Monday, February 06, 2006

Dumb things I've done (5 in an occasional series)

Freshman year German class...

It was time for a gingerbread house competition, and my friend Ken and I decided to enter. Neither of us (as far as I remember) had any experience building a gingerbread house, but it didn't look that hard.

In fact, it looked too easy. I mean, jeez, anyone could build a gingerbread house. We had to come up with something different.

Before I tell you what we picked to make a gingerbread replica of, I should point out that both of us are married.

Not to each other.

In the infinite wisdom that only dorky 14-year-olds can muster, we decided that the way to win the competition was not to build a house, but a replica of everyone's favorite starship, the USS Enterprise.

Well, it had the virtue of never having been tried before.

We employed our mad engineering skillz and figured out the dimensions of all the pieces we needed and mixed up our sugary mortar.

But despite our forethought (at least 3 or 4 minutes), it wasn't until we were well into the assembly phase that we found our problem.

Here's our model. Pay special attention to the warp nacelles (those funky tube things in the back).

Okay, well, in space, that works great. Or if you are working with a substance that is strong enough to support its own weight.

Unlike, say, gingerbread.

Our nacelles -- made of giants candy cane sticks -- refused to stay put no matter how much glue we used. They'd just flop over like wilting flowers.

Well, that just wouldn't work.

After a few minutes, we went from "What would Scotty do?" to "What would Willy Wonka do?" to "Oh, crap, it's due tomorrow."

We propped up the nacelles with smaller candy cane pillars. A little inelegant, yes, but those things stayed up.

Did I mention we had to frost the whole thing, too?

We put the hull registry (NCC-1701-A) on the saucer section with little licorice bits.

Once it was done, it looked pretty sweet.

So to speak.

Project Babe Magnet was finally finished and ready to be gawked at by our impressed classmates.

Alas, we didn't get first prize. That went to someone who had -- unoriginally -- made an actual gingerbread house.


We got third place, which was still cool. We each got a Toblerone for our troubles, so it wasn't a total loss.

Hey, free Toblerone, right?

Of course, mine had nuts in it (I hate nuts).

Our edible Enterprise also made it into the yearbook. Ken scanned this in for me. That's ours on the left. The thing cropped out so you can get a better view of the regular gingerbread house.

Oh well. At least the girls thought we were cool after that.

Oh, wait...

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