"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Friday, December 28, 2007


I've never had a very reliable stomach, but lately mine's been making funny noises. Apparently whavever's been ailing it has spread south, because I've also been experiencing all sorts of bloating and aches and pains in my intestinal area. A few bouts of heartburn (including right now) after a lifetime of being heartburn-free doesn't help either.

So a few weeks ago I visited my doctor. After some poking and prodding and fondling, she was able to rule out a hernia, appendicitis, mad cow disease, dislexia and all sorts of other ailments. Of course, I didn't tell her about my competitive eating hobby. I really don't do it often enough or well enough for it to be an issue...I think. For the heartburn she prescribed Prilosec, which all but killed my appetite for about two weeks. My appetite hasn't fully recovered and my capacity, which was never that great, is even less great.

To rule out any unusual abdominal "masses," I had to get an ultrasound today, which revealed no masses whatsoever. Part of me was hoping they'd discover some sort of conjoined twin growing inside of me. Then maybe, after 12 hours of surgery with the best conjoined twin doctors in the world, my long lost brother would living outside of me (but still attached, of course). Just a little misshapen head and one twisted, gimp arm hanging out there next to my belly button. I'd get all my shirts tailored with an extra head and arm hole. My twin (I'd name him Max) would grunt and spit and shout obscenities at people. He might also be able to help clean up my scraps in eating contests.

But, of course, that dream was dashed today. As for what's causing my gastrointestinal troubles? We're still not sure, but I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 24, 2007


So yeah, the other day for lunch about six of us piled into Ian's Cherokee and travelled a little farther than we normally would for a workday lunch outing (about 20 minutes away), but it was definitely worth it. Our destination was Cheeburger Cheeburger -- a mythical chain of have-it-your-way giant burger restuarants wildly popular in parts well south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Their menu taunted us with burgers in five different sizes. From "The Classic" (5.5 ounces...I'm guessing it's some sort of appetizer or something) to "The Serious" (half pounder) to "Our Famous Pounder." On this day I had a lot of work to catch up on in the afternoon, so I went with "The Delirious" (three-quarters of a pound) with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, horseradish and pickles. The build-it-yourself selection of toppings are what separates CheeChee (just made that up...not sure if anyone actually calls them that) from other burger joints. Eight different cheeses and 24 different goodies. Can't argue with that.

The other cool thing is that their burgers don't START as half a pound of beef and get cooked down to whatever. No, they start their half pounder with 10 ounces of uncooked beef. Likewise with the pounder. It starts as 20 ounces of beef to ensure that you get all 16 beautiful ounces on that bun.

They've also got a wall of fame. Eat the pounder and you get your photo on it. Only six days after they opened, there were already north of 20 photos on the wall, including one "repeat offender." There's a also a wall of fame for kids under 12 who eat the half pounder. Yeah, I thought it was a little weird too, but who am I to preach about corporate America's role in preventing childhood obesity?

Overall, the burger was good. Not great (I've had three or four better burgers in the Harrisburg area alone), but not bad for a chain restaurant. A little costly too. After my $8.29 burger and splitting some $6 fries and special sauces (99 cents each) six ways AND getting a half-sized milk shake (over 70 different flavors), my total with a $2 tip was over $15. Definitely not something I would consider doing for lunch more than once a month, but we're already planning a trip back there to polish off some TWO pounders, so we'll see.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


This time of year, I should be writing about candy canes and egg nog and my Friday lunchtime trip to the newly-opened-in-my-area Cheeburger Cheeburger but instead I'm stuck on 10-pound hairballs.

A co-worker sent me this story a few weeks ago and it's, well, pretty nasty. Seems this 18-year-old girl had a habit of eating her own hair. Little did she know, hair doesn't digest. It just sort of sits there in your stomach, like chewed bubblegum or watermelon seeds waiting to sprout.

I debated whether or not to include the photo of the 10-pound, stomach-shaped hair mass that doctors removed from her stomach on this blog entry, but I decided against it. If you really want to see (and you know you do), check it out here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Philly Guy reported in a comment on the last post that WIP has accepted his Wing Bowl qualifying stunt. His feat? Twenty naked hot dogs (no buns) in 3 minutes and 25 seconds or less. No word on when he'll be on the air.

Three minutes, 25 seconds is an odd time. What, did they think 3:30 was just "way too easy"? Regardless, I'm pretty sure he can beat that time. I predict he'll get them down in 3:10. I also think it would be hardcore if, after he reached 20 dogs, he just keep eating right up until the 3:25 mark. Screw this "stopping when you've reached your goal" crap.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Wow, I suck. This is the first time in the 21 months that I've been blogging here that I've gone four days without a post. I could blame it on the achingly slow competitive eating off-season and the hectic holiday season. Neither are great excuses though. I've just been lazy.

This Thursday is our office holiday party. In the spirit of Christmas, we've chartered a bus and will be hitting the road at noon to celebrate at the headquarters of one of our newest clients, the Yuengling Brewing Company. That's right, we're going to party in the oldest brewery in America. I feel like Charlie Bucket and the brewery is my chocolate factory. I'm counting the hours (52 and 5 minutes).

D.G. Yuengling & Sons and I go way back. Not only is it the best beer you can buy for under $20 a case, it's also the only beer you can order in any bar in Pennsylvania without even saying its name. Just ask for a "lager." If they don't know what you're talking about, find another bar.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


After a traditional burger like the Big Mock, I decided to go the fru-fru route with the Chocolate Crusted Cranberry Burger. I really had no idea what to expect with this one.

Main Ingredients

The main ingredients are all here. Half a cup of whole berry cranberry sauce and quarter cup of finely chopped fresh mint was mixed into the beef. Each patty was encrusted with a mixture of half a cup of brown sugar, two packets of cocoa, a pinch of salt and a pinch of chili powder.


The final product was a very sweet burger, obviously owing to the half cup of cranberry sauce in the beef, the chocolate/sugar coating and a topping of cranberry sauce after cooking. It's hard to say how much of that sweetness was due to the chocolate and sugar crust and how much came from the cranberry sauce, but the sauce was by far the dominant flavor throughout this burger. As the recipe warned, the sugar coating caused quite a few flare ups on the grill, which I suspect might have also cooked off much of the sweet coating.

Overall this burger sounded a lot more interesting than it tasted. As I may have mentioned with my previous Coconut Flake Hawaiian Burger, I'm not a big fan of sweet burgers, but as far as "gourmet" concoctions go, this one was relatively easy to make and might score you some points with chocolate-loving girlfriends.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Just to let you all know, I just bought 13 Wing Bowl tickets. Even selecting the "Best Available" seating option, the best I could get was Upper General Admission. I think that's where we were last year. I didn't see any assigned seating during the ordering process, so I think we just stumble in and find seats where ever we can in that section.

I'll need four of the tickets for me, Beau and two others. The other nine are up for grabs. Who's in this year? Carey, Jill, Ian, Tut? If we need more tickets, we can always pick up a few on Ebay. That's how we got our tix for last years' Bowl.

50 days and counting.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


I may make that the new title of this blog. Or put it on a t-shirt and add it to the UEPa store. Who knows. That soon-to-be immortal statement comes from the video below, which is an actual complaint phoned in to the Jimmy Dean customer service line. There are way too many great lines in this gem to highlight here, so I'll let you pick and choose your favorites.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Thanks to Sweet Jill and her sweet Flip Video camcorder (which, as of Monday, I also own), our Niner Diner challenge has been documented on video. Below is my favorite clip from that day, and not just because I shot it. In this video we see Carey with his fan club, although they're not quite as encouraging here as they were at other times.

I laugh out loud every time I watch this. The kid in the glasses is hilarious and thinks I'm using a regular camera ("Can you take a picture of me and him?"). Carey at one point tells him "its video" but, in the end, Carey and I play along and pretend to snap away.

A full set of Jill's videos can be seen here. By the way, Tiny from the Niner Diner called me yesterday to thank us all for visiting his restaurant and putting on such a good show. He said we're welcome back anytime. I told him it won't be long.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


That's right, Sweet Jill out ate me at the Niner Diner yesterday during the UEPa's fall 2008 meeting. In my defense, I have a lot of practice losing to women. Sonya Thomas, Juliet Lee, Megan and Jennifer from work (my first, thanks guys!).

To recap, we met at the Niner Diner in Nanty Glo to attempt the legendary Tiny's Challenge: a three-pound burger and five pounds of fries. Eat it all in two-hours and it's free. I can say this for sure...of all the giant burgers I've eaten (Denny's, Clinton Station Diner), this one was by far the best tasting of them all.

To answer Wild Bill's comment to this post, no one finished the challenge. Carey and Brian were the only ones to finish the burger. Carey made a one-pound or so dent in his five pounds of fries and Brian, with a little help from his son, made a little more of an impact, but overall the meal was just too much for any of us to handle. According to Niner Diner owner, Tiny, the only person to ever complete the meal was a 90-something pound woman (of course) who works at the local Wal-Mart.

The Audience

Carey and I arrived at the Niner Diner 11:30, about half an hour early. The first thing we noticed was a sign on the front door stating that the diner would be closed for a few hours for a "competitive eating event" to allow Tiny to grill up our burgers and ready the fries. The sign also said people were welcome to stop by and watch. Here we see some of the folks who were there at 11:30. More would arrive later; sipping coffees and puffing on cigarettes and snapping photos with cell phones. I hope we put on a good show for them.

Grillin burgers

Here's Tiny at work. Each burger had three one-pound beef patties on it and one-pound of sliced cheese. That's a lot of cheese. The burgers were also adorned with the usual slew of condiments, including some very spicy diced onions at the very bottom which are not a welcome discovery 30 minutes into your lunch.

Carey gets served

Our lunch arrived on large baking sheets. Here's Carey making room for his. It looked like burger mountain surrounded by a sea of fries. I wasn't sure how they were going to serve five pounds of french fries, but this seems like the best way. Better than a giant McDonalds-like box. Behind Carey is a cameraman from the local Fox and ABC affiliate. The UEPa appeared on both newscasts last night. A reporter from the Nanty Glo Journal was also there.

Digging in 2

We all approached Tiny's Challenge the same way: break the burger apart and eat it as fast as possible in hopes of finishing it and then moving on to the fries. Seated in orange is Brian Subich's son who helped him with his fries. Brian didn't officially attempt the challenge, but he did finish his burger in 19 minutes. Carey polished off his at the 30 minute mark and Jill, Wing Tut and I nibbled away at it before throwing in the towel.

Brian and his son had been deer hunting that morning and were headed back out after lunch. Wing Tut was doing the same. Tut called me after we left the Niner Diner. Thirty minutes after getting back out into the field, he bagged a doe. Mmmm...deer.

Hitting the wall

Not sure what was happening here. I dished my camera off to a spectator and asked her to snap a dozen or so shots. Maybe I'm in pain. Maybe I'm getting ready to burp. Maybe I'm thinking of my happy place.

Carey and his fan club

This is Carey with his fan club. They broke into a chant of "Ca-wey! Ca-wey! Ca-wey!" with about 20 minutes left in the challenge as Carey nibbled on a few last minute fries. Don't miss this shot of fan #1 reverently studying Cawey's drinking technique.

Tiny and the Gang

Here's the gang shortly before departing. Left to right: Me, Tiny and his wife, Brian and his son, Carey, Wing Tut and Jill. I can't say enough about how kind and accomodating Tiny and his staff were to us while we were there. The Niner Diner is truly a top-notch establishment and we'll definitely be back for future UEPa meetings (to try the giant pancake challenge, no doubt).

A full set of pics can be seen here, including each of us posing with our burgers, more behind the scenes shots, a pic of Carey taking a break around the one-hour mark and one of me doing a John Travolta impression.