van for us to take. Well, Jess called
to confirm our reservation and found out that they had
rented all the mini-vans out and we were stuck with a
Ford Excursion. Not cool. So we had to drive a
strange, very large vehicle all the way to Anchorage,
which had some very low points (one of which was at
the gas pump).

So we got to Anchorage and went to the pre-race
meeting (this was all happening thurs.) and gear
check. Gear check went smoothly except my headlamp
had somehow been switched on at some point. Since it
was impossible to tell how long it had been on (it was
on inside my duffle bag) I had to take an extra set of
batteries. Required gear: -20 sleeping bags, stove,
8oz. fuel, sleeping pad, tent or bivy sack, fire
starter (we took lighters), flashlight or headlamp,
3000 calories of food (we took butter and some sort of
breakfast grain stuff). We also took other food but
the rules state that you have to leave the last
checkpoint with 3000 calories of food and we found
that butter had a lot a calories and was light
(vegetable oil is lighter but can you imagine the mess
it could make?). Ditto with the grain stuff.

The forecast for the race was not good, especially for
us coming from Fairbanks where we had been riding in
below zero temps for three months. The forecast
called for highs in the 30’s and possibly some precip.
It didn’t call for temps dropping down to zero at
night (more on this later). Sure enough, we pulled up
the starting line and it was snowing hard. It was a
wet heavy snow too. We checked in and got our gear
ready (most of the gear readying had taken place the
previous day) and made use of the port-a-potty which
is all customary pre-race activity. The start was
very non-exciting. Everyone lined up willy-nilly and
they counted down and started. The reason it was so
boring (or would be for a spectator) was because
everyone knew they had 100 miles to go and were
starting slowly.

Big Lake to Flathorn Lake: 25 miles
The race started on an ice road going across a lake
(Big Lake). The ice was glare ice with a small amount
to wet snow on top of it so it was very slippery (and
I crashed 3 times before I decided that I didn’t care
if it was faster to ride on the ice, I was going to
ride off to the side in the packed down snow so I
didn’t fall and break my [insert any bone here] which
would finish my race almost before it started). The
race continued across Big Lake for a couple of miles
before moving onto another couple of lakes. Luckily
these lakes weren’t so damn slippery and I was able to
ride them with little fear of death. By now it was so
warm it was raining and I was overheating. Even worse
than me overheating were the trails overheating which
were soft and getting softer all the time which made
it hard to ride and at times riding was impossible.
Immeditely after riding across the lake we rode
through a swamp for a while and then twisted through
an upland wooded section then it was back into the
swamp the upland along a seismic line (long, wide,
straight path cut by a bulldozer) which were full of
moguls from snowmachines. This was a long haul to the
first checkpoint. At one point I had to push through
miles of trails in a swamp that were too soft to be
ridable. Obviously I would bore you if I tried to
recount the whole distance. Suffice it to say that
the transition from biking to running (or walking) was
VERY frustrating. It was here, also, that I had my
nearest near death experience. I almost choked on a
candy bar while running through a swamp. It took four
hours and 15 minutes to get to the first checkpoint.
I was expecting it to take a little more than two.

Flathorn Lake to EagleSong Lodge: 21 miles
More of the same. A lot of pushing through soft snow.
After we crossed the Susitna River the trail is along
the old Iditarod Trail (it’s so twisty and tight that
the mushers complained and their trail was diverted to
the Yentna River, which we would be on later) and
would have been a helluva lot of fun if we had been
able to ride our bikes for any appreciable amount to
time. But we couldn’t. It was here that skiers
started to pass the bikers (when you have to push a
bike through soft snow you become a lot slower than a
skier). I thought that I was never going to get to
the next checkpoint. When I finally got there I met
up with Jess (she was kicking ass and was 3 or 4
minutes ahead of me) and we decided to ride together
the rest of the race since we were going almost the
exact same speed. After staying there (Jess ate half
of a cheesecake that she had been carrying here, ha
ha, that was funny) for 15 or 20 minutes we left. As
it happened we were starting the worst part of the
trail and it was almost dark but we didn’t know that
yet. Actually we though it was going to be good since
the trails had been firming up since sunset (cooler
EagleSong Lodge to Luce’s Lodge: 9 miles
Except about ½ mile we had to push the whole way to
Luce’s. The snow was too soft to even think of
riding. It had been (and still was, at this point) so
warm that I would overheat even if I was just wearing
an earband so I was bareheaded. Along this stretch we
were passed by four skiers and one biker who was
pushing faster than us. Most of the time we pushed
with our headlamps off, which was lucky (more on this
later). At one point after we had been pushing for
well over 2 hours we met some snowmachiners that were
roving the course to make sure all the racers were all
right. We talked to them a bit and asked how far it
was to Luce’s. They said “four miles” we smiled and
nodded but were thinking “we’ve been out here for 2 ½
hours already and we’ve come barely halfway? This
sucks.” They were mistaken (in about an hour we were
sitting inside Luce’s; this was the first time we had
sat since 8:30 in the morning) but we had no way of
knowing that then. We couldn’t really do anything
except keep on keeping on (in the words of Joe Dirt).
Luce’s Lodge is on the Yentna River and we had to
cross the river to get to it. When we dropped into
the Yentna River valley the temp dropped about 20
degrees and my rear derailleur froze up from all the
wet snow that had gotten on it in the first 50 miles.
I didn’t think that it was really a big deal. Luce’s
was close and I had a can of de-icer along. I used up
the de-icer but didn’t get the derailleur moving which
was sort of a big deal since I now had a single speed
bike and almost 50 miles to go. I shrugged my
shoulders and we went in to the lodge and ate and
rested a bit. It was good to sit for a while because
our feet hurt quite a bit from walking (which we
weren’t expecting and weren’t prepared for) so did
most everything else by this point but just not as bad
as the feet. It was here while we were eating M&M’s
and sour worms that we got word that the first skier
had finished! Finished! and we had almost half of the
race to go!

Luce’s Lodge to Flathorn Lake: 21 miles
We had an uneventful trip down the Yentna River (we
were going to opposite way that the Iditarod mushers
would be going in about a week) though it was 9 miles
and we had a headwind at this point and the temp was
dropping which made Jess’s derailleur freeze too.
Then we intersected the Susitna River and biked for 3
more miles on it before turning left off of the river
and heading back to Big Lake. After we turned left
off of the river we were going the opposite way on the
trail were had used on the way out to EagleSong (are
you looking at a map of the course? I would recommend
it). Going through the “dismal swamp” (the name of
which you’ll only recognize if you’re familiar with
the course description) we saw an amazing display of
the aurora but by then the temp. had dropped and we
couldn’t stop to enjoy much because we’d get cold fast
(keep in mind that we were still dressed for 35
degrees and it was nearly 0 by this point). We could
ride virtually everything now that it had frozen but
we had only one gear and that the runners who were
behind us on this trail on their way out to EagleSong
this morning had left deep footprints in the then-soft
snow. Their footprints had then frozen and now we
were getting the crap pounded out of nearly
everything. But the points that were getting it the
worst were the points that contact the actual bike.
We got to Flathorn Lake soon enough. The checker
there was awesome she had soup ready for us and
cookies and chairs in her warm house to sit on. The
guy who had won the race last year was there and we
chatted with him (he’s from Fairbanks too). The guy
who got second place last year was zonked out on the
couch. It seems we weren’t the only ones who had the
wind taken out of our sails by all the hiking. While
we were there the first runner came through. He
checked in only long enough to fill his water and take
off. Kind of humbling. Here is a guy who had run 75
miles and still had 25 miles left and was still going,
still running, he wasn’t walking. We put on a few
more layers and pedaled away after 30 minutes or so.
Only 25 miles to go!

Flathorn Lake to Little Su: 12.5 miles
Not much exciting happened here. We continued to get
pounded by the trail when we could ride. Some of the
hills were steep and we could barely walk up them they
were so icy. Others weren’t so steep but we couldn’t
ride them because we didn’t have low enough gears. We
passed the “Nome, 1049” sign and two miles later
(distance was very relative to us at this point) we
came to the checkpoint to the Little Susitna River.
This checkpoint was a wall tent with a snow floor. We
stayed for a bit but didn’t warm up. We were both
shivering when we left.

Little Su to Big Lake finish: 12.5 miles
The frozen footprints in the trail continued. And so
we continued to get pounded. The trail here was
twisty and bumpy until we were spit back out onto the
chain of lakes that we started on and were about to
finish on. Now is when Jess’s headlamp went out with
mine to follow soon. But it was starting to get light
by this time and the trail was now wide and flat so we
didn’t need them. Good timing. Now, I had been
thinking about the finishing stretch for the last
couple of hours (remember how it was so slippery when
we started?) but luckily it was all rideable. By this
time a significant portion of my body was in pain but
my hands hurt the worst. All the pounding had pinched
a nerve in my wrist and my hands went numb. When
they were numb from the pinched nerve they got cold
and I had to get off and walk several times across the
lake in sight of the finishing line so I could get
feeling back in my hands. We were on a lake and could
see the finishing line from a long ways off. Think
desert oasis. It was a very long section to say the
least. We crossed the line in a tie at 23 hours and
38 minutes.

Hallucinations? I had a few very mild hallucinations.
I would think that I saw a snowmachine headlight out
of the corner of my eye and when I looked it would be
nothing. It was all stuff that I thought that I saw
out of the corner of my eye but really wasn’t there.

Fatigue? I was, of course, very tired by the end of
the race. My biking muscles weren’t really all that
tired though considering the situation. Things that
really slowed me down were the trail and how badly my
body hurt from being on the trail for so long.
Pulling an all nighter caught up with me several hours
after the finish when I crashed on the floor of Amy’s
(Jess’s sister) apartment.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Baptism by fire

OK so I haven't been riding much at all - like once a week.  And the rides that I have done have been short.  Truth be told I've been out fly fishing too much and my riding has been suffering.  Ah yes, Fishing - the eternal pursuit of total slackers - has torn another fine upstanding young man away from all the glitz, fame, and glory of riding a bike in the snow to mediocre at best finishes in obscure winter crazy-races.  But the fishing season closes on the 15th and so I'll be doing something productive with my time now.

Anyway, I haven't been riding much and so of course I thought it would be a good idea to do a nice, hard 4 hour ride.  Whoa.  I felt pretty decent at first but when I rode into our yard at the end of the ride my legs felt kinda like they were made of the stuff that you scrape out of that thing on the sink drain that traps the nasty stuff before it goes down the drain.  Or this.  Or maybe another good analogy is that they felt like it sounds when Ross plays the bagpipes.

Naturally thinking of disgusting stuff reminds me of the cafeteria back in high school and college.  Almost everything was gross (except the McRib sandwich [which, in that clever way of teenagers everywhere, we dubbed the McRubber after its flavor and consistency.  And speaking of clever nicknames, the cafeteria at college was named DeBot.  I once heard it referred to as DeBotulism]).  As an aspiring strapping young lad with a ridiculous appetite I couldn't just not eat.  So I put salt on everything in order to make it taste OK enough to actually put it into my mouth, chew it quick, and swallow it.  Mercifully there are no taste buds in your throught.  It was at this time I learned that if you put salt on Jell-O it melts.  Although I have a great respect for most high school teachers and I'm sure I learned a bunch while I was there, the self-discovered secret to liquifying Jell-O still is one thing that comes readily to mind as something I learned in High School.  I hope to pass it on to my stepson someday when he's ready.

Deep fried Jell-O?  Yes.   (Emeril would be rolling over in his grave if he were dead) "You’ll never be able to get deep fried Jell-O anywhere else," said Jon Searle, who will be serving this decidedly Utah treat at the 2012 Utah State Fair.  Yeah, you'll never be able to get it anywhere else because it's a terrible idea and won't catch on.  After all, how hard is it to deep-fry something?  People won't do it because they don't want to not because they can't.  (Now that I've said that it won't catch on it probably will...we should all buy stock a corporation deep-frying Jell-O.  Mitt Romney probably already owns a bunch.  Those in the know probably bought stock years ago)

All this talk of deep-frying stuff kinda reminds me of the time in college when we deep-fried a Snickers bar just to see how it would taste.  We had made some deep-fried chicken and had put spices in it that were meant to make the chicken taste better.  Being frugal college types we saved the oil to use for next time we had chicken.  Well you can see where this is going.  We used the chicken-spiced oil to fry our Snickers bar and it tasted like Lawrey's seasoned salt.  It probably would have been fine it I had thought to put regular salt on it - but this food didn't originate from DeBotulism and so I wasn't on my guard.

I could probably write a whole blog entry just listing the weird (and stuff that looks like shit) stuff I've eaten.