March 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
With one final activity left in my year of new things, I figured I should do something that would never cross my radar under any other circumstance. So I gathered up a few friends to celebrate turning thirty at Medieval Times. Day Three Hundred Sixty-Six, baby.
Overall, I was incredibly excited about the adventure. While working earlier in the day I expressed a little joyous anticipation under the guise of snarkiness to a coworker. In sarcastic teenage voice: “Dude, I’m like, going to Medieval Times! Seriously!” He enthralled me with the tale of his trip to the California location. He described each course with the same enthusiasm as a new waiter at a happening suburban franchise. “First, we had bruschetta,” (said with faux Italian accent), “and then a creamy tomato bisque that tasted deliciously spicy.” He licked his lips at the memory.
“Then we-” (he and his mysterious girlfriend) “each got half a chicken. HALF a chicken. Roasted to perfection. And the soda refills were free. We even had a perfectly seasoned potato! For dessert there was melt in your mouth chocolate cake or a tasty Danish.” Maybe Medieval Times had gotten a bad rap. Or maybe the Yelpers who visited the Duluth location were just missing out on the California gourmet version.
We opted to pregame at the tiny Chili’s at Discover Mills after reading reviews about pricey brews inside the Renaissance-themed restaurant. I may have had a shot, but hey, you only turn 30 once, right?
Once we walked through the entrance a tunic-clad photographer took our picture with the “King.” Erin and Tyler ended up gifting the cardboard framed image to me, and it sits proudly displayed in my kitchen. They are the only two in the photo with any semblance of natural ease. The King looks creepy, as though he is about to devour some maidens. I look like I accidentally wandered in from the mall outside and Patrick is so far away that he could have wandered in from another group. Andre threw out a peace sign, or lost a game against the rock.
We stopped by the bar en route to our section and found that the beers weren’t priced too outrageously; they were on par with an MLB game, but draft.
We sat in the yellow section, which meant we wore yellow crowns and cheered for the Yellow Knight with his flowing blond locks. You could pay more to be seated at the equivalent of the fifty-yard line, and presumably one of those knights also won the tournament. Poor Yellow Knight.
While pomp and circumstance ruled the sandy floor, we tucked into our gourmet meal, except it wasn’t gourmet. The spicy tomato bisque turned out to be a bowl of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup and the garlic bread was my childhood favorite Texas Toast. We did get half a small bird (“Fresh Falcon” our serving wench declared as it was plopped onto our pewter plates). Then we had half a baked potato (“Dragon’s Egg”), and one rib (“Dragon’s Claw”). It really wasn’t that bad, considering our surroundings.
At one point during dessert (Hostess-like cakes) the knights rode around flirting with the women sitting in the front rows. The Black and White Knight sauntered over to our section to chat with a young buxom woman so I heckled him. I mean, he was a fifty-yard line knight. If I had paid an extra ten bucks a ticket to see him, I would probably resent the fact that he was flirting with other sections. Mostly, I found offense in the “bored-knight-I-only-do-this-for-the-chicks” look about him. And to the lady on the receiving end of his sneers: He was competing against OUR Yellow Knight. Have some pride.
Then the “battles” began. The knights competed against each other in a staged tournament. We boldly cheered on our beloved Yellow Knight, hollering, “We’ve got Yellow Fever!” into the stadium at Patrick’s suggestion. I found our cheer hilarious. When the Yellow Knight was down a few points, we turned our crowns upside down into rally caps. But it didn’t help. The Red Knight evilly defeated him. I suppose he died heroically.
After that my allegiance moved to anyone fighting the Black and White Knight. He won it all, of course.
January 22, 2013 § 2 Comments
My thirtieth birthday grew nearer and I decided to reward myself for both aging and finishing the grand project of trying something new everyday. I bought myself a birthday present, something I’ve never done before. On Day Three Hundred Sixty-Three I bought a new DSLR camera: the Canon 60D.
I had been wanting to upgrade from my Rebel Xti for awhile, but couldn’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on a new camera body. So I also bought a new lens, a Sigma 17-50mm which fit into my budget once I applied for a no-interest credit card (now paid off).
Although I haven’t used my camera as much as I should (the camera on my phone is so readily available at all times), I’m definitely happy with my splurge. And now my goal for 2013 can be to make an effort for more photography. Maybe on my thirty-first birthday I’ll begin a photo-a-day blog.
If I’ve finished writing this one.
July 3, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I have this friend, Andre. And every time I would ask him for suggestions of new things to try throughout my twenty-ninth year, he would respond the same. “Walk through a door backwards. I bet you’ve never done that.” So on his birthday, I decided to take his advice, and try to walk through every door backwards. Hello, Day Three Hundred Nineteen.
I failed miserably. I thought I would start off on shaky feet, but quickly, as the day wore on, I could add walking through doors backwards just another part of my routine. Maybe a little OCD, but it shouldn’t be too hard.
Do you know how many doors we walk through in a day? A lot.
I perfected my walk/twirl method but only managed to show it off once a peer reminded me of my daily task. I went to a birthday party for Andre that night and needless to say, he was a bit disappointed in my lack of effort. To make up for it, I decided to add another new activity to my day.
I tried Four Loko. The energy drink that comes in 16oz cans and contains 10% alcohol.
I didn’t go crazy or anything. The drink tasted like carbonated kool-aid with an extra cup of sugar. It was gross. I had a couple sips (to say I tried it), and then moved back to my home brew.
In the end, I actually participated in two new experiences on Day Three Hundred Nineteen. I walked through doors backwards (you should really try it sometime) and I tasted Four Loko. Two of the dumbest things ever.
Happy Birthday, Andre.
April 8, 2012 § Leave a Comment
My friend Erin turned thirty in December, but because of crazy schedules and a hectic life, she neglected to go all out in celebration. Her husband Tyler made up for it on Day Three Hundred Five when he arranged a surprise post-birthday dinner for Erin at South City Kitchen. For the first time, I ate at the restaurant and yelled, “surprise!” with everyone else as Erin walked into our upstairs alcove.
I almost didn’t make the meal after suffering from a crippling stomach bug all day. But I didn’t want to miss out on one of my oldest and dearest friend’s 30th, so I downed some over the counter medicine and headed across town.
Tyler managed to put together one of the most organized surprise parties I have seen. With a fixed menu selection and open bar, he had catered to everyone’s dietary and alcoholic desires. Being one of the first to arrive, I grabbed a seat at the end of a table and looked over the food offerings for the fete. Fried Chicken, Shrimp and Grits, Filet Mignon…I cursed my weak stomach for not being able to labor through the pains of a virus.
After a short time, the two tables filled with Erin’s friends and coworkers, and eventually Erin and Tyler arrived. My eyes watered as we cheered her arrival. She looked so surprised, although she did in fact have an inkling, seeing one of her fellow Zoo employee’s car parked behind the building.
After Erin took her seat, the food began to arrive. I tried a touch of each appetizer, and vowed to return to taste the rich starters in full once I felt better. I finished a salad and ended up taking the Shrimp and Grits to go, which Tyler and Erin fully endorsed, although I thought myself a little tacky. But at least I could share the experience with Patrick the next day as he ate my leftovers, right?
I wistfully said my goodbyes, wishing I could have stayed for the duration of the party. Tyler did a great job at “elegant surprise thirtieth,” and Erin was a radiant recipient. I was glad I was able to share in the day, even if only for a little while.
September 19, 2011 § 2 Comments
I love books. I like collecting them, reading them, the covers, the words, the images they bring to mind. Since beginning this blog I have had a few book-related posts. I joined the local library and celebrated finishing the fourth novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series. On Day One Hundred Fifty-Six, inspired by my friend Steven’s attempt at a book-reading challenge, I decided to try to compose a list of all the books I had read since my last birthday. Steven is taking the 50-Books-in -a-Year challenge, which is pretty self-explanatory. Between work and new activities and blogging, I doubt I will get to that number, but I am curious to see how many books I could or would actually consume.
I walked around the house looking at books I had purchased and read, tried to remember ones I had checked out from the library (I forgot a few), and also to remember in what month I finished the stories. I left off any titles that I wasn’t 100% sure I had begun after my twenty-ninth birthday. So I’m probably missing a few titles there as well. I came up with seventeen titles, five of them being the George R.R. Martin penned books.Hopefully I will be able to add many more titles. If only there were more hours in the day…
March 15, 2011 § 2 Comments
Day one was my 29th birthday. It started off normally, with a 7am work shift, and me mentally debating the day away about whether or not I should write this blog.
First of all, this project is not an original idea (from me), but rather a copycat attempt from my friend Stephanie. Project 29 to 30 is the original and you should definitely check it out. She turned 30 last September and, while still finishing up the writing portion, successfully completed 365 new activities.
I am doing this as a sort of kick-in-the-pants. The last couple years seemed to be very routine-filled (go to work, come home, etc), and I kind of miss the adventures I had in my early twenties. I’m not afraid of turning thirty; frankly, I don’t think it is a big deal. I just want a little more excitement.
On the day of my birthday, I didn’t know what plans Patrick had in store for me that evening, only that we were going to eat at Rathbun’s and then some sort of secret plans. I fleetingly thought there might be some sort of party, but not in the way it enfolded.
After dinner (where I had a rabbit bolognese…something new in itself), he told me we were going for dessert. I suggested the Sound Table; we had eaten a delicious chocolate cake with the warm gooey center and salted caramel ice cream a few weeks before and I had been thinking about it a lot. Confectionary dreams.
We walked in and the host asked if we wanted upstairs or down. I was glad Patrick chose the former as we had eaten at bar on our last visit. I like a change of scenery.
I rounded the corner to see thirty of my closest friends waiting. A somewhat tentative “Surprise!” erupted. Apparently there had been a minor false call a few minutes earlier.
It. Was. Awesome. As a kid I always wanted a surprise birthday party. I would tell my mom I didn’t want any sort of gathering hoping she would use her secret mom-sense to pick up on the fact that I was blatantly lying and wanted a big screaming “Surprise!” to greet me at every corner. I would tentatively walk into the house from school, after my birthday dinner at Ryan’s Steakhouse, or just cause, with a look of expectation playing across my face. I even practiced my surprise look.
Well, I didn’t need to practice on March 9, 2011. I was definitely surprised. I think the only thing keeping me from tearing up was seeing the little bit of water in Patrick’s eyes. One of us has to be the responsible one.
But really, he was responsible for arranging it all, and it was an awesome gift. So thank you to (in no particular order) Kristin, Steven, Jeremiah, Erin, Tyler, Dre, Aimee, Joe, Kristi, Josh, Sam, Jason, Byrd, Kummer, Chris X, Amanda, Tak, Farzad, Heike, Greg, Nick, Michelle, Cooper, Matt, Maita, Melanie, Stephanie, John, and most of all, Patrick. Ya’ll are the best!