Painting the Backyard Orange (292nd new thing).

February 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

My Christmastime at home with the family was turning into a bonding weekend with my little brother. First he had taught me to longboard, then he built a balance board with me. On Day Two Hundred Ninety-Two Brad pulled out his paintball gun and for the first time, I fired it.

The recoil was nothing compared to my time at the shooting range. I shot off several balls of orange paint-filled balls in a row, aiming at the center of a wooden slab leaned against a tree in the backyard.

After my brother and I had a go, my parents each took a turn. My mom seemed a little too into it. Her face scrunched up in intent and her lips formed a solid line of concentration. By the time we had exhausted ourselves with paint balling, the wooden board and much of the flower bed around it was scattered with orange blobs.

I’ve never had a desire to play paintball on an actual course, but the ease of firing the gun sure did pique my interest. Add another new activity to my to-do list.

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Mardi Gras Christmas (284th new thing).

February 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Every holiday season, my mom and her best friend, Cindy, alternate who hosts the pre-Christmas get together. Aunt Cin lives in North Georgia, and my parents in North Carolina, so it’s always a bit of trek for someone, especially since Nicole and Ryan live in Alabama and I live in Atlanta. The ladies also like to theme each gathering with an international flair. Last year was Buon Natale where we drank a lot of Italian Chianti and ate lasagna. The previous holiday was Feliz Navidad where copious amounts of margaritas were consumed along with some enchiladas. This year, we stuck stateside and had a Mardi Gras Christmas, my first, on Day Two Hundred Eighty-Four.

Donning our masks for a group portrait

A festive table

All in the details

Six year old Claire struggles with her mask

Patrick decided to bring the ingredients to make Sazerac, a New Orleans Old Fashion. Rye whiskey, simple syrup, bitters. Lack of the absinthe-like ingredient changed the drink a bit.

Drinking the Sazerac. Not my favorite, but certainly sippable.

My family is really loud. Murphy takes precautions.

King Cake. I didn

My cousin Claire is quite the ham. One of the most memorable parts of Mardi Gras Christmas was her version of classic Beatles’ songs and a few modern tunes. There was a mirror behind me (and my camera), and like I did in my youth, she sang passionately to her reflection. Here’s some blackmail material for her teenage years.

Reality Stars (283rd new thing).

February 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

My parents love The Amazing Race. In the summer of its first season I was traveling in Europe, but I came home to find Sunday nights filled with the suspense of who would be eliminated from the race next. My dad casually mentioned that he thought we could participate in the journey together, but I never saw how he could complete the activities involving small cramped spaces or heights. Besides, I would fail miserably at trying anything that involved eating a foreign food with a disgustingly unpleasant texture. We never sent in our audition tape, but when I saw a call for entries into a cross country rally race sponsored by Ford Escape (which I had now driven), I emailed him to see if he still had ideas of being a sort of reality TV star. He said sure, so on Day Two Hundred Eighty-Three I entered us via email.

The ol, "Hold the camera out with your arms" trick.

The entry form asked us to email in our names, ages, location, and all social media links. Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Blog, Twitter. I had one of each, but my dad…he had an email address, albeit a work one. Then I wrote a little blurb about why we would be good for the race, which was basically a marketing vehicle (vehicle….Ford Escape…har har).

Hello, Awkward Family Photos?

I wrote a fairly brief paragraph, attached a few pictures (featured in this post), and sent off the email.

Two days later I received a canned reply inviting me to Google chat (sponsor?) with the casting team. They suggested I also invite other friends and family members to the chat so that they could find the “best fit.” I got the hint. Dad wasn’t social media savvy enough.

I didn’t reply.

And I also didn’t attend the Atlanta casting call a few weeks later with my VIP, skip the line printout. Because really, who would want to be an internet reality star by pimping out a car and clogging the Twitterverse with entries on how cool it was?

My favorite Dad and Murphy photo.

Not me, and I guess not my dad either. He’s not even on Twitter.

Steamed, not Fried (245th new thing).

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

When Patrick and I stayed at Folly Beach in May, we ate steamed oysters at hole-in-the-wall restaurant after our kayak adventure. They were so delicious that I vowed on our return I would consume an entire tray by myself. I accomplished this on Day Two Hundred Forty-Five.

We headed to Bowen’s Island restaurant with my parents in the evening and I originally intended to partake in the “all-you-can-eat” portion of steamed shellfish. However, after evaluating my hunger situation, I opted for the single large tray of the food. I’m glad I did, because frankly, it was a lot of seafood.

To stay true to my task on consuming the large platter of oysters alone, I did not share with Patrick. Fortunately, my parents were far more generous and less gluttonous than I, and Patrick was able to get some oyster eating in. I didn’t ever feel the aphrodisiac effect oysters are supposed to have on the system, but I did enjoy a tasty meal of freshly harvested South Carolina delights.

Family Scott, the Treasure Hunters (244th new thing).

January 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

I gave my dad a metal detector for Christmas last year. He’s always difficult to shop for, not really wanting anything except tacky ties (I jest). So when he mentioned in passing that he thought it could be fun to take a metal detector to the beach and search for lost change, I tackled the idea. Before we met up at the coastal town of Folly Beach, SC, he reminded me of this gift and mentioned it as a “new thing to do.” So on Day Two Hundred Forty-Four we headed out in the golf cart, metal detector in hand, to find our fortune.

The ingenious idea of searching along the parking line

Dad had the brilliant idea to stop at the washout, where surfers go to, well, surf, and check around the parallel parking spaces lining the curb. Surely as people excitedly stepped out of their Jeeps a few coins would tumble from their over-sized pockets.

Note the tongue out in concentration

We walked up and down the car-less curb, figuring out this crazy machine and finding a ton of rusted bottle caps along the way. I think we amassed $0.06 in our first round (a nickel and a penny), and took about twenty minutes. Not bad for beginners.

Next we headed to the beach, stopping by the pay parking machine, where we added a penny and bent nail to our wares. The coastline proved a bit more difficult. While the detector beeped every ten feet or so, our digging brought up little.

A little treasure

After collecting my mom from her sunbathing and making our way back along the parking line, we jumped into the golf cart to try another part of the coastline. We picked up Patrick and a few beers en route. My boyfriend and mother settled themselves in the sun with a beer and a heaping dose of skepticism while my dad and I headed off to find the treasure that awaited us.

Metal Detector Affici0nado

We caught some activity at a tide-pooled area and I dug down until we found our next dime. Score! Then we scouted along the dunes and a parking area, finding a couple more coins and countless bottle caps and nails. I can understand the bottle caps, but nails, really? Seems a bit dangerous in the vicinity of a parking area.

Finally we headed back to the jests of our non-believing fan club, treasure in hand. We had amassed $ 0.46, a piece of random aluminum, three washers, and four nails. And what had they done, really?

Even if we didn’t find our fortune that day, the time spent silently roaming the beach of South Carolina with my dad was priceless. Next we are going to check out old Civil War battlegrounds around Atlanta. And should we find our treasure, well, Mom and Patrick can sun themselves while we enjoy it.

Beach Gallop (242nd new thing).

January 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

Day Two Hundred Forty-Two found me with my family in Folly Beach, SC. Before Patrick and I have always visited the seaside location during peak tourist season, meaning Murphy (and all dogs) were only allowed on the beach before 10AM or after 6PM. November beach trips are different, and there are no restrictions as to when pups are allowed to be walked along the water. It was a blustery day, but I still headed out with my parents, Murphy, and their dogs for a chilly November jaunt. And because the beach was quite expansive and empty of fellow walkers, I decided to let Murphy off-leash on the beach, for the first time. I think he enjoyed himself, and apart from a brief diversion into the dunes, he was exceptionally well-behaved.

Murphy is ready to run free

Twas a blustery November morning

Oscar's great leap of faith

Mom, Dad, Chester, Oscar, and Murphy

Post-walk treat distribution pose

And finally…video proof of the fun we had.

 

Who do we look like? (154th new thing).

September 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

I was playing on my computer, going through the pictures on my iPhoto database for any blog-worthy images when I noticed the “Faces” folder in the top left-hand corner of the window. I had heard about this ability for the software to recognize people in your photographs by facial cues and decided to try it out as my new activity on Day One Hundred Fifty-Four.

My dossier of people

Basically, the process goes like this: you tag subjects’ faces in various selected photographs and then the program searches the library for features that match. High-end technology there. Except that sometimes it got it wrong.

Not every man in my photo library looks like the preacher who married Shelley and Kenley. Seriously, Patrick, my dad, my brother, and generally any other white guy…the minister’s photo came up each time I tried to find the men in pictures.

And as for my own face, while the program managed to get it right most of the time, any other white girl who I happened to have a picture of would also be questioned. My friend Erin (who people have said I look like), the random girl at her wedding, Shelley, and even…and this was kind of funny…my brother. Maybe the facial recognition works considering we are siblings!

It really is quite unique to be able to find people in my thousands of pictures. However, I did find one important flaw in the program: it doesn’t recognize animals. I know, why should it, but I thought it was pretty funny tagging Murphy in all the photos I have of the pup and then seeing if maybe the program would get the idea. It didn’t.

"No matches found."

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