A Whirlyball Tale (322nd new thing).

July 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

On Day Three Hundred Twenty-Two, Patrick asked if I would like to join him and The EARL in a Whirlyball game against Ticket Alternative. Of course! While I have played the sport before, I had never played against TA, so certainly considered it as “something new.”

Marc Crifasi admires the panorama of activity on the Whirlyball court

The game is played like a combination of basketball and lacrosse, except in bumper cars. Two teams of five roam around an electrified floor with small plastic scoops, passing and bouncing a whiffle ball across the court.  Points are scored by hitting the goal, essentially a basketball backboard with a hole in the middle instead of a hoop. A buzzer sounds as the ball hits its target and voila, a point is tallied! Points can also be gained by the opposing team fouling a member of your own: by slashing their scoop at one of your teammates or touching the ball with their hands. Some extreme games are played without the foul penalties.

A fight for the ball

We met up at Whirlyball Atlanta after some pre-game BBQ at Dreamland BBQ. The first games were a mishmash of players from each side in 15 minute increments. I found my own strategy pretty quickly: stay on the guy who could score and block him from ever getting the ball. It was kind of counter productive in the interest of fun and I felt bad for not allowing him to navigate across the floor, but we won. I’m not taking full credit, but a little would be OK, right?

I tend to get a little competitive, but only during the confines of games, any games. Board games are the worst.

We mixed and matched teams until the last game of the night arrived- the official “Official Ticket Alternative vs The EARL” game.

John keeping the red team away from the goal

The blur of speed

We lost. But it was fun. I managed to score a goal and forgot about inhibiting the opposing team. I really felt bad about my actions from earlier.

And there’s the moral of the story…winning or losing, Whirlyball is fun for everyone.

Improv! (321st new thing).

July 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I was 17 I had an internship at an improv club. They were filming their live performances for a TV show on the now defunct Turner South. I enjoyed watching the productions every week, but never took a class myself. Until Day Three Hundred Twenty-One when I attended my first one with Automatic Improv at Relapse Theatre with my friends Andre and Robert.

Andre missed the first class and Robert was late; I was quite nervous walking in on my own. I sat down in one of the chairs set in a circle in the middle of a huge room. I glanced around at my new classmates as we all made small talk. It felt like the first day of school, and in fact, it sort of was.

Once we’d all gathered and money and role-call had been dealt with, we went around and introduced ourselves, describing why we were taking the class. Some people had heard about it via word of mouth and others were there to combat anxiety and public speaking nerves. I, of course, talked about my adventure in new activities.

Next we  all stood up and played a name game warm up. One by one we added an alliterative adjective to our first name, paired with a bombastic gesture. Super Sarah with a step forward and fist thrust into the air. Jet Pack Jeff with arms at his side and on tip toes. Loquacious Laura with a finger twirl and bow. The game worked well and soon we were mimicking each others’ words and motions.

Next we learned a few warm up games like “Go.” While still in a circle you ask another group member’s permission to go. When they say the word (“go”) you move to their place in the group. We also pranced around the stage as various animals which reminded me of my “Intro to Theatre” class in college. And we practiced dying dramatically, which is always a good time.

By the end of our two hour introductory class I found myself having a lot of fun. The difference in the interaction of the group at the beginning and the end was astounding.

From our Level Two Graduation Show. Doesn’t this look like fun?

Now I’m in the Level Three class with six others who attended that first course. Despite Patrick’s mocking I really do enjoy learning and performing improvisational comedy. Sometimes I’m funny or witty and other times I fall flat on my face. Both experiences are worth it, especially when they happen while I am surrounded by the new and old friends I’ve taken classes with for the past several months. If you’re in Atlanta, don’t miss our next (and final) grad show in August.

There’s an Oyster in my Shot! (320th new thing).

July 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Patrick and I found ourselves at Six Feet Under on Day Three Hundred Twenty.  Atlanta may be a landlocked city, but  the seafood the restaurant serves up is pretty tasty. I especially enjoy oysters, and as I browsed the alcohol list my eyes stopped at a section called, “Oyster Shots.” I had seen them there plenty of times before, but never had the balls (or taste buds) to actually order one. I think you see where this is going…

I opted for the classic “Six Feet Under” oyster shot. “A shot of Absolut Peppar, Zing Zang’s Bloody Mary Mix & a raw oyster.” The rest of the table joined me in my quest to try something new. We clinked glasses then threw back the seafood substance nestled at the bottom of the cups.

Shooting it with demon eyes.

Of course, I managed to swallow everything contained in the shot glass except the oyster. So I ate it separately.

Down the Hatch.

While I don’t think I’ll ever get another oyster shot in my life (it was a bit peppery and I’m still not fond of the Bloody Mary flavor), I was glad to have tried it. And glad for the company who joined me in my pursuit of new activities.

Bottoms Up!

The Dumbest Thing Ever (319th new thing).

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.

Energy, Alcohol, and great tasting to boot!

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.

Four Loko Crazy! Thanks for the taste, Aimee!

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.

National Cheese Lovers Day (318th new thing).

July 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

January 20, 2012 was National Cheese Day. Or so I thought. I have found, through extensive internet searches (aka typing “National Cheese Day 2012” into Google), that perhaps National Cheese Day was actually June 4, 2012 (months after I turned thirty). In fact, January 20th is actually considered “National Cheese Lovers Day.” Why people who eat a lot of the dairy substance get two holidays is a mystery. Either way, On Day Three Hundred Eighteen, I joined the celebration of cheese by making my own.

It was a simple “farmer’s cheese” recipe I found online. All I needed was whole milk, buttermilk, vinegar, and herbs. The secret to creating the fromage from all of this is the vinegar. And no, it doesn’t make the final product taste sour like I originally thought. It simply helps in the curdling process, which is gross enough in itself. I mean, just the idea of “separating” a dairy substance into chunky globs makes my stomach churn. But as a cheese lover, I figured if that’s how it’s done, that’s what I would do.

The process in pictures (with captions).

Most of the recipes I found suggested hanging the curdled substance on its way to becoming cheese in a knotted cheese cloth for a day or so. However, I was pressed for time and instead aided the draining by wringing out the excess liquids. I didn’t have a cheese cloth, so I used a thin towel, clean of course.

After a few minutes of squeezing, I found that I had a large softball sized ball of cheese in my towel. It had the consistency of ricotta, and probably all the flavor as well. I remedied that by mixing an assortment of dried herbs from my pantry into the cheese. It was actually beginning to look edible, maybe even tasty.

Cheese and crackers, anyone?

I took a tentative bite and was thrilled with the result. There wasn’t a mouthful of flavor by any means, but the consistency was very cheese-like. I pulled out some crackers and dipped one into my bowl of cheese. Not bad.

I was officially a Cheese Lover and Maker. Happy National Cheese Lovers Day!

Lips of Rouge (317th new thing).

July 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

I don’t normally wear a lot of makeup. Quite frankly, I don’t think I would know how to apply anything more than blush, eyeliner, and mascara. I may even do that poorly. But on Day Three Hundred Seventeen I decided to step out of my makeup routine and wear bright red lipstick to work.

So bright!

The reactions were varied, but there was always a reaction. The security guard told me she liked my lipstick while the office bitch commented, “Oh, it’s so…bright.” I grinned widely and thanked her. Asif told me I looked like a circus clown. Jeremiah said it was actually a good look for me. One of the hosts asked me if it was one of my “new things.” I chuckled at that one.

I found the entire day very amusing, from positive to negative reactions. Any time I forgot that I was wearing bright red lipstick I was quickly reminded of the fact by the looks on my coworkers’ faces.

I don’t ever plan on tarting up my lips again at work, but I think it could be good fun on dreary days.

Bubble Art (316th new thing).

July 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

I was looking online for some cool new thing to make or try on Day Three Hundred Sixteen and came across some gorgeous images of frozen bubbles. I searched how to make them myself, and wouldn’t you know, I had all the supplies in my house. The weather was almost cold enough (aka below 32 degrees farenheit), so I figured this could be a really cool experiment.

Cracked Bubble Egg

I mixed my Joy dishwashing liquid and water together and lightly blew a bubble onto a plate. The first couple popped, but after some of the solution had coated the surface of the dish, the next few bubbles managed to stay. I made myself a little pyramid of bubbles, and imagined how beautiful they would look as frozen masterpieces. I carefully placed my unfrozen art into the freezer (it was not nearly cold enough outside yet), and sat back, counting the minutes.

After about ten minutes I decided to check on the soap’s progress. Deflated. I pulled out the slightly frozen plate of goop and began again. This time I only made a single bubble and waited for fifteen minutes. Unfortunately Patrick opened the freezer before the timer went off and the experiment once again popped before my eyes. This was much more difficult than I thought.

My best effort. Note the Skittles Vodka still leisurely hanging out in the freezer behind my half bubbles.

Round three brought some better results, albeit nothing a lovely as the photographs I found online. The best I had was a partially frozen blob about three inches wide. It lasted only a minute outside of the confines of the below-32 degree freezer. Not my best effort. The Ivory Soap experiment was much cooler (and easier).

Maybe next winter I can master the art of frozen bubbles.

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