First Time Was a Great Time. Second Time Was A Blast.

I really didn’t think it was going to happen this time.

At first, all I got from my so-called friends were excuses. “My brother is on leave from the Marines.” “I’m having minor surgery.” What, like those things are more important than seeing three separate 90s boy bands in one evening?

Because, you see, The Package – a combination tour of Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees, and most importantly New Kids on the Block – was coming to Minneapolis. And I wanted to see The Package and shutupIknowwhatthatsoundsliketheynamedthetourthatonpurpose. And really, with tickets as low as $9 a pop the Monday before, who could resist?

Almost everyone I know, it turns out. I’d almost given up hope when I opened up to my friends Joe, Mike, Ben, and Aimee after a pint or two of Fulton’s Sweet Child of Vine on Friday night.  Three regarded me with disdain, but the fourth told me about choreographing elementary school dances to “Cover Girl.” And as much as I’d like to say it was Joe because he is a seven foot tall ex-college football player, it was in fact Aimee.

At first I thought she would be too cool for something so innately dorky. Then I realized she goes out with Ben, so nothing is too dorky for her (apply ice to burned area, Ben). And after a few more IPAs, I was pretty sure I had her.

The next day, I made sure:

aimeetext

And at 9:21 a.m., she proved herself worthy.

So I bought tickets – for about $20, not $9, but still a steal – and went to work for the day.  The only thing I remember about it is that I may have admitted to 100 strangers (including two bachelorette parties) what I was doing for fun that Saturday night, and they were not impressed.

I also engaged in some trash-talking.

I also engaged in some light, unnecessary trash-talking.

Aimee proved she was game from the start, buying a sweet NKOTB t-shirt without hesitation (I, of course, was wearing this precious gem again). We grabbed the traditional concert drinks (overpriced and under-hopped), musing that even my t-shirt was old enough to drink, and got our seats.

First up: Boyz II Men!

Look, when you buy tickets for $20 ten hours before a show, this is the quality of seat you get.

Look, when you buy tickets for $20 ten hours before a show, this is the quality of seat you get.

The first thing we noticed was that the Boyz were wearing all white. The second thing was that there were only three of them.

I have watched this video three four several times in a row now, and I’m still not positive which one of these Boyz wasn’t there. I think it’s the one in the yellow shirt. Our seats were not great, and they’ve aged, okay? They might even be Men now. Their short set was great, even if the first song took about ten minutes because of all the breaks for screaming.

Then it was time for 98 Degrees, a band I can definitely say I remember existing. I did not remember a single song of theirs, though. And I certainly did not remember the man they call Jeff.

Jeff arrived, along with the Lacheys and the other one who used to have the peroxide blond hair, and this conversation happened:

Rachel: “What did they sing aga-”
Aimee: “MAYBE HE’LL TAKE HIS SHIRT OFF.”

So began Shirt Watch 2013. It began with a focus on Nick, and then we learned Jeff was a thing and didn’t really know what to think. Things said included: “They are playing the video where his shirt is off!” “He’s lowering his suspenders!” “He’s taking his shirt off! Wait, he’s wearing another shirt underneath? YOU ARE WEARING TOO MANY SHIRTS!”

So, needless to say, I still don’t know any 98 Degrees songs.

THEN it was time for the main event. Two solid hours of Jordan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, and (as Ross Raihala so splendidly put it) “whatever it is Danny Wood is supposed to be.” Everything was over the top. The opening music was reminiscent of the Olympics. The costumes were changed multiple times. The word “MINNEAPOLIIIIIIS!” was, frankly, abused by Donnie Wahlberg. And the staging was legitimately spectacular. Aimee and I stopped communicating in full sentences – partly because it was impossible to hear over the screams of thousands and thousands of women – and just started announcing things we saw: “Lasers!” “Confetti!” “Fireworks!”

Because it had all of these things and more.

Those are balloons, not camera flares. Giant balloons.

Not that I didn’t find time to add some constructive criticism to the event. The place was loud, and we were very far away, but I still felt it necessary to shout:

“ST. PAUL IS ALSO BEING REPRESENTED AT THIS ARENA,” to every Wahlbergian cry of “Minneapoliiiiis!”

“I FEEL LIKE YOUR PRESENCE IS UNNECESSARY,” to Danny Wood’s breakdancing.

“WHY DID YOU THINK THIS IS A GOOD IDEA,” to the request for even more deafening screams.

On the other hand, I responded to every ridiculous gyration or piece of clothing removed by simply agreeing.

“CORRECT,” I announced to Donnie as he ripped his tank top in half.

“THIS IS ACCURATE,” to Jordan Knight’s cover of Prince’s “Kiss” while doing his best shirtless “Magic Mike” dance.  “I AGREE WITH THIS.”

And all too soon, it was over. Just kidding, it was a four hour long show and I was getting tired and they had played all of their hits anyway.

From this entire magical evening, I learned three things:

1) All I want for Christmas is for someone to change my cell phone ring to the part of Step By Step where Danny Wood sings/says “We could have lots of fun;”

2) The next time (and I’m not even going to pretend there won’t be a next time), I’m springing for the seats that are within Donnie-frenching distance because that is a thing that happened to someone who was not me; and

3) The day you decide to throw all sense of adulthood and coolness out the window, announce your excitement over boy bands, change your profile picture to the one of you in the 21-year-old shirt and serious purple eyeshadow and a side pony – that, my friends, is the day your entire high school class will find you on Facebook and invite you to your 10-year-reunion.

#Winterfest Dos and Don’ts (From Me to Future Me)

I am a lucky girl. I love great beer – and I happen to live in the Twin Cities, where the craft brew culture is booming. I also love great events – and this past weekend, I got to go to one of the year’s best: Winterfest.

This was actually my second year at the Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild event, and both years have been great. And, well, learning experiences. I am already hoping to go again next year, so this is basically a list for Future Rachel. Still, you may as well reap the benefits of my beer-tasting wisdom, internet strangers.

So it begins.

So it begins.

Do obsessively hit “page refresh” for ten minutes before the tickets go on sale. The event is capped at 750 people, and sells out in seconds. I’ve managed to get tickets for two years in a row using this highly scientific method, and also dark magic.

Do eat before you go. Yes, they have food at the event, and it’s included in the price. I bet it’s pretty great, too. Last year I think I ate some cheese; this year I completely missed out on all of it. Whatever you do, don’t go to a 3-hour all-you-can-drink craft beer event on an empty stomach. Rookie mistake (that you only make once).

Do gloat about this event taking place in St. Paul, the right side of the river.

Do your research. Look through the program and have a top ten list of brews you do not want to miss, and find those first. Things do run out, plus you want to try the snobbiest stuff (technical term) before your tongue goes numb. Also, if I hadn’t looked over the program, I might have totally missed the Sugar Shack Maple Stout from Third Street Brewhouse. It’s made with Saint John’s Maple Syrup from the Arboretum where I used to work. I really like it, but with a pedigree like that, how could I not?

This has nothing to do with beer, but any time I bring up my time at the Arb I like to remind people I did this once.

Look, I know this has nothing to do with beer, but this is the most badass picture of me in existence and it was taken at the Arboretum, so I’m sharing it again.

Do bring your ID, a pen, and your tallest friend. The ID is obvious. The pen is for taking notes and/or writing your phone number on strangers’ hands. And the tall friend is easy to find in a crowd, and can also find you if/when you wander off.

Do dress appropriately. For some that means warm boots and gloves. For others an outfit you can easily sleep in on your friend’s couch. For me that means both.

Do find the Excelsior Brewing Company booth and take pictures of the staff; when you find them on your camera the next morning, understand that you will be left with more questions than answers:

They just posed like this, without any direction. Naturals.

Probably this was towards the end of the night.

Don’t be embarrassed when you spot someone you met and talked to for half an hour at a past a beer event and you can’t remember her name. She doesn’t remember your name, either.

Don’t force yourself to finish anything you don’t like. Give it to your tall friend who seems to like all the things you don’t (another reason you brought him), and find something you like better.

Don’t be afraid to not love the things everyone else loves. There may be a time and a place for me to drink Barley John’s award-winning Dark Knight Returns; that time was not two hours into the event, after an uncertain number of other pours, when I knew it was a really heavy hitter. Some other night, DKR.

Don’t live-tweet the event.

livetweet

MNBeer.com knows what I’m talking about, or wants me to shut up.

Do make an active effort to find and drink water.

Don’t get upset when one of your brewer friends makes fun of you for drinking water. He’s working and therefore sober, and definitely laughing at your slightly slurry, indignant response.

Do make friends. It’s fine if you don’t pay attention to her last name. You’ll think of something.

Legit beer friends.

The truest form of friendship.

Do have a safe drive lined up. Even if you cancel on your original safe drive to catch a ride with your new friend, Stephanie Beer and her boyfriend, Sober Dan.

Don’t go to the Onion afterwards. Just don’t. You hate that place. It never ends well for you there.

....Best laid plans...

….Best laid plans…

Do expect your best friend to text back: “UGH, RACHEL, you hate that place!” because she knows you.

Don’t be surprised if you wake up the next morning and think, “I’ve felt better.” But since you remembered to eat before the event, and drank plenty of water, you’re actually in pretty good shape and will be up as soon as you have some coffee.

So there you have it. That’s how you semi-sensibly enjoy one of the best beer events in the Twin Cities.

(But seriously, don’t go to the Onion next year.)

How does a vegetarian celebrate Turkey Day?

I’ve been a vegetarian for a stupidly long time. And stupidly is the right word choice here; I do not recommend it. I mean, if you are one for animal rights reasons or health reasons and it’s working out, that’s totally valid.*  But I am a vegetarian because I was a picky child. That’s it. My picky-ness just had a name that I liked saying to lunch ladies to make them think I was a smart six-year-old (we vegetarians are a notoriously snobby people), and I never grew out of it. Now, I spend a lot of time in dive bars surrounded by burgers and I love the smell of Dome Dogs, but if I try to eat meat I become immediately ill. After 24 years, my vegetarianism is essentially a food allergy.

Luckily, being a vegetarian has not interfered with my favorite past time: eating. There are so many delicious options out there for someone with an eclectic palate (I just pinned a recipe for kale quinoa pilaf and I am legit excited by it; how do I even have any friends). The world at large and the Cities in miniature are becoming more veggie-friendly. My friends and family are more or less used to me saying “Can I get that without bacon?” But there is this one time of year where it gets just a wee bit annoying.

This. This is that time. The week before Thanksgiving. People will talk about Thanksgiving or “Turkey Day” plans, and then shoot the vegetarian a look of pity. I call it the “Sad Turkey Side-Eye.”  Honestly, I don’t really think I’m missing out because Thanksgiving involves about fourteen side-dishes I can eat, and do (and how!). Also pie. So much pie. When I get the Sad Turkey Side-Eye, I find it best to respond with “I Will Be Eating Your Share Of Pie While You Are Taking an L-Tryptophan Nap” smirk.

I’d also just like to state, for the record, that I’ve never had Tofurkey.  I actually don’t know (or remember) what turkey tastes like. But I will not go near Tofurkey out of fear that it will taste like tofu, which I only enjoy if it’s completely masked by foods that taste like actual food.

tofurky package

If this looks appetizing to you, seek help.

Again, I’m totally cool just eating grandma’s jello salad and mom’s sweet potatoes and everyone’s pie. I am not missing out and neither, really, are the other vegetarians.**

Here’s the thing: Thanksgiving is not about turkey. It’s not even about pie. It’s about giving thanks for what we have, and I sure have a lot: a nice job, great family, wonderful friends, sweet apartment, lovely life, and the ability to turn my nose up at proffered food. This last one gets to me, particularly at this time of year, which is why I’m doing the Walk To End Hunger again this year. Thanksgiving morning, my mother and I will be up at the crack of dawn*** walking around the Mall of America. The funds we raise will be split among 12 local hunger charities.

Walk To End Hunger Logo

Half of us have far too much to eat on this one day, I am more than happy to continue; but let’s make sure every Minnesotan has enough to eat every day.

So how does a vegetarian celebrate Turkey Day? By confronting every Sad Turkey Side-Eye with a link to my fundraising page. By giving thanks. By Walking to End Hunger. And by eating the hell out of some pie.

*Unless you are a vegan. That is just crazy.
**Vegans are, though. Vegans are missing out on life.
***7 a.m. is the crack of dawn on holidays; also vegans are the worst.

Something Spooky 3, Or: BRAAAAIIIINS

Part three of my self-imposed challenge to do something spooky every day of October.

Day 10: Listened to This American Life’s episode “The Call Was Coming From The Basement”

My two favorite reasons for October collided as I drove 90 miles to surprise my mother for her birthday while fitting in my Spooky activity: listening to a Halloween-themed episode of “This American Life.” That was pretty great, but not as great as surprising my ma. She is the best.

Day 11: The Haunted Basement at The Soap Factory

The Soap Factory in Minneapolis has gotten pretty infamous for its Haunted Basement, and with good reason. Sabrina and I went together for the first time three years ago, and it remains the best “haunted house”-type experience of my life.
This year’s was a close second. I screamed like a little girl and clutched strangers’ arms and at one point told a ghoulish man “You have lovely hair.” He didn’t. That was my actual knee-jerk response in a moment of panic.

Haunted Basement Entrance

Side note: Last year, I was actually part of the Haunted Basement for a night. I spent about eight hours dressed as a goblin, hopping in and out of coffins with terrified/confused strangers and growling things like “Come here often?”

So basically an average Saturday night for me.

Day 12: Saint Paul Art Crawl and “Toto Destruction”

I went to the St. Paul Art Crawl with one goal in mind: to pick up a “Brain Belt” print from the official Zombie Pub Crawl artist DWITT.

Brain Belt print by DWITT

I love his work in general, but add in zombies and beer and I can’t resist. Zombies and beer add value to everything.

Anyway, I got my Brain Belt print (and a few others), and really enjoyed being a dork around one of my favorite local artists and his wife. They are super nice, they gave me a beer and they think my name is Leslie. Overall a win!

Then Leslie went home and put the finishing touches on some zombie props…

Day 13-14: Zombie Pub Crawl

…because what’s Zombie Dorothy without her basket of munchkin heads?

zombie munchkin heads

They…represented…the Lollipop Guild.

And her companion, Zombie Toto!

Zombie Toto

I love “The Wizard of Oz,” so logically I did this to it:

This munchkin crossed me.

This was my fourth Zombie Pub Crawl (previous antics recorded here), because ZPC is basically the best event of the year. This might explain why I went nuts, starting at 6 and going from Minneapolis to St. Paul to Minneapolis to St. Paul, and was still not ready for it to be done 8 hours later (which is why I’m giving myself 2 days of Something Spooky from this one event). Highlights included:

– getting ready with Sabrina/Little Red Riding Hood
– seeing the Gin Blossoms at the Cabooze
– meeting a Zombie Fezzik (from The Princess Bride) at Zombie Island
– coming up with insults about DMX during the 1.5 hour wait for him to show up. You’re not Kanye, we’re not honored by your lateness. We’re getting on the bus to go back to Minneapolis and thinking nice thoughts about the Gin Blossoms.
– enjoying some Brain Belt
– this text message exchange

Alex Text

Alex!

– this photo with a Care Bear

Care Bear Zombie

Care Bear Stare indeed.

– and just general running around. Literally. Zombies aren’t supposed to run, but when I’m excited and have more than one beer in me I’m always about one second away from taking off in a sprint.  As in, “all of my friends are here I WONDER WHAT’S OVER THERE.” Like a dog.

Maybe I should have just gone as Toto.

Something Spooky, or: The Science of October

I love October. Not only were two of my best friends born this month (love you, Lacy and ma!), it is the first month that truly feels like fall, my favorite season. And, because this is Minnesota, it is also the only month that feels like that.

Best of all, October is the season of spooky. It’s my preference to look ridiculous at all times, so I love any excuse to wear a costume. I love history, and weird, macabre history is the best. And c’mon, I super love candy.

So in order to make the most of life, I’ve decided to challenge myself to do something spooky – every day in October. I’m calling it…wait for it…

Something Spooky.

(and your reaction to this reveal is…)

Day 1: (Re)watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 2 episode, “Halloween.”

Look, I made up this challenge at about 9 pm on a Monday, so I had to start with what was available. Plus, what’s more fun than the episode of BtVS where the Scoobies become their costumes?

Day 2: Apartment Creep-ification Begins

I’m a dork (sentence could end there and still be true) for home decorating. I’m obsessed with Apartment Therapy and Young House Love and antique stores and artwork and crafting. Still, my Halloween decorating usually begins and ends with knocking down real cobwebs to hang fake ones. But not this year. This year, my 100-year-old-apartment is getting a haunting Halloween makeover.

Skull and webs

My new doorman

Books and Petals

“Spooky” books are essential to the decor

Please note that I do not have roommates, nor do I entertain guests all that often. I’m just doing this to creep myself out, I guess. There’s more to come, and some things will even be handmade. Blame Pinterest.

Day 3: Read a spooky story

I did not watch the debates, because I am not after a real “what is this world coming to” kind of terror. Instead, I reread one of my all-time favorite stories: “Lamb To The Slaughter” by Roald Dahl (part of the collection “Skin,” or you can read it online here). Oh, you didn’t realize your favorite children’s author also wrote creepy stories for adults? Do yourself a favor and check them out. Then re-examine your childhood.

Day 4: “Dead and Undead,” a Social Science Event at the Science Museum of Minnesota

I’m very lucky to have a wonderful and delightfully weird best friend who, when asked, “Instead of taking you out for a nice dinner for your birthday, what if I take you to a science museum and we learn about mummies and zombies?” immediately answered, “MUMMIFIED CHICKENS!”

The Science Museum of Minnesota occasionally has “Social Science” events for the 21+ crowd, and this week’s “Dead and Undead” event was a treat. Lacy and I:

Took this awesome picture in the Lost Egypt exhibit.

Fake camel photo bomb

Photobombed by a fake camel

Saw this guy sewin’ up a squirrel.

Taxidermy on a squirrel

Some people juggle geese.

Became ghosts.

Ghost Rachel

Boo!

Allowed professional makeup artists to do this to our faces.

Zombie face Rachel and Lacy

We later ordered a pizza and were so prepared to freak out the delivery guy. He did not react at all.  Apparently that delivery guy has seen some s***.

Did the “Thriller” dance up the stairs of a museum as zombies.

Lacy doing the Thriller at the Science Museum

‘Cause this is THRILLAAAAAAA!

And of course, saw this mummified chicken.

Mummified Chicken

No birthday is complete without a mummified chicken.

So much more to come. Something Spooky October has just begun! I’ve got a huge to-do list started, but suggestions are welcome. Any great Halloween-y activities out there I just must try?

A Life Full of Color

I spent my day in a cloud of color at The Color Run in Minnesota.

Instagrammed photo of the Color Run

If you think I resisted making “Purple Rain” jokes, you are mistaken.

As a social media volunteer for Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless, this meant running around with my iPhone, snapping pictures and tweeting and Facebooking and generally doing things that actually don’t look that helpful but hopefully are (awareness, you guys!).

The event itself was pretty overwhelming. About 19,000 runners, starting out all in white and eventually turning into human canvasses, ran or walked the course. A portion of their fee was already given to Open Your Heart, but quite a few made extra donations at our booth. And a few of them apologized for the money being covered in color.

That’s Minnesota nice for you.

In preparation, I spent the past week thinking of color. Favorite colors (mine, obviously, are yellow and purple – SKOL Vikings), color quotes (“When in doubt, wear red.” – Bill Blass), color songs (“Lady in Red” is welcome to leave my head anytime now. Anytime.), and color references in movies (“Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”).  But after participating in the event, and knowing the good these donations will do – going towards the people who truly need them – there’s one song lyric I think sums it all up for me.

What good did it do?
Well hopefully for you
A world without war
A life full of color

Now, I recognize The War Was in Color is not about a war on hunger. But today was a day full of color – and a day to fight hunger.

Let’s all enjoy our lives full of color.

Social/Life

A while back, I went to a totally not embarrassing concert and mused about what the experience would have been like if I’d been able to “live-Tweet” during it. Would it take away from the experience, or would it add to it? At the time, I didn’t have a smartphone, so sharing the experience while it was happening was not an option. Well, now I have one, and after figuring out the basics I’ve managed to become a slight oversharer.

Instagrammed photo of bird poop on my car

“I appear to have deeply offended a large bird.”  Okay, a huge oversharer.

I keep making vague promises to myself that I’ll settle down, but the honeymoon phase between me and my new friend Siri has overlapped with the start of summer. Like any true Minnesotan, I’m not about to let this all-too-brief season slip by. What people in less volatile climates do in a year, I’m going to try to do in three months.

That’s not anything new; last summer, you may recall, I did plenty of things. The difference is now I can share my nonsense in real time.

I think we can all agree this might not always be a good thing.

Dog of Censorship

Someone needs to invent a “Dog of Censorship” App ASAP.

Anyway. Last Saturday, I took myself to another totally not embarrassing concert at the Target Center: Aerosmith. And because I love Aerosmith for no and beyond all reason, my guess from last year’s NKOTBSB concert was not far off – once Steven Tyler hit the stage, I basically just went “Squeee!” and forgot about the ability to share/brag beyond one fairly good picture:

Steven Tyler Instagram

Instagram gets the save on this one.  Some of that confetti is still in my purse.

That (amazing) experience over, I thought I’d answered my own question about how I’d use social media at events. I’d managed to do some sharing while staying in the (really amazing) moment. And anyway, I’d blown my summer budget on that (really, REALLY amazing) ticket, so I didn’t expect to get the chance to try it out again for a while.

Less than 24 hours later, I found myself enjoying some Trampled By Turtles from the comfort of the terrace view at Target Field. Since I didn’t know about the bonus concert until I got to the Twins game, and since I was an hour early for the game thanks to my pops, I had to share the news of my good fortune.

All the mascots at the Twins Game

I was too disturbed by the presence of literally all the mascots to take a picture of TBT, however.

This caused a tiny uproar amongst some die-hard TBT fans I call my friends, but more importantly, it made my pops wonder why I kept looking at my phone. As much fun as it would have been to keep spreading the joy/jealousy of a bonus concert (not to mention a 15-inning baseball game), it was more fun to enjoy Father’s Day with my pops. (We actually only made it through 11 innings and I did respond to a few messages, but hey. We tried.)

After determining that “losing your mind to your favorite band” and “hanging out with your father” are not quite the right times to go live-Tweeting, social-sharing crazy, I struck upon a much better opportunity: the River’s Edge Music Festival in St. Paul on Saturday.

I managed to win free tickets* last week and took Lacy, another twenty-something with a smartphone, and we did it all. We admired the lead singer of Coheed and Cambria‘s magical hair. We blew our budgets on outrageously overpriced beer. We held a few inebriated souls upright in the Sublime with Rome crowd. We soaked in some much needed sun rays to the tunes of Blaqstarr. We lost our voices to Tool. We Facebooked, Instagrammed, Tweeted, sang and danced.

We shared a wonderful day with each other, and then we shared jokes about it on the internet. And that, #youguys, is the best balance of social media and social life I’ve found yet.

girls who look like girls

Just your average Tool fans.

*I won 2 single-day tickets through a Twitter contest, which is awesome. However, the publication which ran the contest was non-responsive about how to get my tickets until two days before the concert despite three attempts to contact them, then they told me (twice) to pick up my tickets at will-call at the River Centre (which is a place in St. Paul, but has nothing to do with the River’s Edge Festival). Finally, the tickets, which were not at the regular will-call at the event either but rather at the media tent, were not for “either day” as promised, but for Sunday only. Luckily two very nice Live Nation employees took my declaration that “75 minutes of Tool is infinitely better than 3 hours of Dave Matthews Band” seriously, and switched the tickets for me. Despite this rant, I did get in completely free, so thank you, Live Nation; less of a thank you, publication with really poor communication/customer service skills.

Best Things of 2011

Another year, another Nuns Having Fun calendar, and another chance to look back and ask, “What was I thinking?”  Welcome to 2011: The Year That Was.

January: Best Month I Forgot About Entirely

Seriously, I had to turn to the new-fangled Facebook Timeline to help me remember January 2011.  And here’s what I found out:

1. I made these cookies with Manolo.

Cookies, Kind of

On the left, either me or Velma from Scooby Doo; on the right, Manolo with a tan or Medusa.

2. We also ate them.

3. I finished what wound up being the best book I read all year: The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop by Dan Charnas. I could tell you how well-written, informative, and crazy-interesting it is, but if you’re not already on board from the title, this might not be the book for you.

4. And I found out my name would be featured on “millions of cups” at Caribou Coffees everywhere. This would be the peak of my fame in 2011.

February: Best Second Month of the Year

Another one I don’t remember! Apparently: I went to a couple of concerts (favorite: Pete Yorn at First Ave), and I continued one of my favorite traditions of watching the Oscars with my bro.

In my defense there was a lot of snow on the ground last year. I didn’t get out that much.

March: Best Month To Start New Friendships

At some point in March, Lacy invited me out for brunch with one of her old friends who had just moved down the road from me.  Going against my usual winter attitude of “people are the worst,” I agreed to go.

That friend was the Ginger.

Also joining us that day was the Ginger’s roommate, another guy I vaguely knew years ago. And because I feel confident he will never read this, I don’t mind telling you he totally ignored my presence for the first half hour or so of our brunch and I wasn’t thinking we’d ever hang out again. Then I mentioned Battlestar Galactica. And now I can’t get rid of him.

****JOKE! THAT PART IS A JOKE.****

But really, our friendship formed because of BSG, found its footing in football, further developed over beer, and continues despite the amount of hell I give him.  He would probably like to make some jokes about getting rid of me, too, but is too nice to do so.

Easily the best brunch of my life.

April: Best Month to Get Older

I turned 26 by being sick on my couch and having a Die Hard marathon.  Later I convinced some coworkers to buy me an ice cream cake if I picked it up; this is what I chose to put on it.

Die Hard Cake

"Live Free or Die Hard" PG-13 version; the DQ employee had no idea who John McClane was. KIDS TODAY.

April was also when I saw Chuck Klosterman at the Fitzgerald, and went to my first of several Twins games of the year.  Spring is better than winter, you guys.

May: Best Month To Be Named Daughter of the Year

I took my mom to see Paul Simon at First Ave.

Paul Simon at First Ave

Therefore, I win.

And I took Lacy to see Donald Glover/Childish Gambino at The Varsity.

Donald Glover

Therefore, I need a new camera.

I also got a tan-line from a candy necklace while at the Lyn-Lake Festival. I regret nothing.

June: Best Month To Start A Blog

I started this blog in June for a class, but at first I tried to keep it homework-centric. Some adventures that happened in that time that haven’t yet been shared with the internet:

1. I took a tour of the Liberty Belle, a WWII bomber like the one my grandfather was in as a gunner.

Inside the Liberty Belle

How happy do I look to be holding that gun?

2. I rode a mechanical bull at Grand Old Day.

Rachel and the Bull

And you thought I looked happy with the gun.

3. I broke my bowling record (133 and it still stands! I’m not very good at bowling!).

4. And I officially became an Irish citizen (oh, have I mentioned that a time or two before?).

July – December: Best Things I’ve Already Written About So Just Read the Archives, Particularly Anything About Traveling With The Ginger, Visiting Virginia in July, Screaming at The New Kids On The Block, Being Thankful For Things, And Being Disappointed By The Vikings Live and In Person.

(We may be on memory lane here, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take shortcuts.)

So that was 2011: New friendships, new adventures, and a new passion for volunteering. Things were constantly ridiculous. Some ideas were bad. Mistakes were made on a daily basis. But overall, I think I nailed it in one take.

Bring it, 2012.

Zombie Fashionista!

Last weekend, my friends and I did terrible things to the Disney genre at the annual Zombie Pub Crawl.

Zombie Disney Princesses

Sorry for ruining your childhoods just now.

Even though I was Minnie Mouse and not Snow White, it made me dig through the RachelArchives for this:

Rachel as snow white

1990. Sweet, innocent, adorable Snow White. What happened.

This was my third year in a row at the ZPC.  In 2009, Sabrina and I decided to answer the question: “What if Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana were two different people? And also, zombies?” I was Miley, and you could tell because I was wearing a sticker that said “Secret Pop Star.”

ZPC Year One

No explanation for the Margaret McPoyle eyebrows

Last year, Sabrina and I did the Zombie bridesmaids thing.  At the :36-mark in this video, I walk directly at the camera for a hot second:

No McPoyle brows that year! (I actually had no eyebrows.  We overcompensated.)

You don’t have to believe me, but I was actually the DZD (Designated Zombie Driver) both those years.  I wasn’t this year but that’s not the point.  The point is that whether I’m Miley Cyrus or Minnie Mouse, as long as I’m all gored up and with my good friends, I’m having fun.

Uh….apparently at the expense of the Disney channel.

Sick days and life lessons

I am sick. My self-diagnosis is allergies + cough + whatever it is that makes me unable to stay awake for 3 consecutive hours.  It doesn’t matter, whatever it is it has kept me on the couch for the better part of today with nothing to do but watch cartoons and action movies and talk to my friends in a whiny manner.

I’ve had a few variations of this conversation today:

Me – I’m sick.

Friend – Oh, I’m sorry. Do you need anything?

Me – No, but thanks.

It’s very nice of them to offer, although of course what they mean is “please don’t breathe on me.”  And of course what I mean is “Yes, I need an immune system. And ice cream. And a puppy.”  I cannot ask for these things, though, because I am an adult.  Except around my mother, and she wouldn’t bring me a puppy anyway.

I think I was still holding out hope for a visit from the ice cream fairy when a few hours later, this conversation happened:

Me: I should probably go get ice cream.

Lacy: I have wine.

Me: So you support this decision, then?

Lacy: I support every decision.

Yep.  That’s ten years of friendship summed up in four beautiful sentences.

So with Lacy’s blessing and the addition of a pair of pants, I went out and got some ice cream (and some ibuprofen, because I am not against conventional medicine, I just prefer desserts).  I brought it back to my apartment and cracked open my freezer, and what do you suppose I found?

A half-empty tub of ice cream.

ice cream tub

Right in front. Not even hidden behind the vodka or anything.

I’m sure there’s a lesson for us all here somewhere.  Sometimes what you’re looking for is right where you left it? No, that’s the tagline to Sweet Home Alabama.  Hmmm, be less ridiculous? No, that’s the opposite of what my life is about.  How about next time you start jonesing for sweets, maybe check your immediate surroundings first before driving off in a feverish state to the pharmacy, only then remembering that your car is threatening to die and you might be stranded with the local hobos and hooligans who populate the parking lot at night, and they might expect you to share your ice cream.

It may seem specific to you but I’m 80% certain this is something I’ll need to learn at least once more in my life.