A Medieval Time (366th new thing).

March 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

With one final activity left in my year of new things, I figured I should do something that would never cross my radar under any other circumstance. So I gathered up a few friends to celebrate turning thirty at Medieval Times. Day Three Hundred Sixty-Six, baby.


Overall, I was incredibly excited about the adventure. While working earlier in the day I expressed a little joyous anticipation under the guise of snarkiness to a coworker. In sarcastic teenage voice: “Dude, I’m like, going to Medieval Times! Seriously!” He enthralled me with the tale of his trip to the California location. He described each course with the same enthusiasm as a new waiter at a happening suburban franchise. “First, we had bruschetta,” (said with faux Italian accent), “and then a creamy tomato bisque that tasted deliciously spicy.” He licked his lips at the memory.

“Then we-” (he and his mysterious girlfriend) “each got half a chicken. HALF a chicken. Roasted to perfection. And the soda refills were free. We even had a perfectly seasoned potato! For dessert there was melt in your mouth chocolate cake or a tasty Danish.” Maybe Medieval Times had gotten a bad rap. Or maybe the Yelpers who visited the Duluth location were just missing out on the California gourmet version.

We opted to pregame at the tiny Chili’s at Discover Mills after reading reviews about pricey brews inside the Renaissance-themed restaurant. I may have had a shot, but hey, you only turn 30 once, right?

A Knight to Remember, indeed.

A Knight to Remember, indeed.

Once we walked through the entrance a tunic-clad photographer took our picture with the “King.” Erin and Tyler ended up gifting the cardboard framed image to me, and it sits proudly displayed in my kitchen. They are the only two in the photo with any semblance of natural ease. The King looks creepy, as though he is about to devour some maidens. I look like I accidentally wandered in from the mall outside and Patrick is so far away that he could have wandered in from another group. Andre threw out a peace sign, or lost a game against the rock.

We stopped by the bar en route to our section and found that the beers weren’t priced too outrageously; they were on par with an MLB game, but draft.

We sat in the yellow section, which meant we wore yellow crowns and cheered for the Yellow Knight with his flowing blond locks. You could pay more to be seated at the equivalent of the fifty-yard line, and presumably one of those knights also won the tournament. Poor Yellow Knight.

Go, Yellow Knight!

Go, Yellow Knight!

While pomp and circumstance ruled the sandy floor, we tucked into our gourmet meal, except it wasn’t gourmet. The spicy tomato bisque turned out to be a bowl of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup and the garlic bread was my childhood favorite Texas Toast. We did get half a small bird (“Fresh Falcon” our serving wench declared as it was plopped onto our pewter plates). Then we had half a baked potato (“Dragon’s Egg”), and one rib (“Dragon’s Claw”). It really wasn’t that bad, considering our surroundings.

At one point during dessert (Hostess-like cakes) the knights rode around flirting with the women sitting in the front rows. The Black and White Knight sauntered over to our section to chat with a young buxom woman so I heckled him. I mean, he was a fifty-yard line knight. If I had paid an extra ten bucks a ticket to see him, I would probably resent the fact that he was flirting with other sections. Mostly, I found offense in the “bored-knight-I-only-do-this-for-the-chicks” look about him. And to the lady on the receiving end of his sneers: He was competing against OUR Yellow Knight. Have some pride.

Tell me this isn't the face of smarminess.

Tell me this isn’t the face of smarminess.

Heroic Battling


Then the “battles” began. The knights competed against each other in a staged tournament. We boldly cheered on our beloved Yellow Knight, hollering, “We’ve got Yellow Fever!” into the stadium at Patrick’s suggestion. I found our cheer hilarious. When the Yellow Knight was down a few points, we turned our crowns upside down into rally caps. But it didn’t help. The Red Knight evilly defeated him. I suppose he died heroically.

Rally Crowns and a Rose

Rally Crowns and a Rose

After that my allegiance moved to anyone fighting the Black and White Knight. He won it all, of course.

This is how I will always remember our Yellow Knight.


World Class Ham (326th new thing).

July 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

I like taking pictures. I like being in pictures. I like manipulating motion (jump!) contortion (stick out your tongue!), and positioning (stand there!) of people in pictures. So when I discovered the photo booth at my friend Liz’s post-wedding shindig on Day Three Hundred Twenty-Six, I was excited. I commandeered it.

The photo booth was one of those open air, DSLR set up on a tripod in front of a wall type deals, my first in fact. And with the shutter release remote tucked into my palm, I directed my friends (and even strangers) into jumping and cheesing and posing. Wine helped.

In no particular order, visual proof of my cheesing:

Cheesing it up with the ladies. Liz is bemused.

“Act Surprised”

I really don’t know in which direction this was going.

Addressing the camera.

The Varsity Hats

The beginning of the series “jump!”

Matt takes jumping to heart.

Liz is shocked by my jumping skillz.

Liz joins the jump movement.

Liz’s dad joins the photobooth action.

And now for more “alternative” posing…

OMG, everyone point at the window!

And…the solo jump.

I had a ton of fun jumping around and making faces, but what I think I took away from the experience is to not be such a ham. And maybe to not watch so much America’s Next Top Model for inspiration.

Turkey Turkey (259th new thing).

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

My friend Andre hosts an event every year, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It’s deemed “Turkey Turkey Tuesday,” and from its inception involved a massive roasted holiday bird coupled with a bottle of Wild Turkey. The Tuesday in the title is quite self-explanatory. There’s only been one year since I’ve known Dre that this momentous event has not occurred. Even while we were in Grad School in Newcastle, we celebrated, albeit on Thanksgiving Day proper. However, this year, on Day Two Hundred Fifty-Nine, the dinner was not held at anyone’s house, but rather at the Highland Inn Ballroom. So for the first time in its history, Turkey Turkey Tuesday was held in a bar.

The chef at TTT a couple years ago.

I had actually arrived back in Atlanta from a rainy Montgomery commute right before the ballroom opened its doors to an assortment of friends and acquaintances. Patrick picked me up at Thrifty, where I happily left the minivan and we headed to the bar. I was curious how Dre would be able to accomplish a TTT of this magnitude. He cooks all day, and for several leading up to the Tuesday. He makes everything. And this year he finished it all off in one of the Highland Inn’s kitchen equipped suites.

Unfortunately, I was only a spectator this year, and did not hold the coveted taster position as I may have in years past. See, Dre doesn’t eat vegetables, so in return for peeling a few dozen shrimp, the tasting role includes trying all of the glazed carrots and green beans and giving approval.

We didn’t stay too long, as I was knackered from the white knuckle journey back into Atlanta and had to work in the wee hours of the morning the following day. Having the celebration in the Ballroom was pretty cool, but I still miss the intimacy of a cozy kitchen in someone’s home. Maybe next year I will volunteer our house. Or at least I’ll volunteer myself as a taster again.


Cock Fight (207th new thing).

November 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Day Two Hundred and I was headed to a bachelorette party, for one Miss Elizabeth Berry. I was excited to see my friend again, as well as to participate in what amounted to an adult sleepover. An adult sleepover with games.

I had a selection of new experiences to choose from for this post, but the one game/activity that stands out the most in my memory was a physical battle…while wearing inflatable…um, male genitalia.

Faces changed to protect the not-so-innocent

The object of the cock fight was to wave your strapped-on balloon at your opponent to knock their own member off. Penis envy as a party game.

We battled and laughed, so much that I cried (it doesn’t really take much laughter to spring tears from my eyes).

I gathered a few techniques: wear the appendage with the strongest Velcro; swing your hips for momentum; and hit your opponent at the base of their balloon.

The battle

I applied these ideas wholeheartedly. But Leza beat me. I think I lapsed on the first technique, to wear the better tool.

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