I have decided that the most efficient way to update this blog is going to be on a per location or per weekly basis. Based on my itinerary, I will be spending about a week in every country I am going to visit with a few exceptions (India, China, Japan, etc…) Rather than try to update the blog every day, I will update the blog after experiencing a country so that I can piece it all together into one cohesive contribution to the News tab. For the latest updates on my travels in terms of where I am or what I’m doing, the best section to check is the Map tab. As I upload images with tagged locations to Instagram, they will pop-up on the map in real time!
To celebrate my departure, I have a going away party with a pig roast. The original plan was to have a goat roast; however, the supplier I use for goats no longer carries them. It’s fair enough, the store at which I used to purchase my goats had them available off the shelf in burlap bags with the words ‘goat carcass’ written on them. At this location, you would literally purchase an entire dead animal the same way one would purchase a gallon of milk, an apple, or baby formula.
Because this location no longer supplied goats, and because I waited until the day before the roast to find this out (I have nowhere in my house to store a goat carcass for more than a day ie: bathtub), the day before the party I was confronted with the very real possibility that there was to be a goat roast the following day with, in fact, no goat. Unacceptable. When Bradley says you’re gonna feast on the flesh of slaughtered animal carcass, damn it, you’re gonna feast on the flesh of slaughtered animal carcass. Previously, I had purchased a suckling pig from a local farm, so I knew there was a slight chance I may still be able to procure some meat flesh for the event. There are also a few Asian markets in close proximity to my house- so I thought I’d try there as well.
The Asian markets were no good. They have pretty much every part of the pig for purchase, the feet, the shoulder blade, the face, the blood, but no whole pigs. Apparently, they used to sell raw pigs for pig roasts, but their supplier no longer sold entire pigs for cook-outs. At least, not in quantities of one. Sure, if I were to purchase five pigs, then we could make a deal. But just one? I thought if I were to purchase five pigs then I’d need to dig four more holes. I can’t imagine what the neighbors might think if I was suddenly digging four more holes in my backyard to burry 35 pound carcasses rolled up in burlap sacks. They might ponder if it was some kind ad hoc burial ground- the city recently inundated with large quantities of infant mortality. One of the Asian restaurants gave me a phone number for their pig supplier- they told me he worked out of a warehouse and I’d likely have to go to some large business complex to acquire my carcass. “We don’t sell whole pig [click]” was my answer. I started to contemplate purchasing all of the parts separately and jamming them all together in some kind of pig mold, or sewing them together to cook some kind of grotesque Frankenpig. Anything!
I finally got a hold of a pig supplier that I had used before. I originally reached out to them around 2PM- according to their website; they closed at 4:30PM. Nevertheless, there was no answer and no response to my voicemail or text. Not until 9PM. This was a peculiar phone conversation which basically went down like this:
Pig salesman: I would have called you sooner, but I’m at [my daughter’s] wedding. You need a pig? Me: Yes. PS: What for? Me: [huh?] A pig roast. I have a party tomorrow and my goat supplier doesn’t supply them anymore so I’m calling you for a pig. PS: You need it tomorrow? I don’t know if it will have time to thaw out. Me: Can I pick it up early tomorrow? It’s like 110 outside. It should thaw out by the afternoon if I leave it outside all morning. PS: Can you pick it up tonight? [it’s around 9:10PM] Me: Sure? Should I come down to the store? PS: No, I’ll have one of my guys pick it up from the store for you. He’ll meet you in a parking lot and you can pick it up. Me: Uh, ok. PS: It’s $220. Do you have cash? Me: No, I don’t have that much cash. Do you need cash? PS: No, I’ll run your credit card over the phone.
I give him the information and proceed to make ‘the deal’. I agree to meet this guy in a parking lot at a later time. I am told that I will be given a phone call in about an hour to an hour and a half and told an exact location for the ‘pick-up’.
It’s 11PM- I get a text: PS: You live in Mesa right? Give G*** a call at ***-***-****. He has your pig.
I call G***: G***: Hey, where can you meet? I’m close to the 60. Me: What about the parking lot at Red Lobster? G: [muffled speaking to someone on the other end] Yea, that’ll work. Meet me there in 10 minutes.
I drive to Red Lobster. A text comes in: G: I’m in the blue van, pull up next to me.
I pull up next to the blue van. G*** opens the back door and pulls out a black plastic bag with what appears to be 35 pounds of dead flesh in it. He hands it to me. I ask him at what temperature I should cook it. “Well, legally it has to be cooked to 135, but most Americans prefer around 180.” I grab the heavy sack, it’s cold to the touch, and place it in the trunk of my car.
G: Take that home quick or it might leak everywhere. Me: How should I thaw it? G: Fill your bathtub full of water and put it in the water.
I arrive home, turn off the ignition, and pull a 35 pound bag of chilled flesh out the trunk of my car. I bring it in the house and set the black garbage bad next to the bathtub. I run the water and while the water is running, I start to untie the bag. Inside is another plastic bag- this one clear and see through. Within the bag I see two eyeballs attached a face, which is attached to a head, neck, back, stomach, spleen, ass, etc… I see a whole dead animal in an airtight plastic bag. I place the carcass in the water- it floats.
The next morning, I was later told, my roommate found said dead pig when he attempted to take a shower before work. Yes, while getting ready for work, in an attempt to freshen up, he is greeted to a floating bloody pig carcass, wrapped in plastic and ready for incineration. A real ‘Circle of Life’ lesson kinda moment. Around 12 noon, I dragged the carcass from the bathtub, stuffed it with fruits and vegetables, jammed a metal prod up its ass and out its mouth, wrapped it in foil, wrapped it in wet burlap, wrapped it in wire, and placed it on scorching coals consisting of 30 pounds of charcoal and about 30-45 pounds of mesquite wood. I placed metal sheets over the pit and held them down with rectangle bricks. The pig roast was delicious- it cooked to 190F is 6.5 hours. The party went off without a hitch. I was very pleased to see so many of my friends there to support me and wish me safe travels. I had already enjoyed a going away lunch with most of my family a few days before, so the only family there was my brother. My former adviser was there with his wife and several people from my lab attended. Several of my friends from undergrad were there as well. I got some good photos. Thank you, pig, for bringing everyone together for this night of love and sacrifice.
The lab purchased a surprise Jules Verne themed 'going-away' cake!
Which I attempted to eat all by myself!
First row left to right: Megha Patel, Esra Ilhan, Diana Calvo, Bruce Rittmann, Me, Dongwon Ki, Diane Hagner, Carole Flores. Back row left to right: Chen Zhou, email me, Andrew Marcus, Misa Yny, Thiago Barbosa
Prior to my departure, the lab through me a Jules Verne themed going away party in the break-room at Biodesign. Here we go- Around the World in 320 days!
www.ScienceTheEarth.com goes live.
Business cards are printed in a Pinch by Collective Print and Marketing.
Pop Tarts and a back-up shit bag from my aunt. Yeah, I'm pretty much ready for anything.
Goat carcass, off the shelf, in the cart (2014).
Looking at a whole dead pig is an eerie experience.
Vegetables getting ready for rectal pig stuffing.
Wrapped, prodded, and ready for the cook-out.
Six and a half hours of roasting ought to do the trick.
Left to Right: email me, Binh Nguyen, Omar Khdour, Thiago Barbosa
Left to right: Brian Johnson, email me, Cesar Torres, Anca Delgado, Dongwon Ki, Esra Ihan
Party on, excellent! Left to right: Jordan Poffenberger, Israel Alarcon, Roy Subhadip, Nishant Singh.
With mom and grandma at lunch.
First Selfie of the trip! Bags are packed- let's go!
Science /ˈsīəns/ verb the act of partaking in, learning about, or teaching about the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. "We're gonna science the Hell outta this thing!"
Bradley Lusk, PhD
I have embarked on a mission to bridge cultures through science and human discovery. For this mission, I will be visiting innovators, entrepreneurs, and game changers around the world to bring you perspective on how logic and innovation unite our planet in a quest for knowledge.
Join me as we science one individual, one community, one Earth at a time.