The fence, the fence, the fence is on fire (170th new thing).

September 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Day One Hundred Seventy found me working the shoot day for a GA Lottery Keno commercial (mentioned on Day 169). I’m sure I experienced several new things throughout the day, but the one that stuck out most in my mind was watching a piece of fence get torched. Because who doesn’t love a good controlled fire?

It all kind of made me hungry for s’mores.



Paid to Play (169th new thing).

September 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

I was working on another GA Lottery commercial on Day One Hundred Sixty-Nine. It was for the Keno game, the one with Kevin the fire-breathing goat. Right before I left the production office for the night, the agency producer had the great idea to include Keno tickets in the following day’s shoot. Trouble was, it was late, with an early call time the next day. But I like gambling, especially when it’s not my money, so I volunteered to head over to Manuel’s for a cold beer and some betting. It was the first time I was ever asked to gamble for work.

I played a ton of $1 tickets. Like five, each with only one or two draws. I kept winning. Not winning a lot, but maybe an extra buck or two. Enough for me to keep going, much to the bartender’s annoyance. Once the ticket was deemed a winner the computer marked the side of it with a thick black line, one that would not look good on camera. So I had to keep playing (or not turn in the winners).

I continued until I had about ten non-winning tickets (and had broken even). I may have ended up a dollar over, which I put toward my drink.

I did learn an important life lesson, though:Gambling is more fun with other people’s money.

Coke Zero (168th new thing).

September 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have a list of “lame” or easy activities on days like One Hundred Sixty-Eight. I was super busy, working for over twelve hours, and frankly beat by the time I made it home. But I still needed something new to do. So I reached into the bak of my refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of Coke Zero that I had saved for just such an occasion. And tried it.

The claim

I don’t know what I was expecting. I was hoping it would taste like good old fashion Coca Cola, but didn’t think that it could replicate the flavor without sugar (or high fructose corn syrup). I was pleasantly surprised that the flavors were somewhat similar, but the zero drink still had that aspartame/nutrisweet taste that makes Diet Coke so utterly disgusting.

I took a couple swallows, determined that it was enough, and offered the rest to Patrick (he declined). I still think the half drank bottle is sitting in the back of the fridge, probably flat by now.

Remembering Franky (167th new thing).

September 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Franky J Cassidy was one of the most positive people I have ever known. He played softball with us and no matter what mistakes anyone made, he would respond with a dimpled grin and say that we’ll get them next time.


After our games, most of the team would go around the corner to the U-Joint for a beer or two and maybe some food. Every time we went, Franky would order a Corona, but the bar only served Corona Light (weird, I know). So Franky would say, “Yeah, that’s fine,” and once the beer came we would tease him about drinking the low calorie version of such a typically light beer in the first place. It became a happy, friendly routine with Andre leading the mocking.

Unfortunately, Franky’s life was cut short in a car accident a few days before our final softball game of the season. After that game (which we lost), the team met up at our usual spot and remembered Franky, his happy attitude, encouraging disposition, and the way he was never, ever negative, about anyone or anything.

And we drank Corona Light, but only after ordering a regular Corona and being told that the U Joint only has the lower calorie version. Appropriately enough, there was only one bottle left, a bottle which we placed in the center of our pushed-together tables and each took a sip from. It sounds overly dramatic, but the symbolism was comforting for all of us.

Franky J was an amazing guy whose life ended far too soon.

We will miss you.

Hemming and Hawing (166th new thing).

September 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

I had worn my folded cuff capris several times since originally trimming the leg wear from jeans. On Day One Hundred Sixty-six, it was finally time to ditch the cuff look and hem them, something I had never done before.

I started with a pair of Patrick’s shorts that he wanted shortened. If I messed those up, at least it wasn’t my favorite pants, right? Fortunately, I did ok. I folded up the bottom cuff and ran the fabric through my sewing machine. The additional fabric at the new hem felt a little heavy, but I thought that was an easier method then breaking the factory seam and starting from scratch. He seemed pleased enough with them, so I continued on with my own clothing.

I folded the bottom (now slightly frayed) material twice and ironed the crease. My method wasn’t very precise, so I hoped that the resulting lengths of the legs would match. And then I ran the fabric through the machine, just as I had Patrick’s. I stuck with the white thread because I was too lazy to change it I thought it looked alright. Kind of like it was an intentional design element.

They turned out well enough, especially since this was my first attempt at hemming anything. The length of each leg was about the same, or close enough to not draw attention to the discrepancy. And the white thread looked pretty good. The only real problem was where I hadn’t included the very bottom of the fabric in the fold over/ironing process, but I remedied that over the next few days by sneakily cutting off the offending frayed material hanging out. Very DIY.

I feel a bit proud, walking around in a garment I had some sort of hand in making. Even if it was just a chop, a fold, and a sew.

Joining the socially conscious shoe revolution (165th new thing).

September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had heard about Toms Shoes, a company founded on the idea that every pair purchased will result in another pair being donated to those less fortunate. It’s a cool idea and makes people feel good about paying 50 bucks for a pair of canvas slip-ons that will probably stink after one summer month. I talked to a friend at work who was sporting a nice pair of red Toms, and she told me how incredibly comfortable the kicks were from the first day she put them on. So on Day One Hundred Sixty-Five I stopped by the Abbadabba’s on the way home from work and purchased my very own pair of socially conscious footwear.

The store was crowded with a large family of shoe-shoppers. One man was jauntily prancing around the store in a pair of those five fingered shoes, the ones that seem strange to wear, mostly because I hated that socks-with-toes craze, so why would I want a pair of shoes-with-toes. He seemed to love them. He was dancing. Around a shoe store. Weird.

I thought about trying on a pair of the weird Mary Janes with toes, but they were way more expensive and I still didn’t think they’d be all that comfortable.

The biggest decision I had to make was which color to purchase. The pair I tried on in a 7 1/2 really did feel as great as my friend had purported. But the shoe wasn’t available in red (my first choice) or olive (the second). The sales lady told me they had plenty of pink in stock, but I’m not the pink shoe girl. I settled for navy.

They are soooo comfortable. Plus, I have the added bonus of feeling good about my purchase, imagining some little kid running around in Africa with a matching pair of navy Toms.

Attack of the Canadian Geese (164th new thing).

September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had been slacking on my Couch to 5k program. Working twelve hour days really doesn’t leave enough time to go for a jog. So on Day One Hundred Sixty-Four I brought along a bag of gym clothes and decided I would rejoin the program by running at Shorty Howell Park in Duluth, just a few minutes from work.

I had only to this point run around the neighborhood, and the kick-off workout on the beach. The former is quite hilly, but I know the terrain well enough to remember when to conserve energy for the steep slopes. The latter was pretty much flat and easy. I didn’t know what to expect from this brand new park running experience.

I began the five minute warm-up walk down the hill by a picturesque pond, side stepping around huge piles of bird excrement. The body of water is home to dozens of Canadian geese and ducks who had crapped everywhere. It was merely a nuiscence until I came across a family of people feeding the overgrown birds. On my path.

I’m not a great fan of geese. In high school we lived in a neighborhood with one of those “lakes” built into the neighborhood. In that pond lived an evil Canadian goose. My mom christened him “Sid Vicious,” not because of his rock n roll tendancies, but more because he would swoop down and attack unsuspecting children. My brother was once nailed in the hip in a fly-by and the bird dive bombed me once or twice while I was rowing on the water. Eventually animal control saved the young neighborhood kids by capturing it and taking it somewhere else (heaven perhaps?), but the fear caused by the sight of a giant bird heading straight towards you has stayed with me. Watching Hitchock’s The Birds as a kid didn’t help either.

So I was trying to weave around the flock of geese and simultaneously avoid their droppings when a few of the winged beasts come at me. I mean, they probably were just seeing if I had bread, but you never know, so I yelped and steered as far away from them as possible while the family feeding them laughed. It was embarrassing, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I jogged on peacefully, but never returned to that side of the park.

I wasn’t taking any chances. And while the run was nice enough, I will probably avoid that park from now on, at least the area by the pond.

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