Saturday, December 28, 2013

Draw Kate Like One of Your French Girls

I have to warn you. This is an odd one...

I accepted a challenge entitled, "Draw a tasteful nude sketch of Kate Micucci."

I had no idea who this person was. Here's the Wikiepdia page for Kate Micucci.

"Draw me like one of your french girls..."
 - Kate Micucci (Probably)
The original conditions were:
  1. As long as there is at least one acceptor, at least one acceptor will receive gold.
  2. If there are multiple quality submissions [the submitter of the challenge] will award gold to multiple users, at [his] discretion, up to a maximum of five users.
  3. The challenge will remain active for one month from the time of posting, or until the maximum of five rewards has been reached, whichever comes first.
Reward: One month of Reddit Gold.

Pictures had to be hand drawn, but MS Paint was apparently acceptible, judging by a few submissions which had already been rewardig a month of Reddit gold.

I wasn't going to bother with this one because I suck at drawing and I'm just not interested in helping some dude fill out his collection of hand-drawn celebrity porn, but then I had an idea. A few minutes later, I submitted this image:

Micucci Descending a Staircase
Needless to say, my submission was not accepted.

However, it did lead the submitter of the challenge to add three additional criteria to the challenge. These criteria were:
  1. Is it recognizably a naked lady?
  2. Is it recognizably Kate Micucci?
  3. Could a person conceivably be "excited" by it?
In accordance with these three criteria, I posted the following submission:

Les Kate d'Avignon
I received no further response.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Saltine Challenge

I'm attempting the Saltine Challenge, posted by Ramtom in /r/GoForGold.

To avoid confusion, this is not the traditional Saltine Challenge, which is to eat six saltine crackers in a minute or less. Rather, this challenge is simply to eat the most possible in under a minute. More of a contest, really. The one who eats the most in a minute wins.

Here are the rules:
  1. You must video tape the challenge for proof.
  2. In your video, include proof that you are eating salted saltines, and proof that your mouth is empty after eating the saltines.
  3. If you don't show an empty mouth after your last saltine eaten in 60 seconds you will be disqualified.
  4. No water until after the video/challenge is done. Must show you aren't smuggling water in your mouth before the start.
Reward: One month of Reddit Gold.

So here is a video of me eating as many saltines as possible. 

video

UPDATE: I won! One month of Reddit Gold is mine!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Aussie Dox Challenge


I just want to start off by saying that I'm not a stalker because I feel like this post has a better than decent chance of landing me on some sort of government watch list. This is by far the creepiest I've felt doing a challenge so far in my brief run.

A challenge was put up in /r/GoForGold in which the task was to find the name and address of the user and send him a letter. The challenge may be viewed HERE.

For those who may not know, this practice is called Doxxing. "Dox" is a play on "Docs", which is short for "Documents". Doxxing is essentially finding someone's personal information on the internet.

To clarify, this redditor was requesting his own dox, not that we dox someone else. Please do not ever do anything that I describe here. Do not ever dox anyone unless they are requesting their own dox, such as those who post in /r/DoxMe. This is a huge invason of privacy and possibly illegal, depending on the circumstances.

The rules are pretty simple:
  1. Find out who [he is], and send a letter to [his] current address.
  2. The letter must arrive within the month.
  3. Only the internet may be used.

The reward for my effort is one month of Reddit Gold.

This challenge was posted on a public forum, so I don't feel too bad reposting it here, but I feel so shameful over the things I've done over the past few days that I don't even want to refer to the guy by his username. He shall henceforth be refered to as "Waldo".
Forgive me...

So Waldo posts this challenge asking us to find him. Here's what I did and how I did it. I'm going to be a bit vague at times, because I don't want anyone else trying it.

First I read through his comment history. Reddit records every post and comment you make and these are visible to anyone who clicks on your username.

He had posted pretty often in /r/Sydney, but a few months ago, he switched to posting in /r/AskNYC and I found a single post in /r/Brooklyn.

He made one comment in /r/Sydney where he mentioned that he now lived in New York with his wife, to whom he was recently married. I also found a picture of him.

After a while, I figured out what city he lived in in Australia and a good amount of other stuff about his life. I went to Google and tried a bunch of searches. I had a pretty good guess what his first name was based on his username, so I searched for a few dozen combinations of his first name with his past employer, name and city, name and a weekly gathering he hosted. I couldn't find anything. He just wasn't showing up.

I went to Facebook, and tried searching there, too, and I found a Facebook page for /r/Sydney. I tried searching the member list for the name I was guessing was his, but he didn't show up there either.

I tried the Facebook page for the weekly gathering he hosted, too, but he wasn't on there either, possibly because he hadn't been involved in it since he moved to New York a few months ago.

However, this Facebook page had instructions for newcomers who wanted to join the gathering and who they need to talk to to sign up. There was a picture of five people who were said to be in charge now. I figured they had to be pretty close with Waldo if they were able to take over for him when he left. Maybe Waldo was on there Friends lists, but these five in the picture were not listed by name. The photo was tagged with five Reddit usernames.

A lot of people use the same username of every site they go to, so I went to Google and typed in each username. I was able to find the full name and Facebook page of everyone in that photo.

For example, one of the guys used to same username on Steam, which listed his first name and the first letter of his last name. I searched for this on the Facebook pages and found him on the page for /r/Sydney. I then checked his page and Friend list. Waldo was not there. A few more of them had their privacy settings set so that I could not see their Friend lists.

One of them had their settings turned down, though, and Waldo was on there. I wasn't sure if it was him, though, because the profile picture was of a fairly obese woman, but I did have a full first and last name.

I googled the full name and got Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Vimeo and a few others. The pictures on those sites matched the picture I had found posted in Waldo's reddit comments.

I found him!

So I started sifting through his comments and posts on these social media sites, including the obese-lady Facebook page I had found.

After this breakthrough, it actually got really hard for me to find anything else that was useful. I found the names of some friends and family, his wife was tagged in a Facebook album of the wedding, and I found his current employer, but none of that really got me any closer to his address soley using the internet.

One of the things that began to make this difficult for me was that he had moved so recently, and from another country, no less. So there were a lot of free and frightening online directories that he could be showing up in, but he wasn't. In addition, even when I did find contact information for him, it was his former information.

I started looking into his wife, assuming they had the same address, but both her first and last names are so common that way too many results came up and I had no method or patience to narrow it down.

In the end, I contacted Waldo privately and let him know what I had found and how I had found it. Never in my life have I been so happy to fail, and Waldo was a good sport about it and said that if no one else managed to get a letter to him, then the Gold was mine.

I want to share a few things I've learned while doing this. I'm not an expert on online security, and my advice here is not authoratative or comprehensive, just a few things I've noticed.

  1. The fact that I can go onto Reddit, click on someone's username and see every comment and post they've ever made is scary. Even if you do not give out actual personal information about yourself on such a site, it's amazing how many clues and traces you leave around which are easy to spot to someone looking for them.
  2. The fact that I can go onto Facebook, type in a first name and get a last name is also scary. Facebook has this default autofill thing that works on member lists in groups and on friends lists which makes it way too easy to find people with partial informaiton. Tagging people in photos also seems like an awful idea. That's how I found Waldo's wife.
  3. On the subject of Facebook, you can set your privacy setting to whatever you want, but unless your friends do it, too, I can still find you. However, setting your privacy settings to be pretty strict does make it more difficult for me to get anything from your profile once I've found it.
  4. Also, I don't think I'll ever set my profile pic to be an actual picture of me again. If someone doesn't know what I look like, they don't know me well enough to be looking at my informaiton anyways and a profile picture is ultimately how I was able to confirm that I'd found the right guy.
  5. Don't use the same username on every site you go to. A lot of sites pretend to be secure because they only give out partial information on you, such as a first name and last initial on Steam, but if I have something in common with all of them, such as your username, then I can find all those partial pieces and put them all together myself. Odin help you if your username is also your email address.
  6. Don't pick a username that is your name, or a variation of your name, or a reference to your name, or a pun of your name...you get the idea.
  7. If you ever start a website from scratch and purchase a domain name, do it through a service that blocks "whois" search tools. Finding the full name, address and phone number of someone close to Waldo was as easy as copying and pasting a web address into one of these search tools. GoDaddy made things very difficult for me, though.

I think the scariest thing about this challenge is not that someone could find my info online, but that anyone could find my info online! I have absolutely zero exerience or knowledge in this sort of thing and with only a few hours of looking I was able to find an absurd amount of information on Waldo and many of his friends and family.

Privacy is no more. I think I'm going to go delete some stuff...

Until next time!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Two Minute Deck Memorization: Complete!

Well, I managed to finished this challenge with literally less than a second to spare. I finally managed to do it on Memrise.com.

A while ago, Ed Cooke posted a contest on there for $10k to the first person to memorize a deck in two minutes. That contest is done and over, but the course is still up and it is one of the resources I've been using to practice since it had a convenient little timer up in the top right corner to tell you how much time has elapsed.

When I first started this challenge, I could not remember a single card. In fact, I couldn't even get through the deck without forgetting the cards before.

When I finally worked up to a full deck, it still took me well over 10 minutes to do it. Slowly that time came down and yesterday I finally made it.

Two Minutes. One Deck. Zero Errors.

I was able to work my way through the first three suits pretty easily, but when I got to a full deck, I really hit a wall. Nevertheless, I eventually made it and I'm calling this challenge done.

However, I really liked this one and I think I'm going to keep going with it in my free time. Once I get to the point that I can do this consistently, then I will post a video as I've done for the previous suits.

I want to thank Ed Cooke, who will probably never read this, for creating Memrise.com and essentially teaching me to do this. Also, thanks to everyone at Mnemotechnics.org for all their advice, insight and support!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Two Minute Deck Memorization: How To Memorize a Deck of Cards

Well, Memrise has been down for a few days, which means I don't have a way to practice memorizing cards in a way that lets me convniently post the results.

I have been able to practice with a deck of cards, and on Random.org, but I can't easily post times with these.

Before Memrise went down, I was able to get fairly close to completing this challenge.

2:16. So close...

To be honest, I'm not even sure whether I've completed the challenge already because I'm too lazy to work a stopwatch at the same time as I'm trying to memorize.

At any rate, while I wait for Memrise to come back up, I thought I'd teach you how to memorize a shuffled deck of cards.

The first thing you have to learn is just that you can do it. You may think you can't, or that you don't have good enough memory, etc, but relax. It's not some special gift that just some people have, you just don't know the tricks! You just don't know how to use your brain!
False.

Wait. Let me rephrase that...

You're brain is like an incredibly powerful computer. The thing is, you have to excercise it like a muscle and, just like a computer, you have to present the information in a certain format that is easily processed and stored.

For example, one thing your brain hates in long strings of random numbers, letters and symbols. Unfortunately, a shuffled deck is very much like a long string of random numbers, letters and symbols. In fact, that's exactly what it is!

So you have to take that information and convert it into another form that is easy for your brain to process and retain.

One thing your brain loves is images. Really vivid picutres are great. It also loves things that are familiar. Strangely enough, it also loves things that are bizarre and unusual.

There are a few different systems to allow you to memorize a deck and most of them include converting strings of numbers and letters into familiar, yet unusual, images. I use one popularized by Ed Cooke, a Grand Master of Memory (and Tony Buzon and Dominic O'Brien before him). Here it is in a nutshell:

They're ALL face cards

First, you have to convert each card into an image. Again, there's different ways to do this. Some people use objects like teddy bears, saws, pineapples and more. I use celebrities, politicians, and other public figures (with a few oddballs thrown in). 

So let's say for example that the King of Hearts is Barack Obama, the King of Spades is David Beckham, the King of Diamonds is Prince William, and the King of Clubs is Jay-Z. You have to do this for every card in the deck and you have to become so familiar with your system that you can instantly make the association between the card that comes up and the face it is associated with.

I especially prefer using people, rather than objects, because it makes it easier to "upgrade" your system later. More on that in a bit.

Walking Through the Palace

Once you have a face for each card, and you are able to instantly recall the correct face, it's time to start trying to remember them in order.

There's a concept commonly refered to as the "Memory Palace". I think that sounds really pretentious, so I'll just call it a Memory Space.

What you need to do is have a place you can imagine in great detail and which you can imagine yourself walking through. It could be your house, your workplace, or a fictional place that only exists in your mind. Whatever works for you.

Now, as you walk through this space, you pick certain spots which you will use every single time, and you always go through them in the same order. These are the places where you will place your images as they come up.

For example, I imagine a classroom. This classroom has four tables. Each table has four seats. 16 seats total. I move from seat to seat clockwise and from table to table clockwise. 

So if I were to go through a deck and  got the King of Hearts, the King of Spades, the King of Diamonds and the King of Clubs, I would imagine Barack Obama, David Beckham, Prince William and Jay-Z sitting around the first table. This image is much more memorable than any combination of four cards.

You can do this with an entire deck of cards as long as you have a Memory Space with places for 52 images and a few days to practice. 

In addition, you can go through the deck backwards simply by walking through your Memory Space backwards. Finally, you can tell which card is in a randomly chosen position simply by remembering who was at that position in you Memory Space. The 19th card is the person sitting in the 19th seat, for example. You can also go the other way and determine the position of a random card by remembering where that person was sitting. The Seven of Clubs? That's Galileo. Galileo was sitting in the 4th seat, so the Seven of Clubs was the 4th card. Easy.

However, if you are going for speed, then you'll need a more powerful system.

P-A-O

PAO stands for Person-Action-Object. Again, this is one of many systems. Use whatever works for you. However, this system is the natural evolution of the concepts described above.

In this system, each card not only has a person associated with it, but also, as you may have guessed, an action and an object, but the action and the object should also somehow be associated with the person to avoid confusion and link back to the card easier.

For example, the Three of Spades is Ben Stiller.

It's a familiar image.
In the PAO system, the Three of Spades would be:

P: Ben Stiller...

A:...zipping up on...

O:...his $#&%.

So for every card in the deck, not only do you have to have a face associated with it, but also a verb and an object, such as, "Julian Assange exposing a conspiracy," or, "Princess Kate losing a glass slipper," or, "Barack Obama giving a speech about 14 trillion dollars."

Now, once you have a person, an action, and an object for each of the 52 cards, and can instantly recall them, you're ready to go through the deck again. Here's how you do it:

Imagine three cards. Let's say the King of Hearts, the Five of Hearts, and the Three of Spades.

Once again, you can choose whatever images you like, but for me, that would be:

Barack Obama, Julian Assange and Ben Stiller.

But instead of having these three sit around the table as we did for the four Kings above, we're going to have only one. The first card is the Person, the second card is the Action which that person is performing, and the third card is the object of the action. So in these three cards, we only have one image, not three.

For example, these three cards refer to:

King of Hearts
P: Barack Obama...
A:...giving a speech on...
O:...14 trillion dollars.

Five of Hearts
P: Julian Assange...
A:...exposing...
O:...a conspiracy.

Three of Spades
P: Ben Stiller...
A:...zipping up on...
O:...his $#&%.

We pick the Person of the first card, the Action of the second, and the Object of the third and we get our composite image...

Barack Obama exposing his....

Well, you get the picture (literally). So sitting around my table wth four seats, I can have up to 12 cards, not just four. My classroom has 48, not just 16. In addition, these images are much more vivid and definitely more unusual. They are, therefore, much more memorable. Finally, every time I memorize an image, it eats through three cards, not just one.

It may seem like adding an action and an object would take so much more memorizing, but it's not that bad since the action and object are related to the person anyway, and the benefits of the action and object far outway the cost.

You can demostrate for yourself just how effective this system is by keeping track of how long it takes you to forget the image of Barack Obama standing up in a classroom and exposing his whatnot for all to see.

It'll be a while...





Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Two Minute Deck Memorization: Update...

This challenge is getting pretty difficult and I think I've hit a bit of a wall, but I'm not worried. I think I've been causing a lot of my own difficulties here.

Since I moved up to memorizing a full deck, I have been able to pull it off a few times, but the time is way up there. The fastest I've been able to memorize a full deck in is about 3:30, though usually I'm up closer to 4-6 minutes.

It's getting to be really hard for me to work the time down to be consistently lower.

I think the reason is the relatively casual way that I have been approaching this challenge. Between work and other responsibilities, I've really just been working on this challenge when I had time. However, it occured to me today that the brain is very much like a muscle. If I practice this more, I'll get better at it. If I don't, that skill will atrophy. So far, I've been like that guy at the gym who works out only once a month, then wonders why he doesn't see any progress. Consistency!

I need to invest more time in this and be more consistent if I'm going to get down under 2 minutes. I can memorize a deck. I just have to do it faster! I have to put more time in if I'm going to cut more time out!

In addition, learning a full deck has been a lot harder because I ditched the old method and started to apply a new method.

More on that later...


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Two Minute Deck Memorization: Three Suits!

I just memorized three quarters of a deck of cards. It took me about four minutes to do it, but I did it and I'm moving on to memorizing a full deck. I'm not too worried about the time for now. I'll whittle that down once I get a full deck done.

What's interesting about this whole endevour is that I can see myself figuring out little tricks and loopholes to let me get my time lower and lower. 

There's so many things about the way I initially approached this challenge which were not only unneccesary, but actually detrimental to my success.

That's pretty exciting, and it's been exciting to see my capacity to remember cards grow as I put these tricks into practice. These tricks are nothing super genius, and nothing to brag about, but in the next few days, when I start talking about the process, I'll point out how my strategy has changed over time.

My fastest time with half a deck (2:36 min) was actually way slower than my fastest time with three quarters of a deck (2:02 min)!

Anyway, here's the video for three quarters of a deck.


Moving up to a full deck!!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Two Minute Deck Memorization: Two Suits!

I've worked up to half a deck! I've gotten accustomed enough to this that I can go through the deck forwards and backwards and if given a random number, I can tell which card was in that position. I can go the other way, too. If given a card, I can tell which position it was in, but I couldn't think of a way to demonstrate that in the video.

I've also run through it enough that I've noticed a few things I can do to make things easier on myself. More on that later a few posts from now, but for now, I'll just say that I'm hoping that I can start whittling my time down a bit. When I added the second suit, my time shot way up, understandably, but then it slowly came back down and settled right around 3 minutes. In theory, I'm capable of getting it down to 45 seconds. I don't think I'll come close to that during this challenge, but I know I can get under 2 minutes.

Anyway, here's me memorizing half of a deck of cards!


Now I'm moving up to three suits! Three quarters of a deck!

I'm on my way!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Two Minute Deck Memorization: One Suit!

OK, here is my new attempt to memorize one suit out of a deck of cards. 

I looked up the method used by the people who do this for a living, like those Grand Masters of Memory, and it's surprisingly simple. It will take some practice, but holy crap, I've already seen some good improvement!

video

So in about a day, I've gone from remembering two cards out of a suit, to remembering the whole suit. This is totally not because my brain has gone into hyperdrive, but because the method is so effective.

Still, I won't be terribly impressed until I can throw in another suit or two...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Two Minute Deck Memorization: First Attempt!

Ok, so today I was going to try to memorize a deck of cards. Failure was fully expected, but I have to admit, I thought I would do better than I did.

I've always had terrible memory. I once borrowed a book from someone called Improving Your Memory for Dummies but I never remembered to read it and eventually lost it. That's not a joke. True story.

So here was my first attempt to memorize a shuffled deck of cards.

video

It didn't go well. I decided to try to work my way up to a whole deck like I worked my way up to the Ghost Pepper. So I tried to do the challenge again with only one suit. Again, failure was expected, but I did get about as far as I thought I would...

video

So I don't know. This is looking like a long road ahead...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Two Minute Deck Memorization!

I have a new challenge!



Down the gauntlet has been lain!!! 

Laid?.... Lain.


I'm also excited to say that this is my first challenge that has not come from /r/GoForGold! Many thanks to "Exclamation Mark Rlsh" who posted this challenge to me on Facebook:
Dude, I like your other challenges, but let's not just push your body. Let's push your mind, too! There are 122 Grand Masters of Memory in the world. In order to claim that title, you have to memorize a shuffled deck of cards in two minutes, Memorize ten shuffled decks in an hour, and memorize 1000 random numbers in an hour.

I'm not going to make you do all three, but let's start you off with what seems like the easiest one. I want you to memorize a shuffled deck of cards in two minutes.
So that's it! Im going to try to memorize a shuffled deck of cards in two minutes!

Then I'm going to Vegas!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Complete!


So the Ghost Pepper Challenge is officially complete and I'd just like to share a few thoughts.

First of all, I don't mean to be crude, but because I know some of you are wondering, the peppers were not as spicy coming out as they were going in. This actually really surprised me. I fully expected to have some pretty ridiculous complications in my gastro-intestinals for most of this challenge.

For most of the hotter peppers, I drank a pretty good amount of milk and had some high fat and starchy foods to chase it down, so my only guess is that I managed to break down much of the capsaicin before it reached the other end. That was my goal, I just didn't really think I'd succeed. Even with the final three (Habanero, Ghost Pepper, and Trinidad Moruga Scorpian) I had a pretty sore stomach, but nothing made it all the way through.

Honestly, I was also pretty surprised that I didn't throw any of the peppers up. I've seen Ghost Pepper videos where the person eating the pepper would throw up, and a Trinidad video where the person thought he would. I was heaving for just a moment with the Ghost pepper, and I was worried I was about to puke in a friend's sink, and I think I came pretty close with the Trinidad Scorpian, but in both cases, it never happened.

Biological issues aside, I did receive a few things at the end of this challenge:

  1. 3 months of Reddit Gold from DiavelNJ, Gentleman and Scholar.
  2. "Fire-Eater" Title in /r/GoForGold
  3. Bragging rights and a few cool stories.
Redditor_in_Wild has yet to show up with the one month of Reddit Gold he promised, but I'm not too heartbroken about it.

So that's about it. I'd be happy to answer more questions in the comments, but that's about all I have for now!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 10 - Trinidad Moruga Scorpian (1,500,000 - 2,000,000 SHU)

There is a scene in Dante's Purgatory in which Dante has to walk through a cleansing flame to progress on his journey. Of that flame he says, "I would have cast me into molten glass to cool me, when I enter'd ; so intense rag'd the conflagrant mass."

These are literally the most appropriate words I can think of to describe my experience of eating the Trinidad Moruga Scorpian.

This was one of the most uncomfortable moments of my entire life. All of the same effects were there as with the Ghost Pepper, but they were all so much worse. My entire face and throat felt like it was vibrating. My lips felt like they were on fire. My mouth, tongue and throat felt like I had swallowed sand, or thumbtacks. Red hot thumbtacks.

Like Hellraiser, this pepper introduced me to new sensations in levels of intensity which were previously unimaginable.

I have literally never felt anything like this in my entire life...




Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 9 - Ghost Pepper (855,000 - 1,463,700 SHU)


Well, I just ate a Ghost Pepper. Due to technical difficulties, I decided to skip the Red Savina. If I ever get my hands on one, I'll still eat it, but I got impatient and just wanted to eat the Ghost Pepper.

By the way, I would like to thank the wonderful gentleman at Pexpeppers.com for providing the last few peppers. Excellent service, very polite, patient, accomodating. If this were eBay, they'd get the coveted "Great Service A++++++++++++++++".

This pepper was a surprise. It was immediately unbearable. No build, no subtle rise in heat. It just exploded in a fireball of pain and regret. This is literally the most miserable I've been in a long, long time and it's the most pain I've felt in a long, long time. 

The pepper actually popped when I bit into it and you can hear it quite easily on the video. My breath was so peppery, that my friend who was present was complaining about the smell. She was sitting about 5 or 6 ft away. My entire face was tingling so bad it felt like I was being electrocuted.  My eyeballs were tingling.

At one point in the video, I mention that it feels like pins and needles in my whole mouth. I want to clarify this. I don't mean that feeling like when your leg falls asleep. I mean it literally felt like thousands of sharp, pointy bits of metal jabbing at the flesh in my mouth and throat.

I was trying desperately to think of something to sing. I'm not a singer. Here's the video...


So that's it! We'll see if my resolve holds out a few more days though. I may just go one pepper farther.....

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 8 - Habanero Pepper (100,000 - 350,000 SHU)


Oh man, this one actually got me pretty good. This is, by far, the hottest pepper I've had yet, and it actually tasted like it. I'm typing this a few hours after eating it and my stomach still hurts pretty good.

My whole face went numb, I was sweating, my eyes were watering. Oh man, this one was good...



I think I'm gonna take a break for a day or so before I attempt the Red Savina...

But I'm still going for it...


Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 7 - Thai Pepper (50,000 - 100,000 SHU)


Today's pepper was the Thai Pepper. Specifically, it was the Thai Dragon Pepper. This pepper was pretty intense, but I think I'd still call it a disappointment because I had such high expectations for it. I mean, sure, it was really hot. In fact, it wasn't really "spicy" as much as just "painful", but I've had peppers similar than this in the Philippines called Siling Labuyo and I was hoping for a kick on par with those.

Nevertheless, these peppers were very hot.

I had a pretty horrible realization today, though. I've eaten 7 out of 10 peppers. I have three left, the Habanero, the Red Savina, and the Ghost Pepper. However, I've only gotten though about 10% of the Scoville scale! This means that 90% of this challenge's heat is in these three peppers!

So these next three will really test my resolve and my digestive track. Here's the Thai Pepper.

video

Tomorrow is the Habanero. See you then ... I hope ...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 6 - Cayenne Powder (30,000 - 50,000 SHU)


This one is going to take some explanation...

I looked for a long time to find a fresh cayenne pepper. I looked in every local store I could find. I looked online. I even asked around on /r/SpicySwap

For the life of me, I cannot seem to find a fresh, whole cayenne pepper. The closest I've come is Cayenne powder and a few hot sauces.

So I had to settle for powder.

I know that the scoville ratings for cayenne powders vary quite a bit. I tried to find one that didn't have any other ingredients, just the ground pepper. Conventional wisdom says that drying a pepper does not significantly change its scoville rating. Grinding it to powder would not significantly change it unless certain parts, such as the seeds, are left out.

In addition, I felt, for safety's sake, that I should add something to the powder in order to keep this from turning into a horrible, horrible variation on the Cinnamon Challenge. 

I added just a little bit of water. I chose water because, once again, it does nothing to cool the heat of the pepper.

So in the video, the paste you see on the spoon is a mix cayenne powder, and a small amount of water.

If anyone has any objections to the way I've approached this level, let me just say that I totally share your concerns. Find me a fresh cayenne pepper and I'll eat it.


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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 5 - Serrano Pepper (10,000 - 23,000 SHU)


Well, I think I've finally gotten to the point where the peppers are getting interesting. The first few were a huge, boring disappointment, as expected. The Jalapeno was surprisingly hot. Now the Serrano was pretty significant.

It took four tries, though. I ate three peppers, which was all I had. The second one was the only one with any real heat, but it wasn't even as bad as the Sriracha sauce. I ran out and bought one more, thinking that maybe I just picked a few duds. I picked the largest, ripest looking one there, and I sure picked a winner...


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I still haven't broken a sweat, but for some reason these peppers are making my face tingle. Can anyone tell me if that's normal?


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 4 - Jalapeno (2,500 - 8,000 SHU)


I'm thoroughly humbled right now. The jalapeno still wasn't all that bad overall, but I'll admit that it had a much bigger kick than I thought it would. I've had raw jalapenos in the past many times, but I've never had one like this. It wasn't really the spiciness that was bad as much as the fact that I just wasn't ready for it.

It wasn't so bad that I was dying for milk or anything, but I'm getting to the point where I might need a glass handy for future peppers. My next pepper is potentially three times hotter than this one.

For the sake of variety, after I ate the raw pepper, I tried to down a few of those little slices you get jarred at the store. Their heat was nothing compared to the raw pepper. In fact, I stopped eating them because they almost felt like they were cooling my mouth off.


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So that's the jalapeno. I told you I would lose my arrogance once I hit a pepper that really got to me. This was it. I really wasn't expecting it to burn like it did.

This pepper has won my respect...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 3 - Anaheim Pepper + Sriracha Sauce (1000-2000 SHU)


Today I had an Anaheim Pepper. These peppers are rated between 1,000 and 2,000 SHU. The pepper by itself was pretty disappointing. However, I knew this pepper had a pretty wide range of heat. As I mention in the video, I've seen numbers for it as low as 500 SHU, and I just wasn't interested in another pepper so boring.

So I picked up a bottle of Sriracha sauce (~2000 SHU in US), cut a section of pepper off the bottom to form a sort of cup, filled it with the sauce, and downed it.

It took a second, but this was the first time during this challenge that I felt any real heat. The Bell Pepper, of course, is rated at 0 for a reason, and the Peperoncini was really more sour than it was spicy, though it did have a little kick to it.

Honestly, the Anaheim pepper, by itself, wasn't even as hot as the Peperoncini. It did have a little heat after a few seconds, but it was almost imperceptible.

Sriracha saved me...

(Hysterical laughter is due to off-screen shenanigans...)

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So there was a little heat there, but still no challenge. No sweat, nothing serious.

However, I did feel a little. I look forward to the next few days. 

I'm still waiting to be challenged...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 2 - Peperoncini (100-900 SHU)

This was another boring day. I can't wait for tomorrow, but today I just had a Peperoncini. I can't say I'm intimidated by any pepper that comes on a salad, but once again, I'm sure I'll lose that arrogance in a few days.

For now, though, the most challenging thing about these early peppers is not the heat, but the lack thereof. Just like the Bell Pepper, there isn't much to say about the Peperoncini. I'm excited for this to start getting more challenging, though.

Tomorrow can't come soon enough.

Here's the video for today, though:


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Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 1 - Bell Pepper (0 SHU)

The humble Bell Pepper. To my knowledge, it is the only pepper with a Scoville rating of 0, meaning that even after being diluted 0 times, it has no detectable heat.

It's a pretty modest beginning to what I think will turn out to be a pretty difficult challenge in a few days.

The worst part of eating a chunk of Bell Pepper was all the bitter parts inside which I did not remove. The more intense peppers I'll be eating later will be eaten whole, so I decided to eat this pepper whole, too. I literally just cut a good chunk off and ate it. It actually tasted pretty awful.

Anyway, here's the video:

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I'll admit I'm bored by this. I mean, it's a Bell Pepper! Challenge me! Oh well, soon I'll be eating my words...

When the peppers get hotter, I'll stick around for a bit after to describe the heat, etc, but for a Bell Pepper, there's not a whole lot to say. Who doesn't know what a Bell Pepper tastes like?

Keep following along! My prediction is that this will start to get interesting around Level 3...


Monday, September 23, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge


Redditor DiavelNJ has issued the challenge to eat a Ghost Pepper or a Trinidad Moruga Scorpian. I'm going to try both.

The rules of the challenge are:
  1. I must greet DiavelNJ in the video.
  2. Prove what the pepper is.
  3. Chew for 15 seconds.
  4. Swallow.
  5. Sing about what is occuring in my mouth.
  6. No liquids for five minutes.
Reward:

  • Three months of reddit gold from DiavelNJ.
  • An additional month from Redditor_in_Wild.

I tried for quite a while to find these peppers, but finally had to order them online. I've got some time to kill while I wait for them to show up. So in the mean time, I'm going to eat peppers all the way up the Scoville scale until I get to the Ghost Pepper.

Here's the plan:
  1. Bell Pepper (0 SHU)
  2. Peperoncini (100-900 SHU)
  3. Anaheim Pepper + Sriracha Sauce (1K - 2.5K SHU)
  4. Jalapeno Pepper (2.5K -8K SHU)
  5. Serrano Pepper (10K - 23K SHU)
  6. Cayenne Pepper (30K - 50K SHU)
  7. Thai Pepper (50K - 100K SHU)
  8. Habanero Pepper (100K - 350K SHU)
  9. Red Savina Habanero (350K - 580K SHU)
  10. Bhut Jolokia "Ghost" Pepper (855K - 1,463K SHU)
Bonus: Trinidad Moruga Scorpian (1500K - 2000K SHU)

Tomorrow, it begins...


Two Week Burrito Challenge: The Wrap Up

So the chllenge is officially over.

Here is an update that Yishan posted half-way through the challenge.

Here is the announcement by Yishan that the challenge is over.

And here is the final results, also by Yishan.

I have sent the final verification to Yishan and he has given me a total of 24 months of Reddit gold, for 24 days of burritos.

Once I was free of burritos, I went and had sushi at Sakura, in Orem UT.

It's like a little japanese burrito!

So that's it for this one! Thanks to Yishan and thanks to everyone who followed along!



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Two Week Burrito Challenge: Day 24

This is it. The big day. Today I eat my final challenge-related burritos. Tomorrow, I eat non-burrito food. I went back to Malena's today because a friend of mine told me that when I went yesterday, I did it wrong. Apparently, I should have gotten green sauce, not red, and pinto beans, not black.

So back I went.


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He was right about the sauce. I'll give him that.

Then I went to work and finally finished off those disgusting microwave burritos. Had the last three. In a strange sort of poetic twist, I finished those dreaded, awful microwave bricks on the same day I finished this glorious challenge. They were my last meal.


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So that's it for this one. One final verification will be sent to Yishan and I'm gonna hit the buffet.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Two Week Burrito Challenge: Day 23

Today we officially moved into our new place. The constant threat of homelessness is gone. We decided to celebrate by exploring our new locale, Ephraim, UT.

We found this little mexican place called Malena's Cafe. This place was amazing. Easily one of the best burritos I've had throughout this challenge.

Got a Beef Barbacoa Burrito. Also, horchata.


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Later on, I went to work to use a computer to post this. We don't have internet in our new place yet. So while I'm sitting there waiting for my co-workers to finish their actual work, I decided to kill time by getting rid of a few more of those disgusting microwave burritos.


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So that was my day today. I think I'm going to call tomorrow my last day of the challenge. 24 days. Two solid years of Gold. That's good enough. Besides, I'm excited to move on to the next challenge. 

Anyone know where I can get my hands on a fresh Ghost Pepper?...





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