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  • mjperry1 3:24 am on May 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 8/52   

    Adventure 8 – being honest with the internet….and attaching my name to it. 

    Initial disclosure. This posting isn’t so much about an adventure as it is about the concept of adventure. Second disclosure. I don’t consider myself a writer as such. I can write things, certainly … subject verb object … and it generally works rather nicely. I even use things like metaphors and similes. But a writer in the real sense of the word – the sense of being able to communicate profound human truths in interesting or perhaps pithy ways … this is not something I do in a written form. But tonight I’m going to make the attempt. Because tonight is my birthday. And I’m slightly drunk. And I’m alone. And if we combine those three things into a single metaphor, you kind of have my life.

    Now, I’m not actually depressive. I’ve been through counseling, and I’ve worked through most of my issues, and I’m really in a pretty good place in my life. I think. But as I face the big 2-8, I can’t help but feel a certain sense of “I’m an adult now.” Which is so damn scary. (More …)

     
    • blueskiesinva 10:15 pm on May 3, 2010 Permalink

      Your post is brave and inspiring. Don’t worry about being an adult (whatever that means). I’m about halfway through this life now, and I spend very little time thinking about what I’ve “accomplished.” It’s more important to, as you say, “plunge in and live life from day to day.” Happy Birthday!

    • yearof52adventures 11:17 pm on May 3, 2010 Permalink

      I’m so proud of you. I can’t wait for forthcoming adventures!

    • Jean Ann 3:19 pm on May 5, 2010 Permalink

      Thanks for referencing Our Town. (And no, I wasnt in Our Town, I tried out, and didn’t get cast.)

    • faolan01 12:48 pm on May 11, 2010 Permalink

      This is very courageous! Thank you for sharing this adventure with us, and happy birthday!

  • Kimberly Hula 11:20 am on April 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 8/52, marathon   

    Searching for a Starting Block 

    “When it comes to other people, you can always come up with a reasonable explanation, but you can’t fool yourself.  In this sense, writing novels and running full marathons are very much alike.  Basically a writer has a quiet, inner motivation, and doesn’t seek validation in the outwardly visible.” (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, pg. 10.)

    So spoke Murakami.
    I think that’s how I got into the running game – with a more road-ready inner motivation.  Although my foray into the athletic stage isn’t nearly as eloquent as Mr. Murakami’s.  Bascially, I used to work in restaurants.  Scores of restaurants (delis, diners, five stars, bars) that brought employees together in the only way they knew how: the back dock smoking lounge.

    People don’t peg me a smoker, and I can’t say I don’t appreciate their surprise.  When I worked in restaurants I worked long hours.  When one works long hours, one capitalizes on any and all breaks given them.  Which is to say, I smoked some cigarettes.  Daily.  

    But I wasn’t a portrait of long savory puffs in a darkened alley with the strong arm of a tall man in a driving cap around my waist.  No, no.  These were harried puffs amongst angsty bartenders and hostesses that did little to welcome or elevate friendships.  We just past the time in the only way we knew how.  And for us, that was enough.

    But, bad habits have a way of having a way with you.  So, I developed a sore throat and, as luck would have, three back to back shifts.  But, even more opportune, I had a 10 minute (10 minutes!) back dock break between shifts one and two and ran out to enjoy a smoke treat with Ellie.

    I still can’t attribute my dramatics to anything in particular, but just as I was about to light one up and take a drag something happened.  My mind completely rewired and I made a declaration.  A very loud declaration.  I told all the servers in proximity that I was going to change my life and quit smoking.  We were in tuxedos.  Near an oversized dumpster enjoying a brief reprieve and I was hollering about health and happiness.  No one said a word.  I think I was afraid no one would take me seriously so I threw my cigarette pack to the ground and jumped on them.  My jumps weren’t incredibly effective and still, no one had spoken, so I picked them up and lobbed them into the dumpster.  Only Ellie said, “I would have taken those.”

    And then… synapses.  Something fired in my mind.  I convinced myself in the span of Ellie’s sentence that I would have to do something representative of someone with good, clean lungs.  It was then I decided I would have to run a marathon. (More …)

     
    • faolan01 12:04 pm on April 22, 2010 Permalink

      Congrats! It must be so empowering to go from being a smoker to running a half marathon! Good luck with training for the Wine Glass Marathon!

  • wip78 8:29 pm on April 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 8/52   

    8/52: A Beast of a Sandwich… 

    Ahhh….  my fellow adventurers.  I apologize to all of you for not blogging about my adventures.  Life took over for awhile, so, I have a little reading and adventuring to catch up on…

    For my 8th adventure.  I decided to do something with food.   I decided to take on a “Man vs. Food” challenge  over at Lucky’s.  The challenge-  to eat 3 of these….

    ….. in 45 minutes.

    Do you see the fries in this sandwich?  Do you see the deliciousness?!  I asked the waitress what the host from the T.V. show ordered and I ordered the first one: Pastrami.  I took it down in 6 minutes (HOLLA!).  I ordered the second sandwich half way through the first which was filled with Roast Beef yumminess.  As i ordered the second one, the waitress said, “Wait. Are you doing the challenge?  You need to have all 3 sandwiches  in front of you before you start the clock!”.  Ummm thanks, Toby.  No picture of me on the wall. No free meal. Oh well.  Let’s keep it going!   The second one came and I took the first half down in 4 minutes.  I was slowing down.  I could feel the oil coating my mouth and throat and the taste of the Roast Beef made me feel like I was going to hurl all over my poor friends that came to support me.  I started on the second half and couldn’t finish it.  I stopped at 17 minutes. I was doing AMAZING on time, but I just hit that wall where my stomach was like, “mmmmmno more”.   I felt disappointed a bit and extremely round.  BUT, I got to feel like a kid again and eat a sandwich stuffed with fries:)  I am planning on doing this again…all in the name of adventure!

     
  • AG 9:54 pm on April 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 8/52   

    Adventure #8: Hwa Gye Sa International Zen Center in Seoul 

    Photobucket

    Hwa Gye Sa

    As an attempt to do more productive activities on the weekends, I attended a meditation at a Buddhist temple with two friends who recently participated in a temple stay. I previously felt that a temple stay for a whole weekend would be boring or not able to hold my attention. Since I moved to Seoul almost a year ago, I have noticed I have become increasingly scatter-brained and even find it difficult to relax and read a book. So this meditation was much needed. Since it’s an international center, many foreigners attend
    and the monks speak English. We started with a 30 minute sitting meditation, followed by a 3 minute stretch, and then a walking meditation which was quite interesting. You walk very slowly and purposefully in a circle and by time the you are finished walking in the circle you end up where you started. Then you repeat everything 3 times which amounts to about 2 hours of meditating. I am someone who probably needs to be meditate, but I never really have practiced it. I’m sure we all need to meditate, but for me, it’s something that I find myself constantly thinking about but putting off. It was difficult to clear my mind as I’m sure it’s difficult for all beginners. Even when you try to focus, your mind is thinking. I tried to focus on my breathing and not think of anything. For a bit, the breathing kept my mind clear. But it constantly wandered and I found myself thinking again. It’s funny how, our mind is constantly going and we’re not even aware that we’re thinking until we stop to think about it. After the meditation we had a 10 minute break and then a monk came out for an hour to talk to us. I guess this is typically a talk from him followed by a question and answer session, but he talked a lot and went on several tangents. So there was no time for questions, but it was fine. He was really funny, which was not what I had expected. I thought he would be more stern and philosophical. He was still philosophical but in a comical way which I found it was easier to connect with what he saying because of this. I was especially drawn to a particular topic that he talked about: home. There were some people there who were leaving Korea that day to go “home” to Germany and to Shanghai. And he used this as a way to get us to think about our own homes. Immediately I thought of Chicago and my family and how much I miss them and how I’m planning to shorten my stay here because I’m homesick. And he said home is not in Korea or in Shanghai or in Germany, but home is here as he pointed to his chest. This struck me deeply. I know “home is where the heart is” or I’ve at least heard the saying. But it was as if I was hearing this for the first time. We get so attached to people and things and places, but these are just attachments. It was a profound talk, and I enjoyed it so much, that I will definitely go back. Since going to the meditation, I have found that my mood has improved and I feel a sense of peace. This could be from meditating or the monk’s talk or a placebo. Whatever it is, I feel great. And if it’s possible I could feel this wonderful from meditation then I think I’ll be doing more of it.

     
  • Stephanie 8:42 am on March 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 8/52, bartending, grape martini   

    Adventure #8 – Mastering the Grape Excess Martini 

    February 5, 2010

    The Grape Excess Martini was a drink I discovered about 4 years ago at a former Boston hot spot – Excelsior. It’s the most refreshing drink and it packs a powerful punch! It’s light, fizzy, sweet but not syrupy, and has a special treat of frozen grapes threaded on toothpicks, so it’s sorta like having a snack with your alcohol!

    Regretfully, Excelsior shut its doors January 2009 and my life hasn’t been the same since. However towards the end of 2009, a new restaurant – Post 390 – opened up on Stuart St. with some of the same management and staff from Excelsior. I was thrilled when I saw the Grape Excess return to a Boston menu! However, disappointment struck hard when I went to Post and realized that this wasn’t the same drink as my beloved Excelsior. It was way too sweet, cloudy not clear, and just tasted off.  It was a devastating evening until I spoke to Mike, my favorite bartender at Post (and former Excelsior superstar), and asked him if he could make the martini the “Excelsior way”.  It was a huge success! (More …)

     
    • Mike 2:33 pm on April 19, 2010 Permalink

      Stephanie, I am inspired. Years ago I had a drink in Milwaukee that was called “The Baron” It used Asbach Uralt, Tia Maria, and Galliano. Unfortunately I never got the ratios. For the last few nights I have been experimenting trying to find the right amounts of each ingredient. Unfortunately I have not yet found the magical combination that produces this little piece of heaven. But I am not giving up. On the upside I have been sleeping very well at night.

      The problem is you can only try so many till you kind of have to stop for the night. The first night I failed to write down what I tried, which has probably lead to some repeat failures. This weeks adventure may take more than a week.

    • faolan01 1:22 pm on April 20, 2010 Permalink

      love it! there are too many great drinks that just sort of disappear when bars close or bartenders leave. Somewhere I should still have the recipe for one called Mother’s Milk that I discovered in the now long-gone ManRay. I think one of my adventures may end up being finding that recipe and figuring out how to re-create that drink

  • adrienne 8:09 pm on March 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , 8/52,   

    A Quick and Dirty Catch-up… 

    8th Adventure – getting a haiku accepted into Sidelines, Simmons lit. magazine.  Not a big adventure, but nice to get a poem in the mag two years running (two last year, I’m slipping). :)

    9th – Going to Boston Beerworks for the first time on 12 March.  I decided it was no longer fair that I wasn’t supposed to drink at all (thanks to issues from a brain tumor I didn’t ask for), and so after nearly 12 years of nothing more than a couple of  sips of alcohol, I drank two beers and a little vodka (over the course of the entire evening).  I’m not going to go crazy, of course, because that would be stupid, but I’m not always going to say no.  A defiant adventure, it was.  Although the Beerworks is nice, and it was a fun evening with friends.

    10th – I joined Haiku a Day on Facebook, and will test my mettle with the poetry style I love writing. I reserve the right, however, to fall back on my older stash, and I firmly believe that haiku poems can be in two parts, like chapters. Themed haiku.

    11th – Friday 19 March I tried JPLicks ice cream for the first time – kahlua.  Yummy, but definitely get a cup because it is drippy!

     
  • eatveggiesdrinkwine 9:13 pm on March 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 8/52, spinning   

    8/52: Spinning my wheels without going anywhere 

    I have something against treadmills. Why would I run or walk in the same excruciatingly boring spot when I have the option of exploring all the sights, sounds and smells of a neighborhood? So my interest in taking a spinning class was kind of random. Different machine, same problem, right?

    Not really, as I learned on Monday night. Add black lights, pounding music and an instructor yelling at me to stand on my pedals and run every few minutes, and there’s no room for boredom. Only time for sweating and wondering how badly my be-hind was going to hurt afterwards. (FYI: No amount of seat padding helps.)

    It felt like a return to my step aerobic roots. (Thankfully, pictures of those days do not exist.) No talk of connecting breath and movement, no spirituality — just an intense, heart-thumping hour. Immediately afterwards, I felt wired in a not-so-great way. For the past few years I’ve been using exercise as a way to calm my mind, not to continue the chaos of my work day. The constant stimulation of the class was anything but relaxing. But by the time I was home, I felt energized in a positive way. This was definitely not the typical Monday night energy level I’d been used to for the past six months. While I can’t imagine I’ll make spinning a part of my weekly routine, I can see myself taking a class when I need an energy boost (or after a serious chow-down).

     
    • yearof52adventures 8:06 pm on March 17, 2010 Permalink

      It’s good to kick it up a few notches and try a new routine. I’ll think I’ll slip something in to my schedule now myself. thanks!

  • jeindeer 10:53 am on March 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 8/52, books, code, codex seraphinianus, library   

    #8: Find the Codex Seraphinianus 

    My favorite book in the world is an encyclopedia of things which don’t exist.  The Codex Seriphinianus creates the trappings of a reference text in stunning detail—charts, graphs, categories, chapters, page numbers—but describes strange, bewildering and beautiful phenomenon not native to our world.  It is written in a curvilinear script with no known translation; the language may or not be meaningful, but researchers recently cracked its base-21 numbering system.

    A picture of the Codex in my lap on the library floor

    I first encountered the Codex during a college visit to an art library.  We were told to browse and report on random selections.  I received the Codex, and in some ways I’ve never put it down again, but I haven’t held a copy in years.  For my eighth adventure, I found it in the Boston Public Library.

    (More …)

     
    • Judith 2:38 am on March 9, 2010 Permalink

      Wow. yearof52adventures.com deserves an oscar.

    • Lee Anne 11:25 am on April 19, 2010 Permalink

      I must read (or rather, ponder) this book! Amazon only has copies at $400, neither of the public library systems I have access to have it, but I have access to academic libraries. . .heehee.
      Thanks for sharing about this. I’m intrigued.

  • Berton 12:51 am on February 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , 8/52   

    Week 6, 7, 8 

    I have been failing at posting on these adventures lately.  But I have been doing them.  I just have become lazy, to be honest.  So here is a short post about the past three weeks, and I am making the dedicated statement that I will now post once a week (the week I do the adventure).

    Week 6 was sort of a revisit of Week 1 – The Jucy Lucy.  There is a dispute that the place I went to, Matt’s Bar, didn’t invent this lovely burger.  Some people claim that the 5-8 Club (a restaurant about three miles away) made the original.  Well, I don’t know who made it first, but I thought I should check out which one tastes better.  So Tom and I went to the 5-8 Club and got out our taste buds.  And, hands down, Matt’s Bar’s Jucy Lucy was better.  Above and beyond better.  Not to say that the 5-8 Club makes a bad burger, far from it.  But it didn’t have a unique flavor.  And to be honest, the meat and cheese was kind of dry, not befitting it’s name.  Now I could have just gone on a bad night, but still, with the knowledge that I have, I will always recommend Matt’s Bar over the 5-8 Club.

    Week 7 took me to pond skating.  I have been ice skating before, but always in a rink.  I found out not to long ago that there is a great link of three small ponds that have ice skating on them.  So a crew of friends (my fiance Becky included) took off to see if pond skating is much different than an ice rink.  And it is.  Without a Zamboni, and the natural cracks and bumps of the ice, it was a more raw, unique kind of skating.  And since we had a crew of friends, it was a great time.  Made me feel more Minnesotan, especially with our state representing the Winter Olympics so epically.

    And Week 8 took me to a place where I have been interested in but intimidated by also.  But two good friends of mine gave me the confidence and encouragement to go.  I went to a gun range.  I have been pheasant hunting before (once last year) and I admit it was kind of a rush.  So the opportunity to fire a hand gun also interested me.  But I am not a hard core believer in the whole “right to bear arms” second amendment thing.  Conceal and carry kind of scares me.  I think the availability of hand guns causes more problems than makes people feel safe.  But at the same time, firing it in a controlled, safe environment was a hell of a lot of fun.  At first my aim was hit or miss (bad pun, I know) but after an hour or so of shooting rounds, my aim and confidence grew by miles.  I know I will never buy a handgun.  But I will probably go back to a gun range and shoot there.

     
    • renea 11:00 am on February 26, 2010 Permalink

      Super Cool Idea. I’d love to try this.

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