New Shoes: Merrell Barefoot Bare Access

Got some new kicks this week. I put about 250 miles into a pair of Nike Free Run+ (version 1). I wanted to get 300 miles out of them, but they started to wear a blister on my left foot after even moderate workouts. Which means get out of my life.

As you are all WELL AWARE, I got a pair of them freaky five-fingered deals a few months back. I really like them, but I also understand and respect the amount of damage you can do trying to transition too quickly from supple padding and support to what is essentially a thick coat of paint on the bottom of your foot. I love the Vibrams and I hope to someday run in them exclusively. As it stands, I still consider myself “in transition” to minimalist running. And I am okay with that.

New Tires

I first read about the Merrell Barefoot Bare Access (MBBA) shoes at Birthday Shoes. I was looking for the next logical step in my minimalist evolution, something between the Nikes and the toe shoes, and the MBBAs seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Zero toe drop, but an 8mm thick sole. So, on Tuesday afternoon, I ordered them from Zappos.

Zappos being Zappos, the shoes were in my hands fewer than 24 hours later. I walked around in them Wednesday evening for a bit, and they felt great.

THURSDAY MORNING. I dropped Marty off at school (iOS corrects ‘Matty’ to ‘Marty’ so Marty it is) and hit the hills of Smyrna for a jaunty prance in the shiny new kicks. I ran 4 miles and … honestly … felt fucking awesome pretty much the entire time [/FORESHADOWING].

There are currently 4 customer reviews on the Zappos page for the MBBA. Two of the four reviews mention an issue where the sole separates from the upper after minimal use. I noted this when I was shopping for the shoes but wrote it off and attributed it to poor suckers receiving manufacturer’s defects. [/FORESHADOWING]

Oh, Jesus Christ, here are the pictures (after a single 4 mile run).

Right Shoe (instep):

Left Shoe (instep):

Additionally, and this is going to seem like I’m piling on Merrell here, look at the sole by the toes. Again, this is after one run.

Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was ordering racing tires for my Veyron that need to be replaced every 30 minutes.

This would be an open and shut case if the shoes didn’t fit or didn’t feel right whilst pounding le pavement. I would be like, “Remember that time I got that shitty pair of shoes from Merrell that felt terrible and fell apart after one run so I sent them back and never thought about them again? That was weird.” Alas, they felt GREAT on the one short run I enjoyed in them. My calves are burning today, likely a result of the zero toe drop, but it’s the good kind of burn that makes you want to get your ass back out there.

I called and emailed Zappos yesterday. Their Customer Service department was temporarily closed because they were “taking part in teambuilding and celebrating our culture.” It’s pretty awesome when a company can respond, “Can’t listen to you whine right now, getting drunk, kthxbai.” I’m being serious. Zappos is awesome.

Desired result: Merrell fixes their manufacturing process to eliminate these issues; sends me new shoes for free.
Likely result: New Balance Minimus

UPDATE: Zappos responded to my email letting me know that a replacement pair of MBBA are already in the mail, which is awesome, but I still give the “Likely Result” above about a 75% chance of becoming reality.

Vegas: Robbed

Spent last week at CES in Vegas. For those of you who don’t know, the letters CES stand for 35 Football Fields Of Flat Screens and/or Mobile Accessories. Actually, I really enjoy CES, but that’s a different post. For all intents and purposes, it was an entirely uneventful trip to Vegas: I ate and drank WAY too much, I slept almost none, and I came home with less cash than I left with. Soooooo, totally normal.

This story, however, is about what happened after I got home from CES.

Leaving Vegas, I was … beat. I spent the entire flight home having visions of being in bed by 9PM at the latest. Upon arriving home, the Geester had different plans. My mother had unexpectedly signed up to take Matty overnight, and Gia was ready to hang. So, visions of a 3rd grade bed time quickly exploded into dominos and Rock Band with a house full until after midnight. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast, but it wasn’t what I had planned, nor what my body was equipped for.

My head hit the pillow shortly after 1AM.

I startled awake for an unknown reason a few minutes before 2AM. Once awake, I noticed the motion-detector driveway light was on (likely because it lights up the bedroom like a movie premier). Now, the driveway light is frequently tripped by cats and dogs cruising around, so the fact that it was on was not itself a reason to be alarmed. For some reason, despite wanting nothing more than to crawl under my pillow to block the light, I was compelled to get out of bed and take a look around.

This is why I will always spend up to the model with the moonroof. At first glance, I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Then I picked up some motion between our cars. I rubbed my so-so-tired eyes like a cartoon character and focused harder. From my view down through the moonroof of the Ridgeline (I’m one story above the driveway), it quickly became clear there was someone rummaging through the car, having entered from the passenger side.

My first instinct was to pound the window and shout. Then I thought that would just confuse him, because he is rifling through my car, which means he is a FUCKING MORON. My next thought (and this will be clearer for those who are familiar with the Tall Brown floor plan) was to run through the master bathroom out onto the deck where I could shout horribly insensitive threats from the safety of stairless Wide Brown.

Here is where parenthood might have saved my life. I had already taken a step toward the back door when my imagination said, “Hey. Tony. What if that guy has a gun and a mental disorder? Wouldn’t you rather watch him drive off in your Honda than, you know, those other things that keep you up at night?” I suddenly realized how glad I was that Matty was 35 miles away at my parents’ house.

So, I stood at the window for a second in my underwear, watching, in real time, as an intruder of uncertain sex or ethnicity decides what in my car is worthy to … simply claim as their own.

As quickly as I had come upon the situation, though, it ended. The perp stood up, silently closed the passenger door, and walked quickly up the driveway toward the cul de sac. I ran from the bed to the front of the house, but when I peered out the front window, there was nothing. I remember thinking, “Well, at least I’m getting hit by criminals who know how to stay the fuck out of sight.”

The next few minutes were a struggle. Once I was confident that the perp had moved on and the perimeter was secure, I casually got back into bed. Yeah, I know. My brain:

“I just … I just want to go to sleep. That’s all I’ve wanted since, like, Thursday. And here I am in my own bed, and my wonderful son is with his wonderful grandparents, which means I get to sleep until a lot later than if my wonderful son were here at the house. And that guy (or girl) was clearly just poking around for valuables, of which there are none in either car, I can assure you, so, joke’s on you, criminal scum! Anyway, if I call the police, I’m going to have to stay awake until they show up, then I’m going to have to stay awake while they’re here, and then, after they leave, I’m going to have to bring myself back down to where I can fall asleep. It’s after 2 now, shit, it could be 5AM before the cops get all their paperwork done and let me go. Frankly, I would trade a burgled car for 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep.”

I laid there for a few minutes, staring at the ceiling, feeble brain turning things over like a Kitchenaid mixer set to Don’t Offend, when, thankfully, reason came to the rescue.

“Tony, what if one of your neighbors witnessed one of their cars being robbed and didn’t say anything? What if this person is in the neighborhood for the next hour and eventually finds a laptop or a weapon or something that is used to make someone else’s life much, much worse and you could have prevented it by getting off your lazy ass and making a phone call? Better yet, picture the conversation with Gia in the morning. ‘Honey, I saw someone breaking into one of our cars last night.’ ‘… Uh … did you call the police?’ ‘Yeah, no, I was SUPER tired. Besides, I – ”

I got out of bed and called 911. I told the operator what [had] happened and he peppered me with several questions. When he was finished he told me that officers were already on their way and that I could stay on the line with him until they arrived or I could call him back if I saw a mouse or got shot or anything in between. He didn’t actually say that. He did tell me to stay inside and not to touch the car.

When I hung up the phone, I could hear police sirens, which was impressive. I was expecting to have to wait a long time given the lack of urgency of my call. “Let me get this straight, there is a man going through the CDs in your car and … judging you? WE’RE ON OUR WAY.” I placed the call at 2:07AM. A police cruiser drove by my house at 2:14AM. Color my tax dollars well spent.

The cop made a full lap of the neighborhood and then pulled in our driveway. He told me that petty vehicle thefts have been a big issue in the area for a couple months. The good news is that they seem to simply be lifting handles checking for unlocked cars and pilfering whatever they can get. There is almost never any damage to the car. There was no damage to my car, and the only [apparent] item removed was a cheap, aftermarket iPhone charger. The officer said several cars recently have had guns and laptops stolen.

I will not reveal the reason why our car was unlocked because I am a gentleman.

I chatted with the cop for a minute and then he bailed, presumably because this was all too boring for him, even by suburban Atlanta standards. Total time from 911 call to being back in bed: 39 minutes. Yet another reason Smyrna is a great place to live.

Get plenty of sleep and lock your car. Not necessarily in that order.

A Pilgrimage

My maternal grandmother is celebrating her birthday this Sunday. I will refrain from divulging her actual number of laps around the sun because I am a gentleman and she gave life to the wonderful woman who breathed life into me and it would be inelegant, insensitive, and gauche to trivialize such an accomplishment by such an inspiring woman. She will be ninety. Holy shit.

Granny (that’s what she insists we call her, dead serious) lives in a small town in Northeastern Iowa. My mom grew up there and Granny still lives in the family house. I’m not sure when she and my grandfather moved there; remind me to ask my mom next time I see her (this Tuesday). When we lived in Minneapolis (where I was born) it was a not-unreasonable drive South to visit. When we lived in Denver, it was a bit of a haul, but one that we made smack in the middle of the Blizzard of ’82.* I remember playing outside in the snow and asking oh god why does this suck so bad and getting the response because it is twenty below, you idiot. What are you, five? Yes.

Because this is the only time Granny will reach this particular milestone, a large familial contingency is congregating in Iowa this weekend for the festivities. Lest the sarcastic tone of this post be misleading, I couldn’t be more excited. I really only remember two trips to Granny’s house: my grandparents’ 40th wedding anniversary in 198x (Mom, help), and my grandfather’s funeral in 1993, when I was 15. That’s not to say I’ve only seen her twice in the past 25+ years–she’s actually traveled to many of our own milestones. Really there are two primary backstory facts here: I don’t get to enjoy my grandmother’s company all that often, and I haven’t traveled to see her at her house since BEFORE WINDOWS 95, so this is a big deal. A bigger deal than it should be because things shouldn’t be like this? Obviously. A big deal nonetheless.

From Atlanta, the least insane way to get to Granny is to fly into Minneapolis, rent a car, and drive just under 200 miles South. Not a crazy trip for adults, but a ridiculous trip for a two-year-old, one of whom we have. To wrangle him for a flight, and then toss him in a rental car for 3 hours, PLUS deal with all of his “accoutrements” is not an insurmountable feat. Nor is strapping him into his car seat in Atlanta and pulling onto the highway, then not pulling off for 10+ hours. It’s just that “vacation time” is such a precious commodity that I am simply unwilling to commit to either of the aforementioned options, significant family milestone or not.

You don’t think this is a just a long, awkward way to announce that we’re skipping, do you? No, silly. The Duke, Mrs. Jazzbone, The Geester, and I are renting a 36-foot RV because AMERICA. The thinking goes like this: We can pack up as much crap as we want, hit the road whenever we want, take however long we want, get there whenever we want, and then sleep in our car, which is arguably more comfortable than your house.

Before any enthusiasts reading this decide I am talking out of two buttholes, I’ll come clean: I have never rented nor spent any significant time in a RV before. I’ve spent hundreds of hours on chartered buses, but, you know, CHARTERED. It might suck, horribly. I’m sure parts of it will. But here are the facts:

  • A week with my parents and Matty
  • Mattias gets to meet his great-grandmother for the first time
  • Plugging hard into the family tree for a few days. My mom’s sisters are rad.
  • America’s bread basket. Late summer.

    Even in the worst of circumstances, I’m hoping the actual circumstances fall by the wayside, as they should always. Based on what I’ve read, RVing seems like a Flanders-modest middle finger to everything that isn’t an RV. If, after this, that holds true, I will buy six of them.

    * This marks the first time I can remember ever referencing something that happened to me, during my life, that sounds like the name of a shipwreck. I have shifted a couple steps closer to something and a couple steps further away from something else.

    Premature deck announcement (aka – SINKHOLIO)

    So … we’re going to put a new deck on our house. I originally planned a big announcement (which really just means a long blog post with lots of capital letters), but I’ve come to realize if I try to plan something to completion, I will spend the rest of my life in the planning phase. It’s best to just start whatever needs starting and figure it out as I go. SO HERE WE ARE.

    I mentioned the deck plan a couple months ago, and since then, I’ve done quite a bit of research and talked to a handful of professionals. My original plan was to have a contractor do the entire project. It’s going to be a very large job and as I tried to wrap my brain around it, I convinced myself that it would be worth a couple (THOUSAND) extra dollars to just have the pros come in and knock it out.

    After having no less than three contractors take a look at the project and give me high level estimates, I realized that I had underestimated the market by about two-thirds. We could have purchased a nice automobile for the money this was going to cost. The options we were left with were A) pretend we live in a high-rise condo with no deck or yard, or B) build the damn thing ourselves. I found as I socialized the project that my friends and family tended to agree with whatever my plan was.

    “We’re going to build a new deck.”

    “Awesome! Deckbuilding is fun. I will help.”

    “Actually, I think I’m going to have professionals do it. It’s a huge job.”

    “You should totally have professionals do it! Your time is worth too much to spend all your weekends building a deck.”

    “I talked to some professionals, and I think I’m going to do the whole job myself.”

    “You should totally do it yourself. Deckbuilding is fun. I will help.”

    I’ve been reading books (including this one put out by the Forest Products Society — highly recommended), talking to people, and creeping around friends’ houses looking at the underlying support structure(s) of their various outdoor leisure areas. Mostly, I’ve been preparing myself mentally for the project, which will doubtlessly gobble vastly more time and resources than I have ever invested in a home improvement project to date. It’s going to be a huge job. Like, retarded huge.

    And we’ve already hit our first significant speed bump!

    Two weekends ago, I was in the back yard outlining the proposed new deck with string to help visualize the project. As I was anchoring a pole where one of the new deck posts would be located, my foot sank into the ground. And it wasn’t like sinking into soft dirt or mud. It was like the top 2 inches of clay gave way and a hole about a foot deep opened up underneath me.

    Oh. Great. A sinkhole. Right there. Where the deck … of course. Where else would a sinkhole … SENSATIONAL!!

    I grabbed a shovel and quickly unearthed a problem area. A hole like this should take more than 10 minutes to dig:

    After the existential freakout subsided, I contacted several of my landscape architect friends (Note to self: Why the hell do I know so many landscape architects?) Their initial diagnoses were identical: It’s an old construction bury pit and I would need to “over-excavate” the area and re-pack the dirt. So that’s what I did last Sunday. I wish there was a more entertaining story to tell, but I don’t know what to say about me digging a hole and then filling it right back up. Living the dream, indeed.

    Photo set of me moving thousands of pounds of dirt with a spade shovel.


    Oh, did I forget to tell you I’m in a new band? It’s called Onomatopoenis. We have one album [s/t], and it has one song on it, which is called Onomatopoenis. Unfortunately, immediately following the release of our debut record, we broke up having never played a single live show. Oh well. Here is the album in it’s entirety:

    (Those of you reading via RSS will have to visit the site to stream the audio, or you can download here.)

    Seriously though, Crane, Dave, and I wrote and recorded this song in approximately 30 minutes. Add another 20-30 minutes to adjust the mics and record the vocals and we are ONE CRAZY FAST HIT MACHINE, I AM TELLING YOU. Strangely enough, we aren’t nearly as drunk as we sound. Rise up.

    Brian Crane: Bass, Vocals
    Dave Becker: Guitar, Vocals
    Mike Douglas: Vocals, Vocals
    Your Mom: Drums, Vocals

    Garden 2008

    I’ve tried my hand at suburban farming in the past. As with virtually every aspect of my life, I am really good at getting it started and exceptionally shitty at following it through to the end. Why, just last summer, I started a (rather late) container garden at the end of the driveway with some tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. Most of the plants grew enthusiastically, and I watered them almost daily. Then, at some magical point which I can never, ever see coming, I simply lost interest. I got some good tomatoes out of the deal, which became a couple of great batches of salsa, but I didn’t really know what to do with the rest, so I just left it there. There were a couple banana peppers and a handful of cayennes, and I just ignored them to rot on the stem. Quick, someone tag this post with “therapy” so I can point to it when I’m on the couch at some point in the future.

    Despite having not read The Omnivore’s Dilema, nor In Defense of Food, nor Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I very much like the idea of producing myself some of the food I eat. It is because of this notion that I have thrown my lack of focus to the wind and started another container garden. I actually got quite an early start this year. So early in fact that I played it safe and started the garden indoors to avoid the risk of late frost (like the 29°F day we had last April that wreaked so much havoc).

    I couldn’t put the young plants in any old window because our goonish cats would march right over and chomp away until I came roaring around the corner with the hose and the vacuum. So, I positioned the little buds in a bin to catch drainage and put the whole thing in the window of my office whose door I could keep closed. Here’s a picture right before I brought them down to the driveway and put them in larger pots.

    And here we are in our permanent homes. Go to this picture’s flickr page to see what is in each container:

    The April frost from last year that I alluded to earlier tried its best to obliterate our fig tree. The fig tree survived, but barely, and like a severely handicapped war veteran with acute PTSD, the tree has been trying to finish itself off ever since. The frost only got a few of the leaves, but it killed most of the roots. A few weeks after the frost, I found the fig tree lying on it’s side like it had just given up. Not on my watch, mister. I grabbed some twine and fashioned a stake out of scrap lumber. Minutes later, he was again vertical. The next day I found him lying on the other side. DON’T YOU DIE ON ME!! I banged out two more stakes and quickly assembled a tri-pod-style support system like I should have done the first time. The tree has remained supported ever since. It kicked out two good rounds of fruit last year, and it is ready to kick out THE JAMS this year. This is one branch:

    And there are a dozen or so just like it. I hit it with 2 gallons of dilluted root stimulator and reset the support system. I’m expecting near total recovery. If I can stay interested long enough to keep it watered. You bring the gorgonzola and prosciutto.

    The most awkward interaction of my life thus far

    Before I address the title of this post, I would like to convey, as I’m sure I have in the past, one of life’s greatest pleasures. Quite simply, I cannot help but smile when my ass hits the toilet seat in the work bathroom only to discover that the seat is icy cold. I’m not sure exactly why I enjoy this so much, but I imagine it has something to do with the idea that no one else’s ass has touched that seat in months. Decades, even. Conversely, a toilet seat that emits any warmth whatsoever is one of life’s greatest bummers.

    As I have also conveyed in the past (and my lovely wife can confirm), the regularity of my constitution is remarkably consistent. Astoundingly consistent. Thanks to my colon, I don’t even wear a watch anymore. This Olympic regularity is only coincidentally related to this story, but it is directly responsible for placing me at the scene of the incident I am about to describe.

    Now then.

    There are three stalls in the bathroom on my floor at work; two regular and one handicapped-accessible. The two regular stalls are annoyingly small. Like, airplane bathroom small. Porta-potties are palatial by comparison. As such, I usually default to the handicapable stall. I have no problem with one of the other stalls if the handicapped seat is occupied, but the roomiest option is my first preference.

    Now then.

    This morning I entered the bathroom at exactly the same minute I enter the bathroom every single day. There was someone in the middle stall, but the handicapped stall was free. Score. The seat was alarmingly cold. SCORE. If someone had left behind a section of the newspaper, it would have been a hat trick. Can’t win ‘em all.

    I set about my business and, as so often happens, my mind wandered. The Weakerthans are playing in Athens tonight and I really want to go see them. But if I’m going to go all the way over to Athens and then engage in an activity as rambunctious as a show of rock and roll, I probably need to just crash over there. But I would have to leave Athens by like 6:30AM if I want to get to work on time tomorrow, which would totally suck. Plus I’ve stayed up a little too late the past couple nights and I can feel myself falling behind on sleep. I suppose I could take tomorrow off.

    The guy in the stall next to me finished and left the bathroom. An assortment of people came in, used the urinals, washed their hands, and left.

    But I just took a week off, and I’m taking two days off next week, so I probably shouldn’t take tomorrow off just for a show. Plus, whoever I stay with is going to have to get up for work and / or school, which will require me to get up early and vacate anyway. Maybe I could just take a half day tomorrow. But taking half days is such a pain in the ass. (I have to essentially take the whole day in the system and then let my boss know that I have another half day in the bank for use at a later date.) Though I guess I could stay with Mark. He doesn’t have to open the tattoo shop until noon, so I could sleep in. But then I would have that gross slept-in-during-the-week feeling and I would likely be hungover, which would likely cause me anxiety because the rest of society is dutifully working through their Wednesday and I woke up at like 10:30AM with a hangover and didn’t go to work. And then I would either be out a whole extra vacation day, or I would have to come into work at lunch time feeling like burnt eggs. How long have I been sitting here? I should probably get back to work.

    Now then.

    The bathroom had been silent for quite a while. I finished my business, exited the stall, and froze in place. Sitting before me was a coworker picking at the skin around one of his cuticles. Did I mention he was sitting? IN A FUCKING WHEELCHAIR?!

    So here I am, perfectly un-handicapped, occupying the only men’s handicapped facility on the entire floor while this guy sits quietly in his wheel chair waiting for me to finish. Then he has to go occupy the unpleasantness I had just created and muscle himself onto a toilet seat which will be unpleasantly warm.

    “Oh. I’m … uh … I’m sorry. Gosh.”

    The look on his face said, “This is really awkward. For you.”

    I went to the sink as he wheeled behind me toward the stall. He had bandages and braces on both legs from his shins to his toes and both legs were elevated out in front of him indicating not a permanent handicap but a recent injury.

    He struggled with the door because of the springs that cause it to close by itself. He would open it and then by the time he could wheel into position, it would close in front of him.

    “Do you want me to hold the door for you?”

    “No, I need to learn how to do this.”

    “What … uh … what’d you do?”

    “I jumped off a waterfall. And broke both my heels.”

    “Ow. I guess that’ll do it.”

    I said, “Ow. I guess that’ll do it.” I said, “Ow. I guess that’ll do it.” What the hell does that even mean? OH YEAH. THE OLD WATERFALL JUMP. A NOTORIOUS HEEL RUINER. YOU SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR THAT.

    “Uh. I’ve got it, thanks.”

    If you need me I’ll be lying in the road.

    Phoning it in

    As often happens lately, I started this post a long time ago but never finished it. While my inability to finish things is discouraging, it is nice to have half-full blog posts for days (like today) when I’m short on ideas.

    Continue reading

    Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

    YESTERDAY: First day back in the saddle after a little spring break week in Portland. Thought I avoided any discernible jet-lag, but now there are forehead grease stains on my monitor. Interesting. Our trip to Stumptown was fairly typical. We ate and drank like there was perpetually an electric chair on the horizon. We got to spend at least a couple quality hours with damn near everyone we wanted to, and I made plans to see the folks I missed when I’m back out for work in a few weeks. It rained. It was sunny. It was cold. And warm (ish). Got to visit some great beer haunts including but not limited to Walkingman, Full Sail, Double Mountain, and Hopworks. We were reminded (not that it takes much) how much we love Portland and the Pacific Northwest as well as how difficult it would be to move back there despite how much we might want to. Oh well. I’ll continue to visit whenever I can. Last night, we went to see Avenue Q at the Fox. It was uproariously funny.

    TODAY: This should be it’s own blog entry, but maybe I’ll keep it shorter this way. Why the hell hasn’t Atlanta been included in Google Maps Street View yet? Google announced yesterday that they added 13 more cities to the Street View list bringing the grand total of available cities to 48. Now, I’m not like someone from Boston or New York who will argue my city’s superiority simply because I’m too proud and / or insecure to admit otherwise. And I am well aware that Atlanta proper is only 34th largest city in the U.S. My problem is with the fact that the Atlanta metro area is the 9th largest Metropolitan Area in the U.S. You’ll notice the other glaring omission is the DC / Baltimore area. Yes, they should be giving Google the WTF eyes as well. I could understand if the problem was that Atlanta covers too much square mileage and the Street View photography was too large a project. But Dallas and Houston, both sprawling monstrosities, have Street View. And sprawl aside, it’s hard to view the fact that Albuquerque, Anchorage, Austin, Cleveland, Fairbanks, Little Rock, Madison, Nashville, Rockford, Richmond, Spokane, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Yosemite freaking National Park all got the creepy surveillance treatment before Atlanta as anything other than intentional. Google is not allowed to use our airport until this shit is fixed.

    TOMORROW: A little light housework and then the Terrapin Grand Opening fiesta in Athens. I’m going to drink beer!!

    Anatomy of your new favorite sandwich

    July, 2001 – Somewhere speeding through the scorching desert of Arizona, or New Mexico, or Southern Colorado, a young man grew restless. This restlessness had grown from the seeds of endless Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches with tortilla chips. The goal of saving time and money by eating sandwiches in the van instead of stopping for meals had long been accomplished. Something had to give. There had to be a better way. From this combination of swirling desperation and 115° heat, a new sandwich was born and has thrived ever since. Behold.

    Step 1: Place two slices of Sprouted Grain bread on a plate. Place a jar of peanut butter and a bottle of hot sauce behind the plate. Take a picture.

    Step 2: Make a sandwich.

    Step 3: Let me do it.

    Step 4: Garnish!

    Critical comments posted by people who have never tried the above stroke of geniosity will be met with deserved ridicule and then forwarded to Brazilian death squads. Basically, eat peanut butter and hot sauce sandwiches or die like a dog in the street.