The Captain (‘s Quiz) is Back!

Paul, over at the Captain’s Speech has been hosting the preeminent blogging quiz awhile now but was on a mini-hiatus. When I saw his post announcing the latest quiz I admit getting a bit giddy with excitement. It’s been a long hot summer and I’m in need of some simple fun. And it just happens that the theme of this quiz is summer fun!

Captain’s Speech – The Captain’s Quiz 8: Summer Side Up


1. You are going camping at a campground for four days and three nights. Does this excite you, or fill you with dread? Explain.

Excitement ensues! Ok, so I’m not much of a campground person. I’m more of a backpacking person, but I assume I can choose a campground as base camp and do some cool hikes during the day. I absolutely love sleeping outside. The BEST sleep ever.

2. They say that, “Sally sells seashells by the seashore”. How much money do you think Sally makes on a Saturday in July, and do you think her business should be set up elsewhere?

Sally is selling seashells by the Jersey Shore. Her seashell necklaces have become a “must-have” fashion accessory ever since being showcased stuck between cleavage on the Jersey Shore show. Sally clears $1,000 on a good day and every Saturday in July at the Jersey Shore is a good day. Sally isn’t moving shop. She is a Jersey Girl at heart.

3. The ideal temperature for sleep is approximately 18°C (65°F). What are five tips you have for staying cool while sleeping?

Tip 1: Take a cool shower before bed to bring your core temp down.

Tip 2: Sleep nude.

Tip 3: Select proper bedding. After years sleeping in Asia, I’ve learned that the best bedding for hot summers is a bamboo woven mat. It magically sucks the heat out of the body. Warning: If nude make sure it’s a fine weave mat. Otherwise your going to be pinching your personal parts and I know from experience that that is NOT fun.

Tip 4: Create some air circulation. If cooler outside, you can open up a window. Where I live it’s hot as hell outside during the nights so we turn on the ceiling fan (of course you can also use an air-con, but that makes the whole question a bit mute so I’m assuming you don’t have one).

Tip 5: Keep water by your bed and drink throughout the night. It’s easy to get dehydrated even while sleeping when the temps are high.

4. In Season 4 of The O.C., Summer Roberts adopts a pet rabbit and names her Pancakes. What animal would you adopt and what breakfast food would you name it after?

True story. Bacon the pig. It was only a pet “for the season” then it lived (or should I say died?) up to its name.

5. SummerSlam is an annual professional wrestling event produced by the WWE. Thinking of yourself as a wrestler, provide the following information: your wrestling name, your character traits, your catchphrase, and the name of your most devastating maneuver.

Monty the Mean Green Monster Truck Machine. Think Hulk – generally angry as f*ck. “Vroom Vroom Mutherf*cker”. “The Truck Stop” – very basic move. I throw the opponent against the ropes and they rebound back into my flexed Monster Truck tattooed chest and drop from the impact.

6. What is a frozen dessert you enjoy eating outside? On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the messiest), how messy is it?.

Chocolate custard (super creamy soft serve ice cream) from Rita’s Italian Ice shop. I’m afraid it’s not messy because I get it a cup and eat it with a spoon. I’m guessing I’ll lose points for not being messy, but perhaps there’s a bonus for honesty? 1 Messy Point.

7. You are standing in an above ground swimming pool and your sunglasses fall to the bottom. How do you retrieve them?

I’m picking them up with my toes and “footing” them to my hand. If I was wearing sunglasses then I was obviously not in the mood to completely submerge. The alternative solution of busting through the wall of the pool and letting all the water out seems a bit selfish to the others in the pool (although I like the idea).

8. “Walking on Sunshine” is an upbeat song by Katrina And The Waves. What songs would be on your summer playlist?

Heat Waves (Glass Animals), Cigarettes on Patios (Baby Jake), Thats What I Want (Lil Nas X), Ride (Twenty One Pilots)

9. What are the pros and cons of patio dining?

Pros: Your Outside! – nice breeze, cool ambience, less noisy then a crowded inside table.

Cons: Bugs and Smokers.

10. What is a summer job you have had and how long did you remain friends/in-touch with your co-workers after the job ended?

I worked construction one summer during college. It paid very well but it was a miserable job. Back breaking work in the humid heat of New Jersey. Very motivating to get my college degree and avoid manual work for the rest of my life. I kept in touch with my co-workers exactly 0 days after leaving.


1. You have entered the food truck business. Tell me about your new venture and your strategy to dominate the market.

So, I’m selling food trucks. I’m partnering up with the best body paint shop in town and selling the trucks fully decorated and decked out for the glamorous nights out on the town.

2. You are going on a summer road trip and can take one person with you. It can be absolutely anyone. Tell me about the trip.

This is a true planned trip. My son and I are going to drive across US once he graduates college. We’ll start in Los Angelas and travel east hitting BBQ spots across the country till we arrive in NYC (no less than 10 pounds heavier).

3. What are some of your favourite summer memories?

Gosh, I think it has to be related to backpacking trips when I was a kid in Vermont. Ties back into the first question. Sleeping outside is the best. I’m not a big fan of the summer heat so beach trips to the Jersey Shore would be the nightmare memories of my childhood.

Be well,


The Blogger Games II – Week 1

Paul, over at the Captain’s Speech hosted the first ever blogger games last year during the Summer Olympics. It was a fun time. The competition was fierce and although I made the podium once during the five week games, I didn’t place in the end. Well, the time is nigh for that to change. Peckapalooza from The Confusing Middle, one of my fellow contestants in the first games, has negotiated organizing rights with Paul and is hosting The Blogger Games II just in time to coincide with the winter games. Enough said. Let’s play!

The Blogger Games II – Week 1 (The Confusing Middle)


1. Which of the following foods will Peckapalooza refuse to eat under any circumstances? A) Chocolate B) Spinach C) Broccoli D) Peanut Butter

Answer: B) Spinach. I reject Peckapalooza’s claim to being a grown-up adult.

2. What is most frequently Peckapalooza’s go to bowl of cereal? A) Frosted Flakes B) Cinnamon Toast Crunch C) Rice Krispies D) Honey-Nut Cheerios

Answer: A. Frosted Flakes. It’s a toss-up between Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch so I went with my gut (and avoiding two B answers in a row). My personal go-to cereal is Cheerios (standard, but China’s variation on the cereal which is much more crunchy and robust. Vastly superior to the US version in my opinion).

3. Peckapalooza [claims] he doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, but which kind of pie does he consider the best? A) Apple B) Pumpkin C) Key Lime D) Lemon Merengue

Answer: C) Key Lime Pie. After Lemon Merengue, this is one of the worst pies in my opinion. Too sweet. That’s right! I’m throwing down and risking it all by challenging the judge. Just call me reckless. I’m a Pumpkin and Apple pie kinda guy.

4. What is the only drink Peckapalooza will order at Starbucks? A) Pumpkin Spice Latte B) Caramel Apple Spice C) Caramel Macchiato D) White Chocolate Mocha w/ Raspberry

Answer: D) White Chocolate Mocha w/ Raspberry. I’ve never even heard of this one, but it’s the least coffee-like drink on the list (and white chocolate isn’t really chocolate). Also since Peckapalooza is a monster and doesn’t prefer pumpkin or apple pie, that eliminated two of the other options. Oh, and who knew Raspberry had a “p” in it??? I certainly never did. When the red squiggle line came up I was convinced some one messed with the editor’s dictionary.

5. Which condiment would Peckapalooza never put on a hot dog? A) Mayonnaise B) Ketchup C) Mustard D) Chili

Answer: A) Mayonnaise. Because despite my contentious comments earlier I don’t believe Peckapalooza is a monster. Also Chili is a topping not a condiment in my book.

6. As a kid, when enjoying a glass of chocolate milk, what did Peckapalooza use to change the white milk to chocolate? A) Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup B) Ovaltine C) Nestle Quik D) Swiss Miss Cocoa Mix

Answer: C) Nestle Quik. Because Peckapalooza is a child of the 80’s. Would Swiss Miss even work in cold milk?

7. Which fast food chain did Peckapalooza avoid until his early teens because he mistakenly believed that, as a picky eater, he could not specially request what he wanted? A) Burger King B) Taco Bell C) Subway D) Wendy’s

Answer: A) Burger King. Because it’s reasonable as a kid to think you can’t make demands of a king. And while Peckapalooza’s food tastes are a bit unreasonable, he is actually a very reasonable guy.

8: What is Peckapalooza’s favorite flavor of Pop-Tart? A) Apple Cinnamon B) Grape C) Frosted Strawberry D) Unfrosted Strawberry

Answer: D) Unfrosted Strawberry. Because there has to be at least one instance that backs up Peckapalooza’s claim of not being a sweet-tooth.

9. What is Peckapalooza’s preferred salad dressing? A) Thousand Island B) Ranch C) Honey Mustard D) Italian

Answer: A) Thousand Island. Because it is the best at hiding the vegetables (a toss-up with Ranch to be honest).

10) Which of the following topping combinations does Peckapalooza like on his pizza? A) Chicken, Bacon, and Sausage B) Pepperoni and Mushrooms C) Ham and Pineapple D) Peppers, Onions, and Sausage

Answer: B) Pepperoni and Mushroom. A classic. And mushrooms are the least vegetable vegetable there is. Option A, which is all meat, is a red-herring.

Monty’s Turn:

When Peckapalooza asks for a food story, you gotta deliver (in 30 minutes or less):

Ode to Soy

by Monty Vern (originally published in Monty’s Almanac 202x)

“Iron Sponge” – this is what you get when you source your tofu from a co-op’s bulk tofu barrel in Vermont during the 80’s and fry thick slabs of it seasoned only by the cast iron skillet.

“Iron Sponge”

Also known as “Torture by Tofu”, these healthy meals were a scaring introduction into the curdish world of soy. 

“Tofu Patties” – this is what you turn to when you take an ethics class about animal rights during senior year in college and are too lazy to read the counterarguments.

“Tofu Pattie”

If not for the illicit juices infiltrating these babies from the tortured cow patties cooked on the very same cafeteria grill and heavy overdoses of condiments all squeezed between bouncy buns, these might have cured me of senioritis. But to this day I haven’t read the counterarguments…I’ve just “conveniently forgot” the arguments in the first place.

“Silk de le Soy” – this, my friends, is a spiritual awakening in tofu form. A delicate tapestry of flavors and textures that serenade one’s tongue. A gift from the Sun gods to the chosen people.

One shouldn’t  complain or be too envious – they did after all give us  Mario, Luigi, and magic mushrooms. For me, this tofu epiphany came presented in a humble miso soup prepared by the mama-san of the company dormitory. Perfection.


“Dofu Delicacies” – having been enlightened, it was time to move on to the OG of soy (and seemingly all culture as we know it). It doesn’t take long when your living in China to learn that a delicacy is more about delighting the spectators of the poor laowai struggling to keep their stomach from turning upside down than any sort of culinary pleasure. Dofu is no exception. What’s beautiful about the Chinese is that they don’t mess around with euphemisms , with names like “stinky dofu” from Zhejiang to “hairy dofu” from Anhui , you know exactly what you’re getting.

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“Stinky Tofu”

So, there you have it. My life in tofu. Wherever you are in your tofu discovery journey, I raise my glass (or more accurately my bowl) of soymilk to you wishing you health and joy and ever’ soy.

Be well,