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Project 602 - Humor
Project 602
(Food, fun, and the bizzare in Arizona)
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Idiotarod 2015
Posted - Feb 9th, 2015 6:16pm
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In the same way that farmers in previous eras must have measured the seasons by their fields - I feel like I'm almost able to measure the flow of time by the building of the annual idiotarod cart.

Idiotarod season came a little late this year.  The entry-forms became 'Officially' available only 2 weeks before the race for some reason.  I also have a mini-me on the way.  Yet such things seem to have little or no effect on my ambition and imagination.  For some reason I believed that 2 weeks was plenty of time to turn a shopping cart into a fully functional ice-cream truck: music, freezer, and all.

Naiveté and achievement pair well though, and so despite McCoy being sidelined with a cyborg hip, and Cupp deciding he wasn't injured enough and thus needed to go snowboarding, Amy, Jon, Billy, Nemo and myself painted, taped, glued, and birthed the Nice Dreams truck into a cold misunderstanding world in just about 2 weeks time.

My neighbors continue to be baffled by my hobbies, but I feel like this year our fellow idiots truly appreciated for our contribution.  There were at least a few other great carts - the far too soon Robin Williams coffin, and the insanely good lego movie kitty, but there was only one team handing out drumsticks and fudgesicles.  I suspect at some point in the future that an ice-cream truck will be instrumental in binding the disparate faiths of humanity.  A profound love of popsicles seems to be bound in our genetic makeup.

And what did we do with this newfound good will of our fellow racers you ask?  We turned right around and drowned it in a sea of hot fudge and strawberry syrup.

We always have a great time doing this race.  The AZ Cacauphony Society really deserves props for anything that can entertain me for the best part of a decade.  What was different this year was our prior decision to avoid the quest for 1st place.  This almost always goes to the Hash House Harriers anyway.  Its hard to beat folks who practice drinking and running on a weekly basis after all.  Instead, we just wanted to have fun and spread chaos.... and chaos we did spread.

From the time we got our first clue (your next destination is always a mystery until you complete a challenge there) - anyone within 20 feet of us got hosed down with sunday toppings and then coated with sprinkles.  I'm sorry to admit that even a few bystanders took friendly fire, but thats all part of the experience! Theres a odd satisfaction to assaulting your opponents with non-lethal deterrents, and it draws a weird kind of honorary animosity.  I suppose this is why we got rammed, tackled, cart-jacked, and I even got pie-faced Bill Gates style (check that off the bucket list).

If that doesn't sound fun, I totally understand, but when combined with potato guns, warm beer, and cups of snot-like alcohol laden gummy bear sludge - its kind of magical... either that or more likely it causes some sort of addictive PTSD.  Either way, it was another super fun Idiotarod, and I was happy to share one of my most favorite activities with my brother-n-law Billy and my friend Nemo who will almost certainly never speak to me again.

The word is that we won some kind of award but after about an hour at the finish line party we were full of tacos and ready for a nap/shower/delousing.  Hopefully I can add an update to this once we find out who won what.  I'll also include some of the build pics below as I always think its fun to see how these things come together.
 Highly detailed architectural drawing - CHECK! I decided to go with a pvc frame this year... not sure why we didnt think of this before as it worked great and gave us a rectangular shape to start with. A little more PVC, some cross-braces, and the frame was all set.  A closeup of the cooler.  I think we should include one of these in all our carts from now on. With the frame complete we hung cardboard to fill out the shape.  I added some retractable handles made from wooden dowels and larger PVC to make lifting the fully loaded cart easier.  A little cardboard and some more tape cleaned up the inside lines.  White basecoat and the start of a giant ice-cream cone - done and done.  Ive always wanted to use this stuff.  Who knew it was so good at making ice-cream. A close-up of the finished cone.  Thats parchment paper under it so it didn't stick to the top and could be removed for transport.  After a full night of painting/gluing and decorating with the help of Billy and Tara the cart was finally complete.  Idiots assemmmbllllee! As usual - folks are amazingly creative for this race.  I hadnt seen anyone try a looney toons cart before.  This was one of my favorites. The Care Bears made a showing.  As did a team in turd costume.  Another one I can't believe people ran in all day.  The wizard of oz was present. It took me until right now realize this was an animal house cart.  This one played pac-man music all day. I didnt get the theme at first but once it hits you its brilliant....and kinda sad.  The Dukes had about 47 team members for some reason. Of course this was the team of the day.  Amazing costumes. Everyone lined up at the starting line and we were off! After only a few minutes Jon began to look like a character out of a Hunter S. Thompson novel This is Karl - We drafted him during the race.  Huge props to him for providing some much needed horsepower and cart-protection. I think we stopped for this pic at the end of the race... I don't have much from the start until this  This was supposed to cure my nearly fatal case of hiccups.  It just kinda made me upside down.  Someday this trophy shall be ours.  I think Im happy though with how this year turned out.  Another great day in the sun.
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The Greatest Music Video Ever Made
Posted - Mar 23rd, 2009 5:56pm
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I have found a recent affliction for a band called "No More Kings".  To put them into context, they are alternative, rock, punk, comedy and though they are not mainstream they have managed to pull off one of the greatest music videos I've ever seen.

...well maybe that deserves some context too.  If you grew up during the time of the Karate Kid you'll understand.  Just don't ask me what the heck is going on before about the 2 minute mark.

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2009 Phoenix Idiotarod
Posted - Feb 9th, 2009 9:40pm
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About a week ago one of our coworkers Jon Roig showed us a website.  This set events in motion which led to one of the most ridiculous and amazing things I've ever participated in.

The Idiotarod is a race where teams of 5 must push a shopping cart 4 miles around downtown Phoenix.  The winning team isn't just decided by who crosses the finish line first though.  Its just as important to have a team theme, a well decorated cart and maybe most important that your team can hold its liquor.  It doesn't hurt to be skilled in sabotage either.

After settling on a name (E=Mass Confusion2), a theme (mad scientists) and registering for the race, we hit the mall and purchased some lab coats.  The original idea from there was to cover the cart with circuit boards and old electronics but at some point I derailed that train and got everyone on board with something a little more ambitious - A space shuttle!

That Friday night - Amy, Jon, McCoy, Cupp and myself managed to turn my tiny sketch and a huge pile of poster board, duct tape, and styrofoam into and engineering marvel complete with corporate logos, a control stick, and smoking rockets.  A test run that night proved the ship seaworthy and Kristin and Lisa even stopped by for a while and helped draw on the team name.  Now the only question was how well our cart and our livers would fare the next day.

Until this year, the Idiotarod was a pretty small deal.  I think there were 8 or 9 teams last year and only a half dozen the year before.  This year however it obtained critical mass and there were 31 teams when we arrived downtown.  The level of effort people put into this thing was all over the map from those who just nabbed a plain cart on the way downtown to people who had taken welding torches to their carts and installed generators and stereo equipment.  To say it was nuts is an understatement - just check out the photos.

The race itself was bonkers - after a shotgun start we decided to get one of the bonus challenges out of the way immediately which involved buying liquor during the race from a store and getting a photo of the clerk and the team.  While we were happy to get that off our backs, it put us in nearly last place when we made it to the first challenge point where we all had to slam a warm beer.  If you've never tried to jog and drink - there is a good reason for that and the rest of the race basically consisted of this alternating schedule of drinking and running.  We slammed tequila, beer, and the worst by far - a bottle of margarita mix (Cupp saved our butts on that one).  We also ran our hearts out.  Or at least most of us did.  By the time we hit the last leg I could barely run and had to rely on Jon and Cupp to provide the necessary thrust.

Fortunately, we were not alone, and between the people who had become victims of sabotage and those who were even more worn out than we were, we came in a respectable 8th which translated to 6th since we completed some of the extra challenges.  The race ended where it began at the Bikini Lounge so we broke out the stogies, grabbed one last beer and laughed at ourselves until it hurt.  The pictures will have to say the rest.
The plan - it all started here. Construction begins... mad scientists 1 :: cart nothing! The humble beginings of a nose cone Is there anything a glue gun and a saw cannot do? Sacrifices had to be made Wings had to be made too Bosters and decoration completed, the cart was packed up for the night The next day we assembled the cart and got ready to race Of course first some fans wanted to try it out The A team... or at least the B+ team The teams gather A disco extraveganza (theres actually a generator powering this one) Scooby and the gang make an appearance As did the dog pound The powers that be came down for a little competition Something about grails and pythons The map and challenge listing The race begins! Sean shouts out a battlecry I make friends with the owner of the nearest liquor store The dark side holds many temptations Sean is powerless against temptation Amy to the rescue The team rises to the challenge We set off our smoke screen to try and make up time This guys meant business - he took apart 2 carts at the last stop with that thing Speaking of Sabotage The last mile was all Jon - the guy is a beast. Corn syrup is no match for Cupp We finally make it to the finish line It was time to celebrate
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The Horseradish Challenge
Posted - Dec 19th, 2008 2:34pm
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So its Friday, and that means its time for another office challenge: Today its Cupp vs a jar of Inglehoffers's Extra Hot Horseradish.  At stake are $30 bucks and his sinuses.

I should probably stop here and mention that he has never had horseradish before... not on a sandwich, not on a steak, not even as a dip.  This is what I believe contributed in large part to the first 30 seconds of the challenge where he horked down huge spoonful after huge spoonful and made it look briefly like he was going to get our hard earned $$ for himself.

Our awe quickly turned to laughter as the frightful stuff worked its way up into the back of his throat and light fire to his brain.  Tears started to stream down his face and he turned a delightful shade of red.  That was about his limit though.  He spit some out, then tried to force it back down with another spoonful, but it just wasn't going to happen.  Eyes gushing, he chucked the 1/2 empty bottle in the trash with disgust.

We were all proud of his effort so even though he didn't empty the bottle most of us paid up. You just can't watch someone put themselves through that sort of thing without some reparation... or at least I couldn't.  I began to be a little torn at this point though.  Unlike the wings, the horseradish was continuing to punish Cupp for his insolence.  Its funny for a little while but at some point I really started to feel guilty for egging him on.

Things got so bad that after booting twice in his cube the rest of the guys on the team told him just to go home.  He looked okay when he left and I chatted with him a bit as he exited the building but I don't think next week's office challenge will involve anything quite so volatile.   Maybe a half jar of peanut butter in 60 seconds or something?  I just hope he feels better tomorrow and doesn't grow a third eye or anything.
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The Wing Challenge
Posted - Dec 16th, 2008 4:03pm
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While I think that work often tends to slow down around the holidays for everyone, I'm in a real nasty lull right now.  Tedium followed by large waiting periods has driven me to focus myself elsewhere to survive.  So fueled by my new found resistance to all things spicy I've been egging everyone to try the challenge at local wing place.  12 suicide wings in 6 minutes gets you severe indigestion and your picture up on the wall.

Today was d-day or w-day or Tuesday.. or something like that.  Whats important here is that a group of us went down today and attempted the stupid.  I had visions of my name on the short board of folks who have broken the 2 minute barrier but would settle for success in any form.  Unfortunately this time we went to a different Buffalo Wild Wings we hoped would be closer and they had no such wall.  In fact, they had disbanded the challenge at that store entirely due to someone's recent need for a hospital after the challenge.  I would not be deterred.

Making my best attempt to feign confidence I informed the waiter he would need to bring us the dirty dozen anyway.  He thought we were joking but after some prodding and the tale of the recent table who ordered 50 then ate only 3 he accepted our request.  The rest of the group would spectate and ensure the rules would be followed.  All meat and skin would need to be consumed from the bones within 6 minutes - drinking was allowed but not advised.

I was still pretty confident until the manager came over and kept asking why we would want to do this and if we were really sure we wanted to go through with it.  I began chewing on my straw at this point to keep my mind occupied while Sean did the pre-game interview with his phone.

When they did bring the wings they certainly smelled hot but looked kind of dry.  Fear now replaced by stupidity we sent them back for extra sauce.  They returned shortly with an extra dose of what could loosely be defined as sauce, or more realistically be defined as ground chili's held together with a modicum of liquid.  Camera, phones were readied and the timer was started.

Cup took the early lead, I followed closely behind, and Denny picked up the rear.  The wings were hot but nothing like the raw-habaneros we had recently eaten as part of the 100 foods list.  Unfortunately as I picked up speed and passed by Cup at the 1 minute mark I began to get sauce all over my face.  I was glad I had chosen glasses over contacts this morning because if this got in my eyes I was done for.  I was not alone though and as Denny began to turn bright red from the sauce on his face and the stopwatch slipped past 2 minutes I was beginning to regret my choice not to research exactly what capsicum does to the digestive system.  Can I die from this kind of thing?  What happens when I go to the bathroom?  These are not things you want to begin thinking half way through eating a batch of food soaked in hell broth.

The end was in sight though as I put these thoughts behind me.  I finished off the last few wings just over the three minute mark and raised my sauce soaked hands above my head yelling like some sort of Special Olympics champion.  Cup finished about 30 seconds later and poor Denny suffered for another 8 minutes before he finally polished off his last bite.  There was much cheering/jeering and while I didn't get my picture on the wall, the staff made me a personalized "Blazin Challenge Master" card which I shall cherish in the same way one would keep a 3rd place trophy - a symbol of both success and failure.

Next week Cup has agreed to try to eat a jar of Horseradish - I need distraction as much as ever but as I sit here and worry about the digestive aftermath of this silliness I don't believe I will join him.  Something about this place makes us crazy.  I'm glad there are others here to share it with me...
Chewing is for mortals Denny could eat lava... but he'd have to eat it slowly :P Cup does his best impression of a garbage disposal VICTORY IS MINE!!! mmmmm carcas
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Pushing Daisies
Posted - Nov 20th, 2007 4:28pm
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I don't watch a lot of normal TV.  Thats not to exclude myself from the masses, rather its simply an admission that my pushers are Cartoon Network and Netflix as opposed to the ABC's and NBC's of the world and my doses are rarely scheduled.  In fact, the only show in the last few years I've actually alloted time to watch has been Battlestar Galactica and only with limited success.  I won't spend any time here on that show as by now you either love it, haven't seen it, or are chemically handicapped and there are plenty to sing its praise.

Instead I am happy to announce myself as a candidate for normalcy as I am committed to watching a normal TV show on a regular basis called Pushing Daises.  Its a light hearted and funky detective/murder-mystery show based around a character who can briefly bring people back to life.

Now maybe there is some morbid connection between KC passing away and my newfound enjoyment of a show that pokes fun at death, or maybe it hits closer to my own uneasiness on the subject.  Whatever the reason it makes me happy and I want to suggest to whoever can take an hour out of their life to watch the show (its on Wendesdays @7:00 on ABC or something near that) to do so.  Its the most original thing I've seen on the tube in years and its creators must have fought tooth and nail to bring it to life in the great void of originality called primetime.

Its also worth noting that the last 4 episodes are always available for viewing online at  Their online player kinda sucks as you have to manually click a link once each commercial is over (1 commercial every 15 minutes) but 4 minutes of commercials for a 1hr show still isn't bad.
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German engineering at its finest
Posted - Jun 15th, 2007 10:02am
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My friend Oliver is a true die-hard German who came over here a few years ago to be a computer programmer.  He has a lot of great stories about growing up over there and one of my favorites is about the East German cars that were so bad they ground most of them up and paved roads with their remains.

Only problem was that the roads stunk like fish every time it got hot so they had to dig up the roads and bury the rubble.  Found this great video of the Trabant through Boing Boing and I think its the car he was talking about since its made out of some sort of plastic/sheep mixture.

Hood won't fit - kick with shoe.  Door off center - bash with mallet ...rinse lather repeat.

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